BĪRŪNĪ, ABŪ RAYḤĀN
Bīrūnī catalogued both his own works and those of Rāzī. In 427/1035-36 or a little thereafter Bīrūnī wrote, at the urging of a friend, a Resāla fī fehrest kotob Moḥammad b. Zakarīyāʾ al-Rāzī (Epistle concerning a list of the books of Moḥammad b. Zakarīyāʾ al-Rāzī). This consists of two parts, the first devoted to Rāzī and his works, the second to Bīrūnī himself with an inventory of the books that he had authored up to that time. This sort of bibliographical treatment of an individual is modeled on those produced by Galen in antiquity and by Ḥonayn b. Esḥāq in the 3rd/9th century.
The catalogue of Rāzī’s works contains 184 titles divided into 11 categories: medicine; natural science; logic; mathematics and astronomy; commentaries, synopses, and extracts; philosophy and assessment; metaphysics; theology; alchemy; heretical; and miscellaneous. After it Bīrūnī presents a chronological table of Greek physicians from Asclepius to Galen followed by brief notes on the history of medicine. This part of the Resāla has been studied by Ruska.
Bīrūnī’s catalogue of his own literary production up to his 65th lunar/63rd solar year (the end of 427/1036) lists 103 titles divided into 12 categories: astronomy, mathematical geography, mathematics, astrological aspects and transits, astronomical instruments, chronology, comets, an untitled category, astrology, anecdotes, religion, and books of which he no longer possesses copies. Except for the books in the last category he usually mentions the number of folios occupied by each work in the copy available to him. After an account of the astrologers’ predictions of the length of his life and of a dream he had in his sixty-first (lunar ?) year, he adds ten more titles of his own works followed by twenty-five of those written in his name by Abū Naṣr Manṣūr b. ʿAlī b. ʿErāq, Abū Sahl ʿĪsā b. Yaḥyā the Christian, and Abū ʿAlī Ḥasan b. ʿAlī Jīlī. His own works, he says, he regards as his sons, and so also does he those that were written in his name.
A Mošāṭa, or appendix to the Resāla, in which Bīrūnī’s horoscope is thoroughly analyzed, was written by Abū Esḥāq Ebrāhīm b. Moḥammad Tabrīzī, called Ḡażanfar (see Bīrūnī, al-Āṯār al-bāqīa, pp. XIV-XV). Ḡażanfar states that he was born 184 Persian years after Bīrūnī’s death. Since he gives the latter date as 440/1048-49, Ḡażanfar must have been born in 630/1232-33.
The titles of some 155 works composed by Bīrūnī are known (see Boilot). Some he wrote after he had finished his bibliography, others he simply forgot to include in it. Perhaps five-sixths of the total number of 155 treatises are now irretrievably lost.
Bīrūnī’s extant works. The list given here follows the order of Boilot, whose RG numbers are prefaced to the appropriate items:
RG 7: Ketāb maqālīd ʿelm al-hayʾa, preserved on fols. 163-84 of ms. 597 in the Sepahsālār Mosque, Tehran (Kennedy).
RG 11: Maqāla fi’l-taḥlīl wa’l-taqṭīʿ le’l-taʿdīl, publ. by mistake as part of work no. 1 (Esteḵrāj al-awtār) in Rasāʾel al-Bīrūnī, Hyderabad, 1948, and by A. S. Demerdāš, Cairo  (Hogendijk, pp. 148, 150-52).
RG 15: Ketāb fī efrād al-maqāl fī amr al-aẓlāl, publ. as work no. 2 in Rasāʾel al-Bīrūnī, but with some omissions and confusions (Hogendijk, p. 145).
RG 19: Ketāb taḥdīd nehāyat al-amāken le-taṣḥīḥ masāfāt al-masāken, ed. P. G. Bulgakov, in Maʾāḵeḏ al-maḵṭūṭāt al-ʿarabīya, Cairo, 1962; Russ. tr. P. G. Bulgakov, in Bīrūnī’s selected works (Izbrannye proizvedeniya) III, Tashkent, 1966; tr. J. Ali, The Determination of the Coordinates of Cities, Beirut, 1967; comm. by E. S. Kennedy, A Commentary upon Bīrūnī’s Kitāb taḥdīd al-amākin, Beirut, 1973.
RG 24: Maqāla fī esteḵrāj qadr al-arż be-raṣd enḥeṭāṭ al-ofoq ʿan qolal al-jebāl; a brief extract survives on fols. 43-43v of Berlin 5794 (see Wiedemann).
RG 38: Fī rāšīkāt al-Hend, publ. as work no. 4 in Rasāʾel al-Bīrūnī (Hogendijk, pp. 145-46).
RG 45: Tamhīd al-mostaqarr le-taḥqīq maʿna’l-mamarr, publ. as work no. 3 in Rasāʾel al-Bīrūnī, tr. M. Saffouri and A. Ifram, On Transits, Beirut, 1959, with a comm. by E. S. Kennedy (Hogendijk, p. 146).
RG 46: Ketāb fī estīʿāb al-wojūh al-momkena fī ṣaṇʿat al-aṣṭorlāb, preserved in many mss. RG 47: Fī tashīl al-taṣḥīḥ al-aṣṭorlābī wa’l-ʿamal be-morakkabāteh men al-šamālī wa’l-janūbī, preserved on fols. 1-43 of Berlin 5794 (Bīrūnī, al-Āṯār al-bāqīa, p. L).
RG 48: Maqāla fī tasṭīḥ al-ṣowar wa tabṭīḥ al-kowar, ed. A. S. Saʿīdān, Derāsāt 4, 1977, pp. 7-22; a facsimile of the ms. is given in Berggren, pp. 81-95.
RG 63: Maqāla fi’l-nesab allatī bayn al-felezzāt wa’l-jawāher fi’l-ḥajm, preserved in ms. 223 of the Université de St. Joseph in Beirut.
RG 64: Maqāla fī esteḵrāj al-awtār fi’l-dāʾera be-ḵawāṣṣ al-ḵaṭṭ al-monḥanī fīhā, publ. as work no. 1 in Rasāʾel al-Bīrūnī; ed. A. S. Demerdāš, Cairo, ; both editions are defective (Hogendijk, p. 147).
RG 67: Maqāla fī anna lawāzem tajazzoʾ al-maqādīr elā lā nehāya qarība men amr al-ḵaṭṭayn allaḏayn yaqrabān wa lā yaltaqīān fi’l-estebʿād; a fragment preserved on 1 fol. was published as part of work no. 1 of Rasāʾel al-Bīrūnī (see Hogendijk, pp. 149, 158-59).
RG 73: Ketāb al-tafhīm le-awāʾel ṣenāʿat al-tanjīm, in both Arabic (ed. R. R. Wright, London, 1934) and Persian (ed. J. Homāʾī, Tehran, 1318 Š./1939, rev. 1353 Š./1975).
RG 76: Maqāla fī sayr sahmai’l-saʿāda wa’l-ḡayb, ed. F. I. Haddad, D. Pingree, and E. S. Kennedy, “Al-Bīrūnī’s Treatise on Astrological Lots,” Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften 1, 1984, pp. 9-54.
RG 93: Ketāb taḥqīq mā le’l-Hend men maqūla maqbūla fi’l-ʿaql aw marḏūla, ed. C. E. Sachau, London, 1887; rev. ed., Hyderabad, 1958; tr. C. E. Sachau, Alberuni’s India, 2 vols., London, 1888, 1910.
RG 98: Tarjamat ketāb Bātanjalī fi’l-ḵalāṣ men al-ertebāk, ed. H. Ritter, “Al-Bīrūnī’s Übersetzung des Yoga-sūtra des Patañjali,” Oriens 9, 1956, pp. 165-200.
RG 104: al-Qānūn al-masʿūdī fi’l-hayʾa wa’l-nojūm, ed. S. H. Baranī, 3 vols., Hyderabad, 1954-56; maqāla 3 ed. E. E. Aḥmad, Cairo, 1970.
RG 105: al-Āṯār al-bāqīa ʿan al-qorūn al-ḵālīa, ed. C. E. Sachau, Leipzig, 1879, repr. Leipzig, 1923; tr.
C. E. Sachau, Chronology of Ancient Nations, London, 1887, repr. Frankfurt, 1969; lacunae in Sachau’s text have been filled by J. Fück, “Sechs Ergänzungen zu Sachaus Ausgabe von al-Bīrūnīs "Chronologie orientalischer Völker",” in Documenta Islamica Inedita, Berlin, 1952, pp. 69-98, and by K. Garbers, “Eine Ergänzung zu Sachaus Ausgabe von al-Bīrūnī’ s "Chronologie orientalischer Völker", ibid., Berlin, 1952, pp. 45-69.
RG 143: Ketāb al-dorar fī saṭḥ al-okar, preserved in a Bodleian ms. (Bīrūnī, al-Āṯār al-bāqīa, p. XXXXIX).
RG 156: Ketāb al-jamāher fī maʿrefat al-jawāher, ed. F. Krenkow, Hyderabad, 1936.
RG 157: Ketāb nozhat al-nofūs wa’l-afkār fī ḵawāṣṣ al-mawālīd al-ṯalāṯa al-maʿāden wa’l-nabāt wa’l-aḥjār, extant in a Bodleian Ins. (Bīrūnī, al-Āṯār al-bāqīa, p. XXXXIX).
RG 158: Ketāb al-ṣaydana fi’l-ṭebb, ed. Hakim Muhammad Said, Karachi, 1973.
RG 168: Resāla fī-fehrest kotob Moḥammad b. Zakarīyāʾ al-Rāzī, ed. P. Kraus, Paris, 1936; tr. J. Ruska, “Al-Bīrūnī als Quelle für das Leben und die Schriften al-Rāzī’s,” Isis 5, 1922, pp. 26-50; ed. with Pers. tr. M. Moḥaqqeq, Tehran, 1352 Š./1973.
RG 169: Ḥekāyat al-āla al-mosammā al-sods al-faḵrī, ed. L. Cheikho, al-Mašreq 11, 1908, pp. 68-69; tr.
L. A. Sédillot, “Les instruments astronomiques des arabes,” Mémoires de l’Académie royale des inscriptions, 1st Ser., 1, 1844, pp. 202-06.
RG 170: Rīāżat al-fekr wa’l-ʿaql, preserved in a ms. in Hyderabad.
RG 171: Ajwebat al-masāʾel al-ḵᵛārazmīya, extant in a ms. in Tehran. RG 180: Ketāb Abī Rayḥān elā Abī Saʿīd, ed. Kennedy, “A Letter of al-Bīrūnī. Ḥabash al-Ḥāsib’s Analemma for
the Qibla,” Historica Mathematica 1, 1974, pp. 3-11; not in Boilot. Ḡorrat al-zījāt, ed. S. S. H. Rizvi, “A Unique and Unknown Book of al-Bīrūnī: Ghurrat-uz-zījāt or Karaṇa Tilaka,” Islamic Culture 37, 1963, pp. 112-30, 167-86, 223-45; 38, 1964, pp. 47-74, 195-212; 39, 1965, pp. 1-26, 137-80.
Studies. J. L. Berggren, “Al-Bīrūnī On Plane Maps of the Sphere,” JHAS 6, 1982, pp. 47-95.
D. J. Boilot, “L’œuvre d’al-Beruni. Essai bibliographique,” Mélanges de l’Institut dominicain d’études orientales du Caire 2, 1955, pp. 161-256; 3, 1956, pp. 391-96.
M. I. Čagātāʾī, Āṯāral-Bīrūnī, Lahore, 1978.
J. P. Hogendijk, “Rearranging the Arabic Mathematical and Astronomical Manuscript Bankipore 2468,” JHAS 6, 1982, pp. 133-59.
E. S. Kennedy, “Al-Bīrūnī’s Maqālīd ʿilm al-hayʾa,” JNES 30, 1971, pp. 308-14.
A. S. Khan, A Bibliography of the Works of Abu’l-Rayḥān Bīrūnī (in Urdu), New Delhi, 1982 (Pers. tr. ʿA. Ḥabībī, Ketāb-šenāsī-e Abū Rayḥān Bīrūnī, Tehran, 1352 Š./1973).
M. S. Khan, “A Bibliography of Soviet Publications on al-Bīrūnī,” Arabica 23, 1976, pp. 77-83.
G. P. Matvievskaya and B. A. Rozenfel’d, Matematiki i astronomy musul’manskogo srednevekov’ya i ikh trudy (VIII-XVII vv.) 3 vols., Moscow, 1983, II, pp. 264-95.
M. Mohaghegh, “Notes on Bīrūnī’s Fihrist,” in Al-Bīrūnī Commemorative Volume, Karachi, 1979, pp. 228-31.
S. Ḥ. Naṣr, Ketāb-šenāsī-e tawṣīfī-e Abū Rayḥān Bīrūnī, Eng. title, Al-Bīrūnī. An Annotated Bibliography, Tehran, 1352 Š./1973.
H. Suter and E. Wiedemann, “Über al-Bîrûnî und seine Schriften. Beiträge zur Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften LX,” Sb. der Physikalisch-Medizinischen Sozietät zu Erlangen 52-53, 1920-21, pp. 55-96; repr. in E. Wiedemann, Aufsätze zur arabischen Wissenschaftsgeschichte, 2 vols., Hildesheim and New York, 1970, II, pp. 474-515.
E. Wiedemann, “Bestimmungen des Erdumfanges von al-Bêrûnî,” Archiv für die Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften und der Technik 1, 1909, pp. 66-69; repr. in E. Wiedemann, Gesammelte Schriften zur arabisch-islamischen Wissenschaftsgeschichte, 3 vols., Frankfurt am Main, 1984, I, pp. 310-13.
Originally Published: January 1, 2000
Last Updated: February 1, 2010
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