The University of Birmingham has claimed to have found fragments of a manuscript of the Holy Quran in its library. This manuscript is thought to be the oldest surviving copy of the Quran in the world. With the manuscript consisting of two parchment leaves and containing parts of Surahs, it will be studied with interest by scholars of religion.

The university says that the Quran fragments will be on display at the Barber Institute in Birmingham in October, with the chairman of the Birmingham Central Mosque expecting it to attract people from all over Britain. The displaying of this Islamic token will be of interest to people following the faith, and it breaks the monotony of news relating to Islam; mostly laced with hatred and violence.

The local Muslim community has already expressed its delight at the discovery in their city, where they claim that Birmingham now has a “treasure that is second to none”. With speculation that this manuscript may have existed at the time of the Prophet (PBUH), it seems that the discovery might be a way to spread awareness about Islam as a historically and culturally rich tradition.

Many groups are trying to promote Islamic values through education and outreach, grappling with how to dispel negative images of Muslims and communicate their faith to society at large. It is important to see Islam not just as a religion but also as a global heritage. As we discover further proof of the authenticity of the manuscript as well as the time it belongs to, followers of Islam and the global community follows news rated to the discover with fascination. Research efforts catalysed by this discovery will advance understanding of the evolution of the Holy Quran from spoken revelations into the form of a binded book. This manuscript may well have been written by someone who heard the Prophet (PBUH) preach, and was a close companion and early believer of the faith. Fortunately two pages have survived to add to our knowledge, and to delight the many millions around the world with an interest in the early years of Islam.