P. Louvre Inv. J. David-Weill 20 – A Papyrus Bearing Acknowledgement Of A Debt, 42 AH / 662-663 CE

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First Composed: 26th August 2012

Last Updated: 25th January 2016

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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.


42 AH / 662-663 CE.[1]


33.0 inch x 20 inch.

Accession No.

P. Louvre Inv. J. David-Weill 20.


The translation of text is given below.

  1. [In the jurisdiction of b]el[iev]ers. Testified ʿUqayb b. ʿImran and Ḥayy b. Sʿad. Wrote
  2. [[............]] until refilling the tanks the end of (year) forty-two
  3. In the jurisdiction of believers. ʿArib b. Yanah and ... b. Tafddul (?)... and wrote.
  4. ]..[.]...... from [.]... [...]...[.]
  5. [[............]] until the end of forty-two years of in the jurisdiction
  6. [of belie]vers. Testified ʿAmr b. Ḥayy and Buṭayr b. Saif [and] wrote
  7. [In the name of] Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. As establishing the right to ʿUmar b. ʿAsr on ʿUmar b. Malki: it must
  8. [...] [[.........]] until the end of (the year) forty-two of the jurisdiction of believers. Testified ʿAmr b. al-Ḥarth
  9. [and B]uṭayr b. Saif. The Janb tribe has a good [[......]]
  10. [...] [[.........]] on Šahr b. Malki: it has six and a half dinars until the end of (year) forty-two years
  11. [In the juris]diction of believers. Testified ʿUmar b. Malki and Buṭayr b. Saif and wrote
  12. [In the name of] Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. As establishing the right to [[Šahr b. Malki on As’ad b. ʿAmr: it must]]
  13. in the year forty two year in the jurisdiction of believers. Testified ʿAmr [b.]...


This papyrus has frayed edges at top which makes it impossible to determine its true significance. The remaining thirteen lines has four sets of different entries without diacritical points.

A number of these readings are disputed. Most significant amongst these is the reading that identifies a hitherto unattested dating system, namely, sunnat qaḍāʾ al-muʾminīn, the "jurisdiction of the believers". Bruning proposes this should be read as "in accordance with the normative procedure of the believers" being an early attestation of a validity clause relating to the aforementioned financial transaction.[2] Also see documents from c. 44 AH and 57 AH mentioning a shorter variant sunnatan and qaḍāʾ al-muʾminīn, respectively.


Musée du Louvre, Paris (France).

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[1] Y. Ragib, "Une Ère Inconnue D'Égypte Musulmane: L'ère De La Juridiction Des Croyants", Annales Islamologiques, 2007, Volume 41, pp. 187-207, esp. pp. 194-201.

[2] J. Bruning, "A Legal Sunna In Dhikr Ḥaqqs From Sufyanid Egypt", Islamic Law And Society, 2015, Volume 22, pp. 352-374.

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