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Kitab al-Muhammadiyah.

Istanbul: Mehmet Riza Efendi Tash Destgah, 1298 AH / 1880-1 CE Stock Code: 122439
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Uncommon Istanbul imprint of this popular Turkish translation of the Magharib al-Zaman (Sunsets of Time), a devotional work on the Prophet Muhammad, written in Arabic by the Ottoman Sufi poet Yazıcıoğlu Mehmet (d. 1491; his name means "son of the scribe") and translated into Ottoman Turkish by his younger brother Ahmed Bican. Mehmet, a native of the Gallipoli peninsula, was a follower of Haci Bayram-i Veli (1352-1430) and influenced by the writings of Andalusian mystic Ibn 'Arabi, whose Fusus al-Hikam he translated into Turkish.

The Muhammadiyah covers Muhammad's biography, various aspects of Muslim devotion, and eschatological matters, including Gog and Magog, the Sun rising in the west, and the Day of Resurrection; Mehmet is notably preoccupied with the eschatological role of Jesus and of the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453. The earliest edition traced was printed in 1842 at Istanbul's Military Press ('Askeri Tab'hane). The book appears to have gone through numerous editions with various Istanbul printers throughout the 19th century, but surviving examples are uncommon, with 12 copies traced in libraries world-wide, of which six represent printings earlier than our copy.

Our copy belonged to British diplomat Charles Palmer, who as vice consul at Çanakkale during the build-up to the Great War filed numerous reports for Naval Intelligence on German and Ottoman mobilisation; when war began he was drafted into the Royal Navy and served on the staff of John de Robeck, commander of the Allied fleet in the Dardanelles. He is a major figure in 36 Days, a recent reappraisal of the Gallipoli landings by Australian military historian Hugh Doland (2010).

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Quarto (275 x 200 mm), pp. 7, 4, 478. Contemporary Turkish goatskin, rebacked at an early date with black roan, covers elaborately gilt with fillet borders enclosing strapwork roll with floral infill, an inner vermiculate roll linking floral cornerpieces, and a large doubled arabesque device in blind to centre, gilt-tooled fore-edge flap with English comb-marbled paper verso, pink endpapers.


Lithographed throughout. Text in double column, framed, floral section headings; tughra of Sultan Abdul Hamid II and bookseller's advertisement printed in gilt (as issued) to opening page, pp. 2-3 (opening spread of main text) also printed in gilt with fl


Purple ink stamp, "C. E. S. Palmer, H.B.M. Consul" to opening page (see below), together with a further ownership ink stamp in Ottoman, an effaced Ottoman inscription, and a partial reproduction of the tughra. Extremities slightly rubbed, a few superficial worm-tracks to boards, contents browned, occasional nicks and chips to page-edges, sporadic foxing and marking, a number of vignettes sometime coloured in by hand with a purple pencil, closed tear to upper outer corner of pp. 3/4 of the main text and an extensive closed tear to pp. 165/6, both partially repaired with all the text intact, old repair to terminal licence leaf. In good condition, complete with the terminal licence leaf.


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Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.

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