Hilya ash Sharif (A2)

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Hilya ash-Sharif (A2)

How does one describe the indescribable? How does one form an image of that which cannot be portrayed? That is what the hilya does; it gives parameters to the imagination, allowing one to begin to think about the Prophet ﷺ with a spiritual insight (without visualising or portraying him in a painting). This is perhaps why the masters of Islamic calligraphy state that by looking at the Hilya, it is as if one is gazing at the final Messenger ﷺ!

"He who sees my hilya after me, it is as if he had actually seen me, and he who sees it out of love and desire for me, Allah will forbid the fire of Hell to touch him, he will be safe from the trials of the grave, and he will not be sent forth naked on the day of resurrection."

Essential Islam’s Hilya ash-Sharif is a beautiful and significant description of the Prophet’s ﷺ external and internal qualities, which is based on an authentic narration from Shama’il at-Tirmidhi.

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SKU 10155 77-29
Category Posters

Hilya ash Sharif (A2)


There is nothing in the art of Islamic calligraphy quite as illuminating as a hilya. It is a challenging and daunting undertaking due to the composition’s complex structure and layout.

The word ‘hilya’ has several meanings, including physiognomy, natural disposition, likeness, depiction, characterisation, and description. These dictionary definitions only begin to convey the real meaning of the hilye, which embodies the Prophet’s moral, behavioural, and spiritual qualities, as well as physical appearance. Like most Arabic words, hilya carries multiple overtones, making it difficult to translate. It has connotations of ornament, beauty, finery, and embellishment.

It became widespread in Ottoman Turkey. There the calligraphers developed a particular style of writing it during the sixteenth century, which was perfected by Hafiz Osman, the master calligrapher of the late seventeenth century. These hilya, often imitated, are round, and beneath the circular frame that contains the description of the Prophet ﷺ, the line "Mercy for the Worlds" is written in large letters.

Perhaps the secret of the Hilya lays with the narration of the noble grandson of the Prophet ﷺ, Imam al-Hasan (Allah is pleased with him), who states: “I asked my uncle Hind, son of Abu Hala, about the description (hilya) of the Prophet of Allah so that I might hold fast to it”.

The Arabic text in the Hilya is translated as followed:

"When asked to describe the Prophet ﷺ, Sayyiduna Ali (Allah is pleased with him), the noble son-in-law of the Prophet ﷺ, would say:

“He ﷺ was neither too tall, nor too short, and he ﷺ was of medium build (amongst people). His ﷺ hair was neither too curly, nor too straight, rather it was somewhere in between. He ﷺ did not have a big body, and his ﷺ face was neither narrow, nor was it fully round, but there was some roundness to it.

His ﷺ complexion was white, with an element of redness. The pupils of his ﷺ eyes were extremely black. He ﷺ had long smooth eyelashes. His ﷺ bone structure was large, and he ﷺ had broad shoulders. He ﷺ had no body-hair, except for a thin line of hair from his ﷺ chest to his ﷺ navel. He ﷺ had large hands and feet.

When he ﷺ walked, he ﷺ walked at an incline, as if descending a slope. When he ﷺ addressed someone, he ﷺ would turn his ﷺ full body in their direction. Between his ﷺ shoulders was the seal of Prophethood; he ﷺ is the last of all the Prophets. He ﷺ is the most generous-hearted of men, the most truthful of them in speech, the most mild-tempered of them, and the noblest of them in lineage.

Whoever glanced upon him ﷺ would immediately be in awe of him ﷺ. Whoever came in close proximity to him ﷺ, would be smitten with the love of his ﷺ most excellent attributes. Anyone who would describe him ﷺ would say, ‘I never saw, neither before him, nor after him, the like of him’."


  • Printed on 320gsm Tint Stucco
  • Professional CMYK Digital Print
  • W42 x H59.4 cm
  • Extremely Detailed Vector Design
  • Specialist Double Component Foil Used for Decoration

Hilya ash Sharif (A2)

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