An Arabic Inscription From Khirbat Nitil, 100 AH / 718-719 CE

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First Composed: 28th November 2005

Last Modified: 30th November 2005

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:




Figure: (a) The inscription, (b) its trace and (c) contents.


100 AH / 718-19 CE.




The translation of the inscription is:

    1. O God! Forgive ʿAbd-
    2. al-ʿAzīz bin al-Ḥārith bin
    3. al-Ḥakam his faults,
    4. those that are passed and those to come
    5. and gather him and his offspring
    6. in an abode of
    7. your mercy and s[et him on]
    8. the pool of Muḥammad ...


This inscription was discovered in 1886 at the archaeological site of Khirbat Nitil. The eight lines are located in an inner vaulted room in the western wall. They cover a space of 37 cm x 44 cm, though the lower left corner is mutiliated, include the date 100 AH / 718-19 CE (not shown in the trace). Notice the dot below for غ in line 1.

The inscription mentions hawḍ Muḥammad, i.e., the pool of Prophet Muḥammad in the Paradise, from which the believers will drink. This pool is mentioned in many ḥadiths.


Khirbat Nitil, 14 kms southeast of Mādaba, Jordan.

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[1] A. Musil, "Zwei Arabische Inschriften Aus Arabia Petraea", Vienna Oriental Journal (Later Wiener Zeitschrift Für Die Kunde Des Morgenlandes), 1908, Volume 22, pp. 81-85. Picture also reproduced by Adolf Grohmann in Arabische Paläographie II: Das Schriftwesen. Die Lapidarschrift, 1971, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften Philosophisch - Historische Klasse: Denkschriften 94/2. Hermann Böhlaus Nachf.: Wein, Plate XV.

[2] B. Gruendler, The Development Of The Arabic Scripts: From The Nabatean Era To The First Islamic Century According To The Dated Texts, 1993, Harvard Semitic Series No. 43, Scholars Press: Atlanta (GA), p. 21.

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