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Islamic manuscripts

Welcome - Merhaba - أهلا وسهلا - Hoşgeldiniz - خوش آمدید ! This guide details useful sources for the study of Islamic rare books and manuscripts. It focuses primarily on materials held at McGill, and projects realized by the Islamic Studies Library.

McGill digital exhibtions & collections


  • Arabic Papyrus, Parchment and Paper Collection
    University of Utah. The collection includes a significant number of documents from the pre-Ottoman period and thus offers unique source material on the political, economic, religious and intellectual life of Egypt during the first two centuries of Islamic rule and the period up to Ottoman domination.
  • The Book of Curiosities, Oxford University
    The Kitāb Gharāʾib al-funūn wa-mulaḥ al-ʿuyūn, known as the Book of Curiosities is a treatise extraordinarily important for the history of science, especially for astronomy and cartography, and contains an unparalleled series of diagrams of the heavens and maps of the earth.
  • The Chester Beatty Library Islamic collection
    Located in Dublin, Ireland the library maintains an excellent Islamic collection including a notable Ibn al Bawwab Qur'an.
  • Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas: Digital Manuscripta
    A digital collection of Arabic, Hebrew and Aljamiados manuscripts. The website is predominantly in Spanish.
  • A catalog of Arabic manuscripts in the Oriental Institute of Chicago
    This is a listing of the University of Chicago Library Middle East Department's holdings of manuscript copies on microfilm and microfiche.
  • Daiber Collection Database
    The Arabic Manuscripts in the Daiber Collection Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo.
  • Digitized Arabic Manuscripts at the American University of Beirut
    The Jafet Library at AUB holds a number of valuable Arabic Manuscripts.
  • Dr. Youssef Ziedan for Heritage and Manuscripts has a website giving facsimiles of over 50 Arabic manuscripts and the ability to search the catalogues of five manuscript collections in northern Egypt.
  • Durham University Library Oriental Manuscripts
    A miscellaneous group of documents originally collected by Durham University Oriental Library.
  • European Cultural Heritage Online (ECHO)
    ECHO holds a collection of scientific Islamic Manuscripts as well as many other types of manuscripts.
  • Fihrist: Oxford and Cambridge Islamic Manuscripts Catalogue Online
    This is an online catalogue of manuscripts held at Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
  • Filāḥa Texts Project: The Arabic Books of Husbandry
    The purpose of the Filāḥa Texts Project is to publicise and elucidate the written works collectively known as the Kutub al-Filāḥa or ‘Books of Husbandry’ compiled by Arab, especially Andalusi, agronomists mainly between the 10th and 14th centuries
  • Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation
    The al-Furqan Foundation aims to document and preserve the Islamic written heritage. It pursues this aim principally though its work in surveying, imaging, cataloguing, editing and publishing Islamic manuscripts.
  • The Ghafiqi Project, McGill University
    McGill University. The Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University, houses one of the most remarkable medieval Arabic manuscripts on simple drugs, popularly known as the “Herbal of al-Ghafiqi.”
  • Garden of Islamic Manuscripts
    Links to catalogs and digitized Arabic and Persian manuscripts, mostly held in Iran.
  • Illuminated Islamic Manuscripts, Yale University
    This site contains a listing of new acquisitions at Yale University of Islamic Manuscripts. Moreover, the site links to some of the exhibitions held at Yale.
  • Islamic Scientific Manuscripts Initiative (ISMI): The mission of ISMI is to make accessible information on all Islamic manuscripts in the exact sciences (astronomy, mathematics, optics, mathematical geography, music, mechanics, and related disciplines), whether in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, or other languages.
  • Indiana University Collections
    From Pen to Printing Press is a permanent exhibition illustrating Indiana's Islamic Manuscripts collection as well as offering a nice overview of the history of Islamic printing.
  • Islamic Art Collection
    The David Collection in Copenhagen, Denmark spans from the 8th century to the 18th. The Islamic works of art are elucidated from three different perspectives: Islamic art organized chronologically and geographically, Islamic art grouped according to material, and Islamic art presented in its cultural context. .
  • Islamic Heritage Project
    Harvard University has cataloged, conserved, and digitized hundreds of Islamic manuscripts, maps, and published texts. These rare and frequently unique materials are now freely available to Internet users worldwide.
  • Intute Islamic Manuscripts Collection
    Intute has 11 web links to additional resources and online collections of Islamic Manuscripts.
  • Islamic Manuscripts, University of Leiden
    This site's ambition is to provide students and scholars, librarians and collectors, in short everyone who is interested in Islamic manuscripts, with a professional and functional platform of their own.
  • Islamic Manuscripts Collection, University of Michigan Library
    The project involves the creation and exposure of digital surrogates and catalog records for 1,250 manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish dating from the 8th century AD to the 20th. With over half of the contents dating from before 1800, the collection contains historical manuscripts of rich textual significance, many of which are also very beautiful in their decoration and bindings.
  • Islamic Manuscripts Collection
    Princeton University Library: The project includes digitizing 200 of 9,500 Islamic manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and other languages of the Muslim world written in Arabic script. The manuscripts date from the 9th to the 19th centuries.
  • King Saud University (KSU) Digitized Islamic Manuscripts
    KSU offers a number of digitized Islamic manuscripts, most of which are Hanafi Islamic law texts.
  • München, Staatsbibliothek, arabische Handschriften.
    This site has a wonderful selection of fully digitised Arabic manuscripts all of which one is able to download into a pdf.
  • National Library of Medicine, Islamic Manuscripts. A copious amount of manuscripts on and about medicine. The site also includes a detailed glossary.
  • Rational Sciences in Islam: An Initiative for the Study of Philosophy and the Mathematical Sciences in Islam
    McGill University. The project studies the rational sciences in Islam investigating the philosophical, scientific, and theological traditions of Islam in a holistic manner. The primary goal is to increase our understanding of how Muslim scholars and the various publics making up Islamic societies explored the world through rational means, and the products and consequences of those explorations.
  • Sabancı University Sakıp Sabancı Museum Arts of Book and Calligraphy Collection includes copies of the Koran, prayer books, calligraphic compositions in the kıt'a form, calligraphic albums, calligraphic panels, hilyes, imperial firmans and berats bearing the royal tuğra (imperial cipher) by renowned calligraphers dating from the late 14th to 20th centuries, and calligraphy tools and equipment.
  • Sanskrit and Persian Literary Cultures Online (compiled by Audrey Truschke) Contains a plethora of links to manuscript digital surrogates around the world.
  • Shaykh  Āghā Buzurg al-Ṭihrānī: Bānk-i ṭṭilāʻāt-i nuskhah-i khaṭṭī Named after the famous bibliographer, the site provides access to digitized manuscripts in Iran
  • Sultan Baybar’s Qur’an
    British Library Online Gallery. Sultan Baybars' Qur'an is one of the most magnificent Qur'ans in the British Library.
  • University of Birmingham, Mingana Virtual Collection
    The digitised manuscripts cover various languages including Arabic, Persian, Greek and Syriac, as well as a number of religious, Christian and Islamic, disciplines.
  • The Qatar Digital Library (QDL) This Digital Library is making a vast archive featuring the cultural and historical heritage of the Gulf and wider region freely available online for the first time. It includes archives, maps, manuscripts, sound recordings, photographs and much more, complete with contextualised explanatory notes and links, in both English and Arabic.
  • The Walters Museum, Baltimore
    Poetry and Prayer is a virtual exhibition illustrating various facets of Islamic rituals as preserved on paper.
  • World Digital Library The World Digital Library (WDL) makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from countries and cultures around the world. WDL partners are mainly libraries, archives, or other institutions that have collections of cultural content that they contribute to the WDL. Partners may also include institutions, foundations, and private companies that contribute to the project in other ways, for example by sharing technology, convening or co-sponsoring meetings of working groups, or contributing financially. The "Middle-East and North Africa" corpus includes 1712 documents.


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Anaïs Salamon
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