Muslim devotional pictures

Shia Islam

Ali, first Imam of the Shiites. The Arabic text, starting up in the right corner, translates: "God's messenger [prophet Muhammad] said: 'He whose lord I am, also has Ali as his Lord.'" The text comes from a hadith, a Tradition / about the prophet Muhammad: Shortly before the prophet Muhammad died he made his last pilgrimage to Mecca. According to this hadith, transmited among others by the Sunni scholar Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Muhammad and his following rested on their journey back to Medina at a place called Ghadir Khumm. There, the Prophet took Ali's hand and held it up, and said to his followers: "He whose lord I am, also has Ali as his lord. O Lord, be a support for all who are the support of Ali, and be the enemy of all who oppose him."

This narrative is one of the texts that Shia Muslims use in arguing that Ali is the rightful heir to leadership in the Muslim community, and the first Imam.

Original: Small images, Ingvild Flaskerud, Qum 1999.

Ali with his sword Dhu 'l-Faqar.

The Farsi text on the image encourages the viewer to learn from Ali's way of way of being. Ali is one of the great models for all Muslims, but for Shia Muslims in particular.

Original: Small images, Ingvild Flaskerud, Qum 1999.

Ali with his two sons Hasan (in green) and Husain (in read), Shia Islam's first, second and third Imam respectively. The man standing behind Ali is probably Qanbar ibn Kadan. He was a slave from Abyssinia who had been freed by Ali, and was very devoted to him.

The Arabic text la fata illa Ali la sayf illa dhu 'l-faqar, translates.: "There is no hero like Ali, there is no sword like Dhu 'l-Faqar". The sword Dhu 'l-Faqar, a booty of war which Muhammad presented to Ali, is one of Ali's attributes.

 

Original: Small images, Ingvild Flaskerud, Qum 1999.

This image depicts Shia Islam's third Imam, Ali's son Husain. Above the portrait the Arabic text reads: "His Highness Husain ibn Ali [Ali's son], lord of the martyrs, peace on him." Husain stands for atonement; his martyrdom gives every follower of his the possibility of salvation.

Original: Small images, Ingvild Flaskerud, Qum 1999.

Husain was killed in the battle at Kerbela in 680. In Shia Islam, the history of this event has become a myth, or sacred story, which is referred to in rituals, story-telling, and in pictures like this. Here we see a portrait of Husain with his sword, and Husain's horse Dhu 'l-janah, standing wounded and riderless after the battle. The Arabic text reads: "Peace upon you, o Husain ibn Ali", and "Peace upon him." Under the portrait of Husain is his name, and below that, in Farsi: "A light that never will be extinguish."

Original: Small images, Ingvild Flaskerud, Qum 1999.

 

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