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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Calligraphic panel showing stylized views of Mecca and Medina and Sandals of the Prophet Muhammad
Paintings with Calligraphy
Work Type
late 19th-early 20th century
Creation Place: Africa, Morocco
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Ink, colors and gold on paper, mounted on board
89.5 x 149.9 cm (35 1/4 x 59 in.)
boxed: 6.7 x 170.8 x 94.6 cm (2 5/8 x 67 1/4 x 37 1/4 in.)


Recorded Ownership History
Edwin Binney, 3rd, California (by 1986), bequest; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2016.

Stored at the San Diego Museum of Art from some time before 1986 until 1991, then at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from 1991-2011.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Edwin Binney, 3rd Collection of Turkish Art at the Harvard Art Museums
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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This large panel, created in Ouazzane, Morocco, is divided into rectangular sections that contain Arabic inscriptions in a variety of colors and scripts (naskh, thuluth, muhaqqaq, riq’a, kufic, and maghribi). These inscriptions include: verses from multiple chapters of the Qur’an (2:255, 5:67, 9:128, 15:9, 18:10, 21:87, 28:85, 33:40, 33:56, 37:180-182, 48:29, 59: 21-24, and 85:20-2); the Shahada (the Muslim profession of faith); prayers; devotional poetry and prose dedicated to the Prophet Muhammad; an alphabetical list of combatants in Battle of Badr of the Muslim Holy Wars; the Ashra Mubashara (a list ten of the Prophet’s companions who had been promised Paradise); and the genealogy of the Prophet Muhammad.
The phrase “Blessing of Muhammad” is written sixteen times in kufic script; it is featured prominently twice in large black letters on either side of the panel, and repeated fourteen times in smaller letters in either red, green, or blue. The word “Allah” is repeated thirty times, and “Muhammad” is repeated thirty-one times between Qur’anic and poetic verses. At the top center of the panel, written in large calligraphic letters is “Muhammad is His slave and His messenger” (left) and “Allah His Glory is Great” (right).
At the bottom center are abstract views of the holy sites. On the left is a bird’s eye view of the Haram al-Sharif in Mecca, with the black square in the center representing the Ka`ba. Inscriptions identify sites that are part of performing the Hajj, for example: Saka, the place of water preparation for the Hajj; Makhzin al-Ka`ba, the storage of Ka`ba; Bir Zamzam, the Zamzam Well; and Minbar Nabi, the pulpit of the Prophet Muhammad. Written within the yellow crescent shapes is the Shahada. Each circle enclosed within a crescent names one of the four Sunni Imams who inspired the four orthodox Sunni schools of thought (madhhabs): Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, and Hanbali. Repeated six times is the word “minaret”.
The map on the right depicts the Rawdah Mubarak, the Prophet Muhammad’s shrine, in Medina. Labeled is the Minbar Nabi, the pulpit of the Prophet Muhammad; Bab al-Salam, the Gate of Peace; and the graves of Abu Bakr and Umar ibn al-Khattab, the first and second caliphs, respectively, of Sunni Islam. Here, the word “minaret” is repeated four times.
Flanking the maps are two stylized pairs of the Prophet Muhammad’s sandals (na’layn). They are decorated with the verses of the Qasida al-Burda (Poem of the Mantle) by the eminent Sufi poet Imam al-Busiri, (1213-94) of Egypt. The poem praises the Prophet, who al-Busiri said cured him of paralysis by appearing in a dream and wrapping him in a mantle or cloak.

Publication History

  • Mounia Chekhab Abudaya, Inner Visions: Art Practice and Sufi Devotion in Morocco at the Turn of the Fourteenth/Twentieth Century, Journal of Material Cultures in the Muslim World, Brill Academic Publishers (Leiden) (Leiden, 2022), vol. 3, pp. 267-298, pp. 267-298, figs. 1-8, 17-18

Exhibition History

  • 32Q: 2550 Islamic, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/07/2018 - 04/17/2019

Verification Level

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