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 commentary is that by Ṣalāh al-Din Musa ibn Muḥammad (also called Qādī Zāda, died 1436). The Mulahhas was translated into Persian and Turkish in the early modern period. Its clearly didactic aim made it part of the educational curriculum in different lands of the Islamic world, and students often read the Mulahhas together with one of its later commentaries. Al-Jiġhmīnī's compendium is made up of three sections: an introduction devoted to the general description of celestial and terrestrial bodies; the first part of the treatise containing an explanation of the celestial orbs and planets; and the second part of the treatise that deals with the Earth. As an elementary introduction for students, the book does not contain any complex mathematical calculations, but it does provide the theoretical framework in which such astronomical calculations can be understood. The copy of the Mulahhas fī al-Hay'a preserved in this manuscript is enriched by drawings of the orbits of the sun and other planets early in the work and of the seven climatic zones of the Earth in the middle.

Date Created


Title in Original Language

ملخص في الهيئة

Type of Item

Physical Description

26 leaves (21 lines), bound : paper ; 23 x 16 centimeters


  • Paper: thick, cream-colored paper, with watermarks, in moderate condition. Black and violet ink in text. Catchwords on rectos. Naskhī script. Sketches of the orbit of sun and other celestial bodies on fol. 3b and the 7 zones of habitation (aqālīm) on folio 19b. Binding: modern cardboard covered in cloth with leather spine.


Last updated: March 16, 2012