Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 598 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: This very brief text identified as Niṣāb dar ‘Arabī va Turkī dar Naẓm-i Fārsī (Principles of Arabic and Turkish in Persian Metre) on the first flyleaf, misattributed to Timurid-era poet ‘Abd al-Raḥman Jāmī (1414–1492). Comprised of a Persian introduction and twenty-one qiṭ‘ah (sections), the text presents a variously versified vocabulary of Arabic and Eastern Turkish words with their Persian equivalents. The first section discusses words for God and the Prophet Muḥammad, followed by terms for family members, then proceeds to discuss other terms in either couplets or individual hemistichs. A note on folio 1a describes how it was written in Farrukhabad on 7 Ẕī-al-Qa‘dah in the 9th year of the reign of the Mughal ruler Shāh ‘Ālam II (1182 AH, 15 March 1769 CE).
Title: Niṣāb dar ‘Arabī va Turkī dar Naẓm-i Fārsī
Title: نصاب در عربی و ترکی در نظم فارسی
Title: Metrical Persian Dictionary of Arabic and Eastern Turkish Terms
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): بنام خالق افلاک و نودهٔ اعنبر * که نیست مخفی و پیدا جز او خدای ذکر.
Explicit: برگ ۱پ (folio 8b): را خف‌دان یشور و یاشورچه نهان کن * راز(؟) کورسات بود بمعنی کورسات بنمایی.
Colophon: No colophon at the end of the text; however, a note on folio 1a describes how it was written in Farrukhabad on 7 Ẕī-al-Qa‘dah in the 9th year of the reign of the Mughal ruler Muḥammad Shāh (1139 AH, 26 June 1727 CE).
Language(s): Persian, Arabic, and Chagatai Turkish

Inscriptions in the volume misidentify this as the Niṣāb Tajnīs al-Alfāẓ (Principle of Paronomasia in Languages), alternatively entitle Tajnīs al-Lughāt (Puns in Languages) a brief Persian metrical dictionary that discusses alternate meanings of words rendered by altering diacritical marks, a feature frequently employed in puns (paronomasia). Composed by a certain ‘Abd al-Raḥman and often misattributed to Timurid-era poet ‘Abd al-Raḥman Jāmī (1414–1492), the inscriptions in this volume misattribute this work to the latter, and published as such by Schmidt. However, this actually appears to be an entirely different, unidentified work, as the text does not comport with the 1826 Muḥammad ʻAskarī Fikrat edition. Whether it represents another Niṣāb-style work awaits further study. For a description of the other text and its spurious attribution to Jāmī, see Storey and Perry, and the latter regarding the modern-era proliferation of this style of dictionary. Chetham Librarian Rev. John Haddon Hindley of Manchester published a revised and expanded second edition of the English translation of that text by F. Gladwin in 1811.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of cross-grained, cream-coloured paper probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent with ~8 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines.
Extent: 8 folios, 4 flyleaves (ff. ii + 8 + ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 185 × 120 mm.
Dimensions (written): 165 × 100 mm.
Foliation: Unfoliated.


A single quaternion 1IV(8). Catchwords throughout most of the lower-left corners of the b sides.


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


Primarily written in 2 columns with 15 to 17 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in a hasty black nasta‘līq with shikastah ligatures, and red markings and subheaders.

  • The second right flyleaf a side (f. iia) bears a variant descriptive title with the name of the ascribed author:
    Niṣāb dar ʿArabī va Turkī dar nāẓm-i Fārsī
  • Folio 1a also bears a description and bears the title and spurious attribution of authorship, and the completion of the volume in Farrukhabad on 7 Ẕī-al-Qa‘dah in the 9th year of the reign of the Mughal ruler Shāh ‘Ālam II (1182 AH, 15 March 1769 CE):
    ‘نصاب عربی ترکی و فارسی تصنیف ملا عبد الرحمن جامی بتاریخ هفتم ذی القعده سنه ۹ شاهعالم پادشاه در لده فرخآباد ترقیم بر رقیب بعون الله تعلی و فضله و کمال کرمه. ’
Bookplates: Left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘1/K’, and ‘Hamilton MSS No. 515’, with ‘Persian’ and ‘598’ written aside.


Probably rebound in a hybrid British-Indian style in Multan for George William Hamilton, subsequently restored.

Two bifolia of cross-grained, buff-coloured, highly flocked paper probably handmade in Punjab, with ~8 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines, added as endpapers when initially rebound, with machine-made flyleaves added when restored. Pamphlet-stitched at five unsupported stations with cotton thread. Case-bound in full black smooth-grained goatskin leather over pasteboards. Maroon goatskin leather lines the board interiors, with their excess widths attached as hinges to the flyleaves to connect the cover to the textblock. Strips of paper bearing zi-zag cuts along one edge adhered over the hinges to disguise the joins.

191 × 127 × 8 mm.

Binding in fair but stable condition, with some external abrasion, and inset damage on the interior hinges.


Origin: Completed in Farrukhabad; 7 Ẕī-al-Qa‘dah in the 9th year of the reign of the Mughal ruler Shāh ‘Ālam II (1182 AH, 15 March 1769 CE).

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently acquired by Colonel George William Hamilton (1807-1868) from an unidentified 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, Charlotte Logie Hamilton (1817–1893), 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.

Manuscript description derived from Jan Schmidt, A Catalogue of the Turkish Manuscripts in the John Rylands University Library at Manchester, 2011, corrected by Jake Benson in 2023 with reference to the volume 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.

Digital Images

Manchester Digital Collections (full digital facsimile)


Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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