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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Astrology’s opponents were aabu only religions figures, but included, among others, physicians and even astronomers who, in the end, created a new discipline that wasfree ofthe stigma attached to Greek astronomy.

Wikipedia entry on Abu Ma’shar al-Balkhi. Charles Gillispie New York: Views Read Edit View history.

File:Flowers of Abu Ma’shar WDL2997.pdf

Taking that environment into consideration-and we may assume that it did indeed prevail dur- ing the first half of the ninth century, when Abu Ma’shar was writing-it becomes easy to understand why astronomers felt that they had to accommodate themselves to it by disdaining any connection to astrology whatsoever and inventing a new discipline, under a new rubric, called ‘ilm al-hay’rr, which had nothing to do with astrology.

As for the astrologers asfiub al-nujam who have attributed these things that come to be ful-kawtdith. He became the most important and prolific writer on astrology in the Middle Ages.

Ma’shar manipulates the argument, for he fails to demonstrate how actions that might be actualized in the future may be categorized as already existent, that is, necessary in the mode of having previously been actualized. Needless to say, the traditionalists, the Qur’anic scholars, the various groups mentioned above2′ and their allies in the Islamic sciences are all excellent candidates. The text concerns the nature of a year or month or dayas determined by the horoscope, and was intended as a practical manual for the instruction masahr training of astrologers.

The amount of discussion abh to this group indicates, in an indirect manner, the serious challenge that their argument must have represented. This was apparently the formulation advanced by those astronomers designated by Abii Ma’shar as belonging to group five, which included experts masyar the theoretical universal aspects of science ‘ilm al-kull.

Here, it is the astrologers who ought to know better. If they did not, people would pay them no heed or would criticize them for delving into disciplines that they did not master. The difficulty only arises with the very complex question of interpreting that will correctly. This construction of the cultural environment at the time when ‘ilm al- hay’a was born is premised upon the hypothesis that the new science mashqr set apart specifically to counter the association between astronomy and astrology, which was so deeply embedded in the Greek intellectual tra- dition.


His works on astronomy are not extant, but information can still be gleaned from summaries found in the works of later astronomers or from his astrology works.

The problem, then, lies in identifying just who was exerting such great pressure at that time. Instead, he refers back to the knowledge of the general, obtainable from a knowledge of the universals of astrology and explicitly mentioning the Almagest as the source of such knowledgebut again without clarifying how the astrologer might derive the particular computation needed from such a general source.

What I contend is that, while ah1 al-sunna wal-kdith could simply reject astrology as being of foreign origin, inspired by foreign philosophy and ultimately produced by a philosophical framework that had no affinity with the religion advocated in the Qur’zn, the Mu’tazilites had to attack it from within, so to speak, by demonstrating, on the one hand, that it was discordant with the foreign sciences that they were championing and, anu the other, that it was in itself ill-founded as a discipline.

The printing is by Erhard Ratdolt, a famous early printer from Augsburg, Germany who, with two compatriots, established a printing partnership in Venice in Arguments pro and contra,” in Science and Speculation: From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Indeed, if one did not know beforehand that he was a distin- guished Mu’tazilite in his own right, one might believe that he was one of the most vehement enemies of the foreign sciences, especially the Greek ones.

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

The final subgroup was composed of those who rejected astrology because of the errors made by practicing astrologers. All of the impossibilities that this man enumerated are quite possible to the mind, known to anyone who has reason, whether that person be learned ‘lilim or ignorant, sighted or not.

One of his surviving works is a small treatise entitled The Abbreviation of the Introduction to Astrologyand is believed to be the earliest such manual to be translated into Latin. Cambridge University Press and Paris: By this, he means people associated with the foreign sciences, such as the philoso- phers-ill-defined as they were at this time-making up groups one and two, who either did not believe that the planets had any influence, as in the case of group one, or considered their influence to be limited, as in the case of the second group.


The second broad category comprised those groups that Abii Ma’shar believed should be sympathetic to astrology, but were not.

Abu Maʿshar – Wikipedia

File change date and time 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.

An-Nadim includes an extract from Abu Ma’shar’s book on the variations of astronomical tables, which describes how the Persian kings gathered the best writing materials in the world to preserve their books on the sciences and deposited them in the Sarwayh fortress in the city of Jayy in Isfahan.

We are told that he used to speak ill of al-Kindi on account of the latter’s interest in the philosophical sciences and his criticisms led to some discord between the two, to say the least. Abu Ma ‘shar drew upon elements of earlier astrological and philosophical sources to compile his astrological works: ADwho is reported to have disputed it.

Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme. Ifvou then ask the mathematicians x i 1, lhr length. There is also no reference to others, such as linguists, literary figures, historians, or commentators on the Qur’sn, as if to say they were just members of the general population and, thus, among those included in groups nine and ten, or that they had expressed no opinion upon the matter.

A full version of the story is reported by Muhammad ibn Ishaq al-Nadim, Kitib al-fihrist, ed.

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