Taysīr al-maṭālib fī tasyīr al-kawākib تيسير المطالب في تسيير الكواكب Kawāshī, Muḥammad ibn Abī Bakr كواشي، محمد بن أبي بكر

Or 9116

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The record is made up of Codex A collection of pages, usually gathered into quires, and bound between covers. ; ff. ii+139+ii. It was created in 14th century. It was written in Arabic. The original is part of the British Library: Oriental Manuscripts.

About this record


Astronomical handbook (زيج) by the Yemenī astronomer Muḥammad ibn Abī Bakr al-Kawāshī (محمد بن أبي بكر الكواشي, fl. 13th century, see King, Mathematical Astronomy in Medieval Yemen [1982], p. 27). The text is dedicated to the Rasūlid ruler of Yemen al-Malik al-Muẓaffar Yūsuf (I) ibn ‘Umar (الملك المظفر يوسف بن عمر, reg. 1250-95, see f. 1v, lines 8-9), to whom the authorship of the treatise is sometimes erroneously attributed (e.g. Kâtib Çelebi, Ke şf-el-zunun , vol. 1, p. 519).

The manuscript is defective at the beginning. The title can be found on f. 2r, lines 7-8.

The treatise is divided into three books (فنون), each divided into chapters (أبواب) and further subdivided into sections (فصول). A table of contents is found on ff. 2r-3r.

  • Book One: The necessary prolegomena and introduction to the foundations upon which the principals are built (الفن الأول في التوطئة المحتاج إليها وتمهيد القواعد التي تبنى الأصول عليها, ff. 2v-20v);
  • Book Two: Explanation of using the treatises and elucidation of the methods stipulated by the ancients (الفن الثاني في بيان العمل بالرسائل وإيضاح الطرق التي نصّت عليها الأوائل, ff. 20v-89r);
  • Book Three: How the tables are laid out and making their purposes accessible to the user (الفن الثالث في كيفية وضع الجداول وتقريب غرضها من يد المتناول, ff. 89v-139v).

The first two books are introductory while Book Three is composed almost entirely of tables. Further diagrams and tables are found in the first two books on ff.5r, 7r-8r, 19r, 23r, 24r, 26r-28r, 29v-30v, 32r, 33r, 34r, 42r, 44r, 45r, 51v-52r, 56v, 73v, 76v.

Begins (f. 1r, lines 1-4, folio mutilated towards edge):

ومغازيهم وأسفارهم وما يتأهبون له من لقاء عدو أو تجهيز جيش يرصدون

الأوقات ويختارون لهم الطوالع ثم لا يخالفونهم في وقت يعينـ [...] ولا [...]

في طالع يستخرجونه فالقوم يجرون لسوء بختهم على المثل المستعمل الشعير [...]

ويذم ...

Ends (f. 139v, lines 11-13):

... ثم تقوم بعد الزيادة والنقصان بتلك التعاديل

يخرج مقومها على ما بيناه وبالله التوفيق

وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وآله وصحبه أجمعين

Extent and format
Codex A collection of pages, usually gathered into quires, and bound between covers. ; ff. ii+139+ii
Physical characteristics

Material: Eastern laid paper

Dimensions: 235 x 160 mm leaf [180 x 130 mm text frame]

Foliation: Eastern Arabic foliation in brown ink, British Museum foliation in pencil

Ruling: Misṭarah ; 15 lines per page; vertical spacing 9 lines per 10 cm

Script: Naskh

Ink: Brown ink, with numerals, punctuation, some overlining and some elements in tables and diagrams in red

Decoration: All pages framed in red

Binding: British Museum binding with leather spine

Condition: One or more folios missing from beginning, most folios mutilated and repaired at edge with little loss of text, insect damage from f. 43 towards back of volume most repaired with silk net or paper

Marginalia: Numerous, by many hands

Seals: f. iii-v (first end flyleaf)

Written in
Arabic in Arabic script

Archive information for this record

Access & Reference

Original held at
British Library: Oriental Manuscripts
Access conditions


Archive reference
Or 9116

History of this record

14th century (CE, Gregorian)

Ḥusām al-Dīn (حسام الدين): his inscription with date 1[2]31/1[8]15-6?, and his seal, with date 1[2]28/1[8]13? (f. iii-v [first end flyleaf])

Immediate source of acquisition

Purchased from Isaac Benjamin Shlomo Ezekiel Yahuda (bookdealer at Cairo and brother of Abraham Shalom Yahuda, d. 1951), 10 June 1922

Related material

Select Bibliography

Study and partial edition and translation:

  • Gingerich, Owen and David A. King, 'Some Astronomical Observations from Thirteenth Century Egypt', Journal for the History of Astronomy 13 (1982), pp. 121-28


  • Kâtib Çelebi, Ke şf-el-zunun: elde mevcut yazma ve basma nüshaları ve zeyilleri gözden geçirilerek, müellifin elyazısiyle olan nüshaya göre fazlaları çıkarılmak , 6 vols, ed. by Şerefettin Yaltkaya and Kilisli Rifat Bilge (İstanbul: Maarif Matbaası, 1941-55), vol. 1, p. 519
  • King, David A., Mathematical Astronomy in Medieval Yemen (Malibu: Undena Press 1982), p. 27
  • Rosenfeld, B. A. and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoğlu, Mathematicians, Astronomers, and Other Scholars of Islamic Civilization and Their Works (7th - 19th c.) , (Istanbul: IRCICA, 2003), no. 614, p. 221

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Taysīr al-maṭālib fī tasyīr al-kawākib تيسير المطالب في تسيير الكواكب Kawāshī, Muḥammad ibn Abī Bakr كواشي، محمد بن أبي بكر, British Library: Oriental Manuscripts, Or 9116, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100063278240.0x000001> [accessed 29 February 2020]

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