Invocations to 'Ali


This calligraphic fragment includes two bayts (verses) invoking the Prophet Muhammad's son-in-law 'Ali through his various epithets. Beginning with an invocation ya 'Ali al-a'ala (to 'Ali as the Greatest), the verses then read: “Oh, Lion of God, Leader of Haydar, victory! / Oh, Stormer of the door of the Castle of Khaybar, victory! / The doors of hope have shut on my face. / Oh, Possessor of (the sword) Dhu al-Fiqar and (the servant) Qanbar, victory!” 'Ali is petitioned through his many names, attributes, and historical exploits to bring about hope and victory. The verses are executed in black nasta'liq script on a white-and-blue abri or ebru (marbled) paper. The text panel is provided with a rather sloppy golf-flecked frame and is pasted to a larger sheet of brown paper backed by cardboard. In the lower-left corner of the text panel, the calligrapher Hafiz Muhammad Sa'd al-Din states that he has written this mashaqahu (text) and asks for God's forgiveness for his sins. The number 205 appears as well, which may indicate that the piece was executed in AH 1205 (1790−91). Although Hafiz Muhammad Sa'd al-Din cannot be identified in historical sources, he appears to have been a calligrapher in nasta'liq script active in 18th-century Iran or India.

Last updated: July 31, 2014