The Benefits from Knowing the Basics and Rules of Seafaring

This work is a collection of eight treatises related to the science of seafaring and navigation by Ibn Mājid al-Julfārī al-Sa‘dī, the most renowned Muslim navigator of the 15th century (9th century AH). It was originally assembled in 1490. The works are bound together in one large tome and include information about the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and other major bodies of water known to the author. The work meticulously lists and describes sea routes, harbors, and other points of interest to navigators. The first of the eight treatises provides a general introduction to seafaring and navigation. Two other noteworthy treatises in the collection deal with determining the qibla (direction of prayer) and hence other directions derived from it, and exploring the celestial sphere and zodiacal signs.

A Treatise on Zodiacal Signs and Constallations: Unique Jewels on the Benefits of Keeping Time

This work is an introductory, but well-organized, treatise on the elements of time-keeping and reckoning. The treatise is divided into seven sections and a conclusion. It introduces the Arabic, Coptic, and Syriac (or Alexandrian) calendars, and comments on the Persian, Roman, and Hebraic calendars. The work gives the names and lengths of the months in various calendars, explains the different methods for ascertaining the beginnings of years and months, discusses the signs of the zodiac and their relation to the four seasons, and describes the apparent motion of the sun and the moon, explaining the changing length of days and nights in the course of the seasons. The concluding section presents methods for the determination of the date, time, and the qibla (direction of prayer) in various geographical locations. Parts of the text have brief commentary in the margins. The text includes two tables and a diagram. The manuscript was completed on 28 Jumādā II 1247 AH (December 4, 1831).

The Breakthrough in Remedying all Ailments and Complaints

This important work is a long but well-organized and clearly-written treatise on medicine, hygiene, diet, and the art of preserving good health. It focuses on simple and composite medicinal remedies. With the aid of tables, diagrams, and numerous examples, it presents a comprehensive, but accessible, synopsis of medical knowledge and medicinal treatments known at the time of its composition. The work is by the son of the well-known man of letters Nūr al-Dīn Ibrāhīm Ibn Sa‘īd al-Maghribī al-Gharnātī (1214-86 [610-85 AH]), and is dedicated to Shams al-Dīn Abū ‘Abd-Allāh Muḥammad ibn ‘Izz al-Dawla. It is also known by the title Taqwīm al-adwiya fi altadāwī min ṣunūf al-amrāḍ wa al-shakāwī, and has sometimes been mistakenly attributed to Yuhannā ibn Bakhtishū‘.

The Precious Necklace Regarding Weigh Scales

This treatise on scales, measures, and weighing instruments is by a prominent member of the Jabartī family, a distinguished clan of Somali-Egyptian Ḥanafī ‘ulamā’ in Ottoman-ruled Egypt. The author, Ḥasan al-Jabartī, was the father of the famous historian ‘Abd al-Rahmān al-Jabarti (1753-1826 [1167-1241 AH]). Ḥasan al-Jabartī married into wealthy military families and also inherited substantial wealth. His relatives included merchants and ship owners, and he spent part of his life in business. He had a reputation for deep learning and was credited with restoring Egypt’s prestige as a center of learning in his time. This treatise confirms that Ḥasan’s learning extended beyond strictly religious matters. Biographical sources indicate that he studied and taught various branches of mathematics, and that he was a master of calendar-reckoning, calligraphy, engraving, and carving. The subject of this manuscript, “al-mawazīn al-qabbin,” is also listed among his fields of expertise. This expression sometimes has been mistranslated as “expertise on steelyards.” But, as the contents demonstrate, Ḥasan al-Jabartī also was interested in the construction and operation of various types of scales, including large crane scales, i.e., al-mawazīn al-qabbin, which could be utilized in shipyards for weighing heavy cargos. The treatise offers a detailed introduction to the design and operation of various kinds of scales. The present manuscript, made in 23 Rabī‘ I 1273 AH (December 14, 1854), is based on a copy made in 1194 AH (1780) from the author’s original version.

The Book of the New Chemical Medicine

This important text presents a detailed exposition of the harmony-based non-Galenic medicinal system of Paracelsus, i.e., Phillip von Hohenheim (1493-1541), the famous Renaissance author who advocated a new approach to the use of chemicals and minerals in medicine. The treatise, comprising more than 100 folio sheets, is divided into an introduction and several chapters. In the introduction, the author derives the word kīmīyā from the Greek χημεία. He attributes the foundation of the discipline to Hermes, but credits Paracelsus with shifting the discipline toward the art of medicine and healing. Sections of the treatise connect natural elements with zodiacal signs and discuss various diseases, chemical methods, and the making of potions, elixirs, poisons, and so forth. The date of composition does not appear anywhere in the manuscript, but the year 1210 AH (1795-96) is mentioned on the title page and may refer to the date it was acquired by one of its early owners.

A Treatise on the Division of Theoretical Scholarship

This four-page essay on the difference between pre-theoretical belief and theoretical imagination was written by the prominent Shafi’i theologian Muhammad al-Amidi (died 1233 [631 AH]). The manuscript copy shown here was made in the early 19th century by an unknown scribe. It is from the Bašagić Collection of Islamic Manuscripts in the University Library of Bratislava, Slovakia, which was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997. Safvet beg Bašagić (1870–1934) was a Bosnian scholar, poet, journalist, and museum director who assembled a collection of 284 manuscript volumes and 365 print volumes that together reflect the development of Islamic civilization from its inception to the early 20th century. The manuscript is item 282 in Jozef Blaškovič, Arabské, turecké a perzské rukopisy Univerzitnej knižnice v Bratislave (Arab, Turkish, and Persian manuscripts in the University Library, Bratislava).

A Treatise on Book Titles

This short work by the prominent Shafi’i theologian Muhammad al-Amidi (died 1233 [631 AH]) continues an earlier discussion by the same author about original existence and mental existence. In this work, al-Amidi considers the elements of place and time and discusses their relationship to existence. The manuscript copy shown here is by an unknown scribe, and dates from the early 19th century. It is from the Bašagić Collection of Islamic Manuscripts in the University Library of Bratislava, Slovakia, which was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997. Safvet beg Bašagić (1870–1934) was a Bosnian scholar, poet, journalist, and museum director who assembled a collection of 284 manuscript volumes and 365 print volumes that together reflect the development of Islamic civilization from its inception to the early 20th century. The manuscript is item 283 in Jozef Blaškovič, Arabské, turecké a perzské rukopisy Univerzitnej knižnice v Bratislave (Arab, Turkish, and Persian manuscripts in the University Library, Bratislava).

An Essay on the Field of Scholarship

This work by Muhammad al-Amidi (died 1786 [1180 AH]?) examines the concept of knowledge, both as innate (hudhoori) and acquired (husooli). The author explores the disagreement between philosophers and theologians over the nature of divine knowledge, and the difference between divine and human knowledge. This manuscript copy dates from 1805. It is from the Bašagić Collection of Islamic Manuscripts in the University Library of Bratislava, Slovakia, which was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997. Safvet beg Bašagić (1870–1934) was a Bosnian scholar, poet, journalist, and museum director who assembled a collection of 284 manuscript volumes and 365 print volumes that together reflect the development of Islamic civilization from its inception to the early 20th century. The manuscript is item 289 in Jozef Blaškovič, Arabské, turecké a perzské rukopisy Univerzitnej knižnice v Bratislave (Arab, Turkish, and Persian manuscripts in the University Library, Bratislava).

An Essay on Statements in Logic

This treatise by the prominent Shafi’i theologian Muhammad al-Amidi (died 1233 [631 AH]) deals with questions of original existence and mental existence. The manuscript copy shown here was made in 1805 by an unknown scribe. It is from the Bašagić Collection of Islamic Manuscripts in the University Library of Bratislava, Slovakia, which was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997. Safvet beg Bašagić (1870–1934) was a Bosnian scholar, poet, journalist, and museum director who assembled a collection of 284 manuscript volumes and 365 print volumes that together reflect the development of Islamic civilization from its inception to the early 20th century. The manuscript is item 281 in Jozef Blaškovič, Arabské, turecké a perzské rukopisy Univerzitnej knižnice v Bratislave (Arab, Turkish, and Persian manuscripts in the University Library, Bratislava).

Comments on the Summary of "al-Miftāh"

This early 19th-century work by Qara Hafiz Efendi on Arabic rhetoric is a commentary on Talkhīṣ al-Miftāḥ (The summary of al-Miftāḥ) by Jalal al-Din Muhammad al-Qazwini (1267 or 1268‒1338), better known as al-Khatib al-Qazwini (the Preacher al-Qazwini). Talkhīṣ al-Miftāḥ was itself a commentary on Miftāḥ al-ʻulūm (The key to knowledge), by Yusuf ibn Abi Bakr al-Sakkaki (born 1160). Al-Qazwini was a student of al-Sakkaki, and both men were important scholars of Arabic rhetoric. Efendi’s work also contains excerpts from another work, a dictionary of language usage, figurative speech, and simile by Ayyub Ibn Musa al-Kaffawi. The manuscript is from the Bašagić Collection of Islamic Manuscripts in the University Library of Bratislava, Slovakia, which was inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 1997. Safvet beg Bašagić (1870-1934) was a Bosnian scholar, poet, journalist, and museum director who assembled a collection of 284 manuscript volumes and 365 print volumes that reflect the development of Islamic civilization from its inception to the early 20th century. The manuscript is item 365 in Jozef Blaškovič, Arabské, turecké a perzské rukopisy Univerzitnej knižnice v Bratislave (Arab, Turkish, and Persian manuscripts in the University Library, Bratislava).