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Framed Hilya Panel | Description of Prophet Muhammad by Hafiz Osman; Turkey

€70,00 €65,00
SKU HY-P-037

Hilye panel by Hasan Rıza Efendi ; Ottoman Turkey

The masterful script of this art piece was penned by the renowned Ottoman calligrapher Hafiz Osman who is the originator of the classical template of the hilya. The wide band of green and gold floral decoration that surrounds the hilya was probably added about a century after Hafiz Osman wrote the text; this being an indication of the respect with which his work continued to be held with long after his death.
Born in Istanbul to a father who was a muezzin at the Khassèki mosque, Hafiz Osman became an accomplished calligrapher who taught his craft to Sultan Ahmed II, Sultan Mustafa II, and Sultan Ahmed III. Tradition has it that he was held in such high esteem by Sultan Mustafa II, that the Sultan used to hold his inkwell as he watched his teacher write.
He studied the naskh and thuluth script with Derviş Ali, and received an ijaza through Suyolcuzade Mustafa Eyyubi. Osman also admired the work of the 15th-century calligrapher, Seyh Hamdullah, and spent many hours copying his works assiduously in order to perfect his craft. Osman revived some of the six scripts that had fallen into disuse. These scripts underwent a process of purification and became known as "Hâfiz Osman's style".
Osman was not only a fine calligrapher but he was also a master of page layout and design as his development of the hilya attests to. He raised text design to new heights, often incorporating different styles of calligraphy on the same page.
Hafız Osman was a Sufi belonging to the Sunbuliyye order. He gave lessons to the poor on Sundays and lessons to the wealthy on Wednesdays. Throughout his lifetime, he trained a large number of calligraphers, of whom the finest was Yedikuleli Seyyid 'Abdullah Efendi.

What is a Hilya?


During Ottoman times, Turkish calligraphers came up with a unique way to ‘illustrate’ and remember the Prophet ﷺ.

Hilyas were developed where the description of the Prophet ﷺ would be written in beautiful Arabic calligraphy in order to be put up in homes, mosques and businesses.

Hilya means “creation, form, or quality”, as well as having the meaning of “decoration or ornament”. The works of art now traditionally follow a common layout, often including the names of the four caliphs – Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali (may Allah be pleased with them).

The most common reference artists use when designing Hilyas is a narration from Ali ibn Abi Talib (May Allah ennoble his face) which has been recorded by Imam Tirmidhi in his book al-Shama’il al-Muhamadiyyah (“The Sublime Characteristics of Muhammad”).
 Ali said the following things when he described the Prophet:


‘The Prophet was neither excessively tall nor extremely short. He was of medium height. His hair was neither curly nor wavy.  It was not too curly nor was it straight. It was both curly and wavy. His face was not swollen or meaty. It was fairly round. His mouth was white. He had black eyes that were large with long lashes. His joints were rather large. He had little hairs that stood up, extending from his chest down to his navel, but the rest of his body was almost hairless. He had thick palms and thick fingers and toes. When walking, he lifted his feet off the ground as if he were walking in muddy water. When he turned, he turned completely. The Seal of Prophethood was between his shoulders. That was the sign of the fact that he was the last Prophet.’” Prophet Muhammad was known as the most generous, the most righteous, and the friendliest of all people, and one with a mild nature. Those who saw him were taken aback by his grandeur, however, those who knew his high virtues would love Him more than anything else while conversing with him. A person who tried to depict Muhammad’s superiority and beauty would state their inability and incapability to represent him correctly, saying “I have never even seen a person like him. May the grace and peace of Allah be upon him!”


During Ottoman times, there was a belief among Muslims that reading and possessing Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ description protects the person from trouble in this world and the next.



Details of the hilya

۩ Country of Origin: Ottoman Turkey
۩ Time Period: 1691
۩ Artist: Hafiz Osman
۩ Size: Approximately 46 x 34 cm (including frame)
۩ Print: High-quality matte print and detail finishings
۩ Frame: Wood frame with a gold finish 
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