Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

Persian MS 889 (The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, The University of Manchester)

Persian Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: Muṣṭafà Şem‘ī (d. ca. 1602.) composed this Ottoman Turkish commentary on the Persian Pandnāmah (Book of Advice), spuriously ascribed to Farīd al-Dīn ʻAṭṭār. In his introduction, the author states how his friend, Ṣāḥib al-Dawlah ʿÖmer bin Ḥüseyin requested that he complete the work, which he dedicated to the latter’s patron Zeyrek Ağa, then presented it to Sultan Murad III (b. 1546, r. 1574–1595 CE) when finished. The commentary itself consists of verse by verse quotations, with their translations, and occasional glosses on the original text, a style that the author maintains in his other Ottoman commentaries on Persian works. An Ottoman-era scribe named Ahmet Kadır Bülevi completed this manuscript 3 Muḥarram 1077 AH (6 Jul. 1666 CE).
Incipit: (basmalla) برگ ۱پ (folio 1b): شکر و سپاس بی قیاس شول قادر قیومه که لطفی بی غایت و کرم بی نهایت دن مفخر شعار نبوة دثار رسول‌لر کروردی.
Explicit: برگ ۶۷پ (folio 67b): کین نصایح را بخواند او بسی که بو نصیحت‌لری او کیمسه چون اوقپیه الحمد لله علی التمام.
Colophon: برگ ۶۷پ (folio 67b): قد وقع المراغ من تسوید هذه النّسخة الشریفة في ید عبد الضّعیف النّحیف احمد بن قدر البولوي المحتاج الی رحّمة ربّه الفنی غفر اللّه له ولوا لدیه و لجمیع المؤمنین والؤمنات والمسلمین والمسلمات امین فی وقت قبل الفقیر فی یوم الثلث من شهر محرّم الحرام. سنه سبع وسبعین والف. تکري رحمت ایلسون اول جان ایچون * فاتحه احسان ایده یازن ایچون.
Colophon: Completed by Aḥmad bin Ḳadr al-Būlavī (Turkish: Ahmet Kadır Bülevi) in the afternoon of 3 Muḥarram 1077 AH (6 Jul. 1666 CE).
Language(s): Persian

A prior version of this record misattributed this work to Kosovar author Prizrenli Şemi Şemullah (d. ca. 1530.); however, a later commentator who adopted the same penname actually composed it (see de Bruijn, Öztürk, and Keyik). For other copies of the Pandnāmah without commentaries held in the Rylands, see Persian MS 241/3, 541, 895A and Gaster MS 1500B.

Physical Description

Form: codex
Support: Textblock comprised of thin-weight, straight and cross-grained, ivory-coloured paper handmade in Europe with ~11 laid lines per cm and chain lines ~25 mm apart, partially watermarked with the letter ‘G’ and trefoil, with ~11 laid lines per cm and ~25 mm between chain lines.
Extent: 67 folios, 2 flyleaves (ff. i + 67 + i).
Dimensions (leaf): 191 × 125 mm.
Dimensions (written): 140 × 64 mm.
Foliation: Inconsistent modern Arabic numerals: larger incorrect numbers and smaller corrections, the latter accurate, pencilled on the upper-left corners of the sides from folios 1a to 11a, larger hand continues every ten folios thereafter to folio 61a (incorrectly marked ‘60’); however, the smaller hand resumes with 2a on folios 62a to 67a.


Undetermined, but likely quaternions throughout. Catchwords throughout most of the lower-left corners of the b sides.


Text in good condition.


Written in 1 to 2 columns with 21 lines per page. Ruled with a misṭarah hand guide.


Written in clear, minute black naskh (nesih) with red subheaders.

  • The first right flyleaf b side (f. ib) bears a pious Arabic phrase in rıḳʿa and an Arabic religious text in thirteen lines of rounded thuluth script written in sepia.
  • Folio 1a bears Turkish and Persian poetry (with abjad numbers), pious phrases in Arabic, and a list of alms with amounts in dirhams to be spent in memory of six shaykhs.
  • Folio 67b features an prayer in Arabic alongside the colophon, and what may be a Sufi vaẓīfah (Turkish: vezife) at top, indicating recitation of three istighfār (repentance) and the Divine name al-Jalīl (the Glorious) a thousand times.
Bookplates: The left pastedown: ‘Bibliotheca Lindesiana’ with pencilled shelfmark ‘1/K’, and white label bearing an earlier Lindesiana class mark ‘Persian MSS Nº. 95’, with the number crossed out and ‘889’ written aside.


Rebound in the Ottoman empire in the 18th century CE.

Sewn at two stations in yellow silk thread. Edges trimmed with twined chevron endbands at head and tail. Covered in full red goatskin leather, without a flap (Type III binding per Déroche). Internal pastedowns and flyleaves of 18th-century style Ottoman marbled papers (Persian abrī, Ottoman: ebrī, 'clouded') feature large indigo craquelure (Turkish: ḳumlū, 'sandy') spots over a spattered ground of dark indigo and ochre.

Subsequently rebacked in goatskin leather and the internal hinges replaced with the same, probably in the 20th century CE

192 × 129 × 18 mm.

Handle binding with caution. In fair condition, with abrasion to the exterior. Stiff opening due to restoration. Boxed.


Origin: Completed by Aḥmad bin Ḳadr al-Bulavī (Turkish: Ahmet Kadır Bülevi), probably in the Ottoman empire; 3 Muḥarram 1077 AH (6 Jul. 1666 CE).

Provenance and Acquisition

Subsequently obtained by Frederick Ayrton (1812–1873), who first served in the military in India, then as a civil engineer in Egypt, where he ultimately became Secretary to the Khedive ‘Abbas Pasha and later a British consular officer.

After Ayrton's death, London bookseller Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) obtained and then sold his oriental manuscripts for £150 to Alexander Lindsay, 25th Earl of Crawford (1812–1880) in 1874 for the Bibliotheca Lindesiana at Haigh Hall, Wigan.

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 derived from Jan Schmidt, A Catalogue of the Turkish Manuscripts in the John Rylands University Library at Manchester, 2011 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)


    National Library of Scotland, Acc. 9769 Library Papers’, Vol. 27, folios 119-122 [Quaritch list of Ayrton manuscripts], 127 [Crawford's list of Ayrton volumes]. Vol. 27, f. 127
    Ş. Akkoyun, 'Şem‘î Saâdetnâme'. MA Thesis, Uludağ University, 1999.
    F. du Blois, Persian Literature a Bio-Bibliographical Survey : Poetry of the Pre-Mongol Period, Vol. V, 2nd ed. (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004), pp. 266–267, no. 176, 'Doubtful and spurious works', 20..
    J. T. P. de Bruijn, 'S̲h̲emʿī', Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd ed. (Online). 2012.
    Fihris al-Makhṭūṭāṭ al-Turkīyah al-ʻUthmānīyah al-latī iqtanat'hā Dār al-Kutub al-Qawmīyah mundhu ʻām 1870 ḥattá nihāyat 1980 m, Vol. III (Cairo: Hayʼah al-Miṣrīyah al-ʻĀmmah lil-Kitāb, 1987), p. 24.
    M. Götz, Türkische Handschriften, Vol. 1 (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1968), pp. 632–633.
    M. U. İnan, 'Ottomans Reading Persian Classics: Readers and Reading in the Ottoman Empire, 1500–1700' The Edinburgh History of Reading: Early Readers (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020), pp. 160–181.
    G. Kut, Tercüman Gazetesi Kütüphanesi Türkçe Yazmalar Kataloğu, Vol. 1 (İstanbul: Edebiyat Fakültesi Basımevi, 1989), pp. 286–287.
    Ş. Öztürk, 'Şem‘î', TDV İslâm Ansiklopedisi, Vol. 38 (2010): pp. 505–506.
    Jan Schmidt, Cataloge of Turkish Manuscripts in the Library of Leiden University and Other Collections in the Netherlands, Vol. 1 (Leiden: Brill, 1989), pp. 218–220 [Universiteit Bibliothek Leiden Or. 721]
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. II (London: British Museum, 1879), pp. 579b–580a, 790a, [British Library Sloane. 3588, &c].
    Jan Schmidt, A Catalogue of the Turkish Manuscripts in the John Rylands University Library at Manchester (Leiden: Brill, 2011), pp. 311–312.

Funding of Cataloguing

Iran Heritage Foundation

The John Rylands Research Institute


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