Saudi Arabia's King Abdulaziz Public Library adds rare manuscript to its collection

The one-volume manuscript is comprised of 58 parchments made of goatskin

The King Abdulaziz Public Library in Riyadh has revealed a rare millennia-old manuscript that delves into the science of Arabic grammar. Via Kingabdul Aziz Public Library / Twitter
The King Abdulaziz Public Library in Riyadh has revealed a rare millennia-old manuscript that delves into the science of Arabic grammar. Via Kingabdul Aziz Public Library / Twitter

The King Abdulaziz Public Library in Riyadh has revealed a rare millennia-old manuscript that delves into the science of Arabic grammar.

Written by Abu Al Fath Othman Bin Jinni Al Mawsili, also known as Bin Jinni, the book entitled Al Murib sharh kitab al-Qawafi lil-Akhfash explains one of the oldest manuscripts of Arabic grammar, Al-Qawafi by Al Akhfash Al Akbar.

The one-volume manuscript is comprised of 58 parchments made of goatskin, some of which needed treatment.

It dates back to the ninth century and is prized as a key reference tool for science, history and culture. It came to be because of Bin Jinni’s reputation as an esteemed writer of poetry, rhetoric and grammar.

Among his notable books are ones that analyse the works of Abu Al Tayyib Al Mutanabbi, an influential figure in Abbasid poetry. Bin Jinni knew and respected Al Mutanabbi, meeting him in Aleppo and Shiraz. In turn, the poet valued Bin Jinni’s analyses of his writing.

The one-volume manuscript is comprised of 58 parchments made of goatskin, some of which needed treatment. Via Kingabdul Aziz Public Library / Twitter
The one-volume manuscript is comprised of 58 parchments made of goatskin, some of which needed treatment. Via Kingabdul Aziz Public Library / Twitter

Founded in 1999, the King Abdulaziz Public Library has a special collection of rare Arabic titles, along with rare photographs from around the world. Currently, the library has more than 5,200 titles in its catalogue and about 3,000 more books are in the process of being catalogued and added to the database.

Their photography collection is extensive, with more than 5,500 photographs originating from the Arab world and the East. The library also has a vast collection of manuscripts, coins, maps and other rare documents.

In addition, it hosts cultural projects across the kingdom, including the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Translation.

The library has also undertaken the Encyclopaedia of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia project, which brings together comprehensive documentation on the kingdom and its 13 regions, including details on the history of its land and people. The first edition in a series of 20 for the encyclopaediawas published, with about 900 to 1,000 pages.

Updated: May 24, 2021 03:18 PM

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