Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

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

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: This Dīvān compiles together poems ascribed to Amīr Khusraw Dihlavī (ca. 1253–1325), widely regarded as India's most famous medieval poet. Originally from Patiyali in the Delhi Sultanate (today in Uttar Pradesh), he attracted the support of several rulers during his lifetime, most significantly Sulṭān ‘Alā' al-Dīn Khaljī (r. 1296–1316). He composed many witty puns and wordplays that tremendously impacted subsequent Persianate poets. Many sources refer to him as the Ṭūṭī-yi Hind (Parrot of India) on account of his intimate knowledge of not only Persian, but also Arabic, Turkish, and Hindustani languages, and his lyrics nurtured the development of the Qawwali music tradition in South Asia. A disciple of Niẓām al-Dīn Awliyā (1238–1325), a leader of the Chishti Sufi order, near whom he lies interred in the Niẓām al-Dīn Dargāh shrine complex in Delhi. A scribe named ʿAlī b. Jalāl al-Dīn Jandaqī completed this finely illuminated volume, probably in Iran, on 2 Ṣafar 971 AH (1 Oct. 1563 CE), hence it appears to be the earliest dated copy of this work held in the Rylands.
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۱اپ (folio 1Ab): 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
Colophon: Folio 324b: completed by ʿAlī b. Jalāl al-Dīn Jandaqī on 2 Ṣafar 971 (1 October 1563).
Language(s): Persian

The conclusion of the work features a double explicit: a ghazal at top followed by a mu‘ammā (enigmatic riddle) composed by Shihāb al-Dīn bin Niẓām al-Dīn Haravī (d. 1508–1509) in which the final couplet contains two chronograms that equal 725 AH (1325 CE) the year that Amīr Khusraw passed away. The on either side of the inverse triangle that contains the colophon, the scribe quotes a couplet excerpted from the introduction of the Gulistān of Sa‘dī Shīrāzī (1210–1291). For other copies of the Amīr Khusraw's Dīvān held in the Rylands, see Persian MS 32, 66, 86, 853.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of cross-grained butter-coloured paper, probably manufactured in Greater Iran, with ~1mm between laid lines and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 325 folios, 2 flyleaves (ff. 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, which omits the initial roundels, hence under by 1.


Undetermined. Catchwords throughout most 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 2 columns with 19 lines on per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Copied in an elegant black nasta‘līq script by ʿAlī bin Jalāl al-Dīn Jandaqī.


Roundels: Folios 1b and 1Aa feature a pair of illuminated roundels (shamsah), inscribed with lines of poetry in an unrelated shikastah hand.

Carpet Pages: Folios 1b and 2a feature an elaborately illuminated double-page opening.

Ruling: Vertical column dividers and horizontal section breaks ruled in thin gold outlined in thin single black lines. Surrounding marginal ruling in comparatively thick gold, outlined with a single black interior line, double black exterior lines, bounded by thick lines in red and indigo.

Additions: Inscriptions:
  • The right flyleaf verso: ‘No 47- Diwan i Amir Khusru’, which comports with the hand of Sir Gore Ouseley in his other volumes.
  • Folio 325 bears a quatrain at top ascribed to ‘‘Abdī’, probably 16th-century poet ‘Abdī Shīrāzī, with shikastah notations at bottom-left, possibly date 1000 AH (1592–93 CE) adjacent to another enigamtic one, possibly dated 1011 AH (1602–03 CE).
Bookplates: The left paste-down: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘F/5’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 331’.


Sewn at two stations, edges trimmed, with twined chevron endbands in green and red silk threads. Rebound in full, tightbacked polished dark brownish-red goatskin leather over pasteboards, without a flap (Type III binding per Déroche). Internal goatskin leather doublures, with the excess width put down as hinges on the flyleaves, over which the binder adhered serrated, zig-zag cut paper strips. Spine 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.

Boards margins double-ruled in yellow. Spine panels blind paletted quatrefoils with dotted zig-zags on either side, with central lyre motifs (the same used on Persian MS 285), and titled ‘AMIR KHUSRU’ with handle letters in gold.

245 × 165 × 44 mm.


Folio 324b bears a small rectangular seal intaglio-carved in nasta‘līq script in two stacked lines, impressed in black, of a former owner possibly named La’l Shihābī, dated 1214 AH (1799–1800 CE):

‘لعل شهابی ۱۲۱۴’

12 × 15 mm.

Accompanying Material

‌‌A loose note appears between 140b and 141a.


Origin: Possibly Iran; completed by ʿAlī bin Jalāl al-Dīn Jandaqī on 2 Safar 971 AH (1 Octo. 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.

Probably later acquired by Gore Ouseley (1770–1844) given the inscription that comports with others by him on right flyleaf b side (f. ib)

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

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.

Manuscript description by James White in 2018 with reference to the volume in hand.

Physical description amended by Jake Benson in 2020.


To book an in-person or online appointment to consult the manuscript, visit Using the Special Collections Reading Rooms. For any other enquiries please email uml.special-collections@manchester.ac.uk.


    Amīr Khusraw Dihlavī, In the Bazaar of Love: the Selected Poetry of Amīr Khusrau. Translated by S. Sharma and P. Losensky. New York: Penguin Books, 2011.
    H. M. Elliot 'Poems of Amir KHusrú' in The History of India as Told by Its Own Historians, Vol. III, Appendix A (London: Trübner & Co., 1875), pp. 523–567.
    H. Ethé, Catalogue of Persian manuscripts in the library of the India Office, Vol. I (London: Printed for the India Office by H. Hart, 1903), cols. cols. 697–701, nos. 1189–1195 [British Library IO Islamic 338, &c.].
    D. Forbes, Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts, Chiefly Persian, Collected Within the Last Five and Thirty years (London: W. H. Allen., 1866), p. 29, no. 85 [Ryland Persian MS 853].
    P. Hardy, 'Amīr Ḵẖusraw' Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd ed., Vol I (), pp.pp.
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. II (London: British Museum, 1881), p. 613–615 [British Library Add. 25807, &c.].
    E. Sachau and H. Ethé, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstani, and Pushtû manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Vol. I (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889), cols. 553–560, nos. 753–765 [Bodleian MS. Elliot 82, &c.].
    A. Schimmel, 'Amīr Ḵosrow Dehlavī' Encyclopædia Iranica, Vol. 1, Fasc. 9 (1985), pp. 963–965.
    S. Sharma, Amir Khusraw: the Poet of Sultans and Sufis. Oxford: One World, 2006.
    C. A. Storey Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey, Vol. I, Sect II, Fasc. 3 (London: Luzac & Co.1939), pp. 495–499 (no. 665 (3).

Funding of Cataloguing

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


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