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Updates for the years 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
4th April 2013
This update deals with documentary evidence in the first 100 years of Islam.
We begin with Two Seals From The Time Of Muʿāwiya Bin Abī Sufyān, c. 44 AH / 664 CE. Umayyad caliph Muʿāwiya established two diwans in his administration - Diwan al-Rasa‘il and Diwan al-Khatam. The former looked after correspondence received by caliph and drafted his replies. This was handled by his katib (secretary). Once a document had been drafted, it was passed on to the Diwan al-Khatam, or “office of the seal”, where two or more copies of each document were made and sealed, at least one to be deposited in the archives while the other was checked, sealed and dispatched to its recipient. This arrangement was set up as a means of preventing forgeries. After Muʿāwiya was recognised as head of the Muslim community he named ʿAbd Allāh b. Amīr Governor of Baṣra for the second time in 41 AH, where he served until his dismissal in 44 AH. These seals would have validated both the documents delivered to ʿAbd Allāh and the official copy that was kept in the Diwan al-Khatam. With this important inscription, we have updated Dated Muslim Texts From 1-72 AH / 622-691 CE: Documentary Evidence For Early Islam.
Early coins provide important evidence for the political development and growth of the Islamic empire. Three interesting coins are presented below:
Arab-Sassanian Fals From Veh-az-Āmid-Kavād (Arrajān), 82 AH / 701-702 CE. Typical Arab-Sassanian fire-altar with attendants. Obverse margin: Naṣr Allāh al-ḥaqq ("May God give victory to the truth").
Transitional Arab-Sassanian Coin Of Governor ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Ibn ʿAbd Allāh Ibn Āmir, 72 AH / 691-92 CE. Obverse field: Typical late Arab-Sassanian bust. Middle Persian legend on the left of the bust: GDH ’pzwt' xwarrah abzūd ("Increase in glory") and on the right: ’pdwl ’cyc Y ’pdwl’ Y ’myl’n ("ʿAbdul ʿAzīz ī ʿAbdullāh ī Āmirān"), i.e., the name of the governor. Obverse margin: bism Allāh / al-ʿazīz ("In the name of God / the Great"). Reverse field: Absence of typical Arab-Sassanian fire-altar with attendants. Instead it contains the legend in Middle Persian in five line, three of which state full shahada in Middle Persian. This full shahada is perhaps the earliest surviving physical record of it in Pahlavi.
A Unique Arab-Sassanian Fals From Veh-az-Āmid-Kavād (Arrajān), 83 AH / 702-703 CE. Typical Arab-Sassanian fire-altar with attendants. Obverse margin: Muḥammadun rasūlu’llāhi wa’lladhīna yatlūna maʿahu ashiddāʾu ʿalā’l-kuffāri ruḥamāʾu baynahum ("Muḥammad is the Messenger of God, those who recite with him are severe [in their dealings] with the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves").
One of them (i.e., the last) is a unique coin containing part of a verse from the Qur'an as well as mentions Prophet Muḥammad. Consequently, we have updated 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, respectively.
The weight of the coins, whether dirham or dīnār, was kept in a close range during early Islam. To achieve this, standard weights were used. One such example is A Glass Dirham Weight In The Name Of Muḥammad Ibn Marwān, 73-91 AH / 692-709 CE. This standard weight was issued by Muḥammad bin Marwān while he was serving as Governor of the North, where he would have been in charge of implementing the Umayyad coinage reform of 77-78 AH. This piece would have acted as the control tool against which the mint could validate the standard weight of its precious metal coinage. It is certainly the earliest surviving documentary evidence of the famous seven to ten ratio between the weight of the mithqal and the dirham, a standard which has survived in the traditional usage ever since that time.
24th February 2013
The science of genetics can also be used to work out the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of the Samaritans. In layman terms, the MRCA is the most recent individual from which an organism or a group of people descended. It is impossible to precisely identify the specific MRCA of a group of people. However, an estimate of the time at which the MRCA lived can be given. We have added this information in the article The “Samaritan” Error In The Qur'an? This article has been reworked slightly to improve readability.
This article is in the section Refutation Of The So-Called External Contradictions In The Qur'an.
Addition of Arabe 330g – A Qur'ānic Manuscript From 1st Century Hijra At The Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Written in the ḥijāzī script. Total number of folios are 24 = 20 (Arabe 330g, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris) + 4 (Is. 1615 II, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, Ireland). These folios contain about ~15% of the text of the Qur'an.
This article is added in the section The Qur'anic Manuscripts.