Touching Mecca and Medina: The Dalā’il al-Khayrāt and Devotional Practices

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Touching Mecca and Medina:

The Dalā’il al-Khayrāt and Devotional Practices

Sabiha Göloğlu


This presentation explores a double-page painting of Mecca and Medina included in a late eighteenth-century Ottoman copy of the renowned prayer book entitled Dala’il al-Khayrat (Proofs of Good Deeds). This painting is important because it bears traces of devotional engagement with the images depicting the Kaʿba and the Burial Chamber of the Prophet Muhammad. Among other functions, such religious imagery could serve talismanic purposes by spiritually connecting its viewer to the holy cities, the Prophet, and God through both sight and touch.


Daub, Frederike-Wiebke. Formen und Funktionen des Layouts in arabischen Manuskripten anhand von Abschriften religiöser Texte: al-Būīrīs Burda, al-Gazūlīs Dalāʾil und die Šifāʾ von Qāī ʿIyā. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2016.

Eryavuz, Şebnem, Orhan Sakin, Sabiha Göloğlu, and Gülnur Duran. Kubbealtı Vakfı Yazma Eserler Kataloğu. İstanbul: Kubbealtı Akademisi Kültür ve Sanat Vakfı, 2020 (in print).

Flood, Finbarr Barry. “Bodies and Becoming: Mimesis, Mediation, and the Ingestion of the Sacred in Christianity and Islam.” In Sensational Religion: Sensory Cultures in Material Practice, edited by Sally M. Promey, 459–93. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2014.

Gruber, Christiane. “‘Go Wherever You Wish, for Verily You are Well-Protected’: Seal Designs in Late Ottoman Amulet Scrolls and Prayer Books.” In Visions of Enchantment: Occultism, Spirituality, and Visual Culture, edited by Daniel Zamani, and Judith Nobel 22–35. London: Fulgur, 2019.

Witkam, Jan Just. Vroomheid en activisme in een islamitisch gebedenboek. De geschiedenis van de Dalāʾil al-Khayrāt van al-azulī. Leiden: Legatum Warnerianum, 2002.


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Sabiha Göloğlu, “Touching Mecca & Medina: The Dalā’il al-Khayrāt and Devotional Practices,” Khamseen: Islamic Art History Online, published 28 August 2020.

Sabiha Göloğlu is a post-doc university assistant at the University of Vienna’s Department of Art History. She was previously a research fellow of CAHIM (Connecting Art Histories in the Museum, 2018/2019), a joint research project of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz–Max-Planck-Institut and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin–Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz. She received her PhD in Archaeology and History of Art from Koç University, Istanbul.