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Pre-Islamic Arabic Inscriptions

Printed From: History Community ~ All Empires
Category: Regional History or Period History
Forum Name: Post-Classical Middle East
Forum Discription: SW Asia, the Middle East and Islamic civilizations from 600s - 1900 AD
URL: http://www.allempires.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=6058
Printed Date: 22-Nov-2017 at 18:42
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Topic: Pre-Islamic Arabic Inscriptions
Posted By: azimuth
Subject: Pre-Islamic Arabic Inscriptions
Date Posted: 09-Oct-2005 at 21:16

 

the current Arabic Alphabet was developed by Arabs in the Early centuries AD, while the Language itself is said to be around a 5000 years old.

so Arabs before the development of the current Alphabet from the Nabatean Aramic Alphabets Used different Alphabets and few Inscriptions of those ancient Alphabets in Arabic language were found in Syria, Palistain, Jorden, Iraq , Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

i'll post the differnt types of Ancient Arabic scripts found.

 

 Musnad Script (Ancient South Arabian Script)

the oldest Inscription is estimated to be from the first Century BC and it was writtin in a script called Musnad Script which was used by ancient Arabic communites like Saba, Qatabn, Hadramout and Meanians and Himyarites.

a picture of this script

 

this was found in Qaryat Al Faw in Saudi Arabia

At Qaryat al-Faw, the capital of Kinda and other Arab tribes, a certain `Igl son of Haf`am wrote the dedicatory text for his brother's tomb in Arabic using the script of the nearby Sabaean kingdom. Although the inscription is in the classical Arabic (or the "Old" Arabic for pre-Islamic Arabic), it was written in the Musnad script. This is the earliest known Arabic inscription written in the Musnad script.

below is the translation of the Script in english

"Igl son of Haf`am constructed for his brother Rabibil son of Haf`am the tomb: both for him and for his child and his wife, and his children and their children's children and womenfolk, free members of the folk Ghalwan. And he has placed it under the protection of (the gods) Kahl and Lah and `Athtar al-Shariq from anyone strong or weak, and anyone who would attempt to sell or pledge it, for all time without any derogation, so long as the sky produces rain or the earth herbage."

"



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Replies:
Posted By: Seko
Date Posted: 09-Oct-2005 at 21:20

Thanks Azimuth. I am not familiar with the different scripts.

Do you also know the origins of Arabic numbers and its diversity?



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Posted By: azimuth
Date Posted: 09-Oct-2005 at 21:28

you are wellcome Seko, i'll post the other scripts later.

abou the numbers , no i dont have that now, but i'll look for it.

dont know really what type of numbers they used before islam. but will check it.



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Posted By: Ahmed The Fighter
Date Posted: 10-Oct-2005 at 05:25

The origion of Arabic number is Indian.

And the western number is the real Arabic number.



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"May the eyes of cowards never sleep"
Khalid Bin Walid


Posted By: Maju
Date Posted: 10-Oct-2005 at 06:56
Originally posted by Seko

Thanks Azimuth. I am not familiar with the different scripts.

Do you also know the origins of Arabic numbers and its diversity?



Primitive Hindu numerals (1st century CE):



Modern Indian (Arabic) numerals:



The Arabic numeral system has used many different sets of symbols. These symbol sets can be divided into two main families — namely the West Arabic numerals, and the East Arabic numerals. East Arabic numerals — which were developed primarily in what is now http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq" title="Iraq" style="font-family: courier new,courier,mono; - Iraq — are shown in the table below as Arabic-Indic. East Arabic-Indic is a variety of East Arabic numerals. West Arabic numerals — which were developed in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Andalus" title="Al-Andalus" style="font-family: courier new,courier,mono; - al-Andalus and the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maghreb" title="Maghreb" style="font-family: courier new,courier,mono; - Maghreb —are shown in the table, labelled European.

(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_numbers - Wikipedia: Arabic numerals )

A little more dtailed information can be found in http://www.laputanlogic.com/articles/2003/06/01-95210802.html - http://www.laputanlogic.com/articles/2003/06/01-95210802.htm l



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NO GOD, NO MASTER!


Posted By: Aryan Khadem
Date Posted: 10-Oct-2005 at 08:10

Also one needs to note the addition of 0 to the number system, first adopted by Persians from Indians then introduced it to Arabs, who in turn introduced it to the West.

Babylonian numerical units consisted of of 60 numbers in 1 unit where as the current is 9 units, has been disputed as to 10 units but either or it is different from a Arabic one. Writing in the Near East developed for counting and trade.



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Life is beautiful but I am darker then Life.

Iran Aziz Janam Fadayt

ShahanShah


Posted By: Seko
Date Posted: 10-Oct-2005 at 09:54
Thanks for the info guys. That chart shows some similarities between different brands.

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Posted By: ramin
Date Posted: 10-Oct-2005 at 13:38
Originally posted by azimuth

the current Arabic Alphabet was developed by Arabs in the Early centuries AD, while the Language itself is said to be around a 5000 years old.
what you mean by "... years old"? languages don't have age.


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"I won't laugh if a philosophy halves the moon"


Posted By: Artaxiad
Date Posted: 10-Oct-2005 at 19:17
I've heard that Arabic and Latin alphabets have originated from Phoenicia. Is that true?


Posted By: çok geç
Date Posted: 10-Oct-2005 at 20:21

Originally posted by Artaxiad

I've heard that Arabic and Latin alphabets have originated from Phoenicia. Is that true?

Well Artaxaid, there is a distinction between the origin of the language itself and its alphabets. For example, the origin of the English language is not a Romance language as the Latin, but its scripts and alphabets are latin ones. This distinction will help you understand this chart below:

So Artaxaid, when it comes to the alphabets of Arabic, you can say it is a derivative of Phoenician.  The development goes like this:

Proto-Canaanite (1800 BC) > Phoenician> Aramaic> Nabataean> and Arabic now

   Nabataean alphabets are definitely the father of Arabic script today. However, I find it tricky myself that there are a group of Proto-Arabic languages that broke out of Proto Canaanite around 1300 BC before the development of Phoenician and thus do not share the inheritance of Phoenician alphabets. One of them is the South Arabian alphabets which evolved around the 5th century BC.

While current Arabic alphabets developed from Nabataeans around 400 BCE, the South Arabian ones survived till it went out of fashion as Islam increased the popularity of the Arabic alphabet derived from the Nabataeans. However, before its complete disappearance it diffused across the Red Sea and into Ethiopian, which remains in use even today.  Im not sure if Musnud script a South Arabian though.

South Arabian Alphabets:

This is avialable at: http://www.ancientscripts.com/s_arabn.html - http://www.ancientscripts.com/s_arabn.html

The difference between Ethiopian and South Arabian is that Ethiopian writes vowels by adding ligatures to simple consonants, while South Arabian left the vowels out completely.

 



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D.J. Kaufman
Wisdom is the reward for a lifetime of listening ... when youd have preferred to talk.


Posted By: azimuth
Date Posted: 11-Oct-2005 at 00:31

thank you Maju and cok gec for the researchs.

Cok gec the Musnad i posted About was the south Arabian one, and there is another Musnad in the north of arabia which is called the Northen Musnad. and also called the Thamudic Script.

the al Musnd scrip i posted about here before was also called the South Arabian script or Al Musnad Al Janubi which was also considered one of the earliest script that developed in the 8th century BC,( the picture in my first post is for "al musnad al janubi from the 1st centruy BC) from this musnad developed  into the Sabaean, Qatabani, Hadrami, and Hassanean scripts.

the other scripts which aren't mentioned in the digram cok gec posted are the North Arabian scripts (Thamudic) which also called Al Musnad Al Shamali. which is slightly Older than the Southern Musnad !

 

the Northern Musnad was developed around the 1500 BC and 1000 BC to the 3rd century BC . i dont know where this will fall in the digram cok gec posted above but i will guess that its between the Phoenician and the Aramiac.

anyway from the Northen Musnad  developed the Lihyanite, Safaitic and Aramaic writing systems, which flourished in the north of Arabia around the middle of the first millennium BC. From Aramaic Nabataean script and from Nabataean, Arabic writing developed.

the table below is a comparison between different types of scripts to the modern ones.

 

yea i got these infos  from the Saudi Arabian's ministry of Education  ( losts of pictures ) http://www.mnh.si.edu/EPIGRAPHY/e_pre-islamic/preislamic.htm - http://www.mnh.si.edu/EPIGRAPHY/e_pre-islamic/preislamic.htm  

and from this site too http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Inscriptions/ - http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Inscriptions/



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Posted By: Artaxiad
Date Posted: 11-Oct-2005 at 00:33

Thanks for the info

Funny how the Ethiopian alphabet looks somewhat like the Armenian one

Ethiopian Alphabet: http://www.selamta.net/Downloads/alpha.gif - http://www.selamta.net/Downloads/alpha.gif

Armenian Alphabet: http://www.krysstal.com/images/writing_armenian.gif - http://www.krysstal.com/images/writing_armenian.gif



Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 12-Oct-2005 at 04:38

azimuth... that's wonderful... 1001 thanks man

 

thanks for the info guys...



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Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 16-Oct-2005 at 04:58
If you've more then please post it....

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Posted By: çok geç
Date Posted: 17-Oct-2005 at 18:06

I found this Sabaen script on my desk. It says "Wael has not come home" or Wael Lam Ya'ti lelbait!!!

Just kidding. I was trying to use the Sabaen alphabets to write the sentance. Does anyone knows if those old Arabic scripts as Sabaen or Thamudic, are written from left to right? or from right to left as most semetic languages? I assumed the Sabaen above will be from Left to right.

Also, the Arabic language at that time was very close to the classical one? I wonder if the language itself was so different that time as much as the alphabets were different too?

What Azimuth posted as what was written on the south Musnad rock, was very understandable in Arabic.



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D.J. Kaufman
Wisdom is the reward for a lifetime of listening ... when youd have preferred to talk.


Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 19-Oct-2005 at 07:37

Wael Lam Ya'ti lelbait!!

yalla Lekh Habaita wael = yalla wael go home (Hebrew) ... looool

I have Sabian friends and they speak some Aramic...

I will post some stuff about aramic later....



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Posted By: Maju
Date Posted: 19-Oct-2005 at 12:58
Originally posted by çok geç

I found this Sabaen script on my desk. It says "Wael has not come home" or Wael Lam Ya'ti lelbait!!!

Just kidding. I was trying to use the Sabaen alphabets to write the sentance. Does anyone knows if those old Arabic scripts as Sabaen or Thamudic, are written from left to right? or from right to left as most semetic languages? I assumed the Sabaen above will be from Left to right.


According to http://www.omniglot.com/writing/sabaean.htm - Omniglot , the Sabaean alphabet has the following "notable features":

  • The Sabaean alphabet, like http://www.omniglot.com/writing/arabic.htm - Arabic and http://www.omniglot.com/writing/hebrew.htm - Hebrew , includes only consonants. Unlike Arabic and Hebrew, Sabaean has no system for vowel indication
  • In most inscriptions it is written from right to left, in some it is written in boustrophedon style (alternating right to left and left to right).
It also says that: The Sabaean alphabet is thought to have evolved into the http://www.omniglot.com/writing/ethiopic.htm - Ethiopic script.

There is another Southern Arabian alphabet refered in Omniglot: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/southarabian.htm - http://www.omniglot.com/writing/southarabian.htm . It's also a consonantic abjad and is also written from right to left.

Also, the Arabic language at that time was very close to the classical one? I wonder if the language itself was so different that time as much as the alphabets were different too?

What Azimuth posted as what was written on the south Musnad rock, was very understandable in Arabic.


No idea. But here you have another Sabaean slab to translate or play with:



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NO GOD, NO MASTER!


Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 19-Oct-2005 at 16:45
wait... I think I'm talking about something else... are the Sabaens you're talking about the same as Mandaeans Sabians ?

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Posted By: çok geç
Date Posted: 21-Oct-2005 at 00:32

Thank you Maju for the link. I tried working on the Sabaean Slab you posted above. It is definitely a very hard task. There are even unidentified letters.

Instead of the regular "M", we have this  which is the opposite of the regualr M shape letter.  Another letter that comes sometimes and puzzled me was this one . This letter is the complete opposite of "N".

Now that is what I worked on assuming that the direction of writing will be from right to left as other semitic languages. It rendered to me so far the following: Ymshqnl/bn/brr/ynqh/nish/rb/mnsor/mshfq/yh/mwyw/wmr/mwfr/mwf rt/...

Yamshnqual (name) Bin (son of)  Barar (name) Yunaqeh (?) Nish (?) Rab (God) Mansoor (victorious) mushfeq (?) yah (?)......

So, I don't really understand each single word, but it definitely of a very Arabic structure and sound. Under this link that Azimuth provided, there were other sabaean slabs http://www.mnh.si.edu/EPIGRAPHY/e_pre-islamic/fig04_sabaean.htm - http://www.mnh.si.edu/EPIGRAPHY/e_pre-islamic/fig04_sabaean. htm

Interesting enough, some were easy to understand and were 90% current Arabic word usage and selection, and others were little harder.



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D.J. Kaufman
Wisdom is the reward for a lifetime of listening ... when youd have preferred to talk.


Posted By: Maju
Date Posted: 21-Oct-2005 at 07:28
Originally posted by çok geç

Thank you Maju for the link. I tried working on the Sabaean Slab you posted above. It is definitely a very hard task. There are even unidentified letters.

Instead of the regular "M", we have this  which is the opposite of the regualr M shape letter.  Another letter that comes sometimes and puzzled me was this one . This letter is the complete opposite of "N".


Notice that the quote I posted says that Sabaean is sometimes written in a style that alternates left>right with right>left. I noticed that the slab seems to be written in that style, mirroring the letters, when it changes the direction (every line).



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NO GOD, NO MASTER!


Posted By: çok geç
Date Posted: 22-Oct-2005 at 03:00
Originally posted by Maju

Notice that the quote I posted says that Sabaean is sometimes written in a style that alternates left>right with right>left. I noticed that the slab seems to be written in that style, mirroring the letters, when it changes the direction (every line).

Oh ok, I thought the alternation was about the direction of writing in lines as if Sabaean can be written like Arabic from right to left or like english from left to right.  Mirroring the letters will make sense here as I saw various examples in that slab. I just wonder what use of mirroring the letters can add to the language? never seen a language before that mirror its letters in the middle of words like Sabaean.



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D.J. Kaufman
Wisdom is the reward for a lifetime of listening ... when youd have preferred to talk.


Posted By: Maju
Date Posted: 22-Oct-2005 at 10:39
Me neither but it definitely helps to know when they are writing in which direction. Smart idea. 

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NO GOD, NO MASTER!


Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 23-Oct-2005 at 06:22

Originally posted by 1001nights

wait... I think I'm talking about something else... are the Sabaens you're talking about the same as Mandaeans Sabians ?

 yani keeeef...... shooo, ma bedku ejaubouna!!!

why are you ignoring me



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Posted By: Maju
Date Posted: 23-Oct-2005 at 17:51
Personally, I don't know what to answer to your question without aking a search that you can do yourself. Nothing personal.

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NO GOD, NO MASTER!


Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 23-Oct-2005 at 21:43

@Maju... I wouldn't ask if I did understand what you guys are talking about, that you and cok-gec... plus, if not for discussing, why are we on this forum! Anyway.. don't need your answer.. whatever....

@cok gec.. I know a bit Aramic, the languge Mandaeans Sabians use, is that what you're talking about or?

take a look at that...

 



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Posted By: çok geç
Date Posted: 24-Oct-2005 at 00:18
Originally posted by 1001nights

@cok gec.. I know a bit Aramic, the languge Mandaeans Sabians use, is that what you're talking about or?

take a look at that...

Sorry 1001 nights, I didn't notice your question was to all of us in general. Anyhow, I looked to the script you provided and it is different than Sabaean, or what I know as Sabaean. Aramaic alphabets are the father of Nabatean alphabets, which are the origin of the current Arabic script. However, Sabaean is a derivative of the South Arabian languages family which are not a product of Aramaic alphabets. Maybe if you went to the first page, i posted earlier a diagram of the languages' map of development.

And no 1001 nights, I know the Sabaean term is similar to the language me and Maju are discussing, but it is actually something different the Mandaeans Sabians. It says: "There is one and only one group that are the true Sabians, the Sabians of the Qu’ran, the Sabaeans of the Bahai, the Sabians from whom the Harranians stole the name, the Mandaeans.  The Sabeans of South Arabia are a separate group and appear to have nothing to do with the Sabians (Mandaeans) or Sabaeans of Harran."

You can find more here >>> http://www.geocities.com/mandaeans/Sabians1.html - http://www.geocities.com/mandaeans/Sabians1.html

I am suprised you speak some Aramaic. Some people will call Aramaic a dead language. However, it is still in use today in a Syrian town called Maaloula or Ma'loula. I'm so amazed that they speak the same language Jesus of Nazarith the Christ spoke and for 2000 years.  One day I will visit that town for sure!

http://album.syrie.be/album12/maloula05?full=1">Aucune description

http://album.syrie.be/album12/maloula07?full=1">Aucune description

Have you seen the movie "Passion of the Christ"? If you haven't, go see it as they are using Aramaic for dialects with English subtitle. You will be amazed how many Aramaic words you can pick that matches Arabic too!



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D.J. Kaufman
Wisdom is the reward for a lifetime of listening ... when youd have preferred to talk.


Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 24-Oct-2005 at 03:56

asootha nahweelokh = selam aleykum {Aramic}

 

Some of the words are still used in Syrian and Iraqi Arabic-accents...

Anyway, now I know what you're talking about.. ok! I will give you a site for the real Sabians{the ones mentioned in the quraan}...

Aramic mostly used in rituals only, that's what I know about Sabian in Iraq and Syria and Iran{I'm not so sure}, because it is outdated language, there are words that doesn't exist in Aramic but it's useed in everyday life, so it is hard to use Aramaic for everday life....

here is a good link...

http://www.mandaeanworld.com/who5.html - http://www.mandaeanworld.com/who5.html

read that and maybe you will understand why I was confused... I have much more sites about that if you want...



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Posted By: çok geç
Date Posted: 24-Oct-2005 at 13:01

I see 1001 nights,

    Yeah, I expected you meant those Sabians in Iraq and Iran. The link was interesting especially their distribution in the southern Iraqi cities and the Irani Ahvas region. If you have links about their pictures it would be great.

I saw the way they ask god, the raising of hand in this way is the exact Islamic traditional way of asking God in Islam.



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D.J. Kaufman
Wisdom is the reward for a lifetime of listening ... when youd have preferred to talk.


Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 25-Oct-2005 at 18:45

@cok gec... yes.. they even have wuzu2/apdest{don't know how to say it in English}, and they have lots of similarities with Quraan.

As for their language, it is also similar to Arabic, and Hebrew too...

what kind of pictures did you want...

check these out...

http://www.mandaeanunion.com/ - http://www.mandaeanunion.com/

http://www.mandaeans.org/aboutthemandaeans.htm - http://www.mandaeans.org/aboutthemandaeans.htm



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Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 11-Nov-2005 at 00:26

@çok geç... do you still have Sabians in ur country or in the countries around you{Arabs of the Gulf}??

 



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Posted By: çok geç
Date Posted: 11-Nov-2005 at 03:19

1001 nights,

    Thank you for the links. I honestly haven't heard of Sabaean (the real one including the faith) except in books and TV. Never seen one too and first time I learned about them was on Aljazeera channel covering the Iraqi Sabaeans. They believe in all the prophets up to Zakariya (Zechariah in the bible). They are monothiest no doubt and it is amazing how much of their believe is similar to Islam too.



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D.J. Kaufman
Wisdom is the reward for a lifetime of listening ... when youd have preferred to talk.


Posted By: azimuth
Date Posted: 01-Apr-2006 at 04:04

ok lets put some more pictures of pre-islamic Inscriptions used by Arabs.

from this site.

http://www.mnh.si.edu/EPIGRAPHY/e_pre-islamic/fig01_aramaic_img.htm - http://www.mnh.si.edu/EPIGRAPHY/e_pre-islamic/fig01_aramaic_ img.htm

fig01 color fig01 b&w  fig01 drawing

 

the above stone has an Aramaic writings .

its from 600 BC.

Transcription
m ha r n a d ya
q r b th j a'in l ha
b r a r sh
b r n ha a l
x x x l h ya ya
(n j a'in l) ha w n f sh
(a kh r t ha)

Translation
This incense burner is presented by Naja al bin Arshan bin Nah'al
for his and his family's favor.

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Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 22-Apr-2006 at 04:59
nice.. love these topics

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Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 11-Oct-2017 at 02:43
Excellent information, where can i get more info or some recommended books about Pre-islamic history in some details?

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