Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 798 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: The first complete volume of the Akbarnāmah va Ā’īn-i Akbarī (Book of Akbar and Akbar's Administration) by Abū al-Faz̤l ibn Mubārak (1551–1602), together with the second volume by the same scribe, Persian MS 799, to which a former owner added a third unrelated volume, Persian MS 800, to complete and uniformly rebind as a set. A Mughal courtier and ultimately Chief Secretary and close confidant of Akbar (b. Akbar, b. 1542, r. 1556–1605), the author relates vivid accounts of events that occurred during his patron's reign, as well as a concluding portion, known as the Ā’īn-i Akbarī (Akbar's Administration) which features an extensive survey regarding various elites, rivals, and cultural figures, regions, faiths, social groups, manufacturers, and products within India at that time. A scribe named Mīr Ḥabīb Allāh valad-i Mīr ‘Ināyat Allāh Astrābādī completed the first and second volumes, presumably in the Indian subcontinent, in 1043 AH (1634 CE).
Incipit: (basmala) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): ...اکبر این چه دریافتست
Explicit: برگ ۳۱۸پ (folio 318b): با ین جنبش کلک گردون خرام * بپیایان برم اینگرامی کلام.
Colophon: برگ ۳۱۸پ (folio 318b): کتبه العبد میر حبیب‌الله ولد میر عنایت‌الله استرابادی بتاریخ پانزدهم ماه ذی القعده و الدعا
Colophon: Completed by Mīr Ḥabīb Allāh valad-i Mīr ‘Ināyat Allāh Astrābādī on the ‘11 Ẕī al-Qa‘dah’, with the year omitted. Since the same scribe completed Persian MS 799 on 15 Jumīd (Jumādá) I 1044 AH (6 Nov. 1634 CE), then presumably he finished it the year prior, so 11 Ẕī al-Qa‘dah 1043 AH (9 May 1634 CE).
Language(s): Persian

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock of thin-weight, straight and cross-grained, sized and polished, ivory-coloured paper probably handmade in the Indian subcontinent with ~8 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines. Extensive remargining and repair with a comparatively heavy buff-coloured paper, with some ruled elements recylced from other manuscripts.
Extent: 321 folios, 2 flyleaves (ff. i + 321 + i).
Dimensions (leaf): 288 × 165 mm.
Dimensions (written): 226 × 112 mm.
Foliation: Modern Arabic numerals pencilled on the upper-left corner of the a sides.


Undetermined. Catchwords throughout most of the lower-left corners of the b sides.


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


Written in 1 column with 23 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in clear black nasta‘līq with subheaders in red by Mīr Ḥabīb Allāh valad-i Mīr ‘Ināyat Allāh Astrābādī together with Persian MS 799.


Illumination: Folio 1b bears a scalloped domed headpiece with gilt palmette foliate scrollwork on an ultramarine ground and an uninscribed central cartouche, subsequently overpainted in black, while folio 157a bears another smaller subheader.

Ruling: Margins ruled in gold outlined with thin internal single and external double black lines, and surrounded by another thick dark blue line, with areas repaired.

Table of Contents: Listed in three columns in another hand on folios 319a to 321b.
Inscriptions: Folio 1a bears the title and description in Persian, along with a price of 20 rupees in Indian sīyāq script. Bookplates: Left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘1/B’, and earlier class mark ‘Persian 4, 5, 6,
’ all crossed out and ‘798’ written aside.


Rebound in Europe in the 18th century.

Resewn on four recessed cords laced into pasteboards. Medium-weight, ivory-coloured European laid endpapers added with ~10 laid lines per cm and 26 mm between chain lines, watermarked with a bunch of grapes and ‘P & F’ on the same stock in Persian MS 800. Edges trimmed, stained brown, and decorative front-bead endbands sewn over a single round core in white and yellow silk threads at head and tail, then boards covered in full red goatskin leather.

Board margins decorated with single solid fillet lines and vertical dashed and dotted roll, board edges and headcaps with thick solid and thin dashed diagonal roll, and the spine dived into seven panels palleted with Greek meanders, solid fillet lines, and foliate scrollwork designs, and titled ‘AKBARNAMAH VOL.I.’ all in gold.

301 × 180 × 57 mm.

Handle with caution. Binding in fair condition, with abraded exterior and loose endpapers.

Accompanying Material

Inscribed, torn fragment adhered in the gutter between folio 321b and the right flyleaf a side (f. iia).


Origin: Completed by Mīr Ḥabīb Allāh valad-i Mīr ‘Ināyat Allāh Astrābādī, probably in the Indian subcontinent; 11 Ẕī al-Qa‘dah [1043] AH (9 May 1634 CE).

Provenance and Acquisition

Sold in Oct. 1863 by London bookseller Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) for £8, 8 shillings (see catalogue, no. 5921).

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 by Jake Benson in 2022 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).


    Abū al-Faz̤l ibn Mubārak, The History of Akbar. Translated by W. M. Thackston. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2015–.
    Abū al-Faz̤l ibn Mubārak, Akbarnāmah. Edited by Āghā Ahmad ʼAlī. Calcutta: Asiatic Society, 1873.
    Abū al-Faz̤l ibn Mubārak, and Henry Beveridge. The Akbar Nāma of Abu-L-Fazl. Calcutta: Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1897.
    A. F. L. Beeston, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstânî, and Pushtû Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Part III (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1954), p. 5 no. 2460 [Bodl Ms. Pers. B. 5].
    Hermann Ethé, Catalogue of Persian manuscripts in the library of the India Office Vol. 1, (London: India Office Library, 1903), col. 107, no. 264 [BL IO Islamic 6].
    D. N. Marshall, Mughals in India: A Bibliographical Survey. Vol. 1. Manuscripts (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1962), p. 33, no. 99(i).
    Bernard Quaritch, A Catalogue of Books, Arranged in Classes Comprising All Departments of Literature, Many of Them Rare, Valuable, and Curious, Offered for Sale (London: , Apr. 1864), p. 316, no. 5921.
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. I (London: British Museum, 1879), p.251 [BL Add. 7652].
    E. Sachau and H. Ethé, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstani, and Pushtû manuscripts in the Bodleian Library Vol I (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889), col. 115, no. 213 [Bodl. Ouseley Add. 165].
    C. A. Storey, Persian Literature: A Bio-bibliographical Survey, Vol. I Pt. 2 (London: Luzac & Co., 1935), p. 549, §709(2).

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


Comment on this record

Please fill out your details.

How are we using your feedback? See our privacy policy.

See the Availability section of this record for information on viewing the item in a reading room.