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Manuscript/Mixed Material Praise (Madh) to 'Ali

About this Item


  • Praise (Madh) to 'Ali


  • Abd al-Bari al-Husayni

Created / Published

  • 18th-19th centuries


  • -  ʻAlī ibn Abī Ṭālib,--Caliph,--approximately 600-661
  • -  Calligraphy, Arabic
  • -  Calligraphy, Persian
  • -  Manuscripts, Persian--Washington (D.C.)
  • -  India
  • -  Arabic script calligraphy
  • -  Illuminated Islamic manuscripts
  • -  Islamic calligraphy
  • -  Islamic manuscripts
  • -  Nasta'liq


  • -  Shi'i poetry in Persian in praise of the Prophet's son-in-law, 'Ali. In Nasta'liq script produced in India.
  • -  Ay talib, sirr-i haqq za asma' bitalab / Az ism natija-yi musammah bitalab / Bar dhat-i 'Ali ism-i mu'allah bar khwan / Vaz ism-i 'Ali fayz-i mu'allah bitalab
  • -  Dimensions of Written Surface: 9.8 (w) x 19.8 (h) cm
  • -  For a further discussion of God's "Beautiful Names" and the difference between a name (al-ism) and what is named (al-musammah), see al-Ghazali (d. 1111), "The Ninety-Nine Beautiful Names of God", trans. David Burrell and Nazih Daher (Cambridge: Islamic Texts Society, 1995).
  • -  Oh seeker, search for the secret of Truth (God) from (His) Names / From the Name, search the epitome of What is Named / From the essence of 'Ali recite the name of the Exalted One / And from the name of 'Ali search the favor of the Lofty One
  • -  The verses are executed in black nasta'liq script framed by delicate cloud bands on a beige paper. The text (most likely an invocation to God) in the upper right corner has been lost, while the lower left corner contains the signature of the calligrapher 'Abd al-Bari al-Husayni, who asks for forgiveness of his sins from God. 'Abd al-Bari al-Husayni may have been a calligrapher in nasta'liq script in 19th-century India. The purple frame decorated with gold leafs and the brown sheet of paper backed by cardboard onto which the text panel has been pasted suggest an Indian provenance.
  • -  These verses draw on the symbolic dichotomy between the name (al-ism) and the named (al-musammah) and between essence (dhat) and manifestation (zuhur) found in discussions about God and His Beautiful Names (al-asma' al-husna). The verses transform the theological theme into Persian poetry, while promoting a Shi'i understanding of God (the Goal) through 'Ali (the means).
  • -  This calligraphic fragment includes four lines of Shi'i poetry encouraging the seeker (talib) to derive spiritual knowledge of God by means of understanding the Prophet's son-in-law, 'Ali. The verses read:
  • -  Script: nasta'liq
  • -  1-04-713.19.39


  • 1 volume ; 23.9 (w) x 36.7 (h) cm


  • Library of Congress African and Middle Eastern Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2019714522

Online Format

  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

The contents of the Library of Congress Selections of Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Calligraphy are in the public domain or have no known copyright restrictions and are free to use and reuse.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, African and Middle East Division, Near East Section Persian Manuscript Collection

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Chicago citation style:

Abd Al-Bari Al-Husayni. Praise Madh to 'Ali. 18th-19th Centuries. Manuscript/Mixed Material.

APA citation style:

Abd Al-Bari Al-Husayni. Praise Madh to 'Ali. 18th-19th Centuries. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Abd Al-Bari Al-Husayni. Praise Madh to 'Ali. 18th-19th Centuries. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.