Egypt retrieves 500-year-old manuscript on science of history

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A 500-year-old manuscript that was lost for half a century from the National Library of Egypt has finally returned home following months of negotiations.

The manuscript known as “The Summary of the Science of History” by Mohamed Bin Suliman Masood Al Kafiaji was returned to Egypt by the Bonhams Auction House following three months of talks.


The news of its return had been announced by Egypt’s minister of culture Dr. Enas Abdeldayem, and Dr. Hisham Azmy, head of the National Library of Egypt, in a press conference on Monday.

It all began last April when the Bonhams Auction House declared an auction to sell the manuscript, which alarmed institutes in Egypt, mainly the Union ofArab Archaeologists, which issued a press release appealing to those concerned to stop the selling process.

They provided records that proved the ownership of the National Library to the manuscript, including copies of its index that mention the manuscript’s title and number.

The auction house referred the issue to the possessor of the document, the grandson of a documents collector, who eventually approved its return to the Library.

The significance of the manuscript lies in it being the first Islamic study into the field of theories of history. It is characterized by its methodological originality based on tackling theoretical debate in a narrative form.

The manuscript’s author, Al Kafyaji, was the first Muslim intellectual to distinguish history from the methodology of religious research.

This manuscript acted as a reference for Muslim historians that followed.

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