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Significance and Context of Quranic Verses, Hadiths and Keywords: An Epigraphical Survey of Deccan.


· Muntazir Ali Archaeological Survey of India (Nagpur, India)


07/28 | 17:30-17:50 UTC+2/CEST


The epigraphy Branch of Archaeological Survey of India has discovered lots of Arabic and Persian inscriptions from Deccan region (i.e. Bijapur, Golconda, Ahmednagar, Bidar and Berar). These epigraphs are found in sectarian buildings such as mosques, tombs and ashurkhanas (i.e. Shia Muslim mourning place) as well as secular structures such as forts, palaces, gateways, tanks, wells, gardens, caravanserais and learning centers. Every inscription has its own significance and context, besides decorative and information-recording functions. For example, Quranic verses and hadiths may be used for ornamentation but they are also placed as per the edifice’s nature, place and location. Sectarian identity played a clear role: the first creed of Islam with bismillah is common in Islamic inscriptions of India but the declaration of faith of Shia Muslims is distinctive in that they also add the name of Ali. Mention may be made of Nad -i- Ali and names of Prophet’s family. These distinctive Shia features are particularly common in the Shia Sultanates of the QutubShahis and AdilShahis. Epigraphical sources of medieval India bear numerous Hadiths, certain Quranic verses and some appropriate chapters since such scriptures are connected with sacred signs and blessings. Numerology using the abjad system is also frequent: 786 is very common but other figures, such as 92 for Muhammad or 110 for Ali etc.are also used. By surveying these features, this paper will make a preliminary attempt towards analyzing the significance of the textual and graphic choices in the Arabic and Persian inscriptions of the Deccan region.