Al-Aqsa Mosque Library
P.O. Box 19004
al-Aqsa Mosque Library (MMA)
There are about 1,000 manuscripts in the library as well as 644 Qura’ns dating from the 9thP to the 13th century. The Qura’nic manuscripts vary in language and size. The oldest, Kufic text is dated from the second century after the hijra. The library contains another 70 titles of historical newspapers and magazines and approximately 10,000 printed books including 2000 rare titles. In addition, there are also 150 stone and metal inscriptions, more than half of which have never been published.
The collections of the library can be divided into three parts:
Books: The number of books in the library is around 20,000, and includes a significant collection of publications dealing with Islamic archaeology, most of which are in English, with a few in French. Within the collection are about two thousand titles that go back to the Ottoman period, written in Ottoman Turkish using the Arabic alphabet.
Manuscripts: Most of the manuscripts were written in Arabic, with only a small portion written in Ottoman Turkish or Persian. The library has about 2,000 titles, which go back to the various Islamic periods from the 5th century to the end of the Ottoman period. The manuscript collection has come from a variety of sources. Perhaps the best source is the remains of the libraries of the madaras of Jerusalem that were widespread within the walled Old City. Those manuscripts were gathered together and deposited in the library, which was opened in 1922 by the Supreme Islamic Council in Palestine under the name of “Dar Kutub al-Masjid al-Aqsa”. Another part of the manuscripts derive from the libraries of some of Jerusalem scholars such as Fayd Allah al-‘Alami and the Shaykh Khalil al-Khalidi. The library of Shaykh al-Khalidi includes a collection of manuscript titles that he photographed in the 1930s during his repeated travels to Spain and Morocco and the states of Ottoman Europe. The condition of this collection is good. The last component of the collection of manuscripts is the remains of the manuscripts of Shaykh Muhammad al-Khalili, who died in 1734. This collection reached the library of the Masjid al-Aqsa at the end of the 1970s after having been moved from place to place among the descendents of the Shaykh, which led to many of their pages becoming loose. The condition of this collection is poor to very poor. Not a single copy has been unaffected by worms, to the extent that some of them are no longer usable. This state has resulted from the storage of the library in bags in places that suffer from moisture.
Newspapers and Magazines: The collection of newspapers and magazines that the library has goes back to around 1870 at the end of the Ottoman period, up to 1952 around the end of the British Mandate period. There are about 70 titles of newspapers from Palestine and the Arab world and some from European and Asian countries. The number of volumes of each newspaper varies one from the other. Some of them are complete, such as the newspaper of the Arab League, while others have only a few issues, such as the newspaper al-Falah, which was published semi-weekly in Mecca in 1920. The library has about 30 magazine titles from the same time range as the newspapers, including some in English. Half of the newspapers and magazines were published in Palestine, in Jerusalem, Jafa and Haifa. The other half comes from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Morocco and Algeria.
Two major digitisation projects have been completed by 2013. Both were funded and guided by the British Library Endangered Archives Programme, and carried out by Qasem abu Harb:
Saturday – Wednesday, 15:00 - 18:00
The archive or library is open to the public
Documents can be photocopied, using the photocopier and scanner available.
Entry prepared on november 2018.
Jerusalem historical libraries and archives revisited, Revised report prepared for Open Jerusalem, October 2014, Merav Mack
Author : Open Jerusalem http://www.openjerusalem.org/