Evidence pertaining to the Vikings converting to Islam includes a memoir recorded by the 16th century geographer from Muslim Civilisation, Amin Razi who is reported to have stated that:
…They [the Vikings] highly valued pork. Even those who had converted to Islam aspired to it and were very fond of pork.”
Omar Mubaidin’s article states: “Vikings would make numerous raids against both Muslim and Christian states in the Iberian Peninsula. Eventually, a community of settled Vikings, who converted to Islam in southeast Seville, would be famous for supplying cheese to Cordoba and Seville.”
In Andrew Marr’s BBC Documentary, “History of the World: Into the Light”, Marr commented on how Vikings in Russia also came very close to converting to Islam with their king being unable to initially decide which of the world’s religions would suit them best.
Why did Vikings have ‘Allah’ embroidered into funeral clothes? – BBC News – They were kept in storage for more than 100 years, dismissed as typical examples of Viking Age funeral clothes.
But a new investigation into the garments – found in 9th and 10th Century graves – has thrown up groundbreaking insights into contact between the Viking and Muslim worlds.
Patterns woven with silk and silver thread have been found to spell the words “Allah” and “Ali”.
The breakthrough was made by textile archaeologist Annika Larsson of Uppsala University while re-examining the remnants of burial costumes from male and female boat and chamber graves originally excavated in Birka and Gamla Uppsala in Sweden in the late 19th and mid-20th centuries.
She became interested in the forgotten fragments after realising the material had come from central Asia, Persia and China.
Larsson says the tiny geometric designs – no more than 1.5cm (0.6in) high – resembled nothing she had come across in Scandinavia before.
“I couldn’t quite make sense of them and then I remembered where I had seen similar designs – in Spain, on Moorish textiles.”
BBC News | Swedes find Viking-era Arab coins – There has been no similar find in that part of Sweden since the 1880s.
Most of the coins were minted in Baghdad and Damascus, but some came from Persia and North Africa, said archaeologist Karin Beckman-Thoor.
The team from the Swedish National Heritage Board had just started removing a stone cairn at the site “when we suddenly found one coin and couldn’t understand why it was there”, she told the BBC News website.
“We continued digging and found more coins and realised it was a Viking-age hoard.” The coins were left there in about AD850, she said.
Such Viking hoards usually come from Gotland – a large Swedish island in the Baltic Sea, she explained.
“No Viking was buried at this site – the grave is older. Maybe the Vikings thought the hoard would be protected by ancestors,” Ms Beckman-Thoor added. Vikings had settled in a village nearby.