Within the cooperation between the National Museum and the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts in Saint Petersburg in the Russian Federation, the manuscript “Collection of proses in Marine sciences”(Al-Safaliyah, Al-Mu’allaqiyah and Al-Ta’i) by the Omani navigator Shihab al-Din Ahmad bin Majid al Saadi, was inaugurated today on loan from the Institute of the Oriental Manuscripts in St. Petersburg.
The event was held under the patronage of Salim bin Mohammad al Mahrouqi, Minister of Heritage and Tourism and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Museum, with the participation of Prof Dr Irina Fyodorvna Popova, Director of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts in St. Petersburg, in the Maritime History Hall of the National Museum.
After the inauguration of the manuscript, the National Museum held a lecture titled “Some Pearls of the Arabic collection of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, RAS” presented by Prof. Dr Irina Fyodorvna Popova, Director of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts in St. Petersburg. It included a number of topics, most notably a historical overview of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts and its most prominent founders. Reference is made to the Arabic manuscripts preserved at the Institute, for example, the manuscript “al-Jawhara” and the poetic scrolls of the Omani navigator Ahmed bin Majid al Saadi, as well as addressing the efforts to restore and preserve Arabic manuscripts, and shed light on the expansion operations in the Institutes, structure over the years.
The lecture further referred to the existing cooperation between the Institute and the Sultanate of Oman and the support the Institute received from the late Sultan Qaboos bin Said. It is represented in restoring the Building’s western wing of the institute to be equipped according to the highest international standards in order to preserve the Omani and Arabic manuscripts.
Meanwhile, the Board of Trustees of the National Museum held its eighth meeting under the chairmanship of Salim Mohammed Al Mahrouqi, Minister of Heritage and Tourism, Chairman of the National Museum’s Board of Trustees.
Jamal bin Hassan al Moosawi, Secretary-General of the National Museum said, “The presentation of the original manuscript of a group of poetic scrolls in maritime navigation (al-Safaliyah, al-Mu’allaqiah, al-Ta’i) by the Omani navigator Shihab al-Din Ahmad bin Majid Al Saadi came in the context of the existing cooperation between the National Museum and the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts in the Russian Federation. Coinciding with the Sultanate of Oman’s celebration of Unesco’s inclusion of the Omani navigator Ahmed bin Majid in the list of globally influential personalities, he became the sixth Omani figure to be included in the program of commemorating important historical events and globally influential personalities. The manuscript on display is considered the oldest in the world, and after five centuries it will be available to all visitors to the National Museum for a period of three months. It is noted that the National Museum also displays the manuscript of the Omani navigator Ahmed bin Majid “the Book of the Benefits of the Principles and Foundations of Seamanship” loaned from the al-Assad National Library in the Syrian Arab Republic”.
On her part, Prof. Dr Irina Feodorvna Popova said “In history, the name Ahmad bin Majid is very important, where at his time he flourished. Ahmad bin Majid left a collection of poems that represent his navel chats and still exist in the manuscript form that are collected and kept in the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts in St. Petersburg Russia. The poems summarise his navigation in the Indian ocean, where he taught the Europeans a lot within the field of marines and navigation and this represent a cultural bridge between the Arabs and the Europeans.”— ONA