Dūmat Al-Jandal Inscription: A Pre-Islamic Nabateo-Arabic Inscription From 548-549 CE

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First Composed: 13th November 2017

Last Modified: 13th November 2017

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:



Figure (a) photo of original inscription, and (b) its trace.


443 / 548-549 CE.

Accession Number



110 cm x 70 cm.


Nabateo-Arabic script.


The translation of the inscription is given below:

  1. May be remembered.
  2. May God (الاله) remember
  3. Ḥgʿ{b/n}w son of Salama /Salāma / Salima
  4. {in} the m[onth] (gap) year 443.


This inscription is carved on the sandstone boulder. It is the only text dated to the sixth century from north-west Arabia and by the earliest dated Islamic one, the Zuhayr inscription dated to 24 AH / 644 CE. The text of the inscription is clear, except for the confusion between the b and the n in the author's name due to lack of dotting and the doubtful presence of byrḥ, "in the month of", at the beginning of line 5. This is the second earliest dated pre-Islamic inscription that mentions الاله, the God, the earliest one being from Zebed dated 512 CE. Just like the one from Zebed, the presence of الاله here and the cross suggests that the writer of this inscription was most likely written by a Christian. Notice the repetition of the word "remember" written twice - once as dkr in Nabataeo-Arabic characters, line 1, and once as ḍkr in Arabic script at the beginning of line 2.

The date is equivalent to 548 CE, i.e., 443 plus 105, the Bosra era.


Dūmat al-Jandal, near al-Jawf, N. W. Saudi Arabia.

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[1] L. Nehmé, "New Dated Inscriptions (Nabataean And Pre-Islamic Arabic) From A Site Near Al-Jawf, Ancient Dūmah, Saudi Arabia", Arabian Epigraphic Notes, 2017, Volume 3, pp. 121‒164.

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