P. ACPSI No. 113 – An Early Arabic Business Letter Mentioning The Ḥajj, 1st Century AH

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First Composed: 29th August 2021

Last Updated: 29th August 2021

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Assalamu-ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:



Figure: (a) Picture of the papyrus and (b) its content. [] encloses letters supplied to fill a lacuna.


1st century AH.[1]


17.2 cm x 16.5 cm.

Accession No.

P. ACPSI No. 113


The translation of text is given below.

  1. ... Qay]s ibn Ḥajar, and as for the clothes,
  2. the market is more stagnant than I have ever seen it, and with one pound
  3. and half of pepper. And you [have] written to me
  4. concerning the subject of the eight dīnārs for the price of the waist wrapper (al-ʿizār) which is due from
  5. Hāniʾ ibn Namir. Well, they claimed that you have already received them (= the dīnārs).
  6. Peace be upon you and God’s mercy. And
  7. the gold that you have sent with Qays ibn Ḥajar
  8. is for part of the price for the three clothes which are with Qays ibn Ḥajar
  9. and for the garment which is my entitlement for the pilgrimage (Ḥajj).


Light brown papyrus fragment written in black ink. Only nine complete lines survive, all on one the recto side of the papyrus; the verso is blank. Diacritical points are seen on the letters bāʾ, tāʾ, thāʾ, yāʾ, fāʾ, and zāʾ.

This document is a business letter and appears to have been addressed to a cloth-merchant by his agent or partner. Neither the name of the cloth-merchant nor that of the sender of the letter is preserved. Interesting mention of al-ʿizār, an unsown cloth that was used as a loin cloth to wrap the lower part of the male body, worn by men during the pilgrimage to Mecca.


Centre of Papyrological Studies and Inscriptions (ACPSI), ʿAin Shams University (Egypt).

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[1] A. Hanafi, "An Early Arabic Business Letter", in P. M. Sipesteijn, L. Sundelin, S. T. Towar & A. Zomeno (Ed.), From Al-Andalus To Khurasan: Documents From The Medieval Muslim World, 2007, Brill: Leiden & Boston, pp. 153-161.

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