Pr. Miquel Forcada/Spain

Univesity of Barcelona


  1. Introduction

            In much the same way as many cultures that engendered a rich literature, Araboislamic civilisation produced a notable tradition of didactic poetry on a wide range of subjects. Arabic didactic poems were mostly written in the metre named rajazsinceitssimplicity and flexibility facilitated the composition of long and technical texts.[1]Whereas the poetic composition par excellencein Arabic literature was the monorhymeqaṣīda, usually no longer than a hundred lines, the didactical poem par excellencewasan urjūza, a polyrhyme composition made up by long arrays of coupled verses in rajaz metre which was intended for easing the memorization ofscholarly matters by means of  rhythm and rhyme.[2]

A general study of Arabic didactic poetryis a difficult task since the number of authors, texts, matters, epochs and contexts that should be considered is just a little less than overwhelming.[3] For this reason, the research in this field tends to study specific works or to deal with didactic poems as a secondary aspectof more encompassing subjects. However, Arabic didactic poetry, considered in it-self, is a vast, diverse yet coherent corpusthat needs to be analysed at several levels of complexity according to the multifarious factors that contributed to its creation, development and diffusion.[4] The following pages aim to provide insights about several aspects of Arabic didactic poetry by dealing, on the one hand, with one of the most interesting subclass of this genre, didactic poems on scientific disciplines; on the other, with an interesting phenomenon that occurs in a precise cultural area of Islam: the flourishing in al-Andalus of poetryabout medicine and scientific subjects (and of the commentaries of the poems)from the 12th century onwards, and the projection of this phenomenon to the Maghrib.[5]It is worth noting at the outset that the most famous Urjūzafī l-ṭibb(Poem on medicine) by IbnSīnā (d. 427/1037), the unsurpassed masterwork of Araboislamic didactical poetry about medicine, was the very focus of this Western tradition and a solid base for the development of didactic poetry in al-Andalus and the Magrib.[6]

  1. Early didactic poems in al-Andalus

Although there are few examples in al-Andalus before the 12th century, didactic poetry on science was by no means inexistent in that period. The origin was Baghdad where, during the transition between 8th and the 9th century, coupled rajaz became popular not only among modernist poets but also among scholars, who wrotepoems devoted to the explanation of learned subjects.[7]In this context, Urjūzafī l-ḥudūd(Poem on the terms [of the houses of zodiac]) by the famous astronomer al-Fazārī (d. early 9th century) isone of the earliest examples of the use of the rajaz for the transmission of science.[8]Didactic poetry appears in al-Andalus as early as the first half of the 9th century, in an intellectual context strongly determined by the imitation of literary and cultural models from Baghdad, whichwere deliberately diffused in Umayyad Cordova by the emirs al-Ḥakam I (r. 796-822) and ʿAbd al-Raḥmān II (822-852).[9] Two courtiers of these rulers wrote poetry about matters connected to science and philosophy, the “rational sciences” (ʿulūmʿaqliyya) according to Islamic classifications of knowledge. The astrologer al-Ḍabbī (d. after852) composed an urjūza, which is partially preserved in a 15th century treatise, about an astrological technique for casting horoscopes inherited from the Latin cultural substratum of the Iberian Peninsula.[10] The poet, astrologer, ambassador and, allegedly, philosopher, Yaḥyā al-Ghazāl (d. 866), wrote an urjūza on destiny that has not subsisted in which he approached this issue according to the ideas of the philosophized theology (kalām) that flourished in Baghdadin the same period.[11]The real purpose of these urjūzas is unknown. If it is true that that they were probably written for diffusing knowledge among the Cordovans, these poems might have been intended for other aims. Both authors served al-Raḥmān II, a man who, while still being a prince, deeply believed in astrology. He sent a mission to Baghdad in order to buy astronomical tables and works about medicine, philosophy and other rational sciences. Hethen spread the knowledge of these books among the Andalusīs. The reason for these actions was not only to improve the awareness of science and philosophy among his courtiers but also to diffuse some kind of rationalistic spirit among the learning elites, in tune with what al-Ma’mūn did in Abbasid Baghdad.[12]These didactical poems, therefore, might have played some propagandistic role in this context. Two urjūzasabout history written by members of ʿAbd al-Raḥmān II’s court, the above mentioned Yaḥyā al-Ghazāl and the poet Tamīm b. ʿAlqama (d. 896), may shed some more light on the nature and purposes of the urjūzas from 9th century al-Andalus. Composed in the genre of futuḥāt (narrations of the early Arab conquests),[13]both poems explainedthe conquest of al-Amdalus and the glories of the Umayyad rulers.The propagandistic objective of these historical urjūzas seems evident according to a later poem of the same kind written by the poet IbnʿAbd al-Rabbihi (d. 940) with the purpose of narrating -and celebrating- the campaigns led by the caliph ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III (r. 912-961) during the early days of his reign.[14]The fact that a historian who lived about a century later, Ibn al-Qūṭiyya (d. 977), said that the historical urjūzas of Yaḥyā al-Ghazāl and Tamīm b. ʿAlqama were very long and, notwithstanding this, “universally known”,[15]reinforces the argument of propaganda. On these grounds, it may be reasonably surmised that the earliest examples of didactic poetry in al-Andalus, including the poems on sciences, were a tool for conveying the discourse of a power that aspired at creating not only a factual hegemony in society but also a symbolic hegemony.

Besides the historical urjūzaby IbnʿAbd al-Rabbihi mentioned above, there is only one didactic poem worthy of note in 10th century al-Andalus. IbnʿAbd al-Rabbihi’s nephew, the physician SaʿīdibnʿAbdRabbihi (d. 953-4 or 966-7) wrote the first urjūza on medicine ever composed in al-Andalus, usually known as Urjūzafī l-ṭibb.[16] The work, dedicated to the caliph ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III, was possibly written in the thirties of the 10th century.[17] The author was a doctor to Cordoba’s aristocracy who enjoyed of good reputation as physician and scholar.[18]His poem was still well known in the 11th century, when the famous biographer of the sciences, Ṣāʿid al-Andalusī, mentioned it saying that: “he wrote an excellent rajaz about medicine which dealt with a good part of this matter and showed the author’s mastery of the subject and his exact knowledge of the methods of the ancients”.[19] In spite of Ṣāʿid’s kind words, the urjūza is by no means a thorough summary of medicine. Compared to IbnSīnā’sUrjūzafī l-ṭibb, SaʿīdibnʿAbdRabbihi’s poem appears as superficial, incomplete and unsystematic.[20]  We do not know to which readership the poem was addressed, but it seems that it was not intended for of physicians or students of medicine. We may suppose that, in a court in which the scientific subjects had become to some extent popular, SaʿīdibnʿAbdRabbihi’s poem should have been read by the members of the learned men who surrounded the caliph and wanted to add some medical lore to his general culture. Urjūzafī l-ṭibb by SaʿīdibnʿAbdRabbihi was only an anecdotic example that found no continuity. For unknown reasons, the didactic poetry on medicine and scientific subjects declined in the 11th century and reappeared only when IbnSīnā’sUrjūzafī l-ṭibbbegan to be known in al-Andalus.

  1. IbnSīnā’sUrjūzafī l-ṭibbin 12th century al-Andalus

3.1. The early diffusion of IbnSīnā’s poem

The medical poem written by IbnSīnā appeared in al-Andalus several decades after the author’s death because, during the 11th century, the flux of scientific sources that came from the Mashriqto al-Andalus diminished considerably in comparison with the 10th century.[21]The earliest testimony of IbnSīnā’sUrjūza al-Andalus is another poem entitled TadhyīlUrjūzatIbnSīnā (“Addition to IbnSīnā’surjūza”). It was written by an obscure author of Jewish origin who lived between the 11th and the 12th centuries, IbnʿAzrūn,[22] in order to complement the section on fevers and tumours of IbnSīnā’s poem. It is noteworthy that, although Tadhyīl was commented three times in the Maghrib from the 14th century onwards, as we will see below, itseemsthat it did not find a wide circulation in al-Andalus.[23] The influence of IbnSīnā’s poem irradiated from the most important city in 12th century al-Andalus, Seville, and from the very focus of the medical activity in Western Islam, the physicians who were in the service of the Almoravids and Almohads.[24]AbūMarwānibnZuhr (d. 1162), who worked in the service of both dynasties, was the first who appreciated IbnSīnā’s poem saying  that it contained all the principles of the science and was preferable to a full collection of books.[25]IbnRushd (d. 1198) and his disciple IbnṬumlūs (d. 1223) expressed a similar admiration. The most famous physician and philosopher IbnRushd wrote a long commentary of IbnSīnā’s poem,[26]possibly between 1180 and 1995.[27]IbnRushd said of IbnSīnā’spoemthat it “contained all the medicine” and “was the best introduction ever written”; he appreciated moreover that the versification most facilitated the memorization of the matters.[28] These positive remarks are worthy of note inasmuch as IbnRushd was very critical towards IbnSīnā in many instances and possibly aspired at replacing the latter’s authority in medicine.[29]  Probably for these reasons, the commentary was by no means servile towards IbnSīnā. On the one hand, it aimed at clarifying, for a learned yet non-specialized audience, some issues that the condensed expression of the verse made unclear; [30]on the other, it contained many points of debate that usually stemmed from one major theme, the compatibility between the doctrines of Galen and Aristotle on the purpose of science. IbnRushd reformulated his own opinion about a crucial question so as to accept IbnSīnā’s view: the definition of medicine and the status of this latter as a science. Whereas IbnRushd followed in K. al-Kulliyyāt al-Fārābī’s definition of medicine as “productive art” (ṣināʿafāʿila),[31] he espoused the definition of IbnSīnā in the commentary. As is well known, since ḤunaynibnIsḥāq, the Araboislamic physicians considered medicine as a twofold discipline made up by a theoretical part (ʿilm)and a practical part (ʿamal) whose scientificity was questionable. IbnSīnā modified this approach by saying in the Qānūnthat the practical part was also theoretical, or, as Gutas puts it, “a theory of practice”.[32]IbnRushdomittedin the commentary any direct reference to what he had said in K. al-Kulliyyāt,conferring the status of science to the ʿamal. He nuanced, however,IbnSīnā’s conceptualization of practice:[33] surgery is by no means theoretical; anatomy, except a small part of it which is not specified by the author, cannot be learned theoretically. This section of IbnRushd’s commentary was one of the main references for a debate about the epistemological status of medicine held in 14th century Montpellier.[34]IbnṬumlūs (d. 1223) was a physician-philosopher and disciple of IbnRushd who wrote a second commentary of IbnSīnā’sUrjūza.[35]Although it has been questioned which of these works was written first, it is all the more probable that the commentary of the master predated that of the disciple. Whatever the case, IbnṬumlūsshowedin his commentary great respect towards IbnRushd and a thorough knowledge of K. al-Kulliyyatfī l-ṭibb. The content of the commentary, however, departs largely from IbnRushd’s medicine. What IbnṬumlūs actually does is to explain IbnSīnā’sUrjūzaby means of IbnSīnā’sQanūn, whose text is thoroughly paraphrased if not reproduced verbatim. In this way, IbnṬumlūs emphasizes the role of IbnSīnā’s poem as an introduction to the Qānūn.

3.2. The readership of IbnSīnā’s poem and of didactical poetry on scientific subjects in Almohad al-Andalus

The commentaries by IbnRushd and IbnṬumlūs furnish important insights about the public of IbnSīnā’surjūza. According to IbnRushd’s own introduction,[36] his commentary was commanded by a relevant member of the Almohad dynasty, Abū l-RabīʿSulaymānibnʿAbd al-Mu’min (d. 1207).[37] The order came after IbnRushd mentioned the importance of the poem in a majlisʿālī , a “high session”, possibly one of the cultural sessions that the Almohad organized for educating aristocracy.[38] The commentary of IbnṬumlūswas not commanded by members of Almohad’s aristocracy but offered by the author to one of them,AbūYaḥyāibnAbīYa’qūbYūsufibnSulaymān.[39] The reasons for writing the book that the authorputs forward are, on the one hand, the interest of AbūYaḥyāibnAbīYa’qūb in medicine; on the other, that the versified text needs further clarification so as to be fully understood.[40] We may also speculate whether the author pretended to enhance his position in the court by writing a commentary of a popular work about a prestigious matter, precisely because IbnṬumlūs says that this was by no means his intention. From the introductions of the commentaries by IbnRushd and IbnṬumlūs we can deduce that there was an undeniable interest in medicine among the Almohad’s elites; that IbnSīnā’s poem was relatively well know; and that the physicians of the Almohads thought that IbnSīnā’s poem could be a helpful tool for teaching the nobles about medicine with the additional guide of a commentary.

Coinciding with the diffusion of IbnSīnā’sUrjūzafī l-ṭibb, other didactic poems on scientific subjects appeared in the circles of the Almohad power. One is probably the longest didactic poem ever written in Arabic (about 8.000 verses), the poem on medicine by the most famous physician-philosopher IbnṬufayl (d. 1185), who led the medical service of the Almohads. Preserved in a single manuscript in the library of the Mosque of Qarawīyyīn in Fes (ms. num. 3158), this work remains not only unedited but largely unstudied.[41]The extension and contain of the poem, which provided a thorough synthesis of medicine and therapy, indicate that it was not intended for curious amateurs but rather for students who aspired to become professional physicians. It is worth noting in that tune that the medical service of the Almohads was a complex organisation which probably had among other functionsthat of training physicians.[42]

Some decades later, the mathematician Ibn al-Yāsamīn (d. 600-1/1204-5), wrote three urjūzas:[43]Urjūzafī l-jabrwa-l-muqābala, otherwise known as al-Yāsamīniyya, on algebra (54 verses);[44]Urjūzafīaʿmāl al-judhūr, on square roots (55 verses); Urjūzafī l-kaffāt, on double false position (8 verses). Ibn al-Yāsāmīn, who was in friendly terms with the Almohads, taught the Yāsamīniyyain Seville in 1189 or 1190. Since al-Yāsamīniyya is by no means trivial because it condenses in few verses the principles of algebra and requires a commentary in order to be fully understood, the readers of the text should have been students who underwent relatively advanced training in mathematics. In the field of philosophy, akin to scientific disciplines in that time, we find moreover the commentary of IbnSīnā’s poem on logic by AbūBakrBundūd, which was possibly commanded by IbnRushd.[45]To these titles, we may add a non- insignificant number of poems devoted to scientific subjects more akin to religious disciplines like science of inheritance shares or Arabic folk astronomy written by men of letters and religious scholars who did not belong to the Almohad circles.[46] It is worth noting that, with one exception, all these texts were written after de diffusion of IbnSīnā’s poem during the mid 12th century.

The larger framework against which we may understand this remarkable number of texts of didactical poetry and commentaries is the cultural and religious policy implemented by the Almohads.[47]They were not only rulers but also religious reformists who followed a rationalized understanding of Islam.So as to spread their creed and change the beliefs of people, they created bodies of propagandists like the ṭalaba which possibly included philosophers like IbnṬufayl and IbnRushd. As Maribel Fierro says,[48] in order to “educate their educators”, the Almohads promoted the writing of encyclopaedic works on a wide range of subjects, which included the rational sciences, and the composition of didactic poems. Regarding the rational sciences, it is worth noting that the production of the Almohad period is largely indebted to an earlier tradition that goes back to the philosophical circles of Saragossa of the late 11th century and early 12th. The philosophers of the Almohads, like IbnṬufayl or IbnRushd had their own intellectual agenda and interests that found a fertile ground in the Almohad court.[49]

If we combine this politico-cultural background with the evidences about the diffusion of IbnSīnā’s poem on medicine mentioned above, one may soundly hypothesize that the flourishing of didactic poetry in 12th century al-Andalus depended  to a large extent on the success of this text and other didactical poems by IbnSīnā. Otherwise said, Urjūzafī l-ṭibb, inasmuch as it was a comprehensive, well-structured andeloquent text that a relatively large audience could appreciate, offered to 12th century scholars, and to their patrons as well, a helpful model of texts for diffusing scientific knowledge according to their particular interests. This model was a relative novelty inasmuch as the previous tradition of didactic poemswas relatively weak, particularly in the field of rational sciences. The addressees of these poems were, primarily, the members of the Almohad elites who did not need a thorough formation in the sciences, but it seems that didactic poetry could have been employed in a more demanding education, as suggest the poems by Ibn al-Yāsamīn and IbnṬufayl.It should be noted in this regard that the physicians, and in general, the scientists of late 12thand early 13th century al-Andalus tend to present a multifaceted intellectual profile, in tune with the idealized portraits of, on the one hand, the “physician-philosopher”described by Galen and, on the other, of the philosopher understood as a metascientist who aspires at an all-encompassing knowledge described by al-Fārābī.[50]Didactic poetry might have been seen as helpful pedagogic element for the training of these particular kind of scholars who demanded an intensive training in a variety of matters.

  1. Didactic poetry on medicine from the 13th century onwards

4.1. Medicine and medical education in al-Andalus and the Maghrib

            There are no precise evidences of the actual use of didactic poetry in Almohad times probably because the Almohads and their cultural project abandoned al-Andalus during the first decades of the 13thcentury, precisely when the genre was about to experience a remarkable growth.Didactic poetry, and more particularly didactic poetry on medicine and the sciences, flourished in the locales that inherited the cultural life of the Almohad times. Two areas of al-Andalus replaced Seville as the main foci for the rational sciences. One is Murcia and its region, an active area where we find a remarkable scientific life well connected with the Almohad scholars and centres of learning during the last decades of the 12th century and the early decades of the 13th.[51] The Christians who gradually conquered the region of Murcia between the 40’s and the 70’s of the 13th century found notable physicians and scientists like Muḥammad al-Riqūṭī, for whom the king of Castille Alphonse X created a madrasa of sorts in Murcia. However, after some time Muḥammad al-Riqūṭī, decided to emigrate to Muslim lands in much the same way as many other scholars. As we will see next, the scholars from Murcia or of Murcian origin were remarkably active in the diffusion and creation of didactic poetry on medicine and the sciences. One of these scholars wasMuḥmmad Ibn Andrās (d. 1275),[52]a physician and linguist who arrived in Béjaïa ca. 1260 after having spent some time in Tangiers. He exercised and taught medicine in Béjaïa and then became court physician of the Hafsid ruler of Tunis, Muḥammad al-Mustanṣir (r. 1249-1277).The biography of IbnAndrās written by one of his disciples, al-Ghubrīnī (d. 1314), contains important elements on the use of medical poetry in teaching that are worth reproducing here:[53]

I[al-Ghubrīnī] studied with him [Ibn Andrās] Ibn Sīnā’s Urjūzain precise and clear lectures. The most prestigious students attended these lessons, in which the issues that the books did not explain were thoroughly examined. The noble judge Abū ʿAbd Allāh Ibn Yaʿqūb attended his lectures when he passed through Béjaïa coming from Tangiers. The wise faqīhAbū Bakr Ibn al-Qallās [followed his lessons as well].


I studied [with him] all the general principles of the Qānūn after having read the Urjūza and the questions on these issueswere addressed according to the rules of theory and the sound argumentation (…)  


[Ibn Andrās] wrote an urjūza about some medicaments that he finished in Béjaïa.  He –may Godhave mercy on him- began to compose [a poem] on the simple drugs mentioned in the Qānūn and he asked me to collaborate writing verses about some medicaments. I did some of them but I do not know if he finished the poem.


            The teaching of medicine above described does not necessarily correspond to the education of a future physician.  Although al-Ghubrīnī says that he began to collaborate with IbnAndrās in a poem on pharmacology, he did not become a professional physician.[54]Al-Ghubrīnī’s study of medicine is focused on the theoretical principles of the matter, which are learned from IbnSīnā’sQānunand Urjūza, the latter being considered as an introduction to the former. Al-Ghubrīnī says moreover that IbnAndrās’ lectures on IbnSīnā poem attracted an “audience of selected students” (nubahā’ al-ṭalaba). Although he only mentions two legal scholars, the author conveys the idea that IbnAndrās audience was made up to a considerable extent by already educated persons.What this excerpt contains is another evidence of the fact some knowledge of medicine had been considered a relevant element of the general education and that IbnSīnā’s poem was an important tool for the transmission of medical lore to non-specialized audiences.  In addition to this, al-Ghubrīnī bears witness of a phenomenon that we have seen in the authors of 12th century al-Andalus: the physician’s interest in writing commentaries or poems that could connect them to the prestige of IbnSīnā’sUrjūzafī l-ṭibb.

The Nasrid Kingdom of Granada, which was the last dominion of Andalusī Islam from 1230 to 1492, differed substantially from the Almohad state in many aspects but kept the same concern for the knowledge and the science.Although this is not the place for dealing with the continuities and disruptions between the Almohad and the Nasridcultures, there are two circumstances which are worth mentioning for our purposes: on the one hand, the mobility of people and the close connections established between the scholars of al-Andalus and the scholars of Maghrib during the 12th century remained to a large extent, regardless the fact that both sides of the Gibraltar straits were ruled by different dynasties (Nasrids, Merinids and Ḥafsids);[55] on the other, didactic poetry and, most particularly the knowledge of IbnSīnā’sUrjūzafī l-ṭibb, not only survived the political transition but experienced a renewed vigor.The quantitative increment indidactic poems about medicine and the sciences and their commentaries was largely due, on the one hand, to the fact that the madrasa system of education was implanted in al-Andalus and generalized in the Maghribfrom the 13th century onwards;[56]on the other hand, and regarding medicine, to the flourishing of this discipline in both the specialized and non-specialized circles.[57]The Nasrids fostered the studies of medicine, as we will see below. Ibn al-Khaṭīb tells us moreover that medicine was one of the matters that the members of Granada’s elite had to know.[58] The sultan Muḥammad V (r. 1354-1359 and 1362-1391) built between 1365 and 1367 in Granada the first hospital in al-Andalus history.[59]We have five several pieces of evidence to document, in the Kingdom of Granada and connected areas, an intense teaching of medicine and the sciences and a wide use of didactic poetry to this purpose. These references may be synthesized in chronological order as follows.

  1. From late 13th century to early 14th century


By the end of the 13th century, the sultan Muḥammad II (r. 1273-1302)invited the physician-philosopher Muḥammad al-Riqūṭī of Murcia to teach at Granada[60]. He taught medicine, mathematics and other matters to the sultan and to a great deal of disciples, who attended the lectures that he gave in his home. Most of them became physicians. One the most outstanding disciples, AḥmadibnMuḥammad al-Karnī (alive in 690/1291), justified a prognosis on the basis of IbnSīnā’sUrjūza.[61]

Muḥammad II invited another physician-philosopher of Murcian origin whose family did emigrate to the Maghrib, Ibn al-Raqqām (d. 1315).[62] Although he is mostly remembered as an astronomer, he imparted in Granada medicine and mathematical disciplines, an expression that includes astronomy. He composed a didactic poem on the use of the astrolabe which is unedited and unstudied. He wrote a mathematical treatise on arithmetic and algebra that contains an urjūza about the square number.[63]He taught mathematics and astronomy to IbnHudhayl (cf. §ii below).It is worth noting that he Ibn al-Khaṭib says that Ibn al-Raqqām came from Béjaïa,[64] where he could have met IbnAndrās or his disciples.

  1. From early to mid 14th century

Another notable scholar of Murcian origin, IbnLuyūn (b.  Almeria, 1282-d. 1349),[65] devoted his life to teaching, probably in private circles. Two outstanding physicians of the period, Ibn al-Khaṭīb (1313-1374) and IbnKhātima (ca. 1300-1369) were his disciples. IbnLuyūn was apolymath who wrote a large oeuvre that encompassed several didactic poems, five of which on medicine and other scientific subjects.He wrote a qaṣīda on medicine entitled al-Īmāḍfītaqṣīm al-amrāḍ (The brightness about the division of maladies). According to Ibn al-Qāḍī,[66] it dealt with anatomy (tashrīḥ).He wrote moreover two qaṣīdas on the science of inheritance shares and a qaṣīda on arithmetic. The only didactical poems on scientific subjects that have come down to us are an urjūzaon agriculture (Urjūzafī l-filāḥa) and an urjūzaon land surveying, therefore, on applied geometry (Kitābfī l-handasa).[67] Interestingly, his disciple Ibn al-Khātima wrote a qaṣīda on medicine entitled Waṣl al-ḥubbfīḥadīth al-ṭibb(Bond of love about the tradition of medicine). It is a long text of 447 verses which remains unedited and unstudied.[68]

IbnHudhayl al-Tujībī (d. 1352), a disciple of Ibn al-Raqqām,taught medicine and Islamic law in the madrasa of Granada.[69]Ibn al-Khaṭīb says that he learned from him, before the creation of the madrasa of Granada, medicine, mathematics and astronomy.[70] He taught Muḥammad al-Shaqūrī (d. after 1374), who also learnt from al-Karnī.

iii.From mid to late 14th century

As we will see below, Ibn al-Khaṭīb, the most important writer of the Nasrid period and a remarkable physician, not only wrote didactic poetry on medicine but contributed to its diffusion in the Maghrib.His friend, Muḥmmad al-Shaqūrī,  knew very well IbnSīnā’s poem.

  1. From mid to late 15th century

The famous mathematician al-Qalasādī (d. 1486) tells us that he was taught by IbnFattūḥ (d. 867/1463) Urjūzafī l-ṭibb and other medical poems of IbnSīnāwhich are not specified in the madrasa of Granada.[71]Al-Qalāṣadī also learned from IbnFattūḥ logic, religious disciplines and language in this madrasa. He also commented an urjūza on the saphaea that IbnFattūh wrote, but al-Qalāṣadī does not say explicitly that he learned astronomy in the madrasa of Granada.

Thereis a letter dated from 1494 written by a Muslim who lived in Christian dominions, that most reminds the excerpt by al-Ghubrīni analyzed above. The sender was Muḥammad al-Qurashī, who possibly was a student of the madrasa of Saragossa; the addressee wasAbūʿAbdAllāh al-Ghāzī of Belchite, a professor of Muḥammad al-Qurashī. The student said that he had read a commentary of IbnSīnā’s poem so as to prepare himself for studying the theoretical part of IbnSīnā’sQānūn.[72]Thisletter has been construed as anevidenceof regular medical studies in the madrasa of Zaragoza in the 15th century,[73]even though this is perhaps taking the argument too far. What we can plausibly consider is, on the one hand, that there actually was a madrasa in Saragossa in which medicine was imparted, although we do not know exactly its very nature;[74]on the other, that this madrasa followed the essential educational guidelines of Granada’s centers of learning inasmuch as the Muslims who lived in Christian lands considered Granada as their main intellectual reference. Whatever the case, the letter above mentioned bears witness to the interest aroused by medicine among the Muslim religious scholars of 15thcenturyIberian Peninsula, who employed IbnSīnā’s poem and its commentaries so as to gain some medical knowledge.[75]


All in all, the preliminary conclusions about medical education and didactic poetry drawn from the story of IbnAndrās and al-Ghubrīnī apply with slight variation to the Nasrid locale. Medicine and other rational sciences became part of the curricula of the madrasas and other centers of learning for any kind of students.Poetry became a relevant didactic tool. IbnSīnā’sUrjūza was probably the most important text for imparting some knowledge of medicine and it was frequentlyread as an introduction to IbnSīnā’sQānūn. In addition, other poems were written by the scholars so as to teach specific medical subjects and other scientific subjects as well. This medical culture could be the basis for a professional career but we actually do not know how the physicians were trained. We must surmise that the traditional system based on the personal relation between the teacher and the student, the master-apprentice model, still was the usual method.[76]

The state of affairs regarding medicine and the sciences is similar in the Marinidkingdom.[77] Scientific disciplines were taught in the madrasas. Sophisticated devices like the clock of the madrasa AbūʿInāniyya were built. In much the same way as in Granada, the mosques had officials (muwaqqits) trained in mathematical astronomy so as to calculate prayer times and determine other relevant aspects of religious cult. Many hospitals were created and,[78] although the evidence is not as conclusive as in the case of al-Andalus, it is fairly possible that medicine was taught in the madrasa and the hospitals. 

            4.2. The poems on medicine and their commentaries at both sides of the straits

The context previously described explains the remarkable number of versified texts and commentaries found in Nasrid Granada and MerinidMaghrib and the diffusion of IbnSīnā’s poem.[79] The first in time, besides the urjūza on medicaments by IbnAndrās and the qaṣīdas on medicine by IbnLuyūn and IbnKhātima seen above,is a lost commentary of IbnSīnā’spoementitledNaẓm al-ḥulāfīsharḥUrjūzatAbīʿAlī(String of jewels on the commentary of IbnSīnā’surjūza),written by the historian and legal scholar Ibn al-Farrā’ (d. 1297).[80]The work has not come down to us. What we know about the life and intellectual profile of the author strongly suggests that he was not a professional physician but, as al-Ghubrīnī, al-Qalaṣādī or Muḥammad al-Qurāshī, a learned scholar who searched some additional medical culture.[81]Ibnal-Khaṭīb did not comment IbnSīnā’s poem. However, he seemingly took inspiration from it so as to write a long didactic poem (1600 verses) usually known as Rajazfī l-ṭibb.[82]According to Vázquez de Benito,[83]the poem shows the same structure and contains as Ibn al-Khāṭīb’sʿAmal man ṭabba li-man ḥabba (Work of the practitioner of medicine for he who loves), a treatise about the practical part of medicine. It seems that Rajazfī l-ṭibbwas planned as a popular version of the former treatise with which the author aspired to reach a larger readership.[84] In addition, he wrote two other didactical poems that have not come down to us, Rajazfī l-aghdhiya(Poem on food) and Rajazfīaʿmāl al-tiryāq (Poem on the theriac).[85]Interestingly, Ibn al-Khaṭīb wrote ʿAmal man ṭabbafor the Marinid sultan AbūSālimIbrāhim (r. 1359-1361) when he was exiled in Morocco. A Maghribian disciple of Ibn al-Khaṭīb, Ibn al-Muhannā,[86] wrote at the beginning of the 15th century a commentary of IbnSīnā’s poem entitled el K. al-Īḍāḥwa-l-tatmīm(Book of the illumination and the completeness) for a minister of the Marinid court. The aim of the author was to clarify and complement the commentary written byAḥmadibn al-Salām al-Ṣiqillī ( 1418), a court physician of the Ḥafsid dynasty of Tunis.[87]

The colleague of Ibn al-Khaṭīb and disciple of IbnHudhayl, AbūʿAbdAllāhMuḥammad al-Shaqūrī (d. after 1374) wrote a treatise entitled Tuḥfat al-mutawassilwa-rāḥat al-mutaʿammil(Gift from he who prays and rest of he who reflects). The third section of the book, which is devoted to the regime of old men, largely consists of a commentary of the verses from IbnSīnā’s poem devoted the same subject.[88]Although the author is not credited with having been to the Maghrib, it is worth noting that his grandfather, Ghālib al-Shakūrī, who taught him medicine, did spend many years in the service of the Marinids.[89] There is still another commentary from the Marinid locale: al-Durra al-ḥasnā’ fīsharḥQaṣīdatIbnSīnā(he Beautiful Pearl Concerning a Commentary on the Poem of IbnSīnā)by the mathematician and physician ʿAlīibnʿAbdAllāhibnHaydūr (d.  816/1413),[90] dedicated to the sultan AbūSaʿīdʿUthmān III (r. 800/1398-823/1421).  We also find in this period a renewed interest in IbnʿAzrūn’Tadhyīl, the poem mentioned earlier as a complement to IbnSīnā’sUrjūza. A late commentary written by an outstanding physician of Fez, Abū l-Qāsim al-Ghassānī (b. 1553),[91] mentions two previous commentaries of the Tadhyīl: one by an otherwise unknown author named Abū l-QāsimibnYaḥyā al-Lamtūnī al-Tashfīnī; another by Abū l-FaḍlMuḥammadibnAbī l-Qāsim al-ʿAjlānī. Although theavailable information about al-ʿAjlānī is scarce,[92] it seems that he was a physician who was alive at the end of the 14th century and had a thorough knowledge of the medical legacy of al-Andalus. His commentary of IbnʿAzrūn poem is partially preserved in the commentary by Abū l-Qāsim al-Ghassānī and in a single manuscript not yet edited or studied.He wrote two didactical poemson medicaments which, as the commentary, remain unedited and unstudied:[93]Urjūzafīaʿmāl al-ʿaqāqīr al-mufradawa-l-adwiya al-murakkaba(Poem about simple and compound medicaments) and Urjūzafītarkīb al-dawā’ wa-jamʿihi (Poem about the composition of medicines).  In the later part of the Marinid period we find two other medical poems:[94]the first is written by the astronomer and mathematician Aḥmadibn al-Ḥasan al-Khaṭīb al-Qusanṭīni (d. 1407), the he second, which dealt with medical experience, is composed by MuḥammadibnGhāzī al-Fāsī (d. 1454).


  1. Conclusions

            Although some works were written before the 12th century, didactic poetry on medicine and the sciences was a marginal genre in al-Andalus. The reception of IbnSīnā’sUrjūzafī l-ṭibb in the mid-12thcenturyor slightly earlier altered this state of affairs. The Andalusī scholars commented this work and began to compose new didactic poems on medicine and scientific subjects. It is possible that the succèsd’estimeof IbnSīnā’s poem made the Andalusī scholars believe in the possibilities of the didactic poetry for the transmission of scientific knowledge. However, the awakening of this genre was due to a large extent to the religious and cultural policy of the Almohads, which demanded an intensive training of their servants in several matters. The Almohad court was, moreover, a fertile ground for medicine, philosophy and the sciences. Consequently, the scholars who worked for the Almohads diffused the knowledge of IbnSīnā’s medical poem and contributed to a relative flourishing of didactic poetry on medicine and the sciences. The physician-philosophers of the Almohads like IbnṬufayl, IbnRushd and IbnṬufayl played a relevant role in this process. The development of the institutions oflearning undertaken by the Almohads paved the way for the future vitality of the genre. Since the Almohads were a Maghribī empire that included al-Andalus, didactic poetry on medicine and the sciences became an Andalusī and Maghribī phenomenon, although still focused in al-Andalus. Between  late 13th century and early 14th century, scholars from Murcia who had the same intellectual profile of physician-philosophers as IbnṬufayl or IbnRushd diffused IbnSīnā’s poem and the use of the genre in al-Andalus (then confined to the Nasrid kingdom of Granada) and the Maghrib. The learned elites of Granada, or at least a good part of them, became interested in medicine and the sciences for reasons that we still ignore to a great extent. These matters were taught in the courtly circles and in the madrasa of Granada to students of any kind and not only to future physicians. IbnSīnā’sUrjūzafī l-ṭibb became a frequent introductory reading for this general audience, although the professional physicians knew and respected the work. The production of didactic poetry on medicine and the sciences experienced a real flourishing. The Marind Morocco followed a similar process, which was fostered by several physicians of al-Andalus who, like Ibn al-Khaṭīb, lived and worked at both sides of the straits. These texts became an efficient pedagogical tool for the teaching of medicine and the sciences in societies in which education attained a considerable degree of institutionalization and werewidely employed in Western Islam until the 19th century.





[1] The Arabs considered the rajaz unsuitable for true poetry. They thus opposed rajaztoqarīḍ, thecollective name that designates the other metres.  

[2] There are also poems on medicine, science and philosophy written in the form of qaṣīda but they are relatively rare as we will see next.

[3] For an introduction to the subject, cf. Ullmann 1966, Khulūṣī 1990, Van Gelder 1995 and 2011; cf. moreover Burnett 2001 about the transmission of Arabic didactic poetry to Europe.

[4] As an example of a complex approach to didactic poetry, cf. Sobieroj 2016.

[5] For a complete reference to the works of didactic poetry produced in al-Andalus, the reader may consult the main biobibliographical repertories of al-Andalus literary tradition, Fierro 2014a and Lirola and PuertaVílchez 2004-2012. We lack similar works about the authors from the Maghrib. However, Lamrabet 2014 provides an exhaustive bibliography of mathematical and astronomical treatises which also contains helpful references to medicine. The books about the history of medicine of the Maghrib like al-Ganūnī 2013 provide a helpful guide that may be complemented with more general repertories. Although a history of didactic poetry in al-Andalus is beyond the scope of the present article, there is a general factor which deserves to be noted. The systematic analysis of Fierro 2014a and Lirola and PuertaVílchez 2004-2012 yields a quantitative and temporal pattern which underlies the development of the genre: from the late 8th century to the 10th, the number of didactic poems on any subject is really scarce;  the number of texts increases during the 11th century, although the quantity of works on scientific subjects is almost negligible; coinciding with the reception of IbnSīnā’sUrjūzafī l-ṭibb, the number of poems and commentaries on any subject and, most particularly, on science and medicine, grows significantly; between the 13th and the 15th centuries, there is a sustained rise in the number of didactic poems on any subject. This pattern applies to text on medicine and the mathematical sciences from the Maghrib.         

[6] As is well known, IbnSīnā wrote nine didactic poems on medicine (cf. Gutas 2014, 521-522) which remain mostly unedited and unstudied. The most important of them is Urjūzafī l-ṭibb and it will be the only poem on medicine by IbnSīnā mentioned in the following pages. Otherwise said, any allusion to IbnSīnā’s poem or urjūza will refer to this work. An introduction to IbnSīnā’s poem may be found in Rabie 2014 and in the prefaces to the two main editions of the work, Jahier and Noureddine 1956 and al-Baba 1984, 89-194. This latter work contains (pp. 195-206) the edition of another medical poem by IbnSīnā, Urjūzattadbīr al-fuḥūlfī l-fuṣūl, on regime. Further insights into IbnSīnā’s medical poetry may be found in Kuhne’s edition of UrjūzafīwaṣāyāAbuqrāṭ, on the prognosis of terminal patients (Kuhne 1987). IbnSīnā’s poem on medicine was diffused throughout the Islamic world. However, the present paper will focus on the Andaluso-Maghrebi tradition only.

[7]Ullmann 1966, 46-55.

[8]Burnett 2001, 42-43. I borrow from Burnett the translation of the title. It is worth noting that the poem deals with astronomy and astrology. Although the status of astrology as science was subject to much debate, the authors who are mentioned in the present article as authors of poems of astrology like al-Fāzārī and al-Ḍabbī lived and worked in cultural locales in which the scientificity of astrology was generally accepted. 

[9]Forcada 2004-5, 8-12.

[10]Samsó  2001, 659-660; cf. also the bibliography mentioned on p. 660, notes 9 and 10. 

[11]Forcada 2004-5, 40 ff. What has come down to us from this author is a poem about the soul written in a qarīḍmetre. The author does not impart knowledge but poses many relevant questions with theological implications. 

[12] Forcada 2017, 58-60.

[13] Monroe 1976, 69.

[14] Monroe 1976, 70 ff.

[15] Monroe 1976, 69.

[16] The work is edited, studied and translated into Spanish in Kuhne 1980.

[17]Kuhne 1980, 298.

[18] On this author, cf. Kuhne 2012.

[19]Ṣāʿid al-Andalusī, K. Ṭabaqāt al-umam, 187. Renaud (1931, 212 n. 3) says that there is a quotation of this poem in a book written in the 16th century, al-Ghassānī’s commentary of IbnʿAzrūn’sTadhyīl(cf. below about this book).

[20]Kuhne 1980, 295-6.

[21]Samsó 2015, 118-119.

[22]Renaud 1931, 209 ff;  cf. moreover Garijo 2009.

[23]IbnʿAzrūn’sTadhyīl was copied and slightly modified by a scholar who lived in 12th century Murcia named MuḥammadibnʿAbd al-Salām al-Mursī. This author was identified by Steinschneider with MuḥammadibnʿAbd al-Salām al-Murdī, who died in 1168-9 (Renaud 1931, 212). This identification is one of the main arguments for hypothesizing that IbnʿAzrūn lived between the 11th and the 12th centuries. It should be noted therefore that, on the one hand, we do not know indubitably the epochs in which IbnʿAzrūn and MuḥammadibnʿAbd al-Salām al-Mursī lived; on the other, that there are two scholars from Murcia who connect the  Andalusī didactic poetry with the Maghrib. The other author, IbnAndrās, will be addressed below. 

[24] As is well known, al-Andalus was ruled, as part of a larger Maghribī empire, by the Almoravids during the first half of the 12th century and by the Almohads during the second.

[25]Leclerc 1876,  1, 473. The source of this statement is the commentary of IbnSīnā’sUrjūzafī l-ṭibb written by the Magribi physician MuḥammadibnIsmaʿīlibnMuḥammad al-Mutaṭabbib (d. d. 988/1580-1), al-Tawfīq li-l-ṭabīb al-shaqīq. According to Forcada 2012, 164-169, there is further, yet indirect, evidence to the fact that IbnZuhr knew IbnSīnā’s poem. In order to harden the skin of the new-born babies, IbnZuhr prescribed an innovative treatment: to anoint them with acorn oil. Now, the only source which mentions something similar is IbnSīnā’s poem (verse 938), which says that the babies should be anointed with “astringent oil” (acorn has astringent properties). Interestingly, whereas IbnRushd’s commentary of IbnSīnā’s poem does not mention IbnZuhr’s treatment, IbnṬumlūs quotes it borrowing from IbnRushd’sK. al-Kulliyyāt.        

[26] Edited and translated into Spanish in Coullaut et al. 2010.

[27]Coullaut et al. 2010, 25-26.

[28] Ibn Rushd, Sharḥ Urjūzat Ibn Sīnā,  ed. Coullaut et al. 2010, 44.

[29]Cf. the plausible hypothesis by AZ Iskandar (cf. Arnaldez and Iskandar 1975, 7) according to which IbnRushd wrote K. al-Kulliyyatfī l-ṭibbas part of a manual of medicine that could compare to IbnSīnā’sQānūn. Inasmuch as K. al-Kulliyyāt dealt with the theoretical part of the medicine, IbnRushd considered that IbnZuhr’s work on medical practice, K. al-Taysīrfī l-mudawāwa-l-tadbīr, should complement K. al-Kulliyyāt so as to be a sound alternative to the Qānūn.

[30] Ibn Rushd, Sharḥ Urjūzat Ibn Sīnā,  ed. Coullaut et al. 2010, 44.

[31] On this question, cf.  Strohmaier 1998, 165-7, Forcada 2011, and Chandelier 2010. This defintion  emphasizes the practical character of medicine rather than its condition of scientific discipline.

[32] Gutas 2003.

[33] Ibn Rushd, Sharḥ Urjūzat Ibn Sīnā,  ed. Coullaut et al. 2010, 48-50. 

[34] On this issue, cf. McVaugh 1990.

[35]On this author and his commentary, cf. al-Khaṭṭābī 1988, 1, 421 ff; cf. moreover Elamrani-Jamal 1997.

[36] Ibn Rushd, ibid;  cf. moreover al-Khaṭṭābī 1988, 1, 327, and y   al-ʿAlawī 1986, 99.

[37] On him, cf. Haremska 2012.

[38] Al-Mannūnī 1989, 30-32.

[39]Lacking information about him, cf. on his father AbūYa`qūbYūsufibnSulaymān al-Tīnmallalī, Renaud 1931, 207,  n. 4 and Elamrani-Jamal 1997, 468-9.

[40]Al-Khaṭṭābī 1988, 1, 424-5; Elamrani-Jamal 1997, 468-9.

[41] Cf. nevertheless some introductory studies like al-Ḍabbāgh 1984, Muḥammad al-Ḥayy 1985 and Conrad 1996, 8-9. Renaud (1946b, 218-222) questioned IbnṬufayl’s authorship of the medical urjūza extant in the Qarawiyyīn and suggested that it had been written by Ibn al-Khaṭīb. Although the discussion of this problem falls out the scope of the present paper, it is generally agreed that the poem of ms.Qarawiyyīn 3158 was written by IbnṬufayl. 

[42]Forcada 2005, 1094-1095 and Forcada 2015, 325-328.

[43]Lamrabet 2014, 148 and 151-152.

[44]On al-Yāsamīniyya, cf.Abdeljaouad 2005; on the mathematical training in this time, cf. Djebbar 1980, Lamrabet 2008 and  Brenjes 2013, 95-100, esp.  99. 

[45]IbnSharīfa 1992, 233-234.

[46]AbūʿAbdAllāhIbnAbī l-Khiṣāl (d. 1146), an important secretary of the Almoravid court, wrote an urjūza on anwā’ (Aguirre Sádaba 2012, 701), in much the same way as his disciple al-AbūʿAlīibnKhalaf al-Umawī al-Qurṭubī (d. 1205-6) (Forcada 2004, 571); Ibn al-Farqad (d. 1176) wrote a qaṣīda on anwā’ and an urjūza on inheritance shares (Velázquez Basanta 2004, 152); IbnHishām al-Lakhmī (d. 1181-82) wrote a commentary of Qaṣīdafītarḥīl al-nayyirayn, attributed to the outstanding scientist Ibn al-Haytham (d.a. 1040) (Samsó 2008, 123); AbūJaʿfaribnJumhūr al-Judhāmī (d. 1229) wrote a qaṣīda on lunar mansions Samsó 2008, 128-133); MuḥammadibnYūsuf al-Laythī al-Ishbīlī al-Sabtī (fl 13th century) wrote a poem on the solar motion and another on the lunar mansions (Lamrabet 2014, 159-160); ‘UmāraibnYaḥyāibn  ‘Umāra al-Ḥasanī of Béjaïa (alive in 1193), wrote a poem on inheritance shares (Lamrabet 2014, 144).

[47] On the essential guidelines of this cultural policy, cf. Fierro 2009a, 177-185.

[48]Fierro 2009b, 100-103 and Fierro 2014b, 29-32.

[49]Forcada 2005, 1104-1106 and Forcada 2015, 299 ff, esp. 314-315. IbnṬufayl may be considered as the grey eminence behind an intellectual project focused on the Aristotelization of the rational disciplines and the diffusion of rationalistic spirit among the elites, that was mostly, but not only, executed by IbnRushd.  It is worth noting that these philosophers and their disciples are the first promoters of didactic poetry on scientific subjects.

[50]Forcada 2015, 299-311, esp. 309-311.

[51]Forcada 2015, 300-301 and the bibliography mentioned here. Although there is no evident connection between the authors of this time and the physicians of Murcian origin that we will see next (al-Riqūṭī, Ibn al-Raqqām, IbnLuyūn and IbnAndrās), all these latter scholars (with possibly one exception) are described as scholars who possessed a thorough knowledge of scientific disciplines and most of them knew  philosophy.

[52] On his life and works, cf. Maḥfūẓ 1982-86, 1, 56-57. It is worth noting that

[53] Al-Ghubrīnī, ʿUnwān al-dirāyā, 75-76.

[54] Cf. Aïssani 2001. Al-Ghubrīnī, besides being the chronicler of the intellectual life of Béjaïa, was a judge and a legal scholar. It must be noted moreover that the collaboration that IbnAndrās asks from al-Ghubrīnī is literary and not medical.

[55] So far as I know, there is no systematic study about the mobility of the scientist in the space defined by present day Southeast of Spain and northern regions of Morocco, Algeria and Tunis; nor of the relations teacher-disciple between them. See, however, a helpful yet partial approach in Puig 1984 and Franco Sánchez 1981. Possibly one of the best evidences about the complex educational process undertaken by the outstanding scientists of the time is al-Qalaṣādī description of his own education given in the Riḥla, which is thoroughly analysed in Marín 2004.   

[56] For a general approach to this issue, cf. Marín 2011, which includes al-Andalus an the Maghrib; about the madrasa of Granada, see Cabanelas 1987 and Samsó 2011, 394-398. The madrasa of Granada (madrasa Yūsufiyya) was founded in 1349 by Yūsuf I (r. 1333-1354).

[57]For on overview of the history of medicine in Nasrid Granada, cf. Samsó 2011, 433-441; on the sciences, cf. Samsó 2011, 387 ff.

[58]Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-IḥāṭāfīakhbārGharnāṭa, 3, 390; cf. Puig 1983, 436.

[59]On this hospital, cf. Franco Sánchez 1999, 154-160 and Peláez 2011. Although it is possible that medicine was taught in the hospital of Granada, there is no actual evidence of it. 

[60]Samsó 1981, 172-175 and Samsó 2011, 388-389 passim.

[61]Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-IḥāṭāfīakhbārGharnāṭa, 1, 206-207; cf. Puig 1983, 434. To the best of my knowledge, this is the second evidence of the use of IbnSīnā’s poem in a medical act, the first one being IbnZuhr’s treatment for hardening the skin of the babies above mentioned (cf. n. 25). 

[62] On the author and his works, cf. Samsó 2006.

[63]Lamrabet 2014, 162.

[64]Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-IḥāṭāfīakhbārGharnāṭa, 3, 69-70.

[65]On his life and works, cf. Lirola and García Sánchez 2006.

[66]Ibn al-Qāḍī, Durrat al-Ḥijāl, 3, 293-294.

[67]Both urjūzas are important sources for the history of science in Nasrid Granada. On the first, cf. Lirola and García Sánchez 2006, 43-45; on the second, cf. Moyon 2016.

[68]For a short summary of this poem, cf. Lirola and Garijo 2004, 708; cf moreover Fierro 2014a, section 10, num. 155.2. 

[69]Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-IḥāṭāfīakhbārGharnāṭa, 4, 390; cf. Puig 1983, 487 and Samsó 2011, 398.

[70]Ibn al-Khaṭīb, al-IḥāṭāfīakhbārGharnāṭa, 4, 459.

[71] Al-Qalaṣādī, Riḥla, 167-168; cf. moreover Samsó 2011,398.

[72]Julián Ribera, 1928, 352-355, esp. 353: 11-22.  For partial translations and paraphrases of the text into English, cf. García-Ballester 1994, 363-4 and Miller 2008, 66-67. It must be stressed that, although several authors say that the commentary mentioned here is that of IbnRushd, there is no direct evidence to this fact.   

[73]García-Ballester 1994, 363 and the bibliography mentioned here.

[74]Miller 2008, 62.

[75]IbnRushd’s commentary of IbnSīnā’s poem was copied in 1480 in Valencia by a Muslim. According to Miller (2008, 72), this unknown copyist may could have been connected with Muhammad al-Qurāshī’s circle.

[76]Puig 1983, 436.

[77] For a synthesis about the sciences in Morocco, cf. Zaimeche, al-Hasani and Ball 2004.

[78] About the medicine in MerinidMaghrib, cf. Akhmisse1991, 45-51 and al-Ganūnī 2013, 135 ff; for further insights about the teaching of medicine in this context and in other periods as well, cf. Akhmisse1991, 109-122 and Benabdella2006, 5-17.

[79] The remarkable amount of texts on didactic poetry about medicine that we will see next is on a par with the works on other scientific disciplines written during the 14th and 15th centuries. Since these latter texts are not the object of the present study, an approximate quantification based on Lirola 2004-12, Fierro 2014a and Lamrabet 2014 will be sufficient for showing the importance of these works: ca. 20, on astronomy (mathematical astronomy, astronomy in the service of religious cult,folk astronomy and astrology); ca. 10 on mathematics; ca. 25 on the science of inheritance shares.     

[80]Samsó 2011, 433; cf. also Boloix 2004.

[81]IbnʿAbd al-Malik al-Marrākushī (al-Dhaylwa-l-takmila, 5, 116-117, num. 226), who gives a thorough list of Ibn al-Farrā’’s teachers, says that he learned medicine from AbūBakribn al-Muhallab. The other teachers mentioned here taught him literary and religious disciplines.  

[82] The work is edited, translated into Spanish and commented in Vázquez de Benito 1982, 1990 and 1992. The poem is also entitled Manẓūmafī l-ṭibb.For further references, cf. Lirola, Vázquez de Benito et al. 2004, 670-671.

[83] Vázquez de Benito 1982, 148-149.

[84] Vázquez de Benito 1982, 150-151.

[85]Lirola, Vázquez de Benito et al. 2004, 689.

[86]Rénaud 1931, 35-36;  al-Khaṭṭābī 1988, 1, 81.

[87]Maḥfūẓ 1982-86, 3, 241-242; al-Khaṭṭābī 1988, 1, 81. 

[88] On the author and the work, cf. Renaud 1946a, Samsó 2011, 436-7 and al-Khaṭṭābī, 2, 245 ff. 

[89]Renaud 1946a, 32.

[90]Lamrabet 2014, 200; the commentary is preserved in a single manuscript kept in the U.S. National Library of Medicine (cf. It is worth noting that, altough the title mentions the form “qaṣīda”, the commentary is of the urjūza.

[91] On al-Ghassānī and his oeuvre cf. Renaud  1931, 217 ff and al-Khaṭṭābī 1985, introd. His commentary, still unedited, is entitled al-Rawḍ al-maknūnfīsharḥUrjūzatIbnʿAzrūn (The secret garden on the commentary of IbnʿAzrūn’surjūza).

[92] About the authorand his works, cf. al-ʿAmirī 2012, 178 ff. 

[93] Al-ʿAmirī 2012, 181

[94] Al-Ganūnī 2013, 160-162.