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Manuscript Project | Recent News

October 2019 Update

Over the past year discussions about the long-term future of the archive have been ongoing. We have been focusing particularly on the technology needed to support an online database and catalogue which can be accessed by members (it is currently only available to selected scholars). We have been in discussions with universities in the UK and in the USA, as well as with our honorary fellows and members with computer expertise, to find the best solution.

The archive currently has a database of detailed information on over 3,000 manuscripts, as well as a large collection of digital images and pdfs of the best historical manuscripts, administered by the Society Librarian, Jane Clark. One major outcome of this collection is the support we have given to scholars to enable the production of critical editions, and we are delighted to announce that about half of the extant 110 works by Ibn Arabi have been published in excellent new editions based on the MIAS archive.

In October 2018 Stephen Hirtenstein made another foray into the Turkish libraries in October, particularly focusing on what remains of Sadruddin al-Qunawi’s private library. He hopes this will be published in a separate article in the Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn Arabi Society in the near future.

Meanwhile, since 2016 we have made some 200 additions to the catalogue, of which nearly half have been digitised. These have included:

  • a collection dated 667 H from the National Library of Israel, including one of the earliest copies of K. al-Amr al-muḥkam;
  • a collection dated 656 H from the Khalidiyya Library in Jerusalem;
  • several works in the hand of Saʿīd al-Dīn al-Farghānī, al-Qūnawī’s close disciple.

These can be identified by his very distinctive handwriting even when the coverpage or colophon is missing. They range from important collections of hadith to a remarkable copy of Ibn Sawdakīn’s conversations with Ibn ʿArabī, entitled Lawāqiḥ al-asrār. With the forthcoming publication of translations by William Chittick of two of Farghānī’s works, Shuʿab al-īmān and Marātib al-taqwa, it seems that this remarkable author will soon be better known as one of the great masters of the akbarian tradition.