American Stories

Omar ibn Said Writes Qur’an Verses as "The Lord’s Prayer"

About This Resource

The manuscript in the image on the left presents two pages written in Arabic by Omar ibn Said in 1857.  The text below is a note written on the same paper by the manuscript’s owner. Omar had been asked to write the Lord's Prayer in Arabic, but in fact, he transcribed from memory a verse from the Qur’an, chapter 110, “The Help,” which reads in English “When God’s help and victory come, and you see people embrace God’s faith in multitudes, give glory to your Lord and seek His pardon. He is ever disposed to mercy.” Omar’s autobiography (1831) appears on pages 5-9 of The Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States,  where his name is spelled “Omar ibn Sayyid.” 

Text

Omar ibn Said, (b. 1770?), a freed slave living in North Carolina, is the author of this page written in Arabic script. A note in English on the back states, “The Lord's Prayer written in Arabic by Uncle Moreau (Omar) a native African, now owned by General Owen of Wilming ton N. C. . He is 88 years of age & a devoted Christian. Given to Mary Jones, at the Rockbridge Alum Springs, Rockbridge Country Va. by Genl Owen July 27, 1857.

Source

“Surat al-Nasr. Omar ibn Said, b. 1770?” from From the North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill , Documenting the American South, University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1998, n. d. http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/omarsaid/support3.html#menu_links; The Columbia Sourcebook of Muslims in the United States, Edward E. Curtis IV, Editor. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008, pp. 9.

How to Cite This Page

"Muslim Journeys | Item #71: Omar ibn Said Writes Qur’an Verses as "The Lord’s Prayer"", January 20, 2018 http://bridgingcultures.neh.gov/muslimjourneys/items/show/71.

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