iCHSTM 2013 Programme • Version 5.3.6, 27 July 2013 • ONLINE (includes late changes)
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Mʿirāj al-Duʿāʾ wa-Mirʾāt al-Dawāʾ survives uniquely in a manuscript at Teheran (Majlis 15637). It was written by one Muḥammad ʻAlī al-Qazwīnī under the guidance (irshād) of his teacher, Izz al-Dīn Abū al-Fatḥ Nasrallāh al-Musawī, who taught at a madrasa in Karbalā. Al-Qazwīnī praises his teacher for combining transmitted and intellectual knowledge (al-jāmiʿ bayna al-maʿqūl wa-manqūl). In keeping with this process of harmonization, as well as the literary tradition of works (beginning at least with al-Fārābī) of books whose goal can also be described as al-jāmiʿ bayna, he is writing a book that puts together supplications and medications (or regimens endorsed by medical authorities). Some (but not all) of his religious advice, which includes a good deal of magic, is indeed connected with the preservation of health. This very unusual and very rich book will be high on my research agenda in the coming years. My first study, whose results I would like to present at Manchester, focuses on the section of the book dealing with “the preservation of health according to the method of the Indian scholars”. This part of the book consists of a series of recipes for rasayanas, the Indian equivalent of the elixir, and instructions for their use. Rasayana are mentioned by a few other authors writing in Arabic, notably al-Bīrūnī in his book on India, in connection with his (highly hostile) account of Indian alchemy. However, as far as I know, no other account is as detailed as that of al-Qazwīnī, which covers some fourteen pages in the manuscript, and includes some chemical recipes and one mantra, transcribed into Arabic characters. This text is an important contribution to our knowledge of the transmission of Indian medicine.