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Islamic Medicine
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Islamic Medicine


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  • 1. Islamic Medicine Mr McDonald
  • 2. Lesson Objectives:
    • Role of Islamic Medicine in medicine.
    • The reason why Islamic medicine progressed.
    • Islamic ideas behind the cause of disease.
    • Examination of key individuals.
    • Islamic developments on hospitals, surgery, anatomy and chemistry.
  • 3. Islamic Religion and its effect on medicine.
    • The Islamic religion was founded in about 570 AD by Muhammed.
    • By the 11 th century, the religion had swept across North Africa, Southern Europe, and the Middle East and into Asia.
    • The religion explained the role of parents, children, the sick and the old.
    • The Islamic religion also valued the role of knowledge, whilst the Europeans lost most of the knowledge from the Romans, the Arabic people sustained it.
  • 4. Causes of disease
    • At first many Islamic doctors still believed in supernatural ideas, however as the work of Galen and Hippocrates this was because they followed a system of close observation.
    • The work of Galen and Hippocrates was translated from Greek and Latin to Arabic.
    • Rhazes, a Baghdad doctor took this to heart and made the distinction between smallpox and measles.
    • Rhazes also wrote a book – the Al-Hawi (the comprehensive book).
  • 5. Key Individuals
    • Avicenna was probably the greatest of the Islamic doctors.
    • He wrote the Canon of Medicine which based his work heavily on the work of Galen.
    • The importance of Avicenna was because it was taken by European scholars and used heavily in the medical schools until around 1700.
  • 6. Islamic Medicine
    • Hospitals
      • Baghdad had its first hospital by 850AD.
      • By the 10 th century, doctors in Baghdad had to pass exams
      • Islamic religion practised the idea of caring for the sick so hospitals were seen as part of this care.
      • Other hospitals were set up across the Arab empire in Damascus and Cairo.
  • 7. Islamic Medicine
    • Surgery
      • A great Arab surgeon was Albucasis. He said it was only advisable to operate when the cause was known and the operation was planned.
      • He also said Allah was watching and surgeons should never operate for personal gain.
      • He described how to perform amputations, dentistry, removing stones from the bladder, set fractures and deal with dislocations
  • 8. Islamic Medicine
    • Anatomy
      • Dissections were forbidden by Islamic religion. Like the Christian religion, the treatment of the dead was considered reverential.
      • This meant that Arab doctors could not check on the value of Galen’s ideas.
      • However, Ibn an-Nafis made his own observations and concluded that blood did not pass through the septum unlike what Galen had said.
  • 9. Islamic Medicine
    • Chemistry and Science
      • Arab contributions included the development of distillation and sublimation. This was important in the development of drugs.
      • Islamic doctors and scientists also worked the development of new drugs such as Senna, Laudanum as well as others.