Ibn al-Banna' al-Marrakushi

Ibn al‐Bannāʾ al‐Marrākushī (Arabic: ابن البناء المراكشي), full name: Abu'l-Abbas Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Uthman al-Azdi al-Marrakushi (Arabic: أبو العباس أحمد بن محمد بن عثمان الأزدي) (29 December 1256 – 31 July 1321), was a Marrakshi polymath who was active as a mathematician, astronomer, Islamic scholar, Sufi and astrologer.[3][4]

Ibn al‐Bannāʾ al‐Marrākushī
Born29 or 30 December 1256
Died31 July 1321
Academic background
InfluencesAl-Zarqali, Ibn Ishaq al-Tunisi
Academic work
EraIslamic Golden Age
Main interestsMathematics, astronomy


Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Uthman was born in the Qa'at Ibn Nahid Quarter of Marrakesh on 29 or 30 December 1256.[2][3] His nisba al-Marrakushi is in relation to his birth and death in his hometown Marrakesh. His father was a mason thus the kunya Ibn al-Banna' (lit. the son of the mason).[5]

Ibn al-Banna' studied a variety of subjects under at least 17 masters: Quran under the Qari's Muhammad ibn al-bashir and shaykh al-Ahdab. ʻilm al-ḥadīth under qadi al-Jama'a (chief judge) of Fez َAbu al-Hajjaj Yusuf ibn Ahmad ibn Hakam al-Tujibi, Abu Yusuf Ya'qub ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Jazuli and Abu abd allah ibn. Fiqh and Usul al-Fiqh under Abu Imran Musa ibn Abi Ali az-Zanati al-Marrakushi and Abu al-Hasan Muhammad ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Maghili who taugh him al-Juwayni's Kitab al-Irsahd. He also studied Arabic grammar under Abu Ishaq Ibrahim ibn Abd as-Salam as-Sanhaji and Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Yahya as-sharif al-marrakushi who also taugh him Euclid’s Elements. ʿArūḍ and ʿilm al-farāʾiḍ under Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Idris ibn Malik al-Quda'i al-Qallusi. Arithmetic under Muhammad ibn Ali, known as Ibn Ḥajala. Ibn al-Banna' also studied astronomy under Abu 'Abdallah Muhammad ibn Makhluf as-Sijilmassi. He also studied medecine under al-Mirrīkh.[6][7]

He is known to have attached himself to the founder of the Hazmiriyya zawiya and sufi saint of Aghmat, Abu Zayd Abd al-Rahman al-Hazmiri, who guided his arithmetic skills toward divinational predictions.[4]

Ibn al-Banna' taught classes in Marrakesh and some of his students were: Abd al-Aziz ibn Ali al-Hawari al-Misrati (d.1344), Abd al-Rahman ibn Sulayman al-Laja'i (d. 1369) and Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Ibrahim al-Abli (d. 1356).[8]

He died at Marrakesh on 31 July 1321.[4]


Ibn al-Banna' wrote over 100 works encompassing such varied topics as Astronomy, Astrology, the division of inheritances, Linguistics, Logic, Mathematics, Meteorology, Rhetoric, Tafsir, Usūl al-Dīn and Usul al-Fiqh.[8] One of his works, called Talkhīṣ ʿamal al-ḥisāb (Arabic: تلخيص أعمال الحساب) (Summary of arithmetical operations), includes topics such as fractions and sums of squares and cubes. Another, called Tanbīh al-Albāb,[9] covers topics related to:

  • calculations regarding the drop in irrigation canal levels,
  • arithmetical explanation of the Muslim laws of inheritance
  • determination of the hour of the Asr prayer,
  • explanation of frauds linked to instruments of measurement,
  • enumeration of delayed prayers which have to be said in a precise order, and
  • calculation of legal tax in the case of a delayed payment

He also wrote an introduction to Euclid's Elements.[10]

He also wrote Rafʿ al-Ḥijāb 'an Wujuh A'mal al-Hisab (Lifting the Veil from Faces of the Workings of Calculations) which covered topics such as computing square roots of a number and the theory of continued fractions.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Calvo 2008, p. 1088.
  2. ^ a b Samsó 2007, p. 551.
  3. ^ a b Oaks 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Suter & Bencheneb 1986, p. 731.
  5. ^ Cherkaoui 1992, p. 1470.
  6. ^ Cherkaoui 1992, p. 1470-1471.
  7. ^ Searns 2012, pp. 116–117.
  8. ^ a b Searns 2012, p. 117.
  9. ^ A Djebbar: Mathematics in medieval Maghreb; AMUCHMA-Newsletter 15; Universidade Pedagógico (UP), Maputo (Mozambique), 15.9.1995.
  10. ^ a b Sarton 1931, p. 998.