Jābir ibn Hayyān
Jābir ibn Hayyān (Arabic: جابر بن حیان,
Persian: جابر بن حیان, often given the nisbas
al-Bariqi, al-Azdi, al-Kufi, al-Tusi or al-Sufi; fl. c. 721 –
c. 815), also known by the Latinization Geber, was a polymath: a
chemist and alchemist, astronomer and astrologer, engineer,
geographer, philosopher, physicist, and pharmacist and physician. Born
and educated in Tus, he later traveled to Kufa. He has been described
as the father of early chemistry.
As early as the 10th century, the identity and exact corpus of works
of Jabir was in dispute in Islamic circles. His name was Latinized
as "Geber" in the Christian West and in 13th-century
anonymous writer, usually referred to as Pseudo-Geber, produced
alchemical and metallurgical writings under the pen-name Geber.
1.1 Early references
1.2 Life and background
2 The Jabirian corpus
Laboratory equipment and material
Mineral acids and alcohol
3 The Geber problem
4.2 English translations of Jabir and the Pseudo-Geber
5 Popular culture
6 See also
8 External links
Ibn al-Nadim compiled the
Kitab al-Fihrist which mentions Jabir
as a spiritual follower and as a companion to Jafar as-Sadiq, the
sixth Shia Imam. In another reference al-Nadim reports that a group of
philosophers claimed Jabir was one of their own members. Another
group, reported by al-Nadim, says only The Large Book of Mercy is
genuine and that the rest are pseudographical. Their assertions are
rejected by al-Nadim. Joining al-Nadim in asserting a real Jabir;
Ibn-Wahshiyya ("Jaber ibn Hayyn al-Sufi ...book on poison is a great
work...") Rejecting a real Jabir; (the philosopher c. 970) Abu
Sulayman al-Mantiqi claims the real author is one al-Hasan ibn
al-Nakad al-Mawili. The 14th century critic of Arabic literature,
Jamal al-Din ibn Nubata al-Misri declares all the writings attributed
to Jabir doubtful.
Life and background
According to the philologist-historian Paul Kraus (1904-1944), Jabir
cleverly mixed in his alchemical writings unambiguous references to
Ismaili or Qarmati movement. Kraus wrote, 'Let us first notice
that most of the names we find in this list have undeniable affinities
with the doctrine of Shi'i Gnosis, especially with the Ismaili
Henry Corbin believes that
Jabir ibn Hayyan
Jabir ibn Hayyan was an
Ismaili. Jabir was a natural philosopher who lived mostly in the
8th century; he was born in Tus, Khorasan, in Persia, well known as
Iran then ruled by the
Umayyad Caliphate. Jabir in the classical
sources has been variously attributed as al-Azdi al-Barigi or al-Kufi
or al-Tusi or al-Sufi. There is a difference of opinion as to
whether he was a Persian from Khorasan who later went to
whether he was, as some have suggested, of Syrian origin and later
Persia and Iraq. His ethnic background is not clear,
but most sources reference him as a Persian. In some sources, he is
reported to have been the son of Hayyan al-Azdi, a pharmacist of the
Azd tribe who emigrated from
Kufa (in present-day
Iraq) during the
Umayyad Caliphate. while Henry Corbin
believes Geber seems to have been a non-
Arab client of the 'Azd
tribe. Hayyan had supported the
Abbasid revolt against the
Umayyads, and was sent by them to the province of Khorasan to gather
support for their cause. He was eventually caught by the
executed. His family fled to Yemen, where Jabir grew up and
studied the Quran, mathematics and other subjects. Jabir's
father's profession may have contributed greatly to his interest in
After the Abbasids took power, Jabir went back to Kufa. He began his
career practicing medicine, under the patronage of a
Vizir (from the
noble Persian family Barmakids) of Caliph Harun al-Rashid. His
connections to the Barmakid cost him dearly in the end. When that
family fell from grace in 803, Jabir was placed under house arrest in
Kufa, where he remained until his death.
It has been asserted that Jabir was a student of the sixth
al-Sadiq and Harbi al-Himyari; however, other scholars have
questioned this theory.
The Jabirian corpus
An illustration of the various experiments and instruments used by
Jabir Ibn Hayyan.
In total, nearly 3,000 treatises and articles are credited to Jabir
ibn Hayyan. Following the pioneering work of Paul Kraus, who
demonstrated that a corpus of some several hundred works ascribed to
Jābir were probably a medley from different hands,:3 mostly
dating to the late 9th and early 10th centuries, many scholars believe
that many of these works consist of commentaries and additions by his
followers, particularly of an
On the other hand, contemporary scholar
Syed Nomanul Haq refuses the
multiplicity of authors hypothesis, and says that Kraus has
misrepresented the Jabirian corpus for three main reasons : a) he
hasn't inspected the bibliographies correctly, considering that there
have been many leaps (in one instance, we have no titles between 500
and 530), so, all in all, the numbers are more over 500 than close to
3000 ; b) in many cases, a part or chapter of a book has been
counted as a book itself, like with the Kitab al-Jumal al-'Ishrin
(book of twenty maxims), which has been counted for 20 books and c)
finally, many of the supposed "books" are not so in the formal sense,
the Kitab al-Sahl occupying a single paragraph and many others few
Syed Nomanul Haq concludes that "this rough investigation
makes it abundantly clear that we should view with a great deal of
suspicion any arguments for a plurality of authors which is based on
Kraus’ inflated estimate of the volume of the Jabirian corpus."
The scope of the corpus is vast: cosmology, music, medicine, magic,
biology, chemical technology, geometry, grammar, metaphysics, logic,
artificial generation of living beings, along with astrological
predictions, and symbolic Imâmî myths.:5
The 112 Books dedicated to the Barmakids, viziers of Caliph Harun
al-Rashid. This group includes the Arabic version of the Emerald
Tablet, an ancient work that proved a recurring foundation of and
source for alchemical operations. In the
Middle Ages it was translated
into Latin (Tabula Smaragdina) and widely diffused among European
The Seventy Books, most of which were translated into Latin during the
Middle Ages. This group includes the Kitab al-Zuhra ("Book of Venus")
and the Kitab Al-Ahjar ("Book of Stones").
The Ten Books on Rectification, containing descriptions of alchemists
such as Pythagoras, Socrates,
Plato and Aristotle.
The Books on Balance; this group includes his most famous 'Theory of
the balance in Nature'.
Jabir states in his Book of Stones (4:12) that "The purpose is to
baffle and lead into error everyone except those whom God loves and
provides for". His works seem to have been deliberately written in
highly esoteric code (see steganography), so that only those who had
been initiated into his alchemical school could understand them. It is
therefore difficult at best for the modern reader to discern which
aspects of Jabir's work are to be read as ambiguous symbols, and what
is to be taken literally. Because his works rarely made overt sense,
the term gibberish is believed to have originally referred to his
writings (Hauck, p. 19).
Jabir's interest in alchemy was inspired by his teacher Ja'far
as-Sadiq. When he spoke about alchemy, he would say "my master Ja'far
as-Sadiq taught me about calcium, evaporation, distillation and
crystallization, and everything I learned in alchemy was from my
master Ja'far as-Sadiq."
Imam Jafar was famed for his
depth and breadth of knowledge. In addition to his knowledge of
Imam Jafar was well educated in natural sciences,
mathematics, philosophy, astronomy, anatomy, chemistry (alchemy), and
other subjects. The foremost Islamic alchemist Jabir bin Hayyan was
his most prominent student. Other famous students of
Imam Jafar were
Abu Hanifa and
Imam Malik Ibn Anas, the founders of two Sunni
schools of jurisprudence, and Wasil ibn Ata, the founder of the
Mutazilite school of Islamic thought.
Imam Jafar was known for his liberal views on learning, and was keen
to debate with scholars of different faiths and of different beliefs.
Some Islamic scholars have gone so far as to call
Imam Jafar Saddiq as
the root of most of Islamic jurisprudence, having a massive influence
Maliki and Shia schools of thought extending well into
Imam Jafar also attained a
surpassing knowledge in astronomy and in the science of medicine.
Jabir professed to have drawn his alchemical inspiration from earlier
writers, both legendary and historic, on the subject. In his
writings, Jabir pays tribute to Egyptian and Greek alchemists Zosimos,
Democritus, Hermes Trismegistus, Agathodaemon, but also Plato,
Aristotle, Galen, Pythagoras, and Socrates, as well as the
commentators Alexander of Aphrodisias, Simplicius, Porphyry and
A huge pseudo-epigraphic literature of alchemical books was composed
in Arabic, among which the names of Persian authors also appear like
Jāmāsb, Ostanes, Mani, testifying that alchemy-like operations on
metals and other substances were also practiced in Persia. The great
number of Persian technical names (zaybaq = mercury, nošāder =
sal-ammoniac) also corroborates the idea of an important Iranian root
of medieval alchemy.
Ibn al-Nadim reports a dialogue between
Aristotle and Ostanes, the Persian alchemist of Achaemenid era, which
is in Jabirian corpus under the title of Kitab Musahhaha
Aristutalis. Ruska had suggested that the
Sasanian medical schools
played an important role in the spread of interest in alchemy. He
emphasizes the long history of alchemy, "whose origin is
Arius ... the
first man who applied the first experiment on the [philosopher's]
stone... and he declares that man possesses the ability to imitate the
workings of Nature" (Nasr, Seyyed Hussein, Science and Civilization of
Jabir's alchemical investigations ostensibly revolved around the
ultimate goal of takwin — the artificial creation of life. The
Book of Stones includes several recipes for creating creatures such as
scorpions, snakes, and even humans in a laboratory environment, which
are subject to the control of their creator. What Jabir meant by these
recipes is unknown.
Jabir's alchemical investigations were theoretically grounded in an
elaborate numerology related to Pythagorean and Neoplatonic
systems. The nature and properties of elements was
defined through numeric values assigned the Arabic consonants present
in their name, a precursor to the character notation used today.
By Jabirs' time
Aristotelian physics had become Neoplatonic. Each
Aristotelian element was composed of these qualities: fire was both
hot and dry, earth, cold and dry, water cold and moist, and air, hot
and moist. This came from the elementary qualities which are
theoretical in nature plus substance. In metals two of these qualities
were interior and two were exterior. For example, lead was cold and
dry and gold was hot and moist. Thus, Jabir theorized, by rearranging
the qualities of one metal, a different metal would result. Like
Zosimos, Jabir believed this would require a catalyst, an al-iksir,
the elusive elixir that would make this transformation
possible — which in European alchemy became known as the
According to Jabir's mercury-sulfur theory, metals differ from each in
so far as they contain different proportions of the sulfur and
mercury. These are not the elements that we know by those names, but
certain principles to which those elements are the closest
approximation in nature. Based on Aristotle's "exhalation" theory
the dry and moist exhalations become sulfur and mercury (sometimes
called "sophic" or "philosophic" mercury and sulfur). The
sulfur-mercury theory is first recorded in a 7th-century work Secret
of Creation credited (falsely) to
Balinus (Apollonius of Tyana). This
view becomes widespread. In the Book of Explanation Jabir says
the metals are all, in essence, composed of mercury combined and
coagulated with sulphur [that has risen to it in earthy, smoke-like
vapors]. They differ from one another only because of the difference
of their accidental qualities, and this difference is due to the
difference of their sulphur, which again is caused by a variation in
the soils and in their positions with respect to the heat of the sun
Holmyard says that Jabir proves by experiment that these are not
ordinary sulfur and mercury.
The seeds of the modern classification of elements into metals and
non-metals could be seen in his chemical nomenclature. He proposed
"Spirits" which vaporise on heating, like arsenic (realgar, orpiment),
camphor, mercury, sulfur, sal ammoniac, and ammonium chloride.
"Metals", like gold, silver, lead, tin, copper, iron, and khar-sini
Non-malleable substances, that can be converted into powders, such as
The origins of the idea of chemical equivalents might be traced back
to Jabir, in whose time it was recognized that "a certain quantity of
acid is necessary in order to neutralize a given amount of
Laboratory equipment and material
Ambix, cucurbit and retort of Zosimus, from Marcelin Berthelot,
Collection of ancient greek alchemists (3 vol., Paris, 1887–1888).
The Jabirian corpus is renowned for its contributions to alchemy. It
shows a clear recognition of the importance of experimentation, "The
first essential in chemistry is that thou shouldest perform practical
work and conduct experiments, for he who performs not practical work
nor makes experiments will never attain to the least degree of
mastery." He is credited with the use of over twenty types of
now-basic chemical laboratory equipment, such as the alembic
and retort, and with the description of many now-commonplace chemical
processes – such as crystallisation, various forms of
alchemical "distillation", and substances citric acid (the sour
component of lemons and other unripe fruits), acetic acid (from
vinegar) and tartaric acid (from wine-making residues), arsenic,
antimony and bismuth, sulfur, and mercury that have become the
foundation of today's chemistry.
Ismail al-Faruqi and Lois Lamya al-Faruqi, "In response
to Jafar al-Sadik's wishes, [Jabir ibn Hayyan] invented a kind of
paper that resisted fire, and an ink that could be read at night. He
invented an additive which, when applied to an iron surface, inhibited
rust and when applied to a textile, would make it water
Mineral acids and alcohol
Directions to make mineral acids such as sulfuric acid, nitric acid
and aqua regis appear in the Arabic Jabirian corpus, and later in
the pseudo-Geberian works Liber Fornacum, De inventione perfectionis,
and the Summa.
According to Forbes, there is no proof that Jabir knew alcohol.
Al-Kindi unambiguously described the distillation of wine in
the 9th century.
European depiction of "Geber".
Geber, Chimistes Celebres,
Liebig's Extract of Meat Company
Liebig's Extract of Meat Company Trading
Whether there was a real Jabir in the 8th century or not, his name
would become the most famous in alchemy. He paved the way for most
of the later alchemists, including al-Kindi, al-Razi, al-Tughrai and
al-Iraqi, who lived in the 9th–13th centuries. His books strongly
influenced the medieval European alchemists and justified their
search for the philosopher's stone. In the Middle Ages,
Jabir's treatises on alchemy were translated into Latin and became
standard texts for European alchemists. These include the Kitab
al-Kimya (titled Book of the Composition of
Alchemy in Europe),
Robert of Chester (1144); and the Kitab al-Sab'een (Book
of Seventy) by
Gerard of Cremona
Gerard of Cremona (before 1187). Marcelin Berthelot
translated some of his books under the fanciful titles Book of the
Kingdom, Book of the Balances, and Book of Eastern Mercury. Several
technical Arabic terms introduced by Jabir, such as alkali, have found
their way into various European languages and have become part of
Max Meyerhoff states the following on Jabir ibn Hayyan: "His influence
may be traced throughout the whole historic course of European alchemy
The historian of chemistry Erick John Holmyard gives credit to Jabir
for developing alchemy into an experimental science and he writes that
Jabir's importance to the history of chemistry is equal to that of
Robert Boyle and Antoine Lavoisier. The historian Paul Kraus, who had
studied most of Jabir's extant works in Arabic and Latin, summarized
the importance of Jabir to the history of chemistry by comparing his
experimental and systematic works in chemistry with that of the
allegorical and unintelligible works of the ancient Greek
alchemists. The word gibberish is theorized to be derived from the
Latinised version off Jabir's name, in reference to the
incomprehensible technical jargon often used by alchemists, the most
famous of whom was Jabir. Other sources such as the Oxford English
Dictionary suggest the term stems from gibber; however, the first
known recorded use of the term "gibberish" was before the first known
recorded use of the word "gibber" (see Gibberish).
The Geber problem
The identity of the author of works attributed to Jabir has long been
discussed. According to a famous controversy, pseudo-Geber has
been considered as the unknown author of several books in Alchemy.
This was first independently suggested, on textual and other grounds,
by the 19th-century historians Hermann Kopp and Marcellin
Berthelot. Jabir, by reputation the greatest chemist of Islam, has
long been familiar to western readers under the name of Geber, which
is the medieval rendering of the Arabic Jabir, the Geber of the Middle
Ages. The works in Latin corpus were considered to be translations
until the studies of Kopp, Hoefer, Berthelot, and Lippman. Although
they reflect earlier Arabic alchemy they are not direct translations
of "Jabir" but are the work of a 13th-century Latin alchemist.
Eric Holmyard says in his book Makers of
There are, however, certain other Latin works, entitled The Sum of
Perfection, The Investigation of Perfection, The Invention of Verity,
The Book of Furnaces, and The Testament, which pass under his name but
of which no Arabic original is known. A problem which historians of
chemistry have not yet succeeded in solving is whether these works are
genuine or not.
However, by 1957 AD when he (Holmyard) wrote Alchemy. Courier Dover
Publications. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-486-26298-7. Holmyard had
abandoned the idea of an Arabic original. (although they are based on
"Islamic" alchemical theories)
The question at once arises whether the Latin works are genuine
translations from the Arabic, or written by a Latin author and,
according to common practice, ascribed to Jabir in order to heighten
their authority. That they are based on Muslim alchemical theory and
practice is not questioned, but the same may be said of most Latin
treatises on alchemy of that period; and from various turns of phrase
it seems likely that their author could read Arabic. But the general
style of the works is too clear and systematic to find a close
parallel in any of the known writings of the Jabirian corpus, and we
look in vain in them for any references to the characteristically
Jabirian ideas of "balance" and the alphabetic numerology. Indeed for
their age they have a remarkably matter of fact air about them, theory
being stated with a minimum of prolixity and much precise practical
detail being given. The general impression they convey is that they
are the product of an occidental rather than an oriental mind, and a
likely guess would be that they were written by a European scholar,
possibly in Moorish Spain. Whatever their origin, they became the
principal authorities in early Western alchemy and held that position
for two or three centuries.
The question of Pseudo-Gebers identity is still in dispute (1962).
It is said that Geber, the Latinized form of "Jabir," was adopted
presumably because of the great reputation of a supposed 8th-century
alchemist by the name of Jabir ibn Hayyan. About this historical
figure, however, there was considerable uncertainty a century ago,
and the uncertainty continues today. This is sometimes called the
"Geber-Jābir problem". It is possible that facts mentioned in the
Latin works, ascribed to Geber and dating from the twelfth century and
later, may be placed to Jabir's credit.
In 2005, the historian
Ahmad Y. Al-Hassan pointed out that earlier
Arabic texts prior to the 13th century, including the works of Jabir
and Al-Razi, already contained detailed descriptions of substances
such as nitric acid, aqua regia, vitriol, and various nitrates. In
2009, Al-Hassan criticized Berthelot's original hypothesis and, on
textual grounds, argued that the
Pseudo-Geber Corpus was originally
written in Arabic. Al-Hassan criticized Berthelot's lack of
familiarity with the complete Arabic corpus and pointed to various
Arabic Jabirian manuscripts which already contain much of the theories
and practices that Berthelot previously attributed to the Latin
corpus. Regardless of the identity of pseudo-Geber, the contents
Pseudo-Geber Corpus are mostly derived from earlier Arabic
alchemy, including the work of Jabir as well as other Arabic authors
such as Al-Razi.
The Latin corpus consists of books with an author named "Geber" for
which researchers have failed to find a text in Arabic. These books
were heavily influenced by Arabic books written by Jabir, the "real"
Geber, and by
Al Razi and others. They are available in Latin only,
date from about the year 1310, and their author is identified as
"Geber" or pseudo-Geber:
Summa perfectionis magisterii ("The Height of the Perfection of
Liber fornacum ("Book of Furnaces"),
De investigatione perfectionis ("On the Investigation of Perfection"),
De inventione veritatis ("On the Discovery of Truth").
The Liber fornacum, De investigatione perfectionis and De inventione
veritatis "are merely extracts from or summaries of the Summa
Perfectionis Magisterii with later additions." which may have been
compiled by later writers.
English translations of Jabir and the Pseudo-Geber
Syed Nomanul Haq, Names, Natures and Things: The Alchemists Jabir ibn
Hayyan and his Kitab al-Ahjar (Book of Stones), [Boston Studies in the
Philosophy of Science p. 158] (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic
Publishers, 1994), ISBN 0-7923-3254-7.
Donald Routledge Hill, 'The Literature of Arabic Alchemy' in Religion:
Learning and Science in the
Abbasid Period, ed. by M.J.L. Young, J.D.
Latham and R.B. Serjeant (Cambridge University Press, 1990)
pp. 328–341, esp. pp 333–5.
E. J. Holmyard (ed.) The Arabic Works of Jabir ibn Hayyan, translated
by Richard Russel in 1678. New York, E. P. Dutton (1928); Also Paris,
Geber and William R. Newman, The Summa Perfectionis of Pseudo-Geber: A
Critical Edition, Translation and Study ISBN 978-90-04-09464-2.
William R. Newman, New Light on the Identity of Geber, Sudhoffs
Archiv, 1985, Vol.69, pp. 76–90.
Geber is mentioned in Paulo Coelho's 1993 bestseller, The
Geber is mentioned in H.P. Lovecraft's novel The Case of Charles
Jabbir is said to be the creator of a (fictional) mystical chess set
in Katherine Neville's novels The Eight and The Fire.
In S.H.I.E.L.D, Jabir appears as the 8th century leader of the
Jabir is mentioned in the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory, in the
episode "The Guitarist Amplification".
Jabir Ibn Hayyan is mentioned in the graphic novel Habibi by Craig
Thompson, p. 253-254.
In the DC comic book title Demon Knights, the 11th century engineer
Al-Jabr appears to be based on Jabir Ibn Hayyan.
Jabir Ibn Hayyan is mentioned in Satyajit Ray's short stories of
Alchemy and chemistry in medieval Islam
List of Iranian scientists and scholars
Muhammad ibn Zakariya ar-Razi
Science in medieval Islam
^ Tus, V. Minorsky, The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol. X, ed. P.J.
Bearman, T. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs,
(Brill, 2000), 741.
^ Kraus, P. (1962). "Djābir B. Ḥayyān". Encyclopaedia of Islam. 2
(2nd ed.). Brill Academic Publishers. pp. 357–359. As for
Djābir's historic personality, Holmyard has suggested that his father
was "a certain Azdī called Hayyan, druggist of Kufa... mentioned...
in connection with the political machinations that were used by many
people, in the eighth century, finally resulted in the overthrow of
^ Holmyard, Eric John, "Introduction" to The Works of Geber,
translated by Richard Russell (London: Dent, 1928), p. vii: "Abu Musa
Jabir ibn Hayyan, generally known merely as Jabir, was the son of a
druggist belonging to the famous South Arabian tribe of Al-Azd.
Members of this tribe had settled at the town of Kufa, in Iraq,
shortly after the Muhammadan conquest in the seventh century A.D., and
it was in
Kufa that Hayyan the druggist lived."
^ a b
William R. Newman, Gehennical Fire: The Lives of George Starkey, an
American Alchemist in the Scientific Revolution, Harvard University
Press, 1994. p. 94: "According to traditional bio-bibliography of
Jabir ibn Hayyan
Jabir ibn Hayyan was a Persian alchemist who lived at some
time in the eighth century and wrote a wealth of books on virtually
every aspect of natural philosophy."
William R. Newman, "The Occult and Manifest Among the Alchemists", in
F. J. Ragep, Sally P Ragep, Steven John Livesey, Tradition,
Transmission, Transformation: Proceedings of Two Conferences on
pre-Modern science held at University of Oklahoma, Brill, 1996/1997,
p. 178: "This language of extracting the hidden nature formed an
important lemma for the extensive corpus associated with the Persian
alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan."
Henry Corbin, "The Voyage and the Messenger:
Iran and Philosophy",
translated by Joseph H. Rowe, North Atlantic Books, 1998. p. 45: "The
Nisba al-Azdin certainly does not necessarily indicate
Geber seems to have been a client (mawla) of the
Azd tribe established
Tamara M. Green, "The City of the Moon God: Religious Traditions of
Harran (Religions in the Graeco-Roman World)", Brill, 1992. p. 177:
"His most famous student was the Persian *
Jabir ibn Hayyan
Jabir ibn Hayyan (b. circa
721 C.E.), under whose name the vast corpus of alchemical writing
circulated in the medieval period in both the east and west, although
many of the works attributed to Jabir have been demonstrated to be
likely product of later Ismaili' tradition."
David Gordon White, "The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in
Medieval India", University of Chicago Press, 1996. p. 447
William R. Newman, Promethean Ambitions:
Alchemy and the Quest to
Perfect Nature, University of Chicago Press, 2004. p. 181: "The corpus
ascribed to the eighth-century Persian sage Jabir ibn Hayyan..."
Wilbur Applebaum, The Scientific revolution and the foundation of
modern science, Greenwood Press, 1995. p. 44: "The chief source of
Arabic alchemy was associated with the name, in its Latinized form, of
Geber, an eighth-century Persian."
Neil Kamil, Fortress of the Soul: Violence, Metaphysics, and Material
Life in the Huguenots New World, 1517–1751 (Early America: History,
Context, Culture), JHU Press, 2005. p. 182: "The ninth-century Persian
alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan, also known as Geber, is accurately called
pseudo-Geber since most of the works published under this name in the
West were forgeries."
Aleksandr Sergeevich Povarennykh, Crystal Chemical Classification of
Minerals, Plenum Press, 1972, v.1, ISBN 0-306-30348-5, p.4: "The
first to give separate consideration to minerals and other inorganic
substances were the following: The Persian alchemist Jabir (721–815)
George Sarton, Introduction to the History of Science, Pub. for the
Carnegie Institution of Washington, by the Williams & Wilkins
Company, 1931, vol.2 pt.1, page 1044: "Was Geber, as the name would
imply, the Persian alchemist Jabir ibn Haiyan?"
Dan Merkur, in The psychoanalytic study of society (eds. Bryce Boyer,
et al.), vol. 18, Routledge, ISBN 0-88163-161-2, page 352: "I
would note that the Persian alchemist
Jabir ibn Hayyan
Jabir ibn Hayyan developed the
theory that all metals consist of different 'balances' ..."
Anthony Gross, The Dissolution of the Lancastrian Kingship: Sir John
Fortescue and the Crisis of Monarchy in Fifteenth-century England,
Paul Watkins, 1996, ISBN 1-871615-90-9, p. 19: "Ever since the
Seventy Books attributed to the Persian alchemist Jabir Ibn Hayyan had
been translated into Latin ..."
^ a b "Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan". Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Retrieved 11 February 2008.
^ Derewenda, Zygmunt S. (2007), "On wine, chirality and
crystallography", Acta Crystallographica A, 64: 246–258 ,
^ John Warren (2005). "War and the Cultural Heritage of Iraq: a sadly
mismanaged affair", Third World Quarterly, Volume 26, Issue 4 & 5,
« Jabir Ibn Haiyan, known by the name of the alchemist Geber of
the Middle Ages, is generally known as the Father of
^ a b c d e Brabner, Tod (2005). "Jabir ibn Hayyam (Geber)". In Thomas
F. Glick; Steven John Livesey; Faith Wallis. Medieval Science,
Technology, and Medicine: An Encyclopedia. Psychology Press.
pp. 279–281. ISBN 978-0-415-96930-7.
^ Principe, Lawrence (2013). "2". The Secrets of Alchemy. Chicago:
University of Chicago. ISBN 0226682951. , « Jabir Ibn
Haiyan, known by the name of the alchemist Geber of the Middle Ages,
is generally known as the Father of Chemistry »
^ a b c d e Haq, Syed Nomanul (28 February 1995). Names, Natures and
Things: The Alchemist Jabir Ibn Hayyan and His Kitab Al-Ahjar (Book of
Stones). Springer. ISBN 978-0-7923-3254-1.
^ Paul Kraus "Dignitaires de la hierarchie religieuse selon Gabir ibn
Hayyan', Bulletin de l'Institut Francais d'Archeologie Orientale de
Caire (1942): 85.
^ Diana, Steigerwald (2015). Imamology in
Ismaili Gnosis. New Delhi
110 002: Manohar Publishers & Distributors. p. 141.
^ a b c d S.N. Nasr, "Life Sciences,
Alchemy and Medicine", The
Cambridge History of Iran, Cambridge, Volume 4, 1975, p. 412: "Jabir
is entitled in the traditional sources as al-Azdi, al-Kufi, al-Tusi,
al-Sufi. There is a debate as to whether he was a Persian from
Khorasan who later went to
Kufa or whether he was, as some have
suggested, of Syrian origin and later lived in Iran".
^ a b c d Holmyard, Eric John (1931). Makers of Chemistry. The
^ Richard Russell (1928). Holmyard, E.J., ed. The Works of Geber.
^ Henry Corbin, "The Voyage and the Messenger:
Iran and Philosophy",
Translated by Joseph H. Rowe, North Atlantic Books, 1998. p. 45: "The
Nisba al-Azdin certainly does not necessarily indicate
Geber seems to have been a client of the
Azd tribe established in
E. J. Holmyard (ed.) The Arabic Works of Jabir ibn Hayyan,
translated by Richard Russell in 1678. New York, E. P. Dutton (1928);
Also Paris, P. Geuther.
^ Haq, Syed N. (1994). Names, Natures and Things. Dordrecht, The
Netherlands: Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Volume 158/
Kluwar Academic Publishers. pp. 14–20.
^ a b "Iranica JAʿFAR AL-ṢĀDEQ iv. And Esoteric sciences".
Retrieved 11 June 2011. The historical relations between Jaʿfar
al-Ṣādeq and Jāber b. Ḥayyān remain very controversial, as they
are linked to still unresolved questions about dating, composition,
and authorship of the texts attributed to Jāber. Scholars such as
Julius Ruska, Paul Kraus, and
Pierre Lory consider Jaʿfar
al-Ṣādeq’s involvement in the transmission of alchemical
knowledge as a literary fiction, whereas Fuat Sezgin, Toufic Fahd, and
Nomanul Haq are rather inclined to accept the existence of alchemical
activity in Medina in Jaʿfar al-Ṣādeq’s time, although they
remain cautious regarding the authenticity of the attribution of the
Jaberian corpus to Jāber b. Ḥayyān and of the alchemical works to
Jaʿfar al-Ṣādeq (Ruska, 1924, pp. 40–52; idem, 1927, pp.
264–66; Kraus, I, pp. LV-LVII; Lory, pp. 14–21, 57–59, 101–7;
Sezgin, I, p. 529, IV, pp. 128–31; Fahd, 1970, pp. 139–41; Nomanul
Haq, pp. 3–47).
^ Josef W. Meri;
Jere L. Bacharach (2006). Medieval Islamic
Civilization. Taylor and Francis. p. 25.
^ Jabir Ibn Hayyan. Vol. 1. Le corpus des ecrits jabiriens. George
Olms Verlag, 1989
^ Paul Kraus, Jabir ibn Hayyan: Contribution à l'histoire des idées
scientifiques dans l'Islam, cited Robert Irwin, 'The long siesta' in
Times Literary Supplement, 25/1/2008 p.8
^ Syed Nomanul Haq, Names, Natures and Things: The Alchemist Jābir
ibn Hayyān and his Kitāb al-Ahjār (Book of Stones), Springer
Science & Business Media (2012), pp. 11-12
^ Julian, Franklyn, Dictionary of the Occult, Kessinger Publishing,
2003, ISBN 0-7661-2816-4, ISBN 978-0-7661-2816-3, p. 9.
^ a b KIMIĀ ("Alchemy"), Encyclopedia Iranica, Retrieved on 19
^ "History of Islamic Science" (PDF). University of Southern
California. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 October 2013.
^ Holmyard, E. J. (1931). Makers of Chemistry. Oxford: Clarendon
Press. pp. 57–8.
^ Norris, John (March 2006). "The Mineral Exhalation Theory of
Metallogenesis in Pre-Modern Mineral Science". Ambix. Society for the
Alchemy and Chemistry. 53: 43–65.
^ Georges C. Anawati, "Arabic alchemy", in R. Rashed (1996), The
Encyclopaedia of the History of Arabic Science, Vol. 3, p. 853-902
^ Schufle, J. A.; Thomas, George (Winter 1971). "Equivalent Weights
from Bergman's Data on Phlogiston Content of Metals". Isis. 62 (4):
^ a b Holmyard, E. J. (1931). Makers of Chemistry. Oxford: Clarendon
Press. p. 60.
^ a b Ansari, Farzana Latif; Qureshi, Rumana; Qureshi, Masood Latif
(1998). Electrocyclic reactions: from fundamentals to research.
Wiley-VCH. p. 2. ISBN 3-527-29755-3.
Will Durant (1980). The Age of Faith (The Story of Civilization,
Volume 4), p. 162-186. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-01200-2.
^ a b c Ḥusain, Muẓaffar. Islam's Contribution to Science. Page
Ismail al-Faruqi and
Lois Lamya al-Faruqi (1986), The Cultural Atlas
of Islam, p. 328, New York
^ a b Ahmad Y. Al-Hassan, Cultural contacts in building a universal
civilisation: Islamic contributions, published by O.I.C. Research
Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture in 2005 and available
online at History of Science and Technology in Islam
^ a b Forbes, Robert James (1970). A short history of the art of
distillation: from the beginnings up to the death of Cellier
Blumenthal. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-00617-1. Retrieved 26 June
Ahmad Y. al-Hassan (2001), Science and Technology in Islam:
Technology and applied sciences, pages 65-69, UNESCO
^ Hassan, Ahmad Y. "
Alcohol and the Distillation of Wine in Arabic
Sources". History of Science and Technology in Islam. Retrieved
^ The Economist: "Liquid fire - The Arabs discovered how to distil
alcohol. They still do it best, say some" December 18, 2003
^ Ragai, Jehane (1992). "The Philosopher's Stone:
Chemistry". Journal of Comparative Poetics. 12 (Metaphor and Allegory
in the Middle Ages): 58–77. doi:10.2307/521636.
^ Holmyard, E. J. (1924). "Maslama al-Majriti and the
Rutbatu'l-Hakim". Isis. 6 (3): 293–305. doi:10.1086/358238.
^ Kraus, Paul, Jâbir ibn Hayyân, Contribution à l'histoire des
idées scientifiques dans l'Islam. I. Le corpus des écrits
jâbiriens. II. Jâbir et la science grecque,. Cairo (1942–1943).
Repr. By Fuat Sezgin, (Natural Sciences in Islam. 67–68), Frankfurt.
^ gibberish, Grose 1811 Dictionary
^ Seaborg, Glenn T. (March 1980). "Our heritage of the elements".
Metallurgical and Materials Transactions B. Springer Boston. 11 (1):
5–19. Bibcode:1980MTB....11....5S. doi:10.1007/bf02657166.
^ Arthur John Hopkins,
Alchemy Child of Greek Philosophy, Published by
Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2007, ISBN 0-548-13547-9, p. 140
^ "Geber". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 9 December
^ Openness, Secrecy, Authorship: Technical Arts and the Culture of
Knowledge from Antiquity to the Renaissance By Pamela O. Long Edition:
illustrated Published by JHU Press, 2001 ISBN 0-8018-6606-5,
^ a b Hamed Abdel-reheem Ead. "
Alchemy in Islamic Times". Retrieved 23
^ Ihde, Aaron John (1 April 1984). The development of modern
chemistry. Courier Dover Publications. p. 16.
ISBN 978-0-486-64235-2. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
^ Makers of Chemistry, by Eric John Holmyard,... - Eric John Holmyard
- Google Boeken. Books.google.com. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
^ P. Crosland, Maurice, Historical Studies in the Language of
Chemistry, Courier Dover Publications, 2004 1962,
ISBN 0-486-43802-3, ISBN 978-0-486-43802-3, p. 15
^ Long, Pamela O. (2001). Openness, secrecy, authorship: technical
arts and the culture of knowledge from antiquity to the Renaissance.
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
^ Hugh Chisholm, ed. (1910). "Geber". Encyclopædia Britannica
Eleventh Edition (11th ed.). pp. 545–546.
^ An authoritative summary and analysis of current scholarship on this
question may be found in Lawrence M. Principe, The Secrets of Alchemy,
University of Chicago Press, 2013, pp. 33-45 and 54-58.
^ a b Ahmad Y. al-Hassan, Critical-Issues Studies in al-Kimya′:
Critical Issues in Latin and Arabic
Alchemy and Chemistry, published
as book by Olms in 2009 and as article by Centaurus journal in 2011.
Online versions are available at Geber Problem @ History of Science
and Technology in
Islam and at Scribd.
^ William R. Newman, The Summa Perfectionis of Pseudo-Geber. A
Critical Edition, Translation and Study, Leyde: E. J. Brill, 1991
(Collection de travaux de l'Académie Internationale d'Histoire des
^ Quote from
Marcellin Berthelot at 1911encyclopedia.org Archived 19
March 2007 at the Wayback Machine..
^ Coelho, Paulo. The Alchemist. ISBN 0-06-112241-6, p. 82.
^ S.H.I.E.L.D. v1 #3
Plessner, M. (2008) [1970–80]. "Jābir Ibn Hayyān". Complete
Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Encyclopedia.com.
Encarta Encyclopedia (Archived 2009-10-31)
Article at Famous Muslims
Article at Al Shindagah (includes an extract of Jabir's The Discovery
Online Galleries, History of Science Collections, University of
Oklahoma Libraries[dead link] High resolution images of works by
Jàbir ibn Hayyan in .jpg and .tiff format.
Alchemy and chemistry in medieval Islam
Khālid ibn Yazīd
Jābir ibn Hayyān
Abbas ibn Firnas
Ahmad ibn Yahya al-Baladhuri
Muhammed ibn Umail al-Tamimi
Abu Mansur Muwaffaq
Al-Mu'izz ibn Badis
Ahmad ibn 'Imad al-Din
Abu'l Hasan ibn Arfa Ra'a
Abu al-Abbas al-Nabati
Attar of Nishapur
Abul Ashba ibn Tammam
Medicine in the medieval Islamic world
Al-Harith ibn Kalada and his son
Abu Hafsa Yazid
Ibn Abi Ramtha al-Tamimi
Jabril ibn Bukhtishu
Jābir ibn Hayyān
Hunayn ibn Ishaq
Hunayn ibn Ishaq and his son
Yahya ibn Sarafyun
Shapur ibn Sahl
Yuhanna ibn Bukhtishu
Salmawaih ibn Bunan
Qusta ibn Luqa
Abu ul-Ala Shirazi
Abul Hasan al-Tabari
Abu Zayd al-Balkhi
Isaac Israeli ben Solomon
Al-Tamimi, the physician
Ibn Abi al-Ashʿath
Ibrahim ibn Baks
Abu al-Qasim Muqane'i
Abu Bakr Bokhari
Abu 'Ubayd al-Juzjani
Ali ibn Ridwan
Ephraim ibn al-Za'faran
Abdollah ibn Bukhtishu
Ibn Abi Sadiq
Ali ibn Isa al-Kahhal
Abu al-Bayan ibn al-Mudawwar
Ahmad ibn Farrokh
Zayn al-Din Gorgani
Serapion the Younger
Ya'qub ibn Ishaq al-Israili
Ibn Abi al-Hakam
Amin al-Din Rashid al-Din Vatvat
Abraham ben Moses ben Maimon
Da'ud Abu al-Fadl
Ibn Abi Usaibia
Joseph ben Judah of Ceuta
Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi
Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi
Muhammad ibn Mahmud Amuli
Mansur ibn Ilyas
Mas‘ud ibn Muhammad Sijzi
Najm al-Din al-Shirazi
Abu Sa'id al-Afif
Muhammad Ali Astarabadi
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Thaleb
Abul Qasim ibn Mohammed al-Ghassani
Taqi ad-Din Muhammad ibn Ma'ruf
Sultan Ali Khorasani
The Canon of Medicine
Anatomy Charts of the Arabs
The Book of Healing
Book of the Ten Treatises of the Eye
Kamel al-Sanaat al-Tibbyya
Commentary on Anatomy in Avicenna's Canon
Nur al-Din Bimaristan
Ancient Greek medicine
Ibn Sina Academy of Medieval Medicine and Sciences
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