Islamic Arts


Qurans form the largest body of illuminated manuscripts in the Islamic world, and in some cases constitute the only surviving form of manuscripts from a given period. Their development has been bound inextricably to that of the Arabic script (see the ‘Calligraphy’ section) and they form a key part of the art of Islamic books and bookbinding.

That the surviving Quran manuscripts are of such consistent high quality, and that so many have survived to the present day, is due to the centrality of the Quran in the Islamic faith and to the consequent special protection accorded to Qurans throughout the course of history. In contrast to figural imagery or secular art, Qurans were extremely unlikely to be destroyed, unless as a result of damage by fire or water. Special protective cases and bags were used for storing and protecting them, while the dry climate of the central Islamic lands greatly facilitated the preservation of paper manuscripts.

Source:- “The Timeline History of Islamic Art and Architecture” by Nasser D. Khalili.

Photo above:- Opening pages of the Holy Quran. Ottoman calligraphy by Mehmed Sevki (d. 1887CE). Source:- Sakip Sabanci Museum Collection, Istanbul.
The page on the left says:-
“In the Name of God, the Benificent, the Merciful.
This is the Scripture in which there is no doubt, containing guidance for those who are mindful of God, who believe in the unseen, keep up the prayer, and give out of what we have provided for them; those who believe in the revelation sent to you (Muhammad), and in what was sent before you, those who have firm faith in the Hereafter. Such people are following their Lord’s guidance and it is they who will prosper.” (Quran 2:1-5)