Health and Medicine in the Islamic Tradition: Fazlur-Rahman's View

Tamara Sonn



This paper discusses Health and Medicine in the Islamic Tradition: Change and Identity, the last book published by noted Pakistani scholar of Islam Fazlur Rahman (d. 1988). Rahman's goal is twofold. As in all his studies, he first articulates the overall Qur'anic approach to the subject matter, distinguishing between that and various later interpretations from extra-Qur'anic sources, and stressing the contiguity of the physical and moral realms in Islam. Just as physical health cannot be separated from moral health, he claims in a clear bid for a holistic approach to the practice of medicine, neither can the physical sciences be separated totally from moral sciences (ethics). He then outlines the historical development of Islamic thought about health and medicine, including its fruition in the great ethical issues in Islamic medicine. His purpose here is to critique certain developments he considers to be deviations from Qur'anic norms and to indicate issues he believes Islamic medicine focuses on today, particularly in the area of contraception.


Fazlur-Rahman; Islamic Medicine; History of Science

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