From: Thomas Hockey et al. (eds.). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers, Springer Reference. New York: Springer, 2007, pp. 1110-1111

Courtesy of

Sulaymān ibn ʿIma: Abū Dāwūd Sulaymān ibn ʿIma al‐Samarqandī

Giuseppe Bezza

FlourishedSamarqand, (Uzbekistan), second half of the 9th century

Much of our information on Sulaymān ibn ʿIma comes from the remarks of Bīrūnī. According to Bīrūnī, Sulaymān made observations in Balkh (Afghanistan) in 888–890 for determining the obliquity of the ecliptic. For this purpose, he used a mural quadrant (libna) provided with an alidade, the diameter of the quadrant being about 8 cubits (dhirāʿ), approximately 4 m. He found the meridian solar altitude at the winter solstice to be 29° 46' and at the summer solstice 76° 54'. From this he determined that the obliquity of the ecliptic was 23° 34', 1 min less than the result of Battānī. Bīrūnī also tells us of Sulaymān's determination of the length of Spring and Summer, and attributes to Sulaymān a zīj (astronomical handbook) dealing with the Sun and Moon (Zīj al‐nayyirayn), as well as a book on the construction of an instrument for determining the visibility of the crescent (Qānūn II, p. 654). Nasawī claims that Sulaymān also wrote a commentary on the Almagest.

Finally, Sulaymān composed a commentary on the tenth book of Euclid's Elements, which is still extant.

Selected References

Al‐Bīrūnī, Abū al‐Rayḥān Muḥammad b. Aḥmad (1954–1956). al‐Qānūn al‐Masʿūdī. Hyderabad.

Ali, Jamil (trans.) (1967). The Determination of the Coordinates of Cities: Al‐Bīrūnī's Tadīd al‐Amākin. Beirut: American University of Beirut.

Kennedy, E. S. (1973). A Commentary upon Bīrūnī's Kitāb Taḥdīd al‐Amākin. Beirut: American University of Beirut.

Rosenfeld, B. A. and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoğlu (2003). Mathematicians, Astronomers, and Other Scholars of Islamic Civilization and Their Works (7th – 19th c.). Istanbul: IRCICA, p. 78.

Sayılı, Aydın (1960). The Observatory in Islam. Ankara: Turkish Historical Society.

Schirmer, Oskar (1926/1927). “Studien zur Astronomie der Araber.” Sitzungsberichte der Physikalisch‐Medizinische Sozietät in Erlangen 58–59: 33–88.

Sezgin, Fuat (1978). Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums. Vol. 6, Astronomie, p. 170. Leiden: E. J. Brill.

Steinschneider, M. (1870). “Zur Geschichte der Übersetzung aus dem Indischen in's Arabische und ihres Einflusses auf die arabische Literatur.” Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft 24: 325–392.