I S K O

edited by Birger Hjørland and Claudio Gnoli

 

Classification of the sciences in Islamic cultures

by

Table of contents:
1. Introduction
2. State of the art
3. M-Classi
4. Directory

4.1 Formative times (800-1100):
Ibn Bahrīz (fl. 800-825?); Al-Kindī (c. 801-873); Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq (808-873); Qusṭa b. Lūqā; (820-912); Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’ (between 850-950?); Agapius of Hierapolis (d. after 942); Qudāma b. Ja‘far (c. 873 - betw. 932 and 948); Al-Fārābī (870-950/1); Maslama b. Qāsim al-Qurṭubī (d. 964); Al-Sijistānī (d. 971); Al-Khwārizmī (second half of 10th century); Al-‘Āmirī (d. 992); Ibn al-Nadīm (d. 995 or 998); Al-Masīḥī (d. c. 1010); Al-Tawḥīdī (923-1023); Miskawayh (c. 936-1030); Ibn Sīnā (980-1037); Aqsām ‘Ulūm al-Awā’il (950-1050?); Ibn al-Haytham (c. 965-c. 1040); Bīrūnī (973-after 1050); Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (978-1071); Ibn Ḥazm (994-1064); Ṣā‘id al-Andalusī (1029-1070); Al-Ghazālī (c. 1058-1111); Al-Risāla al-Laduniyya (11th century?);
4.2 Later developments (1100-1800):
Ibn Bājja (c. 1085-1138); Al-Hindī (fl. 1100-1150?) Yavāqīt al-‘Olūm (before 1177); Suhrawardī (1154-1191); Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (1149/50-1210); Ibn Arfa‘ Ra’s (fl. 1150-1200); Pseudo-Avicenna, De Anima (Latin from first half of 13th century?); Shahrazūrī (13th century); Jirjīs al-Makīn (1206-d. aft. 1280); Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī (1201-1274); Qazwīnī (1203-1283); Quṭb al-Dīn al-Shirāzī (1236-1311); Ibn al-Akfānī (1286-1348); Āmulī (d. 1352-3); Maqālīd al-‘Ulūm (1358-1384); Ibn Khaldūn (1332-1406); ‘Abd al-Raḥmān al-Bisṭāmī (c. 1380-1454); Suyūṭī (c. 1445-1505); ‘Atufi (1450-1505); Ṭāshköprüzāda (1494-1561); Rustamdārī (16th century); Nev‘ī Efendi (d. 1599); Abū al-Qāsim Kāzirūnī (b. 1559, fl. 1605); Mullā Ṣadrā (c. 1571/2- c. 1640); Ḥājjī Khalīfa / Kātip Çelebi (1609-1657); Ḥasan al-Yūsī (d. 1691); Ackirmānī (d. 1760)
5. Conclusions
Acknowledgments
Endnotes
References. Sources
References. Studies
Colophon

Abstract:
This article is concerned with systems to organize knowledge in the Islamicate world, that is, “the overall society and culture associated historically with the religion”. In chronological terms, the present survey covers about one millennium, from the first known attempts to comprehensively structure human knowledge in early ‘Abbasid times to the sophisticated taxonomies designed by scholars from Maghreb, the Ottoman lands, Persia, and the Indian sub-continent. Linguistically, it primarily focuses on classifications in Arabic and Persian, although examples of systems in other languages are also provided.

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1. Introduction

This article is concerned with systems to organize knowledge in the Islamicate world in the sense attributed to this latter concept by Marshall Hodgson, that is, ‘the overall society and culture associated historically with the religion’ (Hodgson 1974, 57). This means that the range of classifications we are concerned with here extends to authors who were not necessarily Muslims, but whose works were produced in this broader context. In chronological terms, the present survey covers about one millennium, from the first known attempts to comprehensively structure human knowledge in early ‘Abbasid times to the sophisticated taxonomies designed by scholars from Maghreb, the Ottoman lands, Persia, and the Indian sub-continent. Linguistically, it primarily focuses on classifications in Arabic and Persian, although examples of systems in other languages are also provided.

In his ISKO Encyclopedia article on → the Greco-Roman classifications, Jonathan Furner drew attention to several trends or lines of force in these ancient taxonomies (Furner 2021). One such tendency was the unparalleled prestige assigned by many to four sciences — arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music — in the wake of the Pythagorean and Platonist scholars. From the early Latin Middle Ages, these sciences came to be known as the mathematical quadrivium and were next often associated with the trivium constituted by grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric to form the seven liberal arts of classical education (Hadot 2005). Other remarkable trends were the distribution of the sciences into theoretical, practical, and productive, already observable in Plato's works, or the Stoic division of philosophy into logic, physics, and ethics. Of fundamental importance was Aristotle's threefold division of theoretical philosophy into mathematics, physics, and metaphysics, a division that was to reign supreme over innumerable classifications in the Western Middle Ages, and even later. The last characteristic mentioned by Furner is the “increasing complexity in classifications schemes over the period of the survey” (that is, from 800 BCE to 600 CE).

Of these lines of force, there are some which clearly did not make their way to the Islamicate world. For instance, the Stoic division of philosophy into logic, physics, and ethics remained unknown to the scholars of Islam. Neither was the trivium tradition incorporated, likely because its later (and more Latin) constitution prevented it from being transmitted in time (de Callataÿ 2008). On the other hand, as the present review will amply show, Muslim scholars resolutely seized upon structures such as the quadrivium or the Aristotelian threefold division of theoretical philosophy and kept faithfully transmitting these structures over the centuries. What is beyond doubt is that Islam, too, witnessed an “increasing complexity” in the classification of the sciences. With several hundreds of scientific disciplines mentioned and carefully hierarchized, the classification designed by the 16th-century Ottoman scholar Tashköprüzāda can hardly be compared to anything else in the encyclopedic genre.

The classifications included in the directory to follow were conceived by a great variety of scholars: scientists, philosophers, theologians, civil servants, littérateurs, librarians, historians, encyclopedists, mystics, and others. If, in turn, we were to define the central question in relation to which practically all these scholars had to position themselves over this long period of time, we would say without hesitation that it is the treatment to be reserved to two major groups of sciences: on the one hand, sciences like those of the mathematical quadrivium, logic, the natural sciences, and metaphysics, all of which were derived from the Greeks on the occasion of the unprecedented translation movement in ‘Abbasid times (see below); on the other, the sciences developed from and around the Qur’ānic revelation and the historical example of the prophet Muḥammad and felt to be the prerogative of the Muslims: the Qur’ān itself, ḥādith (the prophetic tradition), kalām (theology), fiqh (jurisprudence), and many others. One way or another, the organization of knowledge as illustrated by the vast majority of our classifications reflects this dichotomy between these two blocks of sciences — a dichotomy so profound that it led over the centuries to stark, sometimes even caricatural, oppositions: aqlī / naqlī (“rational vs. traditional”), ḥikmī / shar‘ī (“philosophical vs religious”), a‘jamī / ‘arabī (“foreign vs Arab”), or ‘ulūm al-awā’il / ‘ulūm al-awā’ir (literally, “sciences of the ancients” vs “sciences of the moderns”). Naturally, scholars in Islam had very different opinions on the respective value of these two groups of sciences. Scientists and philosophers sought to demonstrate that rational sciences were another, equally acceptable, manner for man to exalt God by acknowledging the perfection of the created world, and therefore defended the idea that Greek sciences should be put on a par with the religious sciences. Conversely, most theologians and champions of Islamic orthodoxy rejected these foreign sciences as unacceptable and perverse innovations, incompatible with the genuine message of Islam, its holy book and the doctrine preached by its prophet. In between, we also find scholars such as the famous 11th-century imam al-Ghazālī, who in his emblematic Revival of the Religious Sciences subdivides the non-religious sciences into moral-based categories, depending on whether he regards them as praiseworthy, permissible, or blameworthy. In this field, as in so many others, our epistemologically informed taxonomies are a first-rate testimony to the way in which human beings conceive the world around them and organize their knowledge accordingly.

In their arrangement, classifications of the sciences in Islamic cultures generally fall in three categories. Hierarchical classifications, in the form of a tree with its branches and sub-branches (technically referred to as tashjīr), are by far the most numerous. A second category is the ladder-shaped type, especially used for curricular systems in which the study of sciences is said to be pursued in a pre-established order and according to a certain progression. The third category, which I have chosen to call “linear”, is for the cases in which an author merely provides a list of sciences supposed to be representative of human knowledge, without further indication of a hierarchical arrangement or a progression.

Figure 1: Al-Hindī’s hierarchical classification (© M-Classi)

 

Figure 2: Ḥunayn ibn Isḥāq’s ladder-shaped classification (© M-Classi)

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2. State of the art

Scholarship on knowledge organization and the classification of the sciences in Islam has long remained chiefly concentrated on a few emblematic authors of the so-called “classical period” (typically, al-Kindī, al-Fārābī, Ibn Sīnā, Ibn Ḥazm and the above-mentioned al-Ghazālī), rarely venturing into languages other than Arabic or beyond the time of the historian Ibn Khaldūn [1]. Although the last three decades have seen the publication of more original studies [2], with a gratifyingly growing interest in Persian encyclopedic systems and Ottoman classifications [3], research on the “post-classical” developments of Islamic knowledge organization remains embryonic, especially in view of the quantity of the extant record. Indeed, it is important to stress that many of these texts have never been edited and that out of the immense surviving manuscript archive only a fraction has been properly inventoried and described thus far.

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3. M-Classi

It is precisely with the aim of fostering future research in this field that I recently created, with IT experts at UCLouvain, a new web application called M-Classi. It is an open-source digital tool to store, catalogue, search, and visualize the classifications of the sciences in Islam as well as those of the regions that came into contact with Islamic cultures, from Antiquity to the pre-Modern era [4]. The device is thus focused by priority on Arabic, Persian, and Turkish classifications, but for comparative purposes it also integrates taxonomies in languages such as Syriac, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and others. This said, the application is universally usable and can be adapted to any language and script. M-Classi allows one to make various types of queries on the classifications which, like all those of the present survey, are integrated into its database. Through a cumulative graph and the use of filters (by language, by author, by period, etc.), it also allows one to visualize the results at a glance and in a dynamic manner. M-Classi beta version (https://www.m-classi.eu/) is now available on request.

Figure 3: M-Classi digital tool (© M-Classi)

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4. Directory

It has seemed convenient to arrange our directory in the chronological order of the authors/works (as far as this order can be determined with some precision). I have also divided the list of authors/works into two periods of time, corresponding respectively to the years 800-1100 and 1100-1800. This is a convenient and current division line in the history of Islamic thinking. In modern historiography it is still often employed to oppose, on the one hand, the “classical period” — typically personified by Ibn Sīnā (the Latin Avicenna, d. 1037) and al-Ghazālī (Alghazel, d. 1111) — to the “post-classical period” and whatever came after 1100 [5]. These appellations, which were modelled on the standards of ancient Greco-Latin historiography, do not apply to the Islamic framework. Not only are their vagueness and subjectivity a source of major confusion between modern scholars [6]. They also mirror the orientalist and colonialist worldview that Islamic civilization, through which the Latin Middle Ages recovered the lost legacy of ancient Greece, declined immediately after this re-transmission to the West came to an end — thus making the rest of the history irrelevant. As I hope to demonstrate in what follows, there are some objectifiable reasons to treat the 800-1100 and 1100-1800 periods separately. This said, I prefer to refer to these two periods as “Formative Times” and “Later Developments” respectively, as it seems to me that there never was in the history of Islamic knowledge organization such a drastic disruption as the one implied by the “classical vs post-classical” opposition.

In the following directory I present, after some brief contextualizing words, each classification in such a way as to highlight its most remarkable specificities, while also pointing out, for purposes of comparison, certain features it shares with other systems or traditions. References to original sources are provided, as well as some additional bibliography. As it is not possible here to describe each case in detail (remember that several of these taxonomies include more than a hundred sciences), I refer interested readers to M-Classi for the complete list of sciences, both in the original language and in English translation, of all these classifications. In contrast with modern usage, the Islamic nomenclature of sciences regularly uses the names of → the objects of sciences to represent the sciences of which they are the objects: “atmospheric events” rather than meteorology, “animals”, “plants”, and “minerals” rather than zoology, botany, and mineralogy, and the like. For a good part, as shall be seen, this is a direct consequence of the habit to follow Aristotle, whose books had these names as titles. For reasons of fidelity to the sources, it has been decided to keep these names as far as possible.

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4.1. Formative times (800-1100)

The earliest examples of scientific taxonomies in the Islamic cultures all stem from the translation movement of Greek works by the early ‘Abbasid caliphs in their newly founded capital Baghdad. This movement was unprecedented in size and length. To quote from a famous essay on this extraordinary phenomenon, it has long been “documented that from about the middle of the eighth century to the end of the tenth, almost all non-literary and non-historical secular Greek books that were available throughout the Eastern Byzantine Empire and the Near East were translated into Arabic” (Gutas 1998, 1). As Gutas puts it in the same place, the list of disciplines covered includes

astrology and alchemy and the rest of the occult sciences; the subjects of the quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and the theory of music; the entire field of Aristotelian philosophy throughout its history: metaphysics, ethics, physics, zoology, botany, and especially logic — the Organon; all the health sciences: medicine, pharmacology, and veterinary science; and various other marginal genres of writings, such as Byzantine handbooks on military science (the tactica), popular collections of wisdom sayings, and even books on falconry.

A series of factors made this translation movement possible, among which we may recall here the conquests of the Umayyad predecessors on three continents, the resulting unification of previously separated cultures, the multilingualism of the society under a single administration, and the introduction of paper. This is not to forget, of course, the ideological program of the ‘Abbasid regime itself and the relentless efforts of the caliphs to promote these translation activities through the “House of Wisdom” and other institutions (Micheau 1996; Saliba 2007).

The Greek component represents by far the greatest part of the legacy. The Fihrist, a bibliographical inventory composed by the 10th-century Iraqi scholar Ibn al-Nadīm (see below), includes a list with the names of about fifty translators who made the works of Aristotle, Ptolemy, Euclid, Galen, and many others available to the Arabic speaking world. Christian scholars played an important role in the process, especially in its first phase, as many of them knew Greek, Syriac, and Arabic at the same time. Ibn al-Nadīm’s list also includes translators from Persian and Sanskrit, a further proof (if proof were needed) that the scientific curiosity of the scholars in that period was virtually limitless, as was also their desire to emulate and surpass the greatest geniuses of the past, in as many disciplines as possible.

In terms of classification of the sciences, Aristotle naturally became the greatest model, as he had dealt with many of them and even frequently addressed in his works the question of their ontological arrangement. This said, it is not that much to Aristotle himself that the first classification authors in ‘Abbasid times turned their attention, as information about the organization of knowledge is somewhat scattered in Aristotle’s own works (Furner 2021). Instead, in their discussion of the master’s philosophy, some Aristotelian commentators of late Antiquity (as for instance the 6th-century theologian and philosopher Paul the Persian) provided them with a comprehensive and ready-to-use division of philosophy (Hein 1985; Gutas 2006; 2009). There the scholars of the Islamic cultures could find the fundamental principles of Aristotle’s hierarchical system. Theoretical vs practical philosophy in the first place, and then the respective subdivisions of the blocks into three parts: physics, mathematics, and theology/metaphysics on the one hand, and ethics, economics, and politics on the other. There they could find the subdivisions of logic, the “instrument” (Organon) of philosophy rather than a proper part of it according to Aristotle himself. There were also to be found the associations of each discipline or subdiscipline of the Aristotelian scheme with a proper work by the master, such as the Politica for politics, the Rhetorica for a part of logic, or the De Generatione et Corruptione for a subset of physics. That the works of Paul and other late Alexandrian commentators were the intermediaries between the Aristotelian system and those early attempts at classifying knowledge in Islam is proven by the fact that their content appears almost the same in Arabic in works of the philosophers al-Fārābī and Miskawayh.

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Ibn Bahrīz (fl. 800-825?)

Ḥabīb b. Bahrīz (or Bihrīz, also sometimes referred to as “Abdisho” bar Bahrīz) was a Christian bishop active in Northern Iraq who took his part in the Greek-Syriac-Arabic translation movement at the time of the ‘Abbasid caliph al-Ma’mūn. His Ḥudūd al-Manṭiq (The Definitions of Logic), an Arabic treatise commissioned by the caliph himself, includes a typically Aristotelian classification of philosophy, with its primary division into theoretical and practical, and the further threefold subdivisions of the theoretical part into metaphysics, mathematics, and physics, and of the practical part into politics, economics, and ethics [7]. Interestingly, the Arabic designations for most of these disciplines are different from those under which they came to be referred in the subsequent philosophical tradition, suggesting Syriac as an intermediate language between Greek and Arabic.

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Al-Kindī (c. 801-873)

Abū Yūsuf Ya‘qūb b. Isḥāq al-Ṣabbāḥ al-Kīndī, or simply al-Kindī, traditionally acknowledged as the first major figure of Arabic philosophy and indeed nicknamed “the philosopher of the Arabs”, played a crucial role in the transmission of Greek philosophy and science to the Arab-Muslim world. He was a polymath to whom hundred treatises covering the entire range of the rational sciences have been ascribed, only a small fraction of which have come to us. Of his four works dealing with the classification of the sciences, the only one extant is his Risāla fī kammiyya kutub Arisṭūṭālīs (Epistle on the Number of Aristotle’s books) [8]. In this short treatise, a certain tension is clearly perceptible between the two objectives which the author seems to have pursued at the same time: on the one hand, to draw up the full list of Aristotle’s works (as the title indicates); on the other hand, to present the division of philosophy in a coherent and ontologically justifiable manner. This results in a curious system in which the sciences of the quadrivium (which were not dealt as such by Aristotle) and those making up logic precede the natural sciences, the sciences of the soul, and metaphysics (which al-Kindī assimilates to theology). Whereas no book by Aristotle can be provided for the mathematics, al-Kindī lists eight books/sciences under “logic” (Categories, Peri Hermeneias, First Analytics, Second Analytics, Topics, Sophistics, Rhetoric, and Poetics) and seven under “physics” (Physical Principles, Heavens, Generation and Corruption, Atmospheric and Terrestrial Events, Minerals, Plants, and Animals). Under “soul” he mentions four: Soul, Sense and the Sensible, Sleep and Awakening, and Length and Brevity of Life. At the end of the treatise, the same sequence as above, extended by ethics, is said to correspond to the progression man should follow in his curriculum studiorum, as if this time al-Kindī had wanted to combine the didactic and the systematic scopes with one another (Jolivet 1996).

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Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq (808-873)

Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq was a famous Arab Nestorian Christian scholar, expert in medicine and the natural sciences. He was also the most prolific translator of Greek works in ‘Abbasid times, being responsible for the translation into Syriac and Arabic of more than hundred Greek works, including from Plato and Aristotle. Among his Arabic translations is a collection of aphorisms and anecdotes about ancient philosophers traditionally known as Ādāb al-Falāsifa (Maxims of the Philosophers) [9]. One of these anecdotes tells an edifying story about Plato and his young disciple Aristotle, with the aim of highlighting the latter’s precocious genius. What is of interest for us about this anecdote is that it concludes with the evocation of an authentic curriculum of the sciences comprising ten disciplines to be learnt in succession, namely: (1) Greek writing; (2) grammar; (3) poetry; (4) arithmetic; (5) geometry; (6) astronomy; (7) medicine; (8) music; (9) logic; and finally (10) philosophy, said to be “the science of the upper phaenomena” (de Callataÿ 2020).

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Qusṭa b. Lūqā (820-912)

Qusṭa b. Lūqā, a native of Baalbek, was a Melkite Christian scholar who cumulated expertise in several fields like medicine, astronomy, and mathematics. In Baghdad, he also was a prominent figure and a major representative of the ‘Abbasid translation movement. He is known to have translated into Arabic, or commented on, the works of various Greek scientists such as Diophantus, Autolycus, Aristarchus, Heron of Alexandria, and Galen. Among his original works, most of them lost, we are fortunate to possess the Fī Aqsām al-‘Ulūm (On the Division of the Sciences) [10]. His classification of philosophy, in other words the rational sciences, is very reminiscent of his predecessor al-Kindī. Both authors use, for instance, the same four terms to name the four sciences of the quadrivium, namely: ‘adad (for arithmetic), handasa (for geometry), tanjīm (for astronomy), and ta’līf (for harmony, rather than music). The main differences between the two taxonomies are that this mathematical quadrivium is now placed between physics and metaphysics (that is, more in line with Aristotle’s conception) and the fact that neither logic nor the sciences of the soul are mentioned.

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Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’ (between 850-950?)

Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’ (The Brethren of Purity) is the pseudonym chosen by a mysterious group of scholars to publish, in the form of a collection of about 50 epistles, an encyclopaedia of philosophy without equivalent in Arabic literature: the so-called Rasā’il Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’ (Epistles of the Brethren of Purity). The period of redaction of the corpus, the identity of its authors, and their doctrinal affiliation are questions that have remained hotly debated. Today there is however a growing consensus to affirm that the authors were Shī’ite and that their doctrine has affinities with the esoteric teaching of the Ismā‘īlīs. The impact of the Ikhwānian encyclopaedia on many later authors, in Islam and beyond, was most significant. In Epistle 7, the Ikhwān propose a general classification of human knowledge structurally reflecting Aristotle but also largely inspired by the Neoplatonist tradition [11]. It is divided into three main groups of sciences: (1) propaedeutical (in the sense of sciences only useful for the everyday life), including such sciences as writing, grammar, poetry, history but also the occult sciences; (2) religious, with traditional Islamic sciences such as revelation, prophetic reports, jurisprudence but also asceticism and dream interpretation; and (3) the genuinely philosophical, itself branching out into (a) mathematics, (b) logic, (c) physics and (d) divinity. Remarkably, the way the Ikhwānian corpus was transmitted, with its careful arrangement of 50 epistles, can be regarded as a classification of the philosophical sciences of its own. This classification, however, corresponds only in part with the other, being this time divided into: (a) mathematics (into which logic is merged); (b) physics; (c) “sciences of the soul and intellect”; (d) “nomic, divine, and legal sciences”. The comparison of the two systems is evidence of the fact that the composition of this esoteric corpus most probably extended over various generations and that the final result may have substantially differed from the initial plan (de Callataÿ 2008a; El-Bizri and de Callataÿ 2018). In Epistle 26, the Ikhwān derive from Persian literature an allegorical fable about a royal majlis building (in other words, a place where sessions of science are organized) whose cupola and walls each represent a specific science (Fig. 1) [12]. Thus whereas the cupola is naturally reserved for the lofty science of the stars and geography (its terrestrial counterpart), the four walls of the majlis are respectively for the following four groups, presumably more akin to productive sciences: (1) medicine and physics; (2) crafts and professions; (3) religious sciences; and (4) governance (de Callataÿ 2017).

Figure 4: The royal majlis building according to the Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’

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Agapius of Hierapolis (d. after 942)

Agapius of Hierapolis, also known as Maḥbūb b. Qusṭanṭīn, was a Melkite Christian bishop and historian who wrote the Kitāb al-‘Unwān (The Book of Headings) [13]. This book includes a list of ten sciences in relation to the people of the fourth clime at the center of ancient geographical representations of the Earth. The people occupying this central place were generally believed to be superior to the others. The ten sciences, almost all of which are here accorded Arabic designations transliterating the original Greek, are as follows: (1) astronomy; (2) astrology; (3) geometry; (4) arithmetic; (5) music; (6) medicine; (7) alchemy; (8) ingenious devices; (9) talismans; (10) logic. The importance accorded to the occult sciences is particularly striking (de Callataÿ 2020).

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Qudāma b. Ja‘far (c. 873 – betw. 932 and 948)

Qudāma b. Jaʿfar al-Kātib al-Baghdādī was a Syriac scholar who played a role in the administration of the Abbasid caliphate in the 10th century. He is the author of Kitāb al-Kharāj wa-Ṣinā‘at al-Kitāba (Book of the Land Tax and the Art of Secretary) [14]. In spite of the fact that part of the work is lost, it is possible to reconstruct a rather elaborate organization of the matters useful for civil servants, divided in seven main sections: (1) writing; (2) secretaries; (3) bureaus; (4) departments; (5) geography; (6) fiscal jurisprudence; and (7) governance (Heck 2002a).

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Al-Fārābī (870-950/1)

Abū Nasr Muḥammad al-Fārābī, a scholar whose birthplace, pedigree and many facts of whose life remain unknown, was an accomplished musician and an expert in various sciences like astronomy, mathematics, or physics, but it is in philosophy, across the full range of its spectrum, that he left his most profound mark in the history of Arabic thinking. His impact on later philosophers in Islam, as well as on important figures of the Latin Middle Ages, was considerable. Being generally recognized as the first Muslim thinker to present a coherent philosophical system, he was usually referred to in Islam as “the Second Master” (after Aristotle). Among his vast production in the field is a treatise on Iḥsā’ al-‘Ulūm (Enumeration of Sciences), in which an elaborated hierarchy of the sciences is to be found [15]. It includes eight major sections in all, most of them branching out in further disciplines: (1) language; (2) logic; (3) mathematics; (4) physics; (5) metaphysics; (6) politics; (7) jurisprudence; (8) theology. There are various remarkable features in this system. First, the classical quadrivium of mathematical sciences is now dislocated to incorporate three “new” subjects, namely: optics, heavy weights and ingenious devices. Second, if the Aristotelian scheme is preserved for the theoretical side of philosophy, nothing like a practical side of this philosophy is contemplated here. Politics is mentioned, but it is curiously followed by two typically Islamic sciences — jurisprudence (fiqh) and theology (kalām), systematically ranged as “religious” in other Islamic taxonomies — which the author seeks to universalize (Mahdi 1975). As opposed to al-Kindī, no attempt is made to connect theology to metaphysics. A third notable feature of al-Fārābī’s classification is the absence of medicine. Medieval translations and adaptations of the Iḥṣā’ al-‘Ulūm into Latin and Hebrew are evidence of the extensive influence of al-Fārābī’s classification (González Palencia 1953; Zonta 1992; Polloni 2016; González Marrero 2018).

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Maslama b. Qāsim al-Qurṭubī (d. 964)

Maslama b. Qāsim al-Qurṭubī was an Andalusī traditionist, being the author of works (most of them lost) concerned with ḥadīth (the tradition around the prophet Muḥammad). As has been convincingly argued by Maribel Fierro (Fierro 1996), we should consider the same Maslama b. Qāsim al-Qurṭubī as the genuine author of a pair of two important treatises on occult sciences, the authorship of which had until then been misattributed, namely the Rutbat al-Ḥakīm (The Rank of the Sage, on alchemy) and the Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm (The Goal of the Sage, on astral magic). According to their author, who famously refers to them as “the two conclusive [sciences]” (natījatān), alchemy (kīmiyā) and astral magic (sīmiyā’) represent together the culmination of philosophy and can only be accessed by the initiate after mastering a set of ten propaedeutic sciences, divided into two groups of five, ‘for the legislators’ and ‘for the philosopher’ respectively (de Callataÿ 2013a; 2017; 2020). Whereas the Rutba only makes vague allusions to this collection of sciences, the Ghāya describes them all, with their sub-ramifications, in some detail. The group of sciences “for the legislators” includes: (1) agriculture, pasture, and navigation; (2) commanding of armies, war strategies, taming of animals, and the like; (3) civic sciences, like grammar, writing or chancellery; (4) sciences of governance; and (5) ethics. As for the group of sciences “for the philosopher”, it includes: (6) mathematics; (7) logic; (8) medicine; (9) physics; (10) metaphysics. The numerous sub-ramifications mentioned by Maslama in this taxonomy — as for instance geometry branching out into land surveying, fractions, lifting heavy weights, ballistics, ingenious devices, burning mirrors, and optics — testify to an “increasing complexity” of his classification with respect to earlier taxonomies. The Picatrix, the Latin version of the Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm, keeps the corresponding list of sciences, but with some significant alterations [16].

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Al-Sijistānī (d. 971)

Abū Ya‘qūb Isḥāq b. Aḥmad al-Sijistānī was a Persian Ismā‘īlī missionary who played an important role in the transmission of Neoplatonic philosophy within the Ismā‘īlī community. Among the many books he wrote, the esoteric tenets of which have been preserved through Ṭayyibī Ismā‘īlī centers active in Yemen and India, is the Ithbāt al-Nubuwwāt (The Book of the Proofs of Prophecies), in which a classification of the sciences is to be found [17]. Sijistānī’s classification is fundamentally inspired by that of al-Kindī. It is divided into two main groups of an almost parallel structure, corresponding to the Greek rational sciences/philosophy (referred to here as “wisdom”) and the Islamic religious sciences (called “mission”). Whereas the practical part of philosophy is made up of the usual politics, economics, and ethics, the theoretical counterpart is more original, being respectively represented by metaphysics, astronomy (instead of the whole quadrivium) and medicine and crafts (instead of the whole range of the natural sciences). As for the group of Islamic sciences, it is interesting to observe that it is also divided into a theoretical side (with esoteric interpretation, theology, and jurisprudence) and a practical one (with public goods and bodies). According to the author, this bipartition of the religious sciences is grounded in the Qur’ān, as is also the recourse to philosophy itself (De Smet 2008).

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Al-Khwārizmī (second half of 10th century)

Muḥammad ibn al-ʿAbbās Abū Bakr al-Khwārizmī, not to be confused with the famous 9th-century mathematician, the “father of algebra”, was a 10th-century civil servant who served at the court of various dynasties in Central Asia. The Mafātīḥ al-‘Ulūm (The Keys of the Sciences), al-Khwārizmī’s best known work, is an important handbook designed to court officials which he wrote while he was serving at the court of the Samanids [18]. The inner arrangement of this treatise, with its two parts devoted respectively to the religious and the rational sciences, is often cited as one of the clearest illustrations of the bipolarity of Islamic classifications (Biesterfeldt 2002). The six sections of the “first part” (al-maqāla al-ūlā) correspond to: (1) jurisprudence; (2) theology; (3) grammar; (4) writing; (5) poetry and prosody; and (6) history. The nine sections of the “second part” (al-maqāla al-thāniyya) correspond to: (1) philosophy; (2) logic; (3) medicine; (4) arithmetic; (5) geometry; (6) astronomy; (7) music; (8) ingenious devices; and (9) alchemy. Each of these 15 sections making up the whole treatise branches out into a multitude of sub-disciplines, with a clear emphasis on those of direct interest for civil servants. Within the generic science of writing, we find such categories as, “names of reports, registers, and operations in offices”, “matters of secretaries in charge of the taxation office”, or “expressions used in the post office”.

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Al-‘Āmirī (d. 992)

Abū al-Ḥassan Muḥammad b. Yūsuf al-‘Āmirī was an Iranian 10th-century Muslim logician, philosopher and mystic who held that philosophy and religion were not incompatible, even if he sustained that the revelation of Islam was superior to the philosophical doctrines. His al-I‘lām bi-manāqib al-Islām (Exposition on the Merits of Islam), as the title suggests, is a treatise in which ‘Āmirī defends the superiority of Islam over other religions [19]. The I‘lām includes a curious classification in which each of the three “philosophical sciences” (al-‘ulūm al-ḥikmiyya) of physics, mathematics, and divinity (ṣinā‘at al-ilāhiyyīn) is put side by side with one of the three “religious sciences” (al-‘ulūm al-milliyya), namely, prophetic tradition (ḥadīth), jurisprudence, and theology respectively (Biesterfeldt 1977). What is most remarkable in this scheme is that the three pairs formed in this manner are ontologically based on philosophical principles: physics and prophetic involve the senses only; mathematics and jurisprudence involve both the senses and the intellect; divine and theology involve the intellect only. To complete this symmetry, a fourth “instrumental” pair is formed, with logic and language respectively.

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Ibn al-Nadīm (d. 995 or 998)

Abū l-Faraj Muḥammad b. Abī Yaʿqūb Isḥāq b. Muḥammad b. Isḥāq, known as Ibn al-Nadīm, was an erudite scholar active in Bagdad in the second half of the 10th century. He is the author of the Fihrist (The Inventory), a famous bibliographical compilation intended to list all the books, about all kinds of subjects, written in any language, provided they were available “in the language of the Arabs” (bi-lughat al-‘arab) [20]. Including various thousands of names, this monumental repertoire is an invaluable mine of information on ancient and contemporary authors, in a wide range of disciplines, and a first-rate testimony to the extent of knowledge available to educated people in Baghdad towards the time the translation movement initiated by the ‘Abbasid caliphs was coming to an end (Steward 2007; Toorawa 2010; Ducène 2017). Since Ibn al-Nadīm carefully arranged his material throughout, the Fihrist qualifies as a classification of knowledge of its own, with ten main chapters (and 30 sub-sections). The chapters correspond to: (1) language / revealed books; (2) grammar; (3) history; (4) poetry; (5) theology; (6) jurisprudence; (7) philosophy (8) magic; (9) doctrines of the world; and (10) alchemy. The seventh chapter, on philosophy, includes the full range of mathematics, logic and the natural sciences.

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Al-Masīḥī (d. c. 1010)

Abū Sahl ‘Īsā b. Yaḥya al-Masīhī al-Jurjānī was a Christian Persian physician, one of Avicenna’s former masters. Aside from works in medicine, he is the author of Asnāf al-‘Ulūm al-Ḥikmiyya (The Categories of Philosophical Sciences), a classification of the rational sciences divided into four main groups: (1) ‘universal science’ (al-‘ilm al-kullī), itself branching out into metaphysics and physics; (2) ‘particular sciences’ (al-‘ulūm al-jiz’iyya), consisting of the four classical sciences of the quadrivium plus five other sciences: optics, ingenious devices, medicine, agriculture, and alchemy; (3) ‘practical sciences’ (al-‘ilm al-‘amalī), that is, ethics and politics; and (4) ‘logic’ (manṭiq), with its usual eightfold division [21].

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Al-Tawḥīdī (923-1023)

‘Alī b. Muḥammad b. ‘Abbās al-Baghdādī, also known as Abū Ḥayyān al-Tawḥīdī, was an intellectual, littérateur, and scribe. He was part of a group of scholars around the figure of the philosopher and logician Abū Sulaymān al-Sijistānī al-Manṭiqī, for which he used to record sessions. Part of his abundant production is the Risāla fī al-‘Ulūm (Epistle of the Sciences), in which is found a list of about fifteen disciplines, including Sufism, but with no hierarchy nor separation between religious sciences and rational sciences [22].

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Miskawayh (c. 936-1030)

Abū ‘Alī Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Ya‘qūb Miskawayh al-Rāzī, better known as Ibn Miskawayh or simply Miskawayh, was a Persian philosopher, historian, and secretary, who served the Buyid administration in Iraq and Iran. As a philosopher, he specialized in ethics and is considered one of the most important representatives of Neoplatonism of his time. His al-Fawz al-Asghar (The Little [Book of] Triumph) includes, in one of its versions, a classification of philosophy with its traditional division into theoretical and practical sciences, and the further threefold subdivisions of the former into metaphysics, mathematics, and physics, and of the latter into politics, economics, and ethics [23].

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Ibn Sīnā (980-1037)

Abū ‘Alī al-Ḥusayn b. ‘Abdullāh b. al-Ḥasan b. ‘Alī b. Sīnā al-Balkhī al-Bukharī — better known as Ibn Sīnā or Avicenna (the name under which he came to be known in the Latin West) — was an Iranian-born polymath, usually regarded as the greatest thinker of the Islamic Middle Ages. The influence of this precocious genius on philosophy and science in both Islam and the West — suffice here to mention his iconic Shifā’ (The Healing, on philosophy) and Qānūn (The Canon, on medicine) — was exceptional. Out of the hundreds of works he left, mostly in Arabic but also in Persian, the Risāla fī Taqsīm al-‘Ulūm al-‘Aqliyya (the Epistle on the Division of the Rational Sciences), provides us with an important testimony in terms of organizing the philosophical sciences in a coherent and comprehensive manner (Jolivet 1996; Biesterfeldt 2002) [24]. The notion of “derived sciences” is here particularly prominent. Physics includes seven of these, namely: medicine, astrology, physiognomy, dream interpretation, talismans, nīranjāt, and alchemy [25]. Each of the sciences of the quadrivium also branches out in some sort of derivations, as follows: arithmetic into Indian calculation and algebra; geometry into land surveying, devices in motion, lifting heavy weights, weights and balances, specific instruments, optics and mirrors, and water transport; astronomy into almanacs and calendars; and music into “wonderful and strange [music]”. Even metaphysics is said to divide into revelation and eschatology. Another, rather succinct, classification of the sciences can be found in the Dānēsh Nāme-ye ‘Alā’i (The Book of Science), a treatise of Aristotelian philosophy that Ibn Sīnā wrote in Persian and which is considered one of the earliest records of Persian philosophical vocabulary [26].

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Aqsām ‘Ulūm al-Awā’il (950-1050?)

The Aqsām ‘Ulūm al-Awā’il (The Divisions of Sciences of the Ancients) is a work describing a systematic classification of the rational sciences whose precise authorship remains discussed. In the preliminary edition they gave of this text, Hinrich Biesterfeldt and Cüneyt Kaya regarded it as an intermediate between the classifications by al-Masīḥī and Ibn Sīnā/Avicenna respectively (Biesterfeldt and Kaya 2020). For his part, Mohammad Javad Esmaeili, who recently provided a new edition of the text, considers it a possible early work by Ibn Sīnā himself (Esmaeili 2021). Like those of al-Masīḥī, Ibn Sīnā and others, this classification faithfully follows the Aristotelian divisions and subdivisions of philosophy. It is also very Avicennian in that in various places it seeks to discriminate between “fundamental sciences” (uṣūl) and “derived sciences” (furū‘). Thus, for instance, whereas the “fundaments of physics” consist of the usual group of “Aristotelian” disciplines pertaining to such domains as “heaven and world”, “generation and corruption”, “minerals”, “plants”, “animals”, and the like, we also find a group of “derivations from physics” made up respectively of astrology, medicine, agriculture, and alchemy, each with its own subdivisions. In like manner, the present taxonomy also distinguishes three sciences of “practical mathematics” — namely “heavy weights”, “ingenious devices”, and “water measuring” — from the group of “theoretical mathematics” (with the sciences of the quadrivium, here extended to “optics”, “corporeal bodies”, “moving corporeal beings”, and “weights”.

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Ibn al-Haytham (c. 965-c. 1040)

Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥasan b. al-Ḥasan b. al-Haytham, or Ibn al-Haytham (or Alhazen, as he was known in the Latin Middle Ages) was an eminent scientist from Iraq. The author of many important treatises on mathematics, astronomy, and physics, he acquired a particularly eminent reputation in the theory of optics, to the point where he is often recognized today as ‘the father of optics’. The Kitāb al-Manāẓir (The Book of Optics), his main work in the field, also enjoyed great reputation in the Latin West. We also owe him a treatise on the classification of science, known as Thamarat al-Ḥikma (The Fruits of Philosophy) [27]. Ibn al-Haytham follows the Aristotelian principles in knowledge organization, yet his taxonomy stands apart from others by naming an extensive range of disciplines as derived from the mathematical quadrivium, namely: land surveying, operations, algebra, inheritance and testaments, optics, centers of gravity of heavy weights, mathematical questions, ingenious devices, cosmography and geography, observing luminaries and planets and devising instruments, shadow instruments and astrolabes, spherical projection, water devices, harmony, and architecture. Not surprisingly, most of these sciences are closely related to Ibn al-Haytham’s specialized field of research (Ishaq and Nor Wan Daut 2017).

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Bīrūnī (973-after 1050)

The 11th-century Persian Abū Rayḥān Muḥammad b. Aḥmad al-Bīrūnī is often considered a prototype of the Muslim polymath of the Middle Ages. This polyglot historian, chronologist, and linguist was also an expert in a wide range of mathematical and natural sciences, and the author of numerous specialized works of the highest erudition, mostly in Arabic. In his Risāla fī Fihrist Kutub al-Rāzī (Epistle on the Inventory of Rāzī’s Books), Bīrūnī compiles two lists of books, which he both organizes by disciplines [28]. The first one, after which the book is named, is devoted to the scientific production of his Persian predecessor Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. Zakariyyā al-Rāzī (the Rhazes of the Latin sources, d. c. 935), like him a most influent figure in the history of science. It is arranged under a dozen of headings, from medicine and physics to metaphysics, alchemy, and ‘the doctrine of the unbelievers’. In the second part of the Epistle, Bīrūnī lists his own vast production (more than 100 titles), also arranged by subjects under about 10 headings, mostly concerned with arithmetic, astronomy, and astrology.

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Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (978–1071)

Yūsuf b. ʿAbd Allāh b. Muḥammad b. ‘Abd al-Barr, more commonly known as Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, was an 11th-century religious scholar of al-Andalus. He was one of Ibn Ḥazm’s principal masters. In a passage of his Jāmi‘ Bayān al-‘Ilm wa-Faḍlihi (The Complete Exposition of Science and its Merit), ‘Abd al-Barr confronts the points of view of the religious scholars (ahl al-diyānāt) and the philosophers (ahl al-falsafa) [29]. This brings him to deal in succession with two classifications, which he both divides into three levels of science he respectively calls superior (a‘lā), middle (awsaṭ), and inferior (asfal). At the highest rank of the religious classification, he places “what God explained in his Books according to the text handed down by Him th His Prophets”, whereas he sets “the sciences of the world” (like medicine or geometry) in the middle and “crafts and works” (such as swimming or horsemanship) in the lowest rank. In the philosophical classification, he puts metaphysics at the top, and “the principle of the sciences” (actually, a curious variant of the quadrivium where medicine replaces geometry) in the middle. As for the lowest category, it leaves it unspecified although it is likely that he makes it correspond to the “sciences of the world” he has placed in the middle in the classification of the religious scholars (Chejne 1982, 89-92; Forcada 2006, 289-92). In the same passage is found an interesting list of occult sciences, which he thoroughly condemns. This list consists of: (1) astrology; (2) ornithomancy; (3) auspices; (4) palmomancy; (5) myomancy; (6) birthmarks divination; (7) mental therapy; and (8) exorcism.

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Ibn Ḥazm (994-1064)

A major representative of Islamic thinking in 11th-centuy al-Andalus, Abū Muḥammad ‘Alī b. Aḥmad b. Sa‘īd b. Ḥazm al-Andalusī, more commonly referred to as Ibn Ḥazm, was a talented polymath whose expertise was recognized in both philosophy and traditional disciplines such as history, theology and jurisprudence. Of his extensive production, only a small fraction has survived to the present day. It includes the Marātib al-‘Ulūm (The Ranks of Sciences), a very original work in which several scientific taxonomies are to be found (Biesterfeldt 2002; Forcada 2006) [30]. One is a hierarchy with ten main branches, as follows: (1) religious sciences; (2) history of nations; (3) language; (4) astronomy; (5) arithmetic; (6) medicine; (7) philosophy; (8) poetry; (9) eloquence; (10) interpretation. While some of these disciplines are not further divided, others branch out into an elaborate system. Medicine, for instance, is further divided into psychology, ethics, corporeal medicine, and drugs. Corporeal medicine further branches out into physiology, diseases, and surgery. Drugs are divided into “preventive drugs” and “healing drugs”. Another taxonomy found in the Marātib al-‘Ulūm concerns sciences that should be disapproved for being incompatible with the religious sciences. Ibn Ḥazm names five: magic, talismans, music, alchemy, and astrology. Finally, the same treatise also includes a curricular system mentioning the following sequence of disciplines to be learnt in succession: language, grammar, lexicography, valuable poetry, arithmetic, land surveying, cosmology, logic, history, physics, atmospheric events, animals, plants, minerals, anatomy, and finally theology.

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Sā‘id al-Andalusī (1029-1070)

Abū al-Qāsim Ṣāʿid b. Abū al-Walīd Aḥmad b. ‘Abd al-Raḥmān b. Muḥammad b. Ṣāʿid b. ʿUthmān al-Taghlibī al-Qūrṭūbī, better known as Ṣā‘id al-Andalusī, was both a judge and scientist in 11th-century al-Andalus, specialized in astronomy. He is famous for having written the Ṭabaqāt al-Umam (The Categories of Nations), a work in which he set himself the goal of creating a kind of synthesis of the scientific progress of eight different peoples, namely: (1) the Indians; (2) the Persians; (3) the Chaldeans; (4) the Greeks; (5) the Byzantines; (6) the Egyptians; (7) the Arabs; and (8) the Israelites [31]. Strictly speaking, it is not a classification of the sciences as such, although Ṣā‘id mentions for each a relatively great number of disciplines, especially from the group of rational sciences. The number of disciplines listed by Ṣā‘id varies from only a few (as with the Persians) to about 50 (as with the Arabs).

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Al-Ghazālī (c. 1058-1111)

Abū Ḥāmid Muḥammad b. Muḥammad al-Ṭūsī al-Ghazālī, better known as Imam al-Ghazālī or simply al-Ghazālī (the Algazel of the Latin sources), was a Persian Sunni theologian and one of the most important and influential figures in Islamic religious thinking. His role in ‘revitalizing faith’ earned him honorific appellations or titles such as Mujaddid (the Renewer [of Faith]) or Ḥujjat al-Islām (the Proof of Islam). Having undergone a spiritual crisis after being appointed as the head of the prestigious Nizamyya school in Baghdad, he also became a mystic, acknowledged as one the major representatives of classical Sufism. His abundant production includes several different systems of organizing knowledge (Treiger 2011). One of these is found in his Maqāṣid al-Falāsifa (The Intentions of the Philosophers) [32]. It faithfully reproduces the Aristotelian bipartition of philosophy into theoretical and practical, as well as their respective divisions into three parts. In his major opus, the Iḥyā ‘Ulūm al-Dīn (The Revival of the Sciences of Faith), Ghazālī provides a more original classification of the sciences, divided into “religious” and “non-religious[33]. The non-religious sciences are divided into “praiseworthy” (like medicine or arithmetic), “blameworthy” (like magic or talismans), and “permissible” (such as poetry or history). As for the religious sciences, they are divided into four main sections: (1) “fundaments”, consisting of Qur’ān, prophetic tradition, consensus [of the experts], traditions of the companions, in other words the four classical roots of jurisprudence; (2) “derivations”, consisting of jurisprudence and “the hereafter”, itself further divided into “unveiling” and “practice”; (3) “preliminaries”, consisting of language and grammar; and (4) “conclusions”; consisting of the Qur’ānic sciences and ḥadīth. A third interesting taxonomy is found in the Jawāhir al-Qur’ān (The Jewels of the Qur’ān) [34]. There, Ghazālī establishes a hierarchy of the religious sciences by dividing them first into two groups he calls “the sciences of the shell” and “the sciences of the pith”. Under the former are ranged four disciplines, namely language, grammar, recitations, and exoteric exegesis. As for the sciences of the pith, Ghazālī divides them into two subgroups, an “inferior” one with “stories of the Qur’ān and what concerns the prophets”, theology, jurisprudence and its fundaments, and a “superior” one with “practice” and “unveiling”. As can be seen, this classification agrees well with that of the Iḥyā ‘Ulūm al-Dīn.

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Al-Risāla al-Laduniyya (11th century?)

To Ghazālī is sometimes attributed another treatise, entitled Al-Risāla al-Laduniyya (Epistle of [the Knowledge] from on High), in which another classification is included [35]. Here, the religious branch divides into a theoretical part (which the author identifies with ‘ilm al-tawḥīd, that is, the science of the Oneness of God), including disciplines like language, theology, exegesis and history, and a practical part, with acts of worship, transactions, contracts, and ethics. The rational branch includes the four subsections of mathematics (with the quadrivium), logic, physics, and metaphysics (here identified in reference to al-Mawjūd, the Existence, and al-Bārī, the Creator). A striking feature of this classification is the number of occult sciences derived from other sciences. Thus, astrology is mentioned as a derivation from astronomy, occult properties and alchemy as derivations from physics, and talismans and nīranjāt as derivations from metaphysics. Another, still more remarkable, characteristic is the mention at the end of Sufism, structurally on a par with the religious and the rational sciences, and said to combine the qualities of both. All in all, the classification of al-Risāla al-Laduniyya is somehow reminiscent of that of the Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’ (Smith 1938; de Callataÿ 2005; Ebstein 2020).

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4.2 Later developments (1100-1800)

Essentially, post-1100 authors were confronted with the same basic problem as their Muslim predecessors, namely, how to deal with the rational sciences traditionally considered or felt to be foreign to the genuinely Islamic bulk of disciplines: should these foreign sciences be rejected or incorporated into the overall system? And, in the latter case, to what extent and where should they be situated in the classification? What had started to change, however, is the evolution of the historical reality within the Islamic cultures. One important aspect of this evolution, directly perceptible from our list of taxonomies to follow, was linguistic. Arabic, thus far largely the dominant language of the educated people, was increasingly challenged by Persian as soon as we leave the religious sphere, and it would be challenged even by Turkish in the Ottoman world.

The increasing complexity and sophistication of the scientific classifications is another undeniable aspect of this evolution. Thus, whereas pre-1100 authors used to list a few dozen disciplines at most, their successors generally mention a far greater number of sciences, in various instances exceedingly well over a hundred.

Remarkably, the expansion affects classifications in two specific directions. One is Sufism (taṣawwuf), a mystical body of theory and practice which emerged very early in Islamic history but began to be codified and organized into orders towards the 12th century. Referred to as “the inward dimension of Islam” (Burckhardt 2009, 223) and sometimes identified to “Islamic mysticism” as such (Lings 1999), it is characterized by an inclination towards spirituality, asceticism, the purification of the soul and meditation about the hereafter (Schimmel 2011). Sufism is an esoteric practice, with its own rules, rites, and secrets. Its adherents often ran the risk of persecution, as they were accused of living on the fringe of “orthodox Islam”. Only rarely mentioned in pre-1100 taxonomies, Sufism becomes a must-have kind of knowledge of many later classifications, some of which even give pride of place to this science and its innumerable sub-disciplines. The other main direction into which classifications particularly develop from about the same time is the entire field of the so-called “occult sciences” — astrology, alchemy, divination, and many others — whose specificity is to extrapolate from visible to non-visible data and consider mind-matter interaction seriously (Melvin-Koushki 2020). These sciences, variously referred to collectively as al-‘ulūm al-khafiyya (the hidden sciences), al-‘ulūm al-gharība (the strange sciences), or al-‘ulūm al-laṭīfa (the subtle sciences), were also esoteric, or at least generally regarded as such (Saif and Leoni 2021). Occult sciences have existed, so to speak, since the dawn of time and in many cultural areas, but since they were not part of the Aristotelian scheme, we only find them occasionally mentioned in Islamic classifications prior to the 12th century. Indisputably, astrological theories were central to the Rasā’il Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’. Yet, as was most generally the case throughout the Middle Ages in Islam (and elsewhere), no firm and absolute discrimination was established between astrology and astronomy, the two disciplines being usually merged with one another under the generic designation ‘ilm al-nujūm (“the science of the stars”). As for alchemy and astral magic, they form the pinnacle of philosophy according to Maslama b. Qāsim al-Qurṭubī, and Ibn al-Nadīm devoted a chapter of its own to the former in the Fihirst. But these are exceptions rather than the rule. The situation is quite different from the 12th century onwards, with these and a multitude of related sciences occupying an increasingly significant place in the organization of knowledge.

Where are Sufism and the occult sciences to be found in these classifications? Not surprisingly, Sufism is on the side of the religious sciences. As for the occult sciences, they are most generally ranged among the physical sciences and their derivations, that is, as theoretical philosophical sciences, in the block opposite to the religious sciences. But we also find cases, as with the 16th-century Persian Kāzirūnī, where Sufism and the occult sciences are put together in the same part of the overall picture. This is not a trivial fact, since it means nothing less than the abolition of the centuries-old division of science into two great blocks. More generally, as we approach the end of our survey, we can see that the classic dividing lines are becoming increasingly blurred in favor of new groupings.

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Ibn Bājja (c. 1085-1138)

Abū Bakr Muḥammad b. Yaḥya b. al-Ṣā’igh al-Tūjībī ibn Bājja, or Ibn Bājja (the Avempace of the Latin tradition), was one of the major philosophers and scientists of al-Andalus, in addition to being an accomplished poet. Ibn Bājja’s reflection on the organization of the sciences is found in his Commentaries on al-Fārābī’s works on logic, especially in relation to the Porphyrian Isāghūjī (Isagogue) [36]. It is indeed heavily influenced by al-Fārābī’s own classification. For instance, Ibn Bājja names the same seven disciplines as part of the mathematical sciences (‘ilm al-ta‘ālīm), namely: arithmetic, geometry, optics, astronomy, music, heavy weights, and ingenious devices. Like al-Fārābī, Ibn Bājja places politics among the philosophical sciences, even if he chooses another designation to call it (Forcada 2006).

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Al-Hindī (fl. 1100-1150?)

Muḥammad b. ‘Alī b. ‘Abd Allāh al-Hindī, a scholar active in 11th-century Yemen, is the author of a philosophical treatise called Jumal al-Falsafa (The Sum of Philosophy), where the standard Aristotelian scheme is faithfully followed (Türker-Küyel 1967; Jabbour 2018), except that under mathematics al-Hindī ranges logic in addition to the four sciences of the quadrivium [37].

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Yavāqīt al-‘Olūm (before 1177)

Yavāqīt al-‘Olūm va Dararī al-Nojūm (The Rubies of the Sciences and the Pearls of the Stars) is a Persian treatise whose author, in all likelihood a religious from the city of Qazvin, remains unknown. We know the work was written before the year 1177 since it is dedicated to the governor of Qazvin, who died on that year. The Yavāqīt includes 30 chapters, each consisting of 12 questions and answers on all sorts of scientific topics [38]. A significant difference in treatment is observable between the religious and the rational sciences. The former are 22 in number and mostly include disciplines in direct line with the Qur’ān (among which Sufism) or in line with language and history. The block of rational sciences is not Aristotelian at all. Its eight sciences, some of which in direct relation with the occult, are as follows: (1) dream interpretation; (2) spells and charms; (3) medicine; (4) agriculture; (5) astronomy; (6) land surveying; (7) arithmetic; and (8) omens and auspices (Vesel 1986; 2008).

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Suhrawardī (1154-1191)

Shihāb al-Dīn Yahya b. Habash Suhrawardī — also frequently referred to as “Shaykh al-Ishrāq” (the master of illumination, in reference to his role as founder of the so-called Illuminationist school of philosophy) or “Shaykh al-Maqtūl” (the murdered master, in reference to his assassination for heresy) — is a major figure in the history of Persian philosophy and mysticism, and certainly one of the most influential. He is the author of an extensive collection of works oscillating between the framework of Peripatetic philosophy and a self-proclaimed revival of ancient Iranian wisdom that brings him closer to Platonism. The metaphysical section of his Kitāb al-Talwīḥāt al-Lawḥiyya wa al-‘Arshiyya (The Book of Intimations of the Tablet and the Throne) starts with a recapitulation of the Aristotelian division of philosophy [39]. The three traditional components of theoretical philosophy are there referred to as “superior science”, “middle philosophy”, and “physics”, and their respective objects as “the absolute existence”, “the quantity”, and “the body of the world” (Wallbridge 2017).

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Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī (1149/50-1210)

Born in Rayy, hence the last part of his name, the Persian theologian Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī was a major figure of his time, who wrote extensively on a multitude of sciences including, in addition to theology, medicine, physics, astronomy, history, philosophy, jurisprudence and literature. In contradiction to the views expressed by Aristotle and Ibn Sīnā on the singularity of the world, he held a theory about the infinity of the outer space around the world as we know it. In the field of knowledge organization, we owe him a most influential treatise under the name Jāme‘ al-‘Olūm (The Compendium of Sciences), written in 1179 while Rāẓī was in the province of Khwarizm [40]. This work also went down in history with the title Ketāb-e Settīnī (The Book of the Sixty) — a direct reference to its division into 60 sciences (Vesel 2008). Although not explicitly mentioned as such in the work, the Jāme‘ al-‘Olūm clearly divides into two blocks, with the traditional sciences occupying the 21 first ranks of the list and the rational sciences occupying the 39 last ranks. In other words, the balance is practically the opposite of what we observe in the Yavāqīt, a work with which the Jāme‘ al-‘Olūm is often compared. The list includes a significant number of sciences related to the occult, such as occult properties, elixir and alchemy, talismans, magic squares, astrology, geomancy, or incantations. As Ibn Sīnā before him, al-Rāzī also includes Indian calculation, revealing the incorporation of a non-Greek science among the rational sciences. Rāzī’s care for providing a regular structure throughout is also visible in the way he subdivides the content of each discipline into “explicit principles”, “problematic principles”, “experiments”, and “answers” respectively (Biesterfeldt 2002). The Jāme‘ al-‘Olūm soon became a reference for authors concerned with the classification of knowledge.

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Ibn Arfa‘ Ra’s (fl. 1150-1200)

Abū l-Ḥasan ʿAlī b. Mūsā al-Anṣārī al-Andalusī, also known as Ibn Arfa‘ Ra’s, was a 12th-century scholar and alchemist in Morocco. He is the author of a collection of poems known as Shudhūr al-dhahab (The Splinters of Gold), with numerous cryptic references to the alchemical art. Ibn Arfa‘ Ra’s also wrote a commentary of his own on this collection, under the name Ḥall Mushkilāt al-Shudhūr (Solving the Problems of The Splinters) [41]. In a manner much reminiscent of Maslama b. Qāsim al-Qurṭubī in his twinned treatises on alchemy and astral magic, mention is made in the Ḥall of ten so-called propaedeutic sciences, prior to the study of alchemy itself (Forster 2025). The two lists, however, only agree in part with one another as Ibn Arfa‘ Ra’s one consists of: (1) logic; (2) medicine; (3) physics; (4) astronomy; (5) geometry; (6) arithmetic; (7) rhythmic cycles; (8) philosophy; (9) “the propaedeutical science as such”; and (10) metaphysics.

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Pseudo-Avicenna, De Anima (Latin from first half of 13th century?)

The De Anima is an alchemical grimoire that went down in history as a work by Avicenna. The extant version of this text is the Latin compilation and translation of three lost Arabic treatises [42]. This work includes a wholly original list of ten sciences said to be useful for the “magisterium” (literally, “the supreme office”, likely to refer to the alchemical art). These ten sciences are subdivided into four “matres” (mothers) on the one hand — dialectic, geometry, “natures” and firmament —, and six “filiae” (daughters) on the other hand, namely: “algorism” (algorismus, not to be confused with algorithm), arithmetic, theory of medicine, music, astronomy, and philosophy.

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Shahrazūrī (13th century)

Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Maḥmud Shahrazūrī was a 13th-century philosopher, physician, and historian. Very little historical information has been preserved, except that he was of Kurdish descent. He is considered a major representative of Illuminationist philosophy as founded one century before him by Suhrawardī and is the author of various important and influential works. His Shajara al-Ilāhiyya (The Divine Tree) includes an elaborate hierarchy of the philosophical sciences, closely modelled on Ibn Sīnā, with a great number of sub-branches particularly noticeable in the groups of the mathematical/propaedeutical and the natural sciences [43]. Another striking subdivision is that of politics into two different sections, one secular (for kings and sultans) and the other religious (for prophets).

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Jirjīs al-Makīn (1206-d. aft. 1280)

Jirjīs al-Makīn (sometimes anglicized as George Elmacin), also known as Ibn al-‘Amīd, was a Thirteenth-century Coptic Christian historian and chronicler. His main work is aworld chronicle called al-Majmū‘ al-Mubārak (The Blessed Collection), sometimes also referred to as Kitāb al-Ta’rīkh (The Book of History). The work contains a list of ten sciences which Aristotle is supposed to have mastered and which the author appears to mention in line with the Sirr al-Asrār (Secret of Secrets), a mysterious Arabic treatise which was indeed erroneously ascribed to Aristotle and was to become famous in the Latin West as the Secretum Secretorum. No edition of this work has been produced thus far, but the list of sciences (or rather groups of sciences) as they appear in manuscripts is as follows: (1) astronomy / astrology; (2) propaedeutic sciences; (3) geometryland surveyingmagnitudesmeasurements; (4) music; (5) sīmiyā’;4 (6) alchemy; (7) medicine; (8) arithmetic; (9) philosophy; (10) ingenious devicestalismanslogic [45]. The list is unmistakenly reminiscent of that found in Agapius’s Kitāb al-Unwān (de Callataÿ 2020).

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Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī (1201-1274)

Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan al-Ṭūsī, better known as Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Ṭusī, was a Persian polymath, often hailed as one of the most prominent scientists of Islam. As an astronomer, he is most famously known for having directed the observatory built in Maragha under the Mongol Hulegu. Among al-Ṭūsī’s extensive production in Persian and Arabic is his Akhlāq-i Nāṣirī (The Nasirean Ethics), whose introduction includes the typically Aristotelian/Avicennian classification of the rational sciences [46]. A remarkable feature of this classification is that metaphysics is here subdivided into fundaments and derivations, the latter category consisting of prophethood, imamate, and eschatology. Another striking feature is that al-Ṭūsī makes music a sort of applied science to harmony, while he regards this latter science, and not music itself, as one the mathematical quadrivium (Stephenson 1923).

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Qazwīnī (1203-1283)

Abū Yaḥyā Zakariyya b. Muḥammad b. Maḥmūd al-Qazwīnī was a 13th-century Persian geographer and cosmographer. His Ajā'ib al-Makhlūqāt wa-Gharā'ib al-Mawjūdāt (The Wonders of Creatures and the Marvels of Existent Beings), an illustrated cosmography he wrote in both Persian and Arabic, enjoyed an immense popularity in Islam. Unlike the Arabic version, the Persian version includes a substantial portion of texts on human crafts (ṣinā‘āt), divided into 20 chapters, each dedicated to one particular discipline [47]. The list is an eclectic blending of disciplines, including mechanical arts (like weaving or carpentry), theoretical and applied sciences. It ends with various occult disciplines such as astrology, magic squares, talismans and nīranjāt (Hyden 2025).

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Quṭb al-Dīn al-Shirāzī (1236-1311)

Quṭb al-Dīn al-Shirāzī was a Persian philosopher and scientist who played an important role in the combination of Suhrawardī’s illuminative philosophy with Ibn Sīnā’s transmission of Aristotle. He was a disciple of the astronomer Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī, for whom the famous observatory of Maragha was built by the Mongols. Between 1294 and 1306, Quṭb al-Dīn al-Shirāzī composed the Durrat al-Tāj li-Ghurrat al-Debāj (The Crown of Pearls for Dubāj) [48], a philosophical encyclopaedia in Persian language, partly inspired by al-Ṭūsī’s Akhlāq-i Nāṣirī, but also heavily indebted to the Jewish Illuminationist scholar Ibn Kammūna (Pourjavady and Schmidtke 2004). The work includes an extensive classification of the sciences, divided into rational/philosophical (ḥikmī) and non-rational/philosophical (ghayr ḥikmī). A remarkable feature of this classification is that metaphysics is here subdivided into fundaments and derivations, the latter category consisting of prophethood, imamate, and eschatology. Another striking feature is that the non-philosophical block includes both religious matters (Qur’ānic sciences, ḥadīth, and jurisprudence) and various disciplines of adab.

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Ibn al-Akfānī (1286-1348)

Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm b. al-Akfānī, or simply Ibn al-Akfānī, was an Egyptian Kurdish physician and encylopaedist who lived mainly in Cairo. He wrote many works on individual sciences, as well as a most influential encyclopaedia of science called Irshād al-Qāsid ilā Asnā‘ al-Maqāsid (The Seeker’s Guidance to the Shining Destinations) [49]. Like Fakhr al-Dīn’s Jāme‘ al-‘Olūm, the Irshād encompasses 60 sciences in all, but the arrangement is quite different. The overall spectrum of what Ibn al-Akfānī calls “ḥikma” (literally, wisdom) is first divided into instrumental, theoretical, and practical. Under instrumental are found adab (belles-lettres), language, the different branches of morphology, and the usual Aristotelian sciences of logic. The theoretical block branches out in divine (ilāhī), religious laws (nawāmīs), physics, the four sciences of the quadrivium, all of them with further ramifications. It is particularly remarkable to find that religious laws, including typically Islamic disciplines such as exegesis, ḥadīth or jurisprudence, are here part of the rational block. Another striking characteristic of this classification is the number of sub-disciplines mentioned in each case, and particularly the elevated number of occult-related sciences. Thus, for instance, physics branches out into: (1) medicine; (2) veterinary medicine; (3) physiognomy; (4) dream interpretation; (5) astrology; (6) magic; (7) talismans; (8) sīmiyā’; (9) alchemy; and (10) agriculture. If the final, practical part of “wisdom” consists of the usual politics-ethics-economics triplet, such an example also makes us realize how divergent from the Aristotelian legacy this classification has become in terms of inner content (Ducène 2017).

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Āmulī (d. 1352-3)

Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Maḥmūd Āmulī was a Persian Shiite physician and encyclopedist. Between 1345 and 1352, he wrote the Nafāyes al-Fonūn fi ‘Arāyes al-‘Oyūn (The Precious Arts Concerning the Desires of the Eyes), a vast encyclopedic compilation modelled on Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī’s Jāme‘ al-‘Olūm, but with a higher degree of sophistication and the mention of more than twice as many sciences in all [50]. The main dividing line is no longer between the “religious/traditional” and the “philosophical/rational”, but between “the sciences of the moderns” and “the sciences of the ancients”, two blocks of about the same size and with more or less the same number of individual disciplines. The first block is made up of four main sections: (1) adab; (2) religious sciences; (3) Sufism; and (4) “conversational sciences”. The second, corresponding to philosophy, branches out into three directions: (1) practical philosophy; (2) “fundaments of philosophy”, that is, logic; (3) “prime philosophy”, further divided into metaphysics, physics, and mathematics, the latter two sections being further divided into two groups respectively devoted to the fundamental sciences and their derivations. There are far too many sciences in the overall classification to be all mentioned here (Vesel 1986; 2008). As an example of the sophistication of Āmulī’s system, we may limit ourselves to mention the disciplines making up the group of “sciences derived from physics”. It consists of no less than 13 sciences, as follows: medicine, alchemy, sīmiyā’, talismans, planetary invocations, incantations, dream interpretation, physiognomy, astrology, occult properties, physiological professions (further divided into veterinary medicine, falconry, laundry, agriculture, scapulomancy, and spasmatomancy), breath control, and imagination. Again, we can see that the occult sciences form an important part of the list. All things considered, the most remarkable feature of Āmulī’s classification is the treatment reserved to Sufism and the minute description of its constitutive parts. This results in an extensive list of Sufi sciences such as “good behaviour”, “modalities of believing and behaving”, “purification”, “stations of good behaviour”, among many others (Melvin-Koushki 2017).

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Maqālīd al-‘Ulūm (1358-1384)

Maqālīd al-‘Ulūm (Keys to the Sciences) is an anonymous work dedicated to the Muzaffarid Shāh Shujā‘ who governed Shiraz in the second half of the 14th century [51]. Like al-Khwārizmī’s Mafātiḥ al-‘Ulūm, by which it is clearly inspired, this work provides the definition of 1,862 technical terms, grouped in 21 fields of knowledge. Although somewhat less strict than with al-Khwārizmī, the dividing line between religious and rational sciences is also clearly appearing here. A particularity of this taxonomy is that it ends with three disciplines considered to be in direct relation with the human being, namely: medicine, ethics, and Sufism, which deal respectively with the body, the natural disposition, and the inner states of man. Another particularity is the inclusion of accountancy (istīfā‘) among the rational sciences, between arithmetic and music.

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Ibn Khaldūn (1332-1406)

The social historian Abū Zayd ‘Abd al-Raḥmān b. Muḥammad b. Khaldūn al-Ḥaḍramī, more popularly known as Ibn Khaldūn, was born in Tunis from an Andalusian family of Arab descent. One of the major figures of Islamic medieval thinking, he is universally acclaimed for being the author of the Muqaddima (The Introduction), by which is meant the preamble to his history of the world [52]. As part of the reflection developed therein on the profession of historian, we find a systematic and comprehensive organization of knowledge (Cheddadi 2006). In a chapter specially dedicated to this matter, Ibn Khaldūn opposes the Islamic “conventional sciences” (al-‘ulūm al-waḍ‘iyya) and the “philosophical sciences” (al-‘ulūm al-ḥikmiyya al-falsafiyya) coming from abroad (Johnson 1991). His treatment of the two blocks of sciences and their respective sub-sections is not particularly original. What sets him apart from many other scholars is rather the fact that, as a self-proclaimed champion of Sunni orthodoxy, he severely condemns a good part of the rational block, most notably logic and the occult sciences, as being foreign innovations incompatible with the Islamic religion (Melvin-Koushki 2017a). These occult sciences — magic, talismans, evil eye, sīmiyā’, and alchemy — are however discussed in much detail at the end of the chapter, immediately after the section on metaphysics. Interestingly, we note that he identifies one of them, sīmiyā’, with ‘ilm asrār al-ḥurūf (literally “the science of the secrets of letters” or lettrism),. Ibn Khaldūn also makes zā’irja (i.e. a science developed by astrologers and soothsayers to generate ideas mechanically, from volvelles) a subset of this latter.

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‘Abd al-Raḥmān al-Bisṭāmī (c. 1380 – 1454)

ʻAbd al-Raḥmān b. Muḥammad al-Bisṭāmī was an important intellectual figure of 15th-century Islam. A recognized authority in lettrism and the other occult sciences, al-Bistāmī used to travel between various centers of the Mamluk and Ottoman courts (Gardiner 2017). Most of the works written, all of them in Arabic, by this prolific and most erudite littérateur have thus far remained accessible only in manuscripts. This is also the case for his Naẓm al-Sulūk fī Musāmarat al-Mulūk (The Ordering of Ways for the Conversations of Kings), a book in which al-Bistāmī exposes a vision of prophetic history. This work includes a succinct classification with the religious and the rational groups beings equally made up of six sciences. The religious sciences are: (1) Arabic [language]; (2) fundaments of jurisprudence; (3) theology; (4) jurisprudence; (5) exegesis; (6) ḥadīth. The rational sciences are: (1) logic; (2) physics; (3) metaphysics; (4) mathematics; (5) philosophy; (6) medicine.2 Interestingly, the same manuscript also includes, in the form of a tree diagram, the classification of the sciences of the Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’ as described in Epistle 7 of the Rasā’il. In fact, in several other works by al-Bisṭāmī we find the same tree-shaped (tashjīr) graphic representation of that classification, with slight variants attributable to the vagaries of the manuscript transmission (Erılmaz and de Callataÿ 2023; de Callataÿ 2023). In the Shams al-Āfāq fī ‘Ilm al-Ḥurūf (The Sun of Horizons in the Science of Letters), the Ikhwānian tashjīr is immediately followed by a table listing the 60 sciences according to Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī’ Jāme‘ al-‘Olūm [54].

Figure 5: Bisṭāmī’s tashjīr representation (Istanbul, Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi Kütüphanesi, MS 1597, fol. 53a, ©Topkapı SMK)

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Suyūṭī (c. 1445-1505)

An Egyptian of Persian descent, Jalāl al-Dīn al-Suyūṭī was a leading Sunnī theologian, grammarian, and lexicographer from the second half of the 15th century. His authority in the religious sciences earned him some prestigious titles, such as shaykh al-islām (Master of Islam) and mujaddid (Reviver of the Islamic Faith). In the Itmām al-Dirāy li-Qurrā’ al-Nuqāya (Attainment of Cognizance for the Readers of The Elite) [55], a commentary he wrote on one of his own works, Suyūṭī presents a ladder-shaped taxonomy of the religious sciences according to the order in which he says he has himself delved into them. It starts with the fundaments of jurisprudence and ends, remarkably, with medicine, anatomy, and Sufism.

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‘Atufi (1450-1505)

At beginning of the 16th century, a servant working for the Ottoman sultan Bayezid II (r. 1481-1512) was commanded by the sultan to catalogue the imperial library. In his own words, according to the Turkish preface of this Defter-i kütüb (the Book Inventory), the sultan commanded him to catalogue all the works preserved in the imperial palace library and to classify every book according to its own discipline. The resulting catalogue, in Arabic, is preserved in a manuscript of the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences [56]. It is an exceptional testimony documenting more than 5,000 volumes and 7,000 titles (Necipoğlu 2019). It is also a remarkable classification of the sciences, whose arrangement is explained by ‘Atufi in the same Turkish preface. It is divided into 20 primary sections (“tafsīl”), in the following sequence: (1) Qur’ān; (2) Qur’ānic exegesis and recitation; (3) ḥadīth-related sciences; (4) Qur’ānic invocations and properties, as well as magic squares; (5) fundaments of religion and theology; (6) fundaments of jurisprudence; (7) jurisprudence and lives of imams; (8) Sufism, lives of saints and ethics; (9) medicine, poisons and agriculture; (10) history, governance (including various disciplines concerned with the training of animals), and geography; (11-13) various linguistic and literary disciplines concerned respectively with Arabic, Persian, and Turkish-Turkic; (14) rhetoric; (15) morphology and grammar; (16) Arabic, Persian and other language; (17) an extensive list of occult sciences; (18) the sciences of the quadrivium, to which chess is added; (19) “Islamic wisdom”, logic, and “philosophical wisdom”; and (20) translations from the Torah, Psalms, and the Bible [57]. Significantly, with more than 1,000 titles mentioned, the section on Sufism is the broadest of the twenty sections. Though much shorter, the section on occult sciences is striking because of the variety of its subdisciplines (Gardiner 2019). Another remarkable feature, clearly resulting from the cosmopolitan environment of the Ottoman court, is the attention paid to Turkish and Turkik-Mongolian literatures.

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Ṭāshköprüzāda (1494-1561)

Aḥmad b. Muṣṭafā b. Khalīl Ṭāshköprüzāda, or simply Ṭāshköprüzāda, was an Ottoman biographer, historian and chronicler who lived during the reign of Süleyman the Magnificent. He is the author of various encyclopaedic compilations in Arabic and Turkish. The one directly relevant to the present survey is his Miftāḥ al-Sa‘āda wa-Miṣbāḥ al-Siyāda fī Mawḍū‘āt al-‘Ulūm (The Key to Happiness and the Lamp of Sovereignty in the Subjects of the Sciences), a three-volume encyclopaedia of the sciences and, as such, an unprecedented classification for the number of individual disciplines treated – several hundreds – and the number of layers in the overall hierarchy [58]. Sciences are organized in seven main trees, devoted respectively to: (1) sciences of penmanship (al-‘ulūm al-khaṭṭiyya); (2) sciences of words (al-‘ulūm bi-l-alfāẓ); (3) “sciences looking for the second intelligibles that are in the minds” (al-‘ulūm bāḥitha ‘ammā fī al-adhhān min al-ma‘qūlāt al-thāniyya, by which is fundamentally meant logic); (4) the science of essences (‘ilm bi-l-a‘yān, corresponding to the whole spectrum of theoretical philosophy); (5) practical philosophy (al-ḥikma al-‘amaliyya) ; (6) religious sciences (al-‘ulūm al-shar‘iyya); (7) sciences of Inner Reality (‘ulūm al-bāṭin). Each of these main trees branches out into a multitude of branches, sub-branches and sub-sub-branches (Bellino 2014). To illustrate the intricacy and complexity of this classification, suffice it here to recall that Ṭāshköprüzāda lists more than 80 different disciplines under the heading ‘sciences derived from exegesis’ (a sub-sub-branch of the religious sciences) and that he names the 23 following sciences under the single sub-subset group “derivations from cosmography”: (1) almanacs and calendars; (2) writing calendars; (3) astronomical calculation; (4) observation; (5) observation instruments; (6) time-keeping; (7) shadow instruments; (8) spheres; (9) moving spheres; (10) spherical projection; (11) forms of constellations; (12) measures of celestial bodies; (13) lunar mansions; (14) geography; (15) country and city roads; (16) properties of climes; (17) cycles and revolutions; (18) conjunctions; (19) bloodsheds; (20) yearly feasts; (21) time-keeping for prayers; (22) devising astrolabes; (23) using astrolabes; (24) devising the sine and the almucantar quadrants; (25) quadrants; and (26) sundials. As with most classifications of this post-classical period, we observe that occult sciences occupy a particularly important place in the overall organization scheme. Together, the sciences derived from astrology, magic, talismans, sīmiyā’, and alchemy are well over thirty in number. Ṭāshköprüzāda’s arch-detailed taxonomy had a significant impact on later scholars, both inside and outside of the Ottoman empire (Bellino 2020).

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Rustamdārī (16th century)

Ḥusayn ‘Aqīlī Rustamdārī was a 16th-century Persian scholar under the Twelver Safavids. He is the author of Riyāẓ al-abrār (The Gardens of the Righteous), a Persian encyclopaedia completed in 1571 and substantially inspired by Rāzī’s Jāme‘ al-‘Olūm [59]. In this bulky work, Rustamdārī deals with about 90 sciences in all, which explains why the book was also known as Kitāb-i Tis‘īn (The Book of Ninety). The work is divided into twelve sections (rawża), some of which concerned more with religious matters and others with philosophical ones, although the rationale beyond certain groupings of sciences is not always clearly perceptible (Melvin-Koushki 2017).

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Nev‘ī Efendi (d. 1599)

The Netāyic ül-fünūn ve meḥāsin ül-mütūn (Products of the Technical Arts and Glories of Texts), authored by the Ottoman scholar Yahya Nev‘ī Efendi [60]. It is an eclectic and popular encyclopaedia, in Turkish, where the following 14 natural, traditional, and religious sciences are described in succession: (1) history; (2) philosophy; (3) cosmography; (4) theology; (5) fundaments of jurisprudence; (6) disagreements between the two imams; (7) exegesis; (8) Sufism; (9) dream interpretation; (10) spells, charms and spiritual medicine; (11) medicine; (12) agriculture; (13) astronomy; (14) omens and auspices (Melvin-Koushki 2017).

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Abū al-Qāsim Kāzirūnī (b. 1559, fl. 1605)

Abū al-Qāsim Anṣārī Kāzirūnī was a prominent Persian scholar in the service of Shah ‘Abbās — ‘Abbās the Great — at the head of Safavid empire at the beginning of the 16th century. He is the author of the Sullam al-Samāvāt (The Ladder of Heavens), a work he completed in 1605 [61]. As the title suggests, Kāzirūnī’s classification is not represented as a tree but as a ladder whose stairs are presented in the following sequence, starting with the Sufi notion of walāya (sainthood): (1) sainthood; (2) miracles; (3) revelations; (4) miraculous events; (5) alchemy and elixir; (6) talismans; (7) sīmiyā’; (8) prestidigitation; (9) terrestrial magic; (10) letter divination; (11) magic squares; (12) occult properties of God’s names; (13) astrology; (14) occult properties of suras and verses; (15) proven invocations. As Matthew Melvin-Koushki observes, commenting on this exclusively occult-orientated classification of the sciences: “Simply put, it is here that the sanctification of occultism, a process that began in the 7th/13th century with Ibn ‘Arabī and al-Būnī and was consolidated by Ibn Turka and al-Bisṭāmī in the 9th/15th, is finally and formally canonized” (Melvin-Koushki 2017, 165).

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Mullā Ṣadrā (c. 1571/2-c. 1640)

Ṣadr al-Dīn Muḥammad Shīrāzī, commonly known as Mullā Ṣadrā, was a most important Twelver Shī‘ī theologian and philosopher of the Safavid era, often regarded as the master of the Ishraqi (or Illuminationist) philosophy, a mystic current founded in the 12th century by Suhrawardī. Among many other works, he wrote a treatise called Iksīr al-‘Ārifīn (The Elixir of the Gnostics), featuring an original and atypical taxonomy of the sciences [62]. Instead of the standard religious vs rational partition, sciences are here firstly divided into “this wordly(‘ilm dunyāwī) and “afterwordly(‘ilm ukhrawī). The “this-worldly” sciences are further divided into “words”, “actions”, and “thoughts”, and the “afterwordly” sciences into “God”, “angels”, “book”, “prophets”, and “hereafter” respectively. Whereas the hierarchy of the “afterwordly” block stops there, the “this-wordly” block ramifies into a multitude of subsets ranged into various hierarchical ranks that hardly correspond to what is usually found in other systems. Thus, for instance, music is part of “words” with logic and sciences such as poetry and eloquence, whereas arithmetic and geometry are found under “thoughts” in the company of “definitions and demonstration”. As for astronomy, the fourth member of the mathematical quadrivium, it is not even mentioned. Under “actions” are found sciences as diverse as weaving, writing, alchemy, prestidigitation, governance and some subsets of sharī‘a like marriage and divorce.

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Ḥājjī Khalīfa / Kātip Çelebi (1609-1657)

Muṣṭafa b. ‘Abd Allāh Ḥājjī Khalīfa, also commonly known as Kātip Çelebi in sources, was a Turkish polymath and encyclopedist, and a prominent figure of the Ottoman empire in the 17th century. Fluent in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish, he published extensively on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from jurisprudence, tafsīr, and ḥadīth, to geography, history, cosmography, and adab. His most famous work is the Kashf al-Ẓunūn ‘an ‘āsāmī al-Kutub wa-l-Funūn (The Removal of Doubts from the Names of Books and the Scientific Disciplines), a bibliographic encyclopaedia in Arabic that he based on Ṭashköprüzāda’s Miftāḥ al-Sa‘āda, yet enlarged to include the names of about 10,000 authors and the titles of approximately 15,000 books [63]. This masterpiece took him about twenty years to compile. As has recently been pointed out, “the Kashf al-Ẓunūn represents a hybrid between a bio-bibliographical dictionary, a work of classification of sciences, and a typical encyclopaedia” (Bellino 2020, 136). Although it was indeed profoundly inspired by Ṭashköprüzāda’s Miftāḥ, the number of sciences making up Ḥājjī Khalīfa’s classification is lesser. What makes the catalogue remarkable is that the sciences are here arranged strictly in the alphabetical order of their Arabic designation. Opening with “distances and masses” (ab‘ād wa-ajrām) and ending with “cosmography” (hay’a), the list includes more than 250 individual sciences in all. All these sciences are described in detail, with abundant reference to the authorities of the past, but no attempt is made at situating them in a coherent ontologically justifiable manner.

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Ḥasan al-Yūsī (d. 1691)

Ḥasan b. Masʿūd al-Yūsī was a prominent scholar in Morocco during under the newly arrived Alawi dynasty. He also was a prolific author, specialist in Sufism, theology, and logic. Among his works is al-Qānūn fī Aḥkām al-‘Ilm wa-Aḥkām al-‘Ālim wa-Aḥkām al-Muta‘allim (The Canon of Rulings regarding Sciences, Teachers and Students), an encyclopaedia on knowledge and how to behave in relation with sciences [64]. The Qānūn includes a classification of the mathematical and the physical sciences, followed by two different breakdowns of the Islamic sciences (Stearns 2021). Under mathematics are found the four sciences of the quadrivium and their numerous derivations (except for music). Under physics are found ten sciences, namely: (1) medicine; (2) veterinary medicine; (3) physiognomy; (4) dream interpretation; (5) astrology; (6) magic; (7) talismans; (8) sīmiyā’; (9) alchemy; (10) agriculture. These sciences are exactly the same as those mentioned by Ibn al-Akfānī in his Irshād. The first breakdown of Islamic sciences divides sciences into “fundamental sciences desired for themselves” — namely, jurisprudence, inheritance and Sufism —, “subservient sciences” (al-‘ulūm al-wasīla) — Qur’ānic exegesis and ḥadīth — and “subservient to the subservient sciences” (al-‘ulūm wasīlat al-wasīla), that is, recitations, writing, Arabic [language], and logic. The second breakdown divides Islamic sciences into two groups: on the one hand, a group of six “core sciences” in which are mentioned again jurisprudence, Sufism, and Qur’ānic exegesis, ḥadīth; on the other hand, a group of eight “reliable sciences” such as semantics, medicine, arithmetic, and logic.

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Ackirmānī (d. 1760)

Muḥammad b. Muṣṭafā al-Ackirmānī is an Ottoman scholar who was born around 1700 in a place now corresponding to the region of Odessa in Ukraine. He is known to have been a judge in Izmir and then in Egypt. Ackirmānī is the author of many works dealing with the religious sciences, although he also had a clear interest in the rational sciences. His Ta‘rīfāt al-Funūn wa-Tarājim al-Muṣannifīn wa-Manāqibahum (Definitions of the Arts and Interpretations and Merits of their Authors) is a detailed discussion of a wide range of sciences [65]. Ackirmānī’s list turns out in fact to be entirely derived from Tāshköprūzāda’s Miftāḥ al-Sa‘āda (Toksöz 2013). Apart from the fact that Ackirmānī leaves aside a great number of disciplines mentioned by his predecessor, the main difference is that the Ta‘rīfāt also abandons the hierarchical presentation, so that the list of sciences now becomes purely linear.

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5. Conclusions

At the end of this survey, we can attempt to draw a few provisional conclusions, pending further research developments.

  1. Throughout its evolution, knowledge organization in Islam has remained explicitly or implicitly dominated by the polarization between two groups of sciences, under various names (Islamic vs foreign, traditional vs rational, religious vs philosophical, late vs early, and so on). This was a direct consequence of the translation movement starting about 150 years after the Qur'anic revelation and the foundation of Islam. Very explicitly marked and assumed in the taxonomies of the first centuries, this opposition gradually became more implicit in later times, until it sometimes faded away altogether in more recent authors.
  2. Structurally, the group of rational sciences was originally anchored on the Aristotelian division of philosophy into theoretical and practical, and the further threefold division of each in mathematics, physics, metaphysics and ethics, economics and politics. But already with the first philosophers of Islam new sciences appear and are incorporated in different places, either on a par with pre-existing ones or as derivations of such or such science or group of sciences. The Aristotelian pattern also became increasingly blurred with time.
  3. Two major developments, which seem to be at least partly connected to each other, can be observed in the post-1100 classifications of the sciences: the expansion of Sufism and that of the occult sciences. Remarkably, whereas Sufism was usually related to the block of religious sciences, the occult sciences were most generally regarded as rational sciences and therefore ranged under either the physical or the mathematical sciences. Examples such as Kāzirūnī’s Sullam al-Samāvāt, where Sufi and occult sciences are merged, reveal that the old dividing line between traditional and rational has long since been forgotten.
  4. The general trend has undoubtedly been towards increasing sophistication over the centuries. Already observable in many classifications from the 12th and 13th centuries, the phenomenon reached its peak in Ottoman times, as attested by the immense hierarchy of sciences organized by Ṭāshköprüzāda in the 16th century. The level of complexity of such a taxonomy is incommensurable with that found in the Greco-Roman tradition and its extension into the medieval Latin West.

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Acknowledgments

Research for this article benefited from the support of the ERC project “The Origin and Early Development of Philosophy in tenth-century al-Andalus: the impact of ill-defined materials and channels of transmisĀ­sion” (ERC 2016, AdG 740618) held at the University of Louvain (Université catholique de Louvain), from 2017 to 2024. The author would like to thank Birger Hjørland, Claudio Gnoli and the anonymous reviewer for their most valuable comments on an earlier draft of this entry.

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Endnotes

1. For a general overview of the topic, see: Rosenthal 1970; Chapoutot-Remadi 1991; Heinrichs 1995; Jolivet 1996; Al-Najjar 1996; Bakar 1998; Al-Muḥaqqiq 2001; Biesterfeldt 2000; 2002; Heck 2002, 27-54; Endress 2006; Kheirandish 2006; de Callataÿ 2013; Osti and Weaver 2020.

2. See for instance: Ghaffar Khan 1992; Forcada 2006; de Callataÿ 2008a; 2017; 2020; De Smet 2008; Biesterfeldt 2015; 2020; Ebstein 2020; Biesterfeldt and Kaya 2020; Esmaeili 2021.

3. Vesel 1986; 2008; Bellino 2014; 2020; Melvin-Koushki 2017; de Callataÿ 2023.

4. For a detailed presentation of M-Classi and its main functionalities, see: de Callataÿ, Baranx and Naets 2025.

5. See for instance Wisnovsky 2004, 153: “I take the post-classical period of Islamic intellectual history to refer to the period between about 1100, when elements of Avicenna’s metaphysics begin to appear in mainstream Sunnī kalām; and around 1900, when the profound effects of Naḥda (the Arab ‘Awakening’) had begun to be felt”.

6. To take but one example, “classical Islam” is assumed to cover the period from the 7th to the 15th centuries CE in Günther 2020.

7. Ibn Bahrīz, Ḥudūd al-Mantiq, ed. M. T. Dānish Pazhūh as al-Manṭiq li-Ibn al-Muqaffa‘ wa-Ḥudūd al-manṭiq li-Ibn Bihrīz, Tehran 1357 H./1958: 111-112.

8. Kindī, Risāla fī Kammiyya Kutub Arisṭūṭālīs, ed. M. ‘A. al-Hādī Abū Rīda as Rasā’il al-Kindī al-falsafiyya, Cairo, 1950: 363-384.

9. Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq, Ādāb al-falāsifa, ed. ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Badawī as Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq, Ādāb al-falāsifa, Kuwayt, 1985: 55.

10. Qusṭā b. Lūqā, Fī aqsām al-‘ulūm, MS. Aya Sofya No. 4855; ed. H. Daiber as ‘Qusṭā b. Lūqā fī aqsām al-‘ulūm’, Majallat Tarīkh al-‘Ūlūm al-‘Arabiyya wal-islamiyya, published by Fuat Sezgin, 1990, VI, 93-129.

11. Rasā’il Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’, Epistle 7, ed. G. de Callataÿ in El-Bizri and de Callataÿ 2018, 72-96 (of the Arabic edition) and 108-120 (English translation).

12. Rasā’il Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’, Epistle 26, ed. B. Bustānī as Rasā’il Ikhwān al-Ṣafā’, 4 vol., Beirut, 1957, vol. 2: 460-461.

13. Agapius, Kitāb al-‘Unwān, ed. L. Cheikho, as Agapius Episcopus Mabugensis. Historia Universalis, Paris – Leipzig: E Typographeo Catholico, 1912, 26.

14. Qudāmā b. Ja‘far, Kitāb al-Kharāj, ed. M. J. de Goeje as Kitab al-Masalik wa’l-Mamalik (liber viarum et regnorum). Et excerpta e Kitāb al-Kharadj, Leiden: Brill, 1967.

15. Fārābī, Iḥṣā’ al-‘Ulūm, ed. ‘U. M. Amīn, Cairo, 1968.

16. [Maslama b. Qāsim al-Qurṭubī], Picatrix, IV, 5, ed. D. Pingree as Picatrix. The Latin version of the Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm, London: Warburg Institute, 1986, 198-200.

17. Sijistānī, Ithbāt al-Nubuwwāt, ed. ‘Ā. Tāmir, Beirut, 1966, 119-123.

18. Khwārizmī, Mafātīḥ al-‘Ulūm, ed. G. Van Vloten as Liber Mafâtîh al-olûm: explicans vocabula technical scientiarum tam Arabum quam peregrinorum, Leiden, 1895, reprint: Leiden Brill, 1968.

19. ‘Āmirī, I‘lām, ed. A. Ghurab (Cairo, 1967).

20. Ibn al-Nadīm, Kitāb al-Fihrist, ed. M. Mīnuwī – R. Tajaddod (Tehran, 1973). English translation in Dodge 1970.

21. Masīḥī, Asnāf al-‘Ulūm, ed. Kaya in ‘Abū Sahl al-Masīḥī and his Kitāb fī aṣnāf al-ʽulūm al-ḥikmiyya’, Journal of Islamic Review, 10 (2020), no. 2: 467-499.

22. Tawḥīdī, Risāla fī al-‘Ulūm, ed. M. Bergé in ‘Épître sur les sciences d'Abū Ḥayyān al-Tawḥīdī’, Bulletin d’Études Orientales, 18 (1963-1964): 241-301.

23. Miskawayh, Fawz, ed. E. Wakelnig in “A New Version of Miskawayh’s Book of the Triumph: an Alternative Recension of al-Fawz al-aṣghar or the lost Fawz al-akbar?”, Arabic Sciences and Philosophy, 19 (2009): 83-119.

24. Ibn Sīnā, Risāla fī Taqsīm al-‘Ulūm al-‘Aqliyya, ed. Anon. as Tis‘ rasā'il fī al-ḥikma wa-al-ṭabī‘iyyāt, Cairo, 1908: 104-118.

25. On these latter three magic-related disciplines, see Burnett 2020. As opposed to talismans, which involve the operation of spirits on bodies, nīranjāt (best left untranslated here) involve the operation of spirits on spirits.

26. Ibn Sīnā, Dānēsh-Nāme, ed. M. Meshkāt as Ṭabīʿīyāt. Dāneš-nāma-ye ʿalāʾī, Tehran, 1974.

27. Ibn al-Haytham, Thamarat al-Ḥikma, MS Istanbul, Köprülü Library MS 1604.

28. Bīrūnī, ed. P. Kraus as Epître de Beruni contenant le répertoire des ouvrages de Muḥammad B. Zakarīyā Ar-Rāzī, Paris, 1963.

29. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, Jāmi‘, ed. A. A. al-Zuahyrī, Saudi Arabia: Dār Ibn al-Jawzī, 1994.

30. Ibn Ḥazm, Marātib al-‘Ulūm, ed. A. G. Chejne as Ibn Ḥazm al-Andalusī wa-Mawqifuhu min al-‘Ulūm, Chicago: Kazi Publications, 1982: 78-81/236-239; 61-62/216-217.

31. Ṣā‘id al-Andalusī, Ṭabaqāt al-Umam, ed. L. Cheikho, Beirut, 1912, republished as part of Kitāb al-Ṭabaqāt al-Umam by Abu l-Qāsim Ibn Ṣā‘id al-Andalusī (m. 469/1069-70), Franfkurt am Main, 1999.

32. Ghazālī, Maqāṣid al-Falāsifa, ed. M.S. al-Kurdi, Cairo, 1936.

33. Ghazālī, Iḥyā ‘Ulūm al-Dīn, ed. Anon., Cairo, 1952.

34. Ghazālī, Jawāhir al-Qur’ān, ed. R. Ridā al-Qabbānī, ed. Beirut, 1990.

35. Al-Risāla al-Laduniyya, MS Maragha, facsimile ed. in N. Pourjavady, Majmu‘e-ye falsafi-ye Maraghe, Tehran: Markaz-e Nashre daneshgahi, 2001: 100-120.

36. Ibn Bājja, Isāghūjī / Gharaḍ, ed. M. Fakhrī as Ta‘ālīq Ibn Bājja ‘alā Manṭiq al-Fārābī, Beirut, 1994: 27-29.

37. Hindī, Jumal al-Falsafa, MS Istanbul Esad Efendi 1918; ed. F. Sezgin, Frankfurt am Main, 1985.

38. Yavāqīt al-‘Olūm va Dararī al-Nojūm, ed. M. T. Dānish Pazhūh, Tehran, 1967.

39. Suhrawardī, Talwīḥāt, ed. H. Corbin as Œuvres Philosophiques et Mystiques, tome 1, 1976; repr. Tehran, 1993.

40. Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzī, Jāme‘ al-‘Olūm, ed. ‘A. Āl-e Dāvūd, Tehran, 1382.

41. Ibn Arfa‘ Ra’s, Ḥall Mushkilāt al-Shudhur, ed. J. Müller as Kitāb Ḥall mushkilāt al-Shudhūr: In the transmission of Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Anṣārī (Bibliotheca Islamica, 62), Berlin – Beirut: De Gruyter, 2023: 402-406.

42. Pseudo-Avicenna, De Anima, ed. S. Moureau as Le De anima alchimique du pseudo-Avicenne, 2 vol. (Micrologus’ Library), Firenze: SISMEL Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2016.

43. Shahrazūrī, Rasā’il al-Shajara al-Ilāhiyya, ed. Tehran, 1383 H., vol. 1.

44. The word sīmiyā’ is best left untranslated here, as its meaning has considerably evolved over time. Depending on epochs and authors, it may refer to astral magic, lettrism, or theurgy, to name only a few among many possible disciplines.

45. Jirjīs al-Makīn, al-Majmū‘ al-Mubārak, MS Oxford, Huntington 188, f. 130v.

46. Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī, Akhlāq-i Nāsirī, ed. Tehran, 1413 H.

47. Qazwīnī, ‘Ajā’ib al-Makhlūqāt, MS Istanbul, Fatih 4174, fol. 187-229.

48. Quṭb al-Dīn al-Shirāzī, Durrat al-Tāj, ed. M. Mishkāt, Tehran, 1317-1320 H.

49. Ibn al-Akfānī, Irshād, ed. J. Witkam as De Egyptische arts Ibn al-Akfānī (gest. 749/1348) en zijn indeling van de wetenschappen, Leiden: Ter Lugt, 1989.

50. Āmulī, Nafāyes al-Fonūn, ed. Abū l-Ḥasan Sha‘rānī – Ibrāhīm Miyanjī, Tehran, 1377-1378.

51. Maqālid al-‘Ulūm, ed. Gh. Dadkhah - R. Pourjavady as Keys to the Sciences (Maqālīd al-‘Ulūm): A Gift for the Muzaffarid Shāh Shujā‘ on the Definitions of Technical Terms, Leiden: Brill, 2020.

52. Ibn Khaldūn, Muqaddima, ed. É. Quatremère, Beirut, 1970.

53. Bisṭāmī, Naẓm al-Sulūk, Istanbul, Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi Kütüphanesi, MS 1597, fol. 53a.

54. Bisṭāmī, Shams al-Āfāq, MS Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, fol. 41r.

55. Suyūṭī, Itmām, ed. I. al-‘Ajūz, Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyya, 1985.

56. ‘Atufī, Defter-i Kütüb / Kitāb al-Kutub, Magyar Tudományos Akadémia Könyvtára Keleti Gyüjtemény MS Török F. 89; facsimile ed. in: G. Necipoğlu – C. Kafadar – C. H. Fleischer (ed.), Treasures of Knowledge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3 - 1503/4), 2 vol., Leiden-Boston: Brill, 2019.

57. Each section is thoroughly discussed in a specific chapter of the above-mentioned Treasures of Knowledge, vol. 1 (Essays). Vol. 2 provides a facsimile edition of the manuscript, together with a full transliteration of its contents.

58. Ṭashköprüzāda, Miftāḥ al-Sa‘āda, ed. Anon., Beirut, 1985.

59. Rustamdārī, Riyāẓ al-Abrār, after summary by Ahmad Munzavi.

60. Nev‘ī Efendi, Netāyic ül-fünūn, ed. Ömer Tolgay, Istanbul: Insan Yayinlari, 1995.

61. Kāzirūnī, Sullam al-Samāvāt, ed. ‘A. A. Nūrānī, Tehran, 2007.

62. Mullā Ṣadrā, Iksīr al-‘Ārifīn, ed. W. Chittick as The Elixir of the Gnostics, Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 2003.

63. Ḥājjī Khalīfa, Kashf al-Ẓunūn, ed. G. flügel as Lexicon bibliographicum et encyclopaedicum a Mustafa Ben Abdallah Katib Jelebo dicto et nomine Haji Khalifa celebrato compositum, 7 vol., Leipzig, 1835-1858; ed. Ş. Yaltkaya – K. R. Bilge, 2 vol., Istanbul, 1941-1943.

64. Yūsī, Qānūn, ed. Ḥ. Ḥamānī, Rabat, 1998.

65. Ackirmānī, Ta‘rīfāt al-Funūn, MS Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Landberg 425. The list of sciences provided here is based on the names of the sciences marked in red in this manuscript.

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‘Atufī, Defter-i Kütüb / Kitāb al-Kutub, Magyar Tudományos Akadémia Könyvtára Keleti Gyüjtemény MS Török F. 89; facsimile ed. in: G. Necipoğlu – C. Kafadar – C. H. Fleischer (ed.), Treasures of Knoweldge: An Inventory of the Ottoman Palace Library (1502/3 - 1503/4), 2 vols, Leiden - Boston: Brill, 2019.

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