Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 527 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Timurid-era poet and mystic ‘Abd al-Raḥman Jāmī (1414–1419) composed his Nafaḥāt al-'Uns min Haz̤arāt al-Quds (Breaths of Fellowship of Holy Gentlemen) in Herat between 1476 and 1479. Completed at the request of his friend and patron Mīr ʿAlī S̲h̲īr Navā'ī, he documents the lives of 567 mystics, mostly in chronological order. He both compiles and reworks the language of earlier biographical accounts and also recounts figures of the late medieval period, immediately prior to and during his own lifetime. Since he knew many of these individuals personally—especially in his native Herat and adjacent regions—scholars consider it an especially valuab̦le source regarding late Timurid-era mystics and their impact upon religious life and culture at that time.
Incipit: (preface) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): ربنا آتنا من لدیک رحمهً [رحماً] من امرنا رشداً ...
Explicit: برگ ۱۰۴ر (folios 653a–653b): در هشتصد و هشتاد و سیوم گشت تمام * از هجرت بسر و فخر انام |
Colophon: No colophon. A date of 883 AH (1478–79 CE) in the explicit pertains to completion of the work by the author, not the copying of this manuscript.
Language(s): Persian

For another copy of this work held in the Rylands, see Persian MS 955.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of cross-grained, externally sized and polished, ivoury and buff-coloured paper, the latter highly flocked, probably handmade in the Mughal Empire with ~8 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 653 folios, nine flyeleaves (ff. vii+ 653+ ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 210 × 125 mm.
Dimensions (written): 117 × 71 mm.
Foliation: Modern pencilled Arabic numerals added to the upper-left corners of the a sides up to 55, inclusive of the original endpapers, with sporadic numbering at the end.
Foliation: Hindu- Arabic numerals added to the upper-left corners of the a sides, reference for this record..


Undetermined due to tight opening. Catchwords throughout most of the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Handle text with caution. In fair condition, with moderate water and insect damage and historical repairs throughout.


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


Written in clear black, partially dotted nasta‘līq script with red subheaders and markings.

Table of Contents: The third right flyleaf b side to seventh a side (ff. iiib–viia) details entries by name.
Marginalia: Notes written in various hands througout.
Inscriptions: The second right flyleaf a side (f. iia) bears the title of the work and the date of completion, probably written by an unidentified assistant to bears two notations by former owners or associates:
Top: Above seal no. 1, a couplet in honour of a prior owner, probably with reference to or by the person ‘‘Ārif’ named in the seal:
‘آه این شهید کیست که خونش زمان زمان * خیز در خاک و قدم حجر او قند.’
Bottom:Above seal no. 2, an acquisition statement by Mīr Taqī ‘Alī Fidvī in Akbarābād (Agra), partially dated ‘17 Ṣafar’, with the year obscured by repairs or omitted:
‘بتاریخ هفدهم شهر صفر ختم (؟) اجزا و انظف شد بوقت (؟) در اکبرآباد اتباع شد ’
Bookplates: Left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘1/J’, and ‘Hamilton MSS No. 444’, with the name and number crossed out and ‘Persian’ and ‘527’ written aside.


Probably rebound for the John Rylands Library in circa late 20th century CE in an Islamic-style binding with flap (Type II binding per Déroche).

Resewn at two stations, unsupported, with machine-made cross-grained laid endpapers added to the begining and end. Original chevron endbands twined in yellow and red threads replaced and stiched upon the spine, then lined with cloth. New case binding with fore-edge and pentagonal envelope flap constructed from pasteboards, covered in reddish-brown goatskin leather with the edges of the boards hemmed in leather along the edges, with block-printed 19th-century decorated paper facing the boards.

Board and flap margins blind tooled with single fillet lines, twice on the flap with fleurons above the mitred corners, the latter also evident underneath the decorated paper facing the boards.

245 × 111 × 95 mm.

Binding in good condition.

Folio 1a bears two circular seal impressions, one oblierated, another legible, both intaglio-carved in three nasta‘līq script lines read from bottom upwards, single-ruled:

Obliterated seal, possibly with the name ‘Ārif.

A legible seal impression of former owner Mīr Taqī ‘Alī Fidvī, during the reign of Mughal Emperor Muḥammad Farrukh Siyar (b. 1687 r. 1713–1719), below his notation describing his purchase of the volume:
‘میر تقی علی فدوی بادشاه غازی محمد فرخ سیر عالمگیر ثانی’

~36 diam.


Origin: Probably completed in the Mughal Empire; 17th century CE.

Provenance and Acquisition

Purchased by Mīr Taqī ‘Alī Fidvī on ‘17 Ṣafar’ sometime between 1713–1719 Akbarābād (Agra) during the reign of Mughal Emperor Muḥammad Farrukh Siyar (b. 1687 r. 1713–1719).

Subsequently acquired by Colonel George William Hamilton (1807-1868) from an unknown source. He 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, 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, Manchester.

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 2023 with reference to the manuscript in hand.


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

The Persian Heritage Foundation


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