Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

RSPA 16 (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

India Office Library

Jones Collection

Royal Society Arabic and Persian


1 copy of Kifāyat al-Taʿlīm by Muḥammad ibn Masʿūd al-Ghaznavī

Language(s): Persian

Incipit: بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم وبه نستعین وحمد وستایس خدایرا که آفریدکارست بی محایل حاجت وآفریدکار بدلایل حجت
Explicit: والکر زحل را بود آب ایستاده بود یا جاه باشد والکر سهم سعادت در چهارم باشد مبارک ومیمون بود ودیگر بر این فیاس کن
Colophon: بر انکه جون بر ینجای رسیدیم *** کتاب پایان رسید بحمد الله والمنه / والصلواة علئ رسوله وآله اجمعین تمام شد لمبارکی وفرخی این کتاب تمت الکتاب بعون الملک الوهاب فی تاریخ چهاردهم شهر ذی الحجه الاحرام مطابق سنه ۱۰۳۳ / عریق رحمت یزدان کسی یاد *** که کاتب را به حمدی کند یاد / هم که خواند دعا طمع دارم *** زایکهمن بنده کند کارم / لکاتبه تراب اقدام فقرا واقل عباد الله محمد قایم غفره به سلیم غناه

The scribe, who signs himself off as Muḥammad Qāsim, is reported to have made several errors in his copying, one of which (ṣalwāh instead of ṣalwah) is visible in the colophon.

This is a very rare text and the author is largely unknown beyond it. The work is one of Islamic astrology and the author is reputed to have lived in around the twelfth century. The text is divided into two jins and then these are divided into subsections. The first jins is ff3r-63v and the second, much bigger, jins is ff63v-263r.

On 264r there is a table. In the first jins there are several illustrations, all of which are either geometrical diagrams of the nightsky and star positions or tables.

There are frequent illustrations (either diagrams or tables) in the first half of the manuscript in particular. These include astral projections of the stars and other, largely mathematical, diagrams.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Strong brown woven paper with guards and supports throughout.
Extent: ff.iv+264+iv
Dimensions (leaf): 225 × 140 mm.
Dimensions (written): 240 × 70 mm.

European numerals in pencil. Perso-Arabic numerals in black ink.


Good condition. Some repair work.



Very elegant black nastaʿlīq with rubrications.



There are very few marginal comments. On ff217-8 there are several marginal comments in a scruffy Persian hand.

Before the main textblock starts, there is a page written in Persian which appears to be a fragment of another text followed by another page with a geometric projection of the Zodiac.


Standard India Office half leather binding with wine-coloured marbled endpapers.

Accompanying Material


Origin: 14_Dhū 'l-Ḥijjah_1033 AH; 27 September 1624 CE ; India

Provenance and Acquisition

RSPA 1-118 were presented to the Royal Society in January 1792 by Sir William and Lady Jones. According to Wilkins, this manuscript was presented 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. 15-6 no. XVI


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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