The library

The Library is the beating heart of PISAI. Since its foundation, it has specialized in books and publications dealing with Arab and Muslim culture, in keeping with the Institute’s scientific approach regarding sources in their original language, as well as texts of orientalists and works dedicated to interreligious dialogue.
The Library currently contains more than 38000 volumes, one third of which are in Arabic, 900 publications, 250 rare editions or those no longer published and 60 manuscripts in a variety of languages. Qur’anic Studies constitutes a sizeable section with various editions and translations of the Qur’an, the great classical commentaries and the more important collections of Hadiths.
The collection held in the main Library is divided into sections by subject and covers the more important fields of Islamic Sciences.

Donations from a number of benefactors have enabled the creation of some interesting Special Collections

Searching for texts online is possible through accessing the OSEEGENIUS CATALOGUE and for publications through the Publications Search Engine.


historical notes

The foundations for what would become the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies were laid by the Society of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) in Tunis in 1926 in their training centre for priests and religious appointed to work in close contact with Muslims in different parts of the world. In 1931, the centre adopted the name Institut des Belles Lettres Arabes (IBLA).
The project developed and in 1949 the teaching work of the centre was separated from its other activities and a house for the study of Arabic and Islamic Studies was set up at La Manouba on the northern outskirts of Tunis. By a Decree of the Congregation for Seminaries and Universities, this study centre became the Pontifical Institute for Oriental Studies (IPEO). In 1964, the Institute was transferred to Rome where it occupied a small building in Viale XXX Aprile and changed its name to the Pontifical Institute for Arabic Studies (IPEA) so as not to be confused with the Pontifical Oriental Institute. At the same time, the core of the library which had been established in Tunis in 1950 was also transferred and, from then on, underwent a sizeable increase. Since 1979, thanks to the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana, the Institute was given its current name Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies (PISAI).



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