Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 492 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: The Risālah-i Yuḥanna-yi Isrā’īl (Treatise of Yuḥanna of Israel) contains six chapters on the rightousness of Shi’ism based upon the Qur'ān, traditions of the Prophet and the Imams, and commentators. Author Yuhanna Isra’il argues how after studying the doctrines of various sects, he adopted Shi’ism. Apparently originally the first text in a collection of treatises, with the other titles recorded in a different hand, on folio 1a.
Incipit: (beginning) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): الحمد الله رب العالمین و الصلوات و السلام علی خیر خلقه محمد و آله اجمعین...چنین گوید یوحنای اسرائیل الذی المغربی غفر له [برگ ۲ر] پیوسته بر مقتضای المؤمن دینه قیاسأ در تجسس مذاهب و ادیان بودم... تا آنگاه که الله تعالی چشم عقل مرا بنور هدایت روشن گردانید و آئینه دلم بصیقل عنایت بزدائید و بیقین دانستم که سعادت ابدی و نجات سرمدی باعتقاد در شناختن خدا و رسول و امام و معاد و عبادات شریعة حاصل شود...
Explicit: 33b 33b پس علما جملکی بر خواسند گفتند که اکنون توهادی مائی و ما را ازین چاه تقلید بر لو کلام و حدیث بیورن آوردی و بعصر تحقیق رسانیدی حق تمام ترا بیامزد و اجر نهایت دهد بحرمت محمد و آله الیه(؟) مجمال.
Colophon: تمت تمام شد تم تم تم.
Colophon: Uninformative colophon.

The text commences in a fine nasta‘līq hand, then after the initial opening with Arabic quotations at the bottom of the same page, refers to the author as ‘Yuḥannà Isrā’īl al-Dhimmī al-Maghribī’.

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock comprised of medeium-weight, unevenly formed, straight-grained, externally sized and polished, ivoury-coloured paper probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent with ~6 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 33 folios, 4 fly leaves
Dimensions (leaf): 205 × 114 mm.
Dimensions (written): 155 × 70 mm.


Handle text with caution. Extensive insect damage and historical repairs throughout.


ًWritten in 1 column with 17 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Black nasta‘līq with shikastah ligatures, and naskh for Arabic quotations, with markings in red.

Additions: 1a
  • inside cover Bookplates Bibilotheca Lindesiana, Bland MSS No. 409
  • Owner's seal فخرالدین احمد خان ۱۱۱۸ 13 .
  • with a note مالک شد، من متملکات جناب (ناخوانا، آقا؟ اقدس؟) فخرالدین احمد خان (ناخوانا، ظاهرأ دعای طول عمر ).
  • The MS. seems to have been originally the first text in a collection of treatises Title جنگ رساله ها the titles of which are given, in a different hand, on f. la:
  • Table of content 1: رسالۀ یوحنایی که در تحقیقات ادیان نوشته است 2: ذکر عدالت های که از خلفای ثلثه در ایام خلافت ایشان بوقوع آمده 3:رسالۀ جواب سؤال ملا باقر مجلسی، جامع این رساله احمدبن محمد...(ناخوانا) 4: پندنامه فریدالین عطار علیه العنه (کذا) 5: رساله بعد حمد حافظ 6: رساله ترجمته الصلواه
  • note It is laso suggested, on f. la, that the collection contained 169 leaves, dated 8th Rabi‘ al-Avval of the Islamic lunar year 1262 961 ورق بتاریخ هشتم ربیع الاول سنه 2612 هجری... 1262 (ناخوانا) رسید
Catchwords on every verso page.


Probably repaired and rebound in Multan between 1858 and 1861 for former owner George William Hamilton.

Sewn as though on a single support, but probably omitted. doublures, no flap, defined joints. red-green twined endband at tail only. Headcap smashed. Margins blind-ruled with a creaser.

212 × 122 × 14 mm.

Folio 1a bears three types of rectangular vermilion library seal impressions, intaglio-carved two horizontally stacked nasta‘līq lines, of the kings of Awadh (Oude), as another smaller black one.

1: A library seal impression of Nāṣir al-Dīn Ḥaydar Shāh (b. 1803, r. 1827–1837) dated 1244 AH (1828–29 CE), inscribed with his title Sulaymān Jāh within two stacked, single-ruled cartouches:
‘ 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: A library seal impression surmounted by the royal emblem of Awadh of Amjad ‘Alī Shāh (b. 1801, r. 1842–1847), with beaded ruling and 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: A library seal impression, surmounted by the royal emblem Awadh of Wājid ‘Alī Shāh (b. 1822, r. 1847–1856), single-ruled and 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: فخرالدین احمد خان ۱۱۱۸ adjacent to his signed note reading: مالک شد، من متملکات جناب (ناخوانا، آقا؟ اقدس؟) فخرالدین احمد خان (ناخوانا، ظاهرأ دعای طول عمر ). 12 × 15 mm.


Origin: Probably completed in the Indian subcontinent; undated, but probably mid-18th century. CE

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently acquired by Colonel George William Hamilton (1807-1868) who served in India from 1823 to 1867, latterly as Commissioner of Delhi. He obtained over a thousand Indian and Persian manuscripts from which the British Museum selected 352 volumes after his death, 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) 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 catalogue by Michael Kerney, circa 1890s and his Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2023 with reference to the volume.


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.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute



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