Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 500 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: An incomplete, undated, but probably 17th-century miscellany of Arabic and Persian devotional prayers and rituals combined with Persian prose treatises and examples of eloquent epistolography (inshā') featuring 'sage advice', apparently with a second compilation devoted particularly to the latter, named for one 'Mullā Ḥusayn', which a later inscription on an initial flyleaf alleges once served as the private secretary of the Mughal ruler Akbar. However, since it contains correspondence from the Safavid ruler Shāh ‘Abbās addressed to Akbar's son and successor Jahāngir, as well as extracts from the Khizānat al-Favā’id al-Jalālīyah authored by Abū ʻAbd Allāh Jalāl al-Dīn Ḥusayn ibn Aḥmad ibn Ḥusayn al-Bukhārī al-Ḥusaynī (d. 1383), better known as Jalāl al-dīn Bukhārī Makhdūm-i Jahāniyān, he might be here identified as 'Mullā Ḥusayn'.
Folios 1b to 93b
Author and Compiler: Anonymous
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): باسمه سبحانه. عن انیس ابن مالک رضی الله عنه ما من عبد من عباد الله یقول «بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم» الا غفر الله ذنوب خمسین سنة. من فواید الجلالیه...
Explicit: برگ ۹۳پ (folio 93b): بمشیت الملک الذی احسانه سیاتی المراد الی ذوی الحاجات
Colophon: No colophon
Language(s): Persian and Arabic

While an inscription on the flyleaf asserts that the compiler served as personal secretary to the Mughal ruler Akbar, no record of such a person by that name appears in historical sources. The exact source(s) for the contents and authorship/compiler await clarification.

4. Folio 9b
Title: Namāz va Du‘ā Rūz-i ‘Āshūrā
5. Folio 10a
Title: Excerpt from the Mashāriq al-Anvār
6. Folio 11b
Title: Excerpt from the Khizānat al-Jalālī
7. Folio 12b
Title: Arabic Hadīth with intralinear Persian translation
9. Folio 15a
Title: Favā'id al-Ḥukamā
Title: Letter from Niẓām al-Mulk to his son Fakhr al-Mulk
10. Folio 16b
Addressee: Bahrām Shāh of Ghazna, b. 1084, r. 1117–1152
Title: Letter from Ḥakīm Sanāʼī to his patron Bahram Shah of Ghazna
15. Folio 22a
Title: Malfūẓ
16. Folio 22b
18. Folio 23b
Author and Contributor: Kamāl Khujandī, d. ca. 1400
19. Folio 23b
Title: Namāz-i Istikhārah
20. Folio 24a
Author and Contributor: Zulālī Khvānsārī, d. 1615
21. Folio 24b

The author's name appears as simply 'Majnūn', but whether in fact Majnūn Rafīqī Haravī, d. 1544 awaits confirmation. The first poem concerns bloodletting

22. Folio 24b
Author and Contributor: Vaḥshī Bāfqī, d. 1583
23. Folio 25b
Author and Contributor: Kamāl Khujandī, d. ca. 1400
27. Folio 37b
Title: Excerpt from the Favā'id al-Jalalīyah
30. Folio 43b

The exact source for this text remains unclear, but it may be that of al-Muaqaddisi.

31. Folio 44a
Author and Contributor: ʻIyāḍ ibn Mūsá, 1083-1149
33. Folio 56a
Author, Contributor and Attributed name: Aristotle
Title: Sayings
34. Folio 57a
Author and Contributor: Aristotle, 384–322 BCE
Title: Letter from Aristotle to Alexander
35. Folio 59a
Author, Contributor and Attributed name: Ptolemy II Philadelphus, King of Egypt, 308–246 BCE
Title: Sayings
36. Folio 61a
Author, Contributor and Attributed name: Galen, ca. 129–199
Title: Sayings
37. Folio 62a
Author, Contributor and Attributed name: Thales of Miletus, ca. 634–546 BCE
Title: Sayings
38. Folio 62b
Author, Contributor and Attributed name: Anksāghūrs II
Title: Sayings

The exact author remains unidentified, but possibly a reference to the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras (d. ca. 428 BCE).

39. Folio 64a
Author and Contributor: Isḥāq Sajasī, fl. 13th c.
44. Folio 83a
Title: Majmū‘-i Alfāẓ

The precise source for this text remains unclear.

45. Folio 84b
Author, Contributor and Attributed name: Amīr Khusraw Dihlavī, ca. 1253–1325
Title: Munajāt-i Amīr Khusraw
46. Folio 85a
Author, Contributor and Attributed name: Amīr Khusraw Dihlavī, ca. 1253–1325
Title: Anecdote concerning Khi̱z̤r Khān
47. Folio 85a
Author, Contributor and Attributed name: Amīr Khusraw Dihlavī, ca. 1253–1325
Title: Fatḥnāmah-'i julūs-i Sulṭān ‘Alà'ī
Folios 93b to 120b
Author and Compiler: Anonymous
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۹۳پ (folio 93b): فاتحهٔ صحیفهٔ نامداری مسخون بحمد و سپاس معرا از ملابس حد و قیاس قادر ذو الجلالیست که فروغ طلعت سلاطین عالم از طلوع افتاب عنایت او اواند بود و عنوان نامهٔ‌ کامکادی مقرون بشکر و ستایش مرا ازالایش تسبهیه و اتباس مالک الملک لایزالی است...
Explicit: برگ ۲۳۳ر (folio 120b): ...و این امریست بس عظیم دریست نشگرف دانست آنکه دانست و ندانست هرکه ندانست سعید سعید ازلی و نتقی نتقیلم یزلی است هیچکس را طاقت نه که پرسد چرا گردو نه مجال که گوید چه میکند «لا یسال عما یفعل و هم یسالون»...
Colophon: No colophon. ends abruptly, incomplete.
Language(s): Persian
1. Folio 85a
Author and Contributor: Anonymous
Title: Introduction
2. Folio 95a
Title: Dar Ta‘rīf-i Kitāb
3. Folio 95b
Author and Contributor: Anonymous
Title: Concerning exchanges between Akbar and Shah ‘Abbās
4. Folio 102b
Author, Contributor and Correspondent: Shah Ṭahmāsp, b. 1514, r. 1524–1576
Title: Letter from Shāh Ṭahmāsb to the Governor of Rūm
5. Folio 102b
Author, Contributor and Correspondent: Shah Ṭahmāsp, b. 1514, r. 1524–1576
Title: Letter from Shāh Ṭahmāsb to the Governor of Rūm
6. Folio 112a
Author, Contributor and Correspondent: Tīmūr, 1336-1405
Title: Min Munsha‘āt-i Mīr Tīmūr Munshī
7. Folio 116b
Author and Contributor: Anonymous
Title: A Story
8. Folio 117a
Author and Contributor: Anonymous
Title: On Childrearing
9. Folio 119a
Author, Attributed name, Contributor and Correspondent: Abū Saʻīd ibn Abī al-Khayr, 967-1049
Title: Letter from Abū Saʻīd ibn Abī al-Khayr to Avicenna
10. Folio 120a
Author, Attributed name, Contributor and Correspondent: Avicenna, 980-1037
Title: Avicenna's reply to Abū Saʻīd's letter above

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Medium-weight, cross-grained, externally sized and polished, bone-coloured paper, probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent, with ~6 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 120 folios, 6 flyleaves (ff. iii + 120 + iii).
Dimensions (leaf): 214 × 127 mm.
Dimensions (written): 164 × 78 mm.
Foliation: Pencilled Arabic numerals added to the upper-left corners of the a sides when catalogued.


Quaternions throughout. 15IV(120). Catchwords throughout the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Fair, water damage, discoloration, soiling, insects, and ink stains. Beware of fold-outs at the fore-edge on folios 45a–47b, and 69. Initial flyleaves to folio 3a (ff. ib–3a) all heavily tipped together, hence opening restricted in the gutter margins.


Written in 1 and 2 columns with 15 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in hasty but legible black nasta‘līq script.

  • The right flyleaf a side (f. ia) bears a descriptive title, likely in the hand of an assistant of former owner Colonel George William Hamilton, Muhīn Dās, which describes the author, Mullā Ḥusayn as a personal secretary to Akbar, likely erroneous:
    ‘انشائي متفرقه منشی خاص اکبر بادشاه تصنیف ملا حسین’
  • Folio 1a bears several notes and prices:
    • Top-left: A hasty oblique naskh hand, written above a Shāh Jahān-era seal impression (no. 1) states that the volume contains two works entitled Inshā'-yi Mutafarriqah and Kitāb Ashraf al-Munsha'āt authored by ‘Mullā Ḥusayn Munshī-i Khāṣ-i Akbar’ along with a price of a thousand and twenty-five rupees, above what may be a sīyāq numeral for the same amount, adjacent to a prominent letter khā.
    • Centre: At left, a hasty shikastah hand wrote the title twice along with unusual, perhaps apotropaic or protective markings. At right, a much larger naskh hand, dated with a tughrā-like flourish at top, probably dated 5 Jumādà I 1090 (14 Jul. 1679 CE), above two octagonal seal impressions of Khvājagī (no. 2), along with an unclear price (?5 rupees).
Bookplates: Left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘2/K’, and ‘Hamilton MSS No. 417’ with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘500’ written aside.


Probably rebound for former owner Colonel George William Hamilton in Multan before 1862. Resewn all along on a single flat (probably leather thong) support, possibly put down on the boards. Edges trimmed and chevron endbands twined in black and white threads at head and tail over round cores. Covered in full, maroon goatskin leather, tight-backed, over pasteboards, with squares along the edges, defined joints, but without a flap (Type III binding per Déroche). Endpapers of comparatively coarse handmade paper added to the beginning and end when rebound.

Spine and board margins stained black and ruled with double lines, with another interior margin defined with a single line, all in yellow. An octagonal paper spine label bears the title written in black nasta‘līq.

218 × 137 × 22 mm.

Binding in fair but stable condition with exterior abrasion.

Folio 1a bears two types of black, intaglio-carved, nasta‘līq script Mughal-era seal impressions.

1: A single circular impression in 3 stacked lines, single-ruled, of a Shāh Jahān-era nobleman possibly named ‘Allāmah al-Malik Taṣadduq, hence it must date before that ruler's abdication on 31 July 1658:
‘‘Allāmah al-Mulk Taṣadduq bandah-'i Shāh Jahān’
~26 mm. diam.

2: Two impressions, one legible, of an octagonal seal in 3 stacked lines, triple-ruled, of a ‘Ālamgīr-era nobleman named Khvājagī dated regnal year 34 ‘Ālamgīrī (1101–02 AH, 1690–91 CE):
‘Khvājagī murīd-'i Bādshāh Ghazī Muḥammad ‘Ālamgīr, 34’
30 × 30 mm.


Origin: Probably completed in the Mughal Empire; undated, but likely early-mid 17th c.

Provenance and Acquisition

Previously owned by at least two Mughal-era noblemen possibly named ‘Allāmah al-Malik Taṣadduq and Khvājagī, the latter dated regnal year 34 ‘Ālamgīrī (1101–02 AH, 1690–91 CE).

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

Record and physical description subsequently augmented and enhanced by Jake Benson in 2022.


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.


    C. A. Storey, Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey, Vol. III, Pt. 2 (London: Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1990), p. 394, no. 652 [Appendix] (73).

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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