What's New and Updated?

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


25th December 2007

Addition of an Arabic Graffito From Muthallath (Near Yanbu’), 23? AH / 643-4? CE. This inscription written in old Kufic script is interesting as it leaves out tantalizing detail of its dating. If the number "23" in the inscription means the year then it is the oldest published inscription. With this addition, we have nearly finished all the dated inscriptions from 1st century of hijra published in the literature.

This is present in the section The Arabic & Islamic Inscriptions.


15th November 2007

Addition of an Arabic Inscription On A Dam Built By Caliph Mu‘āwiya (Madinah, Saudi Arabia), 40–60 AH / 661–80 CE. Consequently, we have updated Dated Muslim Texts From 1-72 AH / 622-691 CE: Documentary Evidence For Early Islam.

These are present in the section The Arabic & Islamic Inscriptions.


10th November 2007

Addition of a Milestone Of Aqua Bella-‘Ayn Hemed From The Time Of ‘Abd al-Malik, 65-86 AH / 685-705 CE. This milestone was found in the woods next to Aqua Bella-‘Ayn Hemed on the road between Jerusalem and coast. From Jerusalem to this milestone are 5 miles. For other undated milestones, click here.

This is present in the section The Arabic & Islamic Inscriptions.


28th October 2007

It is time to add more material from early Islam. We add an Arabic Graffito From Wādī Khushayba, S. W. Arabia (Near Najrān), 27 AH / 648 CE. This inscription was found by a Japanese team doing archaeological surveys in South Western Arabia. Consequently, we have updated Dated Muslim Texts From 1-72 AH / 622-691 CE: Documentary Evidence For Early Islam.

These are present in the section The Arabic & Islamic Inscriptions.

Also added is A Qur'anic Manuscript In The Ḥijazi Script From c. 700 CE. Eight leaves (one fragmentary), 20-27 lines to the page written in brown ḥijazi script, diacritical marks, where present, consists of oval dots or angled dashes, no vowel points, clusters of brown ink dots to indicate verse divisions, circular devices consisting of green and red dots every ten verses, one long, narrow rectangular panel of green and red decoration with a circular marginal device consisting of coloured dots on final folio, probably to indicate the sūrah heading of Sūrah al-Nisa‘, leaves sewn together with original stitching. It contains Sūrah āl-‘Imrān, verses 34-184.

Another interesting manuscript is A Qur'anic Manuscript From 1st Century Hijra: Part Of Sūrah Maryam & Sūrah Ṭāhā. This folio has probably been written by two different copyists as the script in the first half is different from the second. It is italic in the first half and regular in the second half of the fragment except for the letter alīf. The ornamentation here is simple. Located at Maktabat al-Jami‘ al-Kabir, Ṣan‘a' (Yemen).

This is added in the section The Qur'anic Manuscripts.


9th October 2007

Manuscripts contain washed-off text are perhaps the most interesting in the field of Qur'anic palaeography and more so if they are written in the ḥijazi script. We add A Qur'anic Manuscript From The Middle Of 1st Century Hijra, which contains an earlier text that has been washed off. It is one of the most significant manuscripts of the Qur'an so far discovered; the  folio (The David Collection, Copenhagen, Inv. no. 862003) is datable to the middle of the first century of hijra. Originally part of a codex of which three other leafs are known extant, this folio exemplifies the principal tendencies of the early ḥijazi script and is of tremendous importance regarding the textual transmission of the Qur'an, Arabic palaeography, codicology and other related disciplines.

The document A Qur'anic Manuscript From 1st Century Hijra: Part Of Sūrah Luqmān And Sūrah al-Sajda is updated with an addition of an image of a palimpsest acquired using ultraviolet photography with a short write-up discussing the fundamentals of development of contrast of earlier writing which was washed-off. This manuscript has a bold, dark brown writing (i.e., scriptio superior) underneath which is a faint light brown traces of an earlier script (i.e., scriptio inferior) which was washed-off.

These are added in the section The Qur'anic Manuscripts.


5th October 2007

A belated Ramaḍan Karim to our readers! May Allah accept our fasting, prayers and supplication in this blessed month. Since this is the month of the Qur'an, we add A Qur'anic Manuscript From 1st Century Hijra: Part Of Sūrah Luqmān And Sūrah al-Sajda. Written in the ḥijazi script, this is a very early manuscript dated to the first half of the 1st century hijra.

This is added in the section The Qur'anic Manuscripts.

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15th September 2007

Do ancient South Arabian coins show that SYN was a moon-god? A rather fanciful reinterpretation of the epigraphic inscriptions recently advocated by a Christian apologist is systematically deconstructed by consulting the relevant South Arabian lexicons, taking into account the latest advances and developments in the chronological framework of ancient South Arabia including its religious and numismatic history. This information is added in the article Reply To Robert Morey's Moon-God Allah Myth: A Look At The Archaeological Evidence as an appendix, namely, On The “Moon-God” Coins Of Ancient Southern Arabia.

This article is in the section Refutation Of The Borrowing Theories Of The Qur'an.


5th September 2007

Addition of five more coins which belong to Arab-Sassanian, Arab-Byzantine and a mixture of both these types. Except for one, all the others are from the time just before the introduction of the aniconic "reformed" coinage by the Umayyad caliph ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan. The legend in some of these coins as well as icons may well represent the changing political circumstances of the Umayyad ruler.

Arab-Sassanian Coin Of Bishr Ibn Marwan - I, 73 AH / 692 CE.

Typical late Arab-Sassanian bust. In the place of the usual Sassanian fire-altar and two attendants, three bearded figures standing, the central one facing with hands raised on either side of his head, in an attitude of prayer, with smaller figures left and right, respectively, having their heads turned toward him. Obverse margin: bism Allah / la-ilaha il-Allah / waḥdahu Muḥammad / rasul Allah ("In the name of God. There is no god but God alone. Muḥammad is the messenger of God").

Arab-Sassanian Coin Of Bishr Ibn Marwan - II, 75 AH / 694-695 CE.

Typical late Arab-Sassanian bust. In the place of the usual Sassanian fire-altar and two attendants, three bearded figures standing, the central one facing with hands raised on either side of his head, in an attitude of prayer, with smaller figures left and right, respectively, having their heads turned toward him. Obverse margin: bism Allah Muḥammad / rasul Allah ("In the name of God. Muḥammad is the messenger of God").

A Mixed Arab-Sassanian And Arab-Byzantine Coin From The Time Of Caliph ‘Abd Al-Malik, 75 AH / 694-695 CE.

Typical late Arab-Sassanian bust. In the place of the usual fire-altar and the two attendants, a standing figure of the caliph, bearded and with his right hand resting on his sword-hilt in the attitude of the imām delivering a khutba. Kufic legends on sides running downwards khalfat (sic) Allāh / amīr al-mu'minīn ("khalifa of God, Commander of the Faithful"). Obverse margin: bism Allāh / lā-ilaha il-Allāh / waḥdahu Muḥammad ra / sūl Allāh ("In the name of God. There is no god but God alone. Muḥammad is the messenger of God").

The Arab-Byzantine "Standing Caliph" Dīnār From The Time Of Umayyad Caliph ‘Abd al-Malik, 76 AH / 695-696 CE.

Obverse field has an image of the caliph standing in the centre, bearing a sword in a scabbard. Obverse margin: bism Allāh lā-ilaha il-Allāh wa / ḥdahu Muḥammad rasūl Allāh ("In the name of God. There is no god but God alone. Muḥammad is the messenger of God"). Reverse field shows a mutiliated cross on steps along with the date. The "standing-caliph" coin was only minted for three years (74-77 AH / 693-697 CE) before giving way to a wholly aniconic form, that is, engraved only with words and no images at all.

Arab-Sassanian Coin Of Yazid Ibn Al-Muhallab - II, 82 AH / 701 CE.

Typical late Arab-Sassanian bust, but with a new type of head-dress with a top like weather-vane. On the reverse side, in place of the usual Sassanian fire-altar and two attendents, a standing figure, facing, in armour, wearing helmet with "weather-vane" like that on the obverse side and holding in his left hand a spear, while grasping with his right hand a sword in its scabbard. Obverse margin: bism Allah / al-Aẓim ("In the name of God, the Mighty").

These are in the section The Islamic Coins.


17th August 2007

Unaware of the stylistic features of the Qur'an, the Christian missionaries have mistakenly claimed there is a reference to the Gospel during the time of Moses. A specific stylistic feature of the Qur'an called idraj or "insertion" of a comment is discussed in the article Injīl (Gospel) In The Time Of Moses? along with a number of explanatory examples, highlighting the striking interactive, engaging manner of the Qur'anic discourse, moving to and fro between expressive, conative and cognitive communicative functions.

This article is in the section Refutation Of External Contradictions In The Qur'an.


5th August 2007

What is the earliest dated Qur'anic text? We had earlier suggested that the honour belongs to the inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock (72 AH / 692 CE). It turns out that An Arabic Inscription From Cyprus, 29 AH / 650 CE contains the earliest dated text of the Qur'an. Recently, this inscription was discussed at length by Amikam Elad who has shown using the historical sources that it is a genuine inscription. This makes ‘Uthman's codification of the Qur’an (c. 30 AH / 650 CE) and the first dated Qur’anic text as seen on the tombstone inscription in Cyprus (29 AH / 650 CE) nearly contemporaneous! The implication of such an early dated text of the Qur'an is discussed in the article Dated Texts Containing The Qur’an From 1-100 AH / 622-719 CE.

This is present in the section The Arabic & Islamic Inscriptions.


18th July 2007

Addition of An Arabic Papyrus From The John Rylands Library, 65 AH / 684-685 CE. This papyrus deals with a dispute and its possible resolution. It is also the earliest papyrus to mention the phrase "peace be upon him who follows the guidance"; part of the phrase constructed as lacuna. In its content, it is similar to the Qurra papyrus such as this from 91 AH.

This is present in the section The Arabic Papyri.


19th June 2007

We have added to the growing corpus of early Islamic inscriptions The Tombstone Of Yaḥya Bin Al-Ḥakam, c. 80 AH / 699-700 CE. Moshe Sharon, who published this inscription, inclines to the view that the person mentioned in this inscription is Yaḥya b. al-Ḥakam, uncle of the Umayyad caliph ‘Abd al-Malik. The date is deduced from the fact that Yaḥya b. al-Ḥakam died c. 80 AH / 699-700 CE.

This is present in the section The Arabic & Islamic Inscriptions.


12th June 2007

Addition of two similar coins although they come from completely different backgrounds.

Aniconic Gold Coins ("Reformed Coinage"), Minted By The Umayyad Caliph ‘Abd al-Malik, From 77 AH / 696 CE.

The differences between the "reformed" Umayyad gold and silver coins are quite subtle. The obverse margin in gold coin became the reverse margin in silver one. The reverse margin in gold coin became the obverse margin in silver one. The silver coin also adds wa-lam yakun lahu kufūwan aḥad ("And there is none like unto Him") which is absent in the gold coin.

Dīnār Minted By King Offa, 157 AH / 774 CE.

Albeit not an Islamic coin, this unique dīnār or the gold coin of King Offa of Mercia is generally considered as one of the rarest and most remarkable coins in the world. This piece is considered to be a copy of an Arab dīnār of the year 157 AH issued by caliph al-Mansūr, and was issued in, or more probably, subsequently to the year 774 CE.

These are in the section The Islamic Coins.


29th May 2007

After the turn of dated Muslim texts from the 1st century hijra using our collection of the Islamic inscriptions, Arabic papyri and Islamic coins, it is now the turn of Dated Texts Containing The Qur’an From 1-100 AH / 622-719 CE. This document lists the corpus of dated texts containing the Qur'an from 1-100 AH / 622-719 CE proving the early codification of the Qur'an in Arabic. Special mention (and refutation!) is made of Christoph Luxenberg's latest hypothesis that the inscriptions inside the Dome of the Rock were actually Christian, which record the disputes between the camps of the Hellenised and Syrian Christians regarding the divinity of Jesus.


14th May 2007

Based on a narrative whose source is alleged to have been the renowned Scottish Judge Sir David Dalrymple (Lord Hailes), it is frequently asserted that the entire New Testament can be reconstructed from the citations of the Church Fathers of the first three centuries, with the exception of only eleven verses. Going back to the original documents, something which none of the authors have attempted to study, it is shown in the article Sir David Dalrymple (Lord Hailes), The Patristic Citations Of The Ante-Nicene Church Fathers And The Search For Eleven Missing Verses Of The New Testament that the data in original documents clearly disproves this claim – repeated in numerous missionary and apologetical publications for a period of more than 165 years.

The readers are warned that this is an academic article and that some of them might find couple of sections difficult to follow.

The article is in the section Canon Of The Bible and The New Testament Manuscripts.


4th May 2007

We know that there are plenty of Dated Muslim Texts From 1-72 AH / 622-691 CE: Documentary Evidence For Early Islam. What about Christianity and its first century documentary evidence in the form of an inscription, or a Christian church or even a manuscript? A note dealing with this information has been added from L. W. Hurtado's The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts And Christian Origins, 2006, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.: Grand Rapids (MI).

The almost total absence of corpus of dated Islamic texts in the work of Christoph Luxenberg and how these texts do not support his claims has been noted by Federico Corriente in his "On A Proposal For A "Syro-Aramaic" Reading Of The Qur'an", Collectanea Christiana Orientalia, 2003, Volume I. A quote regarding this has been added in the conclusion section of the article From Alphonse Mingana To Christoph Luxenberg: Arabic Script & The Alleged Syriac Origins Of The Qur'an.


20th March 2007

Addition of an Inscription In A Mosque In Damascus, Built By Caliph Walīd, 86-87 AH / 705-706 CE. This inscription is no longer extant and it is reported to us in two versions: a shorter one by Mas‘ūdī and a longer one by Muhammad ibn Shākir al-Kutubī (d. 1363 CE). The longer version has the verse from Qur'an 2:256.

The Greek Inscription In The Baths Of Hammat Gader, 42 AH / 662-63 CE has been updated with the addition of the drawing of the inscription as well as its content. More information about the inscription is also added.

These are present in the section The Arabic & Islamic Inscriptions.


3rd March 2007

Alhamdulillah, we now have a nearly complete collection of the Islamic inscriptions, Arabic papyri and Islamic coins from the first century of hijra. Merely having a collection of early material does not make any sense unless it is used to make some important points. The study of early Islam has been quite a contentious issue among the Western scholars; some of whom have resorted to outrageous hypotheses unsupported by documentary evidence. The corpus of documentary evidence for the study of early Islam has been growing slowly over the years and we have cataloged them in the article Dated Muslim Texts From 1-72 AH / 622-691 CE: Documentary Evidence For Early Islam. The date 72 AH / 691 CE was chosen because the dated Islamic texts become much more numerous and with varied content after this period. Now compare that with the first documentary evidence for the first 100 years of Christianity! The readers would notice that there are still some blanks to be filled. Insha'allah, they will be taken care of as soon as we have the material available.

Not surprisingly is the almost total absence of corpus of dated Islamic texts in the work of Christoph Luxenberg (and consequently resulting in an extravagant hypothesis!) has been noted by R. Hoyland in his work "New Documentary Texts And The Early Islamic State", Bulletin Of The School Of Oriental And African Studies, 2006, Volume 69, No. 3. A note has been added in the conclusion section of the article From Alphonse Mingana To Christoph Luxenberg: Arabic Script & The Alleged Syriac Origins Of The Qur'an.


19th February 2007

After the addition of a host of early Islamic Coins, it is now the turn of coin weights. The purpose of the coins weights was to check the weight of coin in circulation and ensure that coin received was of good quality. Normally they would correspond to the lowest weight at which the coin remained legal tender. They could be used to guard against clipped, worn or counterfeit coin and to check the standards of foreign coin permitted in currency. We begin with three coins weights.

Coin Weight Of The Umayyad Governor Al-Hajjāj Ibn Yūsuf, c. 75 AH / 695 CE.

This is a unique coin weight in bronze was issued by the authority of the Umayyad governor al-Hajjāj ibn Yūsuf. Walker identified it as a weight of six mithqāls (= six dīnārs, in modern terms 25.5 gms). It weighs 25.14 gms, very close to Walker's suggested six mithqāls.

A Glass Dīnār Weight In The Name Of ‘Abd Al-‘Azīz Ibn Marwān, c. 86 AH / 705 CE.

The weight of ‘Abd al-‘Azīz ibn Marwān's (r. 65-86 AH / 685-705 CE) glass piece, 4.29 gms, shows that it must be dated to the latter part of his governorship in Egypt, for it is clearly on the standard introduced for the dīnār in ‘Abd al-Malik's coinage reform, which came into effect, for the gold coinage, in 77 AH / 696-697 CE. The standard is normally calculated at 4.25 gms. Other than the coins themselves it is one of the earliest, perhaps the earliest, of the documents we possess for the standard of the reform dīnār.

A Bronze Weight Of Sa‘īd Ibn ‘Abd Al-Malik, c. 126 AH / 744 CE.

This disc type weight is well known to have been used under Byzantine rule in the sixth century. Only one half of the weight survives.

These are in the section The Islamic Coins.


11th February 2007

We add couple of interesting inscriptions found in the village of Fīq (or Afīq) in Golan.

Milestone From Golan From The Time Of ‘Abd al-Malik - 1, 85 AH / 704 CE.

A dated milestone at 52 miles from Damascus.

Milestone From Golan From The Time Of ‘Abd al-Malik - 2, 85 AH / 704 CE.

A dated milestone at 53 miles from Damascus.

Unlike the undated milestones from Bāb al-Wād, Abū Ghōsh, Khān al-Hathrūra and Deir al-Qalt, bearing ‘Abd al-Malik's name, these two milestones do not contain the phrase rahmat Allāh ‘alayhi, suggesting in all probability that ‘Abd al-Malik was deceased by that time. In other words, the four undated inscriptions were probably planned during the reign of the caliph but were completed after his death.

These are added in the section The Arabic & Islamic Inscriptions.


6th February 2007

Addition of five more Arab-Sassanian coins from the 1st century of hijra with different epigraphic material.

Arab-Sassanian Coins Of Mus‘ab Ibn Al-Zubayr, 69 AH / 688 CE.

Typical late Arab-Sassanian bust and fire-altar with attendants. Obverse margin: bism Allāh ("In the name of God") BPRWY (in Middle Persian) with a countermark lillāh ("Unto God") in the fourth quadrant.

Anonymous Arab-Sassanian Coinage Of Syrian Origin From The Time Of ‘Abd al-Malik, 73 AH / 692 CE.

Typical late Arab-Sassanian bust and fire-altar with attendants. Obverse margin: bism Allāh / lā-ilaha il-Allāh wa / hdahu Muhammad ra / sūl Allāh ("In the name of God. There is no god but God alone. Muhammad is the messenger of God").

Arab-Sassanian Coin Of ‘Abd Al-Rahmān Ibn Muhammad, 81 AH / 700 CE.

Typical late Arab-Sassanian bust and fire-altar with attendants. Obverse margin: bism Allāh / rabb harasahu ("In the name of God. May God protect him").

Arab-Sassanian Coin Of ‘Abd Allāh Ibn Bastām, 82 AH / 701 CE.

Typical late Arab-Sassanian bust and fire-altar with attendants. Obverse margin: bism Allāh / baraka ("In the name of God. Blessing").

Arab-Sassanian Coin, Sijistān, Minted In 89 AH / 708 CE.

Typical late Arab-Sassanian bust and fire-altar with attendants. Obverse margin: MY (Pahlavi) / bism Allāh / al-‘izza lillāh ("In the name of God. Unto God belongs the honour").

These are in the section The Islamic Coins.


4th February 2007

We add Two Arabic Inscriptions From Eilat, First Century Hijra. These two inscriptions from late first century of hijra contain declaration of faith in God.

These are added in the section The Arabic & Islamic Inscriptions.


1st February 2007

We add Three Arabic Inscriptions From Nahal ‘Amram (‘Aqabah), First Century Hijra. These inscriptions are written on brown sandstone boulders in a good angular early Umayyad script, incised by an expert hand. No points and no vowels.

These are added in the section The Arabic & Islamic Inscriptions.


28th January 2007

We begin a new section on The Islamic Coins From 1-100 AH / 622-719 CE. We would like to display the unique Islamic coins in this period. These coins are unique in the sense of epigraphy as well as the religious content and not unique with respect to where they were minted. We start with an installment of 18 coins, almost all of them the Arab-Sassanian types.


27th January 2007

We add interesting Coptic Texts On Behalf Of ‘Amr Ibn al-‘Ās (d. 43 AH / 663 CE) In Pap. BM 1079. The papyrus is dated to the death of ‘Amr Ibn al-‘Ās, d. 43 AH / 663 CE. The Coptic text is in a sloping and almost ligatureless hand. Although not an Arabic papyrus, it gives a snap-shot of dealings between the Christians and early Islamic administration.

This is present in the section The Arabic Papyri.


17th January 2007

The more we investigate the theories of Ditlef Nielsen, the more we find them refuted. The subsection Ditlef Nielsen, Yahweh's “Moonotheism” And The Incorrigible Missionaries in the article Reply To Robert Morey's Moon-God Allah Myth: A Look At The Archaeological Evidence is updated with J. Gray's discussion on the studies of Maria Höfner on the ancient south Arabian religion (J. Gray, "Review Of Die Religionen Altsyriens, Altarabiens und der Mandäer", Journal Of Semitic Studies, 1973, Volume 18, pp. 148-149). We have also added an interesting footnote which neatly summarizes Nielsen's theories (See J. Cantineau, "Review Of Handbuch Der Altarabischen Altertumskunde", Antiquity, 1928, Volume 2, No. 8, p. 503).

This article is in the section Refutation Of The Borrowing Theories Of The Qur'an.


15th January 2007

Addition of a Greek Inscription In The Baths Of Hammat Gader, 42 AH / 662-63 CE. The valley of Hammat Gader is famous for naturally cold and hot springs known for their therapeutic powers. These once filled the large and small pools of an early Byzantine spa, supplying it with hot and cold waters. The Greek inscription from the time of the Umayyad caliph Mu‘āwiya refers to the restoration of the baths.

This is added in the section The Arabic & Islamic Inscriptions.


13th January 2007

Addition of an Inscription On A Bridge In Fustat By The Governor ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Ibn Marwān, 69 AH / 688-89 CE. This inscription was first attested by Maqrīzī (d. 845 AH / 1442 CE).

This is added in the section The Arabic & Islamic Inscriptions.

P. Colt. No. 60 - A Bilingual Entagion From The Year 54 AH / 674 CE is updated with the addition of a protocol which suggests that this entagion comes from the time of Umayyad caliph Mu‘āwiya (40–60 AH / 661–80 CE).

This is present in the section The Arabic Papyri.


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