Art And Culture

Ancient ‘Dictionary of the Bible’ in Astan Quds Razavi Library

Ancient ‘Dictionary of the Bible’ in Astan Quds Razavi LibraryAncient ‘Dictionary of the Bible’ in Astan Quds Razavi Library

The oldest book in the Organization for Libraries, Museums, and Documents Center at Astan Quds Razavi is the Latin edition of the ‘Dictionary of the Bible,’ printed in 1473 AD coinciding with the emergence of the print industry.  

“Exquisite copies of the holy Qur’an are also available in the library in 73 languages,” said a library official, adding that the oldest available copy of the Qur’an in the French language goes back to 1857 AD, and the oldest copy of the Qur’an in English was printed in 1869 AD. The library has numerous old and valuable books, said Hamidreza Montazer-Abadi, the organization’s chairman of the foreign books section.

He also said there are 107,000 books in 90 languages for use by researchers and foreign language experts.

“The books are either donated by people to Astan Quds Razavi or bought by the cultural centers of the organization,” he said. The library offers reference and text books covering a wide range of topics in the field of Iran, Islam, the Middle East, and human sciences, not only in Persian and Arabic, but also in other languages like French, Spanish, Serbian, Urdu, Chinese, Japanese, Turkish, German, Tajik, Uzbek, Hindi, Swahili, he pointed out.  

However, he asserted that the majority of books in the foreign section of the library are either in English (77,000 books) or French (17,000 books).

Giving a history of the foreign book section of the library, he said that it was opened in 1980.

Most of the people who come to the foreign books section are researchers and students, said the official, adding that most of the foreign nationals who use the library are Pakistanis who mostly ask for books in Urdu.

Astan Quds Razavi is a matchless center of divine books in the Islamic world. The library is considered by many codicologists and researchers as one of the greatest scientific hubs in the Islamic world. Astan Quds Razavi is an autonomous charitable foundation which manages the Imam Reza (AS) shrine in Mashhad and various institutions belonging to the organization.