Razieh-Sadat Mousavi posing in front of a red background

Razieh-Sadat Mousavi

Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow (Jul 2019-Dez 2024)

Razieh S. Mousavi studied mathematics and the history of science in Tehran. She completed her Master’s thesis on the history of mathematical methods for determining the direction to Mecca within Islamic societies, focusing on the complex relationship between science, religion, and power during the Safavid dynasty in Iran (1502–1722). After winning a scholarship at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, she earned her PhD at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin with a dissertation on a ninth-century Arabic astronomical treatise. The primary objective of this work was to foster dialogue between historical studies in the fields of science, literature, and socio-cultural elements in the context of the Islamic world.

In 2023, Razieh joined the SFB 980 project “Episteme in Bewegung: Wissenstransfer von der Alten Welt bis in die Frühe Neuzeit.” In January 2024, she joins the ERC project “Science, Society and Environmental Change in the First Millennium CE,” where she will research water engineering and culture in the premodern Islamic Mediterranean. Razieh is also currently preparing a book for publication with Brill: “Al-Farghānī’s Elements of Astronomy: An Interplay of Meaning and Form at the Intersection of Astronomical and Medical Traditions.”

At the MPIWG, she is a visiting fellow of the Max Planck Research Group “Experience in the Premodern Sciences of Soul and Body ca. 800–1650.”


Society, Rituals, and Ecology: An Environmental Approach to Water Laws in Classical Islamic Legal Traditions


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Selected Publications

Mousavi, Razieh-Sadat (2024). “From Complex to Simple: The Example of Qibla-Indicators.” In Failed Historical Scientific Instruments, ed. S. J. Schechner and S. Talas, 148–166. Leiden: Brill. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004689107_010.

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Mousavi, Razieh-Sadat and Petra G. Schmidl (2023). “al-Ashraf ῾Umar’s Tabṣira, Chapter xxiii: Timekeeping at Night by the Moon in 13th-Century Yemen and Beyond.” Suhayl 20: 7–42. https://raco.cat/index.php/Suhayl/article/view/422305.

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Ansari, Hassan and Razieh-Sadat Mousavi (2022). “Five Imāmī Credal Texts Written during the Transition from the Bahshamiyya to the School of Abū l-Ḥusayn al-Baṣrī: Editio Princeps and Introduction.” Shii Studies Review 6 (1–2): 285–339. https://doi…

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Mousavi, Razieh-Sadat (2019). “Khwārizmī Kātib (Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. Yūsuf al-Kātib).” In Dāʾirat al-maʿārif-i buzurg-i islāmī [The Great Islamic Encyclopedia]. Vol. 23, ed. K. Mūsawī Buǧnūrdī. Vol. 23. Tehran: Center for the Great…

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Past Events


Moonrise, Moonset, and Planting Times


The Safavid Multi-Text-Manuscript 1984.463 (Harvard University, Sackler Museum)—its Content and Context


Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

Tracing Arabic translations of the Almagest in al-Farghānī’s Elements of Astronomy

26th International Congress of History of Science and Technology (Symposium: The Greek and medieval Ptolemy organized by Benno van Dalen and Nathan Sidoli)

Prague (virtually)

Failure of Complexity to Success of Simplicity: The Example of Qibla-Indicators

XXXIX Scientific Instrument Symposium (Panel: Failed Scientific Instruments)

London (virtually)