Radiocarbon (Carbon-14) Dating Of Manuscripts Of The Qur’ān

Islamic Awareness have just put up an amazingly thorough examination of radiocarbon (Carbon-14) dating of manuscripts of the Qur’ān. On Twitter the author says: “One can notice that almost all the criticism on radiocarbon dating is due to misunderstanding of science and maths. The criticism has nothing to do with faulty science or imprecise calibration, rather an attempt to censure science. Stephen Shoemaker’s criticism of hemispherical variation in radiocarbon content & calibration issues are dealt with.” Most of this analysis is way above my pay grade. Hopefully you will understand it all. Enjoy.

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On 14th August 2016 Islamic Awareness published the article referred to above. They summarised the contents thus:

‘Radiocarbon dating of ancient Qur’anic manuscripts is an upcoming field. Can radiocarbon dating provide more accurate results than traditional palaeographic techniques and associated methods? Radiocarbon (Carbon-14) Dating Of Manuscripts Of The Qur’ān discusses the scientific principles underpinning this radiometric dating technique, together with some practical examples from actual Qur’anic manuscripts, highlights the strengths and weaknesses of this procedure as compared to more traditional palaeographic based methods.

The article has been substantially expanded and rewritten and now includes more in-depth discussion and explanation of the scientific principles and technical terms. We discuss and assess recent criticisms of this dating technique, primarily attributable to the media publicity regarding the now famous Birmingham Qur’an. Every radiocarbon dated Qur’an that has been published – excluding those that are embargoed or bound by confidentiality agreements – are included in our article, making this the most comprehensive listing of radiocarbon dated Qur’an’s published so far in print or online.

Categories: Islam, Quran, Science

4 replies

  1. I have what may be a silly Question… How can carbon dating predict when something was written when the material being written upon can be thousands if not millions of years old? Is it solely due to the predicted lifetime of said materials? Or can they date the carbon/materials in the ink/writing and date that?


    • thirstforknownledge

      Why someone not use the current advanced writing material to write his document but rather chose to use primitive writing material thousands of years back and not using any current writing material. Your thirst for knowledge must make it simple for you that you will not write your email on goat skin.



    • Hi Intellect,

      I don’t think you understood my question. For example, let’s say someone wrote something on a stone 5000 years ago, but the stone is 2Million years old. I am interested to know how they differentiate the age of the writing material and the material that it was written upon in order to get accurate dating.

      Just curious.


  2. Hi Paul,

    I was wondering if you could post this link as its own thread/topic. I don’t know if I can do that on here. I think it deserves it’s own thread to be discussed.

    It is regarding the false and insidious claims by fake fraud “scholars” like Jay smith and Sham Shamoron, saying that there are 26 or so versions of the Quran…



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