Curative Epistle for Difficult Maladies


Al-Risālah al-mushfīyah li al-amrāḍ al-mushkilah (Curative epistle for difficult maladies) by Faydi Mustafa Hayati Zadah (died circa 1738) is a medical work devoted to hypochondria, a condition that the author claims arises from the accumulation of putrified and viscous humors in the digestive organs (primarily the liver and the spleen). In addition to the malady (which presents a myriad of symptoms including delirium, chest pains, and tinnitus), the term hypochondria is defined by the author as a specific part of the anatomy, i.e., under the cartilage of the ribs. Hayati Zadah notes the distinction between hypochondria associated with an excess of black bile versus that which is not associated with such an excess, a distinction that he claims was not made by the physicians of the Hellenistic world, but which he credits to later, “Latinate,” scientists from Europe. Almost nothing is known about the author. The appellation al-Rumi, which  is associated with Hayati Zadah, suggests that he was active in Anatolia, then under Ottoman Turkish rule. He is known to have written at least one other medical treatise, Rasā’il Fayḍīyah fī lughat al-mufradāt al-ṭibbīyah (The Faydi epistles on medical terminology). The present manuscript includes catchwords and rubrication. The scribe has provided a table of contents as an introductory section of this work. He also complains about the lack of accuracy with regard to his manuscript sources.

Last updated: June 16, 2016