Scholars, research students, and book lovers can now feast on some of the world’s rarest books and ancient manuscripts on display at the Sharjah Library that provide an insight into the cultural, historical, and scientific records of the past.
The library has a dedicated section housing 3,102 rare books under 912 titles in Arabic, English, French, German, and Persian, which are considered as some of the rarest books and manuscripts in the world. The collection covers a wide range of topics like astronomy, grammar, interpretations, languages, medicine, shrines, etc. According to the library, some of the topics, such as the early Arab contribution to the evolution of modern medicine, make these works priceless. The manuscripts are also used by researchers to study art, history, literature, and science.
Among the rarest texts in the library’s collection is the ‘Uthman Quran’, an 8th or 9th century manuscript Quran, with the only other surviving copy held in Topkapi Palace, a large museum in Istanbul, Turkey. The copy has great significance as it was compiled for uniformity as the standard version of the Quran and distributed to various parts of the growing Islamic empire under the directive of the third caliph Uthman ibn Affan.
Some of the other invaluable works include a copy of ‘Maqamat al-Hariri’, a collection of 50 stories by poet Al-Hariri (1054-1122); ‘Sharh Qasedat Ibn Abdoun’ by Abdul Malik bin Abdullah Ibn Bedurun from the 6th century Hijri era; and ‘Ketab Kashf Al Neqab An Mukhadarat Malahat Al Araab’, a rare book on grammar by linguist and Islamic jurist Abdullah ibn Ahmad Al-Fakihi (1493-1564).
The library also showcases several rare Arabic magazines and periodicals including a journal published in 1921 by the Arab Academy of Damascus, the oldest academy regulating the Arabic language; a copy of Al Risala, a magazine published by Ahmed Hassan Al-Zayyat in 1933; as well as copies of the monthly magazine Al-Arabi, published from Kuwait since 1958.
The public library provides visitors with full digital access to review the various titles.