The inscription in the upper lozenge reads: Al-salawat wa al-salam 'alayka ya khatim al-nabiyyeen, ('Prayers and peace be upon thee, O last one of the Prophets'). Beneath this, divided between the two calligraphic roundels is the shahada.
The interior walls of the Haram al Nabawi, the final resting place of the Prophet, are traditionally covered in textiles similar to those that cover the Ka'ba in Mecca. Unlike the Meccan kiswa however, they were changed only on the occasion of a new Sultan, when the old curtains were returned to the seat of the caliphate in Istanbul.
The baroque style of embroidery on this curtain is typical of the period of Sultan Mahmud II. Examples of sitaras executed in a similar style in the 18th century are illustrated and described in Hulya Tezcan Al-Astar al-Haramayn (Istanbul, 1996, no. 50-59, pp. 126-147). Most of these examples incorporate the characteristic garlands, ribbons and rays of light. Most of these however, are on green ground. Hulya Tezcan has suggested that curtains of this design with a black ground were almost certainly used to cover the tomb of the Prophet, whilst the others hung on the surrounding walls.
As well as the central tughra of Mahmud II, this sitara also has his honorific signature Adli, which, it has been suggested, indicate his personal involvement in the design of the curtain. In addition, the curtain bears the marks of two other calligraphers of the period, Kadi Askar Mustafa Izzet (1801-1876) who was responsible for the shahada and Mustafa Rakim (1757-1826) who designed the tughra.