Ancient ring links Scandinavians to Islam

Muslim Matters

Ancient ring links Scandinavians to Islam

OnIslam & Newspapers

CAIRO – Unveiling centuries-old close contact between Viking Age Scandinavians and the Islamic civilization, a silver ring engraved with script that reads “for Allah” or “to Allah” has been discovered in Sweden.

“The ring may… constitute material evidence for direct interactions between Viking Age Scandinavia and the Islamic world,” researchers from Stockholm University wrote in a research published in scientific journal Scanning, The Independent reported.

Discovered in the late 1800s, the engraved ring is adorned with a violet-colored precious stone, expected to be an amethyst.

Decades after its discovery, the inscription on the stone was found to be either “for Allah” or “to Allah” in an ancient Arabic script.

The antique, which was recovered at a Viking trading centre in Sweden called Birka, was found in a grave north of Borg on the Björkö Island.

With Clothes and jewellery around the decomposed skeleton, the grave is believed to be for a woman whose burial dates back to 850 AD.

“Being the only ring with an Arabic inscription found at a Scandinavian archaeological site, it is a unique object among Swedish Viking Age material,” researchers added.

The unique ring is remarkable as its “inner surface shows virtually no sign of wear”, according to researchers.

Trading for glass objects had flourished between Scandinavians and Egyptians over thousands of years BC.

Contact between Scandinavians and Muslims 1,000 years ago has been mentioned by ancient texts too.

Historians are almost unanimous that Islamic civilization came in contact with the Christian European West during the medieval times, when Europe was going through total darkness, through three main routes.

Muslims make up between 450,000 and 500,000 of Sweden’s nine million people, according to the US State Department report in 2011.

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