Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Or 15921 (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

Oriental Manuscripts

Three works on Shi‘ite jurisprudence and doctrine


Three works on Shi‘ite jurisprudence and doctrine.

1. ff 1v-104r

A treatise on ritual purity, prayer, and fasting according to Shī‘ite practice. By Mir Sayyid ‘Alī Ṭabāṭabā’ī. This author does not seem to be one of the most noted scholars among the Ṭabāṭabā’īs; his name is not found in Mushār, Mu’allifīn.

Zahr al-riyāz̤ comprises ten chapters (bāb), subdivided into faṣls. 1 (2r-8v): Aḥkām-i ābhā: categories of water. 2 (8v-17v): Vuz̤ū’ va kayfīyat-i ān: description of the minor ritual ablution. 3 (17v-34r): Ghus̲l: the major ritual ablution. 4 (34r-37r): Ṭahārat-i iz̤tirārī: ablution with sand or soil (normally known as tayammum). 5 (37r-42r): Najāsat: what is ritually impure. 6 (42r-59v): Namāz: the daily ritual prayers. 7 (59v-70v): Bāqī-i namāz'hā-yi vājibī: other prayers that are obligatory. 8 (70v-78v): Namāz-i jamā‘at: congregational prayers. 9 (78v-86v): Ṣawm: fasting. 10 (86v-104r): Faṣl dar bayān-i iṣṭilāḥātī chand ast kih dar īn risālah z̤arūrast (sic): explanation of technical terms used in this treatise.

Colophon, f. 104r. Copied by Muḥammad ibn Mīr ‘Abd al-Jamīl al-Ḥusaynī. Dated Friday 29 Rabī‘I 1233/8 March 1818. Numerous corrections, by the copyist, and notes, in a later hand, throughout.

Language(s): Persian
2. ff 105v-141r

Answers to numerous questions on points of jurisprudence, written by Sayyid ‘Alī Ṭabāṭabā’ī. The questions were put to him in 1129/1716-17 by one Ḥājjī Ghaffār, a merchant of Erevan (tājir-i Ayrivanī).

This text has no separate colophon, but is very likely to have been copied at about the same date as the previous text.

Language(s): Persian.
3. ff. 141r-150v

A brief guide, comprising ten sections (faṣl), to the fundamentals of Islamic worship and doctrine. Three sections are devoted to the former (islam), and two to the latter. Sayyid ‘Alī Ṭabāṭabā’ī is mentioned as a source drawn on in the writing of the present work (see f. 140r), so that the main author must be someone different.

Colophon, f. 150v. Dated 1233/1817-18.

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Off-white European laid paper.
Extent: 150ff, plus 3 blank at the front.
Dimensions (leaf): 207 × 148 mm.
Dimensions (written): 142 × 83 mm.



15 lines.


Clear naskhī.


 Red headings.


Back flyleaf, description: ‘Mir Ali Tabatabai / Zahr al Riyaz / Shi’ah prayers’.


Worn brown calf binding.

Seal impression of Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad Ḥusaynī, f. 1v and 150v


Origin: 1223 (1817 - 1818) AH ;  Iran

Provenance and Acquisition


Purchased at Bonhams and Brooks auction, 17 October 2002, Lot 85 (1 of 4 MSS.)  

Record Sources

Based on unpublished description in M.I. Waley, Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts acquired 2000-2014.


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Funding of Cataloguing



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