A copy of the Dala’il al-khayrat (Guide to Goodness), a devotional prayer book made up of a compilation of blessings on the Prophet, produced in India in the 19th century.

What book do these illustrations come from?

The book is usually divided into seven sections and includes prayers and devotional material such as images of the holy places and tombs. The annual hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, has involved Muslims from all round the world for over a thousand years. This prayer book contains two miniature paintings of the holy cities of Mecca (where the black Ka‘bah is clearly visible) and Medina. The popularity of the prayer book is contested by the fact that it is still in print today and available in many translations. In each edition of the book the images took on the style of the place of production.

Who wrote the book?

The original author of the book was Muhammad ibn Sulayman al-Jazuli, who biographers claimed for him descent from Muhammad. Al-Jazuli was from Morroco and came to be a prominent Sufi leader. He is revered as one of the seven saints of Marrakesh; according to legend, his body was exhumed seventy-seven years after his death and found to be fully intact.