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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 11, 2017

Kitāb al-Māʾ: an Arabic medical dictionary of the mid-fifth Islamic century

Natalia Bachour

Abstract

In 1996, Hādī Ḥasan Ḥammūdī published an edition of a medical dictionary based on two manuscripts he had found in a private collection in Oran, Algeria. The dictionary was allegedly written by ʾAbū Muḥammad ʿAbdallāh b. Muḥammad al-ʾAzdī, known under the name Ibn al-Dhahabī (d. 456/1064).[1] The author of the dictionary acquired his knowledge in several regions of the Islamic world and allegedly studied with such famous scholars as al-Bīrūnī (d. 440/1048) and Ibn Sīnā (d. 428/1037). Complaining that his contemporaries frequently used non-Arabic terms, he decided to compile a dictionary, arranging the terms in alphabetical order by their roots, and explaining their medical as well as their linguistic aspects. He entitled his dictionary the Book of Water (Kitāb al-māʾ), after its first entry, on water (al-māʾ). This paper investigates the text with regard to its author, content, principles of organisation, authorities, and intertextuality, with the aim of verifying the authorship of Ibn al-Dhahabī and of better understanding the literary environment and the reading culture of the fifth century.

Appendix. Translation of the entry (j-dh-m)

j-dh-m(KM 1: 253-255) جذم
Al-jidhm, with kasra, means the basis. It can also be vocalised with fatḥa.الجِذْم، بالكسر: الأصْل، ويُفتح.
The jidhm of a tree is the root and the jidhm of everything is its foundation. The plural is ʾajdhām and judhūm.،جِذْم الشَّجرة: أصلُها. وجِذْم كلّ شيء: أصله .والجَمع أجذام، وجذوم
Vocalised with a fatḥa, it means “to split.” Jadhamahu, yajdhimuhū, jadhman means to split something such that it is jadhīm.وبالفتح، القطع، جَذَمَه يَجْذِمُه جَذْماً: قَطَعَه وهو .جَذيم
ʾAjdham means a person with a severed hand or a person who has lost his fingertips..والأجْذَم: المقطوع اليَدِ، أو الذي ذهبت أنامله
Al-judhām is a malignant disease that happens due to the spread of black bile in the whole body that upsets the balance of the humours in the organs and damages their appearance and form. It might destroy their connection so that they decay and are cut off because of ulceration. It is like a general cancer of the whole body that might ulcerate.والجُذام: عِلَّة رَديئة تحدث من انتشار المِرّة السّوداء في البَدَن كلَّه فَتُفْسِد مِزاجَ الأعضاءِ وهيئتها وشَكْلَها. وربّما أفْسَدَتْ في آخر اتّصالها حتَّى تتأكَّل الأعضاء وتَسقط سقوطا ،عن تَقَرُّح. وهو كسَرطان عامّ للبَدَن كلّه .وربّما تَقَرَّح وربّما لم يَتَقَرَّح
A patient is called ʾajdham because of the loss of the fingers, i. e. because of their severance [from the body].:وسُمِّيَ الأجْذَم بذلك لتجذّم الأصابع، أي .لتقطُّعها
A man can be described as ʾajdham and majdhūm in the meaning that he has been afflicted by leprosy (judhām)..ورجل أجْذَم ومَجْذوم: نزل به الجُذام
If infected with leprosy (judhima), the person is called majdhūm, mujadhdham and ʾajdham..وجُذِمَ، فهو مَجذوم ومُجَذَّم وأجْذَم
The hadith of the Prophet, prayer of God be upon him and peace, says: “Whoever memorises the Qurʾān and then forgets it will meet God in a maimed condition (ʾajdham).:وفي الحديث عن النبي صلّى اللّه عليه وسلّم .(من تَعَلّم القُرآن ثمّ نَسِيَه لَقِيَ اللهَ وهو أجْذَم)
ʾAbū ʿUbayd says: that means with a severed hand. And concerning the hadith from ʿAlī, “Whoever violates his pledge will meet God in a maimed condition (ʾajdham)”, he says, “That means without a hand.”قال أبو عُبيد: أي مَقطوع اليَد. قال: وفي حديث عليّ: (مَن نَكَثَ بَيعَتَهُ لَقِيَ اللهَ وهو أجْذَم): أي .لَيست له يَد
Al-Mutallamis says:Was I ever anything but the type of person who cuts off one hand with the other, and so becomes mutilated?:وقال المتلّمسوهَلْ كُنْتُ إلّا مِثْلَ قاطِعِ كَفِّهِ بِكَفٍّ لَهُ أُخْرى .فأصْبَحَ أجْذَما
Ibn al-ʾAnbārī says: the meaning of the hadith is that the person is going to meet God with no excuse, without a tongue to speak with, and without an excuse in his hand. And the saying of ʿAlī means that he has no excuse.وقال ابن الأنباريّ: معنى الحديث: أنّه لقي اللهَ وهو أجْذَمُ الحجّة لا لسانَ له يَتكلّم به، ولا حجّة في يده. وقول عليّ يعني ليست له يَدٌ، أي: لا .حُجَّة له
Some [linguists] give the plural [of ʾajdham] as jadhmā in analogy to ḥamqā..وجمع بعضهم جَذْمى مثل حَمْقى
Among the authentic hadiths is the hadith: “You should run away from the leper as one runs away from a lion,” and the hadith: “There is no contagion and no bad omen,” and also the hadith: “There is no contagion, no hāma and no bad omen in the month of Ṣafar.” A bedouin said: “O Allah’s Apostle! Why are the camels of the desert, which are as beautiful as gazelles, infected with mange, if a mangy camel mixes with them? The prophet, prayer of God be upon him and peace, said: “Who infected the other at first?”وفي الحديث الصّحيح: (فِرّ من المجذوم فِرارك من الأسَد) وفيه: (لا عَدْوَى ولا طِيَرَة). وفيه أيضا: (لا عَدْوى ولا هامةَ وصَفَر). فقال أعرابيّ: يا رسول الله، فما بال الإبل تكون في الرَّمْل كأنّها الظّباء فيخالطها البعير الأجرب فيجربها؟ فقال رسول الله صلّى الله عليه .وسلّم: (فمَنْ أعْدَى الأوّل)
There were conflicting opinions on the meaning of lā ʿadwā (no contagion). The most comprehensible is that it is a rejection of what people had believed in pre-Islamic times, namely that diseases communicate because of their contagious nature, and they did not believe that they come directly from God. This [rejection] is pointed out by [the Prophet’s] words “Who infected the other at first?” This means that the first infection with mange was an act of God, as was the second infection and the following infections.واختلفوا في معنى قوله (لا عَدْوى)، وأظْهَر ما قيل في ذلك أنّه نَفْيٌ لما كان يعتقده أهل الجاهليّة من أنّ هذه الأمراض تُعدي بطبعها من غير اعتقاد تقدير الله لذلك. ويدلّ على هذا قوله: (فمَنْ أعْدى الأوّل) يُشير إلى أنّ الأوّل إنّما جَرب بقضاء الله وقَدَرِه فكذلك الثّاني وما .بعده
The primary cause of leprosy is a bad temperament of the liver that becomes very hot and dry so that the blood burns and becomes black; or it is a bad temperament of the whole body.وسبب الجُذام الفاعليّ الأقْدَم سُوء مِزاج الكَبِد ،المائل جدّا إلى حرارة ويُبوسة، فيحترق الدّم .ويصير أسود، أو سُوء مزاج البدن كلّه
The material cause is foodstuffs of black temperament..وسببه المادي هو الأغذية السَّوداويّة
The disease is contagious and can be hereditary..والعِلَّة مُعدية، وقد تقع بالإرْث
This disease is called the illness of the lion; some say because it often infects lions, others say because it attacks the face of the leper making it look like the face of a lion in his deformation and his round eyes. Others say because the disease devours the infected person like a lion devours [its prey].وهذه العِلّة تُسَمَّى داء الأسَد. قيل: إنّما سُمِّيَت بذلك لأنّها كثيرا ما تَعْتَري الأسد. وقيل لأنّها تهجم على وجه صاحبها فتجعل وجهه كوجه الأسَد في تَعَجُّزِه واستدارة عينيه. وقيل لأنّها .تفترس من تأخذه كافتراس الأسد
The light form of the disease is very difficult to cure and the severe form is incurable.والضَّعيف منها عَسِر العلاج. والقَوِيّ مَيؤوسٌ .من علاجه
This illness gradually damages the temperament of the organs by antagonising the vital quality, i. e. heat and humidity. It finally reaches the main organs and causes death.وهذه العلة لا تزال تُفْسِد مِزاج الأعضاء بمضادة الكيفيّة المضادّة للحياة أعني الحرارة ،والرّطوبة حتّى تَبْلُغ إلى الأعضاء الرئيسيّة .وهنالك تَقْتُل
It starts from the distal parts of the limbs and spreads slowly to the body. If cancer, which is the mutilation of only one organ, cannot be cured, what can you say about leprosy, which is the cancer of the whole body.وتبتدئ أوّلا من الأطراف ثمّ تَدبّ يَسيراً يَسيراً إلى البَدَن. ولمّا كان السّرطان، وهو جُذام عُضْوٍ واحد ممّا لا بُرْءَ له، فما تقول في الجُذام .الذي هو سَرطان البَدَن كلّه
Symptoms:العلامات
The early symptoms of leprosy are a darkening of the skin colour, appearance of opaque reddish patches in the eyes, difficulty of respiration, hoarseness, excessive sneezing, and thinning and loss of hair. After that the respiration difficulties increase and the sound becomes very raspy, the lips thicken, the arms and feet become numb, and blood bleeds from the nose.إذا ابتدأ الجُذام ابتدأَ اللّون يَحمرّ إلى سَوادٍ، وتظهر في العَين كُمودة إلى حُمْرَة، ويَظْهَر في النَّفَس ضِيق، وفي الصّوت بَحَّة، ويَكثر العُطاس، ويأخذ الشَّعر في الدِّقَّة والقِلَّة، ثمّ يزداد ضِيق النَّفَس، ويَصير الصَّوت في غاية البَحَّة وتغلظ الشّفتان .وتَخدر اليدان والقدمان ويقطر الدّم من المنخرَين
Therapy::العلاج
You must apply purifying purgatives. If there is an excess of blood you must apply bloodletting, even if it was from the hands. If this is not possible, do not let blood from the large veins because it might cause more harm than benefit. Bloodletting should be made from the small veins like the vein of the forehead and nose. Bloodletting is necessary in this disease and therefore, you must sometimes let blood from the jugular vein (wādij).تجب المبادرة إلى الاسْتفراغات المنقّية، ويجب الفَصْد عند تحقّق وجود الدّم الكثير ولو من اليدَين، وإن لم يتحقّق ذلك فلا فَصْد من العروق الكبار، لأنّه ربّما يضرّ أكثر ممّا ينفع منه، ولكن يُفْصَد من العُروق الصِّغار كعِرْق الجبهة والأنف لأنّ الفَصْد مُحتاج إليه في هذه .العلة. وربّما احتيج إلى فصد الوادِج
One week after bloodletting you must purgate with the purgative paste lūghādiyā or with decoctions or pills prepared of dodder (ʾafitīmūn), lavender (ʾasṭūkhūdis), common polypody (bisfānīj), black and chebulic myrobalan (ʾihlilaj ʾaswad wa-kābullī), black hellebore (kharbaq aswad), lapis lazuli (lāzward) and Armenian bole (ḥajar ʾarmanī). It is beneficial to mix them with the [previous ingredients] (shaḥm al-ḥanẓal) and scammony (saqamūniyā). The hiera picra (ʾiyāraj fīqrā) is useful for lepers especially if it is mixed with scammony and the flesh of vipers or other remedies that contain the flesh of vipers to increase its efficacy.ثمّ بعد الفصد بأسبوع يُستفرغ بمثل أيارج لوغاديا ومَطبوخات وحُبوب مُتَّخذة من الأفتيمون والأسْطوخودِس والبِسْفانيج والإهليلج الأسود والكابُلّيّ والخِرْبَق الأسود واللّازْوَرْد والحَجَر الأرمنيّ. ولا يضرّ أن يُخلط بها شَحم الحنظل والسّقمونيا. وأيارج فَيقَرا جيّد لهم وخُصوصا إذا قُوِّي بالسقمونيا ولحم الأفعى. وما فيه لحمُها من أجل الأدوية .لهم

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their meticulous reading of my article and their critical and most helpful remarks.

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Published Online: 2017-11-11
Published in Print: 2017-12-20

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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