The Sayyidi Muhammad ‘Ali Hamdani Collection

Abu Hatim al-Razi: Kitab A’lam al-Nubuwwa (“The Book on the Signs of Prophecy”). Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani: Kitab Tanbih al-Hadi wa’l-Muhtadi (“The Book of Exhortation to the Rightful Guide and the Rightly Guided”). Abu Ya‘qub al-Sijistani: Kitab al-Yanabi‘ (“The Book of Springs”). Qadi al-Nu‘man: al-Muntakhab al-Manzumah fi Fiqh Ahl al-Bayt (“A Versified Selection on the Jurisprudence of the Ahl al-Bayt”) Abu Ya‘qub al-Sijistani: Kitab al-Maqalid (“The Book of Keys”)
Hazrat ‘Ali: Nahj al-Balagha (“Sermons of Eloquence”)Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani: Kitab al-Riyad (The Book of ‘Gardens’)Idris ‘Imad al-Din: ‘Uyun al-akhbar (“The Springs of History”)Ibrahim ibn al-Husayn al-Hamidi: Kanz al-walad (“The Child’s Treasure”)

The Sayyidi Muhammad ‘Ali Hamdani Collection came to The Institute of Ismaili Studies in 2006, thanks to the generosity of Professor and Mrs. Abbas Hamdani of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (USA). The Collection is extremely important, not only because of the rare and precious manuscripts it contains but because it was formed over generations by scholars in a single distinguished family. The manuscripts, mostly in Arabic with others in Persian, Urdu and Gujarati, were collected and often copied, in beautiful calligraphic hands, by Professor Hamdani’s ancestors, beginning in Yemen in the 18th century and continuing from father to son into the twentieth century, particularly in Surat, Gujarat, where Professor Hamdani was born. Through seals and stamps of ownership, as well as handwritten notations, it is possible to trace the provenance of many of these manuscripts, beginning with Shaykhinfo-icon ‘Ali ibn Sa’id and continuing through Ibrahim, his son, and Fayd Allah, his grandson, to Muhammad ‘Ali Hamdani himself, in whose honour the collection has been named.

The Sayyidi Muhammad ‘Ali Hamdani Collection has long been known to scholars, many of whom came to Milwaukee to consult its treasures. Over the years, thanks to Professor Hamdani’s generosity, many important Ismaili texts have been published using manuscripts drawn from this Collection.