Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 983 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: This first book of the Mas̲navī-i Ma‘navī (Spiritual Couplets) by Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī (1207–1273) opens with a brief Arabic preface. A scribe named Ḥamzah ibn Umah completed the volume in 842 AH (1438–39 CE).
Title: Mas̲navī
Title: مثنوی
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): هذا كتاب المثنوي، وهو أصول أصول أصول الدين في كشف أسرار الوصول واليقين وهو فقه الله الأكبر، و شرع الله الأزهر، وبرهان الله الأطهر يشرق اشراقا آنور من الإصباح، مثل نوره كمشكاة فيها مصباح وهو جنان الجنان والعيون و الأغصان وعند أصحاب المقامات والكرامات
Explicit: برگ ۱۰۳ر (Folio 103a): صبر کن و الله اعلم بالصواب.
Colophon: برگ ۱۰۳ر (Folio 103a): تمت بعون الملک التواب * الواسع العلی الکبیر الوهاب | علی ید اضعف العباد حمزه بن امة * عفی عنهما الله ذو القعدة(؟) | و صلّی الله علی سیدنا محمد واله وصحبه اجمعین * وغفر لسائن المؤمنان والمؤمنات آمین | سنه سته و اربعین و ثمانمائه * من الخجرة النبی الامي ذی الفضل والمنة.
Colophon: Completed by Ḥamzah Ibn Umah on 842 AH (1438–39 CE).

The preface on folio 1b and commencement of the poem proper on folio 2a published by Rafiee-Rad, plates 7–8.

Language(s): Persian

For other copies of this work held in the Rylands, see Persian MS 17, 21, 72, 213, 236, 250–255 (Books I–VI), 795, 847, 848, 926, and 984, the last being the earliest, completed in 9 Muḥarram 758 AH (2 January 1357 CE), about 85 years after the author first composed it. For critical editions, see Isti‘lāmī and Furūzānfar. For a recent English translation of the first two books based on the former edition, see Williams. For earlier translations, see Arberry, Nicholson, and Whinfield.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Extent: 104 folios, 6 flyleaves (ff. iii + 104 + iii).
Dimensions (leaf): 298 × 215 mm.


Primarily written in black nasta‘līq with red subheaders by Ḥamzah ibn Umah, who possibly likely also wrote a majority of the marginal commentaries.

  1. Folio 1a bears the signature of former owner Nikolaus Vouides ni Latin script, ‘N. Bouijdi’ at top, with an unrelated Arabic supplicatory prayer below it:
    ‘اللهم زین ظواهرنا بخدمتک و بواطننا بمعرفتک و قلوبنا بمحبتک و ارواحنا بمعاونتک و اسرارنا بمشاهدتک اللهم اجعل فی قلبی نورا و فی سمعی نورا و فی بصری نورا و فی مخی نورا و عن یمینی نورا و عن شمالی نورا و عن فوقی نورا و تحتی نورا برحمتک یا ارحم الراحمین’
  2. Folio 104b bears a Persian statement by former owner Nikolaus Vouides regarding his acquisition of the volume, which roughly translates as: ‘This book was bought from the nation of Greece at the most prosperous time of Constantinople and around Petersburg, which was written in the year of 8571 [NB: probably 1758] of Gregorian calendar’, with another note beneath in English: ‘M.S. Pers.’
Bookplates: The final right flyleaf b side (f. ivb): Owens College, ‘Bequeathed by Samuel Robinson, of Wilmslow, 1884’.
Left pastedown: ‘Samuel Robinson, Blackbrook Cottage, Wilmslow’.


Origin: Completed by Ḥamzah Ibn Umah in 842 AH (1438–39 CE).

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently acquired by Manchester merchant and scholar Samuel Robinson (1794–1884) of Wilmslow, the author of Persian Poetry for English Readers (1883), who donated it to Owens College (the original institution that evolved into the of The University of Manchester today).

Transferred to the John Rylands Library in 1975 after it merged with the University of Manchester.

Record Sources

Bibliographical description derived from Siavash Rafiee-Rad, 'Persian Manuscripts in Samuel Robinson’s Collection in The John Rylands Library' (2017).

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2022 with reference to the volume in hand.


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Funding of Cataloguing

The John Rylands Research Institute and Library


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