16 Arabic Lithographs digitized

The Islamic Studies Library is currently displaying an exhibition featuring a fascinating selection of Arabic lithographed books from McGill Islamic Rare Books Collection. This Collection includes many examples of lithographed books in Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and Urdu, dated from the eighteenth century until the mid-twentieth century. The Arabic lithographed books exhibition includes sixteen items encompassing the different periods, calligraphic styles, graphic designs, and publishing houses from the Muslim world and Europe.

The physical exhibition is freely accessible in the Islamic Studies Library during opening hours from April 1st to September 30th 2014. In addition, all 16 items have been digitized, and are now accessible online. Let us know what you think!

Virtual exhibits of the Arab World Institute (Paris)

The Arab World Institute’s website provides access to 15 online interactive exhibits on various topics.

Covering a wide span of topics from the Arts of Islam to Andalusia passing by Pharaos, these virtual 360° exhibits are great opportunities for both beginners and specialists to learn more about the Arab World, and to discover Islamic Art Collections held in France.

 The website is accessible in French and Arabic.


al-Ghazālī exhibition publication: OA!

2 years ago the McLennan Library was home to an exhibition on the scholar, al-Ghazālī. The exhibition was well received and was accompanied by postcards and a booklet. The booklet includes articles by current Director of the Institute of Islamic Studies, Dr. J. Ragep, past-Director Dr. R. Wisnovsky, Ghazālī scholar Rev. Dr. Y. Said, and PhD. candidates E. van Lit and E. Tasbihi. It also provides details on the most important and unique leaves and manuscripts that were on display. Recently, this catalogue became available for free thanks in large part to the Digital Team of McGill University Libraries.

Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī (1058-1111) : an exhibition held in the Humanities & Social Sciences Library, McGill University : August 15, 2011-March 31, 2012






The Islamic Studies Library (ISL) was founded in 1952 in conjunction with the Institute of Islamic Studies (IIS). Dr. W.C. Smith, founder and first Director of the IIS sought to give greater definition to the field of Islamic studies. The library has grown from a collection of 250 books to 125,000 volumes. On display are some of the treasures from its collection and history. For example in 1959 the former President of Tunisia, Habib Bourghuiba visited the IIS and ISL and donated a Qur’ānic leaf, in 1971 the former Shah of Iran sent a personal invitation to then Director of the IIS, Dr. Charles J. Adams. We also have on display one volume from the complete holdings of the journal of al-Azhar in Cairo. Dr. W.C. Smith’s Ph.D. dissertation was an analysis of these publications.

Come one, come all!!


60th anniversary events

Hi friends! Next week is filled with delightful activities sure to engage you and teach you about various aspects of Islamic civilization and culture! On Monday 11 Feb. a new exhibition celebrating McGill’s rich Islamic manuscripts will open followed by a lecture by Adam Gacek, curator of the exhibition, on Arabic paleography! Two other not-to-be-missed events are Turkish calligrapher, Hilal Kazan’s workshops and Chinese calligrapher Haji Noor Deen workshops! Come one, come all!
All of these fantastic events are detailed here.

Exhibition: “Strokes and Hairlines: Elegant Writing and its Place in Muslim Book Culture”

Hi friends! As part of the 60th anniversary celebration, the exhibition “Strokes and Hairlines: Elegant Writing and its Place in Muslim Book Culture” curated by Adam Gacek will open on the 11th of Feb. in McLennan library. On the 13th of Feb. Mr. Gacek will provide a lecture on Islamic manuscripts. Come one, come all!
For further details check the the 60th anniversary website.

Exhibition presentation

Hi friends! In addition to the newly curated exhibition celebrating Book Culture in the Mediterranean, there will be a short presentation followed by a wine and cheese reception. The event will take place on Wednesday 28 November, for the McGill Medievalists second annual rare books workshop. Last year our workshop on medical manuscripts in the Osler Library of the History of Medicine was very well attended. This year, Cecily Hilsdale (McGill, Art History and Communication Studies), Jennifer Garland (McGill, Liaison Librarian, Art History and Communication Studies), and Sean Swanick (Liaison Librarian, Islamic Studies) will lead us in a viewing of the exhibition: “Book Culture in the Medieval Mediterranean”. We will meet at 5:30 pm (slightly later than normal) on the 4th floor of McGill’s McLennan Library (the location of Rare Books and Special Collections). A wine and cheese reception will follow.

Check out the poster: Poster November 28 RBSC