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Ibn Wafid, Abu Al-Mutarrif ?Abd Alrahman


also known as Abenguefit, Abenguéfith, Albenguéfith, Abel Nufit (fl. Toledo, Spain, ca. 1008 – 1075), pharmacology.

Ibn Wāfid studied the works of Aristotle, Dioscorides, and Galen. At the demand of the king of Toledo, Al-Ma’mūn, he planted a botanical garden in the king’s orchard, which extended between the Galiana and Tajo palaces in front of the bridge of Alcántara. Ibn Luengo, a disciple of Ibn Wāfid, and possibly Ibn Baṣṣal studied in the king’s garden.

For twenty years Ibn Wāfid worked on the Kitāb al-adwiya al-mufrada (“Book of the Simple Medicines”), a synthesis, with some new data, of Dioscorides and Galen. The structure of the book confirms what Ibn Sā͑id (Ibn Wāfid’s friend and bibliographer) had stated, that is, that Ibn Wāfid did not like to prescribe compound medicines, but simple ones; and, if possible, he abstained from prescribing the latter and tried to cure his patients by following a dietary treatment.

Ibn Wāfid’s Kitāb al-rashshād fī al-tibb (“Guide to Medicine”) is a pharmacopoeia and manual of therepeutics. On account of an incorrect reading of the title by Casiri, who confused the letter rā' for wāw thereby reading wisād, the title was translated as “Book of the Pillow.”

Ibn Wāfid’s other works are the following: Mudjarrabāt fī al-tibb (“Medical Experiences”); Tadqīq al-nazar fi ͑ilal hāssat at-basar (“Observations on the Treatment of Eye Illnesses”), which might be the one preserved in the anonymous manuscript 876 at El Escorial; Kitāb al-mugīth (“Book of Assistance”), the title of which alludes to the drug mugīth, valuable for the treatment of many diseases: and Madjmū͑al-filāha (“A Compendium of Agriculture”), which is in a medieval Castilian translation and fragment.

J. M. Millás Vallicrosa found various Arabic manuscripts, in which Ibn Wāfid avoids discussing the pharmacologic properties of plants, and insists on his proper method of tillage. This book was made good use of by Gabriel Alonso de Herrera in his Agricultura General (Madrid, 1513; repr., 1819). Ibn Wāfid also wrote a treatise on balneology preserved in a Latin version as De balneis (Venice, 1553).


On Ibn Wāfid and his work, see J. M. Millás Vallicrosa, “La traducción castellana del ‘Tratado de Agricultura’ de ibn Wāfid,” in Al-Andalus, 8 (1943), 281 – 332; and G. Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science, I (Baltimore, 1927), 728.

J. Vernet

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