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A view of the library of Nasiriyya in India. This library is regarded as one of the world's large personal libraries and contains over 30 thousand books of Islamic sources, both printed and in manuscript.

Naṣiriyya library (Arabic:مَکْتَبَةُ الناصِریّة), is among the greatest scholarly and religious libraries in Lucknow, India. This library was founded through the efforts of Sayyid Muhammad Quli Musawi, one of the Shi'a scholars of India. After the demise of its founder, it was managed by his children, Mir Hamid Husayn and I'jaz Husayn. They began developing the library and collected manuscripts in Islamic countries. In a journey to India, 'Allama Amini visited this library and described it as a great library in the Islamic world. "Nasiriyya library" is among the famous libraries of the Middle East due to its rare manuscripts.

Contents

Founder of the Library

The founder of this library was Sayyid Muhammad Quli Musawi Hindi. In addition to several works in Islamic teachings and culture, he founded a great library for scholars and researchers. According to Muhammad Rida Hakimi, Mir Hamid Husayn's family made efforts to establish the library since the beginning of the 13th/19th century.[1]

Naming

After the demise of Mir Hamid Husayn, his son, Nasir Husayn known as Nasir al-Milla (the helper of the nation) became the manager of the library. During his management, the library enjoyed essential changes, a great building and doubled boom; therefore, the library took Mir Hamid Husayn's son.

Features of the Library

In his journey to India, 'Allama Amini visited this library on Dhu l-Qa'da 24th, 1380/1960-1961. In his description of the library, he has mentioned that Nasiriyya library holds such a great treasure of precious and rare books which he had never seen like it before. He said that with regards to the existence of valuable religious works, he had not seen such a great library in Islamic countries.[2]

Dedication of the Library

During his life, Sayyid Muhammad Quli dedicated this library to his children. Thus, after his demise, Mir Hamid Husayn became its manager and continued his father's works and compilations. Simultaneous with these affairs, he developed the library and together with his brother I'jaz Husayn, the author of Kashf al-hujub, traveled to most of Islamic countries, bought hundreds of books and added to the richness of this library. Mir Hamid Husayn wrote letters to scholars of other countries about collecting Islamic books and tried his best to acquire the original manuscripts and if he could not, he sent people where the books were held to transcribe them.

Library Condition

Aqa Buzurg reported that this library held about 30 thousand volumes of manuscripts and printed books which are among precious works and Islamic books.[3] In his travelogue, 'Allama Amini gave statistics about the libraries of India, which mentioned the number of manuscripts and printed books 30 thousand volumes. About five thousand copies in this library are manuscripts, most of which are rare scripts. According to Muhammad Sa'id al-Milla, son of Nasir Husayn, Mir Hamid Husayn corresponded with Mirza Husayn Nuri to have a copy of al-Rad 'ala al-muta'assib al-'anid which was in the library of Egypt and acquired it after about 20 years.

This library has a great building in Lucknow and has budget allocation in the provincial government. The list of its manuscripts is available in the Library of Ayatullah Mar'ashi Najafi in Qom, Iran and many photos and films of its manuscripts are available in the Center for Revival of the Islamic Heritage in Qom.[4]

Notes

  1. Ḥakīmī, Mīr Ḥāmid Ḥusayn, p. 135.
  2. Ghufrānī, "Du sanad dar mawrid-i kitābkhāna-yi Nāṣirīyya", p. 193.
  3. Āqā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, Nuqabāʾ al-bashar, vol. 1, p. 374.
  4. Anṣārī Qumī, "Shakhṣīyyat shināsī-yi ʿallāma Muḥammad Qulī Musawī", p. 202.

References

  • Anṣārī Qumī, Nāṣir al-Dīn. 1390 Sh. "Shakhṣīyyat shināsī-yi ʿallāma Muḥammad Qulī Musawī." Imāmat Pazhūhī 2:188-211.
  • Āqā Buzurg al-Tihrānī, Sayyid Muḥsin. Nuqabāʾ al-bashar fī al-qarn al-rābiʿ ʿashar. Mashhad: [n.p], 1404 AH.
  • Ghufrānī, ʿAbd Allāh. 1387 Sh. "Du sanad dar mawrid-i kitābkhāna-yi Nāṣirīyya." Majala-yi Safīna 21:191-196.
  • Ḥakīmī, Muḥammad Riḍā. Mīr Ḥāmid Ḥusayn. Qom: Dalīl-i Mā, 1386 Sh.