Join the Preservation and Conservation (PAC) Centre hosted at Qatar National Library for this Introduction to Arabo-Islamic Manuscript Culture Intensive Course, organised by Qatar National Library and the Chair of Islamic History and Culture, University of Tübingen, Germany.

At the heart of this introductory course are manuscripts and the knowledge they contain. The course consists of six open lectures and three closed practical sessions, taking students on an exploration of Islamic intellectual heritage from its origins to the modern era.

The lectures begin by tracing fundamental perspectives of heritage, along with related terms, concepts and disciplines dealing with manuscripts. After a survey of writing materials and formats, the course will focus on the Arabo-Islamic manuscript tradition, outlining its textual and physical aspects. It will also discuss the cultural history of the Qur’an and Hadith documentation and authorship, as well as issues in the history of reading, learning and the transmission of knowledge, the role of libraries, the book trade, and the preparation of editions. 

The course will follow the dynamic life cycle of the manuscript and the text, starting from the origin of the work (authorship) and its manifestations and textual relations, through the production of the manuscript(s), until the reception of both in the past and present, considering the social and cultural contexts.

By the end of the course, attendees will have the basic knowledge and context to better understand the intellectual and social contexts of Arabo-Islamic books and deal with manuscripts in Arabic language and script.


The course will be delivered by Mahmoud Zaki, Manuscript Librarian at Qatar National Library, and Regula Forster, Professor of Islamic History and Culture at the University of Tübingen, with Juliane Müller, Research Associate at the Department of Oriental and Islamic Studies of the University of Tübingen, as a guest lecturer. 


The course is taught in both Arabic and English, with simultaneous interpretation. Q&As and participation in sessions can be in either Arabic or English.

The course will be conducted online via Zoom.

To attend the open lectures of the course (1000 seats available), please register below before 20 June 2021. Attendees will receive a confirmation, and the Zoom link will be sent prior to the event.

Eligibility and applying for the practical sessions:

The three practical sessions will provide participants remotely with a “virtual practical experience” working with manuscripts from the collections of Qatar National Library, the Tübingen University Library and beyond. Sessions are limited to 15 participants.

Eligibility: Open to all individuals with a basic understanding of the classical Arabic language and a professional or scholarly interest in manuscripts.

Applying: Participants interested in these sessions need to email a short CV and motivation statement (max. 1 page each, in PDF format as a single file) to by 15 May 2021. Please add “Manuscript Course” in the subject line. Successful applicants will be notified by 31 May 2021, with an acceptance deadline of 7 June 2021.

A certificate of attendance will be issued upon request. 

Click here to download the course flyer [PDF]. 

For more information, the programme for each day and the registration link, see: Introduction to Arabo-Islamic Manuscript Culture: An Intensive Course