The Elucidation of the Memoir on Astronomy by Ṭūsi


This manuscript is a commentary on Naṣīr al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad Ṭūsi's al-Tadhkira fī al-‘ilm al-hay’a (Memoir on astronomy). Written in the second half of the 13th century, Ṭūsi's work was hugely influential for subsequent generations of astronomers in the Islamic world, and several of the commentaries on it became popular in their own right. This commentary is by Niẓām al-Dīn Ḥasan b. Muḥammad al-A‘raj al-Nīsābūrī al-Qummī (died after 1311). In the introduction to his work, which the author himself entitles Tauḍīḥ al-Tadhkira (Elucidation of the Memoir), al-Nīsābūrī praises Ṭūsi's work as possessing a wealth of riches, including the most important thoughts of the moderns and a summary of the views of the ancients. He adds that in writing his commentary, he undertook to include the entire text of Ṭūsi's work, and that the figures in the original text would be rendered in black, whereas those of the commentary would be drawn in red in order to make it possible to “distinguish the [individual] viewpoints.” Al-Nīsābūrī could trace his intellectual lineage to Ṭūsi via his own teacher, Maḥmūd ibn Masʻūd Quṭb al-Shīrazī (1226–1311), who is often cited as the most outstanding student of Ṭūsi. In addition to this work, al-Nīsābūrī wrote commentaries on Ṭūsi's Taḥrīr al‐Majisṭī (Recension of the Almagest), his Sī faṣl dar ma‘rifat-i taqwīm (Thirty chapters on the science of the calendar), and his Zīj-i Ilkhāni (The Īlkhānid astronomical handbook). The colophon of the present manuscript lists the date of completion as the first day of Rabī‘ al-awwal of the year 711 AH (July 18, 1311), which was shortly after the death of Quṭb al-Shīrazī. Scholars have claimed that Tauḍīḥ al-Tadhkira Tauḍīḥ was the most important text at Ulugh Beg's madrasah in Samarkand for the study of al-Tadhkira fī al-‘ilm al-hay’a.

Last updated: April 15, 2016