Russia and Uzbekistan to shoot documentary about the Uthman Quran

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Production of a documentary about the Uthman Quran will start Tashkent, St. Petersburg and Ufa, according to Fergana news agency.

The documentary is being shot by the BBC Uzbek Service in collaboration with Uzbekistan’s National Association of Electronic Mass Media.

International historians and specialists in Quranis studies will help in filming and Ariel Group will provide a sponsor support.

It is expected that the premiere of the documentary will take place at the Tashkent Film Festival that will take place from September 29 through November 3 this year.

The Uthman Quran (also known as Samarkand Kufic Quran and Samarkand codex) is an 8th or 9th century manuscript Quran written in the territory of modern Iraq in the Kufic script. Today it is kept in the Hast Imam library, in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

It is said to have belonged to the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan.

Based on orthographic and paleographic studies, the manuscript probably dates from the 8th or 9th century. Radio-carbon dating showed a 95.4% probability of a date between 775 and 995. However, one of the folios from another manuscript (held in the Religious Administration of Muslims in Tashkent) was dated to between 595 and 855 A.D. with a likelihood of 95%.

The copy of the Quran is traditionally considered to be one of a group commissioned by the third caliph Uthman; however, this attribution has been questioned. According to Islamic tradition, in 651, 19 years after the death of the Islamic Prophet, Muhammad, Uthman commissioned a committee to produce a standard copy of the text of the Quran. Five of these authoritative Qurans were sent to the major Muslim cities of the era, and Uthman kept one for his own use in Medina, although the Samarkand Quran is most likely not one of those copies.

Uthman was succeeded by Ali, who took the uthmanic Quran to Kufa, now in Iraq. The subsequent history of this Quran is known only from legends. According to one of them, when Tamerlane destroyed the area, he took the Quran to his capital, Samarkand, as a treasure. According to another, the Quran was brought from the ruler of Rum to Samarkand by Khoja Ahrar, a Turkestani sufi master, as a gift after he had cured the ruler.

The Quran remained in the Khoja Ahrar Mosque of Samarkand for four centuries until 1869, when the Russian general Abramov bought it from the Imams of the mosque and gave it to Konstantin von Kaufman, Governor-General of Turkestan, who in turn sent it to the Imperial Library in Saint Petersburg (now the Russian National Library). It attracted the attention of orientalists and eventually a facsimile edition was published in Saint-Petersburg in 1905. The 50 copies soon became rarities.

The first thorough description and dating of the manuscript was undertaken by the Russian orientalist Shebunin in 1891. After the October Revolution, Vladimir Lenin, in an act of goodwill to the Muslims of Russia, gave the Quran to the people of Ufa, Bashkortostan. After repeated appeals by the people of the Turkestan ASSR, the Quran was returned to Central Asia, to Tashkent, in 1924, where it has since remained.

Source: Asia-Plus