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.
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.
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.
Ibn Jaḥhaf, al-Ḥusayn ibn Zayd ibn ʻAli.
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.
Yawaqit fi maʻrifat al-mawaqii
Kitab al-yawaqit fi maʻrifat al-mawaqit
8 leaves (33 lines), bound : paper ; 20 x 15 cm.
New cardboard covered with cloth; leather spine.
Acquisition source, purchase:
Mahmud al-Mansuri ; 1945.
Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress website.
LC control no:
Geographic area code:
Type of material:
Rare Book or Manuscript
Date posted: Tuesday, March 31, 2015.
Please click on either of the following two Library of Congress links for additional images of the manuscript: