Lot 105
  • 105

Abu’l-Fadl ‘Iyad ibn Musa ‘Iyad al-Yahsubi (died 1149-50 AD), Kitab al-Shifa’ fi ta’rif huquq al-Mustafa ('The Restoration to Health in the Explanation of the Prerogatives of the Elect'), a biography of the Prophet Muhammad, Egypt, Cairo, Mamluk, dated 737 AH/1336-37 AD

20,000 - 30,000 GBP
25,000 GBP
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  • ink on paper with leather binding
  • 25 by 19.5cm.
Arabic manuscript on polished cream paper, 223 leaves plus 4 flyleaves, 19 lines to the page, written in neat and bold naskh script in black ink, chapter headings picked out in larger thuluth script, margins ruled in blue and gold, illuminated title page on f.2a comprising the title in thick white Eastern Kufic script against a blue ground filled with scrolling split-palmettes, surmounting a text block executed in gold thuluth within cloud bands against a feintly-lined ground filled with a dense vegetal interlace, gold strapwork borders leading to marginal roundel, ownership inscriptions filling the margins, reddish-brown Ottoman morocco binding with gilt-stamped lobed central cartouche and cornerpieces filled with vines and chinoiserie cloud bands, with flap


Ownership inscription of the celebrated bibliophile Rustam al-Shirvani.

The manuscript was owned by a certain Abi al-Nasir ibn Abi Bakr al-Hilli al-Hakim (physician) al-Mudarris (teacher) in Constantinople. Other owners’ names with the dates 811 AH/1408-09 AD and 982 AH/1574-75 AD.

Catalogue Note

Kitab al-Shifa’ fi ta’rif huquq al-Mustafa is a work based on the traditions relating to the prerogatives, the good manners, the miracles, the names, and the divine mission of The Prophet. The text is divided into four qisms, the first and the second of which have four babs each, whilst the third and fourth have only two. The babs are in their turn subdivided into fasls.

There are six copies, the earliest two dated 1365 AD and 1366 AD, in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin (see U. Lyons, A Handlist of the Arabic Manuscripts, volume VIII, Indexes, Dublin, 1966, p.119). For a later version see A. Mingana, Catalogue of the Arabic Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, Manchester, 1934, pp.481-2, no.304 [220]. See also C. Brockelmann, GAL, I. 593, S. I. 630.

The illumination of the title page of the present manuscript can be compared with that of a Qur’an sold in these rooms, 24 April 1996, lot 15. In both instances, the opening text is written in gold against a lined-ground filled with large partially-coloured scrolling split-palmettes. The illumination can also be compared with that of the left-hand folio of a frontispiece from the only surviving volume of the earliest known thirty-part Mamluk Qur’an (Juz' XXVII) copied by Ahmad ibn Kamal al-Mutatabbib, who was active in the 1330s. Much of the decorative detail harks back to the work of Sandal and his associates (see D. James, Qur’ans of the Mamluks, London, 1988, p.140, fig.93, and also pp.34-75, chapter III, 'Qur’ans in Cairo 1304-1330').