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Al-Samarqandi, Najib Al-Din Abu ?Hamid Mu?hammad Ibn ‘Ali Ibn ‘umar


(d. Herat, afghanistan, 1222)

medicine, materia medica.

A1-Samarqandī, who flourished at the time of the philosopher Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rā-Räzï (d. 1210), died during the pillage of Herat by the Mongols. Ibn Abī Ụsaybi‘a states that al-Samarqandi was a famous physician and gives his name as Najīb al-Dīn Abū ̣Hāmid Mụhammad ibn ‘Alī ibn ‘Umar al-Samarquandī. Nothing more is known of his life.

The most important of his medical works is al-Asbāb wa’l-‘‘alāmāt (“Etiology and Symptoms [of Diseases]”). It is described in the work of Nafis ibn ‘Iwạd al-wad al-Kirmānī (d. 1449), who wrote Shaṛh al-asbāb wa’ l’-‘alāmāt (“Commentary on Etiology and Symptoms”). According to Ibn Abi Usaybi‘a, al-Samarqandi also wrote a book on the treatment of diseases by diet two medical formularies. The treatise Uṣūl tarkib [al-adwiya] (“On the Principles of Compounding Drugs”) also is ascribed to him.

Works still extant are al-Adwiya al-mufrada (“Simple Drugs”), Aghdhiyat al-marḍā (“Diet for the Ill”), al-Aghdhiya wa’I-ashriba wa-ma yattạsil bihā (“Food and Drink and What Relates to Them”), Fï mudāwāt waja‘ al-mafạ̄sil (“On the Cure of Pain in the Joints”), Fi ’l-ṭibb (“On Medicine”), Fi kayfiyyat tarkib tabaqat al-‘ayn (“On the Mode of Composition of the Layers of the Eyes”), Tractatus de medicamentis repertu facilibus, Aqrābādhin (“Medical Formulary”), Fī ‘ilājman suqiya ’l-sumum aw nahashahu ’I-hawamnt waghayruhā (“On the Treatment for One Who Has Been Poisoned or Has Had a Poisonous Bite, and Similar Cases”), Ghāyat al-guarad, fi mu‘alajat al-amräd (“The Last Word on Treating the III”), Fī ittikhādh mā‘ al-jubn wamanāfi ‘ihi wakayfiyyat isti ‘mālihi (“On Administration of Water of Cheese, Its Benefits, and Its Various Uses”), and Fi ’I-adwiya al-musta‘mala ’inda ’l’sayäyädila (“On Drugs Prepared by Pharmacists”).

It is significant that al-Samarquandi did not rely entirely on the old humoral pathology. In fact, he displayed originality in not considering the theory of humors of decisive importance in therapeutics. He dealt with the many “accidents” of drugs and conditions of the body in the much broader framework of medicine and the prescribing of drugs.


Nafis’ Commentary on al-Samarqand+s al-Asbāb wa’ l’-‘alāmāt was published by Mawlawi ‘Abd al-Majīd (Calcutta, 1836). The Tibb-i Akbar+ of Muhammad Arzānī, completed in 1700–1701, includes a Persian translation of this Commentary, Printed and lithographeds. of the Tibb-i Akbari are listed in G. Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science,II (Baltimore, 1962), 661.

See also G. M. Anawati, Drogues et médicaments (Cairo, 1959), 117–118,text in Arabic: Carl Brockelmann, Geschichte der arabischen Literatur, I2 (Leiden, 1943), 491, and supp. I (Leiden, 1937), 895–896; S. Hamarneh and G. Sonnedecker, A Pharmaceutical View of Abulcasis (Leiden, 1963); L. Leclerc, Histoire de la médecine arabe, II (Paris, 1876), 128–129; Martin Levey, Chemistry and Chemical Technology in Ancient Mesopotamia (Amsterdam, 1959), introduction: The Medical Formulary or Aqrābadhīn of Al-Kindī (Madison, Wis., 1966); Medieval Arabic Toxicology (Philadelphia, 1966): and The Medical Formulary of al-Samarqndī and the Relation of Early Arabic Simples to Those Found in the Indigenous Medicine of the Near East and India (Philadelphia, 1967); P. Sbath and C. D. Averinos, Deux traités médicaux (Cairo, 1953): and Ibn Abī Uṣaybi‘a, Kitāb ‘uyūn al-anḅā’ fi ṭabaqāt al-aṭibbā’. A. Müller, ed., II (Cairo, 1882), 31; and (Beirut, 1950), pt. 2, 47-48.

Martin Levey

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