© Khalili Family Trust

Name of Object:

Amulet with a hilya


London, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

Khalili Family Trust – Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art


19th century

Type of object:

Amulet; hilya; engraved chalcedony

Museum Inventory Number:

TLS 1903

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Yellow chalcedony; wheel- and point-cut; inscribed in naskhi


4.3 x 3 x 0.6cm

Period / Dynasty:





One side of the amulet has the hilya– a description of the of the physical characteristics of the Prophet Muhammad. Above it are the names of the Ashab al-kahf (‘Companions of the Cave’), mentioned, though not named, in the sura al-Kahf (XVIII). The other side is engraved with Qur’anic verses from suras al-Anbiya', XXI, part of verse 87; al-Saf, LXI, part of verse 13; al-Ikhlas, CXII; and the Ayat al-kursi (‘Throne verse’, sura al-Baqara, II, verse 255).

Selected bibliography:

Safwat, N.F., The Art of the Pen. Calligraphy of the 14th to 20th Centuries, London: The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, vol. 5, 1996: cat.24, pp.46–7.

Citation of this web page:

Compiled by Nahla Nassar  "Amulet with a hilya" in Explore Islamic Art Collections , Museum With No Frontiers, 2019. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;EPM;uk;Mus21;46;en&id=amulets_and_talismans

Prepared by: Compiled by Nahla Nassar

MWNF Working Number: UK1 46