The Oldest Arabic Parchment Manuscript From Central Asia, 99-100 AH / 718-719 CE
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First Composed: 23rd November 2005
Last Modified: 2nd December 2005
Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:
Figure: (a) Picture of the papyrus and (b) the content of the papyrus.
 encloses letters supplied to fill a lacuna.
99-100 AH / 718-719 CE.
The translation of the document is:
- In the name of God, the Compassionate and Merciful.
- To the Amīr Al-Jarrah ibn ʿAbdallāh from his servant Dīwāstī.
- Peace be upon you, O Amīr
- as well as the mercy of God. Praise be to
- God besides whom there are no other deity.
- To proceed... May God refit the Amīr and enjoy (us)
- with him. I ...
- to the Amīr my need and that of my son Tarkhun and that
- the Amīr, may God make (us) enjoy him, has praised my son Tarkhun
- if the Amīr sees fit to write
- to Sulaymān ibn Abī al-Sirrī (al-Sariyy?) in order that he sends the two of them to the Amīr
- so let him do so. Or the Amīr may order that I may be given one of the beasts
- dedicated to mail so that I let my servant use it to fetch them
- to the Amīr, as God has made the (?) of the Amīr for the needy.
- ... a succour and mercy
- I ask God ... Peace be upon you O Amīr and the mercy of God.
This parchment letter from Sogdiana was discovered in 1934. It was sent from the local Sogdian governor Dīwāstī to his overlord in Khurasan, Al-Jarrah bin ʿAbdallāh. Al-Jarrah was in office for 17 months, from 99-100 AH (from 718 to April 719 CE), to which period this letter can, therefore, be dated.
 В. А. Крачковская и акад И. Ю. Крачковский, "Древнейший Арабский Документ из Средней Азии", Согдийский Сборник: Сборник Статей О Памятниках Согдийского Яэыка И Кулбтуры Найденных На Горе Мут В Таджикской ССР, 1934, Иэдателбство Академии Наук СССР: Ленинград, pp. 52-90, Plate facing p. 55. [V. A. Kratchkovskaya & I. J. Kratchkovsky, "The Oldest Arabic Manuscript From Central Asia", Sogdiiskii Sbornik: Sbornik Statei o Pamyatnikakh Sogdiiskogo Iazyka i Kultury Naydennykh na gore Mug v Tadzhikskoiy SSR, 1934, Akademiia Nauk SSR: Leningrad, pp. 52-90, Plate facing p. 55.
 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. 167.
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