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Al-Khatt Al-Jameel - A Collection of Quranic Manuscripts, Mohamad Ali

Al-Khatt Al-Jameel is a Sydney based private collection of Qur'an manuscripts that span more than 1200 years. Mohamad Ali is its Founder, Director and Curator who has been collecting and studying Qur’an manuscripts for 21 years.

We talk to Mohamad about acquiring the collection, the stories behind the collection and why preserving Qur’anic manuscripts is important for the future.

You have a collection of Qur’anic manuscripts, can you tell us more about how many pieces you have in your collection?

The collection is comprised of over 100 Qur’an manuscripts from across the Muslim world. The types of calligraphy used to scribe the Qur’an in the collection include: Kufic, Eastern Kufic, Maghrebi Andalusi, Maghrebi Sudani, Muhaqqaq Al-Mamluki, Muhaqqaq Al-Ussmani, Naskh, Naskh Ghubar, Thulth, Bihari, Sini and Rayhani. The provincial range of the manuscripts covers an array of Islamic Empires, including: Abbasid, Fatimid, Ayyubid, Seljuq, Umayyid/Cordoba, Ilkhanid, Mamluk, Safavid, Qajar and Ottoman, with a date range from 9th Century to early 20th Century.

Below: Some examples from our collection.

A Qur’an Folio in Kufic Script on vellum,

North Africa or Near East

9 th or 10 th Century A.D.

7 lines of a round style Kufic in black ink; red and green vocalisation markers. Fading of text on the hair side.

Sura: 4, Al Nisa (The Women)

Ayat: 171 (recto) – 176 (verso)

Size: 150 mm (w) x 110 mm (h)

Text Area: 100 mm (w) x 60 mm (h)

Fragments from a Seljuk Qur’an Juz on buff paper,


11th Century A.D.

5 lines of black Eastern kufic, vocalisation of red dots, other diacritical marks in green, opening folio with title of sura in yellow within panel on red-hatched ground issuing palmettes into the margins, gold inverted ‘ha’ between verses, staining and old repair.

Sura: 15, Al-Hijr (The Migration) - Ayat 1 – 4,

Sura: 15, Al-Hijr (The Migration) - Ayat 20 – 27,

Sura: 15, Al-Hijr (The Migration) - Ayat 50 – 54,

Sura: 15, Al-Hijr (The Migration) - Ayat 66 – 77,

Sura: 15, Al-Hijr (The Migration) - Ayat 82 – 86

Size of leaf: 90mm (w) x 135 mm (h) per leaf

Text Area: 58 mm (w) x 86 mm (h) (verso & recto) per leaf

Juz 14, of what was a 30 volume Qur’an

A folio from a Sultanate Qu’ran on paper,

Bihar, India

15th Century A.D.

13 - 14 lines of bold Bihari script, Sura heading in gold thulth-style Bihari script set against a red, blue, gold and green panel. First line after Bismillah in gold, Allah’s name in gold throughout. Juz marker contained within a red, blue, gold and green teardrop marginal medallion.

Sura: 57, Al Hadid (Iron) – Ayat 27 - 29; 58, Al Mujadilah (She Who Pleaded) – Ayat 1 – 3

Size: 115 mm (w) x 150 mm (h) Text Area: 60 mm (w) x 95 mm (h)

How did you acquire the collection and are you adding new pieces to it?

The collection began 21 years ago. It came about as part of a study I undertook looking into the transcription of the Qur’an across the centuries.