June 16, 2016

Umm al-Qurá, Number 1103, April 19, 1946

Umm al-Qurá (Mother of all settlements) is the first newspaper in modern-day Saudi Arabia, and the official gazette of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Its name is a Qur’anic reference to the Muslim holy city of Mecca, where the weekly paper is based. Established by the founder of Saudi Arabia, King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Saud, the newspaper published its first issue on Friday, December 12, 1924, about two months after the king’s ikhwan (brothers) allies took the city from Sharif of Mecca and King of Hejaz Husayn ibn ‘Ali. The paper came to play a significant role in the history of Saudi Arabia, reflecting the kingdom’s economic rise from humble beginnings to one of the world’s richest countries. Between 1925, when ‘Abd al-‘Aziz annexed Hejaz, and 1932, when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded, Umm al-Qurá was almost the only publication in ‘Abd al-‘Aziz’s realm. It was not the first in the Hejaz region, where the Ottomans introduced printing machines in 1908 and a few papers were published. The major events that the paper covered, sometimes in special issues, included the unification of Hejaz and Nejd (1926), the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (1932), the discovery of oil (1938), the historic meeting between King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz and President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States (1945), the first Arab-Israeli war (1948), and the death of King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (1953). The paper initially consisted of four pages and focused on official, religious, and literary affairs, but the number of pages fluctuated over the decades, from two during World War II (as a result of paper shortage) to eight or ten pages at other times. The paper did not follow a particular organization, but the front page was typically reserved for royal decrees and other government business. Local news usually was published in the inside pages. The paper’s masthead contained no mention of the editorial team or of the editor-in-chief. The only exception was Editor-in-chief Yusuf Yasin, whose name first appeared on the third issue on December 26, 1924, but was removed on August 20, 1926. Muhammad Saʻid ‘Abd al-Maqsud was editor-in-chief in 1930‒36 and oversaw a significant modernization of the paper.

Umm al-Qurá, Number 1104, April 26, 1946

Umm al-Qurá (Mother of all settlements) is the first newspaper in modern-day Saudi Arabia, and the official gazette of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Its name is a Qur’anic reference to the Muslim holy city of Mecca, where the weekly paper is based. Established by the founder of Saudi Arabia, King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Saud, the newspaper published its first issue on Friday, December 12, 1924, about two months after the king’s ikhwan (brothers) allies took the city from Sharif of Mecca and King of Hejaz Husayn ibn ‘Ali. The paper came to play a significant role in the history of Saudi Arabia, reflecting the kingdom’s economic rise from humble beginnings to one of the world’s richest countries. Between 1925, when ‘Abd al-‘Aziz annexed Hejaz, and 1932, when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded, Umm al-Qurá was almost the only publication in ‘Abd al-‘Aziz’s realm. It was not the first in the Hejaz region, where the Ottomans introduced printing machines in 1908 and a few papers were published. The major events that the paper covered, sometimes in special issues, included the unification of Hejaz and Nejd (1926), the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (1932), the discovery of oil (1938), the historic meeting between King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz and President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States (1945), the first Arab-Israeli war (1948), and the death of King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (1953). The paper initially consisted of four pages and focused on official, religious, and literary affairs, but the number of pages fluctuated over the decades, from two during World War II (as a result of paper shortage) to eight or ten pages at other times. The paper did not follow a particular organization, but the front page was typically reserved for royal decrees and other government business. Local news usually was published in the inside pages. The paper’s masthead contained no mention of the editorial team or of the editor-in-chief. The only exception was Editor-in-chief Yusuf Yasin, whose name first appeared on the third issue on December 26, 1924, but was removed on August 20, 1926. Muhammad Saʻid ‘Abd al-Maqsud was editor-in-chief in 1930‒36 and oversaw a significant modernization of the paper.

Umm al-Qurá, Number 1105, May 3, 1946

Umm al-Qurá (Mother of all settlements) is the first newspaper in modern-day Saudi Arabia, and the official gazette of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Its name is a Qur’anic reference to the Muslim holy city of Mecca, where the weekly paper is based. Established by the founder of Saudi Arabia, King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Saud, the newspaper published its first issue on Friday, December 12, 1924, about two months after the king’s ikhwan (brothers) allies took the city from Sharif of Mecca and King of Hejaz Husayn ibn ‘Ali. The paper came to play a significant role in the history of Saudi Arabia, reflecting the kingdom’s economic rise from humble beginnings to one of the world’s richest countries. Between 1925, when ‘Abd al-‘Aziz annexed Hejaz, and 1932, when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded, Umm al-Qurá was almost the only publication in ‘Abd al-‘Aziz’s realm. It was not the first in the Hejaz region, where the Ottomans introduced printing machines in 1908 and a few papers were published. The major events that the paper covered, sometimes in special issues, included the unification of Hejaz and Nejd (1926), the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (1932), the discovery of oil (1938), the historic meeting between King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz and President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States (1945), the first Arab-Israeli war (1948), and the death of King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (1953). The paper initially consisted of four pages and focused on official, religious, and literary affairs, but the number of pages fluctuated over the decades, from two during World War II (as a result of paper shortage) to eight or ten pages at other times. The paper did not follow a particular organization, but the front page was typically reserved for royal decrees and other government business. Local news usually was published in the inside pages. The paper’s masthead contained no mention of the editorial team or of the editor-in-chief. The only exception was Editor-in-chief Yusuf Yasin, whose name first appeared on the third issue on December 26, 1924, but was removed on August 20, 1926. Muhammad Saʻid ‘Abd al-Maqsud was editor-in-chief in 1930‒36 and oversaw a significant modernization of the paper.

A Guide to “Aphorisms”

This manuscript is a miscellany of medical texts consisting of a portion of Wasā’il al-wuṣūl ilā masā’il al-fuṣūl (Guide to Aphorisms) by ʻIzz al-Din Ibrahim al-Kashshi (or al-Kissi) as well as fragments of other medical texts. Wasā’il al-wuṣūl ilā masā’il al-fuṣūl is a commentary on Hippocrates’s Aphorisms. It is al-Kashshi’s only surviving work. The volume also contains many medical notes in Arabic and Persian, including a description of the medicinal properties of the flesh of animals and birds, a short treatise on the general classification of drugs, a treatise on ailments and their cures—in which each ailment is followed by a list of associated medicines—and various preparations, including one meant to increase virility. The collection of miscellaneous writings suggests that this manuscript was used as a reference by a practicing physician. Like the Aphorisms of Hippocrates, Wasā’il al-wuṣūl ilā masā’il al-fuṣūl is written in seven chapters. Little is known of al-Kashshi’s life. Surviving manuscript copies of this work are relatively rare, although his text is also preserved in a 14th century commentary by ʻImad al-Din ʻAbd al-Rahim ibn ʻAbdallah. ʻImad al-Din’s commentary is dated 1383, meaning that al-Kashshi was active before then.

Outcome of the Quest Regarding the Knowledge

Natījat al-maṭlūbāt fī ma‘rifat al-ḥummayāt (Outcome of the quest regarding the knowledge of fevers) is a rare medical work on fevers. The author, Bulus ibn Qustantin al-Malaki al-Shaburi, is known only through this one surviving work, which is composed in 30 chapters and a conclusion. The chapters treat fevers in all of their varieties, including sunukhus (from the Greek synochus, meaning continued or unremitting fever) and al-diqq (hectic or deep-rooted fever). The conclusion deals with the treatment of side-effects, including al-sahr (sleeplessness), al-hathayan (delirium), and al-aṭash al-shadīd (intense thirst). In the introduction, the author mentions some of the medical texts upon which he based his work, including Ghāyat al-itqān (The limit of improvement) by Ibn Sallum (died 1081 AH, 1670‒71). This allows for a rough dating of the Natījat al-maṭlūbāt to the end of the 17th or the early 18th century. The manuscript presented here includes catchwords and rubrication, and is dated to 1168 AH (1754‒55). The title page includes what appears to be an erroneous title al-Mukhtaṣar fī al-ḥummayāt (A compendium on fevers).

Curative Epistle for Difficult Maladies

Al-Risālah al-mushfīyah li al-amrāḍ al-mushkilah (Curative epistle for difficult maladies) by Faydi Mustafa Hayati Zadah (died circa 1738) is a medical work devoted to hypochondria, a condition that the author claims arises from the accumulation of putrified and viscous humors in the digestive organs (primarily the liver and the spleen). In addition to the malady (which presents a myriad of symptoms including delirium, chest pains, and tinnitus), the term hypochondria is defined by the author as a specific part of the anatomy, i.e., under the cartilage of the ribs. Hayati Zadah notes the distinction between hypochondria associated with an excess of black bile versus that which is not associated with such an excess, a distinction that he claims was not made by the physicians of the Hellenistic world, but which he credits to later, “Latinate,” scientists from Europe. Almost nothing is known about the author. The appellation al-Rumi, which  is associated with Hayati Zadah, suggests that he was active in Anatolia, then under Ottoman Turkish rule. He is known to have written at least one other medical treatise, Rasā’il Fayḍīyah fī lughat al-mufradāt al-ṭibbīyah (The Faydi epistles on medical terminology). The present manuscript includes catchwords and rubrication. The scribe has provided a table of contents as an introductory section of this work. He also complains about the lack of accuracy with regard to his manuscript sources.