50 results in English
The Light of the Glitter in Mathematics
This work is a versified treatise on arithmetic (‘ilam al- ḥisāb), and specifically the art of dividing inheritance (farā’iḍ), which has application in Islamic law. After a standard expression of praise for the Prophet, his companions, and later followers, the text introduces the system of place values and explains multiplication of multi-digit whole numbers and simple and compound fractions. The text presents multiple examples that are described in verbal terms. As noted at the end of the manuscript, which was completed on Monday, 20 Rabī‘ I of the year ...
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The Book of the New Chemical Medicine
This important text presents a detailed exposition of the harmony-based non-Galenic medicinal system of Paracelsus, i.e., Phillip von Hohenheim (1493-1541), the famous Renaissance author who advocated a new approach to the use of chemicals and minerals in medicine. The treatise, comprising more than 100 folio sheets, is divided into an introduction and several chapters. In the introduction, the author derives the word kīmīyā from the Greek χημεία. He attributes the foundation of the discipline to Hermes, but credits Paracelsus with shifting the discipline toward the art of medicine and ...
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World's Marvels and Substances Book
This text contains sections extracted from the second part of the well-known and highly popular work of cosmography known as ʻAjāʼib al-makhlūqāt, written in the 13th century (7th century AH) by Abū Yaḥyā Zakarīyā al-Qazwīnī. The work begins with a section on the sources and properties of gems and stones, followed by sections on herbs, seeds, nuts and fruits, spices, the body parts of animals, and so forth. It also contains geographical information, for example the names and locations of major bodies of water such as the Mediterranean Sea ...
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The Precious Necklace Regarding Weigh Scales
This treatise on scales, measures, and weighing instruments is by a prominent member of the Jabartī family, a distinguished clan of Somali-Egyptian Ḥanafī ‘ulamā’ in Ottoman-ruled Egypt. The author, Ḥasan al-Jabartī, was the father of the famous historian ‘Abd al-Rahmān al-Jabarti (1753-1826 [1167-1241 AH]). Ḥasan al-Jabartī married into wealthy military families and also inherited substantial wealth. His relatives included merchants and ship owners, and he spent part of his life in business. He had a reputation for deep learning and was credited with restoring Egypt’s prestige as a center ...
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A Light Note on the Science of Writing and Inks
This manuscript in 20 folios contains two works. The first is a treatise by Muḥammad ibn ʻĪsā al-Ṭanṭāwī on writing tools and the craft of making ink. The work is organized in seven chapters. In the first chapter, the author briefly discusses the best type of reed pens to select for writing. In subsequent chapters, he explains ways to make red, black, and other kinds of ink, including how to write in gold. The treatise was completed on Friday, 1 Rabī‘ II 1268 AH (January 24, 1852). The second work ...
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The Breakthrough in Remedying all Ailments and Complaints
This important work is a long but well-organized and clearly-written treatise on medicine, hygiene, diet, and the art of preserving good health. It focuses on simple and composite medicinal remedies. With the aid of tables, diagrams, and numerous examples, it presents a comprehensive, but accessible, synopsis of medical knowledge and medicinal treatments known at the time of its composition. The work is by the son of the well-known man of letters Nūr al-Dīn Ibrāhīm Ibn Sa‘īd al-Maghribī al-Gharnātī (1214-86 [610-85 AH]), and is dedicated to Shams al-Dīn Abū ‘Abd-Allāh ...
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Commentary by Islam's Sheikh Zakariyya al-Ansari on Ibn al-Hā’im's Poem on the Science of Algebra and Balancing Called the Creator's Epiphany in Explaining the Cogent
This work is a commentary on a versified, 59-line introduction to algebra, entitled Al-Muqni‘ fī al-jabr wa al-muqābila, by the prolific and influential mathematician, jurist, and man of letters Abū al-‘Abbās Shihāb al-Dīn Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī al-Maqdisī al-Shāfi‘ī, known as Ibn al-Hā’im (circa 1356-1412 [circa 753-815 AH]). It clarifies the nomenclature and explains the basic concepts of algebra, and provides succinct examples. The manuscript, completed on Thursday night, 8 Sha‘bān 1305 AH (March 21, 1888), is in the hand of Tāhā ibn Yūsuf.
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A Treatise on Zodiacal Signs and Constallations: Unique Jewels on the Benefits of Keeping Time
This work is an introductory, but well-organized, treatise on the elements of time-keeping and reckoning. The treatise is divided into seven sections and a conclusion. It introduces the Arabic, Coptic, and Syriac (or Alexandrian) calendars, and comments on the Persian, Roman, and Hebraic calendars. The work gives the names and lengths of the months in various calendars, explains the different methods for ascertaining the beginnings of years and months, discusses the signs of the zodiac and their relation to the four seasons, and describes the apparent motion of the sun ...
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Glosses of al-Hifnī on the Yāsamīnīyya
This work is an elaboration of the commentary written by the Egyptian mathematician Sibṭ al-Māridīnī (i.e., a commentary on another commentary), on the versified introduction, or urjūzah, to the science of algebra, originally composed by the Berber mathematician and man of letters Abū Muḥammad ‘Abd-Allāh al-Ishbīlī al-Marrakushī, also known as Ibn al-Yāsamīn (died 1204 [600 AH]). Ibn al-Yāsamīn’s work has not been examined in detail by scholars, so the apparent inclusion in this treatise of original lines by Ibn Yasamīn is of great importance in studying his contribution ...
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The Benefits from Knowing the Basics and Rules of Seafaring
This work is a collection of eight treatises related to the science of seafaring and navigation by Ibn Mājid al-Julfārī al-Sa‘dī, the most renowned Muslim navigator of the 15th century (9th century AH). It was originally assembled in 1490. The works are bound together in one large tome and include information about the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and other major bodies of water known to the author. The work meticulously lists and describes sea routes, harbors, and other points of interest to ...
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The Lifting of the Veil in the Operations of Calculation
The establishment of the Berber-Muslim dynasty of the Almohads in North Africa and Andalusia in the 12th century coincided with the decline in scientific advances in many fields of knowledge, including medicine. This was not the case with mathematics, and the treatise preserved in this manuscript together with other works by the same author stand as clear proof of the liveliness of this field under the rule of the Almohads and of the Marinid dynasty that followed. Abū ‛Abbās Ahmad Ibn al-Bannā was born in the second half of the ...
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The Desire of the Students for an Explanation of the Calculator's Craving
This manuscript offers a clear example of the liveliness of the North African mathematical tradition under the Muslim-Berber dynasties that ruled over the Islamic West from the 12th century to the first half of the 17th century. They were the Almohads (12th–13th centuries), the Marinids (13th–15th centuries), the Wattasids (15th–16th centuries), and the Saadis (16th–17th centuries). While there was little scientific advance in other fields in this period, the mathematical sciences kept on developing, as reflected both in the composition of original works and in commentaries ...
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Glosses of al-Hifnī on the Yāsamīnīyya
The mathematical tradition that developed in North Africa during the Middle Ages continued to attract the interest of scholars in subsequent centuries. Medieval treatises were extensively read and made the subject of commentaries. In many cases, these commentaries became the object of other works—or supercommentaries—aimed at further clarifying the subject of the original treatises. This manuscript is an example of this phenomenon. In the 12th century, the North African mathematician ‘Abdallāh ibn Hajjāj ibn al-Yāsamīn summarized his mathematical knowledge in a versified treatise known as Yāsamīnīyya (The treatise ...
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Facts on the Calculation of Degrees and Minutes
This manuscript by Badr al-Dīn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Ġazal (1423–1506) contains a commentary on, and abridgement of, the astrological treatise on the calculation of the movement of stars and planets, Kašf al-haqā’iq fī hisāb al-daraj wa-al-daqā’iq (The uncovering of the facts regarding the calculation of degrees and minutes), by the Egyptian astronomer and mathematician Ahmad ibn Rağab ibn al-Mağdī (1366–1447). Ibn al-Mağdī was a disciple of the famous ‘Abdallāh al-Māridīnī (or al-Mārdīnī), who was the grandfather of the author of this ...
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Small Treatise on the Calculation of Tables for the Construction of Inclined Sundials
The challenge of calculating the positions and movements of celestial bodies for the purpose of preparing astronomical tables helped to stimulate the development of very sophisticated mathematical tools at least as far back as the Middle Ages. The link between mathematics and astronomy was so strong that important authors in the field of astronomy were often distinguished mathematicians and vice versa. This was the case with Badr al-Dīn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Ġazal (1423–1506), also known as Sibt al-Māridīnī, who, according to contemporary sources, produced ...
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Quintessence of Calculation
The author of this mathematical treatise, Bahā' al-Dīn Al-‘Amilī (1547–1621), is considered one of the leading intellectuals of 17th-century Safavid Persia (present-day Iran). He was born in Baalbek (present-day Lebanon) but moved to Persia in his youth where he devoted his entire life to study. He excelled in various fields, leaving a legacy of more than 80 books on a wide variety of subjects that included theology and mysticism, astronomy, mathematics, poetry, and architecture. He wrote in both Persian and Arabic. He was the teacher of Mulla Sadra ...
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The Abridged Commentary on "The Apple in the Science of Measurement"
This manuscript is a commentary on the treatise Al-Tuffāḥa fi ‘ilm al-Misāḥa (The apple in the science of measurement), which was written at the beginning of the 12th century by the mathematician Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Ašh‘ari. The study of measures and measurement techniques (‘ilm al-misāha) was of great interest to Arabic mathematicians during the Middle Ages, both from theoretical and practical points of view. The ability to calculate the dimensions of landholdings was extremely important when it came to determining the correct amounts for inheritances and to calculating taxes ...
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Commentary on "The Compendium of Plain Astronomy"
The author this commentary, Ṣalāh al-Din Musa ibn Muḥammad, also known as Qādī  Zāda (the son of the judge), was born in Bursa (present-day Turkey) in 1364 and died in Samarkand (present-day Uzbekistan) in 1436. His first teacher, al-Fanāri, suggested that he move to the scientific centers of the time, Herat in Khorasan (present-day Afghanistan) or Bukhara or Samarkand in Transoxiana, in order to develop his extraordinary ability in the mathematical and astronomical sciences. Following this advice, Qāḍī Zāda presented himself to the Samarkand court of the very promising Ulugh ...
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The Illumination of Inheritance Calculation
Islamic law goes into great detail on the subject of the division of inheritances (farā'id) among heirs. For this reason, inheritances have received extensive treatment in books of fiqh (Islamic law) and been a subject of study for mathematicians as well. Qabas al-Daw' fī al-Hisāb (The illumination of inheritance calculation) was copied by its author, ‘Abd al-Raḥman ibn Aḥmad ibn 'Ali al-Ḥamidi, in this 1589 manuscript. The work, which he dedicated to the son of the Šāf‘ī jurist Šams al-Dīn Muhammad al-Bahwašī, is an example of a genre ...
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Commentary on the Comprehensive Book on the Management of Horses
The legal scholar ‘Umar ibn Raslān al-Bulqīnī  was from a renowned family of Egyptian scholars of Palestinian origin. In his Muqaddima (Introduction), the great Arab historian and historiographer Ibn Khaldūn (1332–1406) praised al-Bulqīnī as the most celebrated jurist of his era, even though Al-Bulqīnī did not gain the prestigious title of Šayh al-Islām until later in life. Al-Bulqīnī's erudition and deep knowledge of Islamic tradition are reflected in this work, Qaṭr al-Sayl fi Amr al-Hayl (Commentary on the comprehensive book on the management of horses), which is an ...
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The Abridged Amusement of the Calculator from "The Guide"
Much traditional scholarship holds that the period after about 1250 saw a decline in the production of scientific and philosophical works in the Arab world. This view is challenged by the impressive number of manuscripts written after that date in different Arabic-speaking countries that contain original treatises and commentaries. The work preserved in this manuscript, Nuzhat al-Hussāb al-Muhtasara min al-Muršida (The abridged amusement of the calculator from The guide), is a shorter version of Muršida fī Sina’at al-Gubar (The guide to the art of the numerals), an extensive treatise ...
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The Little Sparkles on the Science of Calculation
The treatise preserved in this manuscript, Al-Luma‘al-yasīra fī ‘ilm al-hisāb (The little sparkles on the science of calculation), deals with Muslim inheritance. Of the social innovations that came with the Islamic conquest, the introduction of the system of fara'id (shares) for inheritances was one of the most radical and socially advanced. The fourth surah of the Qur'an, verses 11–12, criticizes the traditional pre-Islamic system of agnatic succession, under which only men could inherit property, and provides for a proportional division among all the heirs, women included ...
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The Book of Elegance in the Science of Agriculture
The author of this work, Abd al-Gani ibn Isma’il al-Nabulusi (1641–1731), is considered one of the most influential and prolific Syrian writers of his time. He was affiliated with the Sufi orders of the Naqšbandiyya and the Qādirīyya and produced an impressive number of works in the fields of mysticism, theology, and poetry. He traveled extensively in the Islamic world and recorded his adventures in narratives that touch upon his private mystical experiences and the intellectual milieu of the 18th-century Islamic centers. This manuscript contains a copy of ...
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Compendium of Astronomy
Mulahhas fī al-Hay'a (Compendium of astronomy) by Sharaf al-Dīn Mahmūd ibn Muhammad ibn Umar al-Jiġhmīnī (died circa 1221) is one of the most famous textbooks of astronomy ever produced in the Islamic world. The importance of the work is clearly indicated by the existence of thousands of copies of the text, some representing the autonomous tradition of the Mulahhas itself, others preserving the work as part of the many commentaries and even supercommentaries (commentaries on commentaries) that were produced in the centuries that followed its appearance. One well-known extensive ...
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The Book of the Sundials
This 19th-century manuscript is a treatise on gnomonics, the mathematical discipline concerning the calculation of the projection of shadows for timekeeping purposes. The relatively recent date of the work attests to the great and lasting importance attributed in the Islamic world to the reckoning of time through the observation of shadow lengths. The use of gnomonics and the construction of sundials were perceived as the most religiously correct way to calculate the right times of prayers, since religious texts already define the midday (zuhr) and afternoon (‘asr) prayers in terms ...
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The Selection of Treasures Regarding Precious Stones
Kitāb nuhab al-dahā'ir fī ahwāl al-jawāhir (The selection of treasures regarding precious stones) is a treatise devoted to precious stones and, in particular, to the different kinds of hyacinth (a precious stone of the ancients, sometimes held to be the sapphire). The work opens with a draft of a poem on precious stones on the title page, probably copied at the same time as the manuscript, and proceeds with brief notes on the different kinds of hyacinth, on pearls, and on other precious stones found in water. The author ...
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The Removal of the Veil in the Description of the Quadrants
This manuscript in 12 folios is a mid-18th-century copy of Kašf al-Qinā‘ fī rasm al-arbā‘ (The removal of the veil in the description of the quadrants), a treatise devoted to the description of the astronomical instrument known as the quadrant. The treatise originally was compiled by Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad Ibn al-Aṭṭar in the first half of the 15th century on the basis of the teachings of his predecessors, al-Mājidī and Nūr al-Dīn al-Naqāš. The treatise is a precious source for understanding the degree of refinement reached by astronomical instrument making ...
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The Book on Medicine Dedicated to al-Mansur
This manuscript preserves one of the most famous medieval Arabic medical treatises, the Kitab al-Mansouri fi al-Tibb (The book on medicine dedicated to al-Mansur), which was composed by the well-known Persian physician, natural scientist, philosopher, and alchemist Abu Bakr Muḥammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi (865–925) early in the 10th century. As apparent in the title of the book, this work is dedicated to the governor of the province of Rayy (in present-day Iran and the birthplace of al-Razi), Al-Mansur ibn Ishāq. Al-Razi (also known by Latinized versions of his name ...
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The Shimmer of Al-Māridinī in the Explanation of the Treatise by al-Yāsamīn
The present manuscript preserves a very elegant copy of a work by one of the most prolific authors of the second half of the 15th century in the field of mathematics and related subjects: Badr al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Ġazal, best known as Sibṭ al-Māridīnī ("the son of al-Māridīnī’s daughter") from the name of his famous maternal ancestor, who was also a mathematician. The Lum‘a al-Māridīnīyya is an extensive prose commentary on a famous poem on algebra composed by the Maghrebi mathematician al-Yāsamīn around the last ...
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The Shimmer of Al-Māridinī in the Explanation of the Treatise by al-Yāsamīn
The mathematical tradition that flourished in North Africa and Andalusia during the Middle Ages did not undergo the same decline that many scholars claim occurred in the sciences after the first half of the 13th century. The present work supports this point. The manuscript is a very elegant copy of a mathematical text by Badr al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Ġazal, best known as Sibṭ al-Māridīnī ("the son of al-Māridīnī’s daughter") from the name of his famous maternal grandfather, who was himself a mathematician. Sibṭ al-Māridīnī's mathematical ...
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The Shimmer of Al-Māridinī in the Explanation of the Treatise by al-Yāsamīn
The 12th-century mathematical poem known as al-Yāsamīnīyya fī ‘ilm al-Jabr (The poem by al-Yāsamīn on calculus) from the name of its author, al-Yāsamīn, is one of the most read and commented upon mathematical texts of its time. Its verses have been extensively copied, both in autonomous form and by incorporation into larger commentaries up to the 20th century. The present manuscript preserves an early 20th-century copy of the 15th-century commentary on the Yāsamīnīyya written by Badr al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Ġazal, best known as Sibṭ al-Māridīnī ("the son ...
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Commentary on "The Little Sparkles on the Science of Calculation"
The system of fara'i(shares) for inheritances is considered to be one of the most advanced innovations introduced by Muslim conquerors in Middle Eastern and North African societies. The exact calculation of shares of inheritance is a complex chapter in Islamic law, and it is not surprising that Muslim intellectuals and scientists developed a system of mathematical tools in order to master "the science of the shares" (‘ilm al-fara'i). An important contribution to this field can be found in the work of Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad Ibn ...
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The Explanation of the Abridgment on Calculus
The present manuscript preserves an extensive commentary on the 17th-century mathematical treatise Al-Ḫulāṣa fī al-Ḥisāb (The abridgment on calculus), which was composed by Bahā' al-Dīn Al-‘Amilī (1547–1621), one of the leading intellectuals of 17th century Safavid Persia (present-day Iran). Born in the city of Baalbek (present-day Lebanon), Al-‘Amilī was an important figure in many different fields of knowledge, including theology, mysticism, poetry, astronomy, mathematics, and architecture. His main contribution to mathematics, the Al-Ḫulāṣa fī al-Ḥisāb, was well known and is the subject of the commentary by ...
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“The Instrument of the Beginners in the Science of the Beginning of the Months and of the Years” and “The Gem of the Disciples in the Explanation of the Instrument of the Beginners”
While in the West, particularly in modern times, poetry and science tend to differ sharply in their approach to describing the world, this is not the case in the Arabic-speaking world, where the use of the literary form of the poetical treatise has produced remarkable works in a variety disciplines, including mathematics, astronomy, alchemy, and astrology. The present manuscript shows that the tradition of the Arabic poetical treatise was not confined to the Middle Ages but was still alive in the 19th century. Aḥmad ibn Qāsim Al-Miṣrī (1814-1856) is the ...
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The Rising Stars in the Mention of Some of the Arts Required in the Science of Timekeeping
The colophon of the present manuscript—on the recto of the second folio—offers a potentially misleading view of the subject of this 16th-century treatise by Muḥammad ibn Abī al-Ḫayr al-Ḥasanī. Al-Nujūm al-Šāriqāt fī dikr baʻḍ al-ṣanā'īʻ al-Muḥtāj ilayhā fī ʻIlm al-Mīqāt (The rising stars in the mention of some of the arts required in the science of timekeeping) does not deal with the measurement of time but with the art of painting. In particular, the treatise is devoted to the ...
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The Savior from Demise: A Book on Withstanding the Harms of Deadly Poisons
The study of poisons and their remedies has played an important role in the Islamic medical tradition since the first century of the Hijra, and mention of the treatment of poisoning is already found in the hadith. The major Arabic medical encyclopedias—al-Rāzī's Kitāb Al-Manṣūrī and Al-Ḥāwī fī al-Ṭibb and Avicenna's Canon—included chapters on poisons in the early tenth and early 11th centuries. Famous authors such as Jābir ibn Ḥayyān (circa 721–815) and Moses Maimonides (the Jewish philosopher, theologian, and physician whose medical ...
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The Book of the Hyacinths in the Knowledge of the Dates of the Year
Little is known about the author of the present work, al-Ḥusayn ibn Zayd ibn ʻAlī Ibn Jaḥḥāf, apart from what can be inferred from the brief dedicatory note at the beginning of the present manuscript. It states that the work was composed for the Faṭimid caliph al-Ḥākim bi-ʼAmr Allāh, who died during the first quarter of the 11th century. The Kitāb al-Yawāqīt fī maʻrifat al-mawāqīt (The book of the hyacinths in the knowledge of the dates of the year) is composed of 12 calendrical ...
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The Book of the Explanation of the Excursion in the Science of Calculus
This 18th-century manuscript offers a clear example of the continued use in the Islamic world of the scientific commentary well after the end of Middle Ages, the period most associated with Arabic scientific achievement and this literary form. In this case, the treatise commented upon is the Nuzhat al-nuẓẓār fī ‘ilm al-ghubār (The excursion of the observer in the science of numerals), which was itself an abridgment by Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Farāḍī ibn al-Hā'im (around 1356-1412) of his own mathematical treatise entitled Murshid al-ṭālib ilā asnā' al-maṭālib (A student ...
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The Book of the Explanation of the Excursion in the Science of Calculus
The present manuscript preserves a copy of Aḥmad ibn Qāsim al-Shāfi‘ī al-Ġhazzī's Kitāb sharḥ al-nuzha fī ‘ilm al-ḥisāb (The book of the explanation of the excursion in the science of calculus), a work that exemplifies the lively interest in the mathematical sciences that persisted in the Islamic world well after the end of the "classical" period that saw the flowering of Arabic sciences. Kitāb sharḥ al-nuzha fī ‘ilm al-ḥisāb is technically a supercommentary. Al-Ġhazzī ’s work is an explanation of Nuzhat al-nuẓẓār fī ‘ilm al-ghubār (The excursion ...
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The Richness of the Meanings in the Medical Art
As the poem preserved in the present manuscript clearly shows, the tradition of didactic poetry never really died out in the Islamic world, at least until the end of the 19th century. Muġnīya al-Maʻānī Ṣināʻat al-Ṭibb (The richness of the meanings in the medical art) is a metrical compendium of medicine written in the second half of the 19th century by the erudite Ibrāhīm ibn Aḥmad al-Šhīwī al-Dasūqī al-Šhāfiʻī. The more than 1,000 verses of the Muġnīya are composed in a strict metrical form. The rhyming ...
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The Little Treatise on the Medical Treatment of the Back and of Hemorrhoids
The present manuscript preserves a copy of a brief medical treatise by the erudite polymath Aḥmad ibn ʻAbd al-Munʻim al-Damanhūrī (1690–1778). The name of al-Damanhūrī more traditionally is connected with his activity as a professor at Al-Azhar University in Cairo and with his numerous treatises on politics, Islamic law, logic, and rhetoric. One of his works, a fatwa in which he criticized the building of new churches and the reopening of old ones in 18th-century Cairo, recently has been published in English translation. The treatise in this manuscript shows ...
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The Commentary of the Šayḫ, the Head, the Extremely Knowledgeable Aḥmad al-Šāfiʻī al-Janājī al-Mālikī on the Commentary of the Šayḫ al-Islām Zakarīyā al-Anṣārī on the Compendium on the Science of Algebra and Equations by Ibn al-Hāʼim
The Arabic mathematical tradition, which flourished during the Middle Ages, transmitted and enriched the knowledge derived from Greek and Indian sources. Arabic mathematicians further developed these studies, seeking to answer theoretical as well as practical problems. Medieval Arabic mathematical treatises were extensively copied, studied, and commented upon in subsequent centuries, as exemplified in this manuscript. This supercommentary (commentary on a commentary) by Aḥmad Muhammad al-Šāfiʻī al-Janājī al-Mālikī elucidates an earlier commentary by Zakarīyā ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī (circa 1420–1519) on a work by Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Farāḍī ibn al-Hāʼim (circa ...
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