Thursday,21 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1405, ( 9 - 15 August 2018)
Thursday,21 February, 2019
Issue 1405, ( 9 - 15 August 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Manuscript returns home

#Manuscript returns home #Manuscript returns home # Manuscript returns home #Manuscript returns home
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Egypt succeeded in recovering a 500-year-old manuscript copy of a work entitled the “Short Work on Historiography” by historian Mohamed bin Soliman Masoud Al-Kafiji this week, opening the way to its return to Egypt after five decades spent in exile abroad, reports Nevine El-Aref

Hisham Azmi, chairman of the Board of Egypt’s National Library and Archives (NLA), told the Al-Ahram Weekly that the manuscript had been noticed on the sales lists of the Bonhams auctioneering company in London last April. It consists of 20 pages of text in Arabic naskh script.

The story started in the 1970s when the NLA reported the manuscript missing.  Since then it has not been seen in any auctioneers or museum until early April when Bonhams put the manuscript on sale.

The Ministry of Culture immediately contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asking for steps to be taken to stop the sale of the manuscript and return it to its homeland.

Azmi said that Egypt has submitted legal documents confirming the country’s possession of the manuscript, and after three months of negotiations with the auctioneers and the current holders of the manuscript, it succeeded in recovering it.

The manuscript is now safely back in the NLA.

He said the holder of the manuscript had inherited it from his grandfather who had bought the manuscript on a voyage to Egypt. However, he was not able to provide documents proving ownership.

Al-Kafiji was an Arab historian of Byzantine origin who lived in Egypt during the reign of the Mameluke sultan Al-Ashraf Barsbay in the 15th century CE. Among his works are “An Explanation of the Rules of Expression,” “An Explanation of the Words of Martyrdom,” and “A Summary of the Sciences of Hadith and the Sciences of Interpretation.”

The Egyptian religious scholar Imam Al-Suyuti (1445-1505 CE) was one of Al-Kafiji’s most important followers.

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