PERF 558 (Papyrus of 'Abdullah bin Jabir)

PERF 558 is the oldest surviving Arabic papyrus, found in Heracleopolis in Egypt, and is also the oldest dated (Jumada I, 22 AH / 25th April, 643 CE) Arabic text using the Islamic era. It is a bilingual Arabic-Greek fragment, consisting of a tax receipt, or as it puts it "Document concerning the delivery of sheep to the Magarites and other people who arrived, as a down-payment of the taxes of the first indiction."

The document mentiones the name of Emir 'Abdullah, possibly 'Abdullah ibn Jabir, a Sahabi of prophet Muhammad. This papyrus makes use of the disambiguation dots for the very first time. The date recorded is in both Islamic calendar and Alexandrian calendar. In Greek, it calls the Arabs "Magaritae", a term, believed to be related to the Arabic "muhajir" often used in the earliest non-Islamic sources. It also calls them "Saracens". This artefact is a part of the Archduke Rainer Collection.

Text reads:
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. This is what `Abdallah,
Son of Jabir, and his companions-in-arms, have taken as of slaughter sheep at Heracleopolis (Ihnas)
from a representative of Theodorakios (Tidraq), second son of Apa Kyros (Abu Qir), and from a substitute of Christophoros (Istufur), eldest son of Apa Kyros (Abu Qir), fifty sheep
as of slaughter and fifteen other sheep. He gave them for slaughter for the crew of his vessels, as well as his cavalry and his breastplated infantry in
the month of Jumada I in the year twenty-two. Written by Ibn Hadidu.

Date Landscape Notes Reference
c. 643 CE Papyri PERF 556, bearign the seal of 'Amr ibn 'As An early Arabic papyrus (PERF 558) dating to 643 CE, with first attested use of 'Araab (disambiguation marks) N/A
c. 643 CE Papyri (PERF 556) bearign the seal of 'Amr ibn 'As (Verso) Back of the bilingual papyrus PERF 558, mentioning 'Abdullah ibn Jabir N/A
c. 643 CE Papyri PERF 556, bearing the seal of 'Amr ibn 'As Text (contents) of the seventh century Papyrus, PERF 558 Islamic Awareness
Latest Update: June 30, 2015
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