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Amin b. Hasan al-Madani collection

Identifier: ubl194

Scope and Contents

A very general collection of Arabic manuscripts, reflecting the full width of classical Arabic and Islamic scholarship. Al-Madani marked many items as autographs, but on uncertain grounds. The 1883 Brill sales catalogue gives the provenance of the collection as 'private library in Medina' ('une bibliothèque privée à El-Medîna'), but the origin of the collection has never been studied in depth. A number of texts appear to be of Yemeni origin. Many items appear to have once belonged to composite volumes, taken apart to be sold separately.


  • Creation: Bulk 1500-1800

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Use

Regulations that apply during the use of these materials can be found on the website of Leiden University Library.

Biographical / Historical

Amin b. Hasan al-Halawani (al-Hulwani) al-Madani taught in the Haram Mosque of Medina, present-day Saudi Arabia. In the summer of 1883 he travelled to the World Exhibition at Amsterdam. In September of the same year he attended the Sixth International Congress of Orientalists at Leiden. The record of his experiences was translated into Dutch by the orientalist Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje (1857-1936) (Snouck 1883). Later he lived in Mumbai, where he published two tracts. In 1898 he was murdered by Bedouins in the Syrian desert. His picture was taken by the Leiden photographer Jan Goedeljee (now in the Snouck Hurgronje archives, Or. 18.097 S 48). Biographical details are in Zirikli [1954-1959], and The Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1st ed.


664 items (c. 15 metres)

Abstract in Dutch

Collectie van 664 Arabische handschriften op het gebied van de klassieke letteren en islam, in 1883 aangekocht via Brill, Leiden, uit het bezit van Amin b. Hasan al-Halawani al-Madani, een islamgeleerde en boekhandelaar afkomstig uit Medina, Saoedi-Arabië.

Abstract in English

Collection of 664 Arabic manuscripts on classic letters and Islam, purchased in 1883 through Brill, Leiden, from the collection of Amin b. Hasan al-Halawani al-Madani, an Islamic scholar and bookseller originally from Medina, Saudi Arabia.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Many items have been rebound in the 19th century.

Physical Location

Leiden University Library, Special Collections

Other Finding Aids

The manuscripts are described in Landberg (1883) and in De Goeje (1888-1907). See also

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Amin brought a collection of 664 Arabic manuscripts to the 1883 World Exhibition at Amsterdam. With the help of the Swedish arabist Carlo, count de Landberg, he sold his collection to Brill, the Leiden bookseller and publisher. Michael Jan de Goeje, professor of Arabic at Leiden, purchased the entire collection for Leiden University Library with the help of a government grant of 14,250 guilders.


No future additions are to be expected.

Related Materials

Other Madani collections are in Berlin, Yale and Princeton.


  • The Encyclopaedia of Islam.1st ed, 5 vols. Leiden 1913-1938, vol. I, p. 328, s.v. 'Amîn b. Hasan Halawani al-Madani'.
  • Goeje, M.J. de, Catalogus codicum Arabicorum Bibliothecae Academiae Lugduno-Batavae. 2 vols. Leiden 1888-1907.
  • Landberg, C., Catalogue de manuscrits arabes provenant d’une bibliothèque privée à El-Medîna at appartenant à la maison E.J. Brill. Leiden 1883.
  • Snouck Hurgronje, C., Het Leidsche Oriëntalistencongres. Indrukken van een Arabisch congreslid. Leiden 1883.
  • Zirikli, Khayr al-Din al-, Al-A’lam. 2nd ed., 10 vols. Cairo 1373-1378/[1954-1959], vol. I, p. 357.


The material can be requested (and consulted) in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Processing Information

Following the sale of the collection to Brill, Carlo de Landberg prepared a sales catalogue which is now generally regarded as inadequate (Landberg 1883). Upon arrival in the library, the manuscripts were assigned the callnumber Or. 2363-3025. One item was later given the callnumber Or. 8409. The collection was first described by M.J. de Goeje in his Catalogus Codicum Arabicorum, where they appear with their new callnumbers together with the designation 'Amîn' and the number in the Brill sales catalogue (De Goeje 1888-1907).

Collection guide of the Amin b. Hasan al-Madani collection (1500-1800)
Collectie Amin b. Hasan al-Madani
Arnoud Vrolijk, 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Beschrijving is in het Engels.

Revision Statements

  • 28 December 2012: latest update

Repository Details

Part of the Leiden University Libraries Archives & Collections Repository

Witte Singel 27
Leiden 2311 BG Netherlands
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