Amulet with a Hilyah

yellow chalcedony; one side finely wheel cut, the other wheel and point cut

inscribed in naskh script

4.3 x 3 x 0.6cm

One side of the amulet or talisman has the Hilyah, or a description of the Prophet Muhammad, giving his physical characteristics and something of his behavior and temperament. Above it are the names of the Companions of the Cave, the ashab al-kahf mentioned (though not named) in the surah al-Kahf (XVIII). The other side is engraved with Qur’anic verses from surahs al-Anbiya‘ (XXI), parts of verse 87, al-Saf (LXI), parts of verse 13, al-Ikhlas (CXII), and the Ayat al-Kursi (‘Throne verse’) from the surah al-Baqarah (II), verse 255.

N.F. Safwat, The Art of the Pen. Calligraphy of the 14th to 20th Centuries, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume V, London 1996, cat.24, pp.46–7.