Muhammad and Jibril visiting paradise

Images associated with the mi‘raj, the ascension of the Prophet Muhammad to the heavens, are far from rare in the Islamic tradition and appear to have increased in 16th century Iran. This large painting shows an angel and a veiled figure - possibly Jibril and Muhammad - and originally accompanied an illustrated version of Jami’s Tuhfat al-ahrar (The Gift of the Noble).

Several other classical Persian poems copied and illustrated under the Safavid dynasty (1501-1722) contain references to, and images of, Muhammad’s ascension, suggesting renewed interest in the narratives associated with the Prophet’s life and miracles. The practice of depicting Muhammad veiled and with a flaming halo symbolizing his prophetic light also became common at this time.


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