The Key to Success, Also Known As the Medium to All Parties and Attainment of Prosperity


This illuminated manuscript is of a wird (prayer) called "Miftāḥ al-najāḥ al-mukanná bi-al-wasīlah ilá kull ḥizb wa-falāḥ", attributed to ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib, the fourth caliph of Islam. According to the colophon, this work was completed by Shaykh Kamāl ibn ‘Abd al-Ḥaqq al-Sabzawārī, the calligrapher and illuminator, in Astarabad (present-day Gorgan, Iran) in 941 AH (1534 AD). The text, divided into five compartments, is in calligraphic vocalized Naskh script in black ink and vocalized Thuluth in gold ink outlined in black. Illuminated rosettes with colored dots serve as verse markers. The decorated colophon (folio 8b) is written in Tawqī’ and Riqā’ scripts in gold ink. Later bequest (waqf) seal impressions of the Vizier al-Shahīd ‘Alī Pāshā, dated 1130 AH (1717 AD), appear on folios 2a, 2b, and 3a. The brown leather binding with interconnected gold-tooled lobed medallions, discs, and doublures (ornamental linings inside the book covers) with filigree decoration is contemporary with the manuscript. The manuscript is from the Walters Art Museum and is designated Walters W. 579.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

مفتاح النجاح المكنى بالوسيلة الى كل حزب وفلاح

Type of Item

Physical Description

Foliation: i + 9 + i. Dimensions: 16.5 centimeters wide by 23.5 centimeters high. Framing lines in dark blue, black, gold, light green, and red

Last updated: February 12, 2016