Mi’ragnama: The Apocalypse of Mohamed

Mi’ragnama: The Apocalypse of Mohamed Facsimile Edition

Herat (Afghanistan) — Ca. 1436–1437

Including the rare pictorial representation of the Prophet: a splendid Uyghur manuscript with impressive miniatures from the life of Muhammad

  1. This Uyghur manuscript retains magnificent miniatures of the rarely pictorially depicted Islamic prophet

  2. The story of Mohammed is explained in wondrous, ornamental, and realistically designed pictures

  3. The rich application of gold and blending of Islamic and Asian aesthetics lend it a certain magnificence

Mi’ragnama: The Apocalypse of Mohamed

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  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Mi’ragnama: The Apocalypse of Mohamed

This richly illuminated Uyghur manuscript relates the story of the ascendance of the Prophet Muhammed together with the Angel Gabriel, which is illustrated by 61 magnificent miniatures with rich, opaque colors and shimmering gold leaf. Together with the Angel, Mohammed embarks thereafter on a journey towards heaven, wherein he visits the various spheres and parts of heaven. The manuscript originated in Herat, Afghanistan ca. 1436 at the behest of Shah Rukh, who was an important patron of the arts as well as being a son of the famous Timur, founder of the Timurid Empire. Its décor is a wonderful mix of Arabic and Central Asian artistic influences resulting from the cultural boom that occurred under the Timurid dynasty. The manuscript is one of the rare works to defy the Islamic ban on visual depictions of the prophet Mohammad.

Mi’ragnama: The Apocalypse of Mohamed

A meaningful testimony of Islamic and Central Asian manuscript art is found in the National Library of France in Paris: also known as Miraj-Name, this grandly illustrated manuscript depicts the ascension of Mohammed. The Uyghur manuscript from the 15th century retains its colorfully magnificent miniatures of the rarely pictorially depicted Islamic prophet. In wondrous, very ornamental, and also realistically designed pictures, the story of Mohammed is explained, who explores the different spheres of Heaven with the angel Gabriel.

A Grand Testimony to Timurid Art

Originating ca. 1436 in Herat, in modern day Afghanistan, the so-called Mi’ragnama stands as a premier example of 16th century oriental manuscript art. It was allegedly finished for Shah Rukh, an important patron. He was the son of Timur, the founders of the Timurid Dynasty in Central Asian, which today consists of the areas of Afghanistan, Iran, and Uzbekistan. A cultural bloom occurred within the empire under his rule, especially in the area of literature and art. Despite Islam’s prohibition of pictures of Mohammed, if anything he was depicted with a masked face, the first drawings of the Prophet appeared ca. 1300. The miniatures of the Paris Mi’ragnama show him in a circle with other people, with only one of them having an open face.

The Wondrous Story of Mohammed’s Ascendance

The gorgeous manuscript of the Mi’ragnama was presumably made by the Timurid Baysungur. The text is not in Arabic, but rather composed in the Uyghur language, which indicates the development of the national language of the Timurid Court. Still, the actual highpoints of the manuscript are the 61 miniatures. The story of the ascendance of the Prophet Muhammed together with the Angel Gabriel is explained in unbelievably striking ways. The Angel Gabriel’s visit with Mohammed and his subsequent invitation to his ascendance is depicted. Together with the Angel, Mohammed embarks thereafter on a journey towards heaven, wherein he visits the various spheres and parts of heaven. These events are depicted in multiple ways in the countless miniatures. The ornamental design of the grandly colored miniatures are quite impressive. Not only is the background often rather ornamentally decorated, even the sky with its constant white clouds appear beautifully. The large formatted images are raised in their magnificence and splendor through the rich application of gold. The Islamic style of painting, especially clear through the ornamentation and all of the gold, mixes itself excitingly with Central Asian influences. Thus, a very impressive depiction of the Ascendance of the Prophet Mohammed is made available not only to Muslims, but for Western observers as well.


Alternative Titles
Miraj Nameh
Mi‘rajnama: The Book of the Prophet Muhammads' Ascension
Mi´ragnama: Apocalipsis de Mahoma
Miradschname: Das Buch der Himmelfahrt des Propheten Mohammed
Le Livre de l'Ascension du Prophète Mahommed
Il Libro dell’Ascensione del Profeta Maometto
O livro da Ascensão do Profeta Maomé
Size / Format
70 pages / 34.5 × 24.5 cm
Ca. 1436–1437
61 full-page miniatures illuminated in gold
Redacted version of the "The Miraculous Journey of Mohammed"
Timurid Emperor Shah Rukh (1377–1447)
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619–83)

Available facsimile editions:
Mi’ragnama: The Apocalypse of Mohamed – Ms. Suppl. Turc. 190 – Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris, France) Facsimile Edition
Patrimonio Ediciones – Valencia, 2008
Limited Edition: 999 copies
Detail Picture

Mi’ragnama: The Apocalypse of Mohamed

Zaqqoum, Tree of Hell

Upon arriving in Hell, the angel Gabriel shows Muhammad the Zaqqoum. It is a horrific tree covered with thorns and its fruits are demon heads – represented here by the heads of various animals both real and fantastic. The residents of Hell are forced to eat this cursed fruit, but they receive no sustenance from it. A blue demon with red eyes, a flaming halo, and wearing gold jewelry guards it as immoral and deceitful lawyers are shown having their tongues cut out and thrown into a brazier.

Mi´ragnama - Apocalipsis de Mahoma
Single Page

Mi’ragnama: The Apocalypse of Mohamed

Ascent of Muhammad to Heaven

According to Islamic tradition, Muhammad was taken on a spiritual and physical journey in the course of one night, first going from Mecca to Jerusalem and from there ascending into Heaven. Muhammad rode on the back of a Buraq – a white winged beast resembling a mule. The depiction of the Buraq with a crowned human face indicates a Persian influence in this rare and precious Uyghur manuscript.

Preceded by an elaborate header and tightly-written text, this miniature is a kaleidoscope of rich primary colors and gold leaf, which is used to depict the swirling clouds. While Muhammed is dressed in a simple green tunic, the angels wear elaborate garments with fine patterns and their wings are rendered with different colors on each side.

Mi´ragnama - Apocalipsis de Mahoma
Facsimile Editions

#1 Mi´ragnama - Apocalipsis de Mahoma

Patrimonio Ediciones – Valencia, 2008

Publisher: Patrimonio Ediciones – Valencia, 2008
Limited Edition: 999 copies
Binding: Leather binding impressed with gold leaf
Commentary: 1 volume (242 pages) by Christiane J. Gruber and Francis Richard
Languages: Spanish, English
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
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