This volume deals with the determination of the times of Muslim prayer and the direction towards the Kaaba in Mecca (Arabic qibla) in a little known astronomical tradition of the Islamic Middle Ages. It presents an edition, translation, and explanation of selected chapters from three of the most important folk astronomical treatises, written by al-Aṣbaḥī (Yemen, 13th c.), Ibn Raḥīq (Hejaz, 11th c.), and al-Fārisī (Yemen, 13th c.).
The first part introduces the authors and their works and describes the relevant religious and astronomical background. The second part comprises the edition of the selected – and now for the first time published – chapters of the three works and a German translation. The third part contains a lexicographical survey with basic astronomical, religious, and related information, and a commentary on each chapter. The fourth part gives an overview of the topics dicussed.
Petra G. Schmidl is Research Assistant at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt. After studying history, ethnology, physics, and history of science, her major research interests are in the field of astronomy in medieval Islamic culture, folk astronomy and astronomical instrumentation in East and West.
"Schmidl's two volumes are an important contribution to the widespread use of astronomical and calendrical methods for satisfying the needs of Islamic rituals and practices, especially determining prayer times and the direction of Mecca."
Daniel Marin Varisco in Bibliotheca Orientalis 68.5-6 (2011), 626-628."
All those interested in the history of astronomy, especially in the Islamic Middle Ages, and the relations between Islam and astronomy, scholars of Arabic and Islamic Studies, as well as historians of science and archaeoastronomers.