Islamic Arms and Armor: Dhu’l Fiqar, ʿAli’s Miraculous Sword

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Islamic Arms and Armor:

Dhu’l Fiqar, ʿAli’s Miraculous Sword

Rachel Parikh


According to legend, during the Battle of Uhud against the Meccans in 625, the Prophet Muḥammad presented Dhu’l Fiqar, a bifurcated sword imbued with preternatural powers to ‘Ali. The sword is arguably the most important weapon in the Islamic world, and is regarded as an emblem of victory, power, and of ‘Ali himself. Here, we take a look at a few objects from across a wide chronological and geographic spectrum that demonstrate the sword’s significance.


Alexander, David. Dhu l’Fakar, doctoral dissertation, New York University, 1984.

Alexander, David, Stuart Pyhrr, and Will Kwiatkowski. Islamic Arms and Armor in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016.

Elgood, Robert (ed.). Islamic Arms and Armour. London: Scolar Press, 1979.

Ekhtiar, Maryam and Rachel Parikh. Power and Piety: Islamic Talismans on the Battlefield (online exhibition catalogue). New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016.

Kaoukji, Salam. Precious Indian Weapons: And Other Princely Accoutrements. London: Thames & Hudson, 2017.


Rachel Parikh, “Islamic Arms and Armor: Dhu’l Fiqar, ʿAli’s Miraculous Sword,” Khamseen: Islamic Art History Online, published 28 August 2020.

Rachel Parikh is the Marguerite S. Hoffman and Thomas W. Lentz Curator of Islamic Art at the Dallas Museum of Art. She also serves as the Deputy Director for the Dunhuang Foundation. Parikh specializes in South Asian and Islamic painting as well as arms and armor. Prior to her current positions, Parikh worked at the Worcester Art Museum; Harvard Art Museums; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Art Institute of Chicago. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. Parikh has lectured nationally and internationally, as well as published extensively. Her first book, The Khalili Falnamah, was published in 2022. You can follow her arms and armor Instagram account.