Film screening: the Dupes (1972)

The Islamic Studies Library will hold its last film screening of the academic year on Friday April 10th, 2015 at 5 p.m. in the Tuesday Night Cafe (Morrice Hall, room 017).

the_dupesThe Dupes is a stark, beautifully photographed black and white film tracing the destinies of three palestinian refugees brought together by dispossession, despair and hope for a better future.

The setting is Iraq in the 1950s and the protagonists,concealed in the steel tank of a truck, are trying to make their way across the border into Kuwait, the “promised land.”

The Dupes is considered a masterful adaptation of Ghassan Kanafani’s acclaimed novella, Men Under the Sun, The Dupes is also one of the first Arab films to address the Palestinian predicament.

Professor Malek Abisaab, McGill History Department and Institute of Islamic Studies, will moderate the post screening discussion.

Come on come all!

Database trial: ATLA Historical Monographs Collection

The American Theological Library Association Historical Monographs Collection gives acces to no less than 29.000 titles focusing on religion, dating mostly from 1850 to 1922.

ATLA Monographs  Featured Archives  Digital Archives  EBSCOhost(1)To give you a chance to try this new resource, the Islamic Studies Library setup a trial running from March 9th to April 9th 2015. The collection is available in two comprehensive series:

Check them out, and let us know what you think!


In the news: Perso-Indica

Perso-Indica is a research and publishing project that will produce a comprehensive Analytical Survey of Persian Works on Indian Learned Traditions, encompassing the treatises and translations produced in India between the 13th and the 19th century.”

9/03/2015 – Research
McGill University Library

Indo-Persian Manuscripts at McGill University Library

Following the request of Perso-Indica at the Library of McGill University in Montreal, the Library has decided to digitize a selection of rare Persian manuscripts dealing with Indic cultures. These manuscripts were chiefly produced in South Asia during the 18th and the 19th centuries. They are kept in the Blacker-Wood Collection and the Osler Library of McGill University in Montreal.
They have been digitized thanks to the contribution of the Institute of Islamic Studies and the Islamic Studies Library of McGill University. The following manuscripts are now available on line:
-Ṭilism-i i‘jaz, a work on amulets translated by Kishan Singh, Ms. BWL 129, copied in 1804.Available at:

– Tarjama-yi Satganā wa Basant rāḥ, anonymous translation from Hindi made in 1789, Ms. Bib. Osl. 7785/74. Available at:

– Qānūn-i ‘ishrat tarjama-yi Kūk shastr, a Persian adaptation of the materials of the Kokaśāstra, on sexology, Ms. BWL 166.Available at:

– Majmū‘a, a collection dealing with siyāq, Hindu mythology and castes, Ms. BWL 168. Available at:

- Faras nāma, tarjama-yi Sālūtar, a Persian adaptation of the teachings of the Śālihotra, a treatise on the horse and its treatment. The translation was made at Gulbarga by ‘Abd Allāh ibn Ṣafī seemingly at the request of sultan Aḥmad Walī Bahmanī (r. 1422-1435), Ms. BWL W55, illustrated manuscript, copied in 1793.
Available at:

-Faras nāma, tarjama-yi Sālhūtar, an anonymous Persian version of the Śālihotra, Ms. BWL W31, copied in 1839.
Available at:

For more information see: Adam Gacek, 2005, Persian Manuscripts in the Libraries of McGill University: Brief Union Catalogue, Montreal, McGill University Libraries.
More manuscripts are in the process of being digitized, so stay tuned.

NEW: Arabic literature subject guide

The Islamic Studies Library launched a new subject guide focusing on Classical and contemporary Arabic literature. This selection of sources comprises encyclopedias and dictionnaries, databases, journals (print and electronic), and internet sites.

Classical and contemporary Arabic literature  McGill Library - McGill UniversityThe Classical and contemporary Arabic literature subject guide can be accessed in two ways:

1. Via the Islamic Studies Library website
Islamic Studies Library  McGill Library - McGill University2. Via the list of subject guides (under Islamic and Middle East Studies)
Subject guides  McGill Library - McGill University

Check it out and let us know what you think!


New resource: The Oxford encyclopedia of philosophy, science, and technology in Islam

Hi friends! The ISL has recently acquired The Oxford encyclopedia of philosophy, science, and technology in Islam. One of few resources of its kind, “this work includes complete coverage of Islamic philosophy, sciences, and technologies from the classical through contemporary period. Containing scholarly overviews of the thinkers, movements, instruments, theories, institutions, processes, events, and historical developments related to Islamic classical history and the contemporary quest for knowledge, this encyclopaedia provides scholars and advanced students with in-depth surveys on the most important issues in the study of these topics, serving as the authoritative reference work on this important area of research.” (Ibrahim Kalin, 2014). With over 250 entries, this should be a helpful reference source for “Libraries in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey,” “Surgery and Surgical Sciences,” or the Ismaili philosopher of the Fatimid Empire, “Ḥamīd al-Dīn Aḥmad ibn ʿAbdallāh Abu’l-Ḥasan al-Kirmānī.”

Access “The Oxford encyclopedia of philosophy, science, and technology in Islam.” It is also included in the Islamic and Middle East studies Subject Guide.

Issues Around Representations of the Prophet: IIS upcoming event

In anticipation of next week’s public discussion “Issues Around Representations of the Prophet” hosted by the Institute of Islamic Studies, there are some recent writings worth your time to read in advance. Many of these are found online (I’ve included the links) while others are found in the ISL—come for a visit.

Choix discutable, choix discuté Quelques voix apportent une perspective musulmane sur la publication des unes: Interview with Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim of the IIS.

The History and Philosophy of Representational Art in Islam:

The Prophet Muhammad Was Once Glorified In Art:

Ways of Looking at the Prophet:

Drawing the prophet: Islam’s hidden history of Muhammad images:

The Koran Does Not Forbid Images of the Prophet:

There are of course a number of worthwhile academic books, articles, etc. some of which include the following:

Khalidi, Tarif. 2009. Images of Muhammad: narratives of the prophet in Islam across the centuries. New York: Doubleday.:

Hillenbrand, Robert, and B. W. Robinson. 2000. Persian painting: from the Mongols to the Qajars : studies in honour of Basil W. Robinson. London: I.B. Tauris in association with the Centre of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge.:

Asani, Ali S., Kamal Abdel-Malek, and Annemarie Schimmel. 1995. Celebrating Muḥammad: images of the prophet in popular Muslim poetry. Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press.:

The Story of Portraits of the Prophet Muhammad Oleg Grabar Studia Islamica No. 96, Écriture, Calligraphie et Peinture (2003), pp. 19-38+VI-IX

Gruber, Christiane. 2009. Between Logos (Kalima) and Light (Nur): Representations of the Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Painting. In Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World XXVI. 229-262.: Available as Open Access via Archnet,

Gruber, Christiane. 2009. MEʿRĀJ ii. Illustrations. From the turn of the 14th century onward, depictions of the Prophet Moḥammad’s night journey (esrāʾ) and heavenly ascent (meʿrāj) were integrated into illustrated world histories and biographies.

One Book, Many Communities: Mornings in Jenin reading group

9781608190461Join us on Thursday January 29th, at 5:30 pm in the Octagon room (Islamic Studies Library, Morrice Hall) as we discuss -for the second time- the novel Mornings in Jenin, the acclaimed novel by Palestinian-American author and activist Susan Abulhawa.

The One Book, Many Communities: Mornings in Jenin reading campaign was initiated by Librarians and Archivists with Palestine, a network of self-defined librarians, archivists, and information workers in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle for self-determination.

To access this event on Facebook:

Strokes and Hairlines Digital Exhibition

As part of the 60th anniversary of the Institute of Islamic Studies and Islamic Studies Library, jointly founded in 1952 Mr. Adam Gacek curated an exhibition celebrating the unique materials held by McGill University. A catalogue of the exhibition, entitled Strokes and Hairlines: Elegant Writing and its Place in Muslim Book Culture was published. Mr. Gacek also provided an enthralling talk of the items on display. And now, we are proud to present you with a digital exhibition of these items.

Strokes and Hairlines Digital Exhibition

The digital exhibition contains all items that had been on display. Enjoy the site and let us know what you think.

Book launch: The Herbal of al-Ghafiqi. A Facsimile Edition of MS 7508 in the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University

Hi friends!

Next Wednesday, 14 January, a book launch and manuscript viewing will be held in the Osler Library of the History of Medicine at 5pm.

McGill-Queen’s University Press has just published The Herbal of al-Ghafiqi. A Facsimile Edition of MS 7508 in the Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University, with Critical Essays, edited by F. Jamil Ragep (Director of McGill’s Institute for Islamic Studies) and Faith Wallis (McGill, History and Classical Studies/Social Studies of Medicine).

The manuscript in question is exceptional: a 13th-century illustrated copy of the treatise on materia medica by a physician and scholar from al-Andalus (Muslim Iberia), Abū Jaʿfar al-Ghāfiqī (d. ca. 1165 CE).The Osler manuscript has 468 primary entries for mainly herbal, but also mineral and animal, drugs. It also includes around 2200 secondary entries that provide synonyms in a staggering assortment of languages, including Greek, Sanskrit, Syriac, Persian, Berber, Old Spanish, Latin, Coptic, and Armenian, reflecting the international character of medicine and pharmacy at the time. Complementing the facsimile edition are six essays by eminent scholars who deal with the physical features and history of the manuscript, the philological complexity of the text, Ghāfiqī’s sources, the Andalusian as well as the larger global context of the herbal, and the illustrations accompanying the text.

The production and dissemination of the Ghafiqi facsimile would not have been possible without the support and generosity of McGill’s Class of Medicine of 1961. Thank you.