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The Chapter on Rasāyana (Medications for Rejuvenation) in Miʿrāj al-duʿāʾ, a Shiʿite Text from the 12th/18th Century

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image of Intellectual History of the Islamicate World

Miʿrāj al-duʿāʾ wa-mirʾāt al-dawāʾ (“The Ascent of Prayer and the Mirror of Medication”) by Muḥammad ʿAlī al-Qazwīnī, a Shiʿite presumably working in eastern Iraq in the eighteenth century, gathers information on methods for rejuvenation and longevity from different traditions: traditional Islamic (mainly Shiʿite), Greek, and Indian. The last of these are a set of recipes for rasayanas, herbal and chemical recipes drawn from Indian sources. Though some rasayanas are mentioned in earlier Arabic treatises, the collection displayed in Miʿrāj al-duʿāʾ is by far the most extensive. Hardly any are mentioned in earlier Arabic texts. Miʿrāj al-duʿāʾ, then, contributes an important chapter to the ongoing interchange between India and the eastern Islamic world. Unlike the majority of treatises which deal with India, it is written in Arabic rather than Persian, though not a few loan words are employed. I present here an edition, translation, and analysis of the relevant chapter.

Affiliations: 1: Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel


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