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

2nd August 2014

“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.

Building on the outstanding contributions of Robert Hoyland as well as others, the publication of Youssef Ragheb’s comprehensive listing of securely dated Muslim texts from the 1st / 7th century, provides scholars with an excellent opportunity to supplement their investigations into early Islamic history. Surely now is the time for this evidence to be taken seriously as it rightly demands, and consequently incorporated into any hypothesis that seeks to relate an account of Islamic origins.

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 the new finds mentioned by Ragheb, namely, his intimate knowledge of early papyri / parchment texts kept in the Louvre.

3rd May 2014

With increasing epigraphic surveys and studies of Islamic papyri, the documentary evidence for the first hundred years of Islam has slowly been accumulating. In this massive update, we present the recently discovered inscriptions and some of the early Islamic papyri.

PERF No. 555 - An Early Islamic Papyrus In Greek From 22 AH / 642 CE. A demand note for fodder and meals for horses and soldiers, respectively.

PERF No. 556 - An Early Islamic Papyrus In Greek Bearing The Seal Of ʿAmr Ibn Al-ʿĀṣ, 22 AH / 643 CE. The above papyrus represents a letter sent by ʿAmr ibn al-ʿĀṣ, the commander of Muslim army in Upper Egypt, to the pagarch of Herakliopolis. This letter retains the original clay seal.

PERF No. 557 - An Early Islamic Papyrus In Greek From 22 AH / 643 CE. A demand note for provisions to be supplied to troops and armourers.

A Signature Believed To Be Of ʿUmar B. Al-Khaṭṭāb, Before 23 AH / 644 CE. In November 2012, during the Franco-Saudi epigraphic surveys around Najran, Saudi Arabia, a truly remarkable discovery was made. Amongst the fifty or so graffiti that were found, two of them contained the name ʿUmar bin al-Khaṭṭāb, close companion of Prophet Muḥammad and second successor of the early Muslim state, ruling around 10 years from 634-644 CE. Only this tantalizing inscription has been published.

An Inscription Of Ḥakīm b. ʿAmr From Negev, 85 AH / 704 CE. This inscription was found in the Negev desert. Interestingly, there are nine other inscriptions that contain the name Ḥakīm b. ʿAmr which Nevo says can be dated to the same time frame.

A Lead Seal In The Name Of Caliph ʿAbd Al-Malik Ibn Marwān, 65-86 AH / 685-705 CE. This is remarkable and unique lead piece in the name of the Caliph ʿAbd al-Malik from Palestine bears several interesting decorative elements, including addorsed lions and confronting birds.

An Inscription Containing Invocation Of Wellness For A Descendent of ʿUmar B. Al-Khaṭṭāb, 96 AH / 714-715 CE. An interesting inscription mentioning Rabāḥ, a descendant of ʿUmar bin al-Khaṭṭāb. Perhaps this inscription was written by a relative of Rabāḥ when he was young and feeling sickly.

Ghayl Al-Mandaj (Al-Mabrah) Islamic Inscription, 98 AH / 717 CE. A rock inscription found in the vicinity of Ghayl al-Mandaj (al-Mabrah) pilgrim station is located on the Yemeni highland pilgrim route (so called al-Najdi) which connects Ṣanʿāʾ and Makkah. It is the first dated rock-inscription to be discovered so far alongside that road.

An Inscription From Cnide Asking For Forgiveness, 98 AH / 716-717 CE. This inscription from Cnide in Turkey has two graffiti. Graffito 1 consists only of one line and has an incomplete invocation. The most interesting element is the mention of the word gazwa (expedition, raid) found in a very similar context in a graffito in Kos (Greece).

An Inscription From Kos About Profession Of Faith, 98 AH / 716 CE. This profession of faith, based on the Arabic root w-th-q is very common in the Middle East. It is interesting to note that this is dated. In addition, the signature at the end of text appears to have been added; its etching is much thicker than the preceding lines.

An Inscription From Kos About An Expedition Against Infidels, 99 AH / 718-719 CE. This interesting inscription from Kos in Greece refers to the expedition against the mushrikīn (probably Byzantine Christians). However, due to the fragmentary nature of inscription it is hard to decipher the context and content fully.

Inscription From Madinah Containing A Statement Of Belief, 100 AH / 718-719 CE. This individual who wrote this inscription may be a descendant of ʿAbd Allāh bin ʿUmar bin al-Khaṭṭāb.

Consequently, we have updated Dated Muslim Texts From 1-72 AH / 622-691 CE: Documentary Evidence For Early Islam with some of the material presented above.

25th February 2014

It was claimed by Theodor Nöldeke that Prophet Muhammad was "ignorant" of everything outside of Arabia. The example given to support this assertion was that he (i.e., the Prophet) made the fertility of Egypt - where rain is almost never seen and never missed - depend on rain instead of the inundation of the Nile. The key work used to describe deliverance of Egyptians in the story of Joseph is yughāth. In the article Theodor Nöldeke And The Fertility In Ancient Egypt, the meaning of yughāth is further elaborated using the lexicons and commentaries to show its wider semantic range.

These articles are in the section Refutation Of The So-Called External Contradictions In The Qur'an.

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