Papyrus manuscripts offer glimpse of "ordinary life at the dawn of Islam"

Scholars have debated the existence of the Prophet Muhammad, but Petra Sijpesteijn, professor of Arabic language and culture at Leiden University, believes proof exists on Egyptian papyrus manuscripts.

Arabic papyri have been discovered throughout the Middle East, but few have been studied. Now more and more of the thousands of manuscripts are being reviewed by specialists such as Sijpesteijn. “The papyri are in fact the only contemporary source for the first 200 years of Islamic history,” she said. "They offer a unique glimpse of ordinary life at the dawn of Islam."