The Birmingham Qur’an is a parchment of two leaves of an early Quran manuscript, acquired by Edward Cadbury in the 1930s, to be part of a collection of Middle Eastern documents for the centre for academic excellence being built by him. About 3,000 manuscripts were acquired by his agent, Alphonse Mingana from Iraq, a manuscript expert and a curator for Cadbury. It came to the University of Birmingham in 1999, being gifted by the Edward Cadbury Trust.
According to Dr Mustafa Shah, senior lecturer in Islamic Studies at SOAS University of London, the reason the manuscript attracted such interest is because of the result of radiocarbon dating done in July 2015, putting the manuscript dated to between 568 and 645 CE (in the Islamic calendar, between 56 BH and 25 AH).David Thomas, professor of Christianity and Islam at the University of Birmingham, said the manuscript takes investigators back to within a few years of the actual founding of Islam. In fact the dating suggests that it was possible that the person who wrote them was alive at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (SM). Our thoughts lead to conjectures that he may have seen the Prophet Muhammad, known him personally, heard him preach.
The Birmingham manuscript sourced from Iraq is an exact match of other Qur’an fragments held at the National Library of France, which were collected from Egypt's oldest mosque. It proves that the script of the Holy Qur’an remained unchanged by geographical distance. Also a side by side comparison of the old and modern-day Qur’an revealed that not a single word in the oldest manuscripts differ from the manuscripts we read nowadays. This means that the word of the Holy Qur’an has remained unchanged from when it was written in the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) more than 1400 years ago.
This establishes the cardinal tenets of Islam that the Qur’an was “complete” in the Prophet’s lifetime, and was written down soon after during the Khalifaat of Uthman, and the exact wordings of the Qur’an remains unchanged from the time of its revelation until today.
But what we need most today is not only to read the Holy Scriptures but abide by them tenaciously, as religion is for peace on earth.