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Illustration from
'The Chronology of Ancient Nations' of Al-Biruni
(Abū al-Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Bīrūnī )
Copy from Tabriz, 1307AD


The investiture of Ali by the prophet Muhammad


A larger image of The investiture of Ali by the prophet Muhammad, in 'The Chronology of Ancient Nations' by Al-Biruni, Tabriz, Iran, 1307AD. University of Edinburgh Or.Ms.161 f.162r.


Shelfmark: Or.Ms.161
Holding Institution: University of Edinburgh
Title: Chronology of Ancient Nations
Subset Index: f.162r
Creator: Al-Biruni
Creator Nationality: Iranian
Creator Role: Author
Date: 1307

Description:
Detail of page from the Chronology of Ancient Nations by Al-Biruni. Image shows the investiture of Ali by the prophet Muhammad, as he encourages Muslims to transfer their support to him at the end of his Farewell Pilgrimage. In this scene, the prophet can be seen with his hand on Ali's shoulder, while three spectators look on from either side. This references a popular tradition of linking individuals through ties stronger than marriage or kinship and is as much an affirmation of the pair's eternal friendship as securing Ali's position within the Muslim community. Written by the famous astronomer and polymath Abu Rayhan Al-Biruni, the Chronology of Ancient Nations is a compendium and chronicle of a vast number of calendars and chronological systems from a variety of different cultural and religious groups from throughout the late antique and medieval periods in the Hellenic world, Central Asia and the Near East. Completed in the year 1000, it even includes details of festivals and liturgical practices, in addition to more specific information. This particular manuscript is thought to have been copied in 1307 and was the archetype for the three later versions which were used by Edward Sachau to translate the document from Arabic into English during the nineteenth century.
Chelkowski, P. J. (1975), 'The scholar and the saint : studies in commemoration of Abuʾl-Rayhan al-Biruni and Jalal al-Din al-Rumi', New York.
Source: University of Edinburgh

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