Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 109 (The John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: This finely-illuminated manuscript of the Dīvān of Amīr Khusraw Dihlavī (ca. 1253–1325), widely regarded as India's most famous medieval poet, was likely completed in Iran by one ʿAlī b. Jalāl al-Dīn Jandaqī on 2 Ṣafar 971 AH (1 October 1563 CE). Due to the poet's intimate knowledge of not only Persian, but also Arabic, Turkish, and Hindavi languages, he was known as Ṭūṭī-yi Hind (Parrot of India). Originally from Patiyali in the Delhi Sultanate (today in Uttar Pradesh), Amīr Khusraw Dihlavī was patronized by a series of rulers during his lifetime, most prominently Sulṭān ‘Alā' al-Dīn Khaljī (r. 1296–1316). He composed many witty puns and word-plays which had a tremendous impact upon subsequent Persianate poets, and his musical lyrics nurtured the development of the Sufi Qawwali music tradition in South Asia. Amīr Khusraw Dihlavī was a disciple of Niẓām al-Dīn Awliyā (1238–1325), a leader of the Chishti Sufi order, near whom he is buried in the Niẓām al-Dīn Dargāh shrine complex in Delhi.
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): حمد رانم بر زبان لله رب العالمین * آنکه جان بخشید از قرآن هدی للمتقین
Explicit: برگ ۳۲۴پ (folio 324b): غرض نقشیست کز ما باز ماند * که هستی را نمیبینم بقایی
Language(s): Persian
Colophon: folio 324b: completed by ʿAlī b. Jalāl al-Dīn Jandaqī on 2 Ṣafar 971 (1 October 1563)

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: The textblock is of cross-grained indigenous butter-coloured handmade paperpaper, probably from Iran, with ~1mm between laid lines and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 325 folios (i+325+i)
Dimensions (leaf): 244 × 163 mm.
Dimensions (written): 175 × 98 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in pencilled Arabic numerals by the cataloguer on the upper right corners of the a sides.


Catchwords throughout most of the text on the lower left corners of the b sides


Handle with caution. In fair condition. Extensive ⟨water⟩ and moderate ⟨insect⟩ damage throughout. Marginal ruling with corrosive in the opening illuminated folios are ⟨breaking⟩. Numerous historical repairs.


Written in two columns with 19 lines on per page.


Copied in nasta‘liq script in black ink


First flyleaf and folio 1a feature a pair of illuminated roundels (shamsa), inscribed in a different shikastah hand, followed by elaborate double opening pages on folios 1b–2a.

  • Inscription: on right flyleaf verso‘No 47- Diwan i Amir Khusru’ (possibly in the hand of Gore Ouseley?).
  • Bookplates: left paste-down, ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘F/5’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 331’.


Sewn at two stations, with Islamic-style twined chevron endbands in green and red silk. Rebound in full, tightbacked polished dark brownish-red goatskin leather over pasteboards, without a flap (Type III binding per Déroche), decorated with double ruled margins and board edges. Later rebacked in red calfskin leather, applied over the original boards, with repairs in the same leather applied along the edges of the left board. Spine blind paletted panel lines of rows of quatrefoils with dotted zig-zags on either side, with central lyres (the same used on Persian MS 285), and titled ‘AMIR KHUSRU’ with handle letters in gold. Internal goatskin leather doublures line the interiors, the excess width adhered as hinges attached to the second and second to last flyleaves that were decorated with serrated zig-zag cut paper strips. 245 × 165 × 44 mm.


On folio 324b, a small rectangular seal of a former owner, intaglio-carved in nasta‘liq script in two stacked lines, is impressed in black ink: لعل شهابی La’l Shihābī (?) 1214 AH (1799–1800 CE).

12 × 15 mm.


Origin: Possibly Iran; completed by ʿAlī bin Jalāl al-Dīn Jandaqī on 2 Safar 971 AH (1 October 1563 CE)

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently owned by one La’l Shihābī (?), probably in India, as per his stamp dated 1214 AH (1799–80 CE) impressed upon folio 324b.

Later acquired by Persian scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865), after whose death his oriental manuscripts were sold through Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) in 1866 to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880).

Purchased by Enriqueta Rylands (1843–1908) in 1901 from James Ludovic Lindsay, 26th Earl of Crawford (1847–1913).

Bequeathed by Enriqueta Rylands (1843–1908) in 1908 to the John Rylands Library.

Record Sources

Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993, derived from a manuscript catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s and his Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.

Revised and expanded by James White in 2018 and Jake Benson in 2020 with reference to the manuscript.


The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader, see Becoming a Reader for details. Please contact uml.special-collections@manchester.ac.uk for further information on the availability of this manuscript.


Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation, the John Rylands Research, and the Soudavar Foundation


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