Important Contributions of Early Muslim Period to Medical Science. II. Clinical Sciences

M.G. Muazzam, N. Muazzam


Medical scientists of the early Muslim period made spectacular contributions to the development of modem medical science. A few remarkable contributions are presented in this paper. The Middle Ages might be a "Dark Age" for the West but it was a golden age for the development of science. There were no equivalents of al-Kindī, al-Rāzī, Thābit, Sinān, 'Ali ibn 'Abbās, Abū al-Qāsim al-Zahrāwī, Ibn Sīnā, Ibn Haytham, al-Bīrūnī, Ibn Rushd (to name a few) and many others, in the West. The books of some of them viz. Firdaws al-ḥikma of 'Ali ibn Sahl al-Ṭabarī, al-Hāwī and al-Mansūrī of al-Rāzī, Kitāb al-Mālikī of 'Ali ibn 'Abbās, al-Taṣrīf of al-Zahrāwī, al-Qānūn of Ibn Sīnā, al-Dhākhīra of Ismā'īl ibn al-Ḥusayn al-Jurjānī, Kitāb al-Manaẓir of Ibn al-Haytham and Kitāb al-kulliyyāt of Ibn Rushd, were textbooks in medical schools, including those of western universities, up to the 17th century. In addition, the following observations are noteworthy. Al-Rāzī was the first to differentiate smallpox from measles and his description of the former is still accepted as unique. He was the father of dermatology, pediatrics and psychiatry. Ibn Sīnā is regarded as the "Prince of Medicine" and is regarded as equal to Hippocrates and Galen. He was the greatest medical authority of the period and his book al-Qānūn is still a textbook in the Yunani system. Abū al-Qāsim al-Zahrāwī was the founder of modern surgery and invented many surgical instruments that are still in use. Ibn al-Khātima and Ibn al-Khaṭīb were the first to describe plague accurately and declare its contagiousness. Contributions of 'Ammar ibn 'Ali, 'Ali ibn 'Ῑsa and Ibn aI-Haytham in ophthalmology were spectacular. Muslim physicians were also pioneers in establishing hospitals for both human beings and domestic animals. Sinān ibn Thābit introduced "licensing" examinations for practicing physicians.


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Muslim scientists; Muslim physicians; contribution to clinical science

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