Purpose and Background of Study
This chapter introduces Quṭb al-Dīn Shīrāzī, 1235–1311 C.E., an important scientist of medieval Persia, and his involvement with hay’a – a productive genre of astronomical research in medieval Islam. Relying on Aristotelian and Ptolemaic concepts, the hay’a researchers of Islam were engaged in a persistent effort to rid Ptolemaic astronomy of its many perceived flaws. Working in the second half of the thirteenth century C.E., Shīrāzī benefited from the groundbreaking hay’a research of two of his teachers, Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī (1201–1274 C.E.) and Mu’ayyid al-Dīn al-ʻUrḍī (d. 1266 C.E.). This chapter presents an outline for the book in its entirety, and lists the historical sources on the lives and scientific work of Shīrāzī, Ṭūsī, and al-ʻUrḍī that form the basis for the study.