Taqi al-Din Muhammad ibn Ma'ruf
1526 – 1585
Who was Taqi al-Din Muhammad ibn Ma'ruf?
Taqi al-Din Muhammad ibn Ma'ruf al-Shami al-Asadi was an Ottoman Turkish Muslim polymath: He was the author of more than ninety books on a wide variety of subjects, including astronomy, clocks, engineering, mathematics, mechanics, optics and natural philosophy. In 1574 the Ottoman Sultan Murād III invited Taqī al-Dīn to build an observatory in Istanbul. Using his exceptional knowledge in the mechanical arts, Taqī al-Dīn constructed instruments like huge armillary and mechanical clocks that he used in his observations of the Great Comet of 1577. He also used European celestial and terrestrial globes that were delivered to Istanbul in gift-exchange. The major work that resulted his work in the observatory is titled The tree of ultimate knowledge [in the end of time or the world] in the Kingdom of the Revolving Spheres: The astronomical tables of the King of Kings [Murād III]. The work was prepared according to the results of the observations carried out in Egypt and Istanbul in order to correct and complete Ulugh Beg’s Zij al-Sultani. The first 40 pages of the work deal with calculations, followed by discussions of astronomical clocks, heavenly circles, and information about three eclipses which he observed at Cairo and Istanbul. For corroborating data of other observations of eclipses in other locale like Daud al-Riyyadi, David Ben-Shushan of Salonika. According to the Hapsburg ambassador, Salomon Schweigger a charlatan who deceived Sultan Murad III and had him spent enormous resources.