Ottoman-era Qurans found in Palestinian town
Aziz, the mosque’s muezzin, told Anadolu Agency on Dec. 4 the Qurans were discovered during the current renovation of the Omar bin al-Khattab Mosque, built during Abdul Hamid II’s reign.
“We had no idea they were there. They were sitting among a group of other books. We found it during the renovations,” Aziz said.
According to the books’ Arabic-language introduction, they were handwritten by a scribe named Seyyid Mustafa Nazif Effendi in 1887 before being published by a print house in Istanbul and sent to buyers in Palestine.
“I was shocked when I first saw these treasures,” Aziz said. “These Qurans will certainly contribute to the historical importance of our mosque and our town,” he said.
The books will soon be displayed in an exhibition, he explained, speculating on the possibility that more antique texts could be found in other Ottoman-era mosques in the West Bank.
Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, failed to convince Sultan Abdul Hamid II to allow Jewish immigrants to establish a Jewish “homeland” in Palestine, which was Ottoman territory at the time.
Herzl, however, eventually managed to enlist the support of the British Empire through the now-infamous Balfour Declaration in 1917.
“I will not sell anything, not an inch of territory, for this country does not belong to me, but to my people,” the sultan is known to have said in this regard.
“My people, will sell this land for the same price they paid for its conquest: blood,” said the sultan.