Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 457 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: According to the opening of this volume entitled here, Jung-i Kalām-i Isti‘mālī (Anthology of Customary Sayings), also known as the Jung-i Quṭb Shāhī, the author Quṭb Shāhī-era minister Muḥammad Sa‘īd (d. 1663), known as Mīr Jumlā, dedicated by encyclopedic anthology for the ruler Sultān ‘Abdallāh Quṭb Shāh (b. 1614, r. 1626–1672), culled from various sources including the Makārim al-Akhlāq ('Noble Manners', see Rylands Persian MS 680) by Ṭabarsī (d. 1153), the Iḥyà ‘Ulūm al-Dīn ('Revival of Religious Sciences') by Muḥammad al-Ghazzālī (d. 1058-1111), (and probably the author's abridged Persian translation entitled Kīmiyā-yi Saʻādat 'Alchemy of Happiness', see Rylands Persian MS 231 to 235), Kashf al-Ghummat (Lifting of Sadness) by al-Irbīlī (d. 1293), Rabīʿ al-Abrār ('Springtime of the Just', see Rylands Arabic MS 242) by al-Zamakhsharī (d. 1144), and Rasā’il ('Treatises') by the Ikhwān al-Safā’ or 'Brotherhood of Purity'. Subjects encompass the religious sciences, ethics, philosophy, polite learning and the interpretation of dreams, followed by a ‘Supplement’, described as a separate epistle but comprised of five chapters on five words connected to kingship, followed by a conclusion.
Author, Compiler and Attributed name: Muḥammad Sa‘īd (d. 1663) محمد سعيد
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۷۷پ (folio 77b): ابتدای کلام بنام خداوندی سز است که ابتدای هر چیز ازوست و انتهای سخن بکلام قادری سزآواراست که بازگشت همه بدوست ...
Explicit: برگ ۷۶ر (folio 76a): یا رب دعای خسته دلان مستجاب کن و از جمله اتفاقات خسنه اینمه روزی که امر عالی باانتخاب تاریخ حکما و در سخنان از کلام اکابر و فضلا شرف صدور یافت کلمهٔ انتخاب موافق تاریخ کتاب بود و عون ثانی الحال مامور شد که آن منتخب را باخلاق و سیر پادشاهان صورت اتمام در اخلاق پادشاهی مطابق آمد
Colophon: برگ ۷۶ر (folio 76a): اللهم ايده بمريد التاديب وايده بكمال التهيد والنصره على الاعداء واحفظ في الفراء والسراء بمحمد وآله تمت تمام شد بتاريخ ١٣ شهر ذو الحجه سنه ١٨
Colophon: The compiler describes in the introduction and again in the explicit on folio 76a, how Sultān ‘Abdallāh Quṭb Shāh (b. 1614, r. 1626–1672) noted the year of completion of the work numerically corresponds with the word intikhāb (choice), equivalent to 1054 AH (1644-45 CE), hence directs it be used as a chronogram for these muntakhab (selections). However, the colophon then cryptically states it was completed on ‘13 Ẕū-al-Ḥijjah year 18’. Prior interpretation of that as a Christian date (i.e. 1800) seems incongruent with an Islamic month. Since only the kings of Awadh (Oude) previously owned the volume, with the seal of the last king, Wājid ‘Alī Shāh r. 1847–1856), impressed over paper repairs, the number may possibly indicate the regnal years of either Shuja‘ al-Dawlah or Aṣaf al-Dawlah. Alternatively, it may also possibly indicate 1218 AH (hence 25 Mar. 1804 CE), although the deteriorated condition suggests an earlier date more likely. No historical account records Muḥammad Sa‘īd completing such an anthology, hence the work may be altogether spurious.

The main text begins on folio 77b (i.e. f. 1a), with the dedication to Sultān ‘Abdallāh Quṭb Shāh (b. 1614, r. 1626–1672) followed by praise of the compiler Muḥammad Sa‘īd (d. 1663) by his title Jumlāt al-Mulk. After Chapter Four, subsequent headings omitted, and the first page of volume 2 appears missing. Note that Micheal Kerney previously identified the title as Jang-i Kalām (War of Words) and dated the volume to 1800 based upon based upon the inscription on the first right flyleaf a side (f. ia). A prior record also bore the title Jung-i Kalām-i Ismā'īlī (Anthology of the Words of Ismā‘īl); however, the actual title appears to be Jung-i Kalām-i Isti‘mālī (Anthology of Customary Sayings).

Language(s): Persian

The following represents a preliminary list of the work's chapters and their place in the manuscript.

Title: Introduction: on the definition of knowledge.
Title: On prayer, repeating the name of God, and using the bathhouse and toothpicks [sic].
Title: On which work should be undertaken on which days of the week.
Title: On the months of the year.
Title: On the effects exerted on the human body by the seasons.
Title: On clothing.
Title: Chapter Two: on friendship and enmity.
Title: Chapter Three: on socializing with people and social conduct.
Title: Chapter Four: on clemency, punishment, repentance, and the acceptance of apology.
Title: Chapter on patience (? Heading blank).
Title: Chapter on justice (? Heading blank).
Title: Section – anecdotes on fools who were Arabs (Chapter unmarked).
Title: On intelligent fools.
Title: On praiseworthy things accomplished by intelligent men.
Title: On praise and blame.
Title: Chapter (marked) on the foundation of Islam and belief.
Title: On animal and plant life.
Title: On impure things (masūkhāt).
Title: On the stratagems (ḥiyalhā) exhibited by some famous figures.
Title: On dreams and their interpretation.
Title: ‘Supplement’ on folios 2a to 76a.
Title: Introduction: on the meaning of the word ‘king’.
Title: Chapter Two: on the king’s counsel and judgement.
Title: Chapter Three: on seriousness (jidd) and the exertion of effort (jahd).
Title: Chapter Four: on the ordering of retainers and servants.
Title: On the customs and behavior of kings.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Written on thin, sized, and polished buff-coloured Indian handmade laid paper with ~1mm between laid lines, and few discernible chain lines
Extent: 251 folios (ff. ii + 251 + ii)
Dimensions (leaf): 271 × 161 mm.
Dimensions (written): 189 × 93 mm.

The beginning of the work is intact, but Hindu-Arabic numeral foliation in black ink on the upper left corners of the a sides begins at folio 77 and continues to 252, followed by a 'Supplement' foliated 1–76. This record employs these numbers.


Undetermined, but possibly quaternions throughout. Catchwords throughout on the lower left corners of the b sides.


In fair condition. Handle pages at the end with caution, where soft and weak. Extensive ⟨insect⟩ and ⟨water⟩ damage, with numerous historical repairs throughout.


Written in 1 to 2 columns with 17 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Copied in black nasta’līq script. Emendations in a different hand. Some chapter headings, Arabic passages and titles marked in red.

  • The first right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears the title of the volume in Persian, likely inscribed by Muhīn Dās attendant to former owner Colonel George William Hamilton, who identifies the colophon date as ‘18 ‘Īsavī’; however, the colophon omits that calendrical designation: ‘جنگ کلام استعمالی محمد سعید محرره سنه ۱۸ عیسوی بنظر پادشاه قطبشاه در آمده در علم تادیخ’
  • The second right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears the alternate title of the volume in Persian Jung-i Kalām-i Muḥammad Sa‘īd: ‘جنگ کلام محمد سعید’
  • Dated notations on folio 1a:
    • Top-right: Note in red dated Ramaz̤ān 1237 AH (22 May– 19 June 1822 CE).
    • Top-left: Note to the left to the seal of Nāṣir al-Dīn Ḥaydar Shāh (1803–1837, r. 1827–1837) notes the number of folios, ‘225 varaq’, while another identifies the volume as ‘Jung-i Kalām-i Isti‘mālī-i Muḥammad Sa‘īd’.
    • Centre-Top Note to the left of the seal of Amjad ‘Alī Shāh (1801–1847, r. 1842–1847) dated 8 Rabī‘ I 1262 AH (6 Mar. 1846 CE):

      ‘بتاریخ هشتم دبیع الاپل سنه ۱۲۶۲ هجری عامره رسید. ’

    • Centre-Middle: ‘Number 50’ written in Persian.
    • Bottom: The word taḥvīl (transfer) written above Nīnkā Bayg Khān's seal.
  • Left doublure, ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelf mark ‘1/E’ and ‘Hamilton MSS. No. 374’.


Rebound in a hybrid British-Indian style, probably in Multan for former owner Colonel George William Hamilton. Resewn at two stations, likely over cord supports put down on the first and last flyleaves, with Islamic-style twined chevron endbands in green and red silk threads. Rebound in a hybrid British-Indian style binding in full, tight backed, red goatskin leather over pasteboards without a flap (Type III binding per Déroche), with squares at the edges.

Spine and perimeters of the boards stained dark brown in about 8mm from the edges, outlined with double-ruled lines in yellow. Titled Jung-i Kalām-i Shiʿr in Persian in yellow on the spine.

278 × 170 × 40 mm.

Binding sound but very tight. White salts (spew) on the leather doublures probably resulting from prolonged exposure to moisture.

Three library seals of the kings of Awadh (Oude), intaglio-carved in nasta‘līq script in two stacked lines impressed in vermilion on the first and last folios of the volume, 77b and 76b of the supplement, with a second smaller rectangular seal impressed in black on folio 77a.

1: Rectangular 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: Rectangular 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: Rectangular seal surmounted by the royal emblem Awadh, of Wājid ‘Alī Shāh (1822–1887), King of Awadh (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.

4: Also on folio 1a, bottom, below the word taḥvīl, a rectangular black seal impression, intaglio carved in nasta‘līq script, stacked in two lines, single-ruled, of former owner or associate possibly named Nīnkā Bayg Khān dated 1230 AH (1814–15 CE):

نینکا بیگ خان بندهٔ حسین، ١٢۳۰

13 × 14 mm.


Origin: Possibly Lucknow; dated 13 Ẕū-al-Ḥijjah, ‘year 18’, possibly corresponding with 1218 AH (hence 25 Mar. 1804 CE). The date appears unusual, and while an inscription on the front flyleaf indicates it is a Christian year 18, it may indicate 1218 AH or the regnal years of the Awadh (Oude) rulers Shuja‘ al-Dawlah or Aṣaf al-Dawlah.

Provenance and Acquisition

Previously owned or inspected by an unidentified person named Nīnkā Bayg Khān, as per his seal impression on folio 1b dated 1230 AH (1814–15 CE), possibly an assitant to the royal library of Awadh during the reign of Ghazī al-Dīn Ḥaydar Shāh, r. 1818–27.

Definitely held in the royal library of Awadh in Awadh (Oude), as indicated by dated library notations on folio 1a, and seal impressions 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 Qaisarbagh palace and library on 15 March 1858.

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 purchased 352 from his widow, Charlotte Logie Hamilton (1817–1893), now held in the British Library.

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

Purchased by Enriqueta Rylands (1843–1908) (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 and delineation of chapter headings by James White in 2018.

Record amended and enhanced by Jake Benson in 2021 with reference to the volume in hand, and in consultation with Dr. Hunter Bandy, École Pratique des Hautes Études-section des sciences religieuses and Laboratoire d'études sur les monothéismes (LEM).


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)

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute

The Soudavar Memorial Foundation


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