Researchers find ‘Allah’ embroidered on Viking burial textiles

Researchers with Uppsala University in Sweden recently took a closer look at a collection of burial garments gathered from 9th and 10th-century Viking graves and discovered that ‘Allah’ and ‘Ali’ were embroidered on some of the pieces.

Long thought to be a Viking geometric pattern, an examination of the design revealed it was actually Kufic script, an early form of Arabic writing.

As to how Islamic script ended up on grave garments, Annika Larsson, one of the researchers, commented, “Presumably, Viking Age burial customs were influenced by Islam and the idea of an eternal life in Paradise after death."

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The Viking longboat burns during the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on January 28, 2014. Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian Vikings in the Shetland Islands and culminates with up to 1,000 'guizers' (men in costume) throwing flaming torches into their Viking longboat and setting it alight later in the evening. AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants dressed as Vikings set alight their longboat during the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on January 28, 2014. Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian Vikings in the Shetland Islands and culminates with up to 1,000 'guizers' (men in costume) throwing flaming torches into their Viking longboat and setting it alight later in the evening. AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants dressed as Vikings process around their longboat during the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on January 28, 2014. Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian Vikings in the Shetland Islands and culminates with up to 1,000 'guizers' (men in costume) throwing flaming torches into their Viking longboat and setting it alight later in the evening. AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants dressed as Vikings light their burning brands as they take part in the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on January 28, 2014. Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian Vikings in the Shetland Islands and culminates with up to 1,000 'guizers' (men in costume) throwing flaming torches into their Viking longboat and setting it alight later in the evening. AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants dressed as Vikings carry burning brands as they take part in the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on January 28, 2014. Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian Vikings in the Shetland Islands and culminates with up to 1,000 'guizers' (men in costume) throwing flaming torches into their Viking longboat and setting it alight later in the evening. AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants dressed as Vikings carry burning brands as they take part in the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on January 28, 2014. Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian Vikings in the Shetland Islands and culminates with up to 1,000 'guizers' (men in costume) throwing flaming torches into their Viking longboat and setting it alight later in the evening. AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants dressed as Vikings process around their longboat during the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on January 28, 2014. Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian Vikings in the Shetland Islands and culminates with up to 1,000 'guizers' (men in costume) throwing flaming torches into their Viking longboat and setting it alight later in the evening. AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
LERWICK, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 28: Locals dressed as Vikings march through the streets of Lerwick on January 28, 2014, in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. The traditional festival of fire is known as 'Up Helly Aa'. The spectacular event takes place annually on the last Tuesday of January. The climax of the day comes with participants in full costume hauling a Viking longboat through the streets of Lerwick to the edge of town where up to 1000 people parade and throw their flaming torches into the galley. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
A young boy (Top R) cries as participants dressed as Vikings pose for a group picture as they prepare to participate in the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands on January 28, 2014. Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian Vikings in the Shetland Islands and culminates with up to 1,000 'guizers' (men in costume) throwing flaming torches into their Viking longboat and setting it alight later in the evening. AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants dressed as Vikings prepare to participate in the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands on January 28, 2014. Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian Vikings in the Shetland Islands and culminates with up to 1,000 'guizers' (men in costume) throwing flaming torches into their Viking longboat and setting it alight later in the evening. AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants dressed as Vikings prepare to participate in the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on January 28, 2014. Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian Vikings in the Shetland Islands and culminates with up to 1,000 'guizers' (men in costume) throwing flaming torches into their Viking longboat and setting it alight later in the evening. AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants dressed as Vikings prepare to participate in the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on January 28, 2014. Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian Vikings in the Shetland Islands and culminates with up to 1,000 'guizers' (men in costume) throwing flaming torches into their Viking longboat and setting it alight later in the evening. AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants dressed as Vikings prepare to participate in the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on January 28, 2014. Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian Vikings in the Shetland Islands and culminates with up to 1,000 'guizers' (men in costume) throwing flaming torches into their Viking longboat and setting it alight later in the evening. AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
LERWICK, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 28: Locals dressed as Vikings pose in the streets of Lerwick on January 28, 2014, in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. The traditional festival of fire is known as 'Up Helly Aa'. The spectacular event takes place annually on the last Tuesday of January. The climax of the day comes with participants in full costume hauling a Viking longboat through the streets of Lerwick to the edge of town where up to 1000 people parade and throw their flaming torches into the galley. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LERWICK, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 28: Locals dressed as Vikings march through the streets of Lerwick on January 28, 2014, in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. The traditional festival of fire is known as 'Up Helly Aa'. The spectacular event takes place annually on the last Tuesday of January. The climax of the day comes with participants in full costume hauling a Viking longboat through the streets of Lerwick to the edge of town where up to 1000 people parade and throw their flaming torches into the galley. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Participants dressed as Vikings prepare to participate in the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on January 28, 2014. Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian Vikings in the Shetland Islands and culminates with up to 1,000 'guizers' (men in costume) throwing flaming torches into their Viking longboat and setting it alight later in the evening. AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants dressed as Vikings prepare to participate in the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on January 28, 2014. Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian Vikings in the Shetland Islands and culminates with up to 1,000 'guizers' (men in costume) throwing flaming torches into their Viking longboat and setting it alight later in the evening. AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants dressed as Vikings eat breakfast as they prepare to participate in the annual Up Helly Aa festival in Lerwick, Shetland Islands, on January 28, 2014. Up Helly Aa celebrates the influence of the Scandinavian Vikings in the Shetland Islands and culminates with up to 1,000 'guizers' (men in costume) throwing flaming torches into their Viking longboat and setting it alight later in the evening. AFP PHOTO / ANDY BUCHANAN (Photo credit should read Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images)
LERWICK, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 28: Locals dressed as Vikings prepare to march through the streets of Lerwick on January 28, 2014, in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. The traditional festival of fire is known as 'Up Helly Aa'. The spectacular event takes place annually on the last Tuesday of January. The climax of the day comes with participants in full costume hauling a Viking longboat through the streets of Lerwick to the edge of town where up to 1000 people parade and throw their flaming torches into the galley. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LERWICK, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 28: Locals dressed as Vikings march through the streets of Lerwick on January 28, 2014, in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. The traditional festival of fire is known as 'Up Helly Aa'. The spectacular event takes place annually on the last Tuesday of January. The climax of the day comes with participants in full costume hauling a Viking longboat through the streets of Lerwick to the edge of town where up to 1000 people parade and throw their flaming torches into the galley. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LERWICK, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 28: Locals dressed as Vikings march through the streets of Lerwick on January 28, 2014, in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. The traditional festival of fire is known as 'Up Helly Aa'. The spectacular event takes place annually on the last Tuesday of January. The climax of the day comes with participants in full costume hauling a Viking longboat through the streets of Lerwick to the edge of town where up to 1000 people parade and throw their flaming torches into the galley. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LERWICK, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 28: Locals dressed as Vikings march through the streets of Lerwick on January 28, 2014, in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. The traditional festival of fire is known as 'Up Helly Aa'. The spectacular event takes place annually on the last Tuesday of January. The climax of the day comes with participants in full costume hauling a Viking longboat through the streets of Lerwick to the edge of town where up to 1000 people parade and throw their flaming torches into the galley. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LERWICK, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 28: Locals dressed as Vikings march through the streets of Lerwick on January 28, 2014, in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. The traditional festival of fire is known as 'Up Helly Aa'. The spectacular event takes place annually on the last Tuesday of January. The climax of the day comes with participants in full costume hauling a Viking longboat through the streets of Lerwick to the edge of town where up to 1000 people parade and throw their flaming torches into the galley. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
LERWICK, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 28: Locals dressed as Vikings march through the streets of Lerwick on January 28, 2014, in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. The traditional festival of fire is known as 'Up Helly Aa'. The spectacular event takes place annually on the last Tuesday of January. The climax of the day comes with participants in full costume hauling a Viking longboat through the streets of Lerwick to the edge of town where up to 1000 people parade and throw their flaming torches into the galley. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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“Grave goods such as beautiful clothing, finely sewn in exotic fabrics, hardly reflect the deceased’s everyday life, just as little as the formal attire of our era reflects our own daily lives,” Larsson noted. "The rich material of grave goods should rather be seen as tangible expressions of underlying values.” 

Larsson has also suggested that some of those in the graves could be Muslims.

“We know from other Viking tomb excavations that DNA analysis has shown some of the people buried in them originated from places like Persia, where Islam was very dominant,” she told the BBC.  

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