This prayer book reflects the fusion of Indian and Iranian manuscript illumination in the eighteenth century. It contains the Surat al-Yasin and the Surat al-Fath (Victory) copied by the celebrated master of revival naskh, Ahmad Nairizi, with illuminations attributed to the renowned Muhammad Hadi. The color palette and decoration of naturalistic grape-bearing vines and vegetal scrolls in vibrant gold, pistachio green, and crimson resemble designs used in Mughal and Kashmiri manuscript illumination, architectural decoration, and decorative arts.
Signature: Binding is signed by Ahmad Nairizi and dated AH 1132/AD 1719–20
Inscription: Inscription in Arabic in naskhi script on front cover:
عن النبي صلی الله علیه و آله ألا / ادلکم علی سلاح ینج کیم من اعدائکم و یدر ارزاقکم قالوا / بلی قال تدعون ربکم باللیل و / النهار فإن سلاح المؤمن الدعاء / و قال
The Prophet (May peace be upon him and his family) said: “Do you want me to show you the weapon [that] will protect you in the face of adversity
and relieve your ailments?” They said: “Yes.” The Prophet said: “Pray to God night and day, as the [most powerful] weapon of the faithful is prayer . . .”
Inscription in Arabic in naskhi script on back cover:
قال الرضا علیه السلم لأصحابه / عل کیم بسلاح الانبیاء قیل / و ما سلاح الانبیاء قال الدعاء / و قال الصادق علیه السلم الدعاء / انفذ من السنان الحدید / حرره العبد احمد النیریزى في
Al-Riza (May peace be upon him) said to his companions: “For [protection], use the weapon of the prophets.” They asked: “What is the weapon of prophets”;
he said: “prayer.” And al-Sadiq (May peace be upon him) said: “Prayer is sharper than an iron spear.” Signed by the humble slave, Ahmad al-Nairizi in A.H. 1132 [A.D. 1719–20]
Private collection, Switzerland (by 2000–2003); [ Hamid Atighechi, London, until 2003; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Balcony Calligraphy Exhibition," June 1, 2009–October 26, 2009, no catalogue.
Arts of the Islamic World. London, October 12, 2000. no. 58, pp. 78-79, ill., (unsold).
Carboni, Stefano, Navina Haidar, and Maryam Ekhtiar. "Recent Acquistions: A Selection 2003-2004." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 62, no. 2 (Fall 2004). p. 11, ill.
Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 191, pp. 272-274, ill. p. 273 (color).