Islamic Medicine (Fitzpatrick Lectures Delivered At The Royal College of Physicians in 1919-1920)

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Item Code: IHL531
Author: Edward G. Browne
Publisher: Goodword Books
Edition: 2008
ISBN: 8187570199
Pages: 138
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
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Book Description

In the course of the last ten years there have been conferred upon me two public honours which have given me the greatest pleasure and satisfaction, my election in 1911 as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, and the presentation, on the occasion of my Fifty-ninth birthday in February, 1921, of a complimentary address (accompanied by very beautiful presents) signed by a number of representative Persians, expressing their appreciation of the services which, they were kind enough to say, I had rendered to their language and literature.

I hope that this little book may be regarded, not as a discharge, but as an acknowledgment, of this double debt. In it I have sought on the one hand to indicate the part played by the scholars and physicians of Islam, and especially of Persia, in the transmission of medical science through the dark ages from the decline of the - ancient to the rise of the modern learning; and on the other to suggest to lovers of Arabic and Persian literature in the wider sense that hitherto they have perhaps allowed the poets and euphuists to occupy a disproportionate amount of their attention, to the exclusion of the scientific Weltanschauung which, to a greater degree in the medieval East than in the modern West, forms the background of these lighter, though more artistic, efforts. Indeed, as I have attempted to show in these pages’, that great Persian poem the Mathnawi of Jalalu’d-Din Rumi will be better appreciated by one who is conversant with the medical literature of the period.

Before I began to prepare the FitzPatrick lectures now offered to the public I consulted Sir Clifford Allbutt, the Regius Professor of Medicine in the University of Cambridge, as to the best books on the history of that science which the Prophet Muhammad, in a tradition familiar to all Muslims, is said to have linked in importance with Theology? Of the numerous works which Sir Clifford Allbutt indicated, and, in many cases, lent to me for preliminary study, I have derived more profit from none than from Professor Max Neuburger’s excellent Geschichte der Medizin (Stuttgart, 1908). Although the section of this work dealing with Arabian Medicine comprises only 86 page“, it is extraordinarily rich in facts and accurate in details, and supplies an outline of the subject which is susceptible of amplification but not of correction.

I have thought it better to publish these four lectures in the form in which they were originally delivered than to recast them in a fresh mould, but the proofs have been read by several of my friends and colleagues, namely Dr F. H. H.' Guillemard, M.D., Dr E. H. Minns, Litt.D., Mirza Muhammad Khan of Qazwin, and Muhammad Iqbal, to all of whom I am indebted for many valuable corrections and suggestions. I am also deeply indebted to Professor A. A. Bevan and the Rev. Professor D. S. Margoliouth for their help in establishing the text and emending the translation of the clinical case recorded by ar-Razi which will be found on pp. 51-3 infra.

It has afforded me particular pleasure to be allowed to dedicate this little volume explicitly to Sir Norman Moore, as representing that fine tradition of learning, acumen and humanity proper in all countries and ages to the great and noble profession of Medicine, with which living tradition, to my infinite advantage, I was brought in contact in my student days both here at Cambridge and in St Bartholomew’s Hospital; and implicitly to those other great teachers in these two famous schools of medical learning whose methods of investigation and exposition I have endeavoured to apply in other fields of knowledge.


Meaning of the term "Arabian Medicine”—Periods of Arabian and Islamic history--The transmission of Greek learning—Syrian and Persian contributions-•The Latino- Barbari—Aptitude of Arabic for scientific purposes.
Evolution of scientific terminology in Arabic—Was dissection practised by the Muslims?—Four early Persian medical writers: (1) ‘Ali ibn Rabban; (2) Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariyya ar-Razi ; (3) ‘Ali ibnu’l-‘Abbas al-Majusi; (4) Abu ‘Ali Husayn ibn Sina (Avicenna).
Recapitulation—Arabian popular Medicine—The translators from Arabic into Latin—Practice of Medicine in the time of the Crusades•—Anecdotes of notable cures in Arabic and Persian literature—Psychotherapeusis—Love and Melancholia—Persian medical works-Introduction of European Medicine into Muslim lands.
Contributions of the Moors of Spain—The School of Toledo —Persian medical literature from the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries Biographical works of the thirteenth century—Mus1im hospitals—Letters of "Rashid the Physician " ——Outlines of Muslim cosmogony, physical science and physiology—Conclusion.
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