25. The science of agriculture. 733 



This craft is a branch of physics. It concerns the study of the cultivation and growth of plants through irrigation, proper treatment, improvement of the soil, 734 (observance of) the suitable season, and the care for them by applying these things in a way that will benefit them and help them to grow.

The ancients were very much concerned with agriculture. Their study of agriculture was general. They considered the plants both from the point of view of planting and cultivation and from the point of view of their properties, their spirituality, and the relationship of (their spirituality) to the spiritualities of the stars and the great (heavenly) bodies, which is something (also) used in sorcery. Thus, they were very much concerned with the subject.

One of the Greek works, the Kitab al-Falahah an­Nabatiyah,735 was translated. It is ascribed to Nabataean scholars. It contains much information of the type (mentioned). The Muslims who studied the contents of the work (noticed that it belonged to) sorcery, which is barred (by the religious law) and the study of which is forbidden. Therefore, they restricted themselves to the part of the book dealing with plants from the point of view of their planting and treatment and the things connected with that. They completely banished all discussion of the other part of the book. Ibn al-'Awwam 736 abridged the Kitab al-Falahah an-Nabatiyah in this sense. The other part of it remained neglected. Some of the main problems of (that other part) were transmitted by Maslamah in his magical works. We shall mention that in connection with the discussion of sorcery, if God, He is exalted, wills.737

There are many books on agriculture by recent scholars. They do not go beyond discussion of the planting and treatment of plants, their preservation from things that might harm them or affect their growth, and all the things connected with that. (These works) are available.