A Rock Inscription From Makkah Containing Poetry, 98 AH / 716-717 CE

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First Composed: 27th July 2015

Last Modified: 11th September 2015

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:




Figure: (a) Photo of the inscription, (b) facsimile and (c) transcription.


98 AH / 716-717 CE.

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The translation of the inscription is:

  1. The new has emaciated the turning of the Sun;
  2. and its rising from whence it did not set;
  3. And its rising pure white; And its setting
  4. yellow like turmeric.
  5. And written by Abu Jʿafar b. Ḥasan al-Hashimī
  6. in the year eight
  7. and ninety.


Ibn Qutayba attributes the poem to Tubbaʿ, the king of Yemen.[1] Al-Thenyian gives a description and analysis of this inscription with minor corrections to the transcripted text.[2] Commenting on the above inscription, Hoyland says that this gives "a little push to the idea that the mass of material that we have ostensibly going back to pre-Islamic times, in particular a vast wealth of poetry, does genuinely belong to that period".[3]


Makkah, Saudi Arabia.

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[1] Saʿd b. ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz al-Rāshid, Kitābāt Islāmiyya Min Makkah al-Mukarramah, 1995, Riyaḍ (Saudi Arabia), pp. 60-66.

[2] Muḥammad b.ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Rāshad al-Thenyian, Nuqūsh Al-Qarn Al-Hijrī Al-Awwal Al-Muʾrakhat Fī Al-Mamlakah Al-ʿArabiyyah Al-Saudia, 2015, Riyaḍ, pp. 91-92, Plate 13(b).

[3] R. Hoyland, "Epigraphy And The Linguistic Background To The Qur'an" in G. S. Reynolds (Ed.), The Qur'an In Its Historical Context, 2008, Routledge: London & New York, p. 65.

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