An Inscription Of Ḥakīm b. ʿAmr From Negev, 85 AH / 704 CE

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First Composed: 17th April 2014

Last Modified: 2nd May 2014

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:



Figure (a) trace of original inscription, and (b) its contents. [] encloses letters supplied to fill a lacuna.


1st Dhul Ḥijjah, 85 AH / 14th January, 704 CE.[1]

Interestingly, there are nine other inscriptions that contain the name Ḥakīm b. ʿAmr which Nevo says can be dated to the same time frame.[2]


Not known.


Kufic script.


The translation of the inscription is:

  1. May God forgive Ḥakīm b. ʿAmr
  2. who is neither perished nor lost.
  3. Ameen! Lord of the Worlds, Lord
  4. of the mankind and everything. And
  5. it was written on the first day of Dhul Ḥijjah of year
  6. five and eighty []
  7. admit him into the Paradise.
  8. []


Using the corpus of Arabic inscriptions from the Negev desert, Yehuda Nevo concluded that John Wansbrough's (in his own words) "conjectural",[3] "provisional"[4] and "tentative and emphatically provisional"[5] theories are substantiated.[6] Nevo's views came under severe criticism from Donner,[7] Whelan[8] and Hoyland.[9]


Central Negev Desert.

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[1] Y. D. Nevo, Z. Cohen, D. Heftman, Ancient Arabic Inscriptions From The Negev, 1993, Volume I, IPS Limited: Negev, p. 36 for transcription and translation of MA 4265(19).

[2] ibid., p. 56; Y. D. Nevo, J. Koren, Crossroads To Islam: The Origins Of The Arab Religion And The Arab State, 2003, Prometheus Books: New York (USA), pp. 384-387. For the above inscription see pp. 384-385.

[3] J. Wansbrough, Qur'anic Studies: Sources & Methods Of Scriptural Interpretation, 1977, Oxford University Press, p. xi.

[4] ibid., p. ix.

[5] J. Wansbrough, The Sectarian Milieu: Content & Composition Of Islamic Salvation History, 1978, Oxford University Press, p. x.

[6] Y. D. Nevo, Z. Cohen, D. Heftman, Ancient Arabic Inscriptions From The Negev, 1993, op. cit., p. 9; Y. D. Nevo, "Towards A Prehistory Of Islam", Jerusalem Studies In Arabic And Islam, 1994, Volume 17, pp. 125-126.

[7] F. M. Donner, Narratives Of Islamic Origins: The Beginnings Of Islamic Historical Writing, 1998, Darwin Press, Inc.: Princeton (New Jersey), pp. 62-63.

[8] E. Whelan, "Forgotten Witness: Evidence for the Early Codification of the Qur'an", Journal Of The American Oriental Society, 1998, Volume 118, No. 1, p. 2.

[9] R. G. Hoyland, "The Content And Context Of Early Arabic Inscriptions", Jerusalem Studies In Arabic And Islam, 1997, Volume 21, p. 96.

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