Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 213 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: The prominent, Safavid-era calligrapher Muḥammad Shafī‘ Qazvīnī (d. ca. 1750), known as Khalīfah al-Khulafā' (Regent of Regents) completed this manuscript of the Mas̲navī-i Ma‘navī (Spiritual Couplets) by Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī on 22 Shavvāl 1105 AH (16 June 1694 CE). The son of ‘Abd al-Jabbār (d. 1654–55), a leading student of the preeminent Safavid master of nasta‘līq script, Mīr ‘Imād al-Ḥasanī (d. 1615), he ultimately served as librarian to Shāh ‘Abbās II (b. 1632, r. 1642–1666) in Isfahan, but then after the death of his father retired to Qazvin, where he probably copied this volume. Originally comprised of six separate booklets that subsequently suffered severe damage, then subsequently restored, with numerous quires replaced, losses expertly infilled, and incomplete passages re-written in two different hands then rebound, efforts likely due to admiration for the scribe. It also contains a seventh apocryphal volume added during restoration.
Scribe: Muḥammad Shafī‘ Qazvīnī (d. ca. 1750)
محمد شفيع قزوينى
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): هذه الاسرار القدسیة والانوار الروحیة واللایحات الخفیة والالهامات الجلیة والاشارات الغر
Incipit: برگ ۱۳پ (folio 13b): بشنو از نی چون حکایت میکند * از جدأیها شکایت میکند
Explicit: برگ ۴۶۷ر (folio 467a): آمد از دوگاه شاه معنوی * دفتر هفتم تمام از مثنوی.
Colophon: برگ ۴۳۹‌پ (folio 439b): تمت الکتاب بعنو الملک الوهاب روز چهار شنبه بوقت ضحی بیست و دوم شهر شوال سنه ۱۱۰۵ بید الضعیف الحنیف محمد شفیع غفر الله ذنوبه.
Colophon: Completed by Muḥammad Shafī‘ Qazvīnī on 22 Shavvāl 1105 AH (16 June 1694 CE).
Language(s): Persian

Regarding the apocryphal seventh volume, see Rieu, Catalogue Vol. II, pp. 587–588 [British Library Or. 1214]. For other copies of this work held in the Rylands, see Persian MS 17, 21, 72, 236, 250–255 (Books I–VI), 795, 847, 848, 926, 983 (Book I), and 984, the last being the earliest, completed in 9 Muḥarram 758 AH (2 January 1357 CE), about 85 years after the author first composed it. For critical editions, see Isti‘lāmī and Furūzānfar. For a recent English translation of the first two books based on the former edition, see Williams. For earlier translations, see Arberry, Nicholson, and Whinfield.

Title: Preface to the Volume
Title: دیباچه
Title: Dibāchah
Title: Preface to Book One
Title: دیباچهٔ دفتر اوَل
Title: Dibāchah-'i Daftar-i Avvāl
Title: Table of Contents for Book One
Title: Book One
Title: دفتر الاوّل
Title: Daftar-i Avvāl
Title: Table of Contents for Book Two
Title: Book Two
Title: دفتر دوّم
Title: Daftar-i Duvvūm
Title: Table of Contents for Book Three
Title: Preface to Book Three
Title: دیباچهٔ دفتر سیوم
Title: Dibāchah-'i Daftar-i Sīyūm
Title: Book Three
Title: دفتر سیوم
Title: Daftar-i Sīyūm
Title: Preface to Book Four
Title: دیباچهٔ دفتر چهادم
Title: Dibāchah-'i Daftar-i Chahārum
Title: Book Four
Title: دفتر چهادم
Title: Daftar-i Chahārum
Title: Table of Contents for Book Five
Title: Preface to Book Five
Title: دیباچهٔ دفتر پنجم
Title: Dibāchah-'i Daftar-i Panjum
Title: Book Five
Title: دفتر پنجم
Title: Daftar-i Panjum
Title: Table of Contents for Book Six
Title: Book Six
Title: دفتر شیشم
Title: Daftar-i Shīshum
Title: Preface to Book Seven (Apochryphal)
Title: دیباچهٔ دفتر هفتم
Title: Dibāchah-'i Daftar-i Haftum
Author and Dubious author: Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī
Scribe: Anonymous
Title: Book Seven (Apochryphal)
Title: دفتر هفتم
Title: Daftar-i Haftum

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of thin, cross-grained ivory-coloured paper, probably handmade in Iran, with variant laid lines and few discerinible chain lines, some evidently decorated with pale salmon pink stencillied margins the central text. Extensive repairs and quires replaced with two types of paper. A comparatively buff-coloured, slightly heavier-weight, cross-grained, paper, likely handmade in the Indian subcontinent, with ~ 1 mm between laid lines and no discernible chain lines, to replace folios 23–24. acomparatively white paper, probably Indian , with comparatively larger laid lines ~1.5 mm apart and few discernible chain lines, sized (with a now-yellowed adhesive) and polished. Replaced folios include folios 89–127, 173–74, 176–177, 179, 181, 203–04, 207–08, 232–233, 241,and 440–67 (comprising the apocyphal seventh volume).
Extent: 459 folios, 9 flyleaves (ff. iv + 459 + v ).
Dimensions (leaf): 196 × 112 mm.
Dimensions (written): 140 × 70 mm.
Foliation: Historical Hindu-arabic numerals present, but inconsistent and many trimmed.
Foliation: Foliation pencilled in Arabic numerals on the upper-left corners of the a sides when catalogued, which omit folios 220 to 229, and repeat folios 340Aa 342Aa, hence over by eight.


Undetermined due to the tight binding. Catchwords occasionally found on the lower left corners of the b sides on unrepaired folios.


Handle with caution. In fair condition. Extensive water damage and historical repairs throughout.


Written in 1 to 4 columns with 19 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in black nasta‘līq script with red subheaders.

Replaced text and repaired areas re-written in comparatively hasty black nasta‘līq with red subheaders.

  • The third right flyleaf a side (f. iiia) bears the title written in shikastah.
  • The fourth right flyleaf b side (f. ivb) numbered Masnavi - Nº - 42, above the the wax seal of former owner John Staples Harriott, and likely in his hand
  • Folios 1b signed by John Staples Harriott above the headpiece.
Bookplates: Left pastedown: Bibliotheca Lindesiana with pencilled shelfmark F/10, and Bland MSS No. 434.


Modern resewing at two stations on flat supports, probably tapes, with new twined chevron endbands in yellow and red silk threads. Modern rebinding, tight-backed full maroon goatskin leather Type II binding (with flap as per Déroche), with remounted original sides of polished goatskin leather. A completely modern flap, without no remnants remounted, and modern, peach-tinted mould-made papers also added as new endpapers to the volume when restored.

Original remounted sides of polished goatskin leather bearing remnants of stamped gilt paper onlays featuring central scalloped mandorlas, detached pendants, and corners with scrollwork quatrefoils and treefoils. A modern flap bears blind tooled fillet lines that surround the perimeters and criss-cross at the fore-edge, with a central septfoil, and two fleur-de-lis at head and tail, with the latter again at the peak of the envelope flap, then the internal leather lining blind tooled on the perimeters and fore-edge.

199 × 124 × 51 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In fair condition, with page openings to the gutters severely restricted. Some abrasion on the edges and cracking headbcaps.


The fourth right flyleaf b side (f. ivb) bears a small, red, rectangular wax seal, intaglio-carved in nasta‘līq in two stacked lines, double-ruled, with the name of former owner John Staples Harriott dated 1224 AH (1809–10 CE):
ات کپتان ۱۲۲۴
جان سٹی‍لس هاری

(Jān Staypils Hārī-āt, Kaptān, 1224).
12 × 14 mm.


Origin: Completed by Muḥammad Shafī‘ Qazvīnī, probably in Qazvin; 22 Shavvāl 1105 AH (16 June 1694 CE).

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently acquired by British East India Company interpreter John Staples Harriott (1780–1839), who impressed his red wax seal upon the fourth right flyleaf b side (f. ivb) and signed the top of folio 1b.

After Harriott's death, inherited by his widow who then sold the library through the Alliance des Arts, Paris on 13–15 April 1843 (cat. 129), where scholar Nathaniel Bland (1803-1865) purchased it. Curiously, in his sale 1841 catalogue of Harriott's library Jules Mohl notes two copies of this work, one dated much later, and another (p.22, no. 150) vaguely described as octavo-sized with 435 ff, bound in Morocco leather, which nearly comports with the original colophon on 439b, yet it omits the scribe and date. This suggests that perhaps Bland possibly had the volume restored after he purchased it and that he may have also added the apocryphal seventh book at that time.

After Bland's 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 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 handlist by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s and his 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.


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Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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