This article first describes manuscript collections in the former ISTAC, the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilisation in Kuala Lumpur. These are mostly Middle-Eastern collections that were commercially acquired in the 1980s and 1990s. They have been described briefly in a number of catalogues that are little known outside the ISTAC. The present article also discusses some earlier provenances of the manuscripts.
A number of the ISTAC manuscripts have been described here in detail. Some of these are illustrated copies of the prayerbook Dalāʾil al-Khayrāt by al-Ǧazūlī from a variety of origins: the Maghrib, the Mashriq and India (one of which has a remarkable iconography), but the article also treats several other texts; more specifically, a collection of texts on the phenomenon of the Isnād, with a number of readers’ notes, Iǧāzāt and transmission certificates. A short note on an as yet little-known manuscript of Firdawsī’s Shāhnāma concludes these travel notes.
In the morning of Friday 16 March2012I had temporarily stopped my work on this manuscript in order to give a lecture for the fellows of ISTAC. During my short absence from the library ISTAC’s librarian Ms. Hajjah Normala Harun cleared my table stored away the manuscripts on which I was working and went home taking the key of the manuscript storage room with her. This effectively ended my work on the ISTAC manuscripts.