The Kitab al tafhim li awa'il sina'at al tanjim,
the Book of Instructions in the Elements of the Art of Astrology, often known
as the Tafhim, was written in 1029 and thus is not an example of Renaissance astrology.
Nevertheless, this book by the famous Islamic scientist
Al-Biruni provides an excellent
overview of the mathematics, astronomy and astrology of the advanced Islamic civilization
of the Middle Ages.
It was this "New Science", imported into Europe in the
11th and 12th centuries, that
formed the basis of the astrology practiced in the Renaissance. Despite a certain
trend towards both innovation and return to Greek and Roman sources, Renaissance
astrology is essentially Islamic astrology. Those familiar with medieval and
Renaissance astrology will note some interesting idiosyncrasies in Al-Biruni's
assignment of items to various houses.
Selections from Abu'l-Rayhan Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Al-Biruni's
Book of Instructions in the Elements of the Art of Astrology
Asking horary questions, important public matters,
nobility, advancement in rank, witchcraft and spells.
Examining the querent, lending and borrowing,
counting friends, arrival of
stranger, enemies or friends, mandate of emir, winds when they blow.
Secrets and news and commentaries, well-born ladies,
journeys by water.
Old and hidden things, treasures, thieves'
hiding-places , schools, fortresses,
fetters, dismissal from office, opening abscesses, lancing and cautery, stepfather, prison.
Messengers, right guidance, bribery, rectitude, distant places, poor harvests,
securing the wealth of the ancients, feasts, food and drink.
Lost and escaped, some lost trifle which
does not turn up, affairs of women and
eunuchs, suspicion, hatred, calumny, violence, dissipation, deceit, terrors, prison,
enemy, poverty, moving from place to place.
Kings, notables, judges, the celebrated in all
classes, amir and his conduct in office, things newly legitimized, wine, step-mother.
The treasury of the sultan, its officials,
trouble in the office, foreigner's
child, servant's child, (read 'abd) things which are sound, beautiful, advantageous,
the beginnings of affairs, friendship of the great, bribery, food.
Fugitives, writers, those who neglect devotion,
a precious gem, prisoners,
the matter which preceded the question, property of oppressors, thieves,
lost property, scorn, envy and fraud.