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The Former ISTAC Library in Kuala Lumpur and Its Islamic Manuscripts. Travel Notes

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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.

Affiliations: 1: Leiden Institute for Area Studies, Leiden, The Netherlands


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