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Muminov A. The Fund of Arabographic Manuscripts in the Museum-Trust “Azret-Sultān” in the City of Turkestan // Manuscripta Orientalia. Vol. 3, No 2, June 1997. P. 39-41.

The Turkestan region is one of the cultural centres which are of special interest for the study of regional forms of Islam. Its original Islamic culture, which developed on the north-eastern border of Muslim world, went through a long course of evolution. In the first half of the twentieth century, however, Muslim tradition was exposed to a severe test. Its adherents were persecuted, the religious institutions and buildings destroyed. Manuscripts from rich public libraries, including that by the Mausoleum of Khwaja Ahmad al-Yasawi (d. 562/1166—67), were either destroyed or transferred to central archives and libraries, some of them came to private owners. By 1977, when within the frames of the program for founding the Museum-Trust began to collect surviving manuscripts, there was not a single book left in the library of the Mausoleum.

The Museum-Trust “Azret-Sultan” in the city of Turkestan was opened on 30 September 1978. In search for manuscripts the directorate of the Museum organised several expeditions to different regions of Central Asia. Many books came to the Museum in 1978—1979. The manuscript fund of the Museum was expanded due to the acquisitions made by above-mentioned expeditions, donations of pilgrims, and of local dwellers. In 1991, after which practically no new acquisitions were made, the manuscript fund numbered 65 codices and 140 lithographic books.

There were no attempts to separate manuscripts and printed books, they were registered in the same inventory-book. They were and are still stored in one room with other objects belonging to the Museum. Unfortunately, the conditions under which the books are stored do not answer any requirements. Some investigation into the contents of the manuscripts was undertaken by a museum-curator Kh. Imajanov. Several books that had no binding were bound then. While surveying the manuscript fund, I discovered that some of the manuscripts had been damaged in the process of binding, and that four of them had not been registered at all. The manuscripts were intended to be exhibited, but there were no plans to make them available to the readers. There was, correspondingly, no information about the funds of the Museum in scholarly publications.

The manuscript fund of the Museum numbers 65 volumes containing 136 copies of 82 works. Of these 50 are written in Arabic, 25 — in Persian, 7 — in Turkic languages. The small number of codices in Turkic is surprising enough, though it may be explained by the desire of the donators to keep the writings in their native tongue in their private collections. By the evidence of one of them, Muzaf-far Shalapov, who now works in the Museum, books in Turkic make no less than a half of his own private collection. He keeps these books for his children.

The fund includes works dealing with the following disciplines:

1. the Qur'an and Qur'anic studies;

2. hadith;

3. dogmatics;

4. fiqh;

5. logics;

6. philology;

7. poetry;

8. mutafarriqat.


The entire paper


Arabographic manuscripts
Manuscripta Orientalia, selected papers

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