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Mu'ayyad al-Din Abu Isma‘il al-Husayn ibn Ali al-Tughra'i (Persian: اسماعیل طغرایی اسپهانی‎) (1061 – c 1121) was an 11th–12th century Persian physician.[1]

Mu'ayyad al-Din al-Tughra'i, was born in Isfahan in 1061CE, and was an important alchemist, poet, and administrative secretary (therefore the name Tughra'i'). He ultimately became the second most senior official (after the vizier) in the civil administration of the Seljuki empire.

He was, however, executed unjustifiably, according to most historians in the year 1121. He had been appointed Vizir to Emir Ghiyat-ul-Din Mas'ud, and upon the death of the Emir a power struggle ensued between his sons. al-Tughra'i sided with the Emir's elder son, but the younger prevailed. In retribution, the younger son accused al-Tughra'i of heresy and had him beheaded.[1]

He was a well-known and prolific writer on astrology and alchemy, and many of his poems (diwan) are preserved today as well. In the field of alchemy, al-Tughra'i is best known for his large compendium titled Mafatih al-rahmah wa-masabih al-hikmah, which incorporated extensive extracts from earlier Arabic alchemical writings, as well as Arabic translations from Zosimos of Panopolis old alchemy treatises written in Greek, which were until 1995 erroneously attributed to unknown alchemists by mistakes and inconsistencies in the transliteration and transcription of his name into Arabic.[2]

In 1112CE, he also composed Kitab Haqa'iq al-istishhad, a rebuttal of a refutation of the occult in alchemy written by Ibn Sina.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b El Khadem, H. S. (1995). "A Lost Text By Zosimos Reproduced in an Old Alchemy Book". Journal of Chemical Education 72 (9): 774. doi:10.1021/ed072p774. 
  2. ^ El Khadem, H. S. (September 1996). "A Translation of a Zosimos' Text in an Arabic Alchemy Book" (PDF). Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 84 (3): 168–178. 

Further reading[edit]

For his life, see:

  • F.C. de Blois, 'al-Tughra'i' in The Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd edition, ed. by H.A.R. Gibbs, B. Lewis, Ch. Pellat, C. Bosworth et al., 11 vols. (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1960–2002), vol. 10, pp 599–600.

For a list of his alchemical writings, see:

  • Manfred Ullmann, Die Natur- und Geheimwissenschaften im Islam, Handbuch der Orientalistik, Abteilung I, Ergänzungsband VI, Abschnitt 2 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1972), pp 229–231 and 252–3.