The following links provide access to publicly available digital collections. All links are FREE and OPEN ACCESS.
The British Library's collection of Arabic materials includes manuscripts of the holy Qur'an along with autograph and other high-quality copies of major legal, historical, literary and scientific works.
Containing over 5,000 items of original, hand-written manuscripts make up more than 60 percent of the content, which also includes “market” editions (photocopies of handwritten works that are often sold in African marketplaces), printed editions, and photocopies. Most are in Arabic, though some are in ajami—African languages such as Hausa, Fulfulde, and Wolof written in the Arabic script.
A collaborative digitization project that is digitizing approximately 2,500 monographic volumes and a number of bound manuscripts from the Middle East and north Africa.
Digitzed Arab manuscripts from the American University of Beirut
Islamic Manuscripts from Mali features 32 manuscripts from the Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library and the Library of Cheick Zayni Baye of Boujbeha, both in Timbuktu, Mali. The manuscripts presented online are displayed in their entirety and are an exemplary grouping that showcase the wide variety of subjects covered by the written traditions of Timbuktu, Mali, and West Africa.
Here you can learn about Islamic medicine and science during the Middle Ages and the important role it played in the history of Europe. This site, with its biographies, colorful images, and extensive historical accounts of medieval medicine and science is designed for students and everyone interested in the history of Islamic and European culture.
The Middle East Virtual Library (MENALIB) is an information portal for Middle East, North African, and Islamic Studies. It provides access to electronic fulltext materials or electronic bibliographical records of printed materials and manuscripts. The technical basis for this Virtual Library is maintained by the State- and University Library Saxony-Anhalt in Halle (Germany).
Minasian Collection of Persian and Arabic Manuscripts (UCLA Library)
The Minasian Collection of Arabic and Persian manuscripts is one of the most extensive post-classical Islamic manuscript collections in the United States. The collection primarily consists of works related to the studies of theologians and scholars at centers of learning in Iran during the 17th and 18th centuries, and is especially notable for works of Shiite theology, Arabic and Persian language and literature, and Islamic science and philosophy.
This exhibition honors the art of reciting poetry and prayer and its visual manifestation in the manuscript book. Cornerstones of Muslim societies, poetry and prayer were transmitted from one generation to the next in oral and in written forms. The sacred, devotional, and non-religious manuscripts presented here were created across the breadth of the Islamic world and date from the 9th through the 19th century. They bear witness to remarkable achievements in literature and the arts of the book, such as calligraphy, illumination, and illustration.
The online collection includes materials chiefly in Arabic but also in Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and other languages of the Islamic world. They date from the early centruies of Islam through the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
The Near and Middle Eastern manuscripts collection covers a wide range of literature in Arabic (over 1500 codices), Hebrew (over 1000), Persian (over 1200), Syriac (around 300) and Turkish (around 450). There are also smaller collections in Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Malay, Urdu and languages of Ancient Egypt.
The subjects covered by these manuscripts include the Qur’an (texts and commentaries); commentaries and other works of criticism; Islamic traditions, theology, and jurisprudence; and philology, philosophy, geography, history, mathematics, astronomy, and astrology. The collection also includes biography, poetry, and belles-lettres.
The Asian Collection contains manuscripts and printed items from Asia and North Africa, written in over forty separate languages and many different scripts.
The West African Arabic Manuscript Database currently includes descriptive records of 20,000 Arabic manuscripts from West Africa. The database and search interface are bilingual.