An Inscription Mentioning The Murder Of ʿUthmān B. ʿAffān, c. 36 AH / 656 CE

Islamic Awareness

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First Composed: 30th December 2014

Last Modified: 2nd January 2015

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

(a)

(b)

Figure (a) original inscription and (b) its contents.

Date

c. 36 AH / 656 CE.

Size

Not known.

Register Number

TS-13-al-􏰆Ṣ􏰆ulaylāt-III-Ar.1

Script

Kufic script.

Contents

The translation of the inscription is:

  1. I am Qays, the
  2. scribe of Abū
  3. Kutayr. Curse of G-
  4. -od on [those]
  5. who murdered ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān
  6. and [those who] have led to the killing
  7. without mercy.

Comments

This is earliest inscription discovered so far with a political dimension. The author of the text was shocked by the murder of ʿUthmān and invokes God's wrath on the assassins. He also uses the slightly modified phrase from Qur'an 33:61 quttilū taqtīlā to show his intense disapproval of the general state of affairs. It is worthwhile noting that the title amīr al-muʾminīn is absent and no eulogy follows after the mention of caliph ʿUthmān's name. This can also be observed in other early inscriptions mentioning important early historical figures. ʿUthmān was killed at the end of the year 35 AH / 655 CE. According to Imbert, this inscription most probably dates from the year 36 AH / 656 CE, when the Battle of the Camel occurred.[1]

Note the absence of the long alif vowel in the spelling of ‘ʿUthmān’ and ‘ʿAffān’.

Location

Taymāʾ, Saudi Arabia.

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References

[1] F. Imbert, "Califes, Princes et Poètes Dans Les Graffiti du Début de l’Islam", Romano-Arabica, 2015, Volume 15, pp. 65-66 and p. 75 (Fig. 3).

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