Islamic Manuscripts

The Islamic manuscripts collection covers subjects including the Qur’an and its sciences, hadith, theology, jurisprudence (fiqh), Sufism, philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, rhetoric, grammar, poetry, history, geography, and medicine.

It consists of more than 1,100 volumes dating from the 8th to the early 20th century, containing roughly 1,800 texts primarily in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish. The collection ranks among the largest and most significant of its kind in North America.

Artistry in calligraphy, binding, illumination and illustration from the Ottoman period is particularly well represented, as is evidence documenting the transmission, reading, borrowing, purchase, and ownership of the manuscripts.

We are currently focused on collecting materials complementing other special collections, in particular the early histories of astronomy and mathematics and medicine.

The HathiTrust Digital Library has almost all of the manuscripts available for viewing and download.

History of the collection

Most of the manuscripts were produced in the Islamicate lands of the Middle East and North Africa and acquired via purchase in the 1920s and ’30s.

Collection and research guides

Online exhibits

Materials in the collection

Related links

Page scan of intricately designed islamic manuscript.


headshot of Evyn Kropf, a person with light skin, wavy dark hair, dark eyebrows and dark eyes, in front of a bookcase overflowing with books
Evyn Kropf

Librarian for Middle Eastern & North African Studies and Religious Studies; Curator, Islamic Manuscripts Collection