حلّ شكوك في كتاب المجسطي يشكّ فيها بعض أهل العلم
Ḥall shukūk fī kitāb al-Majisṭī yashukku fī-hā baʿḍ ahl al-ʿilm
A collection of problems concerning Ptolemy’s Almagest with their solutions. It has no direct connection to Ibn al-Haytham’s al-Shukūk ʿalā Baṭlamyūs (Doubts about Ptolemy, C.1.1032). In contrast to al-Shukūk, in which Ibn al-Haytham pointed out problems and inconsistencies within Ptolemy’s works, he here attempts to resolve controversial issues that were put forward presumably by other scholars. According to Rashed (‘The Celestial Kinematics’), Ḥall shukūk was written between 1028 and 1038
If Rashed’s thesis is correct, namely that the works ascribed to Ibn al-Haytham must be divided into works written by the philosopher Muḥammad Ibn al-Haytham and by the mathematician al-Ḥasan Ibn al-Haytham, this treatise belongs to the latter (Rashed, ‘The Configuration’; in contrast, see Sabra, ‘One Ibn al-Haytham’ and ‘One Ibn al-Haytham. Conclusion’).
It is hard to ascertain whether the collection of questions and doubts that is extant today was compiled by Ibn al-Haytham himself as one coherent treatise. For example, in Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa’s list this work appears under the title Maqāla fī Ḥall shukūk fī l-maqāla al-ūlā min Kitāb al-Majisṭī yashukku fī-hā baʿḍ ahl al-ʿilm, i.e., Treatise on the Solution of Doubts Concerning Book I of the Almagest, Raised by some People of the Science. Given that only Part I deals exclusively with issues from Book I, this might suggest that Part I once was an independent treatise. In contrast, Sabra argued that Abū l-Qāsim b. Maʿdān could be the author of all the doubts and questions answered by Ibn al-Haytham, which would tie the existing parts closer together than it may seem at first sight (Sabra, ‘On Seeing the Stars’, pp. 3–4). A comment on the first doubt of Part III suggests that the treatise goes back to a discussion between Ibn al-Haytham and a single interlocutor in three stages. Ibn al-Haytham writes that the first question of Part II and the first doubt of Part III are responses to his responses concerning the first doubt of Part I and the first question of Part II, respectively (for the Arabic text, see Sabra, ‘On Seeing the Stars’, p. 30:1–9). It remains unclear whether this interlocutor is, in fact, Abū l-Qāsim b. Maʿdān.
The Ḥall shukūk falls into four main parts (see Sabra, ‘On Seeing the Stars’, esp. pp. 2–4):
Part I consists of five ‘doubts’ (shukūk). First, the problem is described with a reference to the chapter of the Almagest, to which Ibn al-Haytham then gives a ‘reply’ (jawāb). All five doubts refer to Book I of the Almagest.
Part II consists of nine ‘questions’ (masāʾil).
Part III consists of four ‘doubts’ (shukūk).
Part IV is a single ‘doubt’ (shakk). This is the only one for which the name of the author is given, namely Abū l-Qāsim b. Maʿdān (Sezgin, pp. 204 and 293–294).
Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa, ʿUyūn al-anbāʾ, ed. MüllerAugust Müller, ʿUyūn al-anbāʾ fī l-ṭabaqāt al-aṭibbāʾ li-ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa, 2 vols, Cairo: al-Maṭbaʿa al-Wahbiyya, 1882, vol. II, p. 98; Ibn al-Qifṭī, Taʾrīkh al-ḥukamāʾ, ed. LippertJulius Lippert, Ibn al-Qifṭī’s Taʾrīḫ al-ḥukamā, Leipzig: Dieterich, 1903, p. 168. — KrauseMax Krause, ‘Stambuler Handschriften islamischer Mathematiker’, Quellen und Studien zur Geschichte der Mathematik, Astronomie und Physik, Abteilung B: Studien 3 (1936), pp. 437–532, p. 478; GAS VIFuat Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums. Vol. VI: Astronomie bis ca. 430 H., Leiden: Brill, 1978, pp. 204, 258, 293–294. — Abdelhamid I. Sabra, ‘On Seeing the Stars, II. Ibn al-Haytham’s “Answers” to the “Doubts” Raised by Ibn Maʿdān’, Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften 10 (1995–1996), pp. 1–59; Abdelhamid I. Sabra, ‘One Ibn al-Haytham or Two? An Exercise in Reading the Bio-bibliographical Sources’, Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften 12 (1998), pp. 1–50; Abdelhamid I. Sabra, ‘One Ibn al-Haytham or Two? Conclusion’, Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften 15 (2002–2003), pp. 95–108; Roshdi Rashed, ‘The Celestial Kinematics of Ibn al-Haytham’, Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 17 (2007), pp. 7–55, here p. 10; Roshdi Rashed, ‘The Configuration of the Universe: A Book by al-Ḥasan ibn al-Haytham?’, Revue d’Histoire des Sciences 60 (2007), pp. 47–63.
Partially edited with English translation in Sabra, ‘On Seeing the Stars’, pp. 9–59.
Istanbul, Beyazıt Devlet, Veliyüddin 2304, ff. 1v–20v (885/1480) Text
Istanbul, Süleymaniye, Fatih 3439, ff. 142v–150v (586-7/1191)