Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 635 (The John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: An abridgment (Intikhāb) from the ʿArafāt al-ʿĀshiqīn waʿAraṣāt al-ʿĀrifīn (The Plain of ‘Arafāt of the Lovers and Courts of the Gnostics) by Taqī al-Dīn Awḥadī (d. after 1632-33). Originally from Isfahan, the author served the Safavid ruler Shāh ʿAbbās I (r. 1588–1629) then later emigrated to India where he completed his chronicle for a Mughal court official during the reign of the Emperor Jahāngīr (r. 1605–1627). Undated, but probably originally copied in the 18th century, this incomplete manuscript appears repeatedly repaired and augmented by different individuals.
Incipit: برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): انتخاب تذکره اوحدی بلیانی که یکصد هفتاد هزار بیت مکتوبست که در این ایام اتفاق مطالعه آفتاد.
Explicit: برگ ۵۸پ (folio 58b): آنقیت را چاک دل سوزید باران بعد از این * من ترا قد از وی که دیگر خون نماند.
Colophon: No colophon.

The volume opens with verses by Abū al-Ḥasan Kharaqānī (967–1033), closes with lines by Masīḥ Kāshānī (fl. 17th c.), and otherwise frequently references Sirāj al-Dīn ʻAlī Khān Ārzū (ca. 1689–1756) and Ḥazīn Lāhījī (ca. 1692–1766).

Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Folios 9 to 35 seem likely original to the volume, comprised of comparatively thin, straight-grained buff-coloured paper with ~8 laid lines per cm, whereas the prior folios 1 to 8 and 36 to 57 of medium-weight, straw-coloured, straight and crossed grained sheets added when restored. Folios 59 to 61 may comprise flyleaves added when restored, probably in Awadh (Oude). All papers appear likely manufactured in the the Indian subcontinent
Extent: 61 folios, 2 flyleaves (ff. ii + 61 + ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 260 × 140 mm.

Foliated in pencilled Arabic numerals when catalogued.


Undetermined. Catchwords only appear on folios 1b to 8b and 35a to 58b, but may be trimmed off on other folios.


Text in fair condition, with moderate insect damage, discolouration and historical repairs.


Written primarily in written 2 oblique columns (chalīpā) with additional lines written vertically between them, with variant numbers of lines throughout.


Folios 9a to 35b, probably original, appear written in a dense, hasty black shikastah, with names of poets, verse headers and markers in red.

Folios 1b to 8b and 35a to 58b written in a comparatively clear black shikastah hand with names of poets, verse headers and markers in red..

Folios 59a to 61b feature a mix of other black shikastah and nasta‘liq hand(s).

Marginalia: Marginal notes and poems throughout in several hands.
  • The first right flyleaf a side (f. 1a) bears the title of the work, likely in the hand of Muhīn Dās, and assistant to former owner Colonel George William Hamilton.
  • Folio 1a bears two notes dated Ramaz̤ān 1237 (May–June 1822) and 4 Rabīʿ I 1262 (2 March 1846).
Bookplates: Left doublure: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelfmark ‘1/E’, ‘Hamilton MSS No. 552’.


Rebound in a British-Indian hydrid style, probably in Multan, for former owner Colonel George William Hamilton.

Sewing undetermined due to tight opening. Edges trimmed and with twined chevron endbands in green and red silk worked over round cores at head and tail. Covered in full, tight backed, red goatskin leather, with squares at the edges and defined joints, but without a flap (type III binding per Déroche). Internal doublures of the same leather, with the excess width adhered as hinges on the the first and last flyleaves, then covered with strips of paper to disguise the joins.

264 × 154 × 16 mm.

Binding in good condition, with some external abrasion


Three vermilion library seal impressions of the kings of Awadh (Oude), intaglio-carved in nasta‘līq script in two stacked lines on folios 2a and 61b, with another small blackrectangular seal impressed at the bottom of folio 1a.

1: Rectangular seal 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: A rectangular seal impression, intaglio carved in nasta‘līq script, stacked in two lines, single-ruled, of former owner or associate Nīnkā Bayg Khān dated 1230 AH (1814–15 CE):

‘ نینکا بیگ خان بندهٔ حسین، ١٢۳۰ ’

13 × 14 mm.


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

Provenance and Acquisition

Previously held in the royal library of Awadh in Lucknow, as indicated by library seal impressions on folio 155b 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 Kaisabagh palace and library on 15 March 1858 (see Wolseley's Memoir).

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 and his Bibliotheca Lindesiana, Hand-list of Oriental Manuscripts: Arabic, Persian, Turkish, 1898.

Revised and expanded by James White in 2018 with reference to the volume.

Further amended and enhanced by Jake Benson in 2022 with reference to the manuscript in hand.


The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader, see Becoming a Reader for details. Please contact uml.special-collections@manchester.ac.uk for further information on the availability of this manuscript.


    Charles Rathbone Low, A Memoir of Lieutenant-General Sir Garnet J. Wolseley (London: R. Bentley 1878), pp. 168–169.
    D. N. Marshall, Mughals in India: A Bibliographical Survey. Vol. 1. Manuscripts (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1962), p. 464, no. 1787 (i).

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation and The John Rylands Research Institute

The Soudavar Foundation


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