Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Qur'an Bookbinding with Floral Arabesques and an Inscription from the Hadith

Object Name:
early 17th century
Leather; stamped, tooled, and gilded
H. 9 1/2 in. (24.1 cm) W. 7 3/8 in. (18.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1908
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462
This elaborate book-cover, with its medallions containing elegant and complex floral ornaments, was certainly intended to protect a high quality manuscript. The Arabic inscription that runs around the plates' borders clearly indicates that this cover was meant for a copy of the Qur'an: it mentions words traditionally attributed to the prophet Muhammad, including the phrase "He who wants to speak with God should read the Qur'an."
Inscription: In Arabic, around the edges on the front and back outside covers.
Translation: The Prophet - upon him be peace - said: 'Who wants to speak with God should read the Qur'an.' And he - upon him be peace - said: 'The best among you is he who reads the Qur'an and let's recite it." And from his - upon him be peace - words is: 'The best of you is he who learns the Qur'an and teaches it.' And from his words is: 'The noblest worship of my people is the recitation of the Qur'an.' He who is skillful in the Qur'an...[ the rest is written in perfectly clear letters: ma'a as-sufra(or: shufra) al-kiram al-zarah, which makes no sense grammatically.] (Translated by Annemarie Schimmel. September, 1985)
[ Daniel Z. Noorian, New York, until 1908; sold toMMA]
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