Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 442 (The John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: An incomplete, anonymous work entitled Ansāb-i Afghānān (Genealogies of the Afghans), concerning the history of Afghan tribes, especially the Rohillas.
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): آغاز انساب افغانان و کیفیت و ماهیت سلسله ایشان و آنچه که مردم هند ایشانرا روهلها میگویند این نسبت روهله چیست.
Explicit: برگ ۴۰پ (folio 40b): تا کی رد خواب غفلت باشی ای دون و ما خلت الجن والانسن الا لیعبدون ربنا الهدنا الصراط المستقیم.
Colophon: No colophon.

The author states on the final folio that he culled information from various sources, including the Khulaṣat al-Ānsāb by Ḥāfiẓ Raḥmat Khān (ca. 1710–1774), the Tārīkh-i Shīrshāh by ʻAbbās Khān Sarvānī (fl. 1579), the Khulāṣat al-Tavārīkh by Sūjan Rāʼi (fl. 1690–1698), the Tārīkh-i Firishtah by Muḥammad Qāsim Hindū Shāh Astarābādī (d. ca. 1620) , known as 'Firishtah' (see Rylands Persian MS 378 to 380 and 826) and the Zubdat al-Tavārīkh by Nūr al-Ḥaqq Dihlavī (d. 1662–1663, see Rylands Persian MS 384). The author also references the Majma' al-Tavārīkh, probably that of Ḥaydar ibn ʻAlī Ḥusaynī Rāzī (fl. 1611–1619), as well as the Ḥadīqat al-Aqālīm completed by Murtaz̤ā Ḥusayn Bilgrāmī (ca. 1720–1790) sometime between 1775 to 1781 (see Rylands Persian MS 69). Therefore, this work must date subsequent to the last title.

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock is comprised of a butter-coloured polished paper, probably handmade in India.
Extent: 40 folios (i + 40 + i)
Dimensions (leaf): 229 × 168 mm.
Dimensions (written): 217 × 136 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in pencilled Arabic numerals on the upper left corners of the a sides.


5IV(40). Quaternions throughout. Catchwords on the lower-left corners of the b sides throughout.


In good condition. Some historical repairs in the gutters and on the fore-edges, with many folios awkwardly trimmed or tipped.


Single column, between 16 and 22 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in an amateur nasta‘līq hand in black ink, with occasional shikastah ligatures, with numerous corrections.

  • Inscription:The right flyleaf a side denotes the title, description, and name of former owner Colonel George William Hamilton in Persian nasta‘liq, likely in the hand of his attendant Muhīn Dās.
  • Marginalia: notes in different hands on the margins throughout, with some trimmed at the fore-edge trimmed.
  • Bookplates:The left doublure bears the ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ bookplate with shelf mark ‘1/G’, and ‘Hamilton MSS No. 359’.


Probably rebound in a hybrid British-Indian style for former owner Colonel George William Hamilton while he served as Commissioner of Multan in the 1850s. Unsupported sewing at three stations, with twined Islamic-style chevron endbands in yellow and peach silk threads. Covered in full, tight backed, red goatskin leather over pasteboards, without a flap (Type III binding as per Déroche), with squares along the edges and defined joints on the exterior. Endleaves of ivoury-coloured, paper.

Boards margins outlined in both double and single ruled yellow lines. Octagonal paper label inscribed with the Persian title Nasab-i Afghānān ya‘nī Rūhīllah adhered to the spine.

237 × 176 × 17 mm.

In good condition.


Origin: Likely Northern India; late 18th to early 19th century.

Provenance and Acquisition

Acquired by Colonel George William Hamilton (1807-1868) who served in India from 1823 to 1867, ultimately as Commissioner of Delhi. During his tenure, he amassed a collection of more than a thousand Indian and Persian manuscripts, from which the British Museum selected 352 volumes after his death, now held in the British Library.

In 1868, Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) purchased the remainder.

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, concisely published as Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2021 with reference to the manuscript in hand, and in consultation with Dr Dawood Azami, BBC World Service and International Institute for Strategic Studies.


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.

Digital Images

Manchester Digital Collections (full digital facsimile)

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation and The John Rylands Research Institute


Comment on this record

Please fill out your details.

How are we using your feedback? See our privacy policy.

See the Availability section of this record for information on viewing the item in a reading room.