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Type of Item
Al-Bukhāri's Abridged Collection of Authentic Hadith
This work is the earliest Arabic manuscript in the National Library of Bulgaria. Incomplete and fragmentary, it is a 1017 copy of Volume 3 of Sahīh al-Bukhārī (Al-Bukhārī’s authentic hadiths). Muhammad ibn Ismā‘īl al-Bukhārī (810–70) was born in Bukhara, in present-day Uzbekistan, and died in Khartank, near Samarkand. He is considered by Sunni Muslims to be the most authoritative collector of hadiths—reports of statements or deeds attributed to the Prophet Muhammad. This work, completed in 846, is al-Bukhārī’s best-known collection. It was the first work ...
The Compendium of Graces and Fountain of Charms
This 17th-century manuscript contains the text of Majmoo’a al-Latā’if wa-Yanbu‘ al-Zarā’if (The compendium of graces and fountain of charms), a collection of esoteric and mystic prayers. The work is divided into many chapters, unnumbered and typically only a few pages long, with rubrications indicating the beginning of each chapter. The work discusses the spiritual expediency of praying in a certain manner; on a certain Islamic month, day of the week, or religious occasion, citing sayings of the Prophet Muhammad and other Islamic tradition as supporting arguments. The ...
Kirka Sharif, the Shrine Where the Mantle of the Prophet is Preserved
This photograph of the Kirka Sharif (Mosque of the Sacred Cloak) in Kandahar is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The Kirka Sharif houses the mantle (cloak) said to have belonged to the Prophet Muhammad. It is one of the most-revered relics in the Islamic world, given to Aḥmad Shāh Durrānī (1722–72), ruler of the Durrani Empire (1747–1818) by the amir of Bukhara in about 1768. The interior of the mosque is ornately carved green marble from ...
Arabia: The Cradle of Islam
Samuel Zwemer (1867–1952) was an American Protestant missionary who lived for nine years in Bahrain and became a student of the Arab world and, especially, the Arabian Peninsula. Published in New York in 1900, Arabia: The Cradle of Islam contains detailed chapters on the geography of Arabia; the holy cities of Mecca and Medina; the Prophet Muhammad and the rise of Islam; the contemporary political scene on the Arabian Peninsula, including the rivalries among the British, Turks, and other powers; and the Arabic language and poetry. The book concludes ...
Zigzag Journeys in the Camel Country: Arabia in Picture and Story
Samuel Zwemer (1867–1952) was an American missionary who became known as the “Apostle to Islam” for his strenuous, if not always successful, evangelization efforts in Islamic countries. He attended Hope College in Holland, Michigan, and the New Brunswick Seminary in New Jersey. In 1889 he and a classmate founded the American Arabian Mission, which later received sponsorship from the Reformed Church, and the next year he departed for the Arabian Peninsula. In 1896 he met and married Amy Wilkes (died 1937), an Australian fellow missionary and nurse. Together, the ...
Arabia: Comprising Its Geography, History, and Topography
Josiah Conder (1789–1855) was a British publisher and author who wrote or compiled 33 volumes of travel literature about nearly every region of the world, including the Middle East. Conder himself never traveled abroad and composed his works by drawing upon the writings of earlier scholars and explorers. As indicated in the subtitle, Conder organized his book on Arabia into sections. He begins by describing the topography of the different regions of Arabia and such climatic phenomena as the semoum (poison) winds that blow across the Syrian Desert in ...
In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Mohammedan History is Number 57 in a series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published in 1920, after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Part I of the book is an overview of the history of Islam from the time of ...
A Guide for the Good
This Muslim prayer book is a 1785 copy of an original 15th-century manuscript. The work includes a panorama of Mecca and Medina, the holy cities of Islam in Saudi Arabia. Mecca, where the Prophet Muhammad was born and lived for the first 50 years of his life, is the most sacred city in Islam. It is also where the Ka`bah is found, the holiest sanctuary in Islam and called the "house of God" (Bayt Allah). Muslims throughout the world pray facing in the direction of Mecca and the Ka ...
The Life of the Prophet
Maghāzī al-Nabī (The life of the Prophet) depicts the life of the Prophet Muhammad in poetical form. The original work was composed by a famous Arabic and Persian scholar of Kashmir, Ya‘qub Ṣarfī (1521–95). The unique poetic and biographical work, transcribed in two columns on each page of manuscript, includes some supplications and eulogies for the Prophet of Islam. Each column is bordered in lines inlaid with gold. The writing of the manuscript is clear and vivid.
Manifestations of Goodness
Dalā’il al-Khayrāt (Manifestations of goodness) is a manuscript by Abu Abdullah Muḥammad ibn Sulaymān al-Jazūlī, a Moroccan Sufi and Islamic scholar who died in 1465. The contents of this work are known to Muslims as one of the best compilations of litanies of peace and blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad. The book was often given to pilgrims on their voyage to Mecca. The beginning of the manuscript shows the varied names by which Allah is called, and several pages portray the names by which the Prophet Muhammad is ...
The Book of Delight at the Discussion of the Night Journey and Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad
This 16th-century manuscript contains an early copy of the mystical work by Najm Al-Dīn Muhammad ibn Ahmad Al-Ghayṭī (died 1573) entitled Kitāb al-ibtihāj bil-kalām ‘alà al-Isrā’ wal-Mi‘rāj (The book of delight at the discussion of the night journey and ascension of the Prophet Muhammad). Islam teaches that in the Isrā’ (the night journey), Muhammad traveled from Mecca to Jerusalem on the mythological beast Burāq, and that on that same night occurred the Mi‘rāj, Muhammad’s ascension to the heavens. The author of the work was a religious scholar ...
Commentary on the Comprehensive Book on the Management of Horses
The legal scholar ‘Umar ibn Raslān al-Bulqīnī was from a renowned family of Egyptian scholars of Palestinian origin. In his Muqaddima (Introduction), the great Arab historian and historiographer Ibn Khaldūn (1332–1406) praised al-Bulqīnī as the most celebrated jurist of his era, even though Al-Bulqīnī did not gain the prestigious title of Šayh al-Islām until later in life. Al-Bulqīnī's erudition and deep knowledge of Islamic tradition are reflected in this work, Qaṭr al-Sayl fi Amr al-Hayl (Commentary on the comprehensive book on the management of horses), which is an ...
Tales of the Prophets
Qiṣaṣ al-anbiyā’ (Tales of the prophets) is the title of the various collections of tales originating in the Qur’an and embroidered by different authors. Shown here is one of the best known, attributed to Muhammad ibn Abdullah al-Kisa’i, who is thought to have lived in the 11th century AD. The lives of the prophets were not covered in detail in the Qur’an, so al-Kisa’i and other writers added more elaborate storylines. The Qiṣaṣ begin with God’s creation of the world and descriptions of angels, the ...
A Book of Religious Precepts and Stories
Risālah-yi ‘Azīzah (A book of religious precepts and stories) discusses the establishment and spread of Islam. The literal meaning of the title is “Tales of the Almighty.” The book covers the sources of the ideas contained in hadith (the collective body of traditions relating to the Prophet Muhammad) and compares them with the text of the Qur’an. It also explores the commandments in the sacred books of other religions and relates them to the Qur’an. The works considered include the Injil (the New Testament of the Bible, or ...
Beginning of Niẓāmī's "Iqbalnamah"
This illuminated folio continues the beginning of Niẓāmī Ganjavī's Iqbalnamah (The book of progress), the second of two sections in the last book, Iskandarnamah (The book of Alexander the Great), of the author’s Khamsah (Quintet). It follows the first two illuminated folios of the book and provides multiple subhan (praises) of the Creator, as well as a eulogy on Muhammad, the Lord of the Messengers. Niẓāmī introduces each of his five books with introductory praises of God and His Prophet before launching into a narrative. The verso of ...
Amplification of the Poem, the Burdah, Or the Expansion of the Bright Stars in the Praise of the Finest of Mankind, the Prophet Muhammad
This manuscript is a copy of the poem in honor of the Prophet Muhammad, which is popularly known as Qaṣīdat al-burdah (The poem of the mantle). It was written by Sharaf al-Dīn Muḥammad al-Būṣīrī (died 694 AH [1294 AD]). The poem has a takhmīs (amplification, or expansion of the poem) by Naṣīr al-Dīn Muḥammad al-Fayyūmī. The amplification and the text of the Qaṣīdat al-burdah were written in Naskh and Thuluth scripts respectively by Riḍwān ibn Muḥammad al-Tabīzī in 767 AH (1366 AD), probably for the Mawlawī (Mevlevi) Library in Konya ...
The Guide to Benevolent Deeds and Rising Lights in the Prayers on the Chosen Prophet
This illuminated manuscript is a copy of Dalā’il al-khayrāt (Collection of prayers for the Prophet Muhammad), which was composed by Muḥammad ibn Sulayman al-Jazūlī (died 870 AH [1465 AD]). It was written in black Naskh script in the 11th century AH (17th century AD) in Ottoman Turkey. The prayers ask for blessings for the Prophet, and the individual reciting the prayers would also receive God’s blessings. Like many copies of this text, this manuscript includes additional devotional material, such as lists of al-asma al-sharifa (the noble names). It ...
This muraqqa’ (album) of calligraphy in an accordion format was compiled in Ottoman Turkey in the 12th century AH (18th century AD). The medium is ink and pigments on paper mounted on thin pasteboard. It consists, in part, of leaves bearing fragmentary passages from the Qur’an, from chapter 2 (Sūrat al-baqarah), verses 65–68, and chapter 4 (Sūrat al-nisā’), verses 103–6. Also included are the hadith (the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad), and two sheets of karalama (pen exercises). The Qur'anic verses and the passages of hadith ...
The Eloquent Prosody in the 40 Verses
This manuscript is an Ottoman Turkish commentary on forty verses of the Qur'an, with hadith (the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad) and verse citations by Okçuzade Mehmet Şahî, who died in 1039 AH (1629 AD). This copy was made in the 11th century AH (17th AD). The text is written in Naskh script in black and red ink. The waqf (bequest) stamp of al-Wazīr al-Shahīd ‘Alī Pāshā, dated 1130 AH (1717 AD), appears on folios 1a, 1b, and 2a. The name of a former owner, Sayyid Burhān al-Dīn, and ...