Manuscript Research: General, Catalogs, and Manuscripts

A listing of Important catalogs of Arabic /Islamic Manuscripts:


General References:

  • al-waraq, ibn al-nadim, al-fihrist, [الفهرست في أخبار العلماء المصنفين من القدماء والمحدثين وأسماء كتبهم] ed. Rida Tajadud, Tehran, 1971. (link)
  • Kâtip Çelebi.[كشف الظنون عن أسامي الكتب والفنون] Kashf al-zunun ʿan asami al-kutub wa-al-funun] Kitab kashf al-zunun ʿan asami al-kutub wa-al-funun  li-Mustafa ibn ʿAbd Allah al-shahir bi-Hajji Khalifah wa-bi-Katib Jalabi; ʿuniyah bi-tashihuhu wa-tab`uhu `ala nuskhat al-mu’allif mujarradan `an al-ziyadat wa-al-lawahiq min baʿdihi wa-taʿliq hawashihi thumma bi-tartib al-thuyul ʿalayhi wa-tabʿiha Muhammad Sharaf al-Din Yaltaqaya wa-al-muʿallim Rifʿat Bilkah al-Kilisi. [Istanbul : s.n.], 1941-1943. [K.]. N.B. A pdf version of this book is available online with addendums by other authors.
  • Brockelmann, Carl. Geschichte der arabischen litteratur. 2 vols. plus 3 suppl. vols., Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1943-.   [GAL.]   MELA also published Guide to Using Carl Brockelmann’s Geschichte der Arabischen Litteratur; Ghazali is in: g, I: 534-546 (PDF: 1943); s, I: 744-756. (PDF: 1937). There were two translations of this book published. One by dar al-maʿarif in Egypt which we have a complete copy in pdf files. Download all the files found in this directory to get the full benefit of the cross references tags among the pdf files.
  • Kâtip Çelebi.[كشف الظنون عن أسامي الكتب والفنون] Lexicon bibliographicum et encyclopaedicum … ad codicum Vindobonensium Parisiensium et Berolinensis fidem primum edidit Latine vertit et commentario indicibusque instruxit Gustavus Fluegel. …. Arabic text with Latin trans. by Gustav Lebrecht Fluegel. 7 vols., Leipzig: Published for the Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland, 1835-1858.  [Kf.] This book is now available on google’s book project. (link)
  • Sezgin, Fuat. Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums. 12 vol.s, Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1967-.  Volumes organized by subject, covering Arabic literature up to about 950 CE. [GAS.] This book was translated into Arabic which we have a complete copy in pdf files. Download all the files found in this directory to get the full benefit of the cross references tags among the pdf files. As this book is still in progress the translation is always behind the published volumes.
  •  Zirikli, Khayr al-Din. Aʿlam : qamus tarajim li-ashʿhar al-rijal wa-al-nisaʾ min al-ʿArab wa-al-mustaʿribin wa-al-mustashriqin / taʾlif Khayr al-Din al-Zirikli. (Bayrut : Dar al-ʿIlm lil-Malayin, 4th printing: 1979.) (PDF: Ghazali article) – Complete book is online in pdf files.
  • ʿUmar Riḍa Kaʾḥala’s Muʿjam al-muʾlafin (Beirut: Muʾsast al-risala, first printing, 1993); Ghazali is in: vol 3. pp 671-673 #15766. Complete edition is available in pdf format. There is also another edition (Dimashq, al-Maktabah al-ʿArabiyah, 1957-1961.) in 15 volumes.
  • Here is a list of 608 Ghazali manuscripts that are in Turkish Libraries. The list is in excell format with the local call numbers. As it is only a list it only lists the name of the title of the Manuscripts in Turkish and in Arabic. There are 2 by his brother Ahmad and 32 by Shi’hab al-din (d. 1123). Excel file. This file is based on a search of Union Catalog of Turkish manuscripts. The Turkish mss website that I used to generate this list has gone offline! However I believe that it has re-surfaced in another format elsewhere and I just can’t find it.

General Information on manuscript and research:

  • Article on Mauritania’s manuscripts (link) also (Werner, L., Saudi Arabian Aramco: Nov. -Dec. 2003 vol. 54: No. 6 pp: 2-16)
  • Article on Andalusia’s Manuscripts (link) ( James, D.  Aramco World Magazine: November/December 1972, Volume 23, Number 6. pp2-3)
  • How to create a critical edition? (link)
  • What it takes to do manuscript research? See  An Introduction to Manuscript Reproduction Acquisition by Eva St. Clair (PDF link).
  • Revolution by the Ream: A History of Paper by Jonathan M. Bloom (link) (Aramco World: May/June 99: vol. 50/No.3 , pp: 26-39) . PDF version from the issue. Prof. Bloom has writen a book on a similar and related topic, Paper before print, for more on Paper research see this on Arabic Paper.

On Manuscripts:

Franz Rosenthal

  • From Arabic Books and Manuscripts, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 83, No. 4. (Sep. – Dec., 1963), pp. 452-457.
  • From Arabic Books and Manuscripts I: Pseudo-A?ma’î on the Pre-Islamic Arab Kings, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 69, No. 2. (Apr. – Jun., 1949), pp. 90-91.
  • From Arabic Books and Manuscripts II: Kindîana, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 69, No. 3. (Jul. – Sep., 1949), pp. 149-152.
  • From Arabic Books and Manuscripts III: The Author of the Gurar as-siyar, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 70, No. 3. (Jul. – Sep., 1950), pp. 181-182.
  • From Arabic Books and Manuscripts IV: New Fragments of as-Sarakhsî, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 71, No. 2. (Apr. – Jun., 1951), pp. 135-142.
  • From Arabic Books and Manuscripts V: A One-Volume Library of Arabic Philosophical and Scientific Texts in Istanbul, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 75, No. 1. (Jan. – Mar., 1955), pp. 14-23.
  • From Arabic Books and Manuscripts VI Istanbul Materials for al-Kindî and as-Sarakhsî, Journal, of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 76, No. 1. (Jan. – Mar., 1956), pp. 27-31.
  • From Arabic Books and Manuscripts VII: Some Graeco-Arabica in Istanbul, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 81, No. 1. (Jan. – Mar., 1961), pp. 7-12.
  • From Arabic Books and Manuscripts VIII As-Sarakhsî on Love, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 81, No. 3. (Aug. – Sep., 1961), pp. 222-224.
  • From Arabic Books and Manuscripts XII: The Arabic Translation of Artemidorus, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 85, No. 2. (Apr. – Jun., 1965), pp. 139-144.
  • From Arabic Books and Manuscripts, XIII-XIV, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 95, No. 2. (Apr. – Jun., 1975), pp. 209-213.
  • From Arabic Books and Manuscripts, XV, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 99, No. 1. (Jan. – Mar., 1979), pp. 91-93.
  • From Arabic Books and Manuscripts, XVI: As-Sarakhsi (?) on the Appropriate Behavior for Kings, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 115, No. 1. (Jan. – Mar., 1995), pp. 105-109.


Specific Catalogs:

Note some libraries (research of course!) have as much as 137 different catalogs. Firestone library in Princeton University has a room full of them in graduate Near East study room. (B Level).  University of Michigan CMENA has a list as well (PDF).  A general online rule if the catalog is UM and is out of copyright there is a good chance you can find it on google books. Here is a sample listing in no particular order of importance:

  • al-Azhar University: al-maktaba al-azhariya: Fahras, al-kutub al-muwjudah bihah hata 1949 in 9 volumes: v1 v2 v3 v4 v5 (pdf). link 
  • Türkiye yazmalari toplu katalogu = The union catalogue of manuscripts in Turkey / T. c.  Kültür Bakanligi Kütüphaneler Genel Müdürlügü. Ankara : Kütüphaneler Genel Müdürlügü, 1979-. In volume 5, p. 616, it lists the following numbers for al-Ghazali: 67, 514, 544, 550-551, 574-575, 1397-1398, 1433, 1455, 2519, 2627, 2630, 2654-2655, 2674, 2725, 2726, 2744-2757, 2783, 2817, 2878, 2880, 2883, 2928-2929, 4078, 4116.  For example: 4078 is qasidah al-munfirajah and 4116 sharh janat al-Isma’. Not sure they are authentic works but you’ll find them listed in catalogs. N. B. This is also available in facimile pdf online. Also noted is a website that should supercede this as the Turkish gov’t sponsered digitization effort is underway. I have tried very often to register with the site to no avail.
  • Danishgah-i Tihran. Kitabkhanah-‘i Markazi va Markaz-i Asnad. Fihrist-i Kitabkhanah-‘i ihda’i-i Aqa-yi Sayyid Muhammad Mishkat bih Kitabkhanah-‘i Danishgah-i Tihran. [Tehran]: Chapkhanah-i Danishgah, 1330- [1951 or 1952-].
  • Escorial. Real Biblioteca. Bibliotheca arabico-hispaña escurialensis; sive, librorum omnium mss. quos arabicè ab auctoribus magnam partem arabo-hispanis compositos bibliotheca coenobii escurialensis complectitur, recensio et explanatio, operâ & studio Michaelis Casiri … Matriti, Antonius Perez de Soto, 1760-70.
  • Biblioteca apostolica vaticana. Elenco dei manoscritti arabi islamici della Biblioteca vaticana: vaticani, barberiniani, borgiani, rossiani. Città del Vaticano: Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, 1935.
  • Biblioteca apostolica vaticana. Secondo elenco dei manoscritti arabi islamici della Biblioteca vaticana, [di] Giorgio Levi della Vida. Città del Vaticano: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1965.
  • Oscar Löfgren and Renato Traini. Catalogue of the Arabic manuscripts in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, by Oscar Löfgren and Renato Traini. Vicenza : N. Pozza, [1975- Series: Fontes Ambrosiani ; nuova ser. 51, 66. Contents: v. 1. Antico fondo and medio fondo.–v. 2. Nuovo fondo, series A-D, nos. 1-830 — v. 3. Nuovo Fondo: Series E (Nos. 831-1295). v.  : col. ill. ; 31 cm.
  • Choix de livres qui se trouvaient dans les bibliothèques d’Alep (au XIIIe siècle) [Le Caire, 1946] .
  • Garrett, Robert, b. 1875. Descriptive catalog of the Garrett collection of Arabic manuscripts in the Princeton University library, by Philip K. Hitti, Nabih Amin Faris [and] Butrus `Abd-al-Malik. Princeton, Princeton University Press; London, H. Milford, Oxford University Press, 1938. Available online from Princeton University Library (PDF) Link quite large!
  • Rudolph Mach, Catalog of Arabic Manuscripts (Yahuda Section) in the Garrett Collection, Princeton University Library, Princeton Studies on the Near East (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1977). Available online from Princeton University Library (PDF) Link
  • Rudolph Mach and Eric L. Ormsby, Handlist of Arabic Manuscripts (New Series) in the Princeton University Library, Princeton Studies on the Near East (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987). Available online from Princeton University Library (PDF) Link, quite large!
  • Mohammed E. Mohgadam and Yahya Armajani, under the supervision of Philip K. Hitti, Descriptive Catalog of the Garrett Collection of Persian, Turkish and Indic Manuscripts Including Some Miniatures, Princeton Oriental Texts, volume 6 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1939). N. B. Princeton University Library: has a grant to convert the above catalogs into its online catalog system, as of this writing the work is still in progress. Some of the entries are already in the online catalog.
  • British Library. Oriental and India Office Collections. A classified handlist of Arabic manuscripts acquired since 1912  edited by R. Vassie. London: British Library, 1995-.
  • Great Britain. India Office Library. A catalogue of the Arabic manuscripts in the Library of the India Office, by Otto Loth [et al] London, 1877-1940.
  • Great Britain. India Office Library. Catalogue of two collections of Persian and Arabic manuscripts preserved in the India office library; by E. Denison Ross, and Edward G. Browne. London, Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1902.
  • Krek, Miroslav. A catalogue of Arabic manuscripts in the Oriental Institute of Chicago. New Haven, American Oriental Society, 1961.
  • Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden. Bibliotheek. Catalogus codicum arabicorum bibliothecae academiae Lugduno-Batavae. auctoribus M. J. De Goeje et M. Th. Houtsma. Lugdun: Batavorum: Brill, 1888-1907.
  • Uppsala universitetsbibliotek. Die arabischen, persischen und türkischen Handschriften der Universitätsbibliothek zu Uppsala, verzeichnet und beschrieben von K. V. Zetterstéen. Uppsala [Almgvist & Wiksells] 1930-.
  • Catalogue of the Arabic and Persian manuscripts in the Oriental Public Library at (Bankipore) Patna. Patna : Superintendent, Govt. Print., Bihar, 1908-1994. v.1 – v. 36. Sufism is volume XIII (Arabic MSS.) 1928. Pages related to Ghazali (PDF). N.B. The catalogs are online.
  • Arberry, A. J. The Chester Beatty Library. A handlist of the Arabic manuscripts, Dublin, E. Walker (Ireland), 1955-  v. 1. MSS. 3001 to 3250.–v. 8. Indexes, by U. Lyons. v. plates. 26 cm.
  • Vajda, Georges. Index général des manuscrits arabes musulmans de la Bibliothèque nationale de Paris. Paris: Éditions du Centre national de la recherche scientifique, 1953. N.B. A number of French catalogs of Arabic Manuscripts found in Bibliothèque nationale de Paris are online through gallica (sic) website.
  • Bibliothèque nationale, Catalogue des manuscrits arabes …  Bibliothèque nationale, Département des manuscrits. Paris : Bibliothèque nationale, 1972- 2. ptie. Manuscrits musulmans (5 v.) — index (1 v.). 25 cm.
  • Bibliothèque nationale, Département des manuscrits. le baron de Slane, Catalogue des manuscrits arabes par m. le baron de Slane, Paris Imprimerie nationale 1883-1895. 2 p. l., iv p., 1 l., 819, [1] p. 32 cm.
  • E. Blochet, Catalogue des manuscrits arabes des nouvelles acquisitions (1884-1924) par E. Blochet … Bibliothèque nationale (France). Département des manuscrits Paris, E. Leroux, 1925. 2 p. ., xi, 424 p. 25 cm.
  • Nico van den Boogert. Catalogue des manuscrits arabes et berbères du Fonds Roux (Aix-en-Provence) Nico van den Boogert. Aix-en-Provence : IREMAM, 1995. 126 p. ; 22 cm. Series: Travaux et documents de l’IREMAM, no 18.
  • Anouar Louca. Catalogue des manuscrits arabes, établi par Anouar Louca. Genève : Bibliothèque publique et universitaire de Genève, 1968. 76 p. ; 25 cm.
  • Mohammed ben Cheneb. Catalogue des manuscrits arabes conservés dans les principales bibliothèques algérienes … Alger, Jourdan, 1907-09. [v.1] Médersa de Tlemcen, par A. Cour.–[v.2] Grande  mosquée d’Alger, Par mohammed ben Cheneb. 2 v. in 1. 28 cm.
  • Juburi, ʿAbd Allah, Fihris makhtutat Hasan al-Ankurli al-muhdah lia Maktabat al-Awqaf al-ʿAmmah bi-Baghdad,  Juburi, ʿAbd Allah, 1967. 343 p. 25 cm.
  • Salah al-Din al-Munajjid. Biblioteca ambrosiana: Fihris al-makhtutat al-ʿArabiyah f-i al-Ambruziyana bi-Milanu, wadaʿahu Salah al-Din al-Munajjid. al-Qahirah : Ma`had al-Makhtutat al-ʿArabiyah, 1960-v. ; 26 cm.
  • Ayman Fuʾad Sayyid. Fihris al-makhtutat al-ʿArabiyah fi maktabat al-Maʿhad al-ʿIlmi al-Faransi lil-athar al-Sharqiyah bi-al-Qahirah,  Ayman Fuʾad Sayyid. [al-Qahirah] : al-Maʿhad, c1996. 144 p. : ill. ; 28 cm. Series: Nusus ʿArabiyah wa-dirasat Islamiyah ; al-mujallad 34, 1996.
  • al-Siddiq bin al-ʿArabi. Fihris makhtutat Khizanat Ibn Yusuf bi-Marrakush, al-Siddiq bin al-ʿArabi. al-Tabʿah 1. Bayrut : Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, 1994. 547 p. ; 25 cm.
  • Y.S. ʿAllush wa-ʿAbd Allah al-Rajraji, Fihris al-makhtutat al-ʿArabiyah al-mahfuzah fi al-Khizanah al-ʿammah bi-al-Rabat al-Fath (al-Maghrib al-Aqsá) : al-qism al-thani, 1921-1953, iʿtaná bi-taʾlifihi Y.S. ʿAllush wa-ʿAbd Allah al-Rajraji. al-Rabat : Matbuʿat Afriqiya al-Shamaliyah al-Fanniyah, 1954-1958. 2 v. ; 25 cm. Matbuʿat Maʿhad al-Abhath al-ʿUlya al-Maghribiyah ; al-juz’ 58, 63.
  • Munajjid, Salah al-Din, Fihris al-makhtutat al-ʿarabiyah fi maktabat al-Kungris Washintun.  Munajjid, Salah al-Din, [Beirut] Dar al-Kitab al-Jadid [1969]. 70 p.
  • Adam Gacek. Catalogue of Arabic manuscripts in the library of the Institute of Ismaili Studies, Adam Gacek. London : Islamic Publications, c1984-1985. 2 v. : ill. ; 23 cm.
  • Adam Gacek. Arabic manuscripts in the libraries of McGill University: union catalogue Adam Gacek. Montreal : McGill University LIbraries, 1991. Series: Fontanus monograph series,1. xviii, 291 p. : facsims. ; 24 cm.
  • Yususf ʿIzz al-Din. Makhtutat ʿArabiyah fi Maktabat Sufiya al-Wataniyah al-Bulghariyah  tasnif Yususf ʿIzz al-Din. Baghdad : al-Majmaʿ al-ʿIlmi al-ʿIraqi, 1968. Series: Matbuʿat al-Majmaʿ al-ʿIlmi al-ʿIraqi. 167 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
  • Leon Nemoy, Arabic manuscripts in the Yale University Library, compiled by Leon Nemoy. New Haven, 1956. Series: Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, v. 40 p. 1-273. 273 p. facsims. N.B. Entries from the catalog is being incorporated into the libraries online catalogs.
  • ʿIsam Muhammad al-Shanti, al-Makhtutat al-ʿArabiyah allati sawwaraha al-Maʿhad min Dar al-Makhtutat fi Sanʿa’ (al-Jumhuriyah al-ʿArabiyah al-Yamaniyah) fi al-fatrah min 28/1-4/3/1985 / iʿdad ʿIsam Muhammad al-Shanti. al-Tabʿah 1. al-Kuwayt : Maʿhad al-Makhtutat al-ʿArabiyah, al-Munazzamah al-ʿArabiyah lil-Tarbiyah wa-al-Thaqafah wa-al-ʿUlum, 1988. 60 p. ; 24 cm.
  • Atiya, Aziz Suryal, The Arabic manuscripts of Mount Sinai; a hand-list of the Arabic manuscripts and scrolls microfilmed at the library of the Monastery of St. Catherine, Mount Sinai. Foreword by Wendell Phillips.  Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press [1955] Series:  Publications of the American Foundation for the Study of  Man ; v. 1.  xxxiv, 97 p. illus., facsims. 29 cm.
  • Arabskie rukopisi Vostochnogo otdela Nauchnoi biblioteki Sankt-Peterburgskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta : kratkii katalog / sostaviteli O.B. Frolova i T.P. Deriagina ; redaktor O.B. Frolova. Sankt-Peterburg : Izd-vo TSentr “Peterburgskoe Vostokovedenie”, 1996. Series: Arkhiv rossiiskogo vostokovedeniia. 268 p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
  • Arabic Manuscripts in SOAS, Adam Gacek, SOAS, London, 1981. (PDF)
  • Wilhelm Ahlwardt: Verzeichniss der Arabischen Handschriften der Königlichen Bibliothek zu Berlin. 1-10. Berlin, 1887-1899. (Handschriften-Verzeichnisse. 7-9, 16-22)  Sample of Ghazali’s entries in Volume 2 as well as listing from vol. 10 (PDF) Some volumes are online googlebooks.
  • Rudolf Sellheim: Arabische Handschriften. Reihe A: Materialien zur arabischen Literaturgeschichte. 1.2. Wiesbaden, Stuttgart, 1976-1987. (VOHD 17,A,1.2)
  • Ewald Wagner [et al]: Arabische Handschriften. Reihe B,1. Wiesbaden, 1976. (VOHD 17,B,1)
  • Gregor Schoeler: Arabische Handschriften. Reihe B,2. Stuttgart, 1990. (VOHD 17,B,2)
  • Rosemarie Quiring-Zoche: Arabische Handschriften. Reihe B,3. Stuttgart, 1994. (VOHD 17,B,3)
  • Rosemarie Quiring-Zoche: Arabische Handschriften. Reihe B,5. Stuttgart, 2000. (VOHD 17,B,5)
  • Hars Kurio: Arabische Handschriften der “Bibliotheca orientalis Sprengeriana” in der SBPK. Berlin, Freiburg, 1981. (Islamkundliche Materialien. 7). For more information on Islamic manuscripts that are held at libraries in Germany see Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin’s Oriental collections.
  • Abu Raihon Berunii nomidagi Sharqshunoslik instituti. Kratkii katalog sufiiskikh proizvedenii XVIII- XX vv. iz sobraniia Instituta vostokovedeniia Akademii nauk Respubliki Uzbekistan im. al-Biruni / [sostaviteli S. Gulomov … et al. ; redaktsionnaia kollegiia B. Babadzhanov, A. Kremer, IU. Paul’]. Berlin : Das Arabische Buch, 2000. [ Handlist of Sufi manuscripts (18th-20th centuries) in the holdings of the Oriental Institute, Academy of Sciences, Republic of Uzbekistan (Biruni). ]
  • Aro, Jussi. Die arabischen, persischen und türkischen Handschriften der Universitätsbibliothek zu Helsinki. Helsinki: [s.n.], 1958.
  • Tashkandy, Abbas Saleh. A descriptive catalogue of the historical collection of the scientific manuscripts at the library of `Arif Hikmat in Medina, Saudi Arabia. 1974.
  • Wellcome Historical Medical Library. A catalogue of Arabic manuscripts on medicine and science in the Wellcome Historical Medical Library, by A.Z. Iskandar. London, Wellcome Historical Medical Library, 1967.
  • Dietrich, Albert.  Medicinalia Arabica. Studien über arabische medizinische Handschriften in türkischen und syrischen Bibliotheken. Göttingen, Vandenhoeck u. Ruprecht, 1966.
  • Graf, Georg. Catalogue de manuscrits arabes chrétiens conservés au Caire / par Georg Graf … Città del Vaticano: Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, 1934. Just in case you are interested…

Manuscript Samples:

  • Sample page from a manuscript that was sold at Christies acution house.
  • Front cover of Tiber al-masbuk manuscript at AUB.
  • Illuminated page from the Ihya’ Source unknown.
  • Illuminated page from the Ihya’ from Tunisia‘s Dar al-kutub al-waṭniya (National Library).
  • Kimya’ saadat at the University of Chicago.
  • Munqidh manuscript (Suleymaniye Library: Sehid Ali Pasa No. 1712/2)
  • Fun with Manuscript illumination: Sample a ; Sample ß, a redux, ß redux, sample ?.
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