4.20.2007

Mohammed at Prayer

I love this Ottoman image of Mohammed praying, as it seems so modern in its simplicity. Thank goodness he is fully represented as a man - if he were represented by a flame, as he is in some images, it would be impossible to distinguish him from the swirl gold leaf flames that surround him! Mohammed wears green, a colour traditionally associated with Islam: in Morocco, for example, the tiles on mosques are usually green.

The Ascension of Mohammed is covered in the Koran, but the story was elaborated in popular tradition and made into a separate book, originally written in Arabic. The story follows his night journey made riding Buraq, during which he was led by the Angel Gabriel from Mecca to Jerusalem, met God, then travelled through the Seven Heavens to meet Prophets who preceded him - this is where we get the expression Seventh Heaven from. The journey also makes detours via Heaven and Hell, but I think this scene shows him praying on the Temple Mound in Jerusalem.

From the Mi'râdj nâmeh (The Book of the Ascension of the Prophet) by Mir Haydar, followed by the Memorial of the saints of Ferid ed-Din Attar
Herat (Afghanistan), 1436
Paper, 265 f., 34 x 22,5 cm
BNF, Manuscrits orientaux, supplément turc 190, f. 44

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