16th century autograph medical manuscript by a Meccan physician

Safi al-Din al-Kilani, Arabic physician (d. 1010 H / 1601 CE). Mughni al-Ahibba' wa Manhaj al-Atibba' fi al-Tibb [The Enricher of the Loved Ones and the Methodology of Physicians in Medicine].

Mecca, [10-18 August 1592 CE =] 2-10 Dhu'l-Qa'dah 1000 H.

4to (155 x 214 mm). Arabic manuscript on paper. (7) leaves of index, 1 title-page, 391 numbered pages (pp. 218-219 bound between pp. 199 and 200). Black naskh with occasional words picked out in red ink. Some marginal annotations. Contemporary auburn full morocco with fore-edge flap, covers and flap with blindstamped medallions.


Unique autograph of this medical manual, in the author's own hand, written in Mecca in the 16th century CE.

The text comprises chapters on the composition and physical properties of medications (the various types of medicine including syrups, ointments, and pills); problems of the head such as headaches, hemiplegia, dizziness, strokes; the eye (macular fibrosis, chalazia); the nose; the lips; the teeth (toothaches, molars, cavities, discoloration and whitening); the tongue and other parts of the mouth; the internal organs (heart, liver, lungs, stomach, ulcers, piles), the bladder and ailments of the urinary tract; sexual problems (including womb- and uterus-related issues); back problems; sciatica; obesity; finally, leprosy and other skin-related ailments. This first and largest part of the manuscript comprises pp. 1-384 and ends with a colophon, dated 2 Dhu al-Qa'dah, which states that the author wrote this manuscript in Mecca at the Bimaristan al-Mu'ayyadi (not to be confused with the like-named institution that existed in Cairo), a hospital constructed under Mamluk Sultan al-Mu'ayyad, who was known for his charitable endowments. It is likely that the author worked here.

Starting on page 385, a second part provides summaries of various ailments and their respective remedies. The second colophon (on p. 390) states that this appendix was written at the Holy Mosque of Mecca on 10 Dhu al-Qa'dah 1000 AH. The final leaf contains "A Brief Summary of al-Adwiyah al-Mufradah (Simple Drugs)"; a seven-leaf index at the beginning was added at a later date.

There is a general dearth of information about Hejazi history around AH 1000, and little is known about the life of Mulla Safi al-Din al-Kilani (d. 1010/1601). Al-Muhibbi's "Summary of History of the 11th Century" records that he settled in Mecca and authored a number of books on medicine (the Nur Osmaniye Library in Isanbul owns a manuscript of his "Tadhkirat al-Shahawaat fi Tabsirat al-Ladhaat", or "On Sexual Medicine"), and many medical miracles and dramatic cures are attributed to him (cf. Al-Khalili).

Binding insignificantly rubbed; later endpapers. Occasional stains to text and an old repair to the title-page, but altogether very well preserved. A fine survival.


For the author cf. al-Muhibbi, Khulasat al-Athar fi a`yan al-Qarn al-Hadi 'Ashar [A Summary of History of the Eleventh Century] (Cairo, 1980) II, 244, and al-Khalili, Mu'jam udaba' al-atibba' [A Dictionary of Medical Authors] (Najaf, 1946) I, 213.