The Essentials of Arithmetic


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The record is made up of 58 items. It was created in 1547/1621. It was written in Arabic and Farsi. The original is part of the Qatar National Library.

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Bahā’ al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Ḥusayn al-‘Āmilī, also known as Sheiykh Bahā’ī, was a famous polymath and intellectual luminary of Safavid Persia. He was born in 1547 (953 AH) near the Jabal ‘Āmila in Syria. He migrated with his family to Persia (perhaps to escape the persecution of Shi'a Muslims at the hand of the Ottomans), where he eventually obtained an honored place at the court of Shāh ‘Abbās. He died in Isfahan in 1621 (1030 AH). A prolific author of works on astronomy, mathematics, fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), and other subjects, al-‘Āmilī was also a poet who wrote in both Persian and Arabic. His most popular literary work, Kashkul (Mendicant's bowl), includes accounts of his many travels in Persia and the Ottoman realms. The majority of al-‘Āmilī's considerable scientific and mathematical output remains to be studied. The al-Khulasa fil hisab (The essentials of arithmetic) was an extremely popular work throughout the Middle East up to the 19th century. It has an introduction and ten chapters, with the tenth chapter including exercises and a conclusion, and is dedicated to Bahādur Khān, a member of the Safavid house. The colophon Section at the end of a manuscript text. of the present manuscript indicates that it was copied near Saharanpur, in Mughal India. The manuscript is in Nasta’aliq script written in black and red ink, with geometric shapes in the margins between lines. The copyist states, in Persian, that it was completed on a Friday after the "first part" of the morning. In a couplet he also asks the Lord to forgive the "author, reader, and viewer." A translation of al-Khulasa fil hisab by the German linguist and ethnographer G.H.F. Nesselmann was published in Berlin in 1843. A French edition (based on the German) appeared in 1864.

Extent and format
58 items
Physical characteristics

55 pages ; 18 x 26 centimeters

Written in
Arabic and Farsi in Arabic and Persian script

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Original held at
Qatar National Library
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History of this record

1547/1621 (CE, Gregorian)

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The Essentials of Arithmetic, Qatar National Library, 9542, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 19 October 2019]

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