Mir 'Ali is often mentioned by Safavid sources as among the most important nasta'liq calligraphers of the time, despite never being in the service of a Safavid court. Born in Herat circa 1476, in 1528 he was deported to Bukhara after the capture of the city by the Shaybanid ruler 'Ubayd Khan, where he remained until his death circa 1556. His recorded works are dated between AH 914/1508-09 AD and AH 951/1544-45 AD.
Beside a short note copied in Samarkand in 1528, the year Mir 'Ali was taken from Herat to Bukhara, there is no other record of him being in this city. Bayani suggested that Samarkand might have been a stopping place en route to Bukhara (Mehdi Bayani, Aval va Asar-e Khosh-Nevisan, Vol.II, Tehran, 1346 sh., pp. 493-516). The unusual signature of Mir 'Ali with the nisba Haravi, reinforcing the fact that he is from Herat, further indicates that this was written away from his hometown.