Name of Object:

Funerary stele of Abu Bakr ibn Yusuf


Algiers, Algeria

Holding Museum:

National Museum of Antiquities and Islamic Arts

About National Museum of Antiquities and Islamic Arts, Algiers

Date of Object:

Hegira 512 / AD 1118

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Sculpted white marble.


Height 21 cm, length 32 cm, width 3 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Béjaia, Algeria.


Funerary stele that is quadrangular in shape, featuring a floral kufic inscription on both sides sculpted in relief.
On one side, the text is composed of four lines: 'In the name of God, the Clement, the Merciful! May God bless the prophet Muhammad! / Whoever dwells on this earth is perishable. This is the tomb of Abu Bakr / ibn Yusuf deceased / may God have mercy upon him! in the month of rabi / al-aoual in the year 512 [AD 1118].'
On the other side, five lines proclaim: 'In the name of God, the Clement, the Merciful, every soul / tastes death. Only your rewards will be discharged on the day of resurrection. / He who escapes the fire and is introduced to the garden: / therefore, for him, there will be triumph, as life here below / is nothing but the enjoyment of illusion' (Qur'an III. 185, Berque French translation). On both sides, the areas left empty by the strokes of the letters are filled in with floral ornamentation.
This stele is the first from the Hammadid period to be discovered in Béjaia. It is positioned on the tomb in such a way as to point to the direction of the qibla.

View Short Description

The first Hammadid funerary stele found in Béjaia. Rectangular in shape, it bears a kufic inscription and floral decoration sculpted on both sides: on one, the name of the deceased and, on the other, a passage from the Qur'an.

How date and origin were established:

The inscription featured on the stele bears a precise date.

How provenance was established:

From an archaeological repository (excavations of the Qal'at Bani Hammad).

Selected bibliography:

Bourouiba, R., Les H'ammadites, Algiers, 1984.
Colin, G., Corpus des inscriptions arabes et turques de l'Algérie, I, Département d'Alger, Paris, 1901.
Coran (Le), transl. by J. Berque, Paris, 1990.
Marçais, G., Le musée Stéphane Gsell, musée des antiquités et d'art musulman d'Alger, Algiera, 1950.
Marye, G., Catalogue du Musée national des antiquités algériennes, Algiers, 1899.

Citation of this web page:

Leila Merabet "Funerary stele of Abu Bakr ibn Yusuf" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;dz;Mus01;5;en

Prepared by: Leila MerabetLeila Merabet

Titulaire d'un magister en archéologie islamique (spécialité épigraphie arabe), conservateur du patrimoine archéologique et historique, Leila Merabet est chef du service Conservation et Valorisation (section islamique) au Musée national des antiquités. Elle a publié de nombreux articles dans les Annales du Musée national des antiquités.

Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Maria Vlotides
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: AL 08


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On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Muslim West | Funerary Steles: Memorials in Stone

MWNF Galleries

Calligraphy Funerary objects


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