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Updates for the years 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.


18th May 2015

Addition of following dated texts from 1st century AH.

Arab-Sassanian Coin Of Salm Bin Ziyād, 65 AH / 684-685 CE. Typical late Arab-Sassanian bust. Obverse margin: In an unpointed Arabic script Bism Allāh, Allāhu / Akbar ("In the name of God, God is / Great"). This appears to be the earliest known Islamic coin to bear the famous slogan Allāhu Akbar.

An Inscription About Belief In God And Fellowship Of People, 78 AH / 697-698 CE. This inscription was found on the Ḥajj route from Syria.

An Inscription Asking For Paradise, 80 AH / 699-700 CE. This inscription was found on the Ḥajj route from Syria.

An Inscription Mentioning Rejection Of Faith Of People Of Al-Ḥijr, 83 AH / 702-703 CE. This interesting inscription alludes to sūrah 15:80 in the Qur'an wherein is mentioned aṣḥāb al-Ḥijr ("people of the stone-land"), also referred to as tribe of Thamud to whom Ṣāliḥ was sent as a Prophet. Writing on a rock, the writer here affirms his belief in God via what was denied by aṣḥāb al-Ḥijr, the people who lived in the rocky tract.

An Inscription Mentioning Reliance On God, 83 AH / 702-703 CE. This long inscription was perhaps one of the first to be executed on the rocky façade. The theme of reliance comes in many inscriptions from the 1st century AH.

An Inscription Mentioning The Ḥajj And Supplication For Paradise, 100 AH / 718-719 CE. Found on the Ḥajj route from Syria, this inscription is interesting because it mentions the name of the tribe ʿAnzatul Azad rather than that of a particular person. In addition, the inscription refers to the pilgrims marching on the road for the Ḥajj.

We have thus taken the opportunity to update our article Dated Muslim Texts From 1-72 AH / 622-691 CE: Documentary Evidence For Early Islam.


7th April 2015

Radiocarbon dating of ancient Qur'anic manuscripts is now gaining rapid prominence in the field of palaeography. Can radiocarbon dating provide more accurate results than traditional palaeographic techniques and associated methods? A discussion of the scientific principles underpinning this radiometric dating technique, together with some practical examples from actual Qur'anic manuscripts, highlights the strengths and weaknesses of this procedure as compared to more traditional palaeographic based methods are discussed in the article Radiocarbon (Carbon-14) Dating And The Qur'ānic Manuscripts.

Newly tested parchment manuscripts have been added, namely M a VI 165, Ms. Or. Fol. 4313, Ms. Leiden Or. 14.545b and Ms. Leiden Or. 8264 - a unique papyrus fragment. All of these tests have been conducted under the auspices of the Corpus Coranicum project. Other manuscripts of the Qur'an have been radiocarbon tested and will be included in future updates when fuller information is available. Overall, the dates produced by these scientific tests further demonstrate the antiquity of the ḥijāzī manuscripts of the Qur'an, a fact which cannot now be seriously disputed.


28th February 2015

In recent years the corpus of dated Muslim texts from 1st century hijra has been increasing steadily in the form of inscriptions, coins and papyri. In this update, we present the Arab-Latin coins minted in Africa and Spain during late 1st century hijra. Also presented is a unique papyrus, P. Nessana 77, which is the earliest datable documentary evidence using the term dhimma.

P. Nessana 77 - Earliest Papyrus Mentioning Dhimma, 60s AH / 680s CE. This is the earliest datable item of documentary evidence attesting to the use of the term / concept dhimma - in this particular context dhimmat Allāh wa-dhimmat rasūlihi. Dhimma is already mentioned twice in the Qur'an, namely Sūrah Tawbah 8, and 10, and many times in the ḥadīth literature.

Arab-Armenian Coin Of Muḥammad Bin Marwān, c. 75-78 AH / 694-697 CE. Typical late Arab-Sassanian bust and fire-altar with attendants. Obverse margin: In an unpointed Arabic script Muḥammad ("Muḥammad"). Roman letter ‘T’ replaces star in crescent at 6 o'clock.

Arab-Latin Coinage - Half Solidus With Two Imperial Busts, c. 80-85 AH / 700-704 CE. Obverse field: Bust of Emperor Heraclius on left and smaller bust of his son Heraclius Constantine on right, each wearing a crown. Obverse margin: INNDNM [ ] IEST {= "IN Nomine DoMni [ ] non EST"} ("In the name of the Lord. [ ] does not exist"). Reverse field: A globe on top of a column with a base of three steps with a bead below. Reverse margin: [ ] DSNISOLVSDS {= "[ ] DeuS NIsi SOLUS DeuS"} ("[ ] there is no god but the one God"). These earliest Islamic coins from North Africa are modifications of those struck by the Byzantines in Carthage immediately before the Muslim conquest. The globe at the top of a column on three steps is the Muslim adaptation of the Byzantine cross on steps.

Arab-Latin Coinage - Indiction III, Gold Solidus, 85-86 AH / 704-705 CE. Obverse field: RTERCIN. Obverse margin: DSETRNSDSMAGNOMKTER {= "DeuS ETeRNuS DeuS MaGNuS DeuS OMnia KreaToR"} ("God the Eternal, God the Mighty, God the Creator of All"). Reverse field: CINDIII. Reverse margin: INNDINMSRCSLFERINAFRC {= "IN Nomine DomINi MiSeRiCordis SoLidus FERitus IN AFRiCa") ("In the name of the Lord, the Merciful. Solidus made in Africa").

Aniconic Gold Coins (“Reformed Coinage”), From The ‘Mine Of The Commander Of The Faithful’, 89 AH / 708 CE. Obverse field: lā-ilaha illa-Allāh waḥdahu la sharīkalah ("There is no god but God alone, He has no associate"). maʿdin amīr al-muʾminīn ("Mine of the Commander of the Faithful'). Obverse margin: Muḥammad rasūl Allāh arsalahu bi-l-huda wa dīn al-ḥaqq liyudhhiru ʿala al-dini kullahi ("Muḥammad is the messenger of God whom He sent with guidance and the religion of truth that He might make it prevail over all religions"). This unique historic coin is of the highest rarity and the earliest known dīnār to bear the legend ‘Mine of the Commander of the Faithful’. Two other dīnārs with similar legend were sold at Morton & Eden on 4th April 2011. These coins are dated 92 AH (sold for £768,000) and 105 AH (sold for £3,720,000). The latter has the legend maʿdin amīr al-muʾminīn bi al-ḥijāz ("Mine of the Commander of the Faithful in the Ḥijāz").

Arab-Latin Coinage - Indiction XI, Gold Solidus From Spain, 94 AH / 712-713 CE. Obverse field: Eight pointed star in the middle. Obverse margin: INNDNINIDSNSDSSLSIN {= "IN Nomine DomiNI Non DeuS NiSi DeuS SoLuS cuI Non (socius)"} ("In the name of the Lord. There is no god but God alone who has no partners"). Reverse field: INDCXI {= "INDictione XI"}. Reverse margin: HDFRTINSPNANNXCIII {= "Hic soliDus FeRiTus IN SPaNia ANNo XCIIII"} ("This solidus was made in Spain in the year 94"). These coins were modelled in size and design after the Arab-Byzantine coinage. However, their inscriptions were in Latin. A large star in the centre of the obverse field distinguished the Spanish coins from the ones minted in Africa. Notice half shahadah in Latin in the obverse margin.

Arab-Latin Coinage - Half Solidus, 85-95 AH / 704-715 CE. Obverse field: SOMNC {= "SOMNium Creator"} ("God the Creator of all"). Obverse margin: DSETRNSDSMGNSDSOID {= "DeuS ETeRNuS DeuS MaGNuS DeuS OmnIum Deus"} ("God the Eternal, God the Mighty, God the Omniscient"). Reverse field: A globe on top of a column with a base of three steps. Reverse margin: INNDINMSRCSLFERINAFRC {= "IN Nomine DomINi MiSeRiCordis SoLidus FERitus IN AFRiCa") ("In the name of the Lord, the Merciful. Solidus made in Africa").

Arab-Latin Coinage - Tremissis, 85-95 AH / 704-715 CE. Obverse field: RTERCIN. Obverse margin: DSETER... {= "DeuS ETER[nus Deus magnus Deus]"} ("God is eternal. [God is great. God is]"). Reverse field: Cippus topped with 'T' on two steps. Reverse margin: [INNDNI]MISRCVSDNS {= "[IN Nomine DomNI] MISeRiCordis UnuS Deus Non Socius"} ("In the name of the Lord. One God with no partners"). A tremissis is a gold coin which is the third part of a solidus.

Arab-Latin Coinage - Bilingual Gold Solidus From Africa, 98 AH / 716-717 CE. Obverse field: lā-ilaha il-Allāh ("There is no god but God alone"). Obverse margin: SLDFRTINAFRKANCVIII {= "SoLiDus FeRiTus IN AFRiKa ANno XCVIII"} ("Solidus made in Africa in the Year 98"). Reverse field: Muḥammad rasūl Allāh ("Muḥammad is the Messenger of God"). Reverse margin: INNDNINDSNSSISNDCVNSM {= "IN Nomine DomiNI Non DeuS NiSSI Deus CUi Non SiMilis"} ("In the name of the Lord. There is no god but God, nothing is similar to Him").

Arab-Latin Coinage - Bilingual Gold Solidus From Spain, 98 AH / 716-717 CE. Obverse field: Eight pointed star in the middle. Obverse margin: FERITOSSOLIINSPANAN {= "FeRITOS SOLIdus IN SPANia ANno"} ("Solidus made in Spain in the Year (omitted)"). Reverse field: Muḥammad rasūl Allāh ("Muḥammad is the Messenger of God"). Reverse margin: ḍuriba hadhā al-dīnār bi-al-andalus sanat thamān wa tisʿīn ("In the name of God, this dīnār was struck in Al-Andalus the year 98").

We have thus taken the opportunity to update our articles Dated Muslim Texts From 1-72 AH / 622-691 CE: Documentary Evidence For Early Islam, Dated Texts Containing The Qur’an From 1-100 AH / 622-719 CE and Dated Texts Mentioning Prophet Muḥammad From 1-100 AH / 622-719 CE including some of the recent finds mentioned above.


2nd January 2015

Recent epigraphic surveys in Saudi Arabia conducted by both professionals and amateurs alike, have uncovered hundreds of Arabic inscriptions. Amongst those discoveries that have been published are inscriptions of exceptional historical significance. There is an inscription that was likely made by ʿUmar bin al-Khaṭṭāb himself, an inscription that comments on the murder of ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān, an inscription mentioning Muʿāwiya ibn Abī Sufyān, a signature inscription of ʿAbd al-Malik bin Marwān, and an inscription mentioning Al-Walīd bin ʿAbd al-Malik.

Invocation Of ʿUmar B. Al-Khaṭṭāb, Before 23 AH / 644 CE. This is the second inscription which mentions ʿUmar bin al-Khaṭṭāb. Notice the absence of the title amīr al-muʾminīn, other officiate religious terminology, and any mention of his caliph-related functions. ʿUmar bin al-Khaṭṭāb may have inscribed it before he was caliph or even before he was a Muslim.

An Inscription Mentioning The Murder Of ʿUthmān B. ʿAffān, c. 36 AH / 656 CE. 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. It is worthwhile noting that the title amīr al-muʾminīn is absent and no eulogy follows after the mention of caliph ʿUthmān's name. 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.

An Inscription Mentioning Muʿāwiya Ibn Abī Sufyān, Late 1st / Early 2nd Century AH. This is a unique inscription attesting the name of Muʿāwiya ibn Abī Sufyān. There is no mention of his customary title amīr al-muʾminīn as seen in all the earliest inscriptions that contain his name. Palaegraphic considerations among others suggest a late 1st / early 2nd century AH date.

A Signature Believed To Be Of ʿAbd Al-Malik B. Marwān, Before 65 AH / 685 CE. Umayyad caliph ʿAbd al-Malik bin Marwān reigned from 65 AH / 685 CE to 86 AH / 705 CE. His graffito is curiously succint. It does not refer to his caliph functions or his family status. Also absent are any religious elements seen in other Umayyad inscriptions. It is likely that he has inscribed it before his accession to the caliphate in 65 AH / 685 CE.

Supplication For Al-Walīd bin ʿAbd al-Malik, Before 85 AH / 705 CE. Notice the absence of the title amīr al-muʾminīn, other officiate religious terminology, and any mention of his caliph-related functions. This suggests that this inscription was written before Al-Walīd bin ʿAbd al-Malik became the caliph of the Umayyad empire in the year 85 AH / 705 CE.

What are the significance of these discoveries? To help convey their importance, it would be similar to discovering inscriptional evidence made by Jesus earliest disciples or followers. “With neither artifact nor archive, the student of Islamic origins could quite easily become victim of a literary and linguistic conspiracy,” declared John Wansbrough, the father of modern Islamic revisionism. So impressed has this statement become in the minds of some scholars, they fail to recognise, or, even worse, are simply uninterested in the earliest extant documentary evidence relating to Islamic origins. The discoveries listed above should pose a timely reminder on the importance of the earliest documentary evidence and the invaluable contributions it can make.

We have thus taken the opportunity to update our article Dated Muslim Texts From 1-72 AH / 622-691 CE: Documentary Evidence For Early Islam including some of the new finds mentioned above.



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