An Inscription Mentioning Rejection Of Faith Of People Of Al-Ḥijr, 83 AH / 702-703 CE

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First Composed: 9th May 2015

Last Modified: 17th May 2015

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:



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


83 AH / 702-703 CE.


100 cm x 55 cm.


Kufic script.


The translation of the inscription is given below. The Arabic part is in italics:

  1. I have believed in what was rejected by
  2. people of al-Ḥijr. Written by ʿAfīr
  3. bin al-Maḍārib in the year
  4. three and eighty.


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.[1] 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.[2] The people of Thamud were Arab tribes that lived in the area near Madāin Salih which is north of Madinah. Their land was made of rocky mountains and spacious fertile plains. They lived in huge houses that they carved out of the huge rocks in the mountains - and the remains of these houses are still visible in northwest Saudi Arabia. This inscription was found at Al-Aqraʿ, which is on the Ḥajj route from Syria, and is approximately 80 km north of Madāin Salih.


Al-Aqraʿ, Saudi Arabia.

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[1] H. B. A. H. Al-Kilabi, Al-Nuqūsh Al-Islāmīyah ʿala Ṭarīq al-Ḥajj al-Shāmī bi-Shamāl Gharb al-Mamlakah al-ʿArabīyah al-Saʿūdīyah, 2009, Maktabat al-Malik Fahd al-Waṭanīyah: Ar-Riyāḍ, 2009, pp. 66-67.

[2] Alī Ibrahīm Al-Ghabbān, Les Deux Routes Syrienne Et Égyptienne De Pèlerinage Au Nord-ouest De L'Arabie Saoudite, 2011, Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale: Cairo (Egypt), pp. 516-517 (Graffito No. 12), p. 608 (Figure 238). Al-Ghabbān's reading of the inscription is slightly different.

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