Manuscripts reveal Oman through ages

NIZWA, SEPT 15 – A manuscripts exhibition, which was organised by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture and supported by Occidental of Oman, opened at Nizwa Cultural Centre on Sunday. The exhibition was inaugurated by Shaikh Rashid bin Said al Kalbani, Wali of Nizwa. During the opening ceremony Mohammed al Maskari, Managing Director of Manuscripts at the Ministry of Heritage and Culture, said the exhibition featured ancient manuscripts and documents. It carries an important message to preserve Omani manuscripts for future generations. A documentary on the manuscripts was then screened.
The exhibition comes to honour and commemorate the efforts of the late Sayyid Faisal bin Ali al Said to preserve and disseminate the Omani intellectual heritage.
It hosts 15 manuscripts, in cooperation with Memory of Oman and the House of Restoration with the aim of involving interested entities in manuscripts to highlight the Omani heritage.
It will feature manuscript dating back 531H, which is around 900 years ago. A rare manuscript of jurisprudence entitled “Majmoa Al-Syar Al-Jawabat” (a collection of biographies and answers). It is regarded as the oldest Omani manuscript found ever. It was transcribed in 531 of the Hijri Calendar. The manuscript contains assortment of biographies and answers. The most important content is the commentary on Al-Manahi book written by Abi Malik Ghasan bin Mohammed bin al Khodhor al Salani, a prayer book and rare jurisprudence answers by Abi Abdullah Mohammed bin Mahbob (3rd Hijri Century).
It also features Masel Moeain bin Moeain (questions of Moeain) written by Abi al Hasan al Basiawi and answers given by Abi Alqasim Said bin Quraish al Aqri al Nazwai (5th Hijri Century) to the questions of Kolwa people. There is also a rare copy of the Holy Quran (Mushaf) of the Seven Modes of Recitation as transcribed by the renowned Omani Calligrapher Abdulla bin Bashir bin Masoud al Hadhrami of Suhar (Hijri 12th Century). Calligrapher Al Hadhrami had meticulously arranged the Mushaf pages and lines in such an innovative way that each page contains 15 lines where the first letter of the first word in the first line on top of each page corresponds with the first letter of the first word in the last line at the bottom of the same page, and the same applies to the first letter of the first word in the second line from top of the page which corresponds with the first letter of the first word in the second line from the bottom of the same page, and so forth.
Omani Calligrapher Al Hadhrami completed this Mushaf transcription in 1153 of the Hijri Calendar.
A manuscript written by the Omani doctor Rashid bin Omaira bin Thani bin Khalaf al Hashmi (10-11th Hijri Century) contains a number of medical topics a poem of on the life of mankind, poem on anatomy of the human body and a letter on cautery. It also has a diagram of eye and how it is linked to the brain.
Nabhat Alghafil (unmindful attention) is a manuscript of marine science written by unknown author. The manuscript contains nautical and astronomical tables for latitude and longitude, the use of compass to show directions, beautiful drawings of sailing ships and an instrument to show latitude and longitude. It was transcribed by Said bin Salim bin Said al Jamaei in 1326 of the Hijri Calendar.
Al Moatabar is a manuscript of jurisprudence transcribed on multicoloured papers written by the Omani Abi Said Mohammed bin Said al Kadami (4th Hijri Century). It was transcribed by the Calligrapher Hamad bin Owaimer al Khamisi in 1305 of the Hijri Calendar and bound by the Royal Press in Zanzibar.
The exhibition also features devices used in the manuscript photography, the process of developing these devices and the stages of filming the manuscript and save it by digital copying. It also includes a corner for tools used in the restoration of manuscripts, process of restoration and binding.
Besides the exhibition, a training course on (how to read a manuscript) and another course in Arabic calligraphy will be held. The one-year exhibition was earlier held in Muscat and Dhofar.