Damascene Family Library Refaiya
This library, called "Refaiya" (Rifā'īya), comprising 458 carefully preserved volumes, handed down over several centuries until the 19th Century, is the precious core of the approximately 3,200 Oriental manuscripts, that are being kept at the University Library in Leipzig. It is probably an unique example of a cohesive, traditional Arab-Islamic family library. It could be secured undamaged in its historical condition due to the purchase by the Prussian Consul and Arabist Johann Gottfried Wetzstein from its last owner, 'Umar Efendi al-Rifā'ī al-Ḥamawī, in 1853.
The Refaiya Library is comprised of 458 manuscripts, among them 40 composite manuscripts. For the most part, the manuscripts are meticulously written and well-used exemplars. The books are fitted with original Eastern leather binding, as well as bound editions with book covers made from paperboard, colored paper as well as marbled paper. Amongst the collection are 16 valuable ornamented and illuminated books including, according to Fleischer, twelve possible autographs. Concerning the works' contents, Fleischer rightly evoked as noteworthy, that in Near Eastern mosque and madrasa libraries, ubiquitous Qur'ān and scholarly religious works, annotations, and meta-commentary are maintained "within reasonable bounds" in these private libraries, and that the specific collection composition retains an apparent systematic character.