Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 211 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: An incomplete, paraphrased Persian translation of the Kitāb al-Īmān (Book of Faith), excerpted from Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim (or al-Jāmiʿ al-Ṣaḥīḥ), a collection of Islamic prophetic traditions compiled by Muslim ibn al-Ḥajjāj al-Qushayrī, together with added commentaries.
Author and Translator: Anonymous
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۲ر (folio 2a): بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم الحمدلله رب العالمین و الصلوة و السلام علی سید الانبیاء و المرسلین و علی آله الطیبین و علی آله الطیبین و الطاهرین و اصحابه اجمعین کتاب الایمان ایمان در لغة بمعنی تصدیق مطلق است و در شرع تصدیق پیغمبر است صلی الله علیه و سلم بدانچه از نزد خدایتعالی آورده و به بندگان رسانیده
Explicit: برگ ۱۵۷پ (folio 157b): حدثنا ابوبکر بن ابی شبیه حدثنا و کیع و حدثنا ابو حدثینا ابو معویه کلاهما عن العمش بهذالاسناد هر دو باسناد سابق غیر انهما قالا ورای آنکه هر دو گفته اند ما انتم بومیذ فی الناس الا کالشعره البیضا و فی الشور الاسود او کالشعر السودا فی الثور الابیض و لم یذکر اوالرقیمه فی ذراع الحمار و ذکر نکرده اوالرقیمه فی در الحمار را
Colophon: تمام شد کتاب الایمام که آخر جزء اول است بخط (؟) مولف رح و گفته در آخر او فرغت منه یوم الجمعه الثانی جمادی الاخر سنه ست و ستین وستمايه
Colophon: Uninformative colophon. A date of Saturday, 14 Ẕī-al-Qa‘dah 1114 [or 1114?] AH (1 Apr. 1703 CE) adjacent to the colophon appears in a different hand and likely indicates a date acquisition, not of the volume's completion. Another date mentioned in the explicit, ‘Friday, Jumādà II 666 AH’ indicates when the author first completed the work, not when the scribe finished copying this manuscript.
Language(s): Persian

Following paraphrased sections in Arabic, the text opens without any of the usual introductions, only two lines that praise of God. On that basis, Michael Kerney concluded that the volume once had "...a separate preface or introduction prefixed" since lost; however, the first quaternion quire appears intact with the text commencing on 1b, which suggests the contrary. For the corresponding Arabic source text, see Rylands Arabic MS 790, folios 5b–28a.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of thin, cross-grained, ivory-coloured paper probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent with ~11 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 157 Folios, 2 flyleaves (ff. i + 157 + i).
Dimensions (leaf): 278 × 177 mm.
Dimensions (written): 180 × 105 mm.
Foliation: Partial Hindu-Arabic numerals on the upper-left corners of the a sides until 24a.
Foliation: Modern Arabic numerals pencilled on the upper-right corners of the a sides throughout, inclusive of the first original flyleaf, referenced in this record.


Primarily quaternions throughout. 4IV(26)1III(31)15IV(151)1IV-2(157). Catchwords throughout most of the lower-left corners of the b sides.


In fair condition, with extensive water and insect damage and historical repairs throughout.


Written in 1 column with 21 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in clear black naskh with subheaders in red.

Marginalia: Notes and commentary on the text written in the margins throughout.
  • Folio 1b bears the transliterated title and ‘Nº 55’, which while unsigned comports with the hand of Sir Gore Ouseley as found in other volumes that he owned, with an adjacent price of ‘25 Rs’ [Rupees].
  • A subsequent owner attempted to clip off Sir Gore Ouseley's autograph on the top-right corner of folio 2a, but part of it remains.
  • Adjacent to the colophon on folio 157b bears a notation dated Saturday, 14 Ẕī-al-Qa‘dah 1114 [or 1114?] AH (1 Apr. 1703 CE) indicating someone compared the volume with a holopgrah copy written by the commentator himself:
    ‘قویل بید المولف بقدر الوسع و الامکان و الله المستعان
    روز شنبه چهار دهم ذی قعده سنه ۱۱۱۴.’
Bookplates and Catalogue Entry:
  • The left flyleaf b side (f. iib) bears an unidentified pasted catalogue entry, probably Howell and Stewart, probably remounted back into place when restored:
    ‘کتاب الایمان 346 Kitab ol Iman.
    The Book of Faith ; a MS most beautifully written in a clear
    Neskhi character, with great regularity and care, on even and polished
    paper ; the margin wide and clear: altogether a very pleasing spe-
    cimen of calligraphy. Fol. 312 pp. 1l. 8s.’
  • Left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘’, and ‘Bland MSS No. 432’.


Covered in a hybrid British-Indian style in the Indian subcontinent in full polished red goatskin leather, without squares along the edges or a flap (Type III binding per Déroche). Resewn when restored in Britain the 20th century on four supports, Spine subsequently rebacked in goatkin leather and new endpapers of mould-made straw-coloured papers added.

Boards decorated with recessed paper onlays for the central scalloped medallions, detached pendants, and corners, all blind stamps with floral scrollwork desigs. Additional blind single vertical fillet lines connect the central decoration, while another at the margins connects the cornerpieces.

281 × 185 × 36 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In fair condition. Exterior scuffed and abraded. Repairs to the corners. Interior endpapers joints breaking.


Origin: Probably completed in the Indian subcontinent; undated, but probably 17th century CE, given the note dated Saturday, 14 Ẕī-al-Qa‘dah 1113 [or 1114?] AH (12 Apr. 1701 CE) adjacent to the colophon.

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently acquired by Sir Gore Ouseley while in India, as per his unsigned numbered inscription on 1b and clipped autograph on folio 2a. He then brought the volume back to Britain, but then apparently sold a portion of his library in circa 1825, apparently to London booksellers Howell and Stewart, as per what appears to be their pasted catalogue entry on the left flyleaf b side (f. ivb), probably to pay for his then-newly leased home at 33 Upper Grosvenor StreetBelgravia, Mayfair, London prior to the birth of his eldest son, Frederic that year.

Probably thereafter purchased from Howell and Stewart by scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803–1865), for his library at Randalls Park, Leatherhead.

After Bland's death, London bookseller Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) sold his oriental manuscripts to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) in June, 1866, paid in two instalments of £450 and £400, and then moved to Bibliotheca Lindesiana at Haigh Hall, Wigan.

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, Manchester.

Record Sources

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

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2022 with reference to the volume in hand.


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.

Digital Images

Manchester Digital Collections (full digital facsimile)


    C. Brockelmann, Brockelmann in English: The History of the Arabic Written Tradition Online. Part 6: Ḥadīth. Translated by J. J. Witkam. (Leiden: E. J. Brill 2018), Geschichte, Vol. 1, p. 160; and, Supplement, Vol. I, p. 265.
    G. H. A. Juynboll, 'Muslim b. al-Ḥad̲j̲d̲j̲ād̲j̲' Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd ed. Vol. 7 (Leiden: E. J. Brill 1993), pp. 691–692.
    G. H. A. Juynboll, R. Peters, and M. G. Carter, 'Ṣaḥīh' Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd ed. Vol. 8 (Leiden: E. J. Brill 1995), pp. 835–836.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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