Damascus-Ṣanʿāʾ: The Case of the Manuscript Ṣanʿāʾ, Dār al-maḫṭūṭāt, Muṣṭalaḥ al-ḥadīṯ 216

in Journal of Islamic Manuscripts
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This paper aims at illustrating the case of the manuscript Ṣanʿāʾ, Dār al-maḫṭūṭāt, Muṣṭalaḥ al-ḥadīṯ 216. The audition and reading certificates recorded in the manuscript inform us that one of the texts, a collection of ṭabaqāt by al-Nasāʾī (215–303/830–915), was studied in the last quarter of the twelfth century in the Umayyad Mosque of Damascus (bi-Ǧāmiʿ Dimašq). The presence of this text in Yemen leads us to examine the cultural and intellectual bonds linking the two regions and to contribute, indirectly, to the evidence of audition certificates delivered in Damascus in the period 550–750/1155–1349.

Damascus-Ṣanʿāʾ: The Case of the Manuscript Ṣanʿāʾ, Dār al-maḫṭūṭāt, Muṣṭalaḥ al-ḥadīṯ 216

in Journal of Islamic Manuscripts




Quoted in Suliman Bashear“Yemen in Early Islam. An Examination of Non-Tribal Traditions,” Arabica36 (1989) pp. 326–361 p. 354.


Cf. Éric Vallet“Yemeni ‘Oceanic policy’ at the end of the thirteenth century,” Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies36 (2006) pp. 289–296. The numismatic evidence provided by some Arabian hoards is interesting too cf. Joe Cribb “Chinese Coins Finds from Arabia and the Arabian Gulf” Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy 7 (1996) pp. 108–118.


Cf. AtılArt of the Arab p. 139 nr. 75. Despite the vase not having an explicit dedication to the Rasulids the fact that it is decorated with red five-petalled rosettes allows to put it in the list of the core group of glasses made for the Rasulid court; Porter Enameled Glass pp. 93–94 and p. 199 p. 94 and Fig. 21.5.


Cf. Schmidtke“The History of Zaydī Studies” p. 198.


Cf. Šihab Al-Sarraf“Mamluk Furūsiyah Literature and Its Antecedents,” Mamlūk Studies Review81 (2004) pp. 141–200 pp. 148–150.


Cf. Al-SarrafMamluk Furūsiyah Literature p. 157 and n. 45. This Rasulid interest for equestrianism is also reflected in the work entitled al-Aqwāl al-kāfiya wa-l-fuṣūl al-šāfiya by al-Muǧahid b. Dāwūd (721–764/1322–1363); cf. Giovanni Canova Il trattato di ippologia al-Aqwāl al-kāfiya wa-l-fuṣūl al-šāfiya del sovrano rasulide al-Malik al-Muǧāhid ‘Alī b. Dāwūd in Storia e cultura dello Yemen in età islamica con particolare riferimento al periodo rasulide: convegno Roma 30–31 ottobre 2003 Roma Bardi 2006 pp. 101–131.


Cf. Hassan Ansari and Sabine Schmidtke“Between Aleppo and Ṣaʿda: the Zaydī Reception of the Imāmī Scholar Ibn al-Biṭrīq al-Ḥillī,” Journal of Islamic Manuscripts4 (2013) pp. 160–200.


The italics are mine. Michael W. Albin“Islamic Book History: Parameters of a Discipline,” International Association of Orientalist Librarians Bulletin26–27 (1985) pp. 13–16 p. 14 [reprinted in Geoffrey Roper (ed.) The History of the Book in the Middle East Farnham Ashgate 2013 pp. 3–6]. It seems in this respect interesting to recall here the transfer of manuscripts and ideas from Yemen to other regions: Ethiopia for example. “Moreover in the Nuzhat al-asrār it is reported in detail the arrival of two manuals of law characteristic of the šafiʿī maḏhab the Kitāb al-Tanbīh and the Kitāb al-Muhaḏḏad by al-Šīrāzī typical of the Yemenite schools and brought to south Ethiopia by […] the faqīh Mūsà al-Muqriʾ:” my English translation of the Italian original text by Alessandro Gori “Lo Yemen e l’Islam in Africa orientale. Contatti testi personaggi” in Traini (ed.) Storia e cultura dello Yemen pp. 201–218 p. 204.


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    Figure 1

    The audition and reading certificates at the end of a collection of ṭabaqāt by al-Nasāʾī. Manuscript Ṣanʿāʾ, Dār al-maḫṭūṭāt, Muṣṭalaḥ al-ḥadīṯ 216, ff. 27v–28r.

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    Figure 2

    Vase with red five-petalled rosettes made for a Rasulid Sultan of Yemen, Syria late 14th century, Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., Purchase, F1934.19.

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    Figure 3

    Single folio of a Qurʾān, Yemen (?), first half of the 14th century, Toronto, Aga Khan Museum, Inv. Nº AKM00814.

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