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IBN-SINA (AVICENNA) 980-1037 A.D.

Posted by Arqustany Putra Saturday, November 14, 2009





Ibn-Sina's full name is Abu-Ali Husayn lbn-Abdullah lbn-Sina, and his titles were Al-Shaykh Al-Rais (The chief Master) or Al-Muallim Al-Thani (The Second Teacher), second to Aristotle (Browne 1962). He is known in the Western World as Avicenna.

In 980 A.D. Avicenna was born in Bukhara which is now part of Russia and known as Uzben. By the age of 10, he was already proficient in the Qur'an and Arabic classics. By the age of 16, he finished Islamic law studies, geometry, anatomy, logic and philosophy. His metaphysics were influenced by an earlier philosopher in Islam, Al-Farabi. By the age of 18, he completed the study of medicine. Soon after, he became the Prime Minister (the Visier) and Court-Physician of Prince Nuli-Ibn-Mansur, the Samanid Ruler of Bukbara. The prince was impressed by the intelligence and endurance of his Visier and opened for him the royal library which was unique in its literary richness. Ibn-Sina wrote his first book at the age of 21. Then he became Visier of Ali ibn Maimun, the ruler of Khawarazm or Khiva. But he ultimately fled to avoid being kidnapped by the Sultan Mohammed El-Ghazin. Ironically, fate played an important role in the life of Avicenna who was a master in planning. The ruler of Hainadan, the southern part of Persia, who was called Amir Shwnsu'd-Dawla, had renal colic. Ibn-Sina treated the Amir's colic. The latter was very pleased and appointed Ibn-Sina, not only his Court-Physician but also his Visier. Avicenna was a proud and arrogant man. This created enemies leading to a mutiny of the military leaders against him resulting in his dismissal and imprisonment. Fortunately, the Amir got renal colic once more and no one could relieve his pain. He thus summoned back Avicenna who cured him. The Amir apologized to Avicenna and reinstated him.

Avicenna's life during this time was extraordinarily strenuous. All the day he was busy with the Amir's services. The great part of the night was passed in lecturing and writing his books, with intervals of wine-drinking, music, and minstrelsy. After many vicissitudes, worn out by hard work and hard living, Avicenna died and was buried in Hamadan, Persia, in 1037 A.D. at a comparatively early age of 57. In his last illness, he treated himself unsuccessfully, so that it was said by his detractors that neither could his physics save his body nor his metaphysics save his soul (Browne 1962).

Avicenna wrote I00 treatises, 21 of them were major of which 16 were in medicine. He wrote in philosophy, medicine, named Al-Qanon fi Al- Tibb (Canon of Medicine). It was an encyclopedia containing more than one million words. It was composed of 5 volumes:

Volume I- described the principles and theories of medicine.
Volume II- contained the simple drugs arranged alphabetically.
Volume III- described localized diseases of the body from the head to the toes.
Volume IV- was addressed to generalized diseases of the body e.g. fevers.
Volume V- explained compound drungs.

The Canon contained all medical knowledge up to the 1Oth century. It was translated to many languages and was the reference for medical schools in Europe up to the 17th century. Although the Canon was a great book, it overshadowed the important works prior to it by Al-Razi and Al-Zahrawi, and subsequent to it by Ibn-Al-Nafis and Ali Ibn-Abbas, Halle Abbas, (Haddad 1942).

Avicenna wrote Arabic and Persian poems.The last of his Arabic poem, which is considered a classical beauty, describes the descent of the Soul into the Body from the Higher Sphere which is its home (Browne 1962).

Avicenna is considered a great philosopher, and his writings affected the thinkers and influenced many of those who appeared after him. He was a unique phenomenon, not only because of this encyclopedic accomplishments in medicine, but also because of the versatility of his genius. He has been compared in this respect with Aristotle, Leonardo da Vinci, and Goethe. (Keys 1971).

Source: Ezzat Abouleish M.D
Contributions of Islam To Medicine

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