The Word "Allah" Has Been Found Written In Arabic Script On Ancient Viking Clothing

Tablet woven band. Annika Larsson

This, however, is the first time objects containing the word "Ali" have been found in Scandinavia. Such a discovery points to a connection between the Vikings and the Shia Muslim community, the largest minority group in Islam.

"The use of Ali does suggest a Shia connection," Amir De Martino, program leader of Islamic studies at the Islamic College in London and chief editor of Islam Today, told the BBC.

"But without the phrase 'waly Allah' accompanying the name – meaning 'friend of Allah' – this would not be from mainstream Shia culture and might just have been copied wrongly from something that was."

Larsson now wonders about the graves' occupants.

"The possibility that some of those in the graves were Muslim cannot be completely ruled out," she said, reports the BBC.

"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. However, it is more likely these findings show that Viking age burial customs were influenced by Islamic ideas such as eternal life in paradise after death."

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