A group of 144 alchemical tracts known collectively as Kutub al-Mawazin (The Books of Balances) probably dates from the beginning of the 10th century. The National Library of Medicine has several treatises that appear to relate to this Jābirian collection.
A treatise titled Kitāb al-Aḥjār ‘alá ra’y Balīnās was counted amongst the 144 treatises known collectively as Kutub al-Mawazin (The Books of the Balances). It is one of the longer text of this group. Portions of the third part of Kitāb al-Sirr al-maknūn also contained similar material.
The treatise Kitāb al-Aḥjār ‘alá ra’y Balīnās (The Book of Stones according to the opinion of Balīnās) was divided into four parts of approximately equal length, called simply al-juz' al-awwal ('the first part'), al-juz' al-thānī ('the second part'), al-juz' al-thālith ('the third part'), and al-juz' al-rabi‘ ('the fourth part').
Of this treatise, NLM has a manuscript containing an extract from the 2nd part (juz') and possibly also from the 3rd juz' .
For other copies, see Sezgin, GAS IV, p. 253 no. 3, and Kraus, Jabir, p. 80 no. 307-10. There are only three other recorded copies: Paris, BNF, MS arabe 5099, copied in 1614/1023; Tehran, Danishgah MS 49; and Cairo, Dar l-Kutub, Tal‘at kimya' MS 218.
Portions of the treatise have been edited and translated into English by Syed Nomanul Haq, Names, Natures and Things: The Alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan and his Kitab al-Ahjar (Book of Stones) [Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 158] (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994), pp. 119-162 Arabic edition and English translation pp. 163-202. An earlier partial edition using only the Paris copy was published in P. Kraus, Jabir ibn Hayyan (Essai sur l'histoire des idées scientifiques dans l'Islam). Vol. 1: Textes choisis (Cairo: Libraries El-Khandji and Paris: G.P. Maisonneuve,1935), pp. 126-205. The NLM copy was not used in either edition.
[Kitāb] al-Aḥjār ‘alá ra’y Balīnās [extracts from] (MS A 70, item 26)
Arabic. 5 leaves (Fols. 64b, line 9-67a, line 4). Dimensions 21.3 x 16.8 (text area 15 x 10) cm; 20 lines per page. At the beginning, the title is given as min al-juz' al-thani min ('from the second part of') mawazin al-aḥjār ‘alá ra’y Balīnās (The Balances of Stones according to the opinion of Balinas). At the end of the treatise it states that it is the end of the third juz' of Kitāb al-Aḥjār ‘alá ra’y Balīnās.
Only four lines (fol. 64b, lines 10-13) can be clearly aligned with the selections from the lengthy treatise that were edited and published by Haq; these four lines correspond to the text on p. 133, lines 1-5, from the 2nd juz', in the Haq edition (see Syed Nomanul Haq, Names, Natures and Things: The Alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan and his Kitab al-Ahjar (Book of Stones) [Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 158] (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1994). However, since only selections were edited by Haq, it is possible that the rest of the text in the NLM manuscript represents extracts from other portions of the treatise that were not included in Haq's study.
The copy is undated and unsigned. The appearance of the paper, ink, and script suggests a date of the 17th or 18th century
All twenty-seven items in the volume have been transcribed by the same unnamed copyist. Dimensions 21.3 x 16.8 (text area 15 x 10) cm; 20 lines per page.
The text is written in a small, compact naskh script using black ink with headings and overlinings in red. There are catchwords. On some leaves there are instructions written vertically in the margins to the person who later inserted the rubricated headings; most have been cut off as the edges were trimmed, but on some folios (e.g., 37a, 38a) traces can still be seen.
There are copious marginalia throughout in several hands, with some interlinear notes. A later hand has written the titles of various individual items in the volume in the upper left corners of the recto of some folios. One person adding marginalia to the volume frequently cites the alchemical authority al-Jaldakī.
Fols. 1-40 are composed of a biscuit, fibrous paper having a nearly matte finish, with neither laid lines nor chain lines. Fols. 41-67 are composed of paper dyed a light gray, of structure and finish similar to the first group. The edges have been trimmed from their original size. The volume is damp-stained and soiled through thumbing.
The volume consists of 67 leaves and one loose leaf. Fol. 1a is blank except for some later Turkish poetry and an owner's stamp. The loose leaf is smaller (ca. 18 x 11 cm) and of different paper from the rest of the volume; on it are miscellaneous and very casually written notes. Fols. 1b-12a (item 1) contain Kitāb al-Sirr al-sārr wa-sirr al-asrār by Jābir ibn Ḥayyān (MS A 70, item 1); fols. 12a-13b (item 2) Kitāb Jannāt al-khuld by Jābir ibn Ḥayyān (MS A 70, item 2 ); fols. 13b-20b (item 3) Kitāb al-Raḥmah al-kabīr by Jābir ibn Ḥayyān (MS A 70, item 3); fols. 20b-22a (item 4) Kitāb al-Iḥqāq min sab‘īn [extracts] by al-Rāzī (MS A 70, item 4); fols. 22a-24a (item 5) an untitled treatise attributed to Hirmīs [Hermes Trismegistus] (MS A 70, item 5); fols. 24a-27b (item 6) Kitāb al-Tadābīr by al-Rāzī (MS A 70, item 6); fols. 28a-29a (item 7) Kitāb al-Rāhib by Jābir ibn Ḥayyān (MS A 70, item 7); fols 29a-30b (item 8) Kitāb al-Āthar al-‘ulwīyah by Aristotle (MS A 70, item 8); fols. 30b-31b (item 9) Risālah al-Fahm al-thāqib ilá al-fahm al-murāqib attributed to Plato (MS A 70, item 9); fols. 31b-33b (item 10) Risālah Mufākharat al-aḥjār attributed to Jābir ibn Ḥayyān (MS A 70, item 10); fols. 33b-37b (item 11) extracts from writings of al-Ṭughrā’ī (MS A 70, item 11); fols. 38a-38b (item 12) untitled treatise attributed to Agathodaimon (MS A 70, item 12); fols. 39a-41a (item 13) Risālah fī ṣinā‘at al-iksīr by Aḥmad ibn ‘Imād al-Dīn (MS A 70, item 13); fols. 41a-45a (item 14) Risālah fī bayān tafrīq al-adyān wa-tafarru‘ al-‘ibādāt wa-al-diyānāt wa-al-i‘tiqādāt by Zosimos (MS A 70, item 14); fols. 45a-47b (item 15) Kitāb al-Fuṣūl attributed to Jābir ibn Ḥayyān (MS A 70, item 15); fols. 47b-48b (item 16) extracts from writings of al-Ṭughrā’ī (MS A 70, item 16); fols. 49a-52b (item 17) untitled risālah attributed to Khālid ibn Yazīd (MS A 70, item 17); fols. 52b-53b (item 18) Kitāb al-Mujarradāt [extracts] attributed to Jābir ibn Ḥayyān (MS A 70, item 18); fols. 53b-57b (item 19) Masā’il attributed to Khālid ibn Yazīd (MS A 70, item 19); fols. 57b-60a (item 20) Kitāb al-Sirr al-Maknūn by Jābir ibn Ḥayyān (MS A 70, item 20); fols. 60a-63a (item 21) extract (nubdhah) from the writings of al-Ṭughrā’ī (MS A 70, item 21); fols. 63a-63b (item 22) Aqwāl al-mutaffariqāt, anonymous (MS A 70, item 22); fols. 63b, lines 6-13 (item 23), alchemical note, anonymous (MS A 70, item 23); fols. 63b-64a (item 24) Kitāb al-Mawāzīn [extracts] by Jābir ibn Ḥayyān (MS A 70, item 24); fols. 64a-64b (item 25) Kitāb al-Sirr al-Maknūn [extract] by Jābir ibn Ḥayyān (MS A 70, item 25); fols 64b-67a (item 26) Kitāb al-Aḥjār ‘alá ra’y Balīnās here catalogued; and fols. 67a-67b (item 27) untitled treatise attributed to Agathodaimon (MS A 70, item 27).
On fol. 1b there is an impression of an owner's stamp whose date might be 1123 (= 1711), though the middle numerals are not clear, and the name might be Abū Nūr Muḥammad al-Ḥusaynī. On fol. 1a there is an unidentified library stamp.
The volume was purchased in 1941 by the Army Medical Library from A.S. Yahuda (ELS 1701 Med 120).
Schullian/Sommer, Cat. of incun. & MSS., entry A 70, p. 320, where says it a collection of 32 alchemical treatises.
NLM Microfilm Reel: FILM 48-126 no. 3