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After that, the Ottoman Empire grew into the dominant dynasty, ruling a large territory in the Middle East and posing a threat to European countries. This history is quite different from Japanese history, without any unified state based on Buddhism across East Asia. From modern times, the Islamic world was divided and ruled by European colonialism. In addition, it became a watershed that Islamic militia gathered from various parts of the Islamic world after the Soviet Union intervened militarily in Afghanistan in In their views, this has developed into international terrorist activities including attacks against the United States supporting Israel, and terrorism against European countries persecuting Islam.

Some radicals also claim that jihad to defend Islam is a duty imposed on all Muslims. Those who answer its calls become recruits for radicals. To be sure, some Muslims support this theory or interpretation, but not all Muslims support it. For example, nomads move across borders even now. There is also a sense of ethnic solidarity or religious bonds across borders. This does not automatically mean that denial of existing border lines and claims for a unified Islamic state are the mainstream.

Even secularists thinking that religion should not intervene in politics and nationalists emphasizing nationalism often have a strong awareness of being a Muslim in a compatible manner. Therefore, even Egyptians, many of them consider persecution of Muslims in Syria or Palestine as a crisis of brotherhood and empathize with them. It may be difficult for Japanese people to understand this feeling.

The claim of radicals for recovery of the lost Islamic territory may sound good to the general public, but it is common to consider it as a distant or outdated idea. I guess most Muslims think that a sense of Islamic solidarity and Islamic communities stand even without forming a unified state. Just by knowing the historical background of Islam, you could understand part of the reason why radicals regarding Europe and the United States as their enemies stems from Islam, as well as the fact that most common Muslims do not share such radical beliefs or behavior.

Lately some students say that Saudi Arabian Muslims they met while they were studying abroad were normal people like them, and others say that they work together with Muslims in their part-time jobs. He begins with the definition of the condition and its cause; then he gives the four essential symptoms of the lesion - fever, cough, chest pain and dyspnoea; then he discusses the prognosis and finally the treatment [26]. At the end of the chapter he puts under emphasis the importance of the training a physician should follow:. If he does this, he will reach a high degree in this art.

Therefore it behoves him who desires to be an accomplished physician to follow closely these injunctions, to form his character in accordance with what we have mentioned therein, and not to neglect them. If he does this, his treatment of the sick will be successful; people will have confidence in him and be favorably disposed towards him, and he will win their affection and respect and a good reputation; nor withal will he lack profit and advantage from them.

And God Most High knoweth best [27]. Browne calls attention to an important discussion in the Liber Regius that gives the first intimation of a capillary circulation. This passage, which occurs in the chapter treating of the Animal Virtues or Vital Functions, deals chiefly with the two opposite movements of expansion and contraction, which in the heart and arteries constitute diastole and systole, and the respiratory movements of inspiration and expiration.

These movements are compared to those of bellows, except that they are produced by internal, not by external, forces; and it is supposed by the writer that the heart draws air from the lungs to mix with the blood for the elaboration of the vital spirit, just as the lungs inhale it from without, and that the vaporised vitiated air is expelled by the reverse process [28]. Then he goes on to say:. Such of them as are near the skin draw air from the outer atmosphere; while such as are intermediate in position between the heart and the skin have the property of drawing from the non pulsating vessels i.

This is because in the non-pulsating vessels i. The proof of this is that when an artery is cut, all the blood which is in the veins also is evacuated [29]. Thus from Al-Qayrawan north to Europe arose "a generation of prominent medical teachers [30]. There, he translated in the medical writings of Ali Ibn Abbas and planned further versions from the Arabic [31].


Stephen's translation of the Liber Regalis is found in numerous manuscripts and two early editions printed at Venice in and at Lyons in [32]. The book like most Muslim works of the sort includes the usual two parts: Theoretica and Practica theory and practice , each in ten books. Stephen notes in the preface that when he came upon Ali's book in Arabic, he found there was no complete Latin version, while what Constantine had translated suffered from omissions and transpositions, which prompted him to prepare an entirely new version [34].

Dedicated to a Prince of Shiraz, this well-organized compendium of medical theory and practice purported to contain everything a physician needed to know for proceeding with treatment. Ibn al-Quff, born in Karak Jordan, ; d. Damascus, , was involved in medicine, physiology, natural sciences, and philosophy. These facts are reflected in his cognomens al-Masihi the Christian and al-Karaki. When Muwaffaq al-Din was promoted to the position of a secretary-scribe of the high court, the family moved to Sarkhad in Syria.

There Muwaffaq al-Din met and formed a close friendship with the physician-historian Ibn Abi Usaybiah [35] , who spoke of him as "a learned scholar, unequaled scribe in the elegance and perfection of his handwriting, a man of letters, a competent historian, and a pleasant companion, witty and respectable [36]. The tutor was soon impressed by the brilliance and aptitude for learning of his new student. He also found him fond of reading biographies of illustrious sages, and inclined to quiet, thoughtful meditations. Ibn Abi Usaybi'ah began to teach young Ibn al-Quff with the assistance of preliminary and fundamental texts on the healing art, such as the Masa'il an introduction to medicine of Hunayn ibn Ishaq, and the Aphorisms and the Prognosis of the Hippocratic corpus in the Arabic version as rendered also by Hunayn ibn Ishaq.

Through the study of leading manuals, such as those by al-Razi, Ibn al-Quff was instructed by Ibn Abi Usaybiah in the classification and treatment of diseases, and their causes and symptoms [37]. Later, Ibn al-Quff's father was transferred to the high court in Damascus, and the family moved to the Syrian capital. Here, Ibn al-Quff studied metaphysics, philosophy, medicine, natural sciences, and mathematics. He was then appointed an army physician-surgeon at the citadel of Ajiun in Jordan, where he stayed for several years. After his fame had spread, he was transferred to Damascus, where until his death at the age of fifty-two, he taught medicine and performed his professional duties among the soldiers stationed at the citadel [38].

Despite his absorbing responsibilities as physician-surgeon for the Mamluk army, Ibn al-Quff was also a prolific author. The second of these works is divided into two parts, theory and practice, each of which contains ten chapters [40]. The first part begins with an elaborate anatomical introduction, then deals with pathology, and a classification of diseases [41]. In chapter 19 the author explains four methods of circumcision, and a new method of lithotomy applicable to women [42]. In Kitab al-Umda , Ibn al-Quff also describes the vital connection between the arteries and veins and the passage of life-giving blood and pneuma from the former to the latter; a reference to the capillaries made nearly four centuries before the work of Malpighi, who benefited from the use of the microscope [43].

Ibn al-Quff also explains the function of the cardiac valves, their number, and the direction in which they open and close. He also appealed for all the Arab lands to standardise the weights and measures used in pharmacy and medicine [44]. Ibn al-Quff also wrote an elaborate commentary on Hippocrates' Aphorisms, Kitab al-usul fi sharb al-fusul , which is extant; and commentaries on the Qanun and the Kitab al-isharat of Ibn Sina, which are lost. Various other medical works are ascribed to him [45].

His Jami al-Gharad on embryology, child growth, diet and drug therapy, the preservation of health, and physiognomy contains original approaches and ideas. For example, he theorised on the genesis of the embryo and the stages it passes through in its growth, especially the appearance of a foam like cluster after the sixth day of fertilisation, and on the early formation of the embryo after the twelfth day. He spoke of how "the head distinctly emerges as separate from the shoulders.

Finally, from the eastern side of Islam is al-Tabari, not the historian, but the medical scholar. At this juncture, too, there appeared an encyclopaedic work, Ali Tabari's Paradise of Wisdom, which gave an overall picture of the position of Arab men of learning.

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The son of a doctor of Tabaristan, Ali Tabari came to Baghdad, and eventually, at the age of seventy, was there converted to Islam [48]. At that advanced age he produced an apologetic which was well above the ordinary. His major work is a series of observations on the most diverse subjects, the documentary sources of which are Greek and Indian.

From preliminary philosophic discussions the book moves on to embryology and a consideration of the health value of different kinds of food and drink. A quick survey of the number of muscles, nerves, and veins is then followed by a review of tastes, smells, and colours, and methods of treatment based on pharmacology and toxicology [49]. Next came a chapter on a subject new in Muslim medical literature: a study of climates, waters, and seasons in relation to health. Then, an outline of cosmography and astronomy, followed by an essay on the utility of medicine, with a summary of Indian medicine.

A final section deals with general pathology, diseases of the head, heart, and intestines, nervous diseases, and fevers. The work was in many respects ahead of its time. It is interesting to note the order of diagnostic procedure laid down: the appearance and nature of the affected part, signs of palpitation, any disturbance of function, difficulty of evacuation, possible secondary effects, and lastly, the interrogation of the patient [50]. The accomplishments of the Muslim scholars on medicine in the Iberian Peninsula have been largely seen on MuslimHeritage.

All that is necessary here is this briefest outline by Scott who sums up their accomplishments. No names in the long catalogue of Muslim genius, Scott holds, stand higher than those of Abulcasis Al-Zahrawi , the originator of modern surgery, ; than Ibn Zuhr Avenzoar , whose family was prominent for three hundred years in the medical annals of Muslim Spain; than Averroes, whose great professional attainments have been obscured by his pre-eminent reputation as a natural philosopher. Arib Ibn Said al-Khatib, whose works exceeded a thousand in number, composed treatises on gynecology and obstetrics, and was the author of the Calendar of Cordova, a wonderful compilation of medical truths, surgical maxims, astronomical and agricultural knowledge.

Ibn Wafid, of Toledo, who lived in the 10 th century, and whose extraordinary abilities made him conspicuous among hundreds of eminent contemporaries, consumed twenty years in the preparation of his work on the general practice of medicine. Ibn-Zuhr was the first to discover that scabies was produced by a diminutive parasite, and to prescribe sulphur as a remedy.

The treatise of Mohammed Ibn Qassum on diseases of the eye occupied six hundred pages; that of Mohammed al-Temini on hernia and tumors nearly four hundred. Daoud-al-Agrebi wrote on fumigations, collyriums, hemostatics; he recommends the administration of narcotics in lithotomy, in the incision of abscesses, and in emasculation for the production of eunuchs. Saladin-Ibn-Yusuf published a book on the anatomy of the eye and the theories of vision [51]. Al-Zahrawi the Genius Surgeon.

The scientific and logical methods inaugurated by the Caliphs of the East were perfected in the medical colleges of Muslim Spain. The study of anatomy attained a development previously unknown to the traditions and experience of the profession. From the contemplation of bone-heaps in the cemeteries the student advanced to the performance of autopsies; to the determination, by actual survey, of the location and offices of the internal organs; to the vivisection of quadrupeds and criminals [52].

In etiology, pathology, therapeutics, great progress was made [53]. Surgery, whose practice had entailed reproach rather than distinction upon its Professors, was, by the removal of the prejudice attaching to anatomical demonstration, relieved of the obloquy with which it was generally regarded; a blind reverence for precedent and authority was not recognised by the practitioners of the Hispano-Muslim school [54]. They inculcated the paramount importance of a competent knowledge of the functions of the organs of the human body, which they well knew could only be obtained from the practice of dissection.

They advised great caution in all operations, and every new theory was subjected to severe and exhaustive tests [55]. Their works were elucidated by the introduction into the text of drawings of instruments adapted to the removal of the morbid conditions described; and science is indebted to the Spanish Muslems for this innovation, now an essential part of all treatises on surgery [56].

He gained great fame as a physician, and wrote a major compendium of extant medical knowledge entitled Tasrif , known in Latin as Liber Servitoris , which comprises thirty volumes [57]. The initial volumes dealt with general principles, the elements and the physiology of humours, and the rest dealt with the systematic treatment of diseases, from the head to the feet. The last volume is perhaps the most important in that it deals with all aspects of surgery [58]. Al-Zahrawi's al-Tasrif , includes many surgical instruments, which Al-Zahrawi devised and constructed, and a number of surgical procedures [59].

It was the first textbook of surgery with illustrations of the instruments used ever to be published [60]. He explains with the aid of drawings the use of such instruments, and surgical operations in great detail [61]. He then shows what a practical man he is by adding:. It gained such great fame that it became the standard textbook of surgery in important universities in Christian Europe, and was widely read.

Al-Zahrawi emphasised that knowledge of anatomy and physiology was essential prior to undertaking any surgery [63]. He should become thoroughly familiar with nerves, muscles, bones, arteries and veins. If one does not comprehend the anatomy and physiology one can commit a mistake which will result in the death of the patient. I have seen someone incise into a swelling in the neck thinking it was an abscess, when it was an aneurysm, and the patient dying on the spot [64].

Al-Zahrawi describes instruments designed and constructed by him, and their use. Here he tells of the tonsil-guillotine, and first describes a tongue-depressor made of gold or silver and slender like a knife:. Take a hook, fix it in one tonsil and pull it forward as far as it will go, but be careful not to pull any of the mucosa away with it. Then cut it with an instrument of this form; it is like scissors except that its extremities are curved, the beak of each meeting the other, and very sharp. It should be made of Indian iron or Damascus steel [65].

Figure 5a-b: Page of Yuhanna Ibn Masawayh's d. Treasured in the Middle Ages as a sort of "physician's desk reference," this work on simples and their applications has a remarkable number of decorative initial letters. He also gives what may be the first description of a true syringe. He calls it zarraqah, "shooter" projector:. The hollow part containing the plunger al-midfa is exactly of a size to be enclosed by it so that any liquid is drawn up with it when you pull it up; and when you press it down it is driven in a jet, as is done by the projector whereby naphtha is thrown in naval battles [66].

He had been wounded with a knife; the opening of the wound was more than a span long, and by that time there protruded some two spans length of his mid-gut… The wound healed in about a fortnight, and I treated him until he was better; he lived for many years after, carrying on as usual. The verdict of the doctors had been that he could not be healed [67].

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Some operations described by him are carried out even today in the manner he described almost one thousand years ago [68]. These include operations on varicose veins, the reduction of skull fractures, dental extractions, and the forceps delivery of a dead foetus, to mention just a few [69]. I have seen many laying claim to this knowledge and boasting of it, but having neither knowledge nor experience [70]. A black slave of the officer's suffered a fracture of the leg near the heel, together with a wound. The doctor rushed in, in his ignorance, and bound up the fracture over the wound, very tightly, not allowing the wound to breathe.

Eventually the slave's leg and foot swelled and he was close to death. I was called in and made haste to loosen the bandage, but gangrene had already taken hold and it continued to extend until he perished [71]. Source a - Source b. But he also records at least one instance where he was wrong and not another doctor but the patient was right:. He had a blackening of the foot, with a burning like fire. When he saw the disease spreading in the limb, he hastened to amputate it himself, at the joint, and he got better.

After a very long time had passed, the very same kind of disease arose in the forefinger of his hand. He came to me and I attempted to suppress the superfluity with remedies applied to the hand. But it was not to be suppressed and began to spread to the second finger and eventually to the whole hand.

Keeping a Civil Tongue

He urged me to cut off his hand but I did not wish to do so. When he despaired of me, he went back to his own country, and I then heard that he had gone and cut off his hand and had got well [72]. In conclusion, as Nagamia notes, surgery in the Muslim world was raised by al-Zahrawi to the level of a high science at a time when in the Christian West, the Council of Tours declared, in , "Surgery is to be abandoned by all schools of medicine and by all decent physicians [73].

Eye Diseases and their Treatments. The treatment of the eye received more attention from the Muslims than any other branch of the profession [74]. From the very early stages, ophthalmology and eye surgery received focused attention, and Islamic ophthalmology is reckoned by many to be of the highest order [75] with Muslim oculists as the most accomplished operators [76]. One reason, possibly, for the advance of the science was its high incidence amongst the population, and the fact that Muslim eye surgeons were able to use freely available eyes [77] ; the heat and dryness of the climate being favourable to ophthalmic affections and affording the surgeon varied and incessant practice [78].

Nearly every medical compodium covers some aspect of eye diseases, although the best is by monographs solely devoted to the subject [79]. They enumerate nine different forms of cataract, which they treated by couching and by puncture. Their needles were both round and triangular; some were hollow and made of glass [80]. By far, one of the earliest scholars in the field was Ali Ibn Issa Jesu haly d.

His Tadkiratul-Kahhaleen Notebook of the Oculist is the second oldest complete text extant in Arabic on the eyes, and is based on older texts as well as personal experience [81]. The book is in three parts, the first, devoted to anatomy, the second to the external diseases of the eye, and the third part to internal diseases of the eye which are not visible upon inspection [82]. We are interested in the third part which includes general ophthalmological medicine. He describes the effects of drugs [83]. Take equal parts of sagapenum resin, opopanax resin, saltstone, verdigris, white pepper, asafetida, balsam oil, gall of a bull, long pepper, and ginger.

The number of drugs is ten. These are kneaded with fennel juice after which it is finely pulverised. The eye is rubbed with it. Further, "when you dissolve a little opopanax resin in basil juice, it is useful when it is rubbed in the eye. Or one may take the juice of green, unripe pomegranates, it is cooked down to its half, then honey is added, and then it is left for 20 days in the sun; it is rubbed on to sharpen the sight [84]. Issa's book was the most widely referred to text book by later ophthalmologists. First translated into Persian and then into Latin and printed in Venice in , his work was used as a text book in Europe till the 18 th century [85].

It was translated with commentary into German by Hirschberg and Lippert , as already noted, and into English by Casey Wood Figure 7a-b: Two pages from the original manuscript of Al-Tasrif depicting surgical instruments. The translation of this work has been accomplished in German, and it highlights many of the accomplishments of al-Mosuli [86]. In the following are recipes by Al-Mosuli to heal eye disorders and diseases.

Al-Mosuli states:. It effects healing and allows natural flesh to grow there so that, after the cure, no spot remains in the eye. Watch that when the ulcer is treated with anything else. The eye must be bound from the beginning of the ailment. These drugs are put together, pulverised, sieved, and kneaded with potable water.

Small cakes are made of them which are dried in the shade, then used. Watch that when using a mineral drug which has not been properly pulverised for the remedy which is used in ulcers it should not prick the eye. Be careful in the same way with other remedies. I myself have treated ulcers with this remedy all my life.

It is the best. Prescription [of the calamine collyrium]: Five dirhams of white lead, 2 dirhams each of gum and tragacanth and 1 dirham each of opium and silver colored calamine are gathered, pulverised and sieved, and kneaded with rainwater and egg white. A collyrium is prepared from it and some rubbed with milk when it is needed and dripped into the eye [87]. In discussing the treatment of a cataract, Al-Mosuli presents four detailed cases and an instrument of his own design, a hollow needle to remove cataract by suction, inserted through the limbus where the cornea joins the conjunctiva.

Until the 20 th century, this work was only available in Arabic and a Hebrew translation of the 13 th century. Rendered into Arabic, these precious documents established a solid foundation for the Muslim sciences, not the least of which was medicine. As in Greece, medicine in the Muslim world was based on the theory of the four humors that had been advanced by the second-century Greek physician Galen.

Each of the four universal elements that comprised the world-earth, air, fire and water-was associated with one of the humors-blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile-whose various mixtures defined the different temperaments.

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When the body's humors were in correct alignment, a person was healthy; when out of balance, he was sick. The task of the doctor, Galen wrote, was to restore this alignment by prescribing changes in diet, exercise or certain activities, or by taking other measures. For example, fever was caused by too much blood, and thus he prescribed bloodletting to remove the excess. However incorrect, Galen's essentially rationalist view of health and disease found favor in the East, where the Qur'an assured that "for every disease there is a cure.

While the translators in the House of Wisdom toiled, Muslim doctors developed the bimaristan-later simply maristan-the forerunner of today's hospital. Open to all, it welcomed patients to be treated for, and recover from, a variety of ailments and injuries, including mental illness. The larger maristans were attached to medical schools and libraries, where prospective physicians were taught, examined and, as today, licensed.

The maristan became the cradle of Islamic medicine and the means of its dissemination throughout the empire. Like the hospital, pharmacy as a profession is also an Islamic innovation. In the maristans, trained pharmacists prepared and dispensed remedies that more often than not had some positive effects. Their extensive pharmacopeias detailed the geographical origins, physical properties and methods of application of everything found useful in the curing of disease.

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By al-Ma'mun's time, the pharmacists saydalani were, like doctors, licensed professionals required to pass demanding examinations, and to protect the public from errors and incompetence, government inspectors monitored the purity of their ointments, pills, elixirs, confections, tinctures, suppositories and inhalants. In the maristan, the chief pharmacist held a rank equal to that of the chief of medicine. But while Abbasid Baghdad, with the House of Wisdom and the first maristans, may have begun the golden age of Islamic medicine, the center of learning and progress began to shift westward in the eighth century, to al-Andalus, today's southern Spain.

The Abbasids had taken power from the Damascus-based Umayyad dynasty. Abdulrahman, grandson of the 10th Umayyad caliph, escaped the massacre of his relatives and in ce took asylum in Spain. Within a few years, this intrepid ruler had carved out a rival caliphate with its capital at Cordoba, and by the late 10th century Cordoba had surpassed Baghdad as the center of intellectual activity in the Islamic world.

Cordoba's 70 libraries, public baths, mosques and 50 maristans were available to all of its one million residents. Cordoba's university, founded in the eighth century, was a premier center of learning, and its library held at least , volumes. At that time, the library of the University of Paris held some volumes. It drew scholars from all over Europe-one of them, Gerbert of Aurillac, later became Pope Sylvester ii, who replaced cumbersome Roman numerals with today's "Arabic" numbers.

Al-Andalus was soon home to accomplished and innovative philosophers, geographers, engineers, architects and physicians. In the western caliphate, doctors differed from their eastern counterparts. Although Cordoba and Baghdad were in close contact intellectually, the western physicians exhibited more independence of thought than their more classics-bound eastern colleagues, offering no blind obedience to either Galen or the Canon of Ibn Sina, the 10th-century Bukhara-born physician who was the Arab world's equivalent of Aristotle and Leonardo.

Instead, they challenged and rejected both when their own experience justified it. Their writings and research showed their preference for the concise, the brief and the exact, as contrasted with the discursive, often hair-splitting, subtleties preferred by the savants of the East.

While the western Islamic world produced hundreds of insightful and even brilliant medical men between the ninth and 15th centuries, five stand at the pinnacle of medicine during their eras, and their influences reverberate even now, more than a millennium later. Born in ce just north of Cordoba in Al Zahra, the royal city of Abdulrahman iii, Abu al-Qasim Khalaf ibn al-'Abbas was known to contemporaries as al-Zahrawi, and his name was Latinized to Albucasis. While little is known for certain about his personal life, his surgical acumen was unprecedented.

A list of major surgical procedures that Al-Zahrawi describes reads like a compendium of medicine in itself. Among his "firsts" were:. Al-Zahrawi only wrote one book, Kitab al-Tasrif li-man 'Ajizja 'an al-Ta'lif The Arrangement [of Medical Knowledge] for One Who is Unable to Compile [a Manual for Himself] , a compendium of 30 volumes on medicine, surgery, pharmacy and other health topics compiled during a year career. Its last volume, the page On Surgery, was the first book to treat surgery as a separate subject and the first illustrated surgical treatise.

Covering ophthalmology, obstetrics, gynecology, military medicine, urology, orthopedics and more, it remained a standard surgical reference in Europe until the late 16th century. Al-Zahrawi described a vast repertoire see "On the Cutting Edge," at left of procedures, inventions and techniques, including thyroidectomy, extraction of cataracts and an innovative method of removing kidney stones by diversion through the rectum that dramatically reduced the mortality rate for the procedure, compared to the method Galen recommended.

The Arrangement of Medical Knowledge was the earliest text to deal with dental surgery in detail, including reimplantation of dislodged teeth. It also described the carving of false teeth from animal bone, as well as how to correct non-aligned or deformed teeth.

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Al-Zahrawi also detailed procedures still used by today's dental hygienists to remove calculus deposits from teeth. More prosaically, al-Zahrawi used ink preoperatively to mark the incisions on his patients' skin, now a standard procedure worldwide. He was the first to use catgut for internal sutures, silk for cosmetic surgery and cotton as a surgical dressing.

He described, and probably invented, the plaster cast for fractures-a practice not widely adopted in Europe until the 19th century. He produced annotated diagrams of more than surgical instruments, many of which he devised himself. His meticulous illustrations, intended as both teaching tools and manufacturing guides, are the earliest known and possibly the first ever such published diagrams.

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His best-known inventions were the syringe, the obstetrical forceps, the surgical hook and needle, the bone saw and the lithotomy scalpel-all items in use today in much the same forms. The doctor who observed, diagnosed and cured the man by the side of the road at the beginning of this article was Abu Marwan 'Abd al-Malik ibn Zuhr, later Latinized to Avenzoar, who was born in ce in Seville. Since the Banu Zuhr, as his family was known, had already produced two generations of physicians and would produce five more , there was no question about his career.

Ibn Zuhr, however, did not merely follow in his ancestors' footsteps. He became the first Muslim scientist to devote himself exclusively to medicine, and his several major discoveries were chronicled in his books Kitab al-Taysir fi 'l-Mudawat wa 'l-Tadbir Practical Manual of Treatments and Diets and a treatise on psychology whose title translates Book of the Middle Course Concerning the Reformation of Souls and Bodies, as well as Kitab al Aghdiya Book on Foods that describes the health effects of diets, condiments and drinks. In this body of work, one of his smaller but most effective accomplishments was proof that scabies is caused by the itch mite, and that it can be cured by removing the parasite from the patient's body without purging, bleeding or any other often painful treatments associated with the four humors.

This discovery sent a shudder through medical science, for it unshackled medicine from strict reliance on the theory of humors and, with that, blind acceptance of Galen and Ibn Sina. Ibn Zuhr also wrote about how diet and lifestyle can help a person avoid developing kidney stones.

He gave the first accurate descriptions of neurological disorders, including meningitis, intracranial thrombophlebitis and mediastinal tumors, and he made some of the first contributions to what became modern neuropharmacology. He provided the first detailed report of cancer of the colon. Ibn Zuhr was the first to explain how to provide direct feeding through the gullet or rectum in cases where normal feeding was not possible-a technique now known as parenteral feeding.

Ibn Zuhr introduced the experimental method into surgery, using animals as test subjects-using, for example, a goat to prove the safety of a tracheotomy procedure he devised. He also performed post-mortems on sheep while doing clinical research on how to treat ulcerating diseases of the lungs. Ibn Zuhr is the first physician known to have performed human dissection and to use autopsies to enhance his understanding of surgical techniques. Ibn Zuhr established surgery as an independent field by introducing a training course designed specifically for future surgeons before allowing them to perform operations independently.