There are nearly 900 codices, of which the bulk were acquired in 1901 with the purchase of the Crawford collection.
The collection is a notable one, containing many unique and rare codices, covering roughly 1,000 years and having a wide subject range.
It includes many Qur'ans (among them texts in Kufic from the 9th and 10th centuries AD and a rare 15thcentury trilingual version from Mamluk Egypt), other religious material, and texts relating to history, law, science, medicine, geography, cosmography, astronomy, astrology, philosophy, literature, etc.
Over 800 papyri were also acquired from Lord Crawford, consisting of private letters, tradesmen's and household accounts, receipts for payment of kharaj (land tax), and other documents. The greater number of dated items belong to the 3rd century AH, a few to the 2nd, some to the 4th and, perhaps, a very few to the 5th. The town most frequently mentioned is Ushmunaya, or Ashmûnein, the Greek Hermopolis, whose inhabitants were largely Copts.
There are also almost 1,500 uncatalogued paper fragments, of which the majority derived from the Synagogue of Ben Ezra in Old Cairo and were acquired in 1954 when the Library purchased the collection of Dr Moses Gaster.
- A. Mingana, Catalogue of the Arabic Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library (Manchester, 1934)
- C.E. Bosworth, 'A Catalogue of Accessions to the Arabic Manuscripts in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester.Part 1 & Part 2', Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester , vol. 56 (1973-4), pp. 34-73, 256-96; (563 & 484 Kb)
- D.S. Margoliouth, Catalogue of Arabic Papyri in the John Rylands Library (Manchester, 1933) (14 Mb)
- Prefaces & Index Of Plates
- I Documents Of An Official Character
- II Documents Connected With Tax Collection
- III Receipts For Payment Of Kharaj
- IV Orders For Conveyance By Post-Mules
- V Rolls And Registers
- VI Private Letters, Complete Or Nearly Complete
- VII Private Letters, Fragmentary
- VIII Orders For Goods, Etc.
- IX Contracts And The Lurn
- X Receipts And Affidavits
- XI Accounts Chiefly In Words
- XII Accounts In Figures
- XIII Magic
- XIV Literary Fragments
- XV Minor Fragments
- G. Rex Smith and Moshalleh al-Moraekhi, 'The Arabic Papyri of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester', Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester , vol. 78, no. 2 (1996), pp. 5-232