His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah
His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: Marking a significant contribution to the preservation of Arab and Islamic cultural heritage, His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has directed the restoration of eight rare Arabic books housed at El Escorial Library in Spain.

The restoration project is part of his efforts to preserve the global heritage and manuscripts of El Escorial, particularly those related to Arab and Islamic cultures.

The books slated for restoration include Ibn Arjomand’s Al Ajrumiyyah, three copies of the Quran from 1257, 1402, and 1397, Abu Al Fida’s book on human history summaries, Tarikh Al Mukhtasar Fi Akhbar Al Bashar; Al Asfahani’s book of songs, Al Aghani; Al Milal Wa Al Nihal; and Kharidat Al Ajaib Wa Faridat Al Ghraib.

Through this initiative, Sharjah is making the first global contribution to the preservation of the rare and invaluable books and manuscripts at El Escorial Library that document Arab and Islamic history. Sheikh Sultan had visited the library in 2019, resulting in collaborations between the emirate and the library in various fields, including restoring and showcasing rare Arabic books to interested parties.

Special show

The restoration project coincides with the opening of ‘The Arabic Manuscript Collection of El Escorial’ exhibition at the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA). The event, held in collaboration with El Escorial library, showcases 14 rare manuscripts from the 13th to 16th centuries and runs till April 9. Sharjah is the first city to host an exhibition of the largest collection of rare Arabic artifacts from the El Escorial Library outside of Spain.

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Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Amiri

Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Amiri, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority, said: “The directives of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammad AlQasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, to restore a collection of rare Arabic books preserved in the Spanish El Escorial Library, translate His Highness’s commitment to preserving the Arab and Islamic cultural heritage and emphasises its influence and significance in the history of human knowledge.”

He added: “As a historian and author, His Highness possesses a deep understanding and great appreciation for the value of these manuscripts to Arab culture.”

Al Amiri continued: “This step bolsters Sharjah’s status as a world book capital and a beacon of Arab and Islamic culture, further solidifying its leading role in launching initiatives that protect the rare contents of historical libraries, in line with the emirate’s extended efforts to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of countries.

“His Highness’s initiative carries an important message for all of us and all cultural institutions in the world. It underscores that future aspirations and the adoption of comprehensive development strategies cannot be realized without safeguarding and preserving the roots of authentic cultures and their achievements.”