Cosmographical Map or Universal Description of the World with the Actual Path of the Winds

This world map, made in Dieppe, northern France, in 1570, is thought to be the only extant map by Jean Cossin (also seen as Jehan and Johan Cossin), a hydrographer from Dieppe known in his time as an excellent maker of marine maps. It is entitled Carte cosmographique ou universelle description du monde avec le vrai traict des vents (Cosmographical map or universal description of the world with the actual path of the winds). The map is framed on an original projection, known as sinusoidal, in which the meridians are sinusoids and the parallels the equidistant straight lines divided into equal parts by the meridians. After the Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator (1512–94), Cossin was only the second mapmaker to employ this complex projection. The map reflects its maker’s considerable knowledge of mathematics, but it was of limited practical interest or use for sailors. It shows a vast southern continent that unfurls from Tierra del Fuego, and that was hypothesized as an essential counterbalance to the lands of the northern hemisphere. The map is enclosed in a large frame that presents the signs of the zodiac along the left side and the climates along the right. In the banners that fill out the four corners between the map and the edge are listed the title, the author's name, and the date and place of production.

The Best of Arithmetic

This treatise on the art of arithmetic, completed in the late 1880s, opens a window into the early interaction between traditional and modern mathematical pedagogy in Egypt. The use of French loan words, such as million, along with some modern notation, indicates the author’s familiarity with developments in the teaching of arithmetic at the time. The work has an introduction followed by ten chapters and a conclusion. Following traditional praise for God, the Prophet Muhammad, and virtuous vanguards of learning, the treatise opens by introducing arithmetic as a useful and rigorous science, which underlies mathematics, is the cornerstone of worldly transactions, and is a source of knowledge on which many questions in Islamic law depend. In his introduction, the author offers a descriptive and operational definition of numbers and their classifications. Chapter 1 covers operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) on whole numbers. Chapter 2 deals with fractions, and their expansion, reduction, and basic operations. Chapter 3 addresses the special case of fractions based on division by 24 parts, each called a qirāt (carat), which are said to have been in wide use by the Egyptian Copts; these he calls Coptic fractions. In Chapter 5, the author turns to decimal fractions, which he introduces as being widely used in Europe. Chapter 6 discusses sexagesimal fractions used in celestial calculations, provides information on a variety of arithmetic transactions used in Egypt at the time, and discusses measurements of length, weights, scales, and exchange rates. Chapter 7 treats the extraction of square roots and cube roots, as well as operations on radicals. Chapter 8 discusses geometric, arithmetic, and musical numbers, along with operations on them. Chapter 9 is on solving equations and contains problems related to calculating zakāt (alms tax) and the division of inheritance. Chapter 10 treats the question of inheritance in more detail. The conclusion of the book introduces algebraic methods.

A Treatise on Drawing Chords in a Circle

Abu al-Rayhan al-Biruni (also known by the Latinized version of his name, Alberonius, 973–1048 AD; 362–440 AH) was an 11th-century Muslim polymath whose works and scholarly interests spanned the physical and natural sciences, mathematics, astronomy, geography, history, chronology, and linguistics. Al-Biruni was born in Kath, Khuwarazm, in present-day Uzbekistan, and died in Ghazni, in what is today east-central Afghanistan. He wrote more than 120 works and is considered the founder of Indology for his detailed description of 11th-century India. The crater Al-Biruni on the moon is named after him. Risālah fī Istikhrāj al-awtār fī al-dāʼirah (A treatise on drawing chords in a circle) is, as its title suggests, a treatise on geometry that deals with circles.

Jabir ibn Hayyan

Jabir ibn Hayyan (also known by the Latinized version of his name, Geber, 721–815 AD, 103–200 AH) was a Muslim polymath, philosopher, and alchemist. He was probably born in Tus, Khorasan, in present-day Iran, although some sources claim that he was born and grew up in Kufa, Iraq. Some aspects of the life of Jabir ibn Hayyan as well as the authenticity of tens, if not hundreds, of the titles of his vast body of work have been questioned. More than 3,000 treatises or books are attributed to him in one way or another, covering fields that include cosmology, music, medicine, magic, biology (including the artificial generation of living beings), chemical technology, geometry, grammar, metaphysics, and logic. This work is a biography of Jabir ibn Hayyan by Zaki Naguib Mahmoud (1905–93), who was an Egyptian writer, academic, and philosophy professor. He was an encyclopedic writer who was known for his ability to simplify complex ideas, and for taking philosophy out of its “ivory tower” and into the public domain.

Book of Poetry and Poets

Abdullah ibn Muslim ibn Qutaibah (828–85 AD, 213–76) was an Arab literary historian and critic and an Islamic jurist and scholar. He was born in Kufa, in present-day Iraq, and spent much of his life in Baghdad, where he died. His Al-shiir wal shuaraa (Book of poetry and poets) is considered a major classic of Arabic literature and a pioneering work of literary criticism. It is a biographical encyclopedia of more than 200 leading Arab poets, spanning the pre-Islamic period to the early Abbasid era (the sixth century through the ninth century AD). The book covers the poets of these times, their tribal origins, their life histories, their tabaqat (artistic class and prowess), and what their critics said about them. It also includes sections that classify poetry by quality and genre.

Critical Study of What India Says, Whether Accepted by Reason Or Refuted

Abu al-Rayhan al-Biruni (also known by the Latinized version of his name, Alberonius, 973–1048 AD; 363–439 AH) was an 11th-century Muslim polymath whose works and scholarly interests spanned the physical and natural sciences, mathematics, astronomy, geography, history, chronology, and linguistics. Al-Biruni was born in Kath, Khuwarazm, in present-day Uzbekistan, and died in Ghazni, in what is today east-central Afghanistan. He wrote more than 120 works and is considered the founder of Indology for his detailed description of 11th-century India. The crater Al-Biruni on the moon is named after him. Tahqig ma lilhind min maqoolah maqboolah lilaql aw marthoolah (literally, Critical study of what India says, whether accepted by reason or refused, but also known as the Indica) is a critical, sincere, and concise view of Hinduism and Indian culture. It came about after al-Biruni’s trip to India as a court astrologer in the expedition of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni (died 1030 AD), and after studying with Indian sages and collecting Indian books.

Ibn Khallikan’s Biographical Dictionary, Volumes 1 and 2

Abu-l ‘Abbas Ahmad Ibn Khallikan (1211–82 AD, 608–81 AH) was a Kurdish Muslim jurist who lived in present-day Iraq, Syria, and Egypt. Wafayat al-a’yan wa-anba abna az-zaman (Obituaries of eminent men and history of the contemporaries), better known as Ibn Khallikan’s biographical dictionary, is the book on which its author’s fame rests. Considered a work of the highest importance for the civil and literary history of the Muslim people, it occupied Ibn Khallikan from 1256 until 1274.  The dictionary is of enormous scope—the English translation, made by Irishman William MacGuckin (also known as Baron de Slane) in the mid-19th century, comprises more than 2,700 pages. It is not surprising, therefore, that later Arabic historians filled their pages with extracts from Ibn Khallikan’s work and that Arabic rhetoricians, grammarians, and compilers of anecdotes have used choice passages from the dictionary.

Al-Mutannabbi's Diwan with Al-Ukbari's Commentary

Abu Al-Tayyib Ahmed ibn Al-Hussein (915–65 AD, 303–54 AH), better known as Al-Mutanabbi (Self-proclaimed prophet), is arguably the greatest Arab poet of all time. He lived a short, turbulent life of about 50 years. He was born in Iraq but traveled extensively, crisscrossing Syria and Egypt, then returning to Iraq and Persia in search of political and monetary rewards. Proud to the extent of arrogance and critical of his enemies, he was assassinated in his birthplace of Iraq, on his way home from Persia. His poetry endured because of his extraordinary ability to describe human emotions and his profound insights on life. Lines from many of his poems on human nature and the fluctuations of fortune have become proverbs and much-quoted wisdom. His work continues to influence Arab poets to the present. The commentary on al-Mutanabbi’s poetry collection by Al-Ukbari (died 1219 AD, 616 AH) is considered by many to be the most authoritative of its kind. It not only explains Al-Mutanabbi’s poetry, but also its connections with other literary gems from past generations.

The One of a Kind

Abdulmalik ibn Muhammad al-Thaalibi (961–1038 AD, 350–429 AH) was a leading linguist, literary figure, and poet. He was born in the trading and cultural center of Nishapur in Persia (present-day Iran). Yateemet al-dahr (The one of a kind) is the most famous of his more than 80 works. The book is a compilation of biographies of the poets of the time, divided into four main sections, each of which covers a region: the poets of al-Sham (Levant) and its environs; the Buwayhid poets (Western Persia and Iraq); the poets of the mountainous lands of Gorgan and Tabaristan (Persia); and the poets of the Central Asian kingdoms of Khorasan and Transoxiana. Each section is further divided into ten chapters. Typically, Al-Thaalibi traveled to talk to the poets themselves. If this was not possible, he talked to those who knew them or, as a last resort, consulted books about them. He finished the book circa 994 AD, and rewrote it nine years later after it had become widely known. Some 20 years later, he added an appendix updating the biographies and adding new poets, such as Abu Al-Alaa Al-Maari, who had risen to pan-Arab prominence in the years since the first publication. At least five authors later wrote similar versions of the book or added new materials covering new regions, such as Andalusia.

The History of Muslim Philosophers in the East and the West

Muhammad Lutfi Jumaa (1886–1953) was an Egyptian-born lawyer, political activist, linguist, translator, and novelist. The History of Muslim Philosophers in the East and the West is a compilation of biographies of some of the most famous Muslim scholars. It analyzes the life history, upbringing, doctrinal leanings, and views of many leading Muslim thinkers, philosophers, and scholars. Figures covered in the work include Al-Farabi, Al-Kindi, Ibn Sina, Ibn Bajah, Ibn Tufail, Ibn Rushd, Ibn Khaldoun, Ibn Al-Haytham, Ibn Arabi, and others.