Abū al-Baqā’ al-Aḥmadī al-Shāfi‘ī (between 1030 and 1650)
ابو البقاء الاحمدى الشافعى
Nothing is known of the life of this scholar except that he composed a commentary on a poem of Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna) and also a commentary on an expansion (takhmis) of the same poem made by another scholar. When and where he worked is unknown.
He is recorded by Ḥajjī Khalīfah (Katib Celebi) as the author of a commentary (sharḥ) on a takhmis (a special type of amplification of a poem) written by an otherwise unknown scholar named Manṣūr al-Misrī on a poem by Ibn Sīnā titled al-Qasīdah al-‘aynīyah (‘Poem on the Soul'). Since Ḥajjī Khalifa died in 1657/1067, we can conclude that Abū al-Baqā’ al-Aḥmadī must have worked sometime between the mid-11th century (when Avicenna died) and the mid-17th century (see Hajji Khalifah, Kashf al-zunun: Lexicon bibliographicum et encyclopædicum, ed. G. Flügel, 7 vols., Leipzig: Typis Frider. Chr. Guil. Vogelii / London: Richard Bentley for the Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland, 1835-58, vol. 4, p. 544).
The National Library of Medicine has a unique copy made in 1733/1146 of a commentary made by Abū al-Baqā’ al-Aḥmadī directly on the poem itself by Ibn Sīnā, and not on the takhmis written by Manṣūr al-Misrī.
No other information is available.
The first of the four Orthodox caliphs, he was the father of the Prophet Muḥammad's wife ‘A'ishah and one of his oldest supporters. See, Wilferd Madelung, The succession to Muḥammad: A study of the early Caliphate (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).
Abū Hanifah was a leading early authority on theology and religious law, and one of the major schools of jurisproduce, the Hanafi, was named after him. He himself did not compose any writings, but his students recorded his ideas and these records serve as the main source for his legal and theological teachings. He is cited as a legal authority in two NLM manuscripts (MS A 88/IV and MS A 64).
For his biography and sources regarding him, see J. Schacht, ‘Aūu Hanifah al-Nu‘man' in EI (2nd ed.), vol. 1, pp. 123-4.
Abū al-Qāsim al-‘Irāqī, known as al-Sīmāwī
Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Anṣārī (2nd half of 12th century)
ابو القاسم محمد ابن عبد الله الانصارى
He was a pupil of the alchemist Ibn Arfa‘ Ra‘s (d. 1197/593), and he wrote a commentary on his teacher's alchemical-allegorical poems known as Dīwān al-shudhūr (Poems of the Nuggets) or, more commonly, as Shudhūr al-dhahab (Nuggets of Gold). The commentary circulated in two versions.
Nothing else is known of this alchemical writer. See Ullmann, Natur, p. 232.
Abū Sa‘id ibn Abī al-Khayr was a Persian mystic, born in Khurasan in 967/357. He spent most of his life in this province of Iran, dying there at the age of 82. He ultimately abandoned scholarly studies and devoted himself to extreme asceticism and mystic exercises. Numerous stories are related regarding his mystical experiences and his encounters with others, and a number of poems are attributed to him. In Nishapur he met Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna), and correspondence between the two of them is preserved today.
For his biography, see H. Ritter 'Abū Sa‘id b. Abī al-Khayr' in EI (2nd ed.), vol. 1, 145-7.
Agathodaimon [Āghāthādhīmūn/Āghāthūdīmūn] (dates uncertain)
The biographical information regarding Agathodaimon is contradictory. Some sources say that he was a pupil of the legendary Hermes, and others that Hermes was a pupil of Agathodaimon. According to some sources, the two Great Pyramids at Giza, near Cairo, were the graves of Hermes and Agathodaimon. Numerous fragments of alchemical and magical writings attributed to Agathodaimon are preserved as quotations in later Arabic treatises.
For Agathodaimon as an alchemical authority and an authority on the occult in general, see Sezgin, GAS IV, pp. 47-8; Ullmann, Natur, pp. 175-7; M. Plessner, 'Aghathudhimun' in EI (2nd ed.), vol. 1, p. 247; and Georges C. Anawati, 'Arabic Alchemy' in Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science, ed. by Roshdi Rashed (London: Routledge, 1996), volume 3, p. 859-60.
Aḥmad ibn Farrukh (early 12th century)
احمد ابن فرخ
Aḥmad ibn Farrukh (or Aḥmad-i Farrukh, as his name was sometimes written) was the teacher of the physician Ismā‘īl ibn al-Ḥusayn al-Jurjānī (d. 1136) and author of a Persian medicine encyclopaedia titled Kifāyah that is no longer extant though it had a high reputation among scholars long after al-Jurjānī's day. NLM has in its collection a formulary of compound remedies (Qarābādhīn) that appears to be the only preserved example of the writings of Aḥmad ibn Farrukh (MS P 11, item 2).
Aḥmad ibn Farrukh's name was often written as Aḥmad-i Farrukh. This reflects the Persian habit of replacing the Arabic ibn ('son of') with the grammatical structure of idafa or possessive. For this Persian custom of writing names, see Lutz Richter-Bernburg, 'Going Places with Naser-e Khosrow and his Translator', Die Welt des Islam, vol. 3 (1993), pp. 263-275.
Aḥmad ibn ‘Imād al-Dīn (dates unknown)
احمد بن عمادين
Aḥmad ibn ‘Imād al-Dīn was the author of an alchemical treatise titled On the Art of the Elixir (Fī ṣinā‘at al-iksīr) which is preserved in NLM MS A 70, item 13. No other copy has been identified, and the author is not listed in the published bibliographies of Islamic writers on alchemy. The manuscript is undated, but appears to be of the 17th or 18th century.
al-‘Alā’ī, Ibrāhīm ibn Abī Sa‘īd ibn Ibrāhīm al-Maghribī (mid-12th century)
ابراهيم ابن ابى سعيد ابن ابراهيم المغربى العلائى
Al-‘Alā’ī wrote a treatise on medicinal substances apparently composed for Dhu al-Qarnayn ibn Isma‘il Danishmendid, a ruler in Anatolia (in Malatya and Elbistan) from 1152 to 1162 (547- 557 H). The treatise is in the form of synopotic tables. Nothing else is known of the author.
For this and other writings by him, see GAL-S, vol. 1, p. 890; Ullmann, Medizin, pp. 275-6; Iskandar, "Wellcome", p. 201; and H.P.J. Renaud, 'Une problème de bibliographie arabe: Le Taqwim al-adwiya d'al-‘Ala'i', Hespéris, vol. 16 (1933), p. 69-98.
‘Alī ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Haydūr is primarily known as a writer on plague. Until the discovery of this manuscript at NLM, it was not recognized that he had composed a commentary on a famous medical poem by Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna), though other writings by him are known, including a commentary on a treatise concerned with arithmetic.
His commentary on Ibn Sīnā's poem is preserved in a unique copy at NLM, MS 45.1, item2, and his treatise on plague is preserved in Morocco, Rabat, al-Khazanah al-‘ammah, MS 9605 (see Muḥammad al-‘Arbi al-Khattabi, Faharis al-Khizanah al-Malikiyyah, II: al-tibb wa-al-saydala wa-al-baytarah wa-al-hayawan wa-al-nabat, Rabat: Mataba'at al-Najah al-Jadidah, 1982, p. 31 no. 5).
For other biographical information, and his commentaries on arithemetics, see Khayr al-Din al-Zirikli, al-A‘lam: Qamus tarajim li-ashhar al-rijal wa-al-nisa' min al-‘arab wa-al-musta‘ribin wa-al-mustashriqin, 8 vols. (Beirut: Dar al-`Ilm li-l-Malayin, 1970), vol. 4, p. 307.
‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib, Abū al-Hasan (caliph from 656-661/35-40 H.)
على ابن ابى طالب
The last of the four Orthodox caliphs, ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib was doubly related to the Prophet Muḥammad, being his cousin and also married to Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet. ‘Ali moved the capital out of the Arabian pennisula to Kufa in Iraq. He was murdered in 661/40H by a radical group who had seceded from his army. See, Wilferd Madelung, The succession to Muḥammad: A study of the early Caliphate (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).
‘Alavī Khān Nawwāb Mu‘tamad al-Mulūk, Ḥakīm Muḥammad Hāshim ibn Ḥakīm Muḥammad Hādī Qalandar ibn Muzaffar al-Dīn ‘Alavī Shīrāzī (d. 1747/1160 or 1749/1162)
حكيم محمد هاشم ابن حكيم محمد هادى قلندر ابن مظفر الدين علوى شيرازى علوى خان نواب معتمد الملوك
Ḥakīm ‘Alavī Khān was born at Shiraz, in Persia, in 1670/1080. In 1699 he went to India and presented himself at the Mughal court, where he was appointed physician to Prince Muḥammad A‘zam (who was later to rule for only three months in 1707). The Mughal ruler Bahadur Shah (reg. 1707-12) gave him the title ‘Alavī Khānn. Muḥammad Shah (reg.1719-1748), the Mughal ruler in Delhi, raised him to the rank of Shash-hazari and gave him the title of Mu‘tamad al-Mulūk. When the Persian ruler Nadir Shah defeated Muḥammad Shah and sacked Delhi, ‘Alavī Khān accompanied Nadir Shah when he left India and ‘Alavī Khān accepted the position of Ḥakīm-bashi (chief physician) to Nadir Shah with the understanding that from Persia he would be permitted to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. After making the pilgrimage to Mecca, ‘Alavī Khān returned to Delhi in 1743 and died there about four years later.
He wrote four medical treatises in Arabic and four in Persian. He great-nephew Muḥammad Ḥusayn ibn Muḥammad Hādī al-‘Aqili al-‘Alavī al-Khurasanī al-Shīrāzī (fl. 1771-81), known as Ḥakīm Muḥammad Hadikhan, used ‘Alavī Khān's pharmacopoeia titled Jami‘ al-javami‘-i Muḥammad-Shahi, which was dedicated to the Mughal ruler Muḥammad Shah, as the main source a large portion of his comprehensive work on simple and compound remedies written in 1771.
For his life and writings, see Storey PL II,2, pp. 273-5 no. 475, and Cyril Elgod, Safavid Medical Pratice: or, The practice of medicine, surgery and gynaecology in Persia between 1500 A.D. and 1750 A.D. (London: Luzac, 1970), pp. 85-6.
In Arabic and Persian literature Alexander the Great was known both as al-Iskandar and as Dhu al-Qarnayn ("the man with two horns"). The latter designation was used because he was identified with a person of this name mentioned in the Qur'an (Surah 18, verses 83-98), as builder of a barrier against the giants Gog and Magog, who were thought to reside in inner Asia. Alexander and his tutor Aristotle figure frequently in Arabic 'wisdom' (hikmah) literature. The discourse of Aristotle addressed to Alexander on the proper behaviour of a ruler formed the basis of the immensely popular Sirr al-asrīr or 'Secret of Secrets'. It was primarily as the hero of the 'Alexander romance' who travelled to the furthest ends of the earth that Alexander the Great is most conspicuous in Arabic and Persian literature.
For Alexander the Great's role in Islamic literature, see C.E. Bosworth, 'Alexander the Great' and G. Canova, 'Alexander romance' in Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature, ed. by Julie Scott Meisami and Paul Starkey (London: Routledge, 1998), vol. 1, pp. 68-9; and W.Montgomery Watt, 'Iskandar' in EI (2nd ed.), vol. 4, p. 127.
‘Alī ibn Shaykh Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Raḥmān (17th cent)
على ابن شيخ محمد ابن عبد الرحمان
Nothing is known of this author except that he composed a large Persian medical encyclopedia, in didactic verse, titled Jawāhir al-maqāl (The Gems of Discourse) which is preserved in only two copies: one at NLM and one in Oxford.
He appears to have been a rather recent figure, probably seventeenth-century. He must certainly have lived before 1791, when an owner's note was appended to the undated NLM manuscript. For the undated (18th-century) Oxford manuscript, see E. Sachau and Hermann Ethé, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstânî and Pushtû Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library. Part I: The Persian Manuscripts, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889, col. 969 no. 1609.
The cataloguers of the Oxford Persian collections have suggested that he might be identical with one ‘Alī ibn Shaykh Muḥammad, who composed Turkish poetry and died in 1700. For the latter figure, see Ḥājjī Khalīfah, Kashf al-Zunun, ed. G. Flügel (Leipzig 1835-58), vol. 6, p. 588; and Storey PL II,2, p. 319 no. 80).
al-Anṣārī, Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn Abd Allāh (2nd half of 12th cent)
Two different treatises by him on the subject of antidotes for poisons are preserved today, one in an important copy at NLM (MS A 64) in which he included extensive quotations from earlier authorities, and the other now in Princeton (P.K. Hitti, Descriptive Catalog of the Garrett Collection of Arabic Manscripts, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1938, p. 346 entry 1104). In the treatise now in Princeton it is stated that the book was composed in 1268/667, while the different treatise now at NLM is stated to have been completed in 1270/668. It is evident from the treatise at NLM that the author lived in Syria and was familiar with the plants and plant-names of Bilad al-Sham. No further information is available on the author.
‘Alī al-Jilānī's full name was Hakim ‘Ali ibn Kamal al-Din Muḥammad al-Jilānī. He came from Persia to the Mughal court of Akbar and served under several Mughal rulers in northwest India. He is known primarily through his commentary on the Canon on Medicine by Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna). Ḥakīm ‘Alī al-Jilānī died on 14 Dhu al-Hijjah 1017 [= 22 Marsh 1609].
see Vaṭvāṭ, Amīn al-Dīn Rashīd [al-Dīn]
Muḥammad ibn Maḥmūd al-Amuli wrote an Arabic commentary on the epitome of Avicenna's Canon on Medicine that had been made by al-Īlāqī. Between 1335 and 1342 al-Amulī composed a large and widely-read Persian encyclopedia on the classification of knowledge (Nafa'is al-funun fī ‘ara'is al-‘uyun). Little is known of his life.
For sources for his life, see Iskandar, "Wellcome" p. 37, note 11; and E. Sachau and H. Ethé, Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstânî and Pushtû Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library. Part 1: The Persian Manuscripts (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889), col. 909. For his writings, see Iskandar, "Wellcome", p. 52 note 3; GAL, vol. 1, p. 457 (597) and GAL-S, p. 824; and Keshavarz, "Wellcome", p. 539.
Dā’ūd ibn ‘Umar al-Antākī was born in Antioch in Syria. He was blind at birth, but nonetheless he learned Greek, in addition to Arabic, in order to be able to fully understand the earlier authorities. He worked in Cairo and in Damascus, and died in Mecca in 1599/1008 H. He produced a number of Arabic treatises, the most famous being his Tadhkirah or "Memorandum Book", which is still available today in bookstalls in Egypt in modern printings. Less well known is his medical compendium with the elaborate title Risālat al-nuzhah al-mubhijah fī tashḥīdh al-adhhān wa-ta‘dīl al-amzijah (Pleasure and Delight in Sharpening the Intellect and Correcting the Temperaments), which is sometimes printed in the margins of modern editions of his Tadhkirah.
For his life and writings, see Ullmann, Medizin, pp. 181-182; the article "Antaki" by C. Brockelmann and J. Vernet in EI (2nd ed.), vol. 1, p. 516; GAL, vol. 2, p. 364 (478) and GAL-S, vol. 2, p. 491; EI (2nd ed.), vol. 1, pp. 531-2; and Hamarneh, "British Library", pp. 234-237.
Al-Aqfahsī was an Egyptian authority on jurisprudence of the Shafi‘i school. A large number of his writings, which include considerable poetry, are preserved today. See GAL, vol. 2, pp. 93-4 (114-5) no. 22; and P.K. Hitti, Descriptive Catalog of the Garrett Collection of Arabic Manscripts, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1938, p. 36 entry no. 92.
Little is known of Muḥammad Āqkirmānī's life except that he was active around the year 1747. He is known by an encyclopedia that is preserved today, as well as three other treatises, all of a lexigraphical or encyclopedic nature. His only medical writing appears to be the treatise on dental hygiene that is preserved in a manuscript at NLM (MS A 19.1.)
He is known for his commentary on the Mūjiz, which was an epitome made in the 13th century by Ibn al-Nafīs of the Canon of Medicine of Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna). Al-Āqsarā’ī apparently studied medicine with his father, under whose tutelage he first read the Mūjiz. Thereafter he studied the Canon of Medicine itself, as well as the Ḥāwī by al-Rāzī and the Complete Book on Medicine by al-Majūsī, as well as the medical writings of Najīb al-Dīn al-Samarqandī. He employed these other treatises in his commentary on the Mūjiz, and he titled his commentary "The Key to the Mūjiz" (Ḥall al-Mījiz).
For medieval biographical references to him and his commentary, many copies of which are preserved in libraries today, see GAL, vol. 1, p. 457 (598); Iskandar, "Wellcome", pp. 55 and 100-103; and Iskandar, "UCLA", p. 44.
At the age of 17 Aristotle entered Plato's school at Athens and remained there until Plato's death in 348-347 BC, first as a student and then as someone undertaking independent research. In 343-2 BC Philip of Macedon invited Aristotle to act as tutor to Alexander. In 335 Aristotle returned to Athens and established his own school. Many of his philsophical and scientific writings were translated into Arabic.
For an introduction to his life and writings, see W.D.R. "Aristotle" pp. 94-97 in The Oxford Classical Dictionary, ed. by M. Cary, J.D. Denniston, et al. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961). For his writings as they relate to Islamic medical literature, see Ullmann, Medizin, pp. 92-96, and Sezgin, GAS III, pp. 49-51.
Asfarā’nī, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad, known as Abū Bakr (before 1826/1241 H)
عبد الله ابن احمد ابن محمد الاسفرائنى المشتهر بابي بكر
Nothing is known of this figure. His treatise entitled Zubdat al-bayān fī ‘ilm abdān (The Best Explanation in the Science of Bodies) is preserved in a unique copy now in the collections of NLM. No other copy of the treatise is recorded and the author is otherwise unknown. The copy of the treatise is undated, but it appears to have been copied by the same scribe who finished copying another treatise in the volume on 22 Dhu al-Hijjah 1241 [= 28 July 1826]. Therefore, the only statement that can be made with certainty is that the author was active before 1826.
In 1427/831 Ḥusayn ibn Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī al-Āstarābādhī wrote his well-known commentary on al-Jaghmīnī's summary of the Canon on Medicine of Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna). Al-Āstarābādhī dedicated it to Prince Murtada. Little else is known of his life.
see Ibn Rushd
Avicenna -- Abū ‘Alī al-Ḥusayn ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sīnā, known to Europeans as Avicenna (b. 980/370 H; d. 1037/428 H)
ابو على الحسين ابن عبد الله ابن سينا
He is perhaps the best known name of all Islamic physicians. Born in 980 in a town near Bukhara in Central Asia, he traveled widely in the eastern Islamic lands. At one time he served as wazir (vizier) in Hamadan, in western Persia not far from Baghdad, to the Buwayhid ruler Shams al-Dawlah Abū Tahir (reg. 997-1021). He was a prolific writer, for he composed nearly 270 different treatises, many of them medical. When he died in 1037 he was known as one of the greatest philosophers of Islam, and in medicine he was so highly regarded that he was compared to Galen.
For life and writings, see M. Mahdi, D. Gutas, et al., "Avicenna" in EncIr, volume 3, pp. 66-110; A.-M. Goichon, "Ibn Sina" in EI (2nd ed.), volume 3, pp. 941-947; and Jules L. Janssens, An Annotated Bibliography on Ibn Sīnā (1970-1989), including Arabic and Persian Publications and Turkish and Russian References [Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, De Wulf-Mansion Centre, ser. 1, vol. XIII, (Leuven: University Press, 1991); Nancy G. Siraisi, Avicenna in Renaissance Italy: The Canon and Medical Teaching in Italian Universities after 1500, (Princeton University Press, 1987), and Ullmann, Medizin, pp. 152-156].
‘Adnān al-‘Aynzarbī was court physician to the Fatimid ruler in Egypt, al-Zafir, who governed from 1149 to 1154 (544-549 H). As his name (nisbah) suggests, he was originally from Anazarbus, near Tarsus in Asia Minor. From there he moved to Baghdad, where he established a reputation for learning, whereupon he then moved to Egypt, where he worked as both an astrologer/astronomer and a physician. He composed a general medical manual titled al-Kāfī fī ṣinā‘at al-ṭibb (What is sufficient for the medical art) which provided information about the treatment of diseases by using synoptic charts. It also had a chapter concerned with astrological medicine, a subject which also occupied him in a separate treatise on what the physician should know about astrology (Risālah fī-ma yahtaju al-tabib min ‘ilm al-falak). He died in the year 1153/548.