Name of Object:

Tombstone of al-Hakkari



Holding Museum:

Islamic Museum, al-Aqsa Mosque / al-Haram al-Sharif

About Islamic Museum, al-Aqsa Mosque / al-Haram al-Sharif, Jerusalem

Date of Object:

Hegira 587 / AD 1191

Museum Inventory Number:

ز/ م/1

Material(s) / Technique(s):

White marble with inscription in high relief.


Height 55 cm, length 49 cm, depth 5 cm

Period / Dynasty:





A rectangular tombstone of white marble with an inscription in high relief that was restored at some time and is now composed of three pieces. The text is written in seven lines in Ayyubid thuluth script with partial use of diacritical marks without vowelisation. There are no separating distances between the words of the text; the borders of the marble panel are delineated on all sides by a conspicuously sharp plane known as zamla. The zamla technique is also used to separate the lines of text within the panel.
The inscription commemorates Sharwa al-Hakkari who died in Ramla, Palestine. After he died his body was taken to Jerusalem for burial in the old cemetery of Bab al-Sahira (Cemetery of the Gate of Herod). Al-Hakkari family was Kurdish, originating from Iraq. A large number of his family members participated in the Crusades under the leadership of Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi (Saladin), the inscription, starting with the Basmala, reads as follows:
“In the Name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Sharwa bin Dawud bin Ibrahim al-Hakkari
May God have mercy on he, who was martyred on the earth of Ramallah
In the month of Dhi al-Qa'da of the year AH 587 [AD 1191]
May God have mercy on him and may he
have mercy on he who pleads for God's mercy on him, Amen
Oh Lord of the Worlds, Amen.”

View Short Description

This marble tombstone has a carved inscription in the Ayyubid thuluth script in relief. The words have no vowels. The inscription commemorates Sharwa al-Hakkari who died in Ramla and whose body was transported to Jerusalem for burial in the family cemetery. He seems to have been one of the warriors who spent their lives in the Crusader wars.

Original Owner:

Sharwa bin Dawud bin Ibrahim al-Hakkari (d. AH 587 / AD 1191)

How date and origin were established:

The object is dated by the inscription.

How Object was obtained:

The tombstone was transferred from the graveyard of Bab al-Sahira in Jerusalem to the Islamic Museum in the 1980s.

How provenance was established:

Jerusalem was narrowed down as the place of production for this tombstone as it is probable that it would have been produced in a workshop on site, or somewhere adjacent to it.

Selected bibliography:

Al-'Asli, K., Ajdaduna fi Thara Bait al-Maqdis [Our Ancestors Who Are Buried in Jerusalem], Amman, 1981.
Berchem, M., van, Corpus Inscriptionum Arabicarum, Vol. I, 40,Cairo, 1925.
Burgoyne, M., and Abu al-Hajj, A., “Twenty-four Medieval Arabic Inscriptions from Jerusalem”, Levant, No. 11, 1979, p.119.

Citation of this web page:

Khader Salameh "Tombstone of al-Hakkari" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2018.;ISL;pa;Mus01;49;en

Prepared by: Khader SalamehKhader Salameh

Khader Salameh has been the Director of the Islamic Museum and Al-Aqsa Library in Jerusalem for more than two decades. He was previously employed in the Hebrew University Library and worked as a librarian in Saudi Arabia and as a teacher in Libya. He is a Ph.D. Candidate in Ottoman History. He received a Certificate of Librarianship in 1986 from the Hebrew University. He obtained his BA degree from Beirut University in 1980. He catalogued the Manuscripts Collections of the Haram al-Sharif, which was published in six parts in several countries. His publications include many articles on different subjects and a recent publication in English and Arabic on the Qur'an manuscripts in the Islamic Museum.

Copyedited by: Majd Musa
Translation by: Amal Sachedina (from the Arabic).
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez

MWNF Working Number: PA 49


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