Library Reading: Tuesday, 18th April ’17

Library Reading from The Community on Friday: The Father of Islamic Medicine – Al Razi (rhazes) Al-Razi, known to the Europeans as Rhazes (may be spelt Rhases, Rasis, Rasi or ar-Razi) (850 – 923), was at the forefront of Islamic research into medicine. A prolific writer, he produced over 200 books about medicine and philosophy, including an unfinished book of medicine that gathered most of the medical knowledge known to the Islamic world in one place. This book was translated into Latin and it became one of the backbones of the western history of medicine. Rhazes was also famous for his work on refining the scientific method and promoting experimentation and observation. His most famous achievement, when asked where to select a location to build a hospital in Baghdad, was to hang meat in locations around the city, and select the spot where the meat rotted the least. He assumed that the patients would be less likely to suffer from illness and putrefaction of the flesh in this location. He served as the director of this hospital for a large part of his career and performed most of his research that defined Islamic medicine. Al Razi Receuil de traite de medecine translated by Gerard de Cremone Second half of 13th century (Public Domain) Al Razi wrote extensively on the crucial relationship between doctor and patient, believing that they should develop a relationship built upon trust and, as the doctor had a duty to help the patient, the patient had the duty to follow the doctor’s advice. Like Galen, he believed that a holistic approach to medicine was crucial, taking into account the background of the patient and also considering any ailments suffered by close family, as with modern medicine. His other great achievement was in understanding the nature of illness, which had previously been described by the symptoms, but Rhazes made the great leap of looking for what was causing the symptoms. In the case of smallpox and measles, he blamed the blood and, as he could not have known anything about microbes, this was a logical statement. Reproduction in ‘Inventions et découvertes au Moyen-Âge’, Samuel Sadaune (Public Domain). Source Gerardus Cremonensis ‘Recueil des traités de médecine 1250-1260. Al Razi wrote extensively about human physiology and understood how the brain and nervous system operated muscles, and only the Islamic distaste for dissection prevented him from refining his studies in this area.
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About the author

Mohamedarif is a marketing professional and educationalist with a penchant for writing as a hobby since childhood. As he experimented writing about sporting events at first and then current affairs, he quickly developed a skill for observation of his environment and began to write on reform topics, especially in connection with the community. To further feed his pursuit of writing, he founded several newsletters and bulletins at his school and at the Husayni Madrasah in the 1980's, all the time learning from others already in the field not just about writing, but also about pre-press and production processes. He was also the editor-in-chief of the Knowledge Magazine in 1995–1996. A decade later, importing a flurry of ideas into his new home, Nairobi, he first founded a two page community newspaper then became a regular writer of the Friday Faculty before establishing the Community on Friday, a fully fledged Madrasah magazine in 1996. And while his writing at the community continued, he simultaneously started writing for a business weekly, pairing in with his newfound role as a marketing professional. During his time in Nairobi, he wrote several speeches for sitting chairmen and presidents while also giving some himself, developing his concurrent role as a public speaker and trainer.

With changing times and a decrease in advertising sponsorship, as well as a fall in overall readership, Mohamedarif transformed this publication into an electronic blog. Thus was born the Community on Friday in its present format.

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