The Islamic and Persian Manuscripts
The Mingana Collection is made up of over 3000 Middle Eastern manuscripts, in over 20 languages, across a span of over 4000 years.
The exceptional quality and significance of the collection was recognised in 2007 when it was awarded Designated Collection status as being of ‘outstanding national and international importance’ by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). Find out about the Designation Scheme now administered by the Arts Council, England.
The Birmingham Qur’an manuscript is a hugely significant manuscript within the Islamic section of the collection. The Islamic section of the Mingana Collection contains over 2000 manuscripts in the Arabic language. In addition to this, there are Persian and Ottoman Turkish manuscripts. There are a number of other Qur’an manuscripts in the Islamic Arabic section, some of which you saw in Week 2. The other Islamic manuscripts are mainly works on religious subjects including Qur’an commentaries, Hadith (traditions of the Prophet Muhammad), law, literature, science and mysticism. The Persian manuscripts include the Masnavī of Rūmī, the Shāhnāmah of Firdawsī, Niẓāmī’s Khusraw wa Shirīn and the Kalīla wa Dimnā’ animal fables. Several of the Persian manuscripts have an Indian provenance, with stamps from the Mughal library of Emperors Akbar, Jahanghir and Aurugzaib. Many of these are lavishly illuminated or contain miniature paintings.