History of Arab Medical Science

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Introduction to Medical Science
* Stages of medical science effort:
Stage 1: the stage of translation from foreign sources to Arabic. Stage 2: the stage of excellence & genuine contribution in which Islamic Physicians were the leaders of medical science. Famous names (in medical science): Ibn Sina & Al-Zahrawi. Stage 3: the stage of decline in which sciences (including medicine) became stagnant, especially after the 13th century.

* Ibn Khaldoun: the civilized nomads possessed some kind of medicine that was generally based on experiences restricted to few cases, which were inherited from the Sheikhs and old men of the tribe. They tried to have a medical system but they didn’t own the means and didn’t have enough plants in the peninsula.

* Arabs did not live in an isolated and closed circle. They were in touch with many civilizations around, especially the Greek civilization, which influenced and left its fingerprints on the Arabic civilization.

* Medical science began in the days of Khalifa Al-Mansour, who did his best to attract all Nestorian physicians to the capital city of Baghdad. These physicians studied medicine in the medical school of Junishapur, which was an intersection point between Greek, Syrian, Persian, Hindu, and Jewish scholars.

Internal & Clinical Medicine
Hunayn Ben Ishak (حنين بن اسحاق) made the most important medical writings of Greeks available in Arabic. Sometimes he translated the Greek books directly, and sometimes through other languages.

Surgery, Anatomy, & Physiology
* During the 9th century, Hunayn Ben Ishak translated the work of Jalen on Anatomy& Surgery, and Al-Razi devoted large sections in his medical encyclopedia (called Al-Hawi) to this art too. After him came Al-Majousi. He was the first Anatomy & physiology theorist in Arabic medicine. He was also the first to deal with surgery in details.

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