Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

MS. Bodl. Or. 231 (Bodleian Library, Oxford University)

Oriental Manuscripts


Summary of Contents: The volume contains 133 leaves. Folios 128b, 129ab, and 130b are blank. Folio 128a has a later note classifying twenty-five worldly activities (اعمال الدنيا). Folio 130a contains a fragment of the books of wisdom in the Septuagint, quoting Solomon the Wise (سليمان الكلي الحكمة) and the book of Ḥunayn [= Yashūʿ] ibn Shīrāḥ [the book Sirach]; see Graf, GCAL, i. 128. Folio 131ab is another fragment from the wisdom literature, while folios 132a−133b contain the moral narrative of an unnamed ruler who seeks the counsel of his wazir regarding the state of his soul following his necessary departure from this world, possibly composed by a monk (al-rāhib, folio 133b).
1. ff. 1v-127v
Incipit: بسم الله … يقول العبد الفقير الى ربّه الكريم . الشيخ الامام العالم العامل الصدر الكبير الكامل الريس بدر الدين مظفر بن قاضى بعلبك الطبيب بلغه الله اماله فى الدنيا والاخره . انني لما قرات على الشيخ العالم مهذب الدين رحمه الله كتاب تقدمه المعرفه لبقراط اجتهد على غايه الاجتهاد ومن فرط اجتهادى ... وشرح لي ذلك فصلا فصلا ... ثم انه الزمني ... ان اعلقه خوفا من النسيان وشفقة منه على المعاني التي تعب على تحصيلها بنفسه ومما اكتسبه من شيخه ابن المطران
Explicit: وكان قصده اتصال الراحه الى المرضى بكل طريق فبذلك يحصل له الثنآ من الناس والمجازاة من الله تعالى له الشكر دايما ، تم كتاب شرح تقدمة المعرفه بعون الله وحسن توفيقه
Colophon: وكتبه العبد الفقير الى رحمة الله العزيز حليل [كذا] ابن سعيد القارى وكان ذلك نهار السبت تاسع عشر شهر كانون الاول سنه الف وستمايه واحد عشر للاسكندر ابن فيلبس المكدوني . وبالله التوفيق والسلام

The copy was completed on 19 Kānūn al-awwal 1611 of the Alexandrian/Seleucid era (19 Dec. 1300) by Khalīl ibn Saʿīd al-Qārī. It should be noted, however, that both the first folio and the final folio (with the colophon) are restorations, apparently carefully copying the original folios. The paper, ink, and script of the core of the manuscript (folios 2–126) are consistent with a date of production of about 700/1300. The manuscript is probably of Egyptian provenance.

It is a complete copy, with the first maqālah beginning on folio 2b, the second on folio 35b, and the third on folio 94b.

Dimensions 15.0 × 10.5 (text area 11.2 × 7.6) cm; 13−18 lines per page. The title occurs at the beginning and the end of the treatise as well as on the title page (folio 1a), where it is written within two concentric red circles as كتاب شرح تقدمة المعرفة لبقراط فى امور الطب. The author’s name occurs as Muhadhdhab al-Dīn on folio 1b6 and as Muhadhdhab al-Dīn ʿAbd al-Raḥīm ibn ʿAlī al-ṭabīb on folio 35b6–8. The compiler is given on folio 1b4–5 as Badr al-Dīn Muẓaffar ibn Qāḍī Baʿlabakk al-ṭabīb, with the patron’s name given on folio 2b2–3 as Kamāl al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ((ʿAbd al-Raḥīm)) ibn Muslim al-ṭabīb, with the marginal correction of ʿAbd al-Raḥīm.

The text area has been frame-ruled. It is written in a medium-small, careful, and consistent Naskh, with occasional vocalization in dense dark brown ink with headings in red. Occasionally the letter ḥāʾ has a minuscule letter underneath. There are no catchwords. The hand of the replacement folios is different, with the lettter sīn carrying a háček. There are seventeen numbered quires, with the first quire consisting of four folios, the last of two folios, and the intervening quires of eight folios. The final folio of each quire is also numbered.

On folio 16a there is evidence of marginalia, written vertically, having been cut off, and the patron’s name given in folio 2b has been corrected.

SAUG §7m, p. 124 (306) [second MS. only]

*ff. 1 and 127 are a later insertion and so the date is suspect.

Language(s): Arabic


NCAM-1, Entry No.9A
GAL I 491
NAM, 166−8 entry CXCI (191), item 1; revd. by Beeston
2. f. 128r*
Author: Anonymous

*ff. 128v-129v blank

Language(s): Arabic


Appendix Ethics
[NAM. 191 (2), revised by Beeston]
3. f. 130r
Author: Anonymous
Language(s): Arabic


Appendix Ethics
[NAM. 191 (3[i]) [(3) as revised by Beeston]]
4. f. 131r, v
Author: Anonymous

Containing the heading "al-bāb al-ʻāshir min Kitāb Dafʻ al-hamm"

Language(s): Arabic


Appendix Proverbs
[NAM. 191 (3[ii]) [(4) as revd. by Beeston]]
5. ff. 132r-133v
Author: Anonymous
Language(s): Arabic


Appendix Ethics
[NAM. 191 (4) [(5) as revised by Beeston]]

Physical Description

Form: codex
127 ff. 1 f. 1 f. 1 f. 2 ff.


The paper is water-stained and soiled with grime and through thumbing. The edges have been trimmed. Folios 1–5, 12–13, and 125–7 are guarded.


Paper The brown paper of the core of the volume (folios 2–126) is very slightly coarse and often quite smooth, with a matt surface and thickness of 0.14−0.24 mm. It has an opaqueness factor of 4 and is slightly fibrous, with laid lines so indistinct that on most folios they appear only as light horizontal streaking; on some folios there are traces of irregular chain lines, with some appearing to be in groups of 3s. The beige-ivory paper of replacement folio 1 appears to be different from the rest of the volume (with no visible laid or chain lines), but is not identical to that of folio 127 (also a replacement leaf), which is a watermarked paper. The paper of folios 128–33 differs from the rest of the volume, with clear laid lines, single chain lines, and watermarks (pedestal).


The volume is bound in boards covered with European marbled paper edged in maroon leather. There are modern paper pastedowns and endpapers.


Origin: 1299?* CE n.d. n.d. n.d. n.d.

Provenance and Acquisition

The volume was apparently given by Paul Pindar in 1611. Former shelfmarks: Arch.B.8 and MS. Arch.A.149

Record Sources

Manuscript description based on Emilie Savage-Smith; A New Catalogue of Arabic Manuscripts in The Bodleian Library, University of Oxford. Volume I: Medicine, Oxford: OUP, 2011.


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Funding of Cataloguing



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