Influential Arabic handbook for medical students

Ibn al-Nafis al-Qarashi, Ala'addin Abu 'l Hasan Ali / Ibn Sina (Avicenna). Kitab al-Mujaz fi al-Tibb [A Summary of Medicine].

[Central Asia, probably ca. 1550 CE / mid-16th century CE or later].

Tall 8vo (104 x 220 mm). Arabic manuscript on polished paper. (1), 185, (1) ff. Naskh script in black and occasional red ink, with catchwords and extensive marginal notes in a contemporary hand. 19th century leather, ruled and decoratively stamped in blind.


Popular and influential medieval Arabic handbook for medical students by the great Damascus anatomist Ibn al-Nafis (1210-88). Long considered a commentary on Avicenna, this is now viewed by scholarship as an original work which also discusses Avicenna's ideas, and thus as "an independent book meant to be a handbook for medical students and practitioners, not as an epitome of Kitab Al-Qanun of Ibn Sina as thought by recent historians" (Abdel-Halim, 2008). One of the author's most widely received works, it provides a useful sum of medical knowledge to aspiring physicians of the medieval and early modern periods alike. It was still being copied centuries on from the death of Ibn al-Nafis, who is famous for first describing the pulmonary blood circulation, thereby anticipating by many centuries the efforts of William Harvey.

Not dated by the scribe, but one of the ownership dates on the first leaf is dated Shawwal 1100 AH (July/August 1689 CE), and the date of copying would be estimated around 950 AH, or possibly later. Covers lightly scuffed, interior shows marginal paper repairs and slight trimming to outermost marginal notes. The main text is clean and unmarred.


GAL I, 493, 37, 2 & I, 457 (s. v. Ibn Sina). Rabie E. Abdel-Halim, "Contributions of Ibn Al-Nafis (1210-1288 AD) to the Progress of Medicine and Urology. A Study and Translations From his Medical Works", in: Saudi Medical Journal 29.1 (2008), pp. 13-22.

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