Two Pre-Islamic Arabic Inscriptions From Sakakah, Saudi Arabia

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First Composed: 31st March 2005

Last Modified: 31st March 2005

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:




(a) Probably 4th / 5th century CE; (b) Probably 5th century CE.




The inscription (a) reads

  1. Hama
  2. Son of Garm

The inscription (b) reads

  1. bʿsw
  2. Son of ʿAbd-Imru'-al-Qais
  3. Son of Malik (Malk)


According to the author Khaleel al-Muaikel, the discovery of these two inscriptions is of considerable importance in confirming suggestions of the evolution of the Arabic writing inside the Arabian peninsula rather than outside its borders. The name in the second line of inscription (b) Imru'-al-Qais gives added significance, as it is Arabic from a structure point of view, containing the definite article ال, although it also appears in late Nabataean inscriptions.

These inscriptions also shows the Ḥijāz played a very important role in the development of Arabic writing from the Nabataean script.


Sakakah, Northern Saudi Arabia.

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[1] K. Al-Muaikel, "Pre-Islamic Arabic Inscriptions From Sakaka, Saudi Arabia", in J. F. Healey and V. Porter, Studies On Arabia In Honour Of Professor G. Rex Smith, 2002, Journal Of Semitic Studies Supplement 14, Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the University of Manchester, pp. 157-169.

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