Sunday, January 3, 2021



While Europe was still in the dark ages, the Muslim world has the most advanced hospitals in the world. Muslim doctors, male and female, have to pass exams. Nurses too! They were so advanced and far knowledgeable that wounded crusaders would choose to go to Muslim doctors instead of their own Christian ones.
Ibn Sina’s medical encyclopedia the “Canon of Medicine “collected the medical knowledge of ancient Greek, Persia, China, India and the Islamic world. It remains and was used as the standard medical textbook for European doctors until the seventeenth century.
Abu Al Qasim Al Zahrawi (Abulcasis) pioneered modern surgery and he is considered the father of operative surgery because he made important advances in surgical procedures. Setting rules about anesthesia, antiseptics and guidelines about hygiene. His famous book Al Tasreef summarizes fifty years of medical education, training, practice and experience. Thirty volumes of medical encyclopedia! Besides sections on medicine and surgery, his encyclopedia also covers vast disciplines like pharmacology, dietetics, therapeutics, psychotherapy, weighs and measures, medical chemistry and others. Three chapters were devoted on surgery and the last chapter was dedicated on surgical instruments. His work was widely translated and used across Europe until modern times.
Ibn al-Nafis the greatest physiologist of the middle agehas been described as "the father of circulatory physiology" and the second Ibnu Sina. He wrote more than 110 volumes of medical textbooks. He challenged Galen’s work on physiology and anatomy. His writings on the circulation of blood round the body (pulmonary circulation) preceded William Harvey the English physician by 300 years.
Ibn Sina, Al Zahrawi and Ibn al-Nafis are just a few of the numerous polymaths in the Muslim Golden Era. They not only were great physicians but also set the framework and practice of medicines for humanity. They defined the S.O.P.
Today, I see my Muslim brothers and sisters are all excited about a Muslim doctor innovating a disposable hijab – when "scrubs" or "theatre blue" are already mostly disposable. How sad.
I wonder what are the hijab procedures at hospitals during the Muslim golden era be like? Perhaps this picture of physicians, nurses and patients from the era would help us ponder.
“We have not sent down the Quran upon you to cause you distress” - Quran 20:2
Anas Zubedy
Picture source: Amira Ayad, Khaleafa. Nov 14, 2015. History of medicine in the Islamic civilization.

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