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Manuscript/Mixed Material Wasīlat al-mubtadiʼīn li-ʻilm ghurrat al-shuhūr wa-al-sinīn وسيلة المبتدئين لعلم غرة الشهور و السنين

About this Item


  • Wasīlat al-mubtadiʼīn li-ʻilm ghurrat al-shuhūr wa-al-sinīn

Other Title

  • وسيلة المبتدئين لعلم غرة الشهور و السنين


  • The first four pages are Aḥmad ibn Qāsim al-Miṣrī's poem, Wasīlat al-mubtadiʼīn, a poem on astronomy and astrology. It covers the sun, the moon, the planets, the constellations, the signs of the Zodiac and the astrological characteristics of each day of the week. On fol. 3a, the author says that he completed this poem on 18 Rabīʻ al-awwal 1298 (17 February 1881). The author's own commentary (Tuḥfat al-murīdīn bi-sharḥ Wasīlat al-mubtadiʼīn) on the poem begins on leaf 3, verso, line 10.
  • While in the West, particularly in modern times, poetry and science tend to differ sharply in their approach to describing the world, this is not the case in the Arabic-speaking world, where the use of the literary form of the poetical treatise has produced remarkable works in a variety disciplines, including mathematics, astronomy, alchemy, and astrology. The present manuscript shows that the tradition of the Arabic poetical treatise was not confined to the Middle Ages but was still alive in the 19th century. Aḥmad ibn Qāsim Al-Miṣrī (1814-1856) is the author of both the poetical stanzas found in the first three folios of the manuscript and of the prose commentary on the poem that follows. The subject of the treatise straddles astrology and astronomy, as it proceeds from the description of the heavenly bodies to a treatment of the zodiacal signs and their influences. This elegant manuscript is enriched by rubricated headings that lead the reader through the paragraphs of the poem and through the chapters of the prose commentary, which deal with the Arabic and Coptic reckoning of months, the zodiacal signs and their paths in the heavens, the seven planets known at the time, and the hours of sunrise and sunset. World Digital Library.


  • Miṣrī, Aḥmad ibn Qāsim, 1814-
  • Manṣūrī, Maḥmūd al-Imām, former owner
  • anasī, Muṣṭafá ibn Aḥmad, -1867, associated name
  • Yūnus, Aḥmad, -after 1882, scribe
  • Miṣrī, Aḥmad ibn Qāsim, 1814-1856
  • Mansuri Collection (Library of Congress)

Created / Published

  • 1300 H [1882].


  • -  Astrology, Arab
  • -  Astronomy, Arab
  • -  Manuscripts, Arabic--Washington (D.C.)


  • -  Author's full name from ʻUmar Riḍā Kaḥḥālah's Muʻjam al-muʼallifīn (II:50). Author's name at end of the poem is given as Aḥmad ibn Qāsim. Kaḥḥlah lists the title as Tuḥfat al-murīd bi-sharḥ Wasīlat al-mubtadiʼīn.
  • -  Binding: cardboard covered with cloth; leather spine.
  • -  Carl Brockelmann, Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur, Supplementband II, p. 866 lists the author as Muṣṭafá ibn Aḥmad al-Ṭanasī al-Khalwatī al-Azharī al-Aḥmadī, who died in a flood in Istanbul in 1284/1867.
  • -  Fol. 1b-32a; fol. 32b-34b blank.
  • -  Library of Congress. Mansuri Collection, 5-768.
  • -  Ms.
  • -  Naskhī script; 21 lines in written area, 16 x 9 cm.
  • -  Paper: yellowed cream, with watermark of Benedetto Gentili Vittorio; leaves are loose from spine but in good condition. Black and red ink used in text. Catchwords on rectos.
  • -  Title from line 6 of poem, fol.1b.
  • -  Transcribed by Aḥmad Yūnis in 1300 H [1882].
  • -  Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress website.
  • -  Arabic.
  • -  Purchase of Mahmud al Mansuri collection, 1945.
  • -  Incipit of commentary: الحمد لله مجدد الأوقات والأيام ومحدد الشهور والأعوام ... أما بعد فقد أمرني بعض السادات أن أشرح منظومتي التي هي في الميقات فأجبته راجيا دعاه النافع وبركة من اطلع عليه من الأخوان.
  • -  Incipit of poem: . . . بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الحمد الله الذي أبدى الشهور و صير الأيام أعوام تدور ثم الصلاة و السلام سرمدا . . . و بعد هذى نبذة في الغرر و غيرها تحكي عقود الدرر سميتها وسيلة المبتدئين . . .


  • 30 leaves (21 lines), bound : paper ; 24 x 17 cm.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • QB23 .M67 1882

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2008401927

Online Format

  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Miṣrī, Aḥmad Ibn Qāsim, Maḥmūd Al-Imām Manṣūrī, Muṣṭafá Ibn Aḥmad Anasī, Aḥmad Yūnus, Aḥmad Ibn Qāsim Miṣrī, and Mansuri Collection. Wasīlat Al-Mubtadiʼīn LI-ʻILM Ghurrat Al-Shuhūr Wa-Al-Sinīn. [H 1882, 1883] Manuscript/Mixed Material.

APA citation style:

Miṣrī, A. I. Q., Manṣūrī, M. A., Anasī, M. I. A., Yūnus, A., Miṣrī, A. I. Q. & Mansuri Collection. (1883) Wasīlat Al-Mubtadiʼīn LI-ʻILM Ghurrat Al-Shuhūr Wa-Al-Sinīn. [H 1882] [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Miṣrī, Aḥmad Ibn Qāsim, et al. Wasīlat Al-Mubtadiʼīn LI-ʻILM Ghurrat Al-Shuhūr Wa-Al-Sinīn. [H 1882, 1883] Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.