Abū l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad b. ʿAlī al-Iṣbahānī
تفسير كتاب الثمرة
Tafsīr Kitāb al-Thamara
A fragmentarily preserved commentary on the Thamara (B.1.1) by Abū l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad b. ʿAlī al-Iṣbahānī (or al-Iṣfahānī), about whom nothing is known. Judging from the surviving evidence, the commentary originally engaged with each verbum separately and was fairly extensive. It must postdate Abū Jaʿfar ibn al-Dāya’s commentary (composed after 913), as it is based on a version of the Thamara that originated in a particular manuscript of Abū Jaʿfar’s work (see below and C.3.0930). Abū l-ʿAbbās’s commentary was circulating by 1036 at the latest, as it was quoted in the Maqāla fī sayr sahmay al-saʿāda wa-l-ghayb (see Haddad et al.), a treatise by al-Bīrūnī recorded in the catalogue of his works compiled in that year. In addition to this quote, Abū l-ʿAbbās’s text is known through Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī’s commentary on the Thamara (C.3.1250), where it is referenced (ed. Zanjānī, pp. 3:1 and 75:17-18) as well as paraphrased and briefly discussed (ibid., pp. 4:16-20, 38:10-12, 42:14-16, and 52:11-14). Finally, a witness of al-Ṭūsī’s commentary, Istanbul, Nuruosmaniye, 2800, contains twenty-nine glosses ascribed to one Abū l-ʿAbbās; these were most likely excerpted from al-Iṣbahānī’s commentary (cf. Lemay). Alternative title: Sharḥ Kitāb al-Thamara.
The text quoted by al-Bīrūnī was taken, as stated by al-Bīrūnī himself, from Abū l-ʿAbbās’s commentary on verbum 90, although the content of the passage relates to the Thamara’s verbum 88. Also, in his discussion of verbum 97, al-Ṭūsī states that it was designated as verbum 99 in the manuscripts of Abū Jaʿfar’s and Abū l-ʿAbbās’s commentaries available to him (ed. Zanjānī, p. 75). Hence, it seems that Abū l-ʿAbbās commented on the well-attested version of the Thamara with verbum numbers shifted by 2. This version with a total of 102 verba originated in a particular manuscript of Abū Jaʿfar’s commentary where the three parts of verbum 1 came to be considered as three independent verba; verbum 2 was consequently numbered as 4, and so on (see C.3.0930).
GAS VIIFuat Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums. Vol. VII: Astrologie – Meteorologie und Verwandtes bis ca. 430 H., Leiden: Brill, 1979, pp. 45 (no. 2b) and 167; Fuad I. Haddad, David Pingree and Edward S. Kennedy, ‘Al-Bīrūnī’s Treatise on Astrological Lots’, Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften 1 (1984), pp. 9–54, here pp. 30–33 and 48; Richard Lemay, Le Kitāb aṯ-Ṯamara (Liber fructus, Centiloquium) d’Abū Jaʿfar Aḥmad ibn Yūsuf [Ps.-Ptolémée], 1999 [unpublished], vol. I, p. 64 and vol. II, p. 20; Jalīl Akhawān Zanjānī, Šarḥ-e Samare-ye Baṭlamyus. Xwāje Naṣir al-Din Ṭusi (597-672 L.H.), Tehran: Āyene-ye Mirās, 1999, pp. 3:1, 4:16-20, 38:10-12, 42:14-16, 52:11-14, 75:17-18.
The fragment quoted in al-Bīrūnī’s Maqāla fī sayr sahmay al-saʿāda wa-l-ghayb was edited and translated as part of this work by Haddad et al. The testimonia in al-Ṭūsī’s commentary on the Thamara were edited as part of this work by Zanjānī. The glosses in the Nuruosmaniye manuscript are unedited.
Istanbul, Nuruosmaniye, 2800, margins of ff. 77r–101r (658-9/1259-61)