A Brief Note on a Manuscript at the Library of Congress Dedicated to Fatimid Imam al-Hakim bi Amr-Allah

A view of the African and Middle Eastern Reading Room at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Inset the Main Building. Photo: Library of Congress, USA.

A view of the African and Middle Eastern Reading Room at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Inset the Main Building. Photo: Library of Congress, USA.

INTRODUCTION

In 1945, the US Library of Congress (LOC) purchased a collection of printed books and manuscripts form Shaykh Mahmud al-Iman al-Mansuri, professor of religion at the al-Azhar University, Cairo. Assembled by the Shaykh from sources in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, the collection deals with virtually every aspect of Qur’anic and Islamic studies and includes commentaries, biographies, dictionaries, and works on history, literature, and philosophy. Approximately 1,300 of the 5,000 volumes that comprise the collection are book manuscripts. The collection is known as the Mansuri Collection.

MANUSCRIPT DEDICATED TO IMAM AL-HAKIM

Among the thousands of items in the Mansuri Collection, is a work on astronomy dedicated to the 16th Ismaili Imam (or the 6th Fatimid Caliph), al-Hakim bi Amr-Allah (d. 411AH/1021 CE). The text is a popular exposition on the study of the order of events in time, and the order in which they occur, especially in those related to astronomical movements and the measurement of time.

A folio from a manuscript whose original work was dedicated to Ismaili Imam al-Hakim. Photo: Library of Congress, USA.

A folio from a manuscript whose original work was dedicated to Ismaili Imam al-Hakim. Photo: Library of Congress, USA.

Note on fol. 2a says that the author, Ibn Jahhaf al-Ḥusayn ibn Zayd ibn ʻAli, was a famous astronomer during the reign of the 6th Fatimid Caliph al-Ḥakim bi-‘Amr Allah (996–1021). The manuscript is yellowed cream, with watermarks, and is in bad condition due to damage from humidity. Edges of some leaves have been repaired. There are dark stains on edges of paper and the last few leaves are missing. The title page is black and red ink; and the colour of the text is black, red, green and yellow. There are occasional diacritical marks, with notes on title page and marginal notes. There are catchwords on rectos.

SUMMARY

Personal Name
Ibn Jaḥhaf, al-Ḥusayn ibn Zayd ibn ʻAli.

Related names
Watari, Muḥammad ʻAli ibn Zahir, former owner.
Ibn al-ʻAttaar, Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad, active 1426. Kashf al-qina firasm al-arba.
Mansuri Collection (Library of Congress) DLC.

Uniform title
Yawaqit fi maʻrifat al-mawaqii

Main title
Kitab al-yawaqit fi maʻrifat al-mawaqit

Description
8 leaves (33 lines), bound : paper ; 20 x 15 cm.

Binding:
New cardboard covered with cloth; leather spine.

Acquisition source, purchase:
Mahmud al-Mansuri ; 1945.

Additional formats:
Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress website.

LC control no:
2008401930

Geographic area code:
n-us-dc

Type of material:
Rare Book or Manuscript

Date posted: Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

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Please click on either of the following two Library of Congress links for additional images of the manuscript:

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