Several scholars have investigated and commented on this edition:
“In my opinion the published edition of Kitāb al-Filāḥa by Abū ’l-Khayr al-Ishbīlī is the work of a plagiarist. This is because the texts that appear in the book are not related. I have compared the passages quoted by Ibn al-‘Awwām in his book Al-Filāḥa fi’l Arḍayn, and those transmitted by Abū ’l-Khayr al-Ishbīlī in Kitāb Miftāḥ al-Rāḥat li-Ahl al-Filāḥa, with this published version of Abū ’l-Khayr’s Kitāb al-Filāḥa but there is no correspondence between them in meaning, style or method. This printed version of Kitāb al-Filāḥa attributed to Abū ’l-Khayr al-Ishbīlī al-Andalusī was published in Fez, Morocco in 1357/1358 AH by al-Qāḍi Tuhāmī al-Nāṣirī al-Ja‘farī and edited by Muḥammad ibn ‘Abd al-Malik al-Rasmūkī. The two [Jordanian] scholars, Ṣalāḥ Jarār and Jābir Abū Ṣufiya, in examining Kitāb al-Muqni‘ fī ‘l-Filāḥa, make the following comment concerning Abū ’l-Khayr’s work: “It becomes apparent on examination of the text of Kitāb al Filāḥa attributed to Abū ’l-Khayr that it is made up of two parts. The first, pages 2-84, and the second, pages 85-192. The second part is taken from the work of Al-Ṭaghzīm, Zahr al-Bustān, as the introduction is the same as the introduction to Zahr al-Bustān (1-11), while the rest of the printed edition is citations of sections of this book, although there are disparities, with some sections being put earlier or later, and precision is weak. In this part it is intimated (on page 99) that the author was studying under Abū Al-Ḥasan Shihāb in 494 AH. This is mentioned also in the manuscript of Zahr al-Bustān (page 68). As for the first part of the work attributed to Abū ’l-Khayr, (pages 2-82), despite some alterations, it is the same as pages 1-78 of Kitāb al-Muqni‘ fi ‘l-Filāḥa by Abū ‘Amr ibn Ḥajjāj al-Ishbīlī. This needs further investigation”.
(translated from Ṣālihīyya, M. ‘I. (1984). ‘Mulāḥazāt ‘alā makhṭūṭāt al-filāḥa: al-taṭbīqīya al-maḥfūza fī ‘l-maktabāt al-‘arabīya wa’l-ajnabīya’. Majallāt Mujma‘ al-Lugha al-‘Arabīya (Revue de l'Académie Arabe de Damas) 59 (3), pp. 580‑586).
“This published edition of Andalusian agricultural texts1, discovered by E. García Gómez in Morocco2, has led to various errors in authorship: first, because it is attributed solely to Abū ’l-Khayr when it is really a miscellaneous work; and second, because it was published at a time when Millás Villacrosa [a pioneer in the field] had just begun his study of Andalusian agronomy based solely on the Spanish translation of Ibn Wāfid, of which the original Arab work was unknown but which was subsequently found to be one of the fragments contained in this edition.
It has 217 pages, not numbered, preceded by some introductory words by the editor and corrector of the edition, Muḥammad b. ‘Abd al-Malik al-Rasmūkī, and followed by a prologue. The origin of the manuscript and name of the copyist are not given. It contains the following texts, all incomplete:
There are different opinions about the authorship of the already cited anonymous prologue (pp. alif-ṭā’): E. F. García Gómez believes it is the work of the above editor3, and though Millás does not explicitly say so he seems to corroborate this. Another hypothesis, with which we identify, is that proposed by B. Attié4, for whom the prologue was written by Al-Ṭighnarī or by the author of the summary of his treatise, Ibn Ḥamdūn al-Ishbīlī, due to the fact that these pages correspond to the beginning of the Kitāb zuhrat al-bustān of the Granadan author Al-Ṭighnarī.
Following the prologue is another front cover, as if the work originally started here, and then comes the Ibn Wāfīd treatise (pp. 2-82).The two following pages (83-84), incomplete and with an explicit in the name of Abū’l-Khayr, are of unknown authorship according to E. García Góme 5, and by Abū’l-Khayr or Ibn Hajjāj according to B. Attié6. They really belong to Abū’l-Khayr as confirmed by J. M. Carabaza7. In the following pages (85-144), after a new basmala and taṣliya, there are some extensive passages of the summary of Al-Ṭighnarī’s work, about which there is complete agreement.
After the phrase “wa-min kitāb Abī’l-Khayr” found on page 1448, which may have been the reason for attributing the complete codex to this Sevillian author, there are some passages that definitely belong to him (pp. 144-174), as recognized by J. M Millás and later confirmed by B. Attié and others.
Preserving an apparent continuity with the preceding text, the phrase “min kitāb al-Filāḥa al-Nabaṭiyya” occurs on page 174, with an explicit on page 192 marking the end of the content. These pages contain loose and summarized passages of the Nabataean Agriculture, which could have been taken from the Andalusian authors— Al-Ṭighnarī or Ibn al-‘Awwām—who frequently used this source. For J. M. Millás, these pages are also from Abū ’l-Khayr9.
Page 193 – which has a table showing the equivalent names of the Byzantine, Syriac and Coptic months – to page 201 are by M. Al-Rasmūkī and contain the indices of the book. They are followed by others (202-12) which include an errata sheet.
Finally, as an appendix, possibly by the editor, there are some rules and practices drawn from different Andalusi, or more specifically, Sevillian, agronomists as reflected by their nisba(s): “Azhār al-bustān wa-nuzhat al-aḍhān of al-Ishbīlī” (namely, of Al-Ṭighnarī), “Kitab barābir (sic) al-‘Awwām al-Ishbīlī fī filāha”, “al-Dīwān fī filāḥat al-arḍ wa’l-ḥayawān of Abū’l Ḥusayn Yaḥya Ibn Muḥammad al-‘Awwām al-Ḥaḍrāmī al-Ishbīlī”, the latter unknown, although some elements in the name match those of Ibn al-‘Awwām.”
(translated from Carabaza, J. M. & García Sánchez, E. (1998). ‘Códices Misceláneos de Agronomía Andalusí’. Al‑Qantara 19, pp. 409-411)
|1||Abū al-Khayr Al-Ishbīlī, 1938. Kitāb fī al-Filāḥa. Fez: Sīdī al-Tuhāmī al-Nāṣirī al-Ja‘farī.|
|2||García Gómez, E. (1945). ‘Sobre la agricultura arábigoandaluza: Cuestiones bibliográficas’. Al‑Andalus 10, pp.127-146.|
|3||ibid, p. 127.|
|4||Attié, B. (1982). ‘L’ordre chronologique probable des sources directes d’Ibn al-‘Awwām’. Al‑Qantara 3, p. 311.|
|5||García Gómez, E. (1945). ‘Sobre agricultura…’, p. 132. The professor was not able to identify in this paper the different authors’ works contained in the Fez edition because when this was published only the treatise of Ibn al-‘Awwam and the Castilian translation of Ibn Wāfīd were known.|
|6||Attié, B. (1982). ‘L’Ordre chronologique…’, p. 307 and 312.|
|7||Abū al-Khayr (1991). Kitāb al-Filāḥa: Tratado de Agricultura. Ed. J.M. Carabaza Bravo. Madrid, p. 28.|
|8||This phrase is also encountered in folio 23v of the miscellaneous manuscript of M. ‘Azīmān.|
|9||Millás Vallicrosa, J.M. (1954). ‘Sobre bibliografía agronómica hispanoárabe’. Al-Andalus XIX, pp. 139-40.|