• David A. King
Reference work entry

Al‐Khalīlī, Shams al‐Dīn Abū ˓Abdallāh Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad, lived in Damascus, ca. 1365. He was an astronomer associated with the Umayyad Mosque in the centre of Damascus. A colleague of the astronomer Ibn al‐Shāṭir, he was also a muwaqqit – that is, an astronomer concerned with ˓ilm al‐mīqāt, the science of timekeeping by the sun and stars and regulating the astronomically defined times of Muslim prayer. Al‐Khalīlī's major work, which represents the culmination of the medieval Islamic achievement in the mathematical solution of the problems of spherical astronomy, was a set of tables for astronomical timekeeping. Some of these tables were used in Damascus until the nineteenth century, and they were also used in Cairo and Istanbul for several centuries. The main sets of tables survive in numerous manuscripts, but they were not investigated until the 1970s.

Al‐Khalīlī's tables can be categorized as follows:
  • Tables for reckoning time by the sun, for the latitude of Damascus

  • Tables for...

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Primary sources

  1. MS Paris B.N. ar. 2558, copied in 1408 (contains all of the tables in al‐Khalīlī's major set).Google Scholar

Secondary sources

  1. King, David A. Al‐Khalīlī's Auxiliary Tables for Solving Problems of Spherical Astronomy. Journal for the History of Astronomy 4 (1973): 99–110. Rpt. in David A. King. Islamic Mathematical Astronomy. London: Variorum, 1986, 2nd rev. ed., Aldershot: Variorum, 1993, XI.Google Scholar
  2. ‐‐‐. Al‐Khalīlī's Qibla Table. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 34 (1975): 81–122. Rpt. in Islamic Mathematical Astronomy. London: Variorum, 1986, 2nd rev. ed., Aldershot: Variorum, 1993, XIII.Google Scholar
  3. ‐‐‐. al‐Khalīlī. Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Vol. 15. Ed. Charles C. Gillispie. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1978. 259–61.Google Scholar
  4. ‐‐‐. The Astronomy of the Mamluks. Isis 74 (1983): 531–55. Rpt. in Islamic Mathematical Astronomy. London: Variorum, 2nd rev. ed., Aldershot: Variorum, 1993, III.Google Scholar
  5. ‐‐‐. L'astronomie en Syrie à l'époque islamique. Syrie—mémoire et civilisation. Ed. S. Cluzan et al. Paris: Institut du Monde Arabe, 1993. 392–4 and 440.Google Scholar
  6. ‐‐‐. In Synchrony with the Heavens: Studies in Astronomical Timekeeping and Instrumentation in Medieval Islamic Civilization. Vol. 1. The Call of the Muezzin (Studies I–IX). Leiden: Brill, 2004; Vol. 2: Instruments of Mass Calculation (Studies X–XVIII). Leiden: Brill, 2005, especially I‐9.4.5 and II‐9–10.Google Scholar
  7. Van Brummelen, Glen. The Numerical Structure of al‐Khalīlī's Auxiliary Tables. Physis‐Rivista Internazionale di Storia della Scienza, N.S., 28 (1991): 667–97.Google Scholar

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • David A. King

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