Islamic Medicine Reaching Us


Abdul Nasser Kaadan


Traditional & Complementary Medicine Exhibition 2007 (TCME 2007), Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia




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Muslim physicians, in the Middle Ages, have played a considerable role in the field of medicine development. Rhazes (al-Razi) was a famous physician and writer, whose medical writings greatly influenced the Arabic world as well as Western Europe. Al-Razi composed more than two hundred books related to medicine, pharmacy, philosophy, music and many other sciences. And he is considered the first who founded the experimental science especially in the field of medicine and chemistry, since no one before and during al-Razi time was interested in the experimental science in its methodical form.Avicenna (ibn-Sina) is considered one of the most celebrated physicians during the Middle Ages. Al-Qanunn Fit-tib (or Code of Laws in Medicine) represents the most important work of Avicenna, and as William Osler described it, the most famous medical textbook ever written. This book is considered a unique reference or document containing all medical knowledge, as it accumulated through many civilizations until the time of Avicenna himself.  In his way of explanation Avicenna was very close to the way which modern medical textbooks follow regarding classification, causes of diseases, epidemiology, symptoms and signs, treatment and prognosis. In this respect we can say that the excellence in its arrangement and comprehensiveness made al-Qanun book the most widespread in the Islamic and European countries. Al-Qanun book was known to the Europeans through the Latin translations of Gerard of Cremona in the 15th century, and remained in use in medical schools at Louvain and Montpellier until the 17th century.Albucasis (al-Zahrawi) lived in Spain (al-Andalus), and died there in 1013. He is considered one of the most celebrated surgeon during the Middle Ages. The influence of his book (Kitab al-Tasrif) in the field of surgery development was tremendous. Guy de Chauliac, the “restorer of Surgery” quotes Albucasis more than 200 times. The arrangement of the work, the clear diction, and lucid explanations, all contributed to its great success. It soon became an authority quoted by medieval European physicians and surgeons more frequently than Galen himself. The aim of this paper is to shed light on early Islamic Medicine, to reveal the accomplishment and contribution of Muslim physicians in this field of medicine.