• Rare Books

    Rare Books


We have varied collection of 2,000 rare books in English and Arabic. Many of these books are unavailable anywhere else in the region. Many have been digitised and can be viewed via the Library catalogue.

You can view the digitized copies at:


An application to study rare books and manuscripts must be approved 24 hours in advance.

Research using MIAs Rare Books

Carole Hillenbrand is Professor of Islamic History and Head of the Department of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Edinburgh. She spent some time using the Rare Book Room in the MIA Library for her research.

Carol Hillderbrand

Carole tells us that "I have been working for a long time now on Muslim aspects of the Crusades and in particular on the concept of jihad during the two centuries of that conflict. As part of my ongoing research I was keen to examine early histories of the Crusades written in Europe in the 19th century. I wished to investigate how, during this period of supreme European self-confidence, there was a renewed and vibrant interest in the phenomenon of the medieval Crusades, in France, Germany and Britain as well as other countries in Europe. In particular, I wanted to see if the authors of jingoistic or more scholarly Crusading histories in this period showed any knowledge or opinions on jihad, a most crucial aspect of the Muslim-Crusader conflict during the years 1095-1291 and beyond.

I had previously examined the Catalogue of the Museum Library and was delighted to discover that a number of very rare 19th century European bookson the Crusades were in the Library. I identified nine possibly relevant works (mostly in French) on which I wished to focus. I decided that the most useful for my research were the following four books"

  • Barthélemyd'Herbélot de Molainville, Bibliothèqueorientale, ouDictionnaire universal contenant tout ce qui fait connaître les peuples de l'Orient, The Hague, 1777
  • H. L. Heeren, Essaisurl'influence des Croisades, trans. from German into French, by Charles Villers, Paris 1808
  • Joseph François Michaud, Histoire des Croisades, with an appendix by M. HuillardBréholles, Paris 1849.
  • Zayn al-Din Makhdum II, Tohfut-ul-Mujahideen, trans. M.J Rowlandson, London, 1833.

"It was an honour and pleasure to undertake research in January 2014 at MIA. I am very pleased to record my grateful thanks to those in the Library who helped me in pursuing this research."

Download a list of Rare Books in the MIA Library with links to digital copies.