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?bu ?an?fah mad ibn Daw?d D?nawar?
Born212-213 A.H /815 CE
Died282-283 A.H/ 896 (aged 80–81)
EraIslamic Golden Age
Main interest(s)botanist, historian, geographer, metallurgy, astronomer and mathematician
OccupationMuslim scholar

Ab? ?an?fah A?mad ibn D?w?d D?nawar? (815-896 CE, Persian: ‎, Kurdish Dînewerî) was an Iranian Islamic Golden Age polymath, astronomer, agriculturist, botanist, metallurgist, geographer, mathematician, and historian. His ancestry came from the region of Dinawar, in Kermanshah in modern-day western Iran. He was instructed in the two main traditions of the Abbasid-era grammarians of al-Ba?rah and of al-K?fah. His principal teachers were Ibn al-Sikk?t and his own father.[n 1] He studied grammar, philology, geometry, arithmetic, and astronomy and was known to be a reliable traditionist.[1] His most renowned contribution is Book of Plants, for which he is considered the founder of Arabic botany.[2] Dinawari was said to have been of Persian origin.[3][4][5][6][7] Although he was also said to have been Kurdish[8], or Arab of Persian ancestry.[9][10] He may have studied astronomy in Isfahan.[].


The tenth century biographical encyclopedia, "al-Fihrist" of Al-Nadim, lists sixteen book titles by Dinawari:[1]

Mathematics and natural sciences

  1. Kitâb al-kusuf ("Book of Solar Eclipses")[n 2]
  2. Kit?b an-nab?t yufadiluh al-'ulam?' f? ta'l?fih (? ? ), 'Plants, valued by scholars for its composition'
  3. Kit?b Al-Anw? (? ?) 'Tempest' (weather)
  4. Kit?b Al-qiblah wa'z-zaw?l[n 3] (? ?) "Book of Astral Orientations"
  5. Kit?b ?is?b ad-d?r (? ? ), "Arithmetic/Calculation of Cycles"
  6. Kit?b ar-rud 'al? ra?d al-I?bh?n? (? ? ) Refutation of Lughdah al-I?bh?n?[n 4]
  7. Kit?b al-ba?th f? ?us? al-Hind (? ), "Analysis of Indian Arithmetic"
  8. Kit?b al-jam' wa'l-tafr?q (? ); "Book of Arithmetic/Summation and Differentiation"
  9. Kit?b al-jabr wa-l-muqabila (? ), "Algebra and Equation"
  10. Kit?b nuw?dr al-jabr (? ?), "Rare Forms of Algebra"

Social sciences and humanities

  1. Kit?b al-akhb?r al-?iw?l (? ? ), "General History" [n 5][12]
  2. Kit?b Kab?r (? ?) "Great Book" [in history of sciences]
  3. Kit?b al-faha (? ?), "Book of Rhetoric"
  4. Kit?b al-buld?n (? ?), "Book of Cities (Regions) (Geography)"
  5. Kit?b ash-sh'ir wa-shu'ar?' (? ), "Poetry and the Poets"
  6. Kit?b al-Way? (? ?), Commandments (wills);
  7. Kit?b ma yulahan f?h al'?mma (? ? ?), How the Populace Errs in Speaking;
  8. Islâh al-mantiq ("Improvement of Speech")[n 6]
  9. Ansâb al-Akrâd ("Ancestry of the Kurds").[n 7]

Editions & Translations

His General History (Al-Akhbar al-Tiwal) has been edited and published numerous times (Vladimir Guirgass, 1888; Muhammad Sa'id Rafi'i, 1911; Ignace Krachkovsky, 1912[13]; 'Abd al-Munim 'Amir & Jamal al-din Shayyal, 1960; Isam Muhammad al-Hajj 'Ali, 2001), but has not been translated in its entirety into a European language. Jackson Bonner has recently prepared an English translation of the pre-Islamic passages of al-Akhbar al-Tiwal.[14]

Book of Plants


Al-Dinawari is considered the founder of Arabic botany for his Kitab al-Nabat (Book of Plants), which consisted of six volumes. Only the third and fifth volumes have survived, though the sixth volume has partly been reconstructed based on citations from later works. In the surviving portions of his works, 637 plants are described from the letters sin to ya. He describes the phases of plant growth and the production of flowers and fruit.[2]

Many of the Muslim early botanical works are lost, such as that of al-Shaybani (d.820), Ibn al-Arabi (d.844), Al-Bahili (d.845) and Ibn as-Sikkit (d.857), however, their works, are extensively quoted in later books by Abu Hanifa Al-Dinawari.

Astronomy and meteorology

Parts of al-Dinawari's Book of Plants deals with the applications of Islamic astronomy and meteorology to agriculture. It describes the astronomical and meteorological character of the sky, the planets and constellations, the sun and moon, the lunar phases indicating seasons and rain, the anwa (heavenly bodies of rain), and atmospheric phenomena such as winds, thunder, lightning, snow, floods, valleys, rivers, lakes, wells and other sources of water.[2]

Earth sciences

Parts of al-Dinawari's Book of Plants deals with the Earth sciences in the context of agriculture. He considers the Earth, stone and sands, and describes different types of ground, indicating which types are more convenient for plants and the qualities and properties of good ground.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Flügel translates the al-Fihrist as "son" but the Beatty MS has "father".
  2. ^ Omitted in al-Fihrist
  3. ^ Al-qiblah the direction faced in prayer; here perhaps with astronomical meaning. Al-zaw?l "sunset", perhaps also the sun's absence. See "Kibla," Enc. Islam, II, 985-89.
  4. ^ Flügel after Y?q?t, Irsh?d, VI (1), 127 n.2, has ra?d, "observation" (Astronomical), but in the Beatty MS "Lughdah" is probably correct. Ab? 'Al? al-?asan al-I?bah?n? was called "Lughdah".[11]
  5. ^ Dodge has "Legends in the ?iw?l Meter". Title omitted in Beatty MS. ?iw?l i.e. "long".
  6. ^ Omitted in al-Fihrist
  7. ^ Omitted in al-Fihrist


  1. ^ a b Nadim (al-), Ab? al-Faraj M. i. Isq (1970). Dodge, Bayard (ed.). Al-Fihrist. New York & London: Columbia University Press. p. 172.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  2. ^ a b c d Fahd, Toufic, Botany and agriculture, p. 815, in Morelon, Régis; Rashed, Roshdi (1996), Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science, 3, Routledge, pp. 813-852, ISBN 978-0-415-12410-2
  3. ^ Nadim (al-) 1970, p. 981, II.
  4. ^ Cahen 2006, p. 198.
  5. ^ Pellat, Charles. "D?NAVAR?, AB? ?AN?FA A?MAD". ENCYCLOPÆDIA IRANICA. Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ Cahen, Claude (2006). Young, M.J.L.; Latham, J.D.; Serjeant, R.B. (eds.). Religion, learning, and science in the ?Abbasid period (1. publ. ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 198. ISBN 978-0521028875. Abu Hanlfah al-DInawarl was a Persian of liberal outlook, who took an interest in botany among other sciences.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  7. ^ Clarke, Nicola (2018). "al-Dinawari". In Nicholson, Oliver (ed.). The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity. Oxford University Press. p. 484. ISBN 978-0192562463.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  8. ^ W. Adamec, Ludwig (2009). Historical Dictionary of Islam. Scarecrow Press. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-8108-6161-9.
  9. ^ Encyclopedia of Islam, ed., Th. Houtsma, Brill Academic, 1993 p. 977
  10. ^ B., Lewin. "al-D?NAWAR?". Brill. doi:10.1163/1573-3912_islam_sim_1868. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ Nadim (al-) 1970, p. 1015, II.
  12. ^ Nadim (al-) 1970, p. 172, I.
  13. ^ Dinawari (al-) (1912). Krachkovsky, Ignace (ed.). Kit?b al-A?b?r a?-?iw?l (in Arabic and French). Leiden: E. J. Brill.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  14. ^ "Abu Hanifa Ahmad ibn Dawud ibn Wanand al-Dinawari (A.D. 828-895) - Michael Richard Jackson Bonner". www.mrjb.ca. Retrieved .


  • Nicholson, Oliver (2018). The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity. Oxford University Press.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External links

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