The Copper Plaque Inscriptions At The Dome Of The Rock In Jerusalem, 72 AH / 692 CE
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
Assalamu ʿalaykum wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu:
The Arabic inscriptions in copper plaques at the eastern entrance and northern portal of the Dome of the Rock are not as well-known as the ones inscribed inside the Dome of the Rock. Here, we present these inscriptions and their translation.
INSCRIPTIONS AT THE EASTERN ENTRANCE
- In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Praise be to God other than Whom there is no god but He, the Living, the Eternal, the Originator of the heavens and the earth and the Light of the heavens
- and the earth and the Pillar of the heavens and the earth, the One, the eternally Besought of all; He begotteth not nor was begotten and there is none comparable unto Him, Owner of Sovereignty!
- Thou givest sovereignty unto whom Thou wilt, and Thou withdrawest sovereignty from whom Thou wilt, all sovereignty belongs to You and is from You, and its fate is (determined) by You, Lord of glory
- the Merciful, the Compassionate. He hath prescribed for Himself mercy, and His mercy embraceth all things; May He be glorified and exalted. As for what the polytheists associate (with You), we ask You, oh God by
- Your mercy and by Your beautiful names and by Your noble face and Your awesome power and Your perfect word, on which are based the heavens and the earth and
- through which we are preserved by Your mercy from Satan and are saved from Your punishment (on) the Day of Judgment and by Your abundant favour and by Your great grace and forbearance and omnipotence
- and forgiveness and liberality, that You bless Muḥammad, Your servant, Your prophet, and that You accept his intercession for his people, the blessing of God be upon him and peace be upon him and the mercy of God and ….
- From the servant of Allah ʿAbdullah al-Ma’mun al-Imam, Commander of the Faithful, may Allah prolongs its duration! In the rule of the brother of Commander of the Faithful Abu Ishaq, son of Commander of the Faithful
- al-Rashid, that Allah makes it last. And (this work) had place by the hands of Salih b. Yaḥya, the mawali of Commander of the Faithful, in the month of Rabi‘ al-Akhir of year 216.
INSCRIPTIONS AT THE NORTHERN PORTAL
- In the name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate. Praise be to God than Whom there is no god but He. The Living, the Eternal; He has no associate, the One, the eternally Besought of all – He
- begetteth not nor was begotten, and there is none comparable unto Him. Muḥammad is the servant of God and His messenger whom He sent with the guidance and the religion of truth, that He may make it conqueror of all religion
- however much idolators may be averse. We believe in God and that which was revealed unto Muḥammad and that which the Prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and unto Him
- we have surrendered. The blessing of God be upon Muḥammad, His servant and His prophet, and peace be upon him and the mercy of God and His blessing and His forgiveness and His acceptance.
72 AH / 692 CE.
The copper plaque inscription at the eastern entrance, as shown above, have some parts missing on the left hand side (Figure a). Apparently, they were not reproduced by Max van Berchem. The inscription in Figure b shows the continuation of lines 8 and 9 from Figure a. The Dome of the Rock was built by Umayyad caliph ʿAbd al-Malik but the later Caliph al-Ma’mun inserted his name as is evident from the last two lines (i.e., 8 and 9) of the inscription.
The last two lines were inserted later and due to their lengthy text, they had to be squeezed in; thereby making the letters closely packed and smaller in size.
As for the inscriptions on the northern portal, no images appeared to have been taken; van Berchem mentions only the text.
These inscriptions have five Qur’anic verses quoted partially.
Forgotten Witness: Evidence For The Early Codification Of The Qur’an,Estelle Whelan, Journal Of The American Oriental Society, 1998, Volume 118, No. 1, pp. 1-14.