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Manuscript/Mixed Material Bismillah and Qur'anic verse (81:1-14)

About this Item


  • Bismillah and Qur'anic verse (81:1-14)

Created / Published

  • 14th century


  • -  Calligraphy, Arabic
  • -  Calligraphy, Persian
  • -  Manuscripts, Arabic--Washington (D.C.)
  • -  Iran
  • -  Iraq
  • -  Arabic script calligraphy
  • -  Illuminated Islamic manuscripts
  • -  Islamic calligraphy
  • -  Islamic manuscripts
  • -  Qur'anic verses
  • -  Rayhani


  • -  In Rayhani script, a Quranic page, probable location of 13 century Iran.
  • -  Dimensions of Written Surface: 15.5 (w) x 8.8 (h) cm
  • -  The calligraphy is executed in rayhani script. This writing style is most closely associated with the master calligrapher Yaqut al-Musta'simi (d. 1298) and Qur'ans produced in Iran during the 13th and 14th centuries. It is related to other cursive styles, in particular naskh and muhaqqaq. Unlike these latter two scripts, its sublinear letters display less depth of curve below the line, are more angular, and point to the left, thus giving the script more momentum (Lings and Safadi 1976, 42). The diacritical marks-- i.e. the vowels, quiet stops (sukun), and orthographic signs such as the doubling of letters (tashdid), etc-- always are executed with a finer pen than the characters of the script (Safadi 1979, 72). As seen in this fragment, the diacritical marks are much smaller, thinner, and in a lighter brown color, thus emphasizing the letters on the main line of script and alleviating the interlinear spaces.
  • -  The verses are separated by ayah markers constructed of simple gold circles outlined in dark brown ink. Above the verses appear a variety of recitation marks (signs for stops, or 'alamat al-waqf) mostly in red ink. Other marks in sloppy blue ink appear on the third line to elongate the "a" sound or add the last letter "s" to the truncated word "souls" (al-nufus). These added marks show that the fragment was utilized throughout the centuries.
  • -  This calligraphic fragment shows a collector's interest in preserving only verses 81:1-14, as they represent a complete picture of eschatological events. Neither the chapter's title is preserved (despite the appearance of the top bismillah), nor are the surah's subsequent verses, which move on to a different topic. The calligraphy in brown ink appears on its original laminated beige folio, with multicolored frames and blue-purple borders pasted rather clumsily (Selim 1979, 168).
  • -  This Qur'anic fragment includes the bismillah and verses 1-14 of surah 81, entitled al-Takwir (The Folding up). These verses constitute some of the most graphic descriptions in the Qur'an of the arrival of Doomsday, prompted by a reversal of natural phenomena. For instance, the sun folds up, stars fall from the sky, mountains vanish, oceans boil over, and a blazing fire is kindled. Souls are sorted out and men's deeds weighed so that "each soul may know what it has put forward." (81:14).
  • -  Script: rayhani
  • -  1-87-154.131


  • 1 volume ; 22.2 (w) x 14.5 (w) cm


  • Library of Congress African and Middle Eastern Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2019714474

Online Format

  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

The contents of the Library of Congress Selections of Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Calligraphy are in the public domain or have no known copyright restrictions and are free to use and reuse.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, African and Middle East Division, Near East Section Persian Manuscript Collection

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Bismillah and Qur'anic verse 81:1-14. 14th Century. Manuscript/Mixed Material.

APA citation style:

Bismillah and Qur'anic verse 81:1-14. 14th Century. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Bismillah and Qur'anic verse 81:1-14. 14th Century. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.