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 structure is looser than that found in the classical Arabic lyrical poetic form called qaṣīda: here only the endings of the hemistichs that form the single verses rhyme with each other. The poem deals with medicine, drugs, and pharmacology and is introduced by a two-page table of contents. The various sections of the manuscript cover the chemical elements, the causes of sickness, the well-being of the body, and the brain. They describe treatments for the different parts of the body, beginning with the eyes, nose, mouth, face, and ears and extending to cures for problems of the liver. The work also includes a final section on children’s health.

Date Created


Title in Original Language

ألفية في الطب اسمها مغنية المعاني صناعة الطب

Type of Item

Physical Description

44 leaves (15 lines), bound : paper ; 25 x 17 centimeters


Last updated: July 22, 2013