Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 447 (The John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: An incomplete autobiography of poet ʻAlī Ḥazīn‏ (ca. ‎1692–1766) Originally born in Iṣfahān in 1103 AH (1691-92 CE), the author fled his native homeland during the rise of Nādir Shāh Afshār (b. 1688, r. 1736–1747). He reached the Indian subcontinent in 1146 AH (1733–34 CE) where he attained fame, then passed away in 1180 AH (1766–67) in Benares (Varanasi).
Incipit: برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): نحمده ونسأله التقي ونعتصم بعروة الوثقي ونصلي على سيدنا المصطفى وأله العلام الهدي.
Explicit: برگ ۷۲ر (folio 72a): دامگاه شوریده آزرده را آثار هست.
Colophon: No colophon
Language(s): Persian

Incomplete, ends with chapter 41. Francis Cunningham Belfour (1786–1852) published a critical edition in London for the Oriental Translation Fund in 1830.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Written on heavily flocked, straight-grained, cream-coloured paper likely handmade in the Indian subcontinent, with ~1mm between laid lines and few discernible chain lines.
Extent: 72 folios, 2 flyleaves (ff. i + 72 + i).
Dimensions (leaf): 225 × 150 mm.
Dimensions (written): × mm.
Foliation: Foliated in pencilled Arabic numberals at top of the a sides when catalogued.


Primarily quaternions, 7IV(56)1III(66)1IV+2. Catchwords throughout on the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Handle with caution. In poor condition. Extensive water damage along the fore-edge with subsequent repairs, with tears where weakened.


Written in 1 columns with 13 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Copied in legible black nasta'līq with shikastah ligatures.

Inscription: The right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears the alternate title and name of the former owner Colonel George William Hamilton written in a bold black Persian nasta‘līq hand, likely that of his assitant, Muhīn Dās.
Bookplates: Bookplates: Left paste-down: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘1/H’, ‘Hamilton MSS No. 364’.


Possibly rebound in Delhi in a hybrid British-Indian style for former owner Colonel George William Hamilton between 1863 and 1867.

Resewn on a single flat, wide support, possibly a leather thong, put down on the pastedowns, with stuck-on folded fabric headbands at head and tail. Rebound in a 'hemmed' binding with dark red, smooth goatskin leather applied only to the spine perimeters of the pasteboards—apparently reused, given the a mandorla-shaped depression on the interior pastedowns— without a flap (type III binding as per Déroche). Boards faced with likely British-made, glazed and polished, predominantly sienna-coloored 'Spanish' wave patterned marbled paper with dark blue-green shell veins. Endpapers of coarse, heavily flocked paper likely handmade in the Indian subcontinent.

Board margins blind-tooled with a wide decorative roll featuring a scrollwork flourish bounded by double fillet lines either side, with single and double yellow ruled lines also drawn on either side. An octagonal paper spine label Persian bears the title of the volume in nasta‘līq: ‘Siyar-i Muḥammad ‘Alī’.

240 × 162 × 20 mm.


Origin: Probably completed in the Indian subcontinent; undated, but likely late 18th to early 19th century.

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently acquired by Colonel George William Hamilton (1807-1868) who served in India from 1823 to 1867, latterly as Commissioner in Delhi, where he collected over a thousand Indian and Persian manuscripts.

After his death, the British Museum selected 352 volumes, now held in the British Library, after which Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) obtained 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 and his Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.

Manuscript description by James White in 2017 with reference to the volume in hand.

Record revised and expanded by Jake Benson in 2022 with reference to the manuscript.


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.


    H. Ethé, Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts in the Library of the India Office, Vol. I (Oxford: Printed for the India Office by H. Hart, 1903) col. 350, no. 677 [BL IO Islamic 2141].
    Muḥammad ʻAlī Ḥazīn, Tārīkh-i Aḥvāl-i Shaykh Ḥazīn. Edited by Francis Cunningham Belfour. London: Dar al-Salṭanah-'i Inglīsīyah, 1830.
    Muḥammad ʻAlī Ḥazīn, The life of Sheikh Mohammed Ali Hazin. Translated by Francis Cunningham Belfour. London: Oriental Translation Fund, 1830.
    Sarfarāz Khān Khatak, Shaikh Muḥammad'Alī Ḥazīn: His Life, Times and Works. Lahore: Muhammad Ashraf, 1944.
    D. N. Marshall, Mughals in India: A Bibliographical Survey. Vol. 1. Manuscripts (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1962), p. 183, no. 629 (i).
    John R. Perry, 'Ḥazīn Lāhijī' Encyclopædia Iranica, Vol. XII, fasc. 1 (2004), pp. 97-98.
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. I (London: British Museum, 1879), p. 381a [BL Add. 16719].
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. II (London: British Museum, 1879), p. 843b [BL Add. 19497].
    E. Sachau and H. Ethé, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstani, and Pushtû manuscripts in the Bodleian Library Vol I (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889), col. 261, no. 383 [Bodl. Ouseley 273].
    C. A. Storey, Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey, Vol. I Pt. 2 (London: Luzac & Co., 1953), pp. 847–848, no. 1150 (1).

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation and The John Rylands Research Institute

The Soudavar Foundation


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