Arab and international libraries abound with important collections of ancient Arabic manuscripts that enjoy great fame, and their fame exceeded the Arab world, where some Western researchers became fond of these manuscripts, and among them is the French researcher “Eleanor Sillard”, a researcher in Islamic studies, specializing in Qur’anic manuscripts. After studying Arabic language, literature and civilization at the Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris, she graduated with a master's and doctorate degrees in early Quranic manuscripts in 2015.
Eleanor was fascinated by the aesthetics of Arabic handwriting, especially the Kufic calligraphy on parchment papers in her teens, and she used to spend her spare time collecting pictures of old Qur'an papers in Kufic script in order to reproduce them. Then she decided to learn Arabic at the university and began to discover the Qur'an, as well as other literary monuments that are the origin of the classical Arabic language, such as pre-Islamic poetry.
The researcher studies the use of palaeontology and manuscript science to reconstruct the chronology of manuscripts, and uses a scientific methodology inspired by the studies of Latin and Greek manuscripts, while exploiting tools such as quantum coding to characterize inks. The researcher says that the oldest Qur'anic manuscripts were discovered in the mosques of Fustat (Old Cairo), Damascus and Sana'a. However, manuscripts have always been circulated throughout the ages, and these places of discovery have nothing to do with the places of production, and with the exception of the Sana’a collection, which has mostly remained in its place, all these manuscripts are scattered today in libraries and museums all over the world.
Arabic was not her mother tongue, her second or third language, and Islam was not her religion and culture, but when she communicated with Arabic calligraphy, everything began.