Little is known about his life. Confusion exists over the identity of al-Jayyānī of the same name mentioned by ibn Bashkuwal (died 1183), Qur'anic scholar, Arabic Philologist, and expert in inheritance laws (farāʾiḍī). It is unknown whether they are the same person.
Al-Jayyānī wrote The book of unknown arcs of a sphere, which is considered "the first treatise on spherical trigonometry" in its modern form,[not in citation given] although spherical trigonometry in its ancient Hellenistic form was dealt with by earlier mathematicians such as Menelaus of Alexandria, who developed Menelaus' theorem to deal with spherical problems. However, E. S. Kennedy points out that while it was possible in pre-lslamic mathematics to compute the magnitudes of a spherical figure, in principle, by use of the table of chords and Menelaus' theorem, the application of the theorem to spherical problems was very difficult in practice. Al-Jayyānī's work on spherical trigonometry "contains formulae for right-handed triangles, the general law of sines, and the solution of a spherical triangle by means of the polar triangle." This treatise later had a "strong influence on European mathematics", and his "definition of ratios as numbers" and "method of solving a spherical triangle when all sides are unknown" are likely to have influenced Regiomontanus.
^Kennedy, E. S. (1969), "The History of Trigonometry", 31st Yearbook (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Washington, D.C.): 337 (cf.Haq, Syed Nomanul, The Indian and Persian background, p. 68, in Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Oliver Leaman (1996), History of Islamic Philosophy, Routledge, pp. 52–70, ISBN0-415-13159-6)