The Islamic Funerary Inscriptions of Bahrain Pre-1317 AH/1900 AD By Timothy Insoll – Salman Almahari – Rachel MacLean
THE ISLAMIC FUNERARY INSCRIPTIONS OF BAHRAIN
This book presents a catalogue of the Islamic funerary inscriptions of Bahrain dating to before 1317 AH/1900 AD (all dates are specified as either AH or AD. Where both dates are cited these are in the format AH/AD).
It results from fieldwork completed between 2013 and 2015 undertaken in co-operation with the Bahraini Shiʿa Jaffaria Waqf and the Sunni Waqf authorities who provided information on the locations of relevant gravestones, personnel to participate in the recording, and ethical clearance and research authorisation (along with the Directorate of Archaeology and Heritage of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities).
150 gravestones were recorded in 26 locations: in 23 cemeteries, mosques, and shrines (136 gravestones), two museums (13 gravestones), and one private house (1 gravestone) (Table 1.1; Figure 1.1). Of these, 38 gravestones were exposed through archaeological excavation and 106 have inscriptions.
The excavations and surveys, and the ethnographic recording of contemporary cemetery visitation practices, cemetery material culture, and uses of the grave-stones were directed by Professor Timothy Insoll, assisted by Dr Salman Almahari and Dr Rachel MacLean and Mr Jassim Al-Abbas.
Following the advice of Professor Robert Hoyland, New York University, that the inscriptions should be transcribed into modern Arabic by those familiar with the formulae used, this was completed in Bahrain by Dr Salman Almahari of the Directorate of Archaeology and Heritage, Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, with Sheikh Bashar abd Alhadi Al-Ali, religious scholar, and Mr Jassim Al-Abbas, Head of Research at the Jaffaria Waqf Authority.
Dr Salman Almahari completed the translation from modern Arabic to English, and additional crosschecking of the translations was completed by Dr Xavier Luffin of the Départment de Langues et Lettres, Université Libre de Bruxelles, and Dr Abdelghani Mimouni, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.
The Contents of the Book
This chapter considers the history of Islamic burial, gravestone, and cemetery research in Bahrain, and discusses the gravestone chronology, gravestone and cemetery types, stone sources and gravestone manufacture, the gravestone inscriptions, content, iconography and decoration, and the archaeology of the shrines and cemeteries in which some of the gravestones were found.
Chapter 2 presents the gravestones in the form of a catalogue. It provides detail on each location where gravestones were recorded, and individual reference numbers, coordinates, dimensions, orientations, and descriptions for every gravestone, as well as an Arabic transcription and translation for all gravestone inscriptions.
Chapter 3 concludes this study by providing a discussion of contemporary practices relating to cemeteries, graves, and gravestones, the threats facing the gravestones, and management options for protecting and presenting the gravestones.
No attempt is made to add historical context to the epitaphs and texts, the individuals commemorated, or to the places mentioned on the gravestones. This is to permit others to explore these themes, add this detail and use this epigraphic corpus for the purposes of their research unsullied by the previous studies.