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An illustration in the 1305-14
Jami‛ al-Tawarikh
by Rashid al-Din.

Universal History

or Compendium of Chronicles

Ğāmi‛ al-tavārīḫ. Rašīd al-Dīn Fazl-ullāh Hamadānī

Abd al-Muttalib and al-Harith about to Discover the Well at Zamzam

A larger image of 'Abd al-Muttalib and al-Harith about to Discover the Well at Zamzam' , ‘Jami' al-Tawarikh’, of Rashid al-Din

Il-Khanid: Tabriz, 1307
Edinburgh University Library, MS. Or. 20
Fig. 42; p260 Min Yong Cho.

Shelfmark: Or.Ms.20
Holding Institution: University of Edinburgh
Title: Jami' al-Tawarikh (World History)
Alternate Title: Compendium of Chronicles
Subset Index: f.41r detail
Creator: Rashid al-Din Ṭabib
Creator Nationality: Iranian
Creator Role: Author

Detail of illustration from the Compendium of Chronicles by Rashid al-Din showing Abd al-Muttalib and al-Harith, respectively the grandfather and companion of Muhammad, about to discover the Zamzam well, which, as a miraculously generated source of water from god, is the holiest place in Islam. Shown holding pick axes above their head, they appear about to dig at the ground indicated by the crow, which appears to be pecking locusts to the right of the image.
Arguably the greatest treasure in the library, the Jami' al-Tawarikh, or Compendium of Chronicles, is a world history which encompasses a range of cultures, from China in the East, to Ireland in the West, from the time of Adam. It is written in the Naskh script and contains 70 illustrated folios. Written by the scholar and courtier Rashid al-Din (d.1318), there is some debate as to the exact date of this manuscript, but it was almost certainly completed within the author's lifetime, making it one of the earliest copies in existence. It is one of the three main sources for the life of Genghis Khan and is considered to be one of the most important medieval documents in the world.
Sources: Hukk, M (1925), A descriptive catalogue of the Arabic and Persian manuscripts in Edinburgh University Library, Hertford. Talbot Rice, D. (1976), The Illustrations to the World History of Rashid al-Din, Edinburgh.
Source: Edinburgh University Library

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