Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 794 (The John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Indian Shi‘i scholar I‘jāz Ḥusayn (1825–1870) transcribed this holograph compilation of three alphabetically-arranged manuscript catalogues of Lucknow libraries, within a decade after the Great Rebellion of 1857. At the time, the author managed the Nasiriyah Library in Lucknow, founded by his father Shi‘i jurist Muḥammad Qulī Khān (1775–1844) and which still exists today. These catalogues likely informed the author's comprehensive bio-bibliographical survey of Shi‘i texts entitled Kashf al-Ḥujub wa’l-Āstār ‘an Asmā’ al-Kutub wa’l-Asfār (Disclosure of the Hidden and Curtained regarding the Names of the Books and Volumes) published by the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1911. The first catalogue is of the library of the teacher of the author's father, leading Lucknow Shi‘i cleric Sayyid Dildār ‘Alī (1753–1820), known by the epithet Ghufrān-Ma’āb (Refuge of Absolution) inherited and expanded by his son Sayyid Muḥammad (1784–1867 CE), known as Sulṭān al-‘Ulamā’ (Sultan of Scholars) that was pillaged during the Great Rebellion in 1857 and whose remaining inventory was afterwards completed by one Rām Dayāl. The second catalogue is of the library of the author’s father, Muḥammad Qulī Khān, the Chief Magistrate in Meerut, and the author's brother, Shi‘i cleric Sayyid Ḥāmid Ḥusayn (1830–1888), to which is added a catalogue of library of one Lālā Rām Ḥasan, a barrister of then Raja of Kapurthila, presumably Randhir Singh (r. 1852–1870). The third catalogue is of the library of another son of Sayyid Dildār ‘Alī, Sayyid Ḥusayn (1796–1856)— younger brother of Sayyid Muḥammad— and his grandson Muḥammad Taqī, known as Mumtāz al-‘Ulamā’ (Excellence of Scholars).
1. folios 1a–22a
Incipit: (folio 1a): این نقل فهرست کتبخانهٔ جناب غفرانمآب مولوی سید دلدار علیصاحب طاب ثراه و حبل الجنة مثواه والد ماجد جناب مجتهد العصر و الزمان قبله و کعبه سلطان العلی مولوی محمد صاحب دام ظلهم است. و جناب ممدوح و رشد لکهنو در جوهری مجلسه در مکان مملوک خود رونق افروزاند و بعض کتابها که درین فساد و بلوا منهوب گشت درین فهرست مندرج هست این فهرست آن کتابها‌ است که بالفعل موجود است و آنچه بعد استفسار حال بعض كتابها معرفت منشي رامديالصاحب دريافت شده آنرا نيز درين فهرست مندرج كرده. فقط. حرره. اعجاز حسين عفی عنه
Colophon: No colophon.
Language(s): Persian
2. folios 30a–100a [1a–70a]
Incipit: (folio 30a [1a]): نقل فهرست کتبخانه و تفی والد ماجد مفتی سید محمد قلیخان بهادر صدر صدور سابق ضلع سیرست و کتابهای مملوک فقیر و برادرم مولوی سید حامد حسین عفی و منجمله کتابهای مندرجه این فهرست للوک جلد درین بلوا و فساد ضایع و منهوب گشته و باقی بحمد الله تعالی همه‌ها موجود است. فقط معه ورق اعجاز حسين عفی عنه و کتابها سکه بغارب رفته و نزد لاله رام حسن وکیل راجه صاحب کپورتهله است بر حاشیه آنها نوشته‌ام که بغارب رفته و چون موافق باد خود حال غارت شدن کتب نوشته‌ام نوشتن بر بعض کتابها باقی مانده باشد احتیاطا نوشته شد.
Colophon: No colophon.
Language(s): Persian
3. folios 102a–154ab
Incipit: (folio 102a [1a]): این نقل فهرست کتبخانهٔ جناب مجتهد العصر و الزمان فخر المدرسین ممتاز مولی مولوی سید محمد تقی صاحب دام ظله خلف الصدق مجتهد العصر و الزمان جناب علیی مکان مولوی سید حسین صاحب برادر عینی جناب مجتهد العصر و الزمان فرید الدهر و الاوان جناب سلطان العلما مولوی سید محمد صاحب ادام الله ظلهم العالی است و جناب ممتاز العلاما و رشد لکهنو عقب مسجد تحسین در مکان مملوک خود رونق افروزاند. و چنانکه کتب اهل تشیع درین کتبخانه است در تمام هندوستان در هیچ کتبخانه نیست و سوای کتب اهل تشیع نیز اکثر کتب نادره و نسخ عتیقه هر فن درین کتبخانه ایست. فقط. حرره اعجاز حسين عفی عنه
Colophon: No colophon.
Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Very thin European wove paper. Many folios appear embossed on the upper right corner by a stationer or paper mill.
Extent: 154 folios (ii+28+i+70+iii+52+ii).
Dimensions (leaf): 154 × 96 mm.
Dimensions (written): 117 × 64 mm.

Foliation marked at top-left of the a sides, parts 1 and 3 in Arabic numerals by the cataloguer, and part 2 in Hindu-Arabic numerals.


Aside from the prefaces which are written in single columns, a majority of the manuscript is in two columns but with variant number of lines per page.


Copied in nasta‘liq script in black ink

  • Inscription: The second right flyleaf is inscribed ‘Fihrist-i Kutub’ in nasta‘liq script, in the hand of the author.
  • Marginalia: Occasional marginal notes, possibly in the author's hand.
  • Bookplates: left paste-down, Bibliotheca Lindesiana with shelfmark ‘2/K’, and ‘Hamilton MSS No. 711’.


Sewn at two stations, possibly over cord supports, put down on the first and last flyleaves, with Islamic-style twined chevron endbands in red and green silk. Bound in a hybrid British-Indian style in full. tight-backed polished dark red goatskin leather over pasteboards, without a flap (Type III binding per Déroche), with squares at the edges and a defined joint. Internal doublures of the same leather, with the excess width adhered as a hinge onto the first and last flyleaves (over the supports), with the overlap covered by a strip of paper. 159 × 102 × 19 mm.


Origin: Lucknow; undated, but completed by ‘Ijāz Ḥusayn between 1857 and 1867 CE.

Provenance and Acquisition

From the collection of 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 of which 352 were selected after his death for the British Museum. The remainder were purchased in 1868 by Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1857.

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. Emended and enhanced by Jake Benson in 2020 with reference to the manuscript.


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.


Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation and The John Rylands Research Institute


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