Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 855 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: A nearly-complete copy of the Dīvān by Ḥasan Sijzī Dihlavī (ca. 1253–1338), a significant medieval Sufi poet of India. An early proponent of the Persian ghazal, or 'lyric poem', his style tremendously influenced later Persian poets such as Ḥafiẓ Shīrāzī (1315–1390). A close friend of another famous early Indian poet Amīr Khusraw Dihlavī (1253–1325), both followed both men followed the spiritual master Niẓām al-Dīn Awliyā (1238–1325) who led the of the Chīshtīyyah Sufi Order in Delhi. Munʻim al-Dīn al-Awḥadī, scion of a prominent family of artists in Shiraz, completed this richly illuminated manuscript in Jumādá I, year 913 AH (Sept.–Oct. 1507 CE), soon after the establishment of the Safavid dynasty.
Title: Dīvān
Title: دیوان
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): ای حاکم جهان و جهان داور حکیم * محدث همهٔ بدایع و تو مبدِع قدیم.
Explicit: برگ ۲۷۰ر (folio 270a): لطف خذا که بر همهٔ واجب سلام تست * گو حثم کن یکی بیکی عین نام تست.
Colophon: برگ ۲۷۰ر (folio 270a): تمّ الدیوان بعون الله الملک المنان علی اقلام تراب اقدام کلاب احباب ابی تراب منعم‌الدین الاوحدی غفر ذنوبه و ستر عیوبه فی جمادی الاولی سنه ثلث عشر وتسعمآئه.
Colophon: Completed by Munʻim al-Dīn al-Awḥadī in the month of Jumādá I 913 AH (Sept.–Oct. 1507 CE).
Language(s): Persian

For a recent critical edition, see Aḥmad Bihishtī Shīrāzī and Ḥamīd Riz̤ā Qilichkhānī and Rebecca Ruth Gould for English translations of select ghazals. For more on the calligrapher and his oeuvre, see Denise-Marie Teece.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Contains what appears to be the earliest use of European paper in for a manuscript produced in Iran, comprised of cross-grained, ivory-coloured laid handmade paper, ~1 mm between laid lines, with distinct vertical chain lines approximately ~32–37 mm apart. Watermarked with a balance within a circle (including conjugate folios 112–113) and a darker paper watermarked with a tulip (including conjugate folios 76–77), that indicate likely manufacture in the Italian peninsula. Note the same stock also used for the final right flyleaf (f. iv), hence an original to the volume.
Extent: 270 folios, 9 flyleaves (ff. vi + 270 + iii).
Dimensions (leaf): 192 × 115 mm.
Dimensions (written): 120 × 58 mm.
Foliation: Foliated in pencilled Arabic numberal on the upper left corners of the a sides, but off by 1, as noted on the first and last folios and accounted for in this record.


Primarily triternions throughout. 1I+1(2)45III-1(270); both the final conjugate folio and another leaf between folios 35b and 36a missing. Catchwords throughout on the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Moderate insect damage throughout the textblock. Extensive repairs to the gutters from folios 247 to 270 with 253 detached.


2 columns throughout, with 14 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Copied in a minuscule nasta‘līq hand in black by Mun‘im al-Dīn al-Awḥadī, with repeating headers written in alternating ultramarine and gold inks.


Carpet Pages: Richly illuminated margins on the opening folios 1b to 2a.

Illumination: A decorated inverse finial appears under the colophon on folio 270a, and also subheaders throughout

Ruling: Vertical column dividers and horizontal section breaks ruled in thin gold outlined in thin single black lines. Surrounding marginal ruling in comparatively thick gold, outlined with a single black interior lines, double black exterior lines, bounded by comparatively thick blue lines.

  • First right flyleaf b side (f. ib): ‘D.F. 233’ and priced ‘£5.15.6’, consistent with Duncan Forbes (1798–1868) catalogue, p. 76, no. 233.
  • Third right flyleaf a side (f. iiia): bears the title inscribed in Persian in black ink with the transliterated Latin script with the number ‘49’ in pencil and the latter again in sepia.
  • Fourth right flyleaf a side (f. iva): bears the title in Devanagari script in black.
  • Sixth right flyleaf b side (f. vib): bears the title in Persian followed by poetic excerpts written vertically and horizontally in black.
  • Folio 1a bears several notations:
  • Top-left: the title written in Devanagari script, followed by what may be Bangla numerals.
  • Top-centre: the title written in Persian nasta‘līq, likely followed by an Indian siyāq script numerical notation for lākh, which indicates a price or valuation of 1,000 rupees for the manuscript.
  • Centre-left: an Arabic notation declares that the volume came from ‘from among the books of the poor ‘Umar Daftari’ with a distinctive Ottoman-style tughrā (tuğra) signature underneath.

    ‘ من جمله کتب الفقیر عمر دفتری’

    Another Arabic note underneath describes the acquisition of the volume by Muḥammad Taqī bin Muḥammad Riz̤ā al-Rāzī, above his seal impression, ‘in the capital Isfahan in the year 1048 AH (1638–39 CE)’.

    ‘هو، دخل فی نوبة العبد المذنب الراحی ابن محمد رضا محمد تقی الرازی فی دار السلطنة اصفهان سنه ۱۰۴۸.’

  • Centre-right: two unidentified couplets in Persian:

    ‘پشت فرومای فلک راست شد از خرامی * نا چو نو فرزندزاد از مادری’

    ‘و فتح دریاب بهر باب که سو(؟) نهر (؟) * نوش وارد(؟) که پس از مرگ بهر آب و نهر’

  • Bottom-right: two Arabic ownership notations, the first in legible naskh followed by an illegible oval partial seal impression, the second underneath in partly legible in shikastah, possibly the name of one Quṭb al-Dīn Muḥammad Isḥaq:

    ‘قد تشرفت تملک هذا الکتاب و انا العبد من اقل الحقیر’

  • Folio 270b bears an Arabic supplicatory prayer that invoke the muqaṭṭa‘āt, 14 disjoined letters that commence 29 chapters of the Qur'ān.
  • The first right flyleaf a side (f. via) bears an illegible note at top with isolated letters possibly written in the same hand over most of the page underneath, while the upper-right bears a quotation from Naṣīr al-Dīn Muḥammad Ṭūsī (1201-1274) shikastah
  • Left paste-down: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with shelf mark ‘F/10’, with the former class mark ‘No. 61’ crossed out.


Rebound, probably in Britain, in the early-mid 19th century. Abbreviated resewing with European-style decorative front-bead endbands over a flat cord core in solely dark blue indigo silk threads. Covered in full tan-coloured, 'diced Russia' leather, hollow-backed with five false bands on the spine, but untitled. Endpapers of likely British-made combed-patterned marbled paper stiff-leaved with ivory-coloured wove paper.

Boards blind-tooled in the European manner with an Islamic-inspired central mandorlas comprised of four impressions with two matching corner tools and bold scrollwork flourish pendants, attached to the centres with blind lines, and bounded by an insular dot roll surrounded by thick-and-lines on the perimeters of the boards. Board edges blind-tooled with a narrow decorative roll feature zig-zags with interspersed trefoils, while the interior dentelles bear a wider roll with a dotted zig-zag and interspersed triangular palmette motifs. Spine blind paletted with thick-and-thin fillet lines on either side of the false raised bands.

199 × 128 × 44 mm.

Binding in good condition. Joint cracking by the head on the left board with frayed headcaps.

Four legible seal impressions of former owners or associates found on folios 1a, 15a, 270a, and 270b:

1: Folio 1a bears an black oval seal impression, intaglio-carved in two stacked lines in thuluth script, with the name of former owner Muḥammad Taqī bin Muḥammad Riz̤ā al-Rāzī, below his notation: ‘Ghulām-i ‘Alī Muḥammad Taqī’ 13 × 18 mm.

2: Folio 1a bears an black pointed oval seal impression, relief-carved centre in two stacked lines in thuluth, intaglio-carved border in nasta‘līq, single-ruled, possibly with the name of former owner or associate ‘Muḥammad bin Muḥammad’: 13.5 × 20 mm.

3: Folio 14a, lower-left, bears an black oval seal impression, intaglio-carved in nasta‘līq script, in two stacked lines, single-ruled, possibly with the name of former owner or associate Muḥibb Sardīn Muḥammad Qulī: 11 × 20 mm.

4: Folio 270b, upper-right, partial black oval seal impression, intaglio-carved in nasta‘līq script in stacked in two lines on a floral ground, double-ruled, possibly with the name of former owner or associate Dārā 'Ali Beg bin Mihr ‘Ali


Origin: Probably Shiraz; Jumādá I 913 AH (Sept.–Oct. 1507 CE)

Provenance and Acquisition

Formerly owned by unidentified individuals named Muḥammad Taqī bin Muḥammad Riz̤ā al-Rāzī, Muḥammad bin Pīr Muḥammad, ‘Umar Daftarī and Muḥammad Sarvīn Muḥammad Qulī.

Subsequently acquired by orientalist Duncan Forbes (1798–1868), who described the volume in his published catalogue (p. 76, no. 233), 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.

Record Sources

Bibliographical description based on an index created by Reza Navabpour circa 1993, derived from a manuscript handlist 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)


    Ḥasan Dihlavī, After Tomorrow the Days Disappear: Ghazals and Other Poems. Translated by Rebecca Ruth Gould. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 2016.
    Ḥasan Dihlavī, Dīvān-i Ḥasan Dihlavī. Edited by Aḥmad Bihishtī Shīrāzī, and Ḥamīd Riz̤ā Qilichkhānī. Tehran: Anjuman-i Ās̱ār wa Mafākhir-i Farhangī, 1383 SH (2004 CE)
    D. Forbes, Catalogue of Oriental Manuscripts, Chiefly Persian, Collected Within the Last Five and Thirty years (London: W. H. Allen., 1866), p. 76, no. 233 .
    R. R. Gould and K. Tahmasebian, "The Temporality of Desire in Ḥasan Dihlavī’s ʿIshqnāma," Journal of Medieval Worlds, Vol. 2, No. 3–4 (2020): 72–95.
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. II (London: British Museum, 1879), p. 618 [BL Add. 24953].
    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. 564–566, no. 780–783 [Bodl. Ouseley 122, Elliot 57 and 121, and Thurston 15].
    D. M. Teece, "'Compassionate Companion, Familiar Friend': The Turin Safīna (Biblioteca Reale Ms. Or. 101) and Its Significance," Muqarnas Vol. 36, No. 1, (2019): 61–82.

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.