Abū ‘Alī al-Marrākushī was a very important astronomer whose encyclopaedia on spherical astronomy, time-keeping, and astronomical instruments, compiled in Cairo about 1281/680, was very popular in North Africa, Egypt, and Turkey.
This poem on detecting signs of healthfulness in foodstuffs readily available appears to be the only medical treatise preserved today that is attributed to him. If it was in fact composed by him, it may have been his only medical writing.
No other copy is recorded. It has not yet been published or studied.
‘Alāmat al-sa‘ādah fī al-aghdhiyah al-mu‘tādah (MS A 85, item 3)
The opening of a didactic poem on detecting healthy foodstuffs that are readily available, apparently written by the famous 13th-century Cairene astronomer Abū ‘Alī al-ḥasan ibn ‘Alī al-Marrākushī. The copy is undated, possibly early 19th-century. No other copy is recorded.
Arabic. 21 leaves (fols. 52b-72b) Dimensions 30.4 x 19.3 (text area 22.5 x 13.2) cm; 31 lines per page. The author's name is given as al-shaykh al-faqir al-tabib Abū al-ḥasan ‘Alī ibn ḥasan al-Marrākushī (fol. 52b, line 3), apparently the well-known astronomer Abū ‘Alī al-ḥasan ibn ‘Alī al-Marrākushī. The title is given on fol. 52b line 2.
The copy is undated and unsigned. The appearance of the paper, script, and ink suggests a date of the early 19th century.
Apparently a complete copy of the poem. The entire volume is written in a very fine North African (Maghribi) script by one unnamed copyist. The text area has been frame-ruled. Black ink with headings and marginal headings in red and blue-green. The text is written within frames of red and green lines. There are catchwords. Some folios are numbered in penciled Western numerals (some incorrect); the volume has been recently refoliated.
There are some marginal subject headings.
The volume consists of 79 leaves and contains five medical poems. Fols. 28b, 29a, 52a, and 73a are blank. The first item (fols. 1a-28a) is a medical poem by Ibn al-Khaṭīb (MS A 85, item 1). The second item in the volume (fols. 29b-51b) is an anonymous poem of foodstuffs as medicine (MS A 85, item 2); the third item (MS A 85, item 3) (fols. 52b-72b) is the unique copy of a medical poem by al-Marrākushī here catalogued. The fourth item (fols. 73b-78b) is an anonymous poem on fruits (MS A 85, item 4), and the final item (fol. 79a) consists of three miscellaneous medical poems (MS A 85, item 5). On fol. 79b there is a recipe written by the same copyist as executed the entire manuscript.
The volume is bound in an Islamic binding. The covers and envelope flap are pasteboards covered with maroon leather. The front and back covers and envelope flap have blind, block-stamped medallions and blind tooled frames. The doublure of the envelope flap is paper printed with brown, yellow and black inked designs. There are modern blank paper pastedowns and endpapers.
The volume was purchased in 1941 by the Army Medical Library presumably from A. S. Yahuda; no further information in available on its provenance.
Schullian/Sommer, Cat. of incun. & MSS., entry A85 item 2, p. 326.
NLM Microfilm Reel: FILM 48-129-2