Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Or 16559 (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

Oriental Manuscripts

Commentary on Rumi's Masnavi, first 18 couplets


A commentary in verse, Mas̲navī-'i ‘Abd al-Raḥmān, on the first eighteen couplets of the Mas̲navīof Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī. By ‘Abd al-Raḥmān al-mufavviż bi-Llāh ibn al-Shaykh Aḥmad ibn al-Shaykh Maḥmūd al-Qādirī al-Ṭālibānī al-Kirkukī(of Kirkuk). This work is very rare. In the preface (f. 1v-3r), which is in prose, the author praises Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī and states that in spring 1250/1834-5, while discussing the Masnavī, he was asked to compose such a work.

The title is given in the above form by Munzavī in FNKhF III, p. 3129, where only one other manuscript is recorded: in the Majlis Library, Tehran; but on p. 3414 of the same work, in the index of incipits, it is called Mas̲navī-i Ṭāliqānī.

Preface begins (f. 1v): Basmala al-Ḥamd li-Llāh allazī aliha ‘uqūl al-fuḥūl fī idrāk Jalālih va qudsih Va l-ṣalāt va l-salām... Bihtarīn saday (sic) kih bulbul-i zabān-i ‘ārifan az sar-i shawq va ishtiyāq dar gulshan-i bayān āghāz kunand...

Commentary on Masnavī, bayts 1-2 begins (f. 5v): ‘Ishq dar nay chūn navā-rā sāz kard * az zabān-i nay sukhan āghāz kard

Ends: Bī riyā khwānad hamīsha īn du‘ā * Istajib yā Dhā l-Ghinā’i va l-‘aṭā

Other contents: front endpaper, one bayt of verse in Arabic and one in Persian; back flyleaf, addition sums, etc., with the date 1266/1849-50.

Dated 1260/1844-5. Copied by ‘Abd Allāh al-Khiżrī, possibly at Kirkuk.

Clear, non-calligraphic nasta‘līq; Arabic phrases in vocalised naskhī. 13 lines in 2 columns. Text (i.e. lines from the Masnavī) and quotations and headings in red. Text frames: gold, black, red. Illuminated heading, of an unusual and provincial-looking form, in a combination of gilt, bright orange, bright green and grey, f. 1v. 13 folios, plus 2 blank. 214 x 134 mm.; text area 160 x 88 mm. Yellow boards with pink edging and deep red leather spine.

Purchased from Christie's South Kensington (11 April 2008, lot 146).

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Extent: 13 ff. (+2)
Dimensions (leaf): 214 × 134 mm.
Dimensions (written):



Origin: 1260 (1844 - 1845) AHOttoman Empire ; Kirkuk, Iraq

Record Sources

Based on unpublished description in M.I. Waley, Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts acquired 2000-2014.


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