Islamic medicine

From ArticleWorld

Islamic medicine is a field of the Islamic science and the profession of many Muslim doctors. It is not just a historical science, it is a modern, widespread science.

Original writings

Prophetic medicine (al-tibb) is a set of medical writings that originated as an alternative to traditional Greek medicine. Generally, those who wrote these were not doctors but clerics, although there are some exceptions. However, they did write about valid medical practices, actually originally mentioned in the Qur'an.

One of the most well known works is the Comprehensive Book of Medicine (Large Comprehensive, Al-Hawi, The Continence). which was written by an Iranian chemist called Al-Razi. In his book, Al-Razi presents various clinical cases he encountered himself, which make his book an excellent record of the various diseases of his time.

Kitab fi al-jadari wa-al-hasbah was a very influential writing at its time. It contained an introduction about smallpox and measles, two common and very dangerous diseases of the time.

Many Islamic medicine writings have been used in Western Europe for a long time. The Canon of Medicine was a standard medical text even until The Enlightenment.

Some discoveries were not widespread in Europe, although they were long known by the Islamic doctors. Ibn Nafis described the blood circulation in the human body in the 13th century A.D., way before William Harvey rediscovered it in 1628 and took general credit.

Among the areas of Islamic medicine, the most prolific was the ophthalmology. The usage of the injections syringe, used for the extraction of soft cataracts, was introduced by the Ammar ibn Ali of Mosul, and was highly appreciated at its time. Several ophthalmology-related writings remained until our time, and they were the first to mention terms like retina or cataract. Ophthalmologists needed a license to practice their job, and inspectors were hired to judge malpractice cases.