Abu Ma’Shar (full name Abū Maʿshar Jaʿfar ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿUmar al- Balkhī أبو معشر جعفر بن محمد بن عمر البلخي) was a 9th century. Alternate name. Albumasar. Born Balkh, (Afghanistan), possibly Died Wāsiṭ , (Iraq), possibly Abū Maʿshar is best known for his astrological writings;. Abu Ma’shar Ja’far ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Umar al-Balkhi ( CE) was born at Balkh, in Khurasan, (now northern Afghanistan) on 10th August, , and died.

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In this context, we are especially fortunate to have an advocate for astrology who was by far the best of all Muslim astrologers and, indeed, lived at an early enough date to be perceived as the virtual founder of the discipline.

This second reading strikes me as being the most likely since I can find no argument anywhere in the chapter that addres- ses the religious scholars per se, while I can detect a concession to them in several places, where Abti Ma’shar says that the planets have such and such an effect owing to the will of God.

Second, the anecdote also points to astrology as one discipline among many in the foreign sciences and to the fact that the sheer inner coher- ence of the latter led scholars quite naturally to progress from one dis- cipline to another; thus, an individual delving into the foreign sciences would unavoidably be drawn to astrology, even if the original goal was familiarity with such benign subjects as arithmetic or geometry. In sum, what I proposed then was that the rise of ‘ilm al-hay’a was a response to attacks being waged by Muslim religious scholars against the incoming ‘foreign sciences,’ which included, among other things, a rational basis for a science of astronomy that was almost indistinguishable from astrol- ogy, in theory as well as in practice.

The main thrust of his argument against them is to attempt to estab- lish the existence of the ‘possible’ and then to assert that the planets do indeed influence it. The fundamental argument of this group seems to have been that the experience that provided the only possible basis for astrology was indeed defined by the recurring positions of the planets, which consti- tuted the influence in the first place.

File:Flowers of Abu Ma’shar WDL2997.pdf

This generally negative opinion of astrologers-apparently so wide- spread during the ninth century, when Islamic civilization was con- sciously confronting the foreign sciences-constituted a real danger to all of those perceived to be in the astrologers’ camp.


I will continue to hold that abuu al-hay’a was, in essence, a particular response to the attacks against astrology-a discipline that was, in the Greek tradition, very poorly distinguished from astronomy-that came from religious quarters.

Abu Ma’shar’s defense of astrology. In his lifetime he acquired immense renown as the leading astrologer of the Islamic world, a reputation which was maintained in medieval western Europe and in later periods. It was in this hostile envi- ronment, I surmise, that astronomers proper succeeded in taking the courageous step of reorienting their discipline and redefining it in such a way as to remove it as far as possible from astrology. You are commenting using your Twitter account.

In addressing them, he really has no argu- ment to offer, except to say that they ought to know better than to admire wealth without realizing that abh possession is unrelated to knowledge; indeed, the ignorant might become wealthy by the grace of God alone.

The implication is that, if these ‘latter-day astronomers,’ that is, the innovators who went ahead to create ‘ilm al-hay’a, are actually good astronomers, they ought to follow the foundations of their own discipline, namely, philosophy, and therefore hold, along with the philosophers, that events occur in this world owing to the actions of the celestial bodies, as Aristotle believed.

Without a doubt, the astronomers were the ones most directly involved and facing the greatest loss if they continued the association. Maktabat Muhammad ‘Ali Subayh.

Introduction to Astronomy, Containing the Eight Divided Books of Abu Ma’shar Abalachus

Unable to recommend an instrument accurate enough to make such an observa- tion, Ptolemy resorts to a bookish calculation and selects a point that can be determined with much greater precision using his own tables in the Almagest.

Members of this group assigned no validity to astrology as an experien- tial science. Type of Item Books. Abu Ma ‘shar drew upon elements of earlier astrological and philosophical sources to compile his astrological works: The sources report that Abii Ma’shar acquiesced to this argu- ment and undertook to study the two disciplines. The best way to translate ‘ilm al-hay’a into English is to think of the term ‘cos- mography’ in the literal sense.

Abu Ma’shar was a Persian nationalist. Although he levels this accusa- tion against them in several places mashqr the Tathbit,” one example suffices. King, Martial Staub, Brill,83;” Retrieved from ” https: The second subgroup was made up of the ignorant, Abii Ma’shar’s ninth group. His works on astronomy are not extant, but information can still be gleaned from abk found in the works of later astronomers or from his astrology works. Insofar as the higher bodies signify the things existing in this world through the powers of their natural motions, then what is the advantage of being ignorant of this knowledge?


Skyscript: Brief Introduction to Vettius Valens. Compiled by Mari Garcia and Joy Usher

Otherwise, the astronomers are like “those who have amshar and drugs without knowing the purposes for which they are used. It has the more correct reading adopted here, although it is a later manuscript.

His name was Ja’far ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Umar al-Balkhi: The woodcut title vignette of a black-faced astronomer reading the stars with an astrolabe and dividers is one of the best-known Renaissance representations of an astronomer. The first of these groups was the religiously-minded sector of early Islamic society that was in the process of transforming itself into a political elite.

Abu Maʿshar – Wikipedia

Considering the intellectual environment, it is not difficult to sympa- thize with the theoretical astronomers who would eventually create ‘ilm al-hay’a in an attempt to dissociate themselves from such beliefs. But the fact that they also attacked it on other grounds and demonstrated a negative attitude toward propo- nents of the foreign sciences in general is somewhat unexpected, given that their main doctrines have usually been associated with a reliance upon these same foreign sciences.

You must also include a United States sbu domain tag to indicate why this work is in the public domain in the United States. Al-Lajna al-Lubnaniyya li-tajamat al-rawa’i: Included in the book are numerous illustrations of anu planets and constellations.

Needless to say, no mashag is more zeal- ous than the convert. For the purposes of this paper, however, the discussion that follows will focus upon those aspects of ‘Abd al- JabbZr’s arguments that bear directly upon the issue of distinguishing astronomy from astrology and that were an integral part of the intellec- tual environment that facilitated the creation of ‘ilm al-hay’a and pre- pared the grounds for its eventual acceptance by society at large.

Cambridge University Press, It was Abu Ma’shar who arranged for the translation into Arabic of Ptolemy’s mahsar treatise on astronomy, thereafter known by its Arabic title as the Almagest.

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