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Catalogue: Pharmaceutics

Blue arrow pointing to the right A Note on Minhāj al-bayān (The Course of Explanation)

This Arabic handbook of pharmaceutics covers not only medicinal simples (materia medica) but also compound remedies. The introduction, in seven unnumbered chapters (fasls), is on compound remedies, followed by simple drugs presented in alphabetical order. It was written after Ibn Jazlah's well-known treatise on regimen, Taqwim al-abdan, and it was dedicated to the ‘Abbasid caliph al-Muqtadi who ruled from 1075 to 1094 (467-487H).

NLM has one complete copy (MS A 40) and a second copy that is without the introductory section on compound remedies and is a slightly abbreviated version of the remainder (MS A 87, item 2).

There is also at NLM a short piece stated to be an extract from al-Bayān, presumably referring to the Minhāj al-Bayān of Ibn Jazlah (MS A 87, item 3). It is possible that it refers to another writer, Ibn Abī al-Bayān (d. 1240/638). However, since Ibn Jazlah's treatise is often referred to simply as al-Bayān (The Explanation), it seems likely that it is his treatise from which this was extracted.

NLM also has an essay on regimen for infants (Tadbīr al-afāll), catalogued in the section on dietetics, that was extracted from a book called Kitāb al-Bayān (The Book of Explanation) in (MS A 87, item 6). Here again, although Ibn Jazlah is not specifically named as the author of the treatise from which the essay was extracted, it seems likely that it was compiled from material taken from his Minhāj al-bayān.

There are numerous copies of Ibn Jazlah's Minhāj al-bayān recorded in other collections. For other copies, see GAL vol. I, p. 485 (639), GAL-S vol. I, p. 888; Ullmann, Medizin, p. 274; Dietrich, Medicinalia, pp. 102-4 no. 41; Iskandar "UCLA"; p. 55, Coll. 1062, MS Ar. 101 (incomplete, undated); Iskandar, "Wellcome", pp. 132-3, Arabic MS 44 copied in 1564/972; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Hunt. 51 (see Savage-Smith, "Bodleian"); Salmane Kataya, Les Manuscrits Medicaux et Pharmaceutiques dan les Bibliothéques publiques d'Alep [in Arabic] (Aleppo: Institut du Patrimoine scientifique Arabe, Université d'Alep 1976), p. 370; Gregor Schoeler, Arabische Handschriften, Teil II [Verzeichnis der orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland, Band XVII, Reihe B, Teil 2] (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1990), pp. 246-7 no. 219, copy completed in 1197/594; Rudolf Sellheim, Materialien zur arabischen Literaturgeschichte, Teil I [Verzeichnis der orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland, Band XVII, Reihe A, Teil 1] (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1976), pp. 224-5 no. 58; and Cambridge University Library MS P 9 (R.A. Nicholson, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Oriental MSS. Belonging to the late E. G. Browne (Cambridge: University Press, 1932), p. 172).

For a general discussion of the treatise, see J. S. Graziani, Arabic medicine in the eleventh century as represented in the works of Ibn Jazlah (Karachi, Pakistan : Hamdard Foundation, 1980).

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