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PhD defence

Descendants and Ancestors: A study of Arabic inscriptions from the Arabian Peninsula (1st-4th c. AH/7th-10th c. CE)

  • A. AlHatlani
Wednesday 20 October 2021
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden

The inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula in the early Islamic period left a vast number of inscriptions in Arabic, among which is a corpus which appears to pertain to the descendants of the Prophet Muḥammad's companions. This thesis study 260 Arabic inscriptions which relate to 106 individuals from four families whose ancestors were the apparent companions of the Prophet Muḥammad. The inscriptions date to between the 1st and 4th centuries AH/ 7th to 10th centuries CE, including published and unpublished inscriptions. The thesis focuses on the use of inscriptions as an important source for the study of early Muslim genealogy. It analyzes the names of individuals who appear in the epigraphical record, alongside comparisons with Arabic literary sources such as nasab (genealogy) and ṭabaqāt (classes). The corpus under investigation helps to further extend the family trees which are already known to us from the sources, adding new individuals to the families which were not previously known. Also explored are the reasons as to why there are some individuals found in these inscriptions who are absent from the sources. Finally, this constitutes an exploration of the epigraphic habit in the Arabian Peninsula in the early Islamic period, as well as considering the issue of self-identification. In conclusion, this thesis demonstrates that inscriptions are an important source for the study of early Muslim genealogy.


  • Prof. P. Sijpesteijn
  • Prof. R. Carter (UCL-London)

This PhD research was financed by Kuwait University.

PhD dissertations

PhD dissertations by Leiden PhD students are available digitally after the defence through the Leiden Repository, that offers free access to these PhD dissertations. Please note that in some cases a dissertation may be under embargo temporarily and access to its full-text version will only be granted later.

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