Centuries-old Manuscripts and Published Books in My Ancestral Library

Centuries-old Manuscripts and Published Books in My Ancestral Library

These are evidently valuable for our history, but the Allama Iqbal Library of University of Kashmir has not even prepared a catalogue for them

Er. Mohammad Ashraf Fazili

It has been a great revelation to go through the handwritten and other manuscripts of the great son of the soil Jenab Mohammad Amin Darab. The joint venture of INTACH and HELP FOUNDATION headed by Mr. Saleem Beg and Mrs. Nighat Shafi Pandit, respectively, the Insha-i-Darab exhibition at Amar Singh Club Srinagar has been appreciated by all have visited it from 14th November onwards.
In fact, there are reportedly treasures of handwritten manuscripts in the possession of various scholarly families, which are either getting ruined due to non-preservation or these families do not want to part away from these manuscripts thinking these to be their valuable ancestral items. I had more than 300 centuries-old published books and handwritten manuscripts which were being worn out with time. I submitted these to Allama Iqbal Library of University of Kashmir in 2012 for preservation and to serve as reference to research scholars. It is unfortunate that even a catalogue for them has not been prepared by the library till date.
Since this exhibition of INTACH and HELP FOUNDATION is an invitation to share family archives, I would like to say something about the manuscripts of my ancestral library as under:
Several rare handwritten manuscripts in Arabic and Persian languages dating eight centuries back as far as 655 AH, 666 AH, 691 AH etc, besides some rare, printed books going back to the last two centuries, totalling about three-hundred (300) in number – (just their list runs for 16 pages) – were preserved by our ancestors against silver fish, moths, rats, dust and other decaying processes. On finding these manuscripts/books getting destroyed by such enemies, I decided to get these preserved in December 2012 in Allama Iqbal Library Kashmir University.
Most of these published books were procured by my grandfather late Pir Ahmad Shah Sayid (d.1356 AH) by postal delivery from printing presses outside the valley when there was no publishing facility available here. In fact, he had established a madrasa at Midroo Tral, where he was welcomed by the villagers and offered a space for school. Besides, the locals learnt Arabic and Persian languages and religious knowledge from him. On my visit to the site a few years back, I came to know that even a blind person had learnt by heart from him the Masnavi Moulana Rum.
• One of the eight-centuries-old handwritten manuscript of 655 AH mentions that Sayid Baqir had come from Iran along with 1200 Sayids and was buried in Thune Village at Kangan in 655AH. So, he must have arrived in Kashmir around 600 AH about 130 years earlier than the arrival of Hazrat Bulbul Shah (RA). This can be a subject of further research and a new discovery in our history for interested scholars.
• Another handwritten Arabic manuscript of about 300 pages is Awrad of Hazrat Baha-ud-din Zakaria Multani (RA) (d. 666 AH) who introduced Suhrawardy order in India.
• One handwritten manuscript written by Sadr-ud-din Mohammad ibn Abi-l-Safa Al-Husaini in Zilhajja 691 AH. The manuscript pertains to the tafsir of Sura Fatah in Arabic language, besides twenty pages describe smoking tobacco as prohibited in Islam quoting Quran and Hadith.
• One handwritten manuscript describes the Shajra Tariqat in five Sufi orders and ‘Ijazatnama’ by Shaikh Abdul Haq Muhaddis Dehlavi (RA) written in 1018 AH.
• One handwritten manuscript is the Shajra Tariqat in five Sufi orders written by Khwaja Azam Dedamari (d.1179 AH) for his preceptor Shaikh Murad Tung (RA)
• One handwritten manuscript is a Shahi Firman pertaining to Aurangzeb Alamgir the Mughal King (d.1118 AH) mentioning appointment of Mubariz Khan as Governor of Alahdadpur.
• One handwritten manuscript is Shajra Nasb written by my grand-grandfather Abdul Gani Zoonimari (d.1335 AH). His handwritten Waqat-i-Kashmir (Tarikh-i-Azmi) authored by Khwaja Azam Dedamari (d.1179 AH) has also been submitted to Allama Iqbal Library.
• A few handwritten books authored by Hazrat Mir Sayid Ali Hamadani (RA) in Persian and Arabic languages written in 1136 AH. are included in the list of books submitted to the Library.
• One beautifully handwritten book on Tajwid-ul-qirat authored by Hasan ibn Maulana Yaqoob Kashmiri written by Baba Khalil-ul-lah in 1274 AH on Kashmiri paper.
• Hand written book Diwan-i-Faizi (hard bound).
• Hand written book “Seerat-un-Nabi (SAW)”with (Seal dated 1271AH)
• Handwritten Quran (writer unknown)
The published books include:
• Tafsir-i-Quran (Persian) 897 A.H
• Tafsir-i-Husaini by Kamal-ud-din Husaini (910AH)
• Tafsiri Asrar-ul-Fatiha in Persian. In one of the pages it refers to Pythagorus theorem also (1307AH)
• Masnavi Moulana Rum with explanation.
• Hasn-i-Haseen (Arabic with Urdu translation)
• Nafkhat-ul-uns 1223 AH
• Diwan-i-Nasri 1281 AH
• Anwar-i-Saheli Kanpur 1338AH
• Hasn-i-Haseen 732AH (pr.1320 Luknow)
• Kafiah Arabic with Persian margin1326 AH
• Mishkwath-ul-Masabih Lahore 1313AH
• KhulasaKudani Lahore 1212AH
• Mukhtasar-ul-WaqayaLuknow 1290 AH
• Shamail-i-Nabvi (M. Salahuddin d.979AH)
• Tarikh-i-Islam- Shams-ul Tawarikh 1317AH
• Khairat-ul-Fiqah Lahore 1325 AH
• MajmooaKhaniVolI,II Lahore 1328AH
• Arbaeen Imam Novey Lahore 1331AH
• Mukhtasar-ul Waqayah 1907 AD etc.
There is a long list of these published books and handwritten manuscripts. What is needed is to preserve these priceless ‘out-of-print books’ by proper scientific methods and digitising, besides proper cataloguing for the benefit of research scholars and to get these translated into commonly understood languages like Urdu and English for the benefit of the current generation and future progeny. In this behalf, a translation wing could be established in the University where the services of Persian, Arabic & Sanskrit scholars could be utilised.

The writer is a former Chief Engineer. [email protected]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.