The ʿAqabah Inscription From The Time Of ʿAbd al-Malik, 73 AH / 692-693 CE

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First Composed: 10th September 2000

Last Modified: 7th December 2005

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:




Figure (a) original inscription, (b) its trace and (c) its contents. [] encloses letters supplied to fill a lacuna.


73 AH / 692-693 CE.

The date is deduced from the fact that Yaḥya b. al-Ḥakam died not later than 80 AH / 699-700 CE and that ʿAbd al-Malik came to throne in 65 AH / 685 CE. See the translation of the inscription for details.


64 cm x 52 cm.


Kufic script.

The inscription was found near the Sea of Galilee where ʿAqabah al-Fīq or ʿAqabah Afīq is located.


The translation of the inscription is:

  1. In the name of Allāh, [the Compassionate]
  2. the Merciful. There is no god but
  3. Allāh alone; He hath no companion
  4. Muḥammad is the Apostle of Allāh. Hath ordered
  5. the levelling of this difficult pass ʿAbdullāh
  6. ʿAbd al-Malik, Amīr of the Faith-
  7. -ful; and it (i.e., the work) has been fulfilled by the two hands of Yaḥya b.
  8. al-Ḥakam in the (month) of Muḥarram of the year three
  9. [and seventy ....]


This is the oldest inscription in Islam relating to the inaugral of a road and it is also the second longest and almost the fullest inscription from the time of ‘Abd al-Malik after that of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.

It can infered from the inscription that it was erected to commemorate the making of the difficult road in the time of Caliph ʿAbd al-Malik. Four milestones from his time, i.e., from Bāb al-Wād, Abū Ghōsh, Khān al-Hathrūra and Deir al-Qalt, bearing his name, were found in the 19th century and they testify the attention he paid to the roads of this province. The present inscription, however, gives a far wider conception of the official enterprise connected with the maintenance of the roads during the reign of ʿAbd al-Malik. This inscription furnishes clear evidence that ʿAbd al-Malik did not satisfy himself with repairing the old roads and maintaining them in a fit state of traffic, but that he also thought of, and at least in this instance executed enterprises on a large scale.


Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

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[1] M. Sharon, "An Arabic Inscription From The Time Of The Caliph ‘Abd al-Malik", Bulletin Of The School Of Oriental & African Studies, 1966, Volume 29, pp. 367-372.

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