The Luminance of Explication and Mysteries of Proof in the Understanding of the Paradigms of the Science of Weights and Measures. Part One


This manuscript consists of the first part of Anwār al-bayān wa asrār al-burhān fī fahm awzān ʻilm al-mīzān (The luminance of explication and mysteries of proof in the understanding of the paradigms of the science of weights and measures). It was composed by the Persian alchemist Aidamur ibn ʻAli ibn Aidamur al-Jaldaki (also seen as al-Gildaki, died circa 1342). The author's name indicates that he was born in Jaldak, in present-day Afghanistan. Over the course of 17 years, al-Jaldaki traveled to Iraq, Asia Minor, West Africa, Egypt, Yemen, Hejaz, and Syria. These journeys are recounted in another of his works, Nihāyat al-ṭalab fī sharḥ kitāb al-muktasab (The limits of pursuit in regard to the explanation of the book of acquired [knowledge]). Al-Jaldaki is considered one of the last outstanding Islamic alchemists. The first part of his book concerns the relationship between the Creator and the created world, as well as the relationships between the higher and lower planes of existence in their various manifestations. This part also contains information on the relationship of metals to their corresponding planets and other chemical information. The second part is on ʻAli (the Prophet’s son-in-law and a central figure to the esoteric traditions of Islam) and the Greek philosopher Apollonius of Tyana. The third part is a commentary on Nihāyat al-ṭalab wa aqṣā ghāyāt al-arab (The utmost pursuit and the remotest scheme) by the Persian-born Jabir ibn Hayyan (circa 737–circa 815). The fourth part of the work is described by the author as “On that which we have promised in our books and on what we have indicated … to those endowed with gnosis.” This manuscript contains part one of the work, at the conclusion of which the author warns against sharing the contents of his work with those who are unworthy. The colophon of this manuscript refers to the work by the shorter form of its title Kitāb al-burhān fī asrār ‘ilm al-mīzān (Proof of the secrets of the science of weights and measures), referring to the author as Nur al-Din ʻAli ibn Aidamur. The provenance and date for the manuscript have been effaced, apparently on purpose.


Title in Original Language

أنوار البيان وأسرار البرهان في فهم أوزان علم الميزان

Type of Item

Physical Description

224 folios ;  248 x 160 millimeters



  1. A.Z. Iskandar, A Catalogue of Arabic Manuscripts on Medicine and Science in the Wellcome Historical Medical Library (London: Wellcome Historical Medical Library, 1967).

Last updated: August 15, 2016