From: Thomas Hockey et al. (eds.). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers, Springer Reference. New York: Springer, 2007, pp. 1163-1164

Courtesy of

ʿUārid: ʿUārid ibn Muammad al‐āsib

Giuseppe Bezza

Flourished9th century

ʿUārid ibn Muammad is sometimes also referred to as al‐Kātib (the scribe), but the usual appellation, al‐āsib (the arithmetician), is more appropriate. Little is known of his life. Ibn al‐Nadīm tells us that he was an arithmetician and an astrologer (al‐munajjim) as well as a man of excellence and learning. From Ibn al‐Nadīm we also know the titles of five books by ʿUārid:


Kitāb al‐Jafr al‐hindī (Book on Indian divination), which may have dealt with divination based upon letters of the alphabet or perhaps meteorological predictions;


Kitāb al‐ʿAmal bi‐ʾl‐asurlāb (Book on using the astrolabe);


Kitāb al‐ʿAmal bi‐dhāt al‐alaq (Book on using the armillary sphere);


Kitāb Tarkīb al‐aflāk (Book on the arrangement of the heavens); and


Kitāb al‐Marāyā al‐muriqa (Book on burning mirrors).

There is also a report that ʿAbd al‐Raman al‐Sūfī saw a book of ʿUārid (in latter's own handwriting) about the 48 constellations. In addition, both Bīrūnī and Sijzī attribute to ʿUārid a Kitāb al‐Mina al‐munajjim (Book on examining astrologers), a work specifically for testing the skills of astrologers. A text with a similar subject is by Qabīī. None of the above mentioned works attributed to ʿUārid are extant.

Of ʿUārid's works, only two have reached us. One is an astrological work entitled Sirr al‐asrār (Secret of secrets) or al‐Asrār al‐samāwiyya (The secrets of the heavens), and also known as Fuūl li‐ʿUārid al‐āsib fī al‐asrār al‐samāwiyya. One can find excerpts in Majrīī's Ghāyat al‐akīm that deal with the astrological topic of elections (ihktiyārāt). The other is Kitāb al‐Jawāhir wa‐ʾl‐ajār (Book on the properties of stones), perhaps the earliest work of its kind in Arabic, which follows the so called Lapidary of Aristotle.

Selected References

Ibn al‐Nadīm (1970). The Fihrist of al‐Nadīm: A Tenth‐Century Survey of Muslim Culture, edited and translated by Bayard Dodge. 2 Vols. New York: Columbia University Press, p. 658.

Rosenfeld, B. A. and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoğlu (2003). Mathematicians, Astronomers, and Other Scholars of Islamic Civilization and Their Works (7th–19th c.). Istanbul: IRCICA, p. 92.

Saidan, Ahmad (1977). “Kitāb tasṭīḥ al‐ṣuwar wa‐tabṭīḥ al‐kuwar li‐Abī al‐Rayḥān al‐Bīrūnī.” Dirāsāt majalla ʿilmiyya (University of Jordan) 4: 7–22.

Sezgin, Fuat (1974). Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums. Vol. 5, Mathematik: 254; Vol. 6, Astronomie (1978): 161; Vol. 7, Astrologie – Meteorologie und Verwandtes (1979): 137. Leiden: E. J. Brill.

Schjellerup, H. C. F. C (trans.) (1874). Description des étoiles fixes. Saint Petersburg.

Steinschneider, M. (1871). “Intorno ad alcuni passi d'opere del medio evo relativi alla calamita.” Bullettino di bibliografia e di storia delle scienze matematiche e fisiche 4: 257–298.