The Oldest Arabic Parchment Manuscript From Central Asia, 99-100 AH / 718-719 CE

Islamic Awareness

© Islamic Awareness, All Rights Reserved.

First Composed: 23rd November 2005

Last Modified: 2nd December 2005


Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:

[] encloses letters supplied to fill a lacuna

Date

99-100 AH / 718-719 CE.

Contents

The translation of the document is:

  1. In the name of God, the Compassionate and Merciful.

  2. To the Amīr Al-Jarrah ibn ‘Abdallāh from his servant Dīwāstī.

  3. Peace be upon you, O Amīr

  4. as well as the mercy of Allāh. Praise be to

  5. Allāh besides whom there are no other deity.

  6. To proceed... May Allāh refit the Amīr and enjoy (us)

  7. with him. I ...

  8. to the Amīr my need and that of my son Tarkhun and that

  9. the Amīr, may Allāh make (us) enjoy him, has praised my son Tarkhun

  10. if the Amīr sees fit to write

  11. to Sulaymān ibn Abī al-Sirrī (al-Sariyy?) in order that he sends the two of them to the Amīr

  12. so let him do so. Or the Amīr may order that I may be given one of the beasts

  13. dedicated to mail so that I let my servant use it to fetch them

  14. to the Amīr, as Allāh has made the (?) of the Amīr for the needy.

  15. ... a succour and mercy

  16. I ask Allāh ... Peace be upon you O Amīr and the mercy of Allāh.

Comments

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 ‘Abdallāh. 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.

Location

Perhaps Tajakistan.


References

[1] 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.

[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. 167.

The images above are reproduced from the stated sources under the provisions of the copyright law. This allows for the reproduction of portions of copyrighted material for non-commercial, educational purposes.

With the exception for those images which have passed into the public domain, the use of these images for commercial purposes is expressly prohibited without the consent of the copyright holder.

Back To The Arabic Papyri