Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 851 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: An illuminated, complete, Safavid-era copy of the Subḥat al-Abrār (Rosary of the Pious), the third of seven books in the collection entitled Haft Awrang (Seven Thrones) by Timurid-era poet ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Jāmī (d. 1492). Albeit extensively remargined, the manuscript features elegantly tinted and gold-sprayed pages, with vividly painted vertical columnar separator throughout. A scribe named Shāh Qāsim (fl. late 16th–early 17th c. CE) in the start of Rabī‘ I 1000 AH (mid-Dec. 1591).
Editor: Shāh Qāsim;
شاه قاسم
Incipit: (preface) صفحه‌ی ۱ (Page 1): المنته لله که بخون کر خفتم * یکچند چر غنچه عاقبت بشکفتم | از کس مکس چرخ بسی آشفتم * کز گوهر راز سبحه واری سفتم | حسن مقطع چو بود رسم کهن قطع کردیم برین نکته سخن ختم الله لنا باالحسنی هو مولانا و نعم المولی
Incipit: (beginning ) صفحه‌ی ۳ (Page 3): ابتدی بسم الله الرحمان * الرحیم المتولی الاحسان...
Explicit: صفحه‌ی ۲۴۴ (Page 244): حسن مقطع چو بود رسم کهن * قطع کردیم برین نکته سخن | ختم لله لنا بالحسنی * هو مولانا نعم المولی.
Colophon: صفحه‌ی ۲۴۴ (Page 244): تحریر یافت ذ(؟) غرهٔ شهر ربیع الاولسنه ۱۰۰۰ کتبه شاه قاسم غفر ذنوبه م.
Colophon: Completed by Shāh Qāsim in the start of Rabī‘ I 1000 AH (mid-Dec. 1591).
Language(s): Persian

For other copies of this text held in the Rylands see, Persian MS 29, 533, and 534, as well as in the Haft Awrang (Seven Thrones) Persian MS 949.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Original text comprised of straight-grained paper cream coloured paper, with ~6 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines, probably manufactured in the Safavid Empire, sized, finely sprayed with gold, and hand-polished. All folios subsequently remargined with thin-weight, cross-grained, ivory-coloured, externally sized and highly polished paper, with ~9 laid lines per cm and no discernible chain lines, Indian subcontinent, also employed for the flyleaves.
Extent: 247 pages, 14 flyleaves (ff. vii + 124 + vii)
Dimensions (leaf): 264 × 170 mm.
Dimensions (written): 140 × 71 mm.
Foliation: Inconsistent Hindu-Arabic numerals appear at top centres.
Foliation: Modern Arabic pagination in black ink on the upper-left corners of the a sides throughout referenced for this record, with inconsistent pencilled numbers on every ten folios.


Primarily quaternions. 16IV(240)1II+1(246) No catchwords, probably removed when remargined.


Handle text with caution. Original text in fair to poor ccondition, with extensive mould, water damage, and ink transfer and friability observed in much of the latter half. Exterior remargining in good condition, but most folios bend at by the marginal ruling.


Written in 1 to 2 columns with 13 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Copied in clear black nasta‘līq script by Shāh Qāsim.


Illumination: Page 1 bears a scalloped dome headpiece.


Bookplates and pasted items: The left doublure bears ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ bookplate with pencilled shelfmark the ‘2/K’, with a pasted catalogue entry cut from William Baynes and Son:
‘181 SABHAT ALABRAR- The Society of the Just, by Jamy; small folio, strongly bound in thick russia, written AH 1005, AD 1596, pp. 244- . A beautiful MS., most elegantly written, the text inlaid in modern beautiful India paper, double ruled in with black, red and gold.’
The final flyleaf b side (f. xivb) bears and an early Bibliotheca Lindesiana label:
‘Persian MSS No. 57’, with the number crossed out and ‘851’ written aside.


Probably rebound in a hybrid British-Indian style in the Indian subcontinent for an unidentified former owner.

Text remargined and endpapers of the same paper added at beginning and end. Flyleaves of European stormont-patterned marbled paper executed on a yellow base sheet, stiff-leaved to the first flyleaf. Sewn on three cord supports, laced into pasteboards. Edges trimmed, coloured red, and front-bead decorative endbands sewn at head and tail. Boards faced with diced 'Russia'-style leather, with the Spine covered in red-brown goatskin leather with board edges hemmed in the same.

Spine tooled in Britain for a subsequent owner, with panels divided and transliterated title lettered in gold. Panels bear motifs of birds by a vase of flowers, and what may be a lyre, shawm, crumhorn, and recorder, probably executed by a British binder on the original spine leather for a former owners.

268 × 179 × 39 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In poor condition, with the spine leather particularly vulerable, friable, and delaminating, with joints breaking, and extensive exterior surface abrasion on the grain layer of the leather hemming.


Origin: Completed by Shāh Qāsim, probably in the Safavid Empire; the start of Rabī‘ I 1000 AH (mid-Dec. 1591).

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently acquired by Methodist minister Rev. Adam Clarke (1762–1832), after whose death his son Jospeh Butterworth Bulmer Clarke (d. 1855) inherited the volume and describes its present state in a catalogue published in 1835.

The next year on 20 June 1836, Clarke's son auctioned his father's collection through the London firm of Sotheby & Son where bookseller John Cochran purchased it for £1 13 shillings.

Probably sold by Cochran to bookseller William Baynes and Son who advertise it in their catalogue for £4 13 shillings that same year, with the same entry pasted on the left doublure.

Probably sold by William Baynes and Son to King's College Professor of Oriental Languages Duncan Forbes (1798–1868). Forbes later described the volume in his 1866 catalogue, valued at £6 16s 6d, before he sold his manuscript collection to his publisher W. H. Allen & Co. in exchange for an annuity. Subsequently sold by that firm to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) in 1866

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, Manchester.

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 2023 with reference to the manuscript 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.


    [William] Baynes and Son, A List of Manuscripts, English, Irish, French, Icelandic, Latin, Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, Persian, Armenian, Singalese, Pali, and Sanscreet ... Formerly in the Possession of the Late Dr. Adam Clarke ; on Sale at the Affixed Prices, by Baynes and Son. (Leeds: Spink, 1836), p. 16, no. 181.
    J. B. B. Clarke, A historical and descriptive catalogue of the European and Asiatic manuscripts in the library of the late Dr. Adam Clarke, F.S.A., M.R.I.A. (London: J. Murrary, 1835), p. 149, no. 65.
    H. Ethé, Catalogue of Persian manuscripts in the library of the India Office, Vol. 1 (London: Printed for the India Office by H. Hart, 1903), cols. 754–755, nos. 1317–1318 [British Library IO Islamic 3141 and 1317].
    D. Forbes, Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts, Chiefly Persian, Collected Within the Last Five and Thirty years (London: W. H. Allen., 1866), pp. 78–79, no. 244.
    Jāmī Classic Selections From Some of the Most Esteemed Persian Writers, Vol. 2: Subhutool Abraur Calcutta: Asiatic Lithographic Company Press 1828: pp. 1–75
    Jāmī, Subḥat al-Abrār. Lucknow: Nawal Kishore, Rabī‘ I 1306 (Nov. 1888 CE).
    Jāmī, Mas̲navī-i Haft Awrang Vol. 1, No. 4: Subḥat al-Abrār. Edited by Ḥusayn Aḥmad Tarbiyat (Tehran: Mīrās-i Maktūb, 1378 SH [1999 CE]): pp. 551–700
    P. Losensky, 'Jāmi i. Life and Works’', Encyclopædia Iranica, Vol. XIV, Fasc. 5 (2008), pp. 469-475 .
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. II (London: British Museum, 1881), pp. 644–646 [British Library Add. 7770/3, &c.].
    E. Sachau and H. Ethé, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstani, and Pushtû manuscripts in the Bodleian Library, Vol. I (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889), cols. 618–619, nos. 897–889 [Bodleian Ouseley 290/5, &c.].
    Tawfīq Subḥānī, 'Kitāb'hā-yi khaṭṭī-i Fārsī fihrist nashudah dar Kitābkhānah Jān Rāylāndz, Manchistir' Majallah-'i Dānishkadah-i Adabiyāt va ‘Ulūm-i Insānī n.s., Vol. 1, Nos. 2-3 (1372 SH [1993 CE]): p. 168, no. 8[Rylands Persian MS 949].
    Sotheby and Son, Catalogue of the Highly Interesting and Valuable Collection of European and Asiatic Manuscripts of the late Dr. Adam Clarke, F.S.A., M.R.I.A. (London: [Printed by Compton and Richie], 1836), p. 18, no. 130.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute

The Persian Heritage Foundation


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