Early Muslim medicine

Prophetic Medicine:

Prophetic Medicine (al-tibb) was a genre of medical writing intended as an alternative to the Greek-based medical system (See:Galen). Its authors were (usually) clerics, rather than physicians. They were known to have advocated the traditional medical practices of Prophet Muhammad's time (those mentioned in the Qur'an). Al-tibb therapy did not require the undergoing of any surgical procedures.

The Comprehensive Book of Medicine (Large Comprehensive, Hawi or "al-Hawi" or "The Continence")

Written by the Iranian alchemist Rhazes (known in Arabic as Al-Razi), the "Large Comprehensive" was the most sought after of all his compositions. In it, Rhazes recorded clinical cases of his own experience and provided very useful recordings of various diseases.

The "Kitab fi al-jadari wa-al-hasbah", with its introduction on measles and smallpox was also very influential in Europe.

The Mutazilite philosopher and doctor Ibn Sina was another influential figure. His The Canons of Medicine remained standard texts in Europe up to The Enlightenment and the renewal of the Muslim tradition of scientific medicine.

Ibn Nafis (d. 1288) described human blood circulation - in 1628 this would be rediscovered, or merely, demonstrated, by William Harvey, who would claim the credit. This was sadly part of a pattern of Europeans repeating Muslim research in medicine and astronomy, and some say physics, and claiming credit for it.


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