Journal of Ottoman Calligraphy

Lectures & Editorials on Calligraphy

Mahmud Celaleddin Efendi [b.?- d.1829]

By Mahmud Celaleddin Efendi, inscription on paper of sülüs script. Hilyah [description of the Prophet (Allah Bless him and grant him peace)].

Top section:
“In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate”

Upper text circular area is surrounded by four small disks containing the names of the first four Caliphs or successors to the Prophet Muhammad, i.e., Abu Bakr (upper right), `Umar (upper left), `Uthman (lower right), and `Ali (lower left). Each disk contains in small letters the blessing, “May God be pleased with him.”

Upper text translation:
Umm Ma`bad, describing the messenger of God (may God bless him and grant him peace), said, “I saw a man, pure and clean, with a handsome face and a fine figure. He was not marred by a skinny body, nor was he overly small in the head and neck. He was graceful and elegant, with intensely black eyes and thick eyelashes. There was a huskiness in his voice, and his neck was long. His beard was thick, and his eyebrows were finely arched and joined together. When silent, he was grave and dignified, and when he spoke, glory rose up and overcame him. He was from afar the most beautiful of men and the most glorious, and close up he was the sweetest and the loveliest. He was sweet of speech and articulate, but not petty or trifling. His speech was a string of cascading pearls, measured so that none despaired of its length.

Middle section:
“We only sent you as a mercy for creation” (Qur’an 21:107). This verse, in which God addresses the Prophet Muhammad, is a fundamental Qur’anic statement about the universal role of the Prophet.

Lower text translation (continues from above):
“and no eye challenged him because of brevity. In company he is like a branch between two other branches, but he is the most flourishing of the three in appearance, and the loveliest in power. He has friends surrounding him, who listen to his words. If he commands, they obey implicitly, with eagerness and haste, without frown or complaint.” May God bless him and grant him peace. God, pray for and grant peace to Muhammad, your servant, your Prophet and your messenger, the illiterate Prophet, and to his family and companions, and grant him peace. Written with the grace of God Most High by Rasheed Butt, may God forgive him.

Text © The Hilya, or the Adornment of the ProphetA Calligraphic Icon Commentary and Translation by Carl W. Ernst,, adapted from Rasheed Butt,
Photograph ©HAT SAN’ATI Tarihçe, Malzeme ve Örnekler, Istanbul.


Written by calligrapher

April 13, 2007 at 6:56 am

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