1872 Miniature holy Koran published in 1872 and "found" in the ruins of the Palace in Zanzibar after the British bombardment in 1896

Octagonal lithographed Miniature koran

Octagonal lithographed Miniature Koran published in 1872 and was "found" in the ruins of the Palace in Zanzibar after the British bombardment in 1896" by a British soldier who wrote in pencil his name and where and when  he found the book.   Rare early lithographed miniature Koran (printed part is only 4 cm wide) ! This holy Koran was probably printed in Iraq or in India.

Antique Miniature koran Zanzibar

Antique miniature holy Koran picked up in the ruins of the bombed palace in Zanzibar.  A miniature Koran like this would be worn in a silver or golden box, bound around the upper arm of a person as an amulet.

Antique Miniature koran

Antique miniature Koran

Antique Miniature koran lithographed

 Antique miniature Koran

antique miniature koran zanzibarAntique miniature koran

Antique miniature Koran "found" in palace Zanzibar

Printed by Muhammad Jawad? Location: al-matba'al Haydariyah (al-Matba' al-Haydari or al-Matba'ah al-Haydariyah) ? 1872 / 1873. (Place of publication can be Hyderabad in India. Oman  and Zanzibar had Hyderabadi merchant communities  for several centuries. However it may also have been printed in Iraq, see below ) Let us Know If anyone knows more about the background of this very rare miniature Koran

A true miniature book has both a height and width less than 3 inches (approx. 7 cm) Octagonal shaped miniature Koran lithographed in Arabic with in manuscript English the notation by a British naval person that he "found it" in the palace of the sultan of Zanzibar immediately after the bombardment by British ships: See manuscript inscription  by the soldier in the slide-show! The miniature Koran is octagonal and it is 5 by 6 cm and the printed part is only 4 cm!  An early printed Arabic Koran printed by lithography in the Middle East (extremely rare: so far no information found on this holy Koran)

The Koran may originally have been put in a golden or silver box that was wrapped around the upper arm of travellers or soldiers as an amulet, see next item. In the past standard-bearers (sancakdār) also attached them as talisman to military flags / standards, that is why these miniature Korans are sometimes referred to as Sancak.

Comments by Yale university to this miniature Koran:

Possibly printed in Iraq or India, It was printed in 1289 /1290 of the Islamic calendar which corresponds to the year 1872/1873. Comments Yale university: The first image in the slide-show has the last chapter in the Koran (Surah 114: Surat al-Nas) with the colophon which says in transliteration "Qad hasal al-faragh min hadha al-Quran al-Majid wa-[al-]Furqan al-Hamid min yad aqall al-kuttab Muhammad Jawad fi al-Matba' al-Haydariyah fi sanat 1290" which translates: "[ The copying] of this Glorious Koran and Honorable Furqan [i.e. Koran] was concluded by the hand of the least of scribes Muhammad Jawad in al-Matba' al-Haydariyah in the year 1290 [H. i.e. 1873/1874]" However, the fourth image gives the date as the year 1289 [i.e. 1872/1873].

The name of the printing house which is given as "al-Matba' al-Haydariyah" is a bit problematic because grammatically it is not correct; it should have read either al-Matba' al-Haydari or al-Matba'ah al-Haydariyah. This is important to determine where the book was printed. If the name of the printing press is al-Matba' al-Haydari (which I believe it is) - the scribe Muhammad Jawad, judging from the colophon, doesn't seem to be all that versed in using grammatically correct Arabic - then the printing house should have been somewhere in India (Lucknow, Bombay or Hyderabad) because lithographic books were produced by the these printing houses from around the middle of the 19th century. On the other hand, if the printing house is al-Matba'ah al-Haydariyah, then this printing house was in al-Najaf, Iraq but I could not see any books printed in it in the 19th century. There are some lithographed books printed in it from around the first quarter of the 20th century onward. As for the third image it is the first and second chapters of the Koran (Surat al-Fatihah and the beginning of Surat al-Baqarah). The fourth image which has the date 1289, has a phrase which translates: "It should not be touched except by the purified ones.


Colophon: On  abudervish.blogspot.nl  there is a revised description of another copy of the same mini Koran: "On the colophone page of my Quran here, it was written: قد حصل الفراغ هذا القران المجيد وفرقان الحميد من يد اقل الكتاب محمد جواد في المطبع الحيدرية في سنه ٠ ٩ ٢ ١   "The copying of this Quran Al Majid and Furqan Al Hamid in the hand of Muhammad Jawad produced in Hyderiah Printing House in the year 1290 "  I was not aware of who was this copyist Muhammad Jawad and where was this Printing House identified as Hyderiah.  In the OmaniSilver website, similar Quran was commented by expert from Yale University believing it was a product of Iraq or India.  From a book " Al Quran The Sacred Art of Revelation" published by The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, it has a similar Quran with the same copyist but in a longer name and printed  in 1293 AH publication. See below the snapshot of this book.  The full name of the copyist given as Muhammad Jawad Ibn Mulla Muhammad Musa Kashmiri which I believe the same copyist of the Quran in this entry. The title Kashmiri indicated the copyist originally from Kashmir. The printer house was mentioned as Hyderiah however The IAMM identified it Hyderabad"