Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Delhi Persian 1561* (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

India Office Library

Miscellaneous works on Shi‘ism, 3 items (a-c)


Summary of Contents: Collection of works on Shīʿah doctrine and polemics by various authors. Volume not dated; items a-c dated separately (19 Shaʿbān-5 Shavvāl 1111/30 January-26 March 1700) and probably completed over the course of a journey to Allahabad. Fluent scribal nastaʿlīq with amateurish but legible naskh for Arabic passages. Occasional annotations in margins. Pencil foliation. Binding damaged (combed marble paper with brown leather edging over pasteboards), labels. Folios mostly unbound; cropped, stains, wormholes, later repairs. Condition very fragile.

Language(s): Persian, Arabic

1. ff. 2r-62r
Language(s): Persian and Arabic

Delhi Persian 1561*(a), ff. 2r-62r.

Untitled proselytising treatise, informally named in the colophon as the Nuskhah-'i Yūḥannā, advocating the perfection of the (Is̲nā ʿAsharī) Shīʿah faith over other Islamic sects and Abrahamic faiths, written by the former Jewish convert, Yūḥannā Z̲immī ibn Isrāʾīl Miṣrī, writing for expiation when chronically ill and ending with his last will and testament.

Defective at beginning.

Dated colophon (f. 62r): completed at Sattārāgarh (?), noon on Tuesday, 19 Shaʿbān RY 43 [of Emperor ʿĀlamgīr I] (1111)/30 January 1700.

Miniscule shikastah āmīz and rough naskh for Arabic passages.

Two vifq al-aʿdād magic square grids on the opening folio (f. 1r).

2. ff. 62v-98v

Delhi Persian 1561*(b), ff. 62v-98v.

Persian translation of the pro-Shīʿī polemic treatise by its author, Ibrāhīm ibn Valīd Astarābādī, who wrote an Arabic version upon returning from ḥajj and ziyārat after 980/1572 via Damascus, based on the author’s ‘discovery’ and inspection of an ancient work recording a dispute between the slave-girl, Ḥasanīyah, and the Abbasid Caliph, Hārūn al-Rashīd, setting out the rational and traditional proofs for the Shīʿah faith. This treatise, being popular among the local Arabic-reading Shīʿah, was translated into Persian at the request of friends. Becoming famous and well received by followers further afield at the Safavid court, it was eventually dedicated to Shāh Ṭahmāsp I.

Dated colophon (f. 98v): completed by Ghulām Muḥyī al-Dīn ibn Sayyid Fayz̤ Allāh, resident of qaṣbah Karālī (?) in the sarkār of Karah, in ṣūbah Ilāh[ā]bād, [30] Ramaz̤ān RY 44 [of Emperor ʿĀlamgīr I], 1111/21 March 1700.

Prayer for mutʿah marriage is inserted at end.

Language(s): Persian and Arabic
3. ff. 99r-108v

Delhi Persian 1561*(c), ff. 99r-108v.

Untitled selection of theological and polemical correspondence issued by the Shīʿah scholars of Mashhad to the people of the Māvarāʾ al-Nahr region.

Dated colophon (f. 108v): completed 5 Shavvāl 1111/26 March 1700.

Language(s): Persian and Arabic

Physical Description

Form: codex
Extent: 108 ff. (+2)
Dimensions (leaf): 215 × 125 mm.



Origin: 19_Shaban-5_Shavval_1111 (30 January 1700 - 26 March 1700) AH ; India, Uttar Pradesh, Allahabad (Prayagraj)

Provenance and Acquisition

Purchased by the Government of India at sale organised by Delhi Prize Agents, 1859; administrative deposit India Office Library, 1876


Government of India


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