A Compendium Aiming at Preservation of Health and Repelling of Disease


This work is a manuscript copy of Jāmi‘ al-gharaḍ fī ḥifẓ al-ṣiḥḥah wa-daf‘ al-maraḍ (A compendium aimed at preserving health and repelling disease) by the Syrian physician Abu al-Faraj ibn Ya‘qub Ibn al-Quff (1233–86). The work consists of 60 chapters treating various topics of health and hygiene. The chapter headings include kalām kullī fī ḥifẓ al-ṣiḥḥah (General remarks regarding the preservation of health), fī ḥifẓ ṣiḥḥat al-hublā (On preserving the health of a pregnant woman), and fī ḥifẓ ṣiḥḥat al-murḍi‘a (On preserving the health of a nursing woman). Subsequently, separate chapters treat al-ṭifl (the health of a child), al-shābb (an adolescent), al-kahl (a middle-aged person), and al-shaykh (an aged person). Other chapters include treatments for fī ḥifẓ ṣiḥḥat al-musāfir fī al-barr (the health of wayfarers on land), as well as fī ḥifẓ ṣiḥḥat al-rākib fī al-baḥr (the health of passengers at sea). Ibn al-Quff treats the question of proper nutrition extensively, devoting a number of chapters to various foods and beverages. He also discusses the effects of bathing, massage, and sexual intercourse on the health of the individual. Ibn al-Quff received his first medical training as an adolescent in Sarkhad, Syria, under the celebrated physician and historian of medicine, Ibn Abi Usaybi‘ah (died 1269 or 1270). He continued his training in Damascus, and subsequently moved to Ajlun to serve as a practicing physician for the decade spanning 1262 to 1272. He then returned to Damascus, where he continued serving as physician for the remainder of his life. In addition to Jāmi‘ al-gharaḍ fī ḥifẓ al-ṣiḥḥah wa-daf‘ al-maraḍ, Ibn al-Quff wrote several other major medical treatises and is perhaps best known for his al-Shāfī fī al-ṭibb (Comprehensive work on the healing arts), completed in 1272. The scribe for the present manuscript lists his name as Spir Sarruf and states in the colophon that he completed copying the work on the “second Sunday in Lent, 1830.”

Last updated: December 29, 2015