Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 435 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: An incomplete copy of the Intikhāb-i Tārīkh al-Ḥukamā' (Selections from the History of the Sages), also known as the Qūl al-Ḥukamā' (Quotations of the Sages), an abridgment of quotations by philosophers and historical figures, originally anonymously compiled in Muḥammadābād (Bidar) for presentation to the Deccan Sultanate ruler ‘Abd Allāh Quṭb Shāh (b. 1614, r. 1626–1672) in 1054 AH (1644–45 CE). Passages derive from the Tarjumah-’i Tārīkh al-Ḥukamā (Translation of the History of the Sages) translated into Persian by Maqṣūd ‘Alī Tabrīzī from the 13th-century Arabic text Nuzhat al-Arwāḥ wa-Rawḍat al-Afrāḥ of Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Maḥmūd Shahrazūrī at the request of the Mughal prince Salīm, who later ruled as the Emperor Jahāngīr (b. r. 1506–1626). Completed on 25 Ẕī-al-Qa‘dah 1084 AH (3 Mar. 1674 CE), this manuscript would appear to date about twenty years after the original.
Author and Abridger: Anonymous

Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): سپاس و ستایش حکیمی را که اوّل بی اوّلست قاصر از دريافت جلال او عقلهای عقلان و آخر بی آخر است...
Explicit: برگ ۲۴۳ر (folio 243a): ...کلمه انتخاب موافق تاریخ کتابت بود چون ثانی الحال مامور شد که آن منتخب را باخلاق و سر پادشاهان مطابق آمد. اللهم ایده نمرید التایید و ایده بکمال التیید وانصره علی الاعد آوا حفظ فی السراء الفرآء بمحمد و آله واصحابه اجمعین
Colophon: برگ ۲۴۳ر (folio 243a): تمام شد بتاریخ بیست و پنجم شهر ذی القعده با روز یکشنبه سنه ۱۰۸۴
Colophon: Colophon at the end of Part II on folio 243a completed on 25 Ẕī-al-Qa‘dah 1084 AH (3 Mar. 1674 CE).
Explicit: برگ ۲۸۵ر (folio 285b): و هر که فقیر مسلمانی را کرامی دارد چون خدا را در روز قیامت ملاقات نماید ازو راضی باشد و حضرت امام رضا صلوت الله علیه فرمود که هر که ملاقات نماید فقیر مسلمانی را ویر و سلام کند بر خلاف سلامی که باغینا میکن ⟨ند؟⟩ چون در قیامت خدا را ملاقات نماید یعنی بمقام حساب آید و از و حشم باشد.

Note that prior owners or readers misidentifed the manuscript as another work with the same title, the Persian translation by the poet ‘Azīzī from the Arabic original by Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Maḥmūd Shahrazūrī, (fl. 13th century). Michael Kerney previously attributed a later date due to a misattribution for another copy owned by Richard Johnson (see Ethé catalogue). However, the 19th-century Awadh royal library seal impressions and notations written over repairs on folio 1a, and generally poor condition of the manuscript prior to restoration, indicate that the date furnished in the colophon appears accurate, hence this volume dates 20 years after the work's original completion. See Storey regarding the correct 17th-century attribution for the work, further confirmed by a comparable volume completed in 1105 AH (1693–94 CE) (British Library Or. 13853, see Waley catalogue).

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of thin, cross-grained ivory-coloured paper handmade in the Islamic world, with variant laid lines and no discerinible chain lines.
Extent: 430 folios, 8 flyleaves (ff. iv + 430 + iv).
Dimensions (leaf): 215 × 123 mm.
Dimensions (written): 148 × 71 mm.
Foliation: Foliation pencilled in Arabic numerals on the upper-left corners of the a sides when catalogued, omitting folios 365 to 384, hence over by twenty. Note that an undetermined number of folios between 242b and 243a appear missing.


Undetermined due to the tight binding. Catchwords on the lower left corners of the b sides throughout.


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


ًWritten in 1 column with 19 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in black nasta‘līq with subheaders in red.

  • The second right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears the title and name of former owner George William Hamilton written in bold nasta‘liq, likely in the hand of his assistant Muhīn Dās.
  • Folio 1a:
    • Top: The title and description of the work, with a misattribution for the transaltion to ‘Azīzī.
    • A partly legible note in red aside describes the work.
    • Centre: The title in hasty shikastah, with another note underneath recording that the volume contains 450 folios, with ‘Number 53’ writter under that.
    • Bottom: Accession notation adjacent to the seal of Wājid ‘Alī Shāh, King of Awadh (r. 1847–1856) (no. 3), dated 5 Rabī‘ I 1262 AH (3 Mar. 1846).
Bookplates: The left paste-down: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘2/J’, and ‘Hamilton MSS Nº. 352’ with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘435’ written aside.


Rebound in a British-Indian hydrid style, probably in Multan, for former owner Colonel George William Hamilton (1807-1868).

Resewn at two stations, with twined chevron endbands in green and red silk threads. Rebound tight-backed in a hybrid British-Indian style full red goatskin leather binding with defined joints, squares at the edges of the beards, and headcaps. Internal doublures of the same goatskin leather as on the exterior. with the hinge put down on the first and last flyleaves, with a strip of handmade paper adhered over top.

222 × 130 × 49 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In fair condition, but opens poorly. Some abrasion on the exterior edges and headcaps cracking. Beware the breaks and reapirs between folios 242b and 243a.

The the first and last folios of the volume, 1a and 285b, bear three rectangular vermilion library seal impressions of the kings of Awadh (Oude), intaglio-carved in nasta‘līq script in two stacked lines.

1: Seal impression of the library of Nāṣir al-Dīn Ḥaydar Shāh (b. 1803, r. 1827–1837) dated 1244 AH (1828–29 CE), inscribed with his title Sulaymān Jāh:

‘ خوش است مهر کتبخانه سلیمان جاه * بهر کتاب مزین چو نقش بسم الله، ١٢۴۴’

Khvush ast muhur-i kitābkhānah-'i Sulaymān Jāh bahr-i kitāb; muzayyin chaw naqsh-i basmallah, 1244 ’ (‘The seal of the library of Sulaymān Jāh is good; it embellishes the book like the design of a basmallah, 1244’).

17 × 37 mm.

2:Seal surmounted by the royal emblem of Awadh, of Amjad ‘Alī Shāh (b. 1801, r. 1842–1847) dated 1260 AH (1844–45 CE):

‘ناسخ هر مهر شد چون شد مزین بر کتاب * خاتم امجد علی شاه زمان عالیجناب، ١٢٦٠’

Nāsukh har muhur shud chun shud muzayyin bar kitāb; khātim-i Amjad ‘Alī Shāh zamān-i ‘Ālījanāb, 1260’ (‘Every [prior] seal became cancelled since the book became embellished by the seal of Amjad ‘Alī Shāh in the era of his Sublime Majesty, 1260’).

53 × 45 mm.

3: Seal surmounted by the royal emblem Awadh, of Wājid ‘Alī Shāh, King of Awadh (b. 1822, r. 1847–1856) dated 1262 AH (1846–47 CE):

‘ خاتم واجد علی سلطان عالم بر کتاب * ثابت و پر نور بادا تا فروغ آفتاب، ١٢۶۲ ’

Khātim-i Wājid ‘Alī, Sulṭān-i ‘Ālam bar kitāb, s̄abit va pur nūr bādā tā farūgh-i āftāb, 1262’ (‘The seal of Wājid ‘Alī, Sulṭān of the World, upon the book shall be permanent and as bright as sunlight, 1262 AH [1847 CE]’).

41 × 26 mm.


Origin: Probably completed in the Indian subcontinent; 25 Ẕī-al-Qa‘adah 1084 AH (3 Mar. 1674)

Provenance and Acquisition

Previously held in the royal library of Awadh in Lucknow, as indicated by library seal impressions on folio 155b of the Kings of Awadh Nāṣir al-Dīn Ḥaydar Shāh (b. 1803, r. 1827–1837), Amjad ‘Alī Shāh (b. 1801, r. 1842–1847), and Wājid ‘Alī Shāh (b. 1822, r. 1847–1856), then presumably looted during India's First War of Independence, when British soldiers ransacked the Kaisarbagh palace and library on 15 March 1858 (see Wolseley's Memoir).

Subsequently acquired by Colonel George William Hamilton (1807-1868) who served in India from 1823 to 1867, latterly as Commissioner in Delhi. He acquired over a thousand Indian and Persian manuscripts, from which the British Museum selected 352, now held in the British Library.

Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) purchased the remainder of Hamilton's collection in 1868.

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 with reference to the volume.

Further amended and enhanced by Jake Benson in 2022 with reference to the manuscript 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)


    H. Ethé, Catalogue of Persian manuscripts in the library of the India Office Vol. 1 (London: India Office Library, 1903), col. 250 no. 618 [BL IO Islamic 665].
    Charles Rathbone Low, A Memoir of Lieutenant-General Sir Garnet J. Wolseley (London: R. Bentley, 1878), pp. 168–169.
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. II (London: British Museum, 1881), p. 834b [BL Add. 16839, no. XIX, ff. 166–170].
    C. A. Storey, Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey, Vol. I Pt. 2 (London: Luzac & Co., 1935), p. 1107–1109, no. 1487(2).
    M. I. Waley, Supplementary Handlist of Persian Manuscripts in the British Library: 1966-1998, (London: British Library, 1998), p. 34 [BL Or. 13853].

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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