Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Ṣadr al-Sharī ҁa al-Thānī: ҁUbaydallāh ibn Mas ҁūd al-Maḥbūbī al-Bukhārī al-Ḥanafī

Reference work entry

DiedBukhara, (Uzbekistan), 1346/1347

Ṣadr al-Sharīҁa (al-thānī, i.e., “the Second”) was a theoretical astronomer and religious scholar who created original and sophisticated astronomical theories of time and place, and under circumstances that have long been considered devoid of original scientific research. Ṣadr was famous for his commentaries on Islamic jurisprudence (sharīҁa, hence his nickname Ṣadr al-Sharīҁa, “preeminent [scholar] of the sharīҁa”). He was called “the Second,” after his great-great-grandfather, Ṣadr al-Sharīҁa al-Awwal (“the First”). Ṣadr also wrote on Arabic grammar, kalām (theology), rhetoric, legal contracts, and ḥadīth (prophetic traditions).

Ṣadr’s astronomical writings are found in the third volume of his three-volume encyclopedia of the sciences, the Taҁdīl al-ҁulūm (The adjustment of the sciences). The first two volumes dealt with logic and kalām. The third volume was called Kitāb Taҁdīl hayʾat al-aflāk(The adjustment of the configuration of the celestial...

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Selected References

  1. Al-Shīrāzī, Qutb al-Dīn. al-Tuhfa al-shāhiyya (The imperial gift). (There is as yet, unfortunately, no published edition or translation of this important treatise.)Google Scholar
  2. Dallal, Ahmad S. (ed.) (1995). An Islamic Response to Greek Astronomy: Kitāb Taҁdīl hayʾat al-aflāk of Sadr al-Sharīҁa. Leiden: E. J. Brill. (Edition of the Kitāb Taҁdīl hayʾat al-aflāk together with extensive notes and diagrams. This book is an extraction of the main portion of Sadr’s text from his own commentary, a somewhat dubious methodology. The commentary portion has not yet been published. If it is ever published, it will cast greater light on how Sadr understood his own work. This edition was the primary source for the present article.)Google Scholar
  3. Ragep, F. J. (1993). Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī’s Memoir on Astronomy (al-Tadhkira fīҁilm al-hayʾa). 2 Vols. New York: Springer-Verlag. (Perhaps the most significant study to emerge thus far in the historiography of astronomy in Islam, in which al-Tūsī’s treatise was pivotal.)Google Scholar
  4. Saliba, George (1979). “The Original Source of Qutb al-Dīn al-Shīrāzī’s Planetary Model.” Journal for the History of Arabic Science 3: 3–18. (Describes the motivation behind the “ҁUrdī lemma”.)Google Scholar
  5. — (1987). “The Role of the Almagest Commentaries in Medieval Arabic Astronomy: A Preliminary Survey of Tūsī’s Redaction of Ptolemy’s Almagest.” Archives internationales d’histoire des sciences 37: 3–20. (Contains a brief survey of Ptolemaic latitude theory and Tūsī’s attempts to rectify it.)Google Scholar
  6. — (1987). “Theory and Observation in Islamic Astronomy: The Work of Ibn al-Shātir of Damascus.” Journal for the History of Astronomy 18: 35–43. (Contains a description of the “ҁUrdī lemma.”)Google Scholar
  7. — (1993). “Al-Qushjī’s Reform of the Ptolemaic Model for Mercury.” Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 3: 161–203. (Description of the innovative work of a late Islamic astronomer.)Google Scholar
  8. — (1994). “A Sixteenth-Century Arabic Critique of Ptolemaic Astronomy: The Work of Shams al-Dīn al-Khafrī.” Journal for the History of Astronomy 25: 15–38. (Survey of the work of another late Islamic astronomer.)Google Scholar
  9. — (1996). “Arabic Planetary Theories after the Eleventh Century AD.” In Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science, edited by Roshdi Rashed, pp. 58–127. London: Routledge. (Excellent survey of the development of planetary models during the so called period of decline of Islamic science. Plentiful and useful diagrams help to illustrate the complexities of this intricate subject.)Google Scholar
  10. Saliba, George and E. S. Kennedy (1991). “The Spherical Case of the Tūsī Couple.” Arabic Sciences and Philosophy 1: 285–291. (Presents diagrams helpful in visualizing this three-dimensional device.)Google Scholar

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA