Coloured dots and the question of regional origins in early Qur'ans: Part I

Alain George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

During the first centuries of Islam, the written notation of the Qur'an underwent a gradual evolution. After an early stage represented by the ‘Ḥijāzī’ tradition, red dots were introduced into ‘Kūfic’ Qur'ans to mark short vowels. This system was soon expanded by assigning more functions to the red dots, sometimes supplemented by yellow, green, and blue dots; and by creating new orthographic signs. These devices were used in different ways by different vocalisers. Few textual sources dealing with this subject survive. By far the most consequential is al-Muḥkam fī naqṭ al-maṣāḥif (lit. ‘The Precise on the Vocalisation of Qur'ans’) by Abū ʿAmr ʿUthmān b. Saʿīd al-Dānī (371–444/982–1053). Following a line of work initiated by Yasin Dutton, the present study, to be published in two parts, will confront the assertions of al-Muḥkam with a sample of key manuscripts in an attempt to gain insights into the regional origins of early Qur'ans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-44
Number of pages45
JournalJournal of Qur’anic Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


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