Sultan Al Qasimi inaugurates “The Arabic Manuscript Collection of El Escorial” Exhibition


His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed AlQasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, marked the inauguration of “The Arabic Manuscript Collection of El Escorial” Exhibition today (Sunday), at the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA). The event, held in collaboration with El Escorial library, will take place from April 2 to April 9.

The exhibition on display in Sharjah is the first to feature the largest collection of rare Arab artefacts from the El Escorial Library, which has never been displayed outside of Spain before. The manuscripts have been granted the authorisation by the Royal Palace of Madrid to be publicly displayed in the Emirate for the first time.

HH Ruler of Sharjah toured the exhibition, which includes 14 rare manuscripts from the 13th to 16th centuries, where His Highness was briefed on the history, contents, and authors of these rare Arabic manuscripts preserved in Spain.

The exhibition is a testament to the Sharjah Book Authority’s commitment to the Arab cultural movement and fostering intercultural dialogue with European and global cultural hubs. The Authority’s collaborative efforts with cultural and educational institutions, including historical libraries dedicated to preserving ancient manuscripts, are aimed at facilitating public access to them.

The Exhibition’s Collection

The most precious manuscripts on display include “Kitab al-masalik wa-lmamalik” by Abu Obaid Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz bin Muhammad Al-Bakri Al-Andalusi, which is the oldest item at the exhibition, dating back to the 13th century, and “Kitab sarh al-uyun fi sharh risalat Ibn Zaydun” by Jamal al-Din ibn Nabata al-Masri.

The exhibition also features a range of other rare works, among them are “Kitab sihr al-balaga wa-sirr al-baria” by Abd al-Malik bin Muhammad bin Ismail Abu Mansour al-Tha’alabi, “Kitab Aya ib al-majluqat wa gharayib al-mawjudat” by Abu Abdullah bin Zakariya Al-Qazwini, “Risala fi ilm al-zilal” by Muhammad bin Al-Raqam Al-Andalusi, and a copy of the Holy Quran (known as Mushaf Moulay Zidane).

Additionally, the exhibition includes works such as “Kitab Al-Barq Al-Yamani fi l-fath al- utmani” by Qutbuddin Muhammad bin Ahmed Al-Nahrawali Al-Makki, “Diwan Shihab al-Din ibn al-Khayyat” (Diwan Ibn al-Khayyat) by Abu Abdullah Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Ali Al-Taghlibi, known as Ibn Al-Khayyat Al-Dimashqi, and “Diwan Shams al-Din al-Hanafi” by Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Hassan bin Ali Al-Hanafi Al-Qurashi Al-Taymi.

Those visiting the exhibition can also witness rare works such as “Kitab al-Yawahir al-maymua wa-l-nawadir al-masmua” by Muhammad bin Abd al-Rahman al-Sakhawi Shams al-Din, “Kitab sulwan al-muta fi eudwan al’atba” by Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Muhammad bin Zafar Al-Makki, “sharah ‘abhath alqanun” by Aladdin Ali bin Abi Al-Hazm Al-Qurashi, better known as Ibn Al-Nafis, “Kitab i’rab al-Qu’ran” by Abu Hayyan Al-Andalusi; and “Kitab al-magmu al-faiq min hadt jatimat rusul al-jaliq” by Muhammad Abd al-Rauf bin Taj al-Arifin bin Ali al-Manawi.

The inauguration was attended by Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, President of the American University of Sharjah, HE Sheikh Salem bin Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Culture and Youth, HE Abdul Rahman bin Muhammad Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, and HE Mohammed Al Murr, Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library Foundation, Major General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police, HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority, Mohamed Obaid Al Zaabi, Chairman of Department of Protocol and Hospitality, Jose Luis del Valle Merino, Director of the Spanish El Escorial Library, and a number of senior officials and directors of government departments.

The exhibition is open to the public from April 2 to April 9 between 9 pm and 1 am at the Sharjah Book Authority’s headquarters. It offers a rare opportunity for visitors to gain insights into Spain’s rich heritage of Arabic manuscripts and learn about the contributions of Arab scholars to the fields of literature, science, and philosophy.