Our Arabic manuscripts date from the early 8th to the 19th century AD. They originate from a wide range of Arab countries, from Yemen to North Africa, and from other regions with Muslim communities including Iran, Central Asia, India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and West Africa, showing fascinating variations in style and script.
Our collections include material held by the British Museum prior to and acquisitions made since then, together with the collections of the India Office Library which were transferred to the British Library in Taken together, our collection is among the largest in Europe and North America. Comprising almost 15, works in 14, volumes, it includes some of the finest copies of the Holy Qur’an along with autograph and other high-quality copies of major religious, historical, literary and scientific works.
The manuscripts offer a rich resource for study of Islam and the Muslim world, Islamic arts and sciences, the Arab world, and all aspects of Arabic writing and other arts of the book. A selection of our scientific manuscripts are currently being digitised as part of a joint project with Qatar Foundation, the Qatar National Library and The British Library. These are available via the Qatar Digital Library.
So far 80 have been digitised and details together with hyperlinks can be found in the following two posts:. A small collection of Arabic manuscripts containing a number of Druze theological texts have also been fully digitised and are available in Digitised Manuscripts search for Druze. Arabic manuscripts are available to read in the Asian and African Reading Room. Some especially valuable or fragile manuscripts are restricted and available only in exceptional circumstances.
Arabic manuscripts. A horseman impaling a bear.
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Druze in Golan Heights and Israel divided over how to save families from Syria massacre
By Inna Lazareva , Majdal Shams. To the sounds of chanting, exploding fireworks and insistent drum beats, hundreds of Druze residents of Majdal Shams, an Israeli-controlled town in the Golan Heights, took to the streets on Monday afternoon to declare their support for family members in Syria – and for the Assad regime. The Druze in Israel and the Golan Heights find themselves in a predicament that the Syrian civil war has only exacerbated.
Published online May 7. doi: / Druze villages in Israel, and is mentioned in historical records dating from.
November 16, For a thousand years, the mysterious origin of the Druze people — who live almost exclusively in the mountains of Syria, Lebanon and Israel — has captivated linguists, historians, and sociologists, who have not been able to agree whether the Druze are of Arabian, Turkish, Caucasus or Persian origin. But thanks to our new research that mystery may now have been solved, with the use of a genetic GPS system — that works in a similar way to the Sat Nav in your car.
There are thought to be around 1m Druze people in the world today, whose secretive religion was developed in AD as a movement within Islam. While the spiritual elements of their religion are highly guarded and known only to the elders, the known practices are made up of various religions which include Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
This variety is most likely based on historical gatherings that are typical of nomadic tribes. Previous research has always placed the origins of the Druze in the the Near East region. And by zooming in on the area, our genetic GPS traced most Druze to the region that overlaps northeast Turkey, southwest Armenia and northern Iraq. This area borders the Zagros and the Ararat mountains and is the tallest region in Turkey.
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Druze, small Middle Eastern religious sect characterized by an eclectic system of doctrines and by a cohesion and loyalty among its members (at times politically.
The Epistles of Wisdom is the foundational text of the Druze faith. Although dwarfed by other, larger communities, the Druze community played an important role in shaping the history of the Levant , where it continues to play a large political role. As a religious minority in every country in which they are found, they have frequently experienced persecution.
Even though the faith originally developed out of Isma’ilism , Druze do not identify as Muslims. They are found primarily in Syria , Lebanon and Israel , with small communities in Jordan. The oldest and most densely-populated Druze communities exist in Mount Lebanon and in the south of Syria around Jabal al-Druze literally the “Mountain of the Druzes”. Before becoming public, the movement was secretive and held closed meetings in what was known as Sessions of Wisdom.
During this stage a dispute occurred between ad-Darazi and Hamza bin Ali mainly concerning ad-Darazi’s ghuluww “exaggeration” , which refers to the belief that God was incarnated in human beings especially ‘ Ali and his descendants, including Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah , who was the caliph at the time and to ad-Darazi naming himself “The Sword of the Faith”, which led Hamza to write an epistle refuting the need for the sword to spread the faith and several epistles refuting the beliefs of the ghulat.
In ad-Darazi and his followers openly proclaimed their beliefs and called people to join them, causing riots in Cairo against the Unitarian movement including Hamza bin Ali and his followers. This led to the suspension of the movement for one year and the expulsion of ad-Darazi and his supporters. Although the Druze religious books describe ad-Darazi as the “insolent one” and as the “calf” who is narrow-minded and hasty, the name “Druze” is still used for identification and for historical reasons.
In , ad-Darazi was assassinated for his teachings; some sources claim that he was executed by Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah. The word Dogziyin “Druzes” occurs in an early Hebrew edition of his travels, but it is clear that this is a scribal error.