Ancient koranic Manuscripts of Sana’a and Divine DownfallMuslims often lie and claim that both Old Testament and New Testa...
find. In 1997, he managed to interest a visiting non-Muslim German scholar, whoin turn persuaded the German government to ...
It scattered the orthodox Muslim belief that the Qur’an as it has reached ustoday is quite simply “the perfect, timeless, ...
Puin’s findings also confirm Wansbrough’s assumption on Qur’anic text. Duringthe seventies Wansbrough concluded that Qur’a...
that it can command some respect because it could not stand on its own worth.This way, in acknowledging the claims of the ...
archeological and historical evidence; so far neither any archeologicalexploration was allowed in Mecca and Medina, nor th...
gigantic, the average person is left to wonder how anyone can have the courage,the impudence to say such a thing.Big lies ...
Third; is it true anymore that Qur’an (10.64) says Allah’s words do not change -this is indeed the mighty achievement? If ...
introduction to the Yemenite manuscripts collections and a brief description onthe evolution of Arabic calligraphy (Abid, ...
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Ancient Koranic Manuscripts of Sana


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Ancient Koranic Manuscripts of Sana

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Ancient Koranic Manuscripts of Sana

  1. 1. Ancient koranic Manuscripts of Sana’a and Divine DownfallMuslims often lie and claim that both Old Testament and New Testament arecorrupted and seriously changed. They say, for a Holy Scripture to beauthoritative, it has to be preserved without any changes at all, and point totheir Qur’an, which claims to have been revealed word by word and letter byletter to Muhammad by Allah. Qur’an claims, ‘no change there can be in the wordsof God’ (10:64) and, ‘there is none that can alter the words (and decrees) ofGod’ (6:34).But then how ridiculous the ‘doctrine of abrogation’ is, by which laterrevelations cancel previous ones, as Qur’an (2:106) confirms, ‘revelations… Weabrogate or cause to be forgotten’. Also, a Hadith (6:558) from Sahih Bukhariconfirmed that Muhammad forgot many verses. Again Sunaan ibn Majah, (3: 1944)recorded that after Muhammad’s death some revelations were eaten by a goat. Howdivine words can be eaten, changed, cancelled or abolished, in spite of Allah’sspecific claim in 10:64 and 6:34?Are not all these claims of Allah self-contradictory? But amazingly; these plaintruths do not bother the Muslims at all. Probably, if we can present another“authentic” Qur’an which is different from existing standard form, Muslims willgive way to logical thinking.The devastating truth is that a large number of ancient Qur’anic manuscripts,dating from first century of Hijra were discovered in the Great Mosque of Sana’a(Yemen) which significantly differs from the present standard one. Carbon datingsystem confirmed that these Qur’ans are not forged one by religious rivalries.Moreover these Qur’ans were discovered by Muslims, not infidels.Probably this is the most embarrassing event in Islamic history of 14 centuries.The Great Mosque of Sana’a is one of the oldest Mosques in Islamic history. Thedate of building goes back to 6th year of Hijrah when Muhammad entrusted one ofhis companions to build a Mosque at Yemen, which was extended and enlarged byIslamic rulers from time to time.In 1972, during the restoration of this Great Mosque (heavy rain had caused thewest wall of the Mosque to collapse), laborers working in a crown space betweenthe structure’s inner and outer roofs, stumbled across a amazing grave site,which they did not realize at that time because of ignorance. Mosques do notaccommodate graves, and this site contained no gravestone, no human remains andno funeral relics. It contained nothing more, in fact, apparently looking anunappealing mountain of old parchment and paper documents, damaged books andindividual pages of Arabic text, fused together by rain and dampness for over athousand year.The ignorant laborers gathered up the manuscripts, pressed them carelessly intosome 20 potato sacks, and set them aside on the staircase of one of the Mosque’sminarets, where they were locked away. The manuscripts would have been forgottenonce again, were it not for Qadhi Isma’il al-Akwa, then the President of YemeniAntiquities Authority, who realized the potential importance of the find.Al-Akwa sought international assistance in examining and preserving thefragments, because no scholar in his country was capable of working on this rich
  2. 2. find. In 1997, he managed to interest a visiting non-Muslim German scholar, whoin turn persuaded the German government to organize and find a restoration project.Soon after the project began, it became clear that the “paper grave” is aresting place for, among other things, tens of thousands of fragments from closeto a thousand different codices of the Qur’an, the Muslim holy scripture. Muslimauthorities during early days cherished the belief that worn out and damagedcopies of the Qur’an must be removed from circulation leaving only theunblemished editions of the scripture for use. Also such a safe place wasrequired to protect the books from looting or destruction if invaders come andhence the idea of a grave in the Great Mosque in Sana’a, which was a place oflearning and dissemination of the Qur’an and was in existence from the firstcentury of the Hijrah.Restoration of the manuscript has been organized and supervised by Gerd R. Puinof Saarland University, Germany. Puin is a renowned specialist on Arabiccalligraphy (the study of fine and artistic handwriting) and Qur’anicpaleography (the study of ancient writing and documents). For ten years heextensively examined those precious parchment fragments. In 1985, his colleagueH. C. Graf V. Bothmer joined him.Carbon-14 tests date some of the parchments to 645-690 AD. Their real age may besomewhat younger, since C-14 estimates the year of the death of an organism(parchment is animal skin), and the process from that to the final writing onthe parchment involves an unknown amount of time. Calligraphic dating haspointed to 710-715 AD. Some of the parchment pages seemed to date back to theseventh and eighth centuries, or Islam’s first two centuries, perhaps the oldestQur’an in existence.In 1984, the House of Manuscripts (Dar al Makhtutat) was founded close to theGreat Mosque, as part of a cooperation project between Yemeni and Germanauthorities. An enormous endeavor began to restore the Qur’anic fragments.Between 1983 and 1996, approximately 15,000 out of 40,000 pages were restored,specifically 12,000 fragments on parchment and manuscripts dating back to theseventh and eighth centuries.Until now, only three ancient copies of the Qu’ran are found. The one preservedin the British Library in London, dates from the late seventh century and wasthought to be the oldest one. But the Sana’a manuscripts are even older.Moreover, these manuscripts are written in a script that originates from theHijaz - the region of Arabia where prophet Muhammad lived, which makes them notonly the oldest to have survived, but one of the earliest authentic copies ofthe Qur’an ever. Hijazi Arabic is the script (Makkan or Madinan) in which theearliest Quran was written. Although these pieces are from the earliest Quranknown to exist, they are also palimpsests (manuscripts on which the originalwriting has been effected for re-use).The rare style of fine and artistic handwriting had fascinated both Puin and hisfriend Bothmer but more surprise was waiting for them. When these ancientQur’ans were compared with the present standard one, both of them were stunned.The ancient texts were found to be devastatingly and disturbingly at odds withthe existing form. There are unconventional verse ordering, small butsignificant textual variations, different orthography (spelling) and differentartistic embellishment (decoration).
  3. 3. It scattered the orthodox Muslim belief that the Qur’an as it has reached ustoday is quite simply “the perfect, timeless, and unchanging Word of God”. Itmeans Qur’an has been distorted, perverted, revised, modified and corrected, andtextual alterations had taken place over the years purely by Human hands.The sacred aura surrounding this Holy Scripture of Islam, which remained intactfor over 14 centuries is gone with this astonishing discovery and the corebelief of billion plus Muslims that the Qu’ran is the eternal, unaltered word ofGod is now clearly visible as a great hoax, a totally downright falsehood. Notonly this; the Qur’anic claim that nobody can alter the words of God is also afake. Qur’an is supposed to be, if we borrow words from Guillaume (1978, p. 74),“The holy of holies. It must never rest beneath other books, but always on topof them, one must never drink or smoke when it is being read aloud, and it mustbe listened to in silence. It is a talisman against disease and disaster”.Muslims call the Qur’an ‘Mother of Books’ and believe no other book orrevelation can compare (Caner & Caner, 2002. p.84). However, it’s all gone now.The end result of whole Islamic struggle for fourteen centuries is a big zero.As if it is not enough, many manuscripts showed the sign of palimpsests, i.e.,versions very clearly written over even earlier washed off versions. Theunder-writing of palimpsest is, of course, often difficult to read visually, butmodern tools such as ultraviolet photography can highlight them. It suggeststhat the Sana’a manuscripts are not the only variants, but, even before that,Qur’anic text had been modified and re-written on the same paper. It means,Allah’s claim (Q 56: 77-78; 85:21-22) that original text is preserved in heavenon golden tablets, which none can touch except angels is also a fairy-tale.Puin after extensively studying these manuscripts came to the conclusion thatthe text is actually an evolving text rather than simply the word of God asrevealed in its entirety to Muhammad (Warraq, 2002, p. 109). He is thrilled, “Somany Muslims have this belief that everything between the two covers of theQur’an is just God’s unaltered word. They like to quote the textual work thatshows that the Bible has a history and did not fall straight out of the sky, butuntil now the Qur’an has been out of discussion. The only way to break throughthis wall is to prove that the Qur’an has a history too. The Sana’a’s fragmentswill help us to do this.”Puin even concluded (cited Taher, 2000), “It is not one single work that hassurvived unchanged through the centuries. It may include stories that werewritten before the prophet Mohammed began his ministry and which havesubsequently been rewritten”.During their research, as Puin (Lester, 1999) recalls, “They [Yemeniauthorities] wanted to keep this thing low profile, as we do too, although fordifferent reasons. They don’t want attention drawn to the fact that there areGermans and others working on the Qur’ans. They don’t want it made public thatthere is work being done at all, since the Muslim position is that everythingthat needs to be said about the Qur’an’s history was said a thousand years ago.”In fact, Puin and his colleague Bothmer knew for sometime during their studythat Qur’an is an evolving text but they wisely understood the possibleimplications of their findings and kept quiet. If Yemeni authorities come toknow about this discovery, they may even refuse them further access. This isactually what Puin called ‘different reasons’. So both sides kept quiet, andthose two scholars carried on their research unabated.
  4. 4. Puin’s findings also confirm Wansbrough’s assumption on Qur’anic text. Duringthe seventies Wansbrough concluded that Qur’an evolved only gradually in theseventh and eighth centuries after a long period of oral transmissions anddifferent sects used to argue furiously with each other on the genuineness ofthe revelations. The reason that no Islamic source material from the verybeginning of Islam never survived is because it never existed. In fact Puinadmitted ‘rereading Wansbrough’ during the course of analyzing the Yemenifragments (Warraq, 2002. p. 122).Puins other radical theory is that pre-Islamic sources have entered the Qur’an.He argues that two tribes it mentions, As-Sahab-ar-Rass (Companions of the Well)and the As- Sahab-al-Aiqa (Companions of the Thorny Bushes) are not part of theArab tradition, and the people of Muhammads time certainly did not know aboutthem. He also disagrees that Qur’an was written in the purest Arabic. The veryword Qur’an itself is of foreign origin. Contrary to popular Muslim belief, themeaning of "Qur’an" is not recitation. It is actually derived from an Aramaicword, ‘Qariyun’, meaning a lectionary of scripture portions appointed to be readat divine service. Qur’an contains most of the biblical stories but in a shorterform and is "a summary of the Bible to be read in service".Bothmer has painstakingly finished taking more than thirty-five thousandmicrofilm pictures of the fragments by 1997 and brought the pictures back toGermany (Warraq, 2002. p. 109). It means now Bothmer, Puin and other scholarswill finally have a chance to scrutinize the texts and to publish their findingsfreely.Puin is interested to write a book on this in the future, but already wroteseveral short essays on their findings in various science magazines, where hepointed out several aberrations between the ancient Qur’an and the presentstandard one (cited Warraq, 2002. p. 739- 44). In refuting the sacredness ofQur’an, Puin wrote, “My idea is that the Qur’an is a kind of cocktail of textsthat were not all understood even at the time of Muhammad. Many of them may evenbe a hundred years older than Islam itself. The Qur’an claims for itself that itis ‘mubeen’, or clear. But [contrary to popular belief] if you look at it, youwill notice that every fifth sentence or so simply does not make sense…the factis that a fifth of the Qur’anic text is just incomprehensible. If the Qur’an isnot comprehensible, if it can’t even be understood in Arabic, then it’s nottranslatable into any language. That is why Muslims are afraid. Since the Qur’anclaims repeatedly to be clear but is not—there is an obvious and seriouscontradiction. Something else must be going on”.The extraordinary discovery of Puin had fascinated Andrew Rippin, a Professor ofreligious studies and a leading expert on Qur’anic studies. Rippin (citedWarraq, 2002. p.110) concluded, “The impact of the Yemeni manuscripts is stillto be felt. Their variant readings and verse orders are all very significant.Everybody agrees on that. These manuscripts say that the early history ofQur’anic text is much more of an open question than many have suspected. Thetext was less stable and therefore had less authority, than has always beenclaimed”.Rippin’s observation was superb. During the period of early Caliphs, Islam grewas political movement and not as a religious movement. A book like Qur’an wasrequired to keep the Muslims in unity. Qur’an is just like a ‘status symbol’ ofIslam, without which Islam would have died during the time of Muhammad only.Qur’an is purely manmade. Some sort of Divinity was attached to the Qur’an so
  5. 5. that it can command some respect because it could not stand on its own worth.This way, in acknowledging the claims of the Qur’an as the direct utterance ofthe Divinity, the early manipulators had blocked all the criticism, which canotherwise expose it. Qur’an itself prohibits criticism in the verses 5:101 and5:102. We do not know when religious blindness crept in, but undoubtedly, theearly Muslims after Muhammad were more liberal than the present generation weare seeing today. The authenticity of many verses had been called into questionby the early Muslims themselves. Many Kharijites, who were followers of Ali inthe early history of Islam, found the Sura recounting the story of Josephoffensive, an erotic tale that cannot belong to the Qur’an (cited Warraq, 1998.p.17).Warraq (1998, p. 14) has the same view as Rippin, “Muslim scholars of the earlyyears of Islam were far more flexible in their position, realizing that parts ofthe Qur’an was lost, perverted and that there were many thousand variants whichmade it impossible to talk of ‘the’ Qur’an”.There is another proof that Qur’anic messages were distorted in the early daysof Islam and nothing like ‘The’ Qur’an does exist any more. Inscriptions ofseveral Qur’anic verses are decorated on the Dome of Rock of Jerusalem, which ismost probably the first Islamic monument meant to be a major artisticachievement, built in 691 CE (Whelan, 1998, pp 1-14). These inscriptionssignificantly differ from the present standard text (Warraq, 2000, p. 34).Mingana (cited Warraq, 1998. p.80) lamented, “The most important question in thestudy of the Qur’an is its unchallengeable authority”. This is the only reason;critical investigation of the text of the Qur’an is a study which is still inits immaturity. As Rippin (1991, p. ix) lamented, “I have often encounteredindividuals who come to the study of Islam with a background in the historicalstudy of the Hebrew Bible or early Christianity, and who express surprise at thelack of critical thought that appears in introductory textbooks of Islam. Thenotion that ‘Islam is born in the clear light of history’ still seems to beassumed by a great many writers of such texts.’”Cook and Crone (1977, p. 18) concluded, “[The Qur’an] strikingly lacking inoverall structure, frequently obscure and inconsequential in both language andcontent perfunctory in its liking of disparate materials and given to therepetition of whole passages in variant versions. On this basis, it can beargued that the book is the product of a belated and imperfect editing ofmaterials from a plurality of traditions.” Crone (cited Warraq, 1998, p. 33)elsewhere wrote, “The Qur’an has generated masses of spurious information”.But in case of Bible, it is different, as Rodhinson (1980, p. viii) observed,“[For Bible] the scientific attitude begins with the decision to acceptsomething as fact only if the source has been proved reliable”. Muslims wronglyinterpret the honesty Christians display about some variant readings of theBible as weakness (Ali & Spencer; 2003. p. 76-9). Christians, like Hindus, wantto see their Holy book through scientific and historical point of view. When oldBiblical manuscripts, parchments or ancient Hindu manuscripts are discovered,Christian and Hindu scholars almost climb over each other’s shoulder to gain anearly access to them. Such findings cause great excitement to them. But sadly,no such excitement exists in Islam. Christians and Hindus are eager to see moreand more light shed on the earliest manuscripts of their scriptures, whileMuslims resist, often with strong determination. The contrast is reallystriking. While both Hindu and Christian faiths are strongly backed up by
  6. 6. archeological and historical evidence; so far neither any archeologicalexploration was allowed in Mecca and Medina, nor there is any prospect in thefuture (Peters, 1986. p. 72-4).Muslim criticism of Qur’an is very rare and almost nonexistent as Sina (2008, p.6) lamented, “Muslims are genuinely incapable of questioning Islam”. Recentlythe ex-Muslim websites are doing some remarkable work on this. Ultimately, theseenlightened people will successfully free their Muslim brothers and sisters fromthe Islamic prison. Otherwise whatever criticism is done on Qur’an are all bythe Christian scholars. But Muslims should not take the Christian criticism as amark of religious opposition. Christian scholars have done much more criticismof their own religion than Islam (Sproul & Saleeb, 2003. p. 17; Spencer, 2007,p. 1).But once the Sana’a findings are published in details, Islam will not be thesame as it was for fourteen centuries. Islam is definitely going to take astrange position. Many Muslims will cast doubt on Qur’anic sacredness and thevery ‘romantic’ concept of the Qur’an will gradually disappear and then a veryinteresting development can be observed. The first question which will appear intheir mind is - which version is superior. But then, it is not possible tochoose a Qur’an and discard the other by preference. Because the Muslim beliefalso confirms that who denies a single verse of the Quran denies the entirerevelation. This is a logical impossibility and since scientific research hadalready spoken out the truth; many Muslims will seek a way out of this nonsenseand will try to free themselves from the tyrannical oppression of living in afalse religion.While discussing Muslim’s apathy to science, reason and natural law, Jaki (citedSpencer, 2002, p. 127) wrote, “What is occurring in the Muslim world today is aconfrontation, not between God and devil… but between a very specific God andscience which is a very specific antagonist of that God, the Allah of theQur’an, in whom the will wholly dominates the intellect”. The Sana’a discoverywill just add fuel to the fire. Today the Muslim world is beset withfrustration. Islam is supposed to be the final revelation and Muslims aresupposed to be the “ Best of Mankind”, but the reality is just opposite. Muslimnations are poorest in the world (Ohmyrus, 2006, p. 128). A time will come whenthe religious authorities will be asked by the common Muslims to refute thecritics by logic, science and reason, not by the brutal force or Fatwa. AsParvez Manzoor wrote, “Sooner or later [we Muslims] will have to approach theQur’an from methodological assumptions and parameters that are radically at oddswith the ones consecrated by our tradition” (Warraq, 2002, p. 123)But the Sana’a manuscripts will also provoke another question. If Qur’an is alie, how the lie survived for so many centuries? The reason is that the Divinityattached to Qur’an is not ‘A Small Lie’, but ‘The Big Lie’. The big lies arevery powerful, and it always has a psychological effect on the listeners. Thebigger the lie, the more believable it is. Adolf Hitler wrote in Mein Kamph(1925), “The broad mass of a Nation will fall victim to a big lie than to asmall one.” Big lies are extraordinarily convincible because it offsets thescale of the listener’s commonsense, as Sina (2008, p. 179) explained, anordinary person does not dare to tell a big lie thinking that it would not bebelieved and he would be ridiculed. Since there is no one who had never told alie in his life, small lies are often detectable sooner or later. But the biglies are so strange that it often startle the listener. When the lie is
  7. 7. gigantic, the average person is left to wonder how anyone can have the courage,the impudence to say such a thing.Big lies always work wonder in politics. As George Orwell (cites Sina, 2008, p.179) said, “Political language … is designed to make lies sound truthful andmurder respectable and give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”. Today whenthe divinity of Qur’an is scattered by the Sana’a manuscripts, the spiritualnature of Islam is also exposed. Islam is nothing but a pure Arab politicalmovement. The Divinity was attached to Qur’an, when Arabs started conquering thesurrounding nations and Islam was imposed on them by force. Arabs not onlyimposed Islam on others but also imposed this irrational belief of Qur’anicdivinity to the minds of their victims, so that once Arabs are gone, theconquered people cannot come out from this mental enslavement and return back totheir original faith. It is a rare political skill. Many companions of Muhammadclearly knew that Qur’an was a fake, but they remained with their prophet toshare the booty and to enjoy the women. We all know, after Muhammad’s death,several Arab tribes returned back to their original belief and idolatry flourished.With much shock to the Muslims; modern study on Psychology had spoken out thetruth that Muhammad was an imposter, a madman who was suffering fromNarcissistic Personality Disorder. Narcissists are such self-absorbed personswho are pathological liars. It means, either they are unaware of their lies orfeel completely justified and at easy in lying to others. Their mental conditionis such that they have that rare capability to believe their own lies (Vaknin,1999, p. 24).And, yes, Adolf Hitler, who knew of the power of Big lie and misguided millionsof Germans, is also recognized as a Narcissist. Today Hitler is the most hatredhistorical figure in Germany. Like a mathematical certainty Muhammad will earnthe same fate. But we really do not know, how many million people will diebefore we can put Muhammad in dustbin with his Allah, Qur’an and Islamaltogether. For Hitler it was National Socialism (another name of Nazism) andfor Muhammad it was Islam, but deep down, both were two sides of same coin – asuccessful manipulator.Sina (2008, p. iv, 260) commented, “Islam is like a house of cards, sustained bylies. All it takes to demolish is to challenge one of those lies holding ittogether. It is a tall building, erected on quicksand; once you expose itsfoundation, the sand will wash away and this mighty edifice will fall under itsown weight” and again, “Islam stands on a very shaky ground. It rests on nothingbut lies. All we have to do to demolish it is to expose those lies and thisgigantic edifice of terror and deception will collapse.”Let’s see, once the sacred aura of Qur’an is gone, what other lies are exposed.First; if there are two or more versions of Qur’an, then there must be equalnumber of Allahs. So if only two Qur’ans are authentic, is Islam any longermonotheism? How to decide, which Allah gave which Qur’an? If there is only oneAllah, then which Qur’an is authentic?Second; if we still believe that one Qur’an is authentic, then how Allah allowedthe others to survive?
  8. 8. Third; is it true anymore that Qur’an (10.64) says Allah’s words do not change -this is indeed the mighty achievement? If yes, what more than one Quran is doingnow? If not, how this false revelation is recorded in Qur’an? Did Satan put it?Final; Bukhari (4.52.233) recorded “Unbelievers will never understand our signsand revelations.” But we see, for understanding the Sana’a Qur’an, the Yemeniauthorities invited German scholars because there was no one in Yemen capable ofworking on this rich find.No wonder Sina (2008) concluded, “No matter how you look at Islam it turns outto be a foolish religion.”Muslims have sold their soul to Muhammad, but can they logically clear the abovedoubts? The Sana’a episode had put them in such an awkward position, that evencircular reasoning or absurd logic will not help. Is not it time for prudentMuslims to give a second thought to their cherished faith? Instead of tryinghard to reason out the above doubts, is not it more sensible to agree that abillion plus Muslims had been fooled by a vulgar imposter named ProphetMuhammad? Is not it time for Muslims to care for what is true? As poet ThomasGray (cited Sagan, 1997, p. 12) wrote, “… where ignorance is bliss, “Tis [It is]folly to be wise”.To protect the Qur’an from more humiliation, Yemeni authorities already debarredPuin and Bothmer from further examination of those manuscripts. In fact, nowthey do not allow anyone to see those manuscripts anymore except some verycarefully selected non-Qur’anic parchments, which are at display at the groundfloor of Dar al-Makhtutat Library. But this is not going to help. The bird isalready out of the cage and it is useless closing the door now. More thanthirty-five thousand microfilms are out of Yemen before the authorities came toknow and already several duplicates are made. The present author is sure that atthis very moment, in some undisclosed location in Germany, a group of expertsare endlessly working on the microfilms and Puin is burning enough midnight oilto complete his book, which, once published, will hammer another nail in thecoffin of Islam. Islam is in real danger now.Obviously, by realizing the Divine downfall within sight, many Muslims aredisturbed and offended. The fundamentalists will not accept Puins and Bothmer’swork as having been done with academic objectivity, but see it as a deliberateattack on the integrity of the Qu’ranic text (Taher, 2000). Naturally, those twoGerman scholars will be at forefront of their rage. Puin fears a violentbacklash from orthodox Muslims because of his "blasphemous" theory, which hesays, he cannot take lightly. By remembering the Salman Rushdie affair he wrote,“My conclusions have sparked angry reactions from orthodox Muslims. Theyve saidIm not really the scholar to make any remarks on these manuscripts”. If Puinsviews are taken up and trumpeted in the media, and if there are not many Muslimsbeing rational about it, then all hell may break loose. There will be somehostile response and riots causing much death and destruction, may be anotherfatwa from Khomeini and surely some hollow threats from our camera-loving BinLaden, and his ideological brothers. But can they stop the truth from spreading?UNESCO has shown genuine interest in the Sana’a manuscripts ever since theMemory of the World programme is started. In 1995, the Organization alsoproduced a CD-ROM in Arabic, English and French illustrating the history of thecollection containing both Qur’anic and non-Qur’ani material. The CD-ROM offers651 images of 302 Qur’anic fragments, indexed by script, frames, etc, a general
  9. 9. introduction to the Yemenite manuscripts collections and a brief description onthe evolution of Arabic calligraphy (Abid, 1997).Ursula Dreibholz, a preservation expert who worked on the Sana’a project foreight years as the chief conservator is much frustrated by seeing the lack ofconcern of Yemeni authorities to protect those manuscripts by using moderntechnology (1983, pp. 30-8). Neither the security devices are correct, nor isadequate attention being given to the manuscripts to avoid further deterioration(1996, pp 131-45). In fact, Dreibholz (1999, pp 21-5) said that it was hergreatest concern to create a safe and reliable permanent storage system for therestored fragments. Also, there is poor storage hardly any protection frominsects and water. Most importantly, the real problem is the lack of a fireprevention or detection system, keeping in mind the truly catastrophic firesthat have destroyed important libraries and artworks around the world throughouthistory. The Yemeni authorities said neither they have money nor means toinstall such fire protection systems. She does not understand the genuine reasonbehind the apathy of Yemeni authorities.Here Muslim fundamentalists can see a silver lining in the cloud. No one knowswhen a devastating fire will break out ‘accidentally’ and destroy all theQur’anic manuscripts, which are really causing such heartburn to them. Afterall, for saving Islam, Qur’an must be saved for which Muslims will go anylength. If necessary they will burn the Qur’an to save it from logical analysis.Their devotion to stupidity is really that high. Probably, Yemeni authority’sunwillingness to install such fire protection systems is an initial preparationfor such an act in the future. Never underestimate the destructive capability ofthe brainless bigots.Source: