Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

RSPA 95 (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

India Office Library

Jones Collection

Royal Society Arabic and Persian


1 copy of al-Maṭālib al-Ḥusaynī by Mīr Ḥusaynī, Muḥammad Afāḍ al-Dīn

Language(s): Arabic

Incipit: بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم. الحمد لله الذي بحثنا عن ذاته وصفاته وأحوال الممكنات.
Explicit: وأكبر الله مالك يوم الدين والصلوة على محمد خاتم النبيين
Colophon: ۱۱۹۹ تاريخ اختتام هذا المرجي اليوم تمت المطالب الحسيني سنة

A short theological treatise, most probably by the Muḥammad Afāḍ al-Dīn al-Ḥasanī mentioned by Raḍavî, Qâsim Ḥasîr, Abdul Muqtadir, and M. Hidayat Hosain in the first volume of 'Catalogue Raisonné of the Bûhâr Library' (Calcutta: Imperial Library, 1921), p. 119 no. 156. He is mentioned here as writing other theological disquisitions alongside his nephew in the 1780s, when this MS was produced. Given that the (assumed) author is working and active in this period, it is possible he is also the scribe of the MS. which is not written in a particularly 'scribal' hand. Within the Jones collection, MS RSPA 4, a legal treatise (in Persian) was also commissioned by him.

Previous cataloguers have written the title as "al-Maṭālib al-Ḥusaynī" and identified the author as a Mīr Ḥusaynī, but on f61v, the scribe has potentially written Ḥasanī.

The MS is dated to 1199AH (1794-5AD); it is not signed.

There are notes on f(II)r and f1r which act as title and catalogue marks. The title note on f(II)r is in the same hand as the English marginalia in the conclusion and entitles the text "al-Maṭālib al-Ḥasanī". The catalogue note in f1r is for the Wilkins Catalogue.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Thin, light-coloured woven paper.
Extent: ff. ii+iv+61+iv
Dimensions (leaf): 220 × 170 mm.
Dimensions (written): 155 × 80 mm.

European numerals in pencil.


The manuscript is in relatively good condition. Some pages have occasional ink smudges or creases, but there is not too much worm damage and, after some obvious repair work done particularly to the binding (e.g. installation of guards etc.), the manuscript is generally well-preserved.


Uniform presentation of one column made up of 17 lines per side.


Thick black ink in nastaʿlīq script



There are several different types of marginal note. There is a European hand which in Roman numerals marks off the different disquisitions in thick blue pencil. Underneath this, there is usually a pencil Arabic script title (e.g. al-Maṭlab al-thālith) but on one occasion this is written in the blue pencil. Towards the end of the MS, in the conclusion in which the author discusses the Ten Commandments and the Preserved Tablet (al-Lawḥ al-Maḥfūẓ), there is also mixed English and Arabic notation from the same hand marking off different sections of the text, referring back to the previous disquisitions (via Roman numerals) and translating/annotating small sections. The English handwriting does not match Jones's normal style; it looks to be a more casual cursive script that only slightly slants, as opposed to Jones's usual eighteenth-century, formal style of elegant cursive.

Catchwords are present in the bottom right hand corner of the verso page.

There are some scribal annotations to add in text or correct spelling errors.


Standard brown half leather India Office binding.

Accompanying Material


Origin: 1784-5 CE

Provenance and Acquisition

RSPA 1-118 were presented to the Royal Society in January 1792 by Sir William and Lady Jones. According to Wilkins' catalogue, this manuscript was presented to the Royal Society collection by Lady Jones.

The Royal Society's collection of 280 Persian and Arabic, and 86 Sanskrit manuscripts were transferred to the India Office Library in 1876.


India Office Library

Record Sources

Manuscript description based on E. Denison Ross and E. G. Browne, Catalogue of two collections of Persian and Arabic manuscripts preserved in the India Office Library (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1902), p. 86 no. XCV.


Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card for admissions procedures contact British Library, Registering for a Reader Pass. Contact apac-enquiries@bl.uk for further information on the availability of this manuscript. For information on catalogues and ordering manuscripts see Finding and ordering Persian manuscripts in the British Library.

Funding of Cataloguing




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