An astonishing discovery was made by Uppsala University researchers in Sweden recently, according to which they found Arabic characters woven into funeral clothes of the Viking graves.
Patterns woven with silk and silver thread have been found to spell the words "Allah" and "Ali".
Textile archaeologist Annika Larsson of Uppsala University who revisit garments that were dug up in Birka and Gamla Uppsala in Sweden in the late 19th and mid-20th centuries made the discovery.
Initially, Larsson said, she couldn't make sense of the designs, but then she remembered where she had seen something similar: on Moorish textiles from Spain.
She said tiny geometric designs on the clothes were not Scandinavian patterns at all but instead ancient Arabic Kufic script. It was the name "Ali" - the fourth caliph of Islam. To unlock the puzzle, she enlarged the letters and examined them from all angles, including from behind.
She said she realised that the name "Ali" - the fourth caliph of Islam - and Allah on at least 10 of the almost 100 pieces she is working through, and they always appear together.
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She said: 'The possibility that some of those in the graves were Muslim can not be completely ruled out.
"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".
The team is now collaborating with the university's department for immunology, genetics and pathology to ascertain the geographic origins of the bodies inside those graves.
She told the BBC: "Now that I am looking at Viking patterns differently, I am convinced I will find more Islamic inscriptions in the remaining fragments from these excavations, and other Viking era textiles".
Two years ago, researchers re-examined a silver ring from a female tomb at Birka and found the phrase "for Allah" inscribed on the stone.
Larsson believes that the discovery is so interesting because it is the first time historic items mentioning Ali, cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, have ever been found in Scandinavia.
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