A rare copy of the holy Quran dating back to the 13th century of the Islamic calendar is adorned with intricate decorations and gilded pages, totaling over 300 pages.
Other attention-grabbing manuscripts in the field of Islamic jurisprudence include a precious manuscript on the science of grammar by its author Muhammad Al-Rai, dating back to the year 1112 of the Islamic calendar, written in black ink, as well as another manuscript on the art of biography, narrating the life of one of the prominent figures in Islamic history, Umar ibn Abdul Aziz, written in the Naskh script almost two centuries ago.
Thousands of these rare manuscripts and unique preserved writings are now meticulously numbered and digitally accessible to researchers and enthusiasts seeking a closer examination of the valuable treasures of Arab and Islamic heritage.
A valuable wealth of thousands of manuscripts sheds light on the richness of the Arabic library and its abundance in various arts, as well as the contributions of Arab and Muslim scholars.
These are presented by the “Manuscript Access Initiative” launched by the Saudi Culture Ministry’s Libraries Authority through a specialized online platform that enables researchers and enthusiasts to browse through numerous numbered manuscripts across diverse classifications.
In Saudi Arabia, 27% of Arabic Manuscripts Are Found
Rare manuscripts have been preserved on the shelves of national libraries in Saudi Arabia, which possess a vast wealth of knowledge encompassing more than 27% of the total original Arabic and Islamic manuscripts in the Arab countries.
These manuscripts are now easily accessible, allowing for a thorough examination of their intricately adorned details, embellished with the ink and intellectual contributions of scholars who enriched the Arab and Islamic library with diverse arts and knowledge.
Saudi Arabia enjoys a leading position in preserving and safeguarding rare manuscripts, as well as in valuing the treasures of Arab and Islamic heritage that reflect the efforts of pioneers in knowledge, understanding, and culture, with all their diverse arts and colors.
The Kingdom is recognized as one of the proactive and pioneering countries in preserving historical records, driven by its geographical location and historical presence, dating back to pre-Islamic times and spanning the Islamic eras.
Over time, the Kingdom has served as a profound source for Arab and Islamic civilization, a home to various civilizations, a cradle for divine messages, and a bridge connecting cultures and messages.
Saudi Leadership in Preserving Scientific Heritage
Efforts in Saudi Arabia are distributed across its specialized scientific, intellectual, and cultural institutions, which engage in the collection, restoration, and preservation of manuscripts.
These institutions also equip laboratories with state-of-the-art technologies for restoration and maintenance.
One prominent example is the General Administration of Acquisitions and Rare Books at the King Fahad National Library, which is responsible for the restoration of manuscripts, as well as the preservation of documents and rare items.
Moreover, another center dedicated to the restoration of manuscripts, documents, photographs, and rare books at the King Abdulaziz Public Library supports the preservation of maps, magazines, newspapers, as well as currencies, coins, and other heritage and historical materials.
It ensures their protection against damage and deterioration while maintaining a diverse range of historical artifacts in the library.
In turn, the Restoration and Conservation Department at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies carries out the same mission, ever since its first experiments in the field of manuscript restoration in 1984, under the supervision of a group of experts from the UK.
In 2005, King Salman bin Abdulaziz inaugurated the new headquarters of the King Abdulaziz Foundation.
This facility supports its efforts in serving history, preserving heritage, documents, and ancient manuscripts, and caring for them. The center's work extends beyond the preservation of the foundation's collections to the safeguarding of heritage held by citizens, public, and private libraries.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia supports the establishment of independent manuscript departments in most of its libraries, encouraging the study and publication of manuscripts through the support of postgraduate programs at universities, issuing specialized catalogs for manuscripts, and digitally making them available to researchers worldwide.