Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

RSPA 39 (Oriental Manuscripts, British Library)

India Office Library

Jones Collection

Royal Society Arabic and Persian


Mas̱navī-i Maʿnavī, Book 5 of 6

Language(s): Persian

Incipit: شه حسام الدین که نور انجم است *** طالب آغاز سفر پنجم است
Explicit: همین بجو تریاق فاروق ایغلام *** تا شوی فاروق دوران والسلام

Jones commissioned the six volumes of the Mas̱navī which make up MSs RSPA 35-40. This is clear from a note in MS RSPA 35 in which he acknowledges the scribe: "Written by Maulavī Aâzzu'ddīn began 21 Jan 1790. Began 21 Jan. 1790 25S.R. a month, asked; 30S.R. given". The scribe's name was Mavlavī ʿIzz al-Dīn.

Before the textblock, Jones writes, "Indorum / μυδηγιον - Illo sole prostantius lumen dei meditemur mentes qui nostrum dirigat! / allias; illud sole &c / alias; illud solis prostantissimum lumen divi meditemur &c / alias; illud summi numinis optimum lumein dei meditemur et caetera sic trivedi servoru" in which he describes (supposed) sun-worship among the Indians.

Colophon: تمام شد دفتر خامس مثنوی مولوی جلال الدین رومی

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Strong white European paper. Paper bears G.R. and E&P watermarks.
Extent: ff.iii+305+iii
Dimensions (leaf): 230 × 180 mm.
Dimensions (written): 160 × 125 mm.

European numerals in pencil.


The manuscript is in excellent condition.



Very neat black nastaʿlīq with red ink headings.



Infrequent annotations by Jones, highlighting sections using curly brackets and stars. He also occasionally translates words (including one into Chinese on f147r) and annotates sections indicating his response (e.g. "strange!" on f182r)


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

Accompanying Material


Origin: 1790 - 1792 CE ; India

Provenance and Acquisition

RSPA 1-118 were presented to the Royal Society in January 1792 by Sir William and Lady Jones. These manuscripts were all given by Sir William 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.29-30 no.XXXV-XL


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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