An Inscription Mentioning ʿUthmān's Reign - One Of The Earliest Dated Ḥijāzī Inscriptions, 24 AH / 644 CE

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First Composed: 14th July 2022

Last Modified: 16th July 2022

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:





Figure 1: (a) The inscription, (b) the text, (c) digitally enhanced version of image in (a), and (d) the pseudo-image of the full inscription.


24 AH / 644 CE.[1]




The translation of the inscription [Figure 1(a)] is:

  1. ...
  2. [in] God. And [this] was writtem during the time when
  3. the son of ʿAffān was made commander [of the believers]
  4. in the year four and twenty.
  5. I am ʿAbdullāh bin
  6. Sʿad bin Zayd.
  7. I am [ʿUtbah]
  8. bin Rāshid al-Masāhaqi.

This inscription is one of the two earliest dated Islamic inscriptions written in the year 24 AH. This one mentions the reign of caliph ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān whilst the other mentions the death of ʿUmar bin al-Khattāb. The rock on which inscription was written has suffered erosion with the top part broken off. Despite this, fortunately much of the inscription is still legible. The image in (c) has undergone unspecified image enhancement techniques to make the overall inscription clearer and provide a basis for the reading of line 1: "I, Zuhayr, believe...".[2] If this purported reading is indeed true then the two inscriptions from 24 AH were written by the person named Zuhayr.

ʿUthmān succeeded as caliph in 24 AH after the death of ʿUmar. The name of ʿUthmān also features in another inscription dated c. 36 AH where his murder is mentioned.


Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

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[1] Content and image from @mohammed93athar.

[2] See the tweet from the Saudi Heritage Authority.

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