Contributions to anatomy by Muslim men of medicine

Mohammad Bashiruddin Khan, Nasim Ansari, Nafis Ahmad Fa-Ruqi



The Arabic Muslim leadership in sciences existed between the 8th and I 4th centuries. Their sources of knowledge were mainly Greek and Indian, hence they named their Medical Sciences UNANI - Greek and Mathematics HINDISA - of Indian origin. They gave Science its present temper, not only in its method but also in its form. In medicine, Razi, Ibn Sena, Zuhrawi, Ibn Nafees are some of the authors whose writings are well known and still available. The format of their books is strikingly modern. Ibn Sena 's ''Canoon,”. contains the definition and scope of medicine, followed by the description of general principles of the then known Sciences, which is followed by Anatomy and physiology. Only after this, Pathology, clinical features and management of the diseases are described.

The Arab and Muslim Anatomy was mainly based on Galen’s teaching. The most notabl original contribution is that of Ibn Nafees who described the lesser circulation in the 13th century, about 250 years before William Harvey. Zuhrawi (1oth and 11th centuries) emphasized that every surgeon should have a thorough knowledge of Anatomy before undertaking Surgery. The Muslim contributions on the Anatomy of the eye are in many respects original.

Presented at the 17th Annual Convention of the Islamic Medical Association in St. Louis, Missouri, August 10-12, 1984


Islam; History of Medicine; Unani; Anatomy

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