Name of Object:

Funerary stele of Abu ‘Abdallah ibn Khalifa


Algiers, Algeria

Holding Museum:

National Museum of Antiquities and Islamic Arts

 About National Museum of Antiquities and Islamic Arts, Algiers

Date of Object:

Hegira 488 / AD 1095

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Sculpted sandstone.


Height 24 cm, length 107 cm, width 31 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Qal’at Bani Hammad, Algeria.


Funerary stele in the form of a pyramid, tiered and surmounted by a prism. Sculpted in relief, an inscription in kufic lettering reveals the following epitaph: 'In the name of God the Clement, the Merciful! May God bless the prophet / Muhammad! And his family and may he accord them complete salvation, as every soul tastes death [Qur'an, XXI, 36]. This is the tomb of ‘Abdallah son of Khalifa son of Muhammad, may God show him mercy, he died the day / al-djumu'a [Friday] first day of Ramadan of the year 488 [September 1095]'. On the lateral sides, the prism holds the following inscription: 'To God / the glory.'
This stele is in a very bad condition, and the inscription is very difficult to decipher.

View Short Description

A very poorly preserved funerary stele in the form of a stepped pyramid topped with a prism. A barely legible inscription in kufic characters carved in relief gives the name of the deceased and the date of death, along with the habitual praise to God.

How date and origin were established:

The stele features a precise date.

How Object was obtained:

Gift from M. Massiera.

How provenance was established:

Found at the site of Qal'at Bani Hammad.

Selected bibliography:

Marçais, G., “Sur deux stèles funéraires hammadites du musée Stéphane Gsell”, Bulletin de la Société historique et géographique de la région de Sétif, Vol. II, 1941, pp.171–8.
Mazouz, A., El-kitabat el-koufia bildjazair ma beayn el-karnayn el-thani wa el-thamin el-higryene (8-14 el-miladiyene) (kufic inscriptions of Algeria between the 2nd and 8th centuries [8–14 of the Christian era]), Algiers, 2002.

Citation of this web page:

Leila Merabet "Funerary stele of Abu ‘Abdallah ibn Khalifa" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;dz;Mus01;50;en

Prepared by: Leila Merabet
Copyedited by: Margot Cortez
Translation by: Maria Vlotides
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: AL 92