The library of the Islamic Research Institute was established in 1959, with the ambition to develop a comprehensive collection on Islam and the Muslims in the major languages of the World. The library was started at Karachi with a donated collection of 2500 books from Maulana Abdul Aziz Maymani, a celebrated Arabist of the sub-continent. Since then the Institute has been making assiduous efforts to collect reading material on each field of Islamic Studies. The library, which was named after the renowned scholar Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah in 1986, is unique in many respects. It possesses original source material in Arabic, Persian and Urdu, besides a large number of important works by Muslim and non-Muslim scholars in English, French, German, Italian, Greek, Spanish, Russian and other major languages. In terms of selection of books and its stock of essential and rare works it is the best library on Islamics in Pakistan.
National Sirah Library
In 1999 government of Pakistan decided to embark upon the ambitious plan of setting up a National Sirah Library and Study Centre. The task was entrusted to the IRI. A special grant of the value of Rs.18.461 million was provided to fulfill the requirements of this project. The choice of the Institute to host this library is an expression of confidence in IRI. This fills the Institute with an added sense of responsibility to establish a facility that will adequately meet the needs of both advanced scholars and general readers. Books, manuscripts and significant publications in major languages on Sirah and related subjects are being acquired. Almost 6500 books have been acquired so far. The task is being carried out with great zeal and responsibility.
Total collection of the library is about 180,000 items, including books, bound journals, manuscripts, copies of rare and out-of-print books, pamphlets, archival material, newspaper files, microfilms, microfiche, audio and video cassettes, CDs, etc. Research material is available concerning almost all disciplines of Islamic studies and social sciences as well as contemporary Islam and the Muslim world.
The library receives 795 scholarly journals in various languages from all over the world. Local news-papers are also on its subscription list.
The library is located in the Faisal Mosque Complex. . It is on the first floor occupying 31,000 sq. ft. There are 18 research cabins and 12 study carrels located in a spacious reading hall. Additional seats have been provided in the National Sirah Library and Study Centre and 8 seats in the Periodical Section. Internet facilities are available for the researchers on 17 computer terminals.