The Nahj-al-Balagh or Way of Eloquence is a collection of sayings and writings attributed to the 4th Caliph of Islam, Hazrat Ali, cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad. These texts deal with aspects of metaphysics, theology, Islamic jurisprudence, the Hadith, the Imamate, ethics, social philosophy, history, politics, administration, civics, science, rhetoric, poetry, literature etc. This is a most important text for Shia Islam, third only to the Quran and Hadith. The Nahj was collated by Sharif Razi, a great Shia scholar of the 10th century.

In this manuscript, the Nahj al-Balagha has been calligraphed by Muhammad Ali Mazandarani who has written the Arabic text in the Naskh script, giving Persian translations under each line in Persian Nasta’liq characters.

However, this manuscript only has an incomplete text of the Nahj al-Balagha and is bound along with portions of an unnamed illustrated Persian manuscript on astronomy. The text of this astronomy manuscript has 20 folios with 8 lines each written in Nasta’liq characters, along with 44 illustrations of the Deccani school. The colophon reads that this is completed on Thursday, 15th Shawwal, 1079AH or 1671 AD.

The entire manuscript is illuminated, with gold and floral patterns. The cover page bears the name of the library of Rai Raja Ram Mustafwi-i-Sirkar-i-Asifia which indicates that this manuscript must have at one time been part of the Asifia Royal collection at Hyderabad.


  • Title: Nahj-al-Balagha
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date: 1650/1700
  • Location:  India
  • Physical Dimensions: 29 × 17.5 cm
  • Accession Number: 58.20/14

Additional Items

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps