Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

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

Persian Manuscripts

Compilation of three Lucknow manuscript library catalogues, compiled by I‘jāz Ḥusayn Kintūrī (1825–1870) after 1858.


Summary of Contents: Indian Shi‘i scholar I‘jāz Ḥusayn (1825–1870) compiled these alphabetically-arranged manuscript catalogues of three Lucknow libraries, which still survive today, within a decade after seige of city in 1858. At the time, the author managed the Nasiriyah Library, founded by his father, famed Shi‘i jurist Muḥammad Qulī Khān (1775–1844). 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 details the holdings of the library of the compiler's father's mentor, leading Lucknow Shi‘i cleric Sayyid Dildār ‘Alī (1753–1820), known by the epithet Ghufrān-Ma’āb (Refuge of Absolution), later inherited and expanded by his son Sayyid Muḥammad (1784–1867 CE), known as Sulṭān al-‘Ulamā’ (Sultan of Scholars) apparently looted during the War for Independence in 1858. The second catalogue comprises the inventory of the library of the author’s father, Muḥammad Qulī Khān (1775–1844), the Chief Magistrate in Meerut, and the author's brother, Shi‘i cleric Sayyid Ḥāmid Ḥusayn (1830–1888). The third catalogue delineates the holdings of the library of another son of Sayyid Dildār ‘Alī (1753–1820), Sayyid Ḥusayn (1796–1855)— younger brother of Sayyid Muḥammad— and a grandson Muḥammad Taqī, known as Mumtāz al-‘Ulamā’ (Excellence of Scholars).
1. folios 1a–22a
Incipit: (preface) (Part 1, 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

In his preface, the author describes how one Rām Dayāl helped him to conduct the library inventory.

2. folios 28a–97b [1a–70a]
Incipit: (preface) (folio 28a [Part 2, folio 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

Lālā Rām Ḥasan, a barrister of then Raja of Kapurthila—presumably Randhir Singh (b. 1831, r. 1852–1870)— verified the inventory of any holdings remained after the looting of the library.

3. folios 98a–149b
Incipit: (preface) (folio 98a [Part 3, folio 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

The author describes the location of this library as located behind the Masjid-i Taḥsīn (popularly called 'Tehseen ki Masjid' today), built by Taḥsīn ‘Alī Khān (d. 1818) in circa 1790 CE, and that it holds many rare Shi‘i books, hence its inclusion. However, the Nasiriyah Library likely later accessioned the holdings mentioned.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Very thin European wove letter-paper. Many folios appear embossed on the upper-right corner by a stationer or paper mill.
Extent: 149 folios (ii + 28 + i + 70 + iii + 52 + ii)..
Dimensions (leaf): 154 × 96 mm.
Dimensions (written): 117 × 64 mm.
Foliation: Part 2 only foliated in Hindu-Arabic numerals.

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


Undetermined. No catchwords.


Text in excellent condition


Prefaces written in 1 column, with the inventories in 2 columns, with variant numbers of lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Copied in black nasta‘līq script.

  • Inscription: The second right flyleaf bears the title ‘Fihrist-i Kutub’ in nasta‘līq script, in the hand of the author and compiler.
  • 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, edges trimmed, and Islamic-style twined chevron endbands in red and green silk worked at head and tail. Bound tight-backed in a hybrid British-Indian style in full, 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 over the supports, as a hinge connected to the first and last flyleaves, with the overlap covered by a vertical strip of paper to neaten the join.

Spine titled ‘Fihrist-i Kutub’ in nasta‘līq script in yellow.

159 × 102 × 19 mm.

Binding in good condition, with some abrasion to the surface, board edges, and headcaps.


Origin: Lucknow; ; undated, but completed between 1858 and 1866 CE by Indian Shi‘i scholar I‘jāz Ḥusayn (1825–1870).

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently acquired by Colonel George William Hamilton (1807-1868) who may have personally known the family and 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 after his death, now held in the British Library.

Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880), purchased the remainder in 1868.

Purchased by Enriqueta Rylands (1843–1908) (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.

Manuscript description by Jake Benson in 2021 with reference to the volume.


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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