|This searching system is released for using the original catalogue attached (including titles, author and additional bibliographical information) and the digitized images of Daiber collection at the same time. The corresponding images are linked from the bibliographical information written in the catalogue.|
This collection is the corpus of manuscripts mainly focused on Arabic, collected by Dr. Hans Daiber, a professor of Islamic studies in Germany, over many years. Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo purchased the collection, its first part in 1986-1987 and its second part in 1994.
The culture of Islam can be described as it is originated from one book revealed by God, namely, the Qur'an. This particular book has created a large amount of commentaries of various kinds. Scholars have composed many books of Arabic grammar and lexicography to comprehend its language with subtle shades of meaning. Moreover, Prophet Muhammad’s words and activities were compiled in Hadith collections, later often with their voluminous commentaries. Enquiries of the beloved prophet and his followers in the first generations produced history books. Further, historians started to record the footsteps of the Muslim community in detail. Jurisprudence has discussed on all issues of life without leaving any details out in order to systematically organize the way of life according to God’s will and has produced a vast amount of books. Theologians have written many books and treaties from various viewpoints either to establish the true doctrine based on the Qur'an or to refute other religions and “deviated” creeds. Those who were eager to feel in themselves the Divine presence as the prophet did at his receiving the revelation analyzed their own inner experience and put together in form of philosophy or poems their experience as mystics. Philosophical and scientific investigations of all things in the universe were recognized in Islam as those of God’s will in His creation and produced more writings. With the passage of time, various disciplines of Islamic learning have been creating innumerable books around a book revealed by God.
There is no royal road to understanding Islam but reading through these books. Active publication in Muslim and non-Muslim countries replaces the old age’s manuscripts and lithograph editions by letterpress and digital printing in recent years. Publication of classical literary work in printed form enables us to read books formerly existing only in manuscripts in an easier way. However, the important literary documents that have been left in libraries and archives in Muslim lands are still out there without being printed. Moreover, even if it was printed, there are the ones without meticulous editorial work. We cannot read manuscripts as easy as printed texts, but they give us profitable information that printed books cannot supply. This is because manuscripts have been perused every page from generation to generation and errors have often been corrected. It is certain that the effect of the manuscripts is more than the substitution of the printed books. As for understanding the contents of the text, printed books are presumably better than manuscripts if texts were interpreted and reproduced correctly, but printed books do not express the presence of scholars in those days, reflected in the ink brush, ink, paper, handwritten letters and bindings. Manuscripts are surely effective to get even closer to the actual scene of Islamic learning.
This collection is not massive nor contains manuscripts with extremely high artistic value, but it covers various disciplines of Islam and it is making out the bird’s-eye view of traditional Islamic learning as a whole. As a part of the Digital Library of the Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo, here we open to the web all manuscripts of Daiber Collection, 367 of Part I and 153 of Part II. Each part contains approximately 850 and 500 texts. To be more precise, we find among the topics of the texts such various disciplines as the Sciences of the Qur'an (including Commentaries and Readings of the Qur’anic text), Hadith of Prophet Muhammad, Jurisprudence (including theoretical principles and positive law), Ethical theory, Didactic discourse, Theology (including Creeds and Eschatology), Sufism, Philosophy (including Metaphysics, Natural philosophy and Logic), Art of disputation, Grammar, Lexicography, Prosody, Rhetoric, Poems, Narratives, Geography, Biography and History, Medical art, Algebra and Geometry, Astrology, Interpretation of dreams, and Alchemy. Each manuscript was collected from different places in the Muslim world. Most of them were transcribed in Turkey and Syria, and some are thought of as they were copied in Yemen, Morocco, Iran, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, and India. The age of their transcriptions has not always been known, but manuscripts copied in 18th century are the most abundant while the earliest is in the middle of the 12th century A.D. and the most recent in the beginning of the 20th century A.D.
Professor Daiber who collected the manuscripts prepared two volumes of the Collection Catalogue. This Database offers a digitalized text of the same catalogue together with the manuscript images. (See the Introduction of the Catalogue written by Professor Daiber for the entire content of this Collection.)
This Collection contains rich research materials over many fields that bring out the Muslim way of life directly or indirectly. Releasing the Collection in this way may enable more researchers to have access to these materials closer. We hope this Database contribute to the advancement of Islamic studies towards better understanding the richness and diversity of the culture.