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Islamic manuscripts & rare books

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.

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Islamic manuscripts at McGill

RBD MS Persian 0028

RBD MS Persian 0028

The Islamic manuscripts at McGill are in Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and a few other languages:

Islamic manuscripts are preserved in the Rare Books and Special Collections library located on the 4th floor of the McLennan building.

Islamic rare books at McGill

شاہنامۂ اردو / فردوسي - PK6456.5 U73 1800

The Islamic rare books at McGill is made of a number of collections in a variety of Islamic and European languages:

  • the Islamic lithographed books collection includes approximately 700 volumes of which 264 in Arabic, and the rest in Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Urdu covering a wide range of literary and scientific topics
  • the Islamic Studies Urdu collection includes approximately 3,700 printed volumes, of which 300 lithographed, embracing all aspects of the South-Asian Islamic culture
  • the Ibrahim Müteferrika Incunabula collection includes 13 volumes published in Istanbul between 1729 and 1742 covering non-religious disciplines, primarily History and Geography.
  • the Islamic Studies European collection includes approximately 1,800 volumes in English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, etc.

McGill Islamic rare books are preserved in the Rare Books and Special Collections library located on the 4th floor of the McLennan building.

Library services and spaces re-opening

As of September 1, most Library branches, including the stack areas, will be accessible to current McGill students, faculty, and staff. Visit the hours webpage for a full listing of opening and service hours.

Further to Quebec government and university directives, procedural masks will continue to be required in all Library branches. For more information, please visit Library services & spaces re-opening.


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Romanization & transliteration

To search the Library catalogue, use the Library of Congress romanization tables  for ArabicOttoman TurkishPersian  and Urdu.

For other ALA-LC romanization Tables click here.

Suggested fonts for the romanization:

  1. Unicode fonts
  2. New Times Arabic

A tool for Mac users: The Arabic Macintosh: an informal resource centre

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