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23: LIVING RELIGIONS (3)

23.12 CHRISTIANITY

23.13 ISLAM

QUR'AN
MS 4475 China, ca. 1600
MS 2981 Kashmir,18th c.
See also MS 4468, Iran, ca. 1300
See also MS 4597, North Africa or Near East, ca. 750-800
See also Collection 4.7.3 - 4.7.10 for further Qur'an leaves
HADITH
MS 4470 Mecca, 1329
SHARIA-ISLAMIC LAWS
MS 5319 North Africa, ca. 11th c.
MS 5320 Yemen, 1316
ISLAMIC MYSTICISM, SUFISM & KABBALAH
MS 5321 Morocco, 1350
MS 5350 Persia, 1400-1450
MS 5322 Iran, 1479

23.14 ZOROASTROANISM

MS 1928/19 Persia, 5th-7th c.
MS 2056/12 Persia, 5th-7th c.

23. Religions

LIVING RELIGIONS (3)

23.12. Christianity

BIBLE

See Collection 1

LITURGY

See Collection 6

PATRISTIC

See Collection 5

CANON LAW

See Collection 8.5

APOCRYPHA

See Collection 17


23.13. Islam

QU'RAN

MS 4475 MS 4475
QUR'AN
MS in Arabic on paper, China, late 16th to early 17th c., 30 vols. (complete) 50-60 ff. per vol., 20x28 cm, single column, (13x17 cm), 5 lines in a regional muhaqqaq book script, sura headings in gold on a dark blue ground with red ruling and frame, verses separated by gold rosettes, opening and closing double-page illumination for each volume with knotwork and arabesque panelling in gold and colours, frontispiece with 2 circles containing geometrical pattern of interlocking triangles and circles with diamonds containing the profession of faith above in Kufic book script, and 2 vertical lines of text in gold thuluth book script.

Binding: China, late 16th to early 17th c., blind-stamped leather with octagonal central medallion formed like a flower, flanked at top and bottom by 2 tear-drop motifs with verses from the Qur'an, with flap, sewn on 3 cords.

Context: For 10 volumes of a Qur'an from ca. 1300 in contemporary bindings, see MS 4468.

Provenance: 1. Sam Fogg, London.

Commentary: This is the only known complete 30 volumes set from China, outside public collections. An interesting feature of this Qur'an is the waaf inscription on vol. 1 f. 1, which is in Chinese, transliterated directly from Arabic.

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MS 2981   ms 2981
  1. QUR'AN
  2. PRAYERS
MS in Arabic on polished paper, Kashmir,18th c., 339 ff., 22x14 cm, single column, (15x9 cm), 14 lines in Naskh book script, within a thick frame of gold, orange, green and blue, the lines separated by a thick gold line, verses separated by gold dots, each sura introduced with a panel of gold and blue with script in white, 9 double openings with full borders with extensive and rich foliage and floral designs in gold and colours by a highly skilled artist.

Binding: Kashmir, 18th c., lacquered boards with extensive foliage and floral designs in gold and colours in the style of Kashmir carpets, on both sides of the boards, later red leather spine, sewing covered.

Provenance: 1. Private collection, London (1980s-2000).

ms 2981 ms 2981

See also MS 4468, 10 Qur'an sections, Iran, ca. 1300

See also MS 4597, Qur'an, Sura 4, North Africa or Near East, ca. 750-800

See also Collection 4.7.3 - 4.7.10 for further Qur'an leaves

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HADITH

MS 4470 MS 4470
AL-NABAWI: HADITH
MS in Arabic on paper, Mecca, Saudi Arabia, 1329, 251 ff. (complete), 32x23 cm, single column, (main text: 21x16 cm, including gloss: 30x23 cm ), 21 lines in Arabic Naskhi book script by Elias b. Ahmad b. Elias al-Nawjari, chapter headings in large muhaqqaq book script, extensive glosses often diagonal or inverted in the margins.

Binding: Mecca, Saudi Arabia, 16th c. brown morocco with flap, blindtooled central medallions in ottoman style, sewn on 2 cords.

Provenance: 1. Hajji Ismael Bey, Saudi Arabia (16th c.); 2. Sam Fogg Rare Books Ltd., London.

Commentary: The text is a compendium of the sayings of the Prophet, organised thematically into chapters which have a bearing upon the day to day lives of believers and is, next to the Qur'an, the most central text of Islam. The full title is Masabeeh al-sinna min al-ahadith al-sihah fil hadith al-shareef. The colophon is dated Mecca 1329 and signed by the scribe. A second colophon is dated 1333.

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SHARIA-ISLAMIC LAWS

MS 5319  
ISLAMIC MALIKI LAW BOOK ON CONTRACT SLAVES, KITAB AL-MUKATIB MS 5319
MS in Arabic on vellum, North Africa, ca. 11th c., 23 ff. (incomplete), 27x19 cm, single column, (22x15 cm), 26 lines in Maghribi script, headings in Kufic script, title in a large ornamental Kufic script, written for Ibrahim bin Muhammad bin Hasan.

Binding: Lacking, original North Africa?, ca. 11th c., disbound, sewn on 4 cords.

Context:Other Maghribi Maliki texts in similar script and title pages in Sotheby’s 28.4.1993:160, and in Bonham’s 17.10.2002:9.

Provenance: 1. Ibrahim bin Muhammad bin Hasan, North Africa (ca. 11th c.); 2. Sam Fogg, London.

Commentary: Shari’a consists of 3 main parts: 1. Principles (Usul); 2. Theory; 3. Practical application. This is a practical part of an Amoravid compendium on Shari’a law of the Maliki school, still much used in the Maghrib after 1200 years. It concerns the treatment and rights of contract slaves with a kitaba agreement, under a contract with their master to pay for their freedom in instalments.

Malik bin Anas (ca. 710-796) founded the Maliki school of Islamic legislation. It was based on a great variety of sources, with emphasis on norms and practices of the people in Medina, rather than the analytical base of the Hanafi school. In many cases he discarded the Hadith when it was obviously wrong or unpractical, promoting workable laws.

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MS 5320 MS 5320
FAKHR AL-DIN: PRINCIPLES OF SHARI’A (USUL), SECOND PART. COMMENTARIES BY JAMAL AL-DIN AHMAD IBN MUHAMMAD IBN ‘UTHMAN IBN ‘ALI
MS in Arabic on paper, Kawkaban, Yemen, 1316, 162 ff. (complete) 27x19 cm, single column, (20x13 cm), 26 lines in Naskh script by Yahya ibn Hasan ibn Ahmad ibn Uthman.

Binding: Yemen, 1316 brown morocco with flap, sewn on 4 cords, stamped knotted border and central medallions.

Provenance: 1. Yahya ibn hasan ibn Ahmad ibn Uthman, Kawkaban, Yemen, (1316); 2. Private collection, Hampshire, England (1930’ies); 3. Sam Fogg, London.

Commentary: Shari’a consists of 3 main parts: 1. Principles (Usul); 2. Theory; 3. Practical application. The present ms deals with the principles upon which Islamic law is based.

Fakhr al-Din Razi (b. 1149) was one of the greatest Islamic medieval scholars, a reputation that earned him the sobriquet "Shaykh al-Islam" among his contemporaries. He opposed the Kurrami heresy and defended ‘Asharite theology.

The colophon, besides naming the scribe and dating the ms, gives the place as "place of martyrdom of ‘Abdallah ibn Hamzah, Commander of the Faithful." He was a Zaydi Imam who died in Kawkaban in 1217.

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ISLAMIC MYSTICISM, SUFISM & KABBALAH

MS 5321  
AL-GHAZALI: REVIVAL OF THE RELIGIOUS SCIENCES; KITAB IHYA’ ‘ULUM AL-DIN. VOL. 3: THE BOOK OF FEAR AND HOPE; KITAB AL-RAJA WA’L-KHAWF MS 5321
MS in Arabic on vellum, Morocco, 1350, 17 ff. (complete), 25x19 cm, single column, (17x12 cm), 19 lines in Maghribi script of Fasi style, royal Marinid waaf inscription.

Binding: Morocco, 18th c. blind-tooled red leather, sewn on 2 cords.

Context: Vol. 3 from a four-volume set of Ghazali’s magnum opus.

Provenance: 1. Ali b. Muhammad b. Yahya al-Shafi’I, Morocco (1350); 2. The Marinid Sultan al-Mu’ayyid al-Mansur Amir al-Mu’minin Abu ‘Inan al-mutawakkil, Fez (1350); 3. Qarawiyyin mosque, Fez (1350-); 4. Sam Fogg, London.

Commentary: Al-Ghazali (d. 1111) was one of the greatest Islamic intellects, and equalled in his reputation as mystic thinker only perhaps by Ibn al-‘Arabi. In his vast work al-Ghazali sought to harmonize Islamic mysticism with every aspect of Islamic law, theology and worship, stressing the spiritual nature of Islamic ritual and search for knowledge.

The work is universally acclaimed as a landmark in the acceptance of Islamic mysticism in mainstream Islam, and must count as one of the most highly regarded and quoted religious texts from the medieval period. The present volume is a mystical explanation of the nature of the human soul.

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MS 5350
  1. MUHAMMED SHIRIN MAGHRIBI: KITAB MIR’AT AL–’ARIFIN; ISLAMIC KABBALAH
  2. MOHAMMED SHIRIN MAGHRIBI: KITAB AL–NUZHAT AL–SASSANIYA; PERSIAN SIGN–LIST OF THE ZODIAC
  3. SA’ID AL–FARGHANI: KITAB AL–MAQASID AL–NAJIYYA; TREATISE ON SUFISM
  4. ‘ABD AL–QASIM QUSHAIRI: FUSUL; PERSIAN GLOSSARY ON SUFISM

MS in Persian (texts 2-4) and Arabic (text 1) on paper, Western Persia, 1400-1450, 160 ff. (complete), 18x13 cm, single column, (12x9 cm), 13 lines in nasta’liq script, 3 Kabbalah and 11 zodiac diagrams.

MS 5350

Binding: Western Persia, 17-18th c. red morocco with stamped central medallions of birds, sewn on 4 cords.

Provenance: 1. Library of Prince Amir Shuja’ al–Din Hamza Beg, son of Hamza b. Qara ‘Uthman, Western Persia, (ca.1400-44); 2. Imam in Istanbul, Turkey (1489); 3. Sam Fogg, London.

Commentary: Text 1 a cabbalistic work on hidden meanings behind the words and letters of al–Fatiha, beginning with the "B" of Bismallah. The author was a celebrated Persian poet of Sufi persuasion who died around 1407. Kabbalah is primarily known as the mystical, esoteric side of Judaism, interpreting the deeper, hidden layers of the Hebrew Bible and Talmud in the wider sense, and the Torah and book of Ezekiel in the narrow sense, to provide us with information about the nature of God, creation of the universe and its end, the soul and the spiritual world, and how to experience the divine presence for oneself and each other. Since the 3 monotheistic religions share the same God, there is in addition to Jewish Kabbalah also Islamic Kabbalah and Christian Kabbalah.

MS 5350

Text 2 is referred to in the Encyclopaedia of Islam as "evidently not extant".

Text 3: The author was a Sufi writer who died ca. 1290–1300. No work of this title is so far known. The colophon gives the name of ‘Abd al–Hamid b. Murad al–Ardabili.

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MS 5322
JALAL AL–DIN MUHAMMAD RUMI: MATHNAVI-I MA’NAVI

MS in Persian on paper, Shiraz, 1479, 358 ff. (complete), 22x11 cm, 2 columns, (18x9 cm), 19 lines, + 39 lines written diagonally in the margins, in Nasta’liq and Naskhi scripts by Hussain ibn Shaikh ‘Ali, inter-columnar and inner and outer margins ruled in gold, headings and corner sections written in gold with cloud banks or in white script on gold ground with floral motifs in green and blue, preface with gold Nasta’liq script on a ground of white clouds with borders illuminated in gold and colours, numerous ownership inscriptions and 17 seal impressions, including some from the Imperial Mughal Library.

MS 5322

Binding: India, 19th c. brown morocco, sewn on 3 cords.

Context: Several unidentified owners’ stamps and inscriptions.

Provenance: 1. Jamal al-Din Ibrahim Khalifah al-Khafri, Shiraz (1479-); 2. Imperial Mughal Library, Dehli (18th-19th c.); 3. Sam Fogg, London.

Commentary: The Mathnavi, comprising some 27,000 couplets in style of mystical Persian metre, is among the most famous Persian poems, and probably the most important Islamic mystical work – a status reflected in its unofficial title of “Qur’an-i Farsi” or “The Qur’an in Persian”.

Jalal al-Din Rumi, born 1207 in Balkh, Afghanistan, following the Mongolian invasion of Genghis Khan, fled to Konya in Anatolia. A major turning point took place in 1244 when the wandering dervish Shams al-Din Tabrizi made an appearance in Konya. The mystical love felt by Rumi for the dervish was the cause of Rumi’s turning to the Sufi path and transforming him into a poet.

MS 5322
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23.14. Zoroastroanism

MS 1928/19  
ZOROASTRIAN INCANTATIONS AGAINST ANGRA MAINU AND OTHER EVIL SPIRITS OF AHRIMAN, MENTIONING SNAKES AND SCORPIONS AS WELL AS DREG-VANTS AND DAEVAS, INVOKING SPENTA MAINYA

MS in Zoroastrian Middle Persian on clay, Persia, 5th-7th c., 1 incantation bowl, 16,0x7,5 cm, 34 lines in Pahlavi book script arranged in the form of a flower with 8 leaves and an inscription going around, the lines going from the rim towards the centre of the bowl.

Commentary: Angra Mainu is the demon of darkness, deceit, destruction and death, while Spenta Mainya is the good spirit of creative energy. Dreg-vats are the followers of evil, of the daevas the malevolent gods. Ahriman, the 'adversary' or Satan, is the persistent enemy of the supreme god of Zoroastrianism, Ahura Mazda. Incantation or magical bowls are also called demon traps. They were placed with the bottom up under the floors and thresholds of the houses in the Near East. The demons were then believed to be trapped inside the bowl with the magical spells written against them. The major part of the text has so far not been understood. What has been read is rather preliminary, communicated by a follower of Zoroaster only reading from photographs.

MS 1928/19

Published: To be published by Prof. Shaul Shaked.

Exhibited: University College London, Centre for Jewish studies, and the Warburg Institute: Babylonian Aramaic Magic Bowls from the Schøyen Collection, A Special exhibition on the occation of the workshop "Officina Magica", London 15 - 17 1999.

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MS 2056/12  
ZOROASTRIAN INCANTATIONS AGAINST DEMONS, INVOKING AMESHA SPENTA, WITH A QUOTE OF ATASH NIYAYESH, THE FIRE PRAYER: 'WORTHY OF SACRIFICE IN THE HOUSE OF .....'

MS in Zoroastrian Middle Persian on clay, Persia, 5th-7th c., 1 incantation bowl, 28,4x14,5 cm, 15+1+5 lines in Pahlavi script, drawing of 2 very large standing demons with feet chained.

Commentary: Amesha Spenta or Amahraspand (Holy Immortal) is 6 celestial beings, representing Ahura Mazda's spiritual powers. The major part of this very extensive text, written both inside and outside the present large bowl, has so far not been understood. What has been read is rather preliminary, communicated by a follower of Zoroaster, only reading from photographs. Incantation or magical bowls are also called demon traps. They were placed with the bottom up under the floors and thresholds of the houses in the Near East. The demons were then believed to be trapped inside the bowl with the magical spells written against them.

MS 2056/12

Published: To be published by Prof. Shaul Shaked.

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