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Catalogue: Magical/Astrological Medicine

Blue arrow pointing to the right Kitāb al-Khawā   (MS A 91, item 10)
(On Occult Properties)
كتاب الخواص

An anonymous treatise on the occult properties of plants and animals. It is divided into two sections, one on plants and one on animals, with the material presented in alphabetical order.

Physical Description

Arabic. 63 pages (pp. 120 [old 134] to 182 [old 186]). Dimensions 21.5 x 15.7 (text area 16.5 x 10.5) cm; 21 lines per page. The title is given on p. 120 [old 134], line 15. No author is named.

The copy is undated and unsigned. The appearance of the paper, script, and ink suggests a date of the 17th or 18th century.

The copy appears to be complete.

The text is written in a medium-small naskh script, with black ink and headings in red. It is a fluid script with a number of ligatures. There are catchwords. This hand appears to have been responsible for most of the items in the volume.

The volume has been paginated rather than foliated. The volume has been recently repaginated in Western numerals. There is an early pagination in Arabic numerals which places the numeral 15 on the first page of the present volume, with subsequent mistakes and omissions. Therefore, it is evident that the first 14 pages of the manuscript are now missing. According to this earlier pagination, there are also leaves missing after pp. 44 (old 58), 182 (old 186), 188 (old 194), and 220 (old 227). There are also section numbers (nos. 40-694) in the margins, and this marginal numbering is continuous, except at the beginning, indicating that it was written after the missing leaves, except opening leaves, had disappeared. The page references are to the Western pagination, followed by the old pagination.

The same paper has been used throughout the volume. It is a thick, glossy, light-beige (darkened near the edges) paper with laid lines, single chain lines, and watermarks. The paper is greatly soiled by thumbing and with grime, and is waterstained near the edges. The edges have been repaired on several leaves.

The volume consists of 268 leaves. Item 1 (pp. 1-44) is the Mu‘alajat al-amrā al-khairah al-bādiyah ‘alá al-badan min khārij by Ibn al-Kattānī (MS A 91, item 1). Item 2 (p. 44) untitled and anonymous writing on foodstuffs (MS A 91, item 2); item 3 (p. 45) an untitled and anonymous collection of compound remedies (MS A 91, item 3); item 4 (pp. 46-91) is a therapeutic mujarrabat manual by Muammad ibn Khamrah (MS A 91, item 4); item 5 (pp. 91-96) an anonymous treatise titled Risālah fī khawā al-panzahr (MS A 91, item 5); item 6 (pp. 97-103) contains recipes (MS A 91, item 6); item 7 (pp. 103-106) is an anonymous discourse titled al-Qawl fī fal al-fatīah (MS A 91, item 7); item 8 (pp. 106-109) an anonymous essay titled ifat ma‘jūn nāfi‘ lil-ma‘idah (MS A 91, item 8); item 9 (pp. 110-119) in an essay on Prophetic traditions by al-Shaykh Abū al-‘Abbās known as Ibn al-Mīlaq, or Ibn Maylaq (MS A 91, item 9); item 10 (pp. 120-182) is here catalogued; item 11 (pp. 183-188) on medicinal plants, untitled and anonymous (MS A 91, item 11); item 12 (pp. 189-253) on compound remedies (MS A 91, item 12); item 13 (pp. 254-262) is al-Jawhar al-fard fī mufākharat al-narjis wa-al-ward possibly by Abū al-asan ‘Alī ibn al-Musharraf al-Māridīnī (MS A 91, item 13); and the final item (pp. 262-268) are anonymous recipes (MS A 91, item 14).


The volume is bound in a dark-brown leather modern library binding. There are modern paper pastedowns and endpapers.


At the lower right corner of p. 96 [old 110] there is an owner's inscription stating that the owner (sahibuhu wa-malikuhu) was al-Sayyid Muammad al-akīm.

The volume was purchased in 1941 by the Army Medical Library from A. S. Yahuda who acquired it from a dealer in Damascus, Syria (ELS 1700 Med. 31).


Schullian/Sommer, Cat. of incun. & MSS., entry A91, p. 329. This item is not included.

NLM Microfilm Reel: FILM 48-130, no. 1

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