Bible Passages on a Quranic Manuscript?
Given the discovery of the palimpsest text that is now up for auction at Christie’s, it should be pointed out that one of the primary reasons we do not find much manuscripts like this is because Muslims aren’t allowed to desecrate the Scriptures of the Jews and Christians.
‘O believers!’ Do not insult what they invoke besides God or they will insult God spitefully out of ignorance. – Qur’an 6:108 (translation by Dr. Mustafa Khattab).
Briefly, a palimpsest text occurs when you have a written document that has been erased/ scrubbed off, for a new writing to be written on the freshly erased surface. This involves physical removal of the written text, think of it as writing something with a pencil on a piece of paper, you then physically remove that writing by using an eraser, and then you can write whatever you want on the freshly erased surface. The same principle applies here.
We also need to remember that when you write with a pencil, it imprints on the paper, so even if you did “erase” what you had written with the pencil, the “erased text” can still be read. It’s not an exactly one to one correlation, but the same principles apply to the manuscript that has made the news.
Generally speaking, Muslims can’t and are not allowed to desecrate the Bible, so new copies of the Qur’an were written on new parchment. It is beautiful that this manuscript can show the respect that Muslims can have towards other faiths where our own scribal and scriptural traditions preserve not one religious scripture but two!