Nastas Ibn Jurayj


A tenth-century Christian physician of Egypt. The Arabic sources do not make it clear whether he was a Copt or a Melchite. However, Schacht and Meyerhof (1937, p. 137, 12) and M. Ullmann (1970, p. 138) state that he was a Copt. P. Sbath (1940) calls him a “Coptic monk,” which is impossible unless he became a monk after becoming a widower, since he had a famous grandson, Ishaq ibn Ibrahim ibn Nastas.

Nastas lived at the time of al-Ikhshid Muhammad ibn Tughj (A.H. 935-946), just before the arrival of the Fatimids. He was primarily famous for his knowledge of urology. He passed on the medical tradition to his family, and his grandson ISHAQ IBN IBRAHIM IBN NASTAS became the personal doctor of BI-AMR ILLAH (996-1021).

Nastas corresponded about medical matters with the famous Christian physician of Cordoba, Khalid ibn Yazid ibn Ruman al- Nasrani. Concerning this physician, see the of physicians by Ibn Juljul (1955, p. 96), a work composed in 987. Nastas’s Risalah fi kayfiyyat al-istidlal bi-al-bawl ‘ala ahwal al-shakhs wa-amradih (Epistle on How to Know the Situation and Sicknesses of a Person, on the Basis of his Urine) is preserved at in two manuscripts (Dar al-Kutub, Taymur, Riyadiyyat 139, seventeenth century, fols. 1b-4a; and a manuscript belonging to Dimitri Qandalaft, a Orthodox shopkeeper, dated 1347, Sbath, 1940, p. 32, no. 2695).

Nastas also composed a Collection of Drugs that is preserved in a manuscript dated 1347 belonging to Dimitri Qandalaft (Sbath, 1940, p. 31, no. 2694).


  • Abu Dawud ibn Juljul al-Andalusi. Les Génerations des medécins et des sages, ed. Fu’ad Sayyid. Cairo, 1955.
  • Sbath, P. Al-Fihris (Catalogue de manuscrits arabes), Supplement. Cairo, 1940.
  • Schacht, J., and M. Meyerhof. The Medico-Philosophical Controversy between Ibn Butlan of Baghdad and Ibn Ridwan of Cairo. Cairo, 1937.
  • Sezgin, F., ed. Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, Vol. 3, p. 303. Leiden, 1970.
  • Ullmann, M. Die Medizin im Islam. Leiden and Cologne, 1970.