BORHĀN NAFĪS, BORHĀN-AL-DĪN NAFĪS b. ʿEważ b. Ḥakīm Kermānī, a physician of great renown in the 9th/15th century. Born into a medical family, he lived in Kermān and practiced medicine there until his repute reached the Timurid prince Oloḡ (Uluḡ) Beg b. Šāhroḵ, who invited him to join his court at Samarqand. After the murder of Oloḡ Beg in 853/1449 he went back to Kermān, where he remained until his death.
Borhān Nafīs’s descendants continued to practice medicine and pursue scientific and scholarly interests. Some still reside in Kermān. Among them were Mīrzā Saʿīd Šarīf Kermānī, who for some time held the office of chief physician (ḥakīmbāšī) at the court of Shah ʿAbbās I (996-1038/1587-1629), and Mīrzā ʿAlī-Akbar Khan Nāẓem-al-Aṭebbāʾ (d. 1342/1924; q.v.), a physician and the author of the dictionary Farhang-e Nafīsī, a Pezeškī-nāma (Essay on medical practice), and several other books and the father of the writer and scholar Saʿīd Nafīsī (1314 Q.- 1345 Š./1897-1966; q.v.).
Several works of Borhān Nafīs are extant, e.g., his Kollīyāt (collected essays) and Ketāb al-somūm (Treatise on poisons). Particularly esteemed and widely used as textbooks since the 9th/15th century were his commentaries on the Ketāb al-asbāb wa’l-ʿalāmāt (Book of causes and symptoms) of Najīb-al-Dīn Moḥammad b. ʿAlī b. ʿOmar Samarqandī (d. 618/1221) and on Mūjaz al-Qānūn of Ebn al-Nafīs (d. 687/1288; see Ṣafā, Adabīyāt III, pp. 277-78). The first commentary, known as the Šarḥ-e asbāb-e Nafīsī, was completed in 827/1423 and dedicated to Oloḡ Beg; Borhān’s detailed explanations and supplementary data were the main reason why the Ketāb al-asbāb wa’l-ʿalāmāt acquired such high repute as a medical textbook. The Mūjaz al-Qānūn is a four-volume, rearranged summary of Ebn Sīnā’s al-Qānūnfi’l-ṭebb by ʿAlāʾ-al-Dīn Qaršī, known as Ebn al-Nafīs, a native of Qarš in Transoxiana (ibid., pp. 274-75; for Qaršī rather than Qorašī [EI2 III, p. 897] see A. Mieli, La science arabe, Leiden, 1939, pp. 164, 349, and Mawsūʿāt al-ʿolūm al-eslāmīya, Beirut, n.d., pt. 5, p. 1975). Borhān Nafīs began writing his commentary at Kermān and finished it in 841/1437 during his stay at Samarqand. Several other commentaries on this work were brought out, but Borhān’s was considered the best and most authoritative.
Kašf al-ẓonūn, ed. Yaltkaya and Bilge, I, col. 77; II, col. 1900.
ʿAlī-Akbar Nafīsī Nāẓem-al-Aṭebbāʾ, Farnūdsār ya Farhang-e Nafīsī, Tehran, 1317-18 Š./1938-39, I, preface by Moḥammad-ʿAlī Forūḡī and Saʿīd Nafīsī.
M.-T. Dānešpažūh, Fehrest-e Ketāb-ḵāna-ye Dānešgāh-e Tehrān III/2, Tehran, 1332 Š./1953, pp. 746, 769-70.
Mīrzā Maʿṣūm Nāʾeb-al-Ṣadr (Maʿṣūm-ʿAlīšāh), Ṭarāʾeq al-ḥaqāʾeq, Tehran, 1316-19/1898-1901, III, p. 106. Ṣafā, Adabīyāt IV, p. 109.
Originally Published: December 15, 1989
Last Updated: December 15, 1989
This article is available in print.
Vol. IV, Fasc. 4, pp. 368-369