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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Dar al-Kutub al-Misriyya (Egyptian National Library), Cairo/Egypt

The manuscript collection in Dar al-Kutub is regarded as one of the largest and most important in the world. The total number of manuscripts in this library are 50,755 out of which 47,065 are in Arabic, 996 in Persian and 2,150 in Turkish. It contains priceless and rare manuscripts from the Islamic heritage, especially from the first four centuries of hijra, as well as extremely rare illustrated manuscripts unmatched anywhere else in the world. There is a high proportion of manuscripts copied in the early centuries of Islam. It holds two of the earliest dated Qur’anic manuscripts dating from dating 102 AH / 720 CE and 107 AH / 725 CE.

Dar al-Kutub has 50,755 manuscripts from which 47,065 are in Arabic, 996 in Persian and 2150 in Turkish. The manuscripts cover nearly all subjects. A complete reference of catalogue of the manuscripts can be seen in:

[1] G. Roper (ed.), World Survey Of Islamic Manuscripts, 1992, Volume I, Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation, London, p.p. 212-218.

[2] B. Moritz, Arabic Palaeography: A Collection Of Arabic Texts From The First Century Of The Hidjra Till The Year 1000, 1905, Cairo, See Pl. 31-34 and Pl. 1-12 for 102 AH / 720 CE and 107 AH / 725 CE, respectively.

[3] T. W. Arnold & A. Grohmann, The Islamic Book: A Contribution To Its Art And History From The VII-XVIII Century, 1929, The Pegasus Press, p. 22.

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