Seventeenth century mathematical commentary from Cairo

Shinshawri, Baha al-Din Muhammad al- / Ha'im, Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-. Kitab al-Murshidah wa Sharhuh [The Book of the Guide with its commentary].

Cairo, Ottoman Egypt, [28 May 1614 CE =] 18 Rabi II 1023 H.

8vo (154 x 208 mm). Arabic manuscript on paper. 267 ff. (final 6 leaves are supplied in a 19th century hand). Naskh script in black and red, with many numerical charts and calculations in text and margins. Rebacked contemporary red morocco, ruled and stamped in blind.


Commentary on a work by the Egyptian mathematician Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Ha'im (ca. 1352-1412), the "Murshidat al-talib ila asna al-matalib fi ilm al-hisab" ("A student's guide to the summit of learning on the science of mathematics"). Al-Ha'im is famous for his contributions to mathematics, especially in the field of early algebra. The author of the commentary, Baha al-Din Muhammad al-Shinshawri (d. 1590), finished this work in 1587. The present copy was completed by the scribes Abd al-Rahman bin Wali Allah and Shihab al-Din al-Wiqay al-Shinway al-Shafi' on Friday, the 18th of Rabi' al-Thani 1023 AH at Cairo's Al-Azhar Mosque in Ottoman Egypt.

The text incorporates several small mathematical charts as well as marginal calculations, which provide a key insight into the development of mathematical notation and visual organization in the early 17th century.

Covers rebacked and spine replaced, along with final six leaves which were probably completed in western Asia in the 19th century. Several small waqf stamps. A few paper repairs and marginal wormholes, otherwise well-preserved.


Cf. GAL II, 125.

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