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Recent tests conducted on the oldest known pages of the Quran in existence have determined they were written nearly 1,400 years ago, between 568 and 645 AD.

Reports raise the possibility that the fragments are not just contemporary to the Islamic Prophet Mohammed, but that they may predate him.

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Amid claims the fragments could throw the traditional view of the origins of Islam into question, a member of the team involved in the discovery said further analysis of the ancient artefact threw up a "problem" with this theory.The University of Oxford’s Dr Keith Small said it “gives more ground to what have been peripheral views of the Koran’s genesis, like that Mohamed and his early followers used a text already in existence and shaped it to fit their own political and theological agenda”.Yet Professor Thomas believes that the opposite is in fact more likely.“If we were to take the early dating [as fact] then it overthrows Islamic history as it is understood,” Professor Thomas said.“It would mean that the Koran existed substantially as it has been passed down before Mohamed – before the traditional date of the beginnings of his revelations, or maybe even before he was born.” the manuscript “destabilises, to put it mildly, the idea that we can know anything with certainty about how the Koran emerged”.

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