JAḠMINI (or Čaḡmini), MAḤMUD b. Moḥammad b. ʿOmar, an astronomer from Jaḡmin, a village in Ḵᵛārazm (d. 745/1344). He is mentioned as the author of a brief Arabic survey of mathematical astronomy under the title al-Molaḵḵaṣ fi’l-hayʾa (purportedly written in Ḵᵛārazm in 618/1220) and of an Arabic extract of Avicenna’s al-Qānun fi’l-ṭebb, named al-Qānunja (i.e., Pers. Qānunča “the little Qānun”).

Nothing specific is known about his life, but it would seem plausible (but no more) to speculate that the author of al-Qānunja was a linear descendent of his earlier namesake, considering conservative family traditions in passing on forefathers’ names to subsequent generations. In any case, the early date of the astronomical treatise is attested by two manuscripts, the later of the two being dated to 644/1246-47, whereas the medical author’s death-note is owed to a reader’s gloss. It does bear mention, however, that a more intensive study of either text, as reflected in the existent commentaries, did not begin much before the turn of the 9th/15th century, only to last well into the 13th/19th century. Their wide dissemination attests to their practical usefulness rather than to any outstanding scientific merit.

The astronomical treatise, al-Molaḵḵaṣ fi’l-hayʾa, elicited interest in Ulugh Beg’s circle of specialists. It became the subject of an Arabic commentary (comp. 814/1411) by the mathematician and astronomer Ṣalāḥ-al-Din Musā b. Moḥammad b. Maḥmud, known as Qāżizāda Rumi (d. after 1440). Another member of Ulugh Beg’s entourage, Ḥosayn b. Ḥosayn (?) Ḵᵛārazmi (d. ca. 839/1436-37), dedicated a Persian commentary to him. Another Persian commentary was compiled in India as late as the early 12th/18th century.

Qānunja’s conciseness was a major cause of the great popularity it enjoyed, demonstrated by its numerous Arabic copies and the string of translations from the Timurid period onward in Iran and India. It was commented upon in a book called Mofarreḥ al-qolub by the medical author Moḥammad-Akbar Arzāni (d. Delhi, 1722), who alternated between Safavid Iran and Mughal India. His commentary went through several Indian editions during the 19th century (e.g., Lucknow, 1886). Another commentary, anonymous, was prepared in India as late as 1822-23, and an English version of one of the Persian translations was published in Calcutta in 1782.



Carl Brockelmann, Geschichte der arabischen Literatur, 2nd ed., 2 vols., Leiden, 1943-49; Supplement, 3 vols., Leiden, 1937-42, I, pp. 598, 624; II, pp. 212-13; Supp. I, pp. 826, 865. F. Jamil Ragep, “Ḳāḍī-Zāde Rūmī,” in EI ², Supplement, p. 502.

Maḥ-mud Jaḡmini, al-Molaòḵaṣ fi’l-hayʾa, Tehran, 1880; tr. G. Rudloff and Adolf Hochheim as “Die Astronomie des Maḥmûd ibn Muḥammed ibn ʿOmar al-Ğagmînî,” ZDMG 4, 1893, pp. 213-75.

Idem, Qānunja, tr. Moḥ-ammad-Taqi Mir as Qānunča dar ṭebb, Shiraz, 1971.

Lutz Richter-Bernburg, Persian Medical Manuscripts at the University of California, Los Angeles, Humana Civilitas 4, Malibu, Cal., 1978, pp. 28-29, 155-56, nos. 19, 134, resp. (al-Qānunja, Ar. ms of 1261/1845), p. 152 ff., no. 132 (Moḥammad Arzāni’s Persian commentary).

Rudolf Sellheim, Materialien zur arabischen Literaturgeschichte Teil 1, Verzeichnis der Orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland 17, Arabische Handschriften Reihe A, Wiesbaden, 1976, pp. 158-68.

Charles A. Storey, Persian Literature: A Bio-biographical Survey, 2 vols., London, 1927-39, II, pp. 50-51, no. 88 (al-Molaḵḵaṣ), 219-20, no. 377 (al-Qānunča; cf. pp. 8, 67, 73, nos. 16, 103, 106 resp.).

Heinrich Suter (rev. Juan Vernet), “al-Djaghmīnī,” in EI ² II, p. 378.

(Lutz Richter-Bernburg)

Originally Published: December 15, 2008

Last Updated: April 10, 2012

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Vol. XIV, Fasc. 4, p. 373