The Commentary of the Šayḫ, the Head, the Extremely Knowledgeable Aḥmad al-Šāfiʻī al-Janājī al-Mālikī on the Commentary of the Šayḫ al-Islām Zakarīyā al-Anṣārī on the Compendium on the Science of Algebra and Equations by Ibn al-Hāʼim


The Arabic mathematical tradition, which flourished during the Middle Ages, transmitted and enriched the knowledge derived from Greek and Indian sources. Arabic mathematicians further developed these studies, seeking to answer theoretical as well as practical problems. Medieval Arabic mathematical treatises were extensively copied, studied, and commented upon in subsequent centuries, as exemplified in this manuscript. This supercommentary (commentary on a commentary) by Aḥmad Muhammad al-Šāfiʻī al-Janājī al-Mālikī elucidates an earlier commentary by Zakarīyā ibn Muḥammad al-Anṣārī (circa 1420–1519) on a work by Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Farāḍī ibn al-Hāʼim (circa 1356–1412) concerning the algebraic equality and inequality of functions. It touches upon various mathematical solutions to concerns of daily life, such as the fair distribution of inheritances and other problems of a purely practical nature. Al-Hāʼim’s writings had the didactic aim of presenting complex mathematical achievements of both Greek and Arabic origin to the wider public. This manuscript was copied in 1888 by a scribe named Ṭaha ibn Yūsuf in Nasta’liq script in black ink framed by double red lines, with the outer margins used for subheadings. The manuscript was in the collection of Shaykh Maḥmūd al-Imām al-Manṣūrī, professor of religion at Al-AzharUniversity in Cairo, which was purchased by the Library of Congress in 1945.

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Title in Original Language

حاشية الشيخ الإمام العالم العلامة أحمد الشافعي الجناجي المالكي على شرح شيخ الإسلام زكريا الأنصاري على المقنع لابن الهائم في علم الجبر والمقابلة

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Physical Description

89 leaves (23 lines), bound : paper ; 23 x 17 centimeters


Last updated: July 25, 2013