Vision and Objectives

Following the recent restructure of the BA’s departments, the MsC has undergone serious formative changes in its structure.It was separated from its twin institution, the Manuscript Museum, which follows another administrative sector now. The Center, still affiliated to the Academic Sector, aims at creating a lean academic entity that is more efficient, more productive and more focused. The Center has the following sections:


Academic Studies& Events Section

The section is concerned with the collection, translation and editing of first-rate researches related to Arabic/Islamic heritage. It also coordinates international cooperation with world institutes of parallel interests, and organizers the MsC’s academic events (conferences, workshops, training courses, etc.).


Manuscript Editing & Cataloging Unit

The unit operates with a team of researchers specialized in cataloging and editing Arabic/Islamic manuscripts. Among the team’s major achievements are: the completion of the cataloging of the Escorial collection of Arabic manuscripts, and the cataloging to Arabic manuscript collection at the Wellcome Trust Foundation. 


Original Manuscripts Section

The section is considered the crown jewel of the MsC as it contains its original manuscript collection. The mss collection comprises the Alexandria Municipality collection (4,923 mss: 4,421 codices & 7,668 titles), in addition to a donated collection of manuscripts (303 codices & 526 titles). The section staff manage the Manuscript Reading Room which harbors the original manuscripts and assorted references pertaining to Arabic Islamic heritage and civilization. The section is currently working on the preparation of descriptive catalogs of its full holdings and providing information services to the reading room users.

Future Plans

As part of the Academic sector, theMSC’s underlying tasks and approaches are underpinned by such a scholastic nature, and hence, its mission to contribute to the production and dissemination of rigorous knowledge about the heritage of Islam. Thus, holding scientific symposia and academic publishing became the Center’s main focus. It is currently working on publishing a number of books related to the study of Arabic/Islamic heritage. These works include the following:

  1. A variorum of the reputed Iraqi historian Dr. Jawad Ali (1907-1987) entitled “Al-Athar Al-Arabiyya”. It contains a large number of Ali’s researches on pre-Islamic history of the Arabian Peninsula and early Arabic civilization. They are collected from different sources, edited and supplemented with annexes and indexes. Al-Athar Al-Arabiyya will be released soon in two volumes from the BA.
  2. The MsC will jointly publish with the Institute of Arabic Manuscripts, the Arab League, one of the most important Arabic pharmaceutical works Chanakya’s Book of Poisons. The book is edited by the late Dr. Mohamed Yousri Salama who had scrupulously collated variant surviving copies of the original manuscript to finally produce the only complete version of this central work. .
  3. A Variorum of Max Meyerhof comprises translated researches of one of the prominent scholars in the history of Arabic medicine, the German Orientalist and Oculist Max Meyerhof. The book introduces a number of his researches translated from English, French and German into Arabic.


Accordingly, the Center’s future objectives are as follows:


- The publication of critical editions of rare mss with the collaboration of major academic centers and institutes as well as leading publishing houses.

- The collection of rare researches by eminent figures of Arabic/Islamic heritage scattered in academic periodicals.

- The translation and publication of recent first rate academic studies in related fields of Arabic/Islamic heritage.

- The edition and publication of catalogs of the Center’s ms collections with detailed descriptive data classified according to standardized sciences and arts.

- The organization of specialized, scientific conferences and courses to benefit those who are concerned with the studies of Arabic/Islamic heritage.