Masha'allah ibn Atharī
(c.740-d.815 AD) was an eighth century Persian Jewish astrologer and astronomer
from the city of Basra (now located
in modern day Iraq) who became
the leading astrologer of the late 8th century.
phrase ma sha`a allah
acceptance of what God has ordained in terms of good or ill fortune
that may befall a believer. His name is usually Latinized
. The crater Messala on the
Moon is named after him.
As a young
man he participated in the founding of Baghdad in 762 by
working with a group of astrologers led by Naubakht the Persian to pick an electional horoscope for the founding of the city.
wrote over twenty works on astrology, which became authoritative in
later centuries at first in the Middle East, and then in the West
when horoscopic astrology
transmitted back to Europe beginning in the 12th century.
Mashallah wrote works on Astral sympathies
known as astrology
. The task of
astrologers such as him and Naubakht
optimize such influences.
His real name was probably Manasseh
and Latin translators named him Messahala (with many variants, as
). He flourished under the
, and became one of the
earliest astronomers and astrologers of the Islamic era. Science
historian Donald Hill writes that Mashallah was originally from
Of his over 20 works, few remain. Only one of his writings is still
extant in its original Arabic, but there are many medieval Latin,
Byzantine Greek and Hebrew translations. One of his most
popular books in the Middle Ages was the De scientia motus
orbis, translated by Gherardo
Cremonese (Gerard of Cremona).
Mashallah's treatise De mercibus
the oldest extant scientific work in Arabic.
He also wrote treatises on Astrolabes
. The De scientia motus orbis
probably the treatise called in Arabic "the twenty-seventh,"
printed in Nuremberg in 1501, 1549. The second edition, De
elementis et orbibus coelestibus
, contains 27 chapters. The
De compositione et utilitate astrolabii
was included in
(ed. pr., Freiburg, 1503; Suter says the text is
included in the Basel edition of 1583). Other astronomical and
astrological writings are quoted by Suter and Steinsehneider.
An Irish astronomical tract also exists based in part on a medieval
Latin version. Edited with preface, translation, and glossary, by
Afaula Power (Irish Texts Society, vol. 14, 194 p., 1914). The
notable 12th century scholar and astrologer Abraham ibn Ezra
translated two of
Mashallah's astrological treatises into Hebrew: She'elot
(Steinschneider, "Hebr. Uebers." pp. 600-603).
is available in English: On Reception, translated by
Robert Hand from the Latin edition by
Joachim Heller of Nuremberg in 1549.
BIBLIOTHECA ASTROLOGICA NUMERICA 
- De cogitatione
- Epistola in rebus eclipsis
- De revolutionibus annorum mundi
- De significationibus planetarum in nativitate
- Liber receptioni
- Works of Sahl and Masha'allah, trans. Benjamin Dykes,
Cazimi Press, Golden Valley, MN, 2008.
- Masha'allah, On Reception, trans. Robert Hand, ARHAT
Publications, Reston, VA, 1998.
- Islam and Science, by M. H. Syed, p. 212
- David Pingree: "Māshā'allāh", Dictionary of Scientific
Biography 9 (1974), 159-162.
- Donald R. Hill. Islamic Science and Engineering, 1994.
p10. ISBN 0-7486-0457-X
- David Pingree: "Māshā'allāh: Greek, Pahlavī, Arabic, and Latin
Astrology", in Perspectives arabes et médiévales sur la tradition
scientifique et philosophique grecque. Orientalia Lovaniensia
Analecta 79. Leuven-Paris 1997. 123-136.
- Lynn Thorndike: "The Latin Translations of Astrological Works
by Messahala", Osiris 12 (1956), 49-72.
- David Pingree: "The Byzantine Translations of Māshā'allāh on
Interrogational Astrology", in The Occult Sciences in Byzantium.
Ed. Paul Magdalino, Maria V. Mavroudi. Geneva 2006. 231-243.
- David Pingree: "From Alexandria to Baghdād to Byzantium: The
Transmission of Astrology", International Journal of the Classical
Tradition, Summer 2001, 3-37.
- Durant, Will
(1950). The Age of Faith: A History of Medieval Civilization -
Christian, Islamic, and Judaic - from Constantine to Dante A.D.
325-1300, p. 403. New York: Simon and Schuster
- Robert Hand [translator]. On Reception by Masha'allah.
ARHAT (Archive for the Retrieval of Historical Astrological Texts),
- Jewish Encyclopedia - Mashallah
- James Holden, A History of Horoscopic Astrology,
American Federation of Astrologers, Tempe, AZ, 1996. ISBN
0-86690-463-8 Pgs. 104-107
- "An Irish Astronomical Tract" translates by unknow, Two-thirds
of the tract are part paraphrase and part translation of a Latin
version of an Arabic treatise by Messahalah. University College of
Cork in Ireland (Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh)