Mihrabs are the focal point on the main prayer wall of mosques, directing the prayers of the faithful toward Mecca. Usually they are adorned with Qur’anic verses and patterns related to other decorations in the mosque. This small portable mihrab is inscribed with the names of members of the Prophet Muhammad’s family and of some of the subsequent Shi‘ite imams (leaders), indicating that the owner was a Shi‘ite Muslim. It was used for prayers while traveling or placed under the head of the deceased according to Shi‘ite tradition.
Inscription: In Arabic, outer band: [In the name of Allah, the merciful the compassionate, in the name of Muhammad] in the name of ‘Ali in the name of Fatima, in the name of al-Hasan, in the name of al-Hussein, in the name of ‘Ali son of al-Hussein, in the name of Muhammad son of ‘Ali, in the name of Ja‘far son of Muhammad, in the name of Musa son of Ja‘far, in the name of ‘Ali son of Musa; inner band: [In the name of Muhammad son of] 'Ali, in the name of ‘Ali son of Muhammad, in the name of Hasan son of ‘Ali, in the name of the standing Proof, thank[s be to God] . . .
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)," March 12, 2012–July 8, 2012.