Invocation Of ʿUmar B. Al-Khaṭṭāb, Before 23 AH / 644 CE

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First Composed: 30th December 2014

Last Modified: 2nd January 2015

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Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:



Figure (a) facsimile of the original inscription and (b) its contents.


Before 23 AH / 644 CE.


Not known.


Kufic script.


The translation of the inscription is:

  1. ʿUmar bin al-Khaṭṭāb
  2. puts his trust in God.


In November 2012, during the Franco-Saudi epigraphic surveys around Najran, Saudi Arabia, a truly remarkable discovery was made.[1] Amongst the fifty or so graffiti that were found, one was dated 59 AH / 678-679 CE and two others contained the name ʿUmar bin al-Khaṭṭāb, close companion of Prophet Muḥammad and second successor of the early Muslim state, ruling around 10 years from 634-644 CE. One of them contained his signature and the other one is mentioned above.

Notice the absence of the title amīr al-muʾminīn, other officiate religious terminology, and any mention of his caliph-related functions. Imbert suggests that ʿUmar bin al-Khaṭṭāb may have inscribed it before he was caliph or even before he was a Muslim.[2]


Al-Murakkab, near Najran (Saudi Arabia).

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[1] F. Imbert, "Graffiti Arabes De Cnide Et De Kos: Premières Traces Épigraphiques De La Conquête Musulmane En Mer Égée", Travaux Et Mémoires, 2013, Volume 17, pp. 757-758. Imbert gives the inscription here as ʿUmar bin al-Khaṭṭāb yaṭiq bi-llāh. This appears to be a typo; according to the facsimile made by Imbert and reproduced above, the last two words are the wrong way around.

[2] F. Imbert, "Califes, Princes et Poètes Dans Les Graffiti du Début de l’Islam", Romano-Arabica, 2015, Volume 15, p. 64 and p. 75 (Fig. 2).

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