The Sayyidi Muhammad ‘Ali Hamdani Collection

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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 Shaykh ‘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.

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