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Hilya Lithograph | Description of Prophet Muhammad by Yesarizade Mustafa Izzet Efendi; Turkey


Hilye panel Yesarizade Mustafa Izzet Efendi

Rumi's Garden is proud to present a traditional Islamic Ottoman hilya composed by the master calligrapher Yesarizade Mustafa Izzet Efendi.

Yesarizade Mustafa Izzet Efendi's date of birth is unknown but is assumed to be in the 1780s. He was born in Istanbul and was the son of the calligrapher, Mehmed Esad Yesari. After studying calligraphy with his father, he served as a Kazasker of Rumelia. Mustafa became one of the most important calligraphers of his time and taught students at the Imperial Court. His father had developed a unique style of ta'liq script called nesta'lik, which was based on elements from the Persian master, Mir Emad Hassani combined with stylistic elements developed by Mehmed Esad Yesari (Yesarizade's father). Yesarizade Mustafa Izzet built on changes made by his father, making further improvements and elaborating the rules for the method. This new style was called jali ta'liq and was much better suited to Ottoman tastes. His version of the script remains largely unchanged and has been passed down to the modern-day. He died on 23 June 1849 and was buried near the Fâtih madrasah, next to his father.

lithograph is a type of non-digital printing, developed in the 1700s, where the image from a plate is transferred to a rubber blanket and then to the printing surface. The end result is an extremely high-quality image.


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
۩ Subject: Hilye-i şerif (Description of Prophet Muhammed ﷺ)
۩ Calligrapher: Yesarizade Mustafa Izzet Efendi
۩ Edition: Limited High-Quality lithograph print
۩ Size: 50 x 74 cm
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