Science in a Golden Age – Al-Razi, Ibn Sina and the Canon of Medicine

Science in a Golden Age – Al-Razi, Ibn Sina and the Canon of Medicine


Modern high-tech advances in medicine and health are of course the result of many centuries of development, research, and experimentation much of which took place in the Islamic world between the 9th and 14th centuries A “Golden Age” of science During this time, scholars in the Islamic world made huge contributions to medicine, and created a body of knowledge that was tremendously important and influential around the world for many hundreds of years. I’m Jim al-Khalili, British professor of theoretical physics, but born in Baghdad. I’ll be exploring state-of-the-art biomedical science and uncovering the contribution made to the field by the scholars of the Golden Age. It was during the Islamic Golden Age that medicine started to be treated as a true science with emphasis on empirical evidence and repeatable procedures. During that time, medical books were written that became standard texts throughout the world for many hundreds of years. I’ve come here to the Hamad Hospital in Doha, Qatar, to see the how the ideas of the scholars from the medieval Islamic world compare to our modern medicine. The hospital’s neonatal unit deals with premature and newborn babies who are suffering from a variety of conditions. It’s the only one of its kind in Qatar and babies are referred here from across the country. [Dr. Lutfi:] All in all, through our doors, we probably have close to 17 to 18 hundred babies. And that amounts to about 10 to 11 percent of the total births [in Qatar], that occurs in this hospital. So it is, by comparison, one of the biggest units in the world. We do look after babies who are as small as 23 or 24 weeks gestation. So we are looking at a 5 months pregnancy, 5 months and 1 week pregnancy, basically [Al-Khalili:] And that in itself is incredible, I mean not that long ago, 23, 24 week old gestation – There’s no way they’d survive outside the womb. Absolutely. And we’ve come a long way. At this hospital, they’re carrying out pioneering research to improve the treatment of babies born with neonatal encephalopathy. That is, babies born with serious neurological damage because of a problem with oxygen or blood supply in the womb. The gold standard of treatment is putting these babies on a cooling mattress to try to reduce their temperature and limit the potential ongoing damage that could ensue in the brain However, it does not really provide an appropriate success rate world wide Here we’re trying a simple remedy that we believe has potential which is the addition of a drug called magnesium sulfate that has never been tried in combination with the cooling method. [Al-Khalili] To improve the reliability of their research, The hospital’s using what we call a “control group.” Some of the babies receive magnesium sulfate. Whereas a separate group, the control group, don’t receive it. This allows the hospital to compare fairly the effects of the treatment with and without the drug. So this particular study is a double blind placebo control which means that we are offering some of our babies a placebo and some who are getting the magnesium sulfate – we don’t really know which are which, and that’s – That’s – otherwise we’d be biased, exactly One thing that’s of tremendous interest to me is that this idea of a control group actually goes all the way back over a thousand years to a Persian physician by the name of Ar-Razi who built the first hospitals in Baghdad who was looking into the causes and treatments of meningitis and I believe he had not only his sample of patients, but he had a control group to which he wasn’t administering the treatment, in that case it was bloodletting, which we know isn’t the way you treat meningitis – But the idea of a control group goes all the way back to Ar-Razi This is actually one of the most important components of research that we do have a control group to try to ensure that our studies come out as non-biased as possible [Al-Khalili] to compare against
[Dr. Lutfi] yeah, absolutely Ar-Razi was born in the city of Ray near Tehran in the mid 9th century and he was an early proponent of applying a rigorous scientific approach to medicine During his distinguished career He served as chief physician of hospitals in both Ray and Baghdad. In the early 10th century, the ruling caliph in Baghdad, Al-Muqtafi asked Ar-Razi where in the city he should build a new hospital So Ar-Razi designed an experiment He hung meat up around different locations to see how quickly they rotted – and so determined the place with the cleanest air. This was typical of Ar-Razi You have a problem, you design an experiment to find the answer. During the Golden Age, the dissection of human bodies was considered disrespectful but there was one group of people who knew quite a bit about anatomy butchers – albeit the anatomy of animals rather than humans Well even though this is just a lamb’s heart, not a human heart, We can still see quite clearly the different compartments, the different chambers, within the heart This would’ve been something very familiar to these early physicians of the medieval age Shukraan In the 17th century, William Harvey famously carried out his ground-breaking research into the circulation of blood and the function of the heart But in 1924, an ancient document was discovered This was a text written by Ibn al-Nafis a 13th century Arab physician In it, he described the basics of pulmonary circulation how blood doesn’t move across from one side of the heart to the other but has to take the long way around – around the body This, 400 years before Harvey Building on the writings of physicians like Ibn al-Nafis and William Harvey our understanding of the heart has continued to develop Harefield Hospital in the UK is part of the country’s largest center for heart and lung disease Their cutting edge treatments build on the work of Professor Magdi Yacoub one of the world’s leading heart specialists who set up the hospital’s busy transplant unit and who’s received a knighthood in Britain for his services to medicine [Dr. Yacoub] The heart is such a.. like a magic opal The more learn about it, the more I respect it, because it goes on incessantly beating quietly maintaining life Professor Yacoub is also interested in the history of medicine As part of a paper he commissioned for a medical journal, he’s researched the life and work of Ibn al-Nafis. Here we have a scholar born in Syria in the early part of the 13th century he was a polymath because he was studying… he was a theologian, he was a “scientist” if you like, he was a discoverer… [Al-Khalili] But arguably, his most important contribution was his commentary on medicine in which he looked at how blood moves through the heart So this is the heart, and you can see, quite clearly the right ventricle and the left ventricle and these are two completely separate chambers the question has been, “how does blood go from the right ventricle to the left ventricle [Al-Khalili] For centuries, the accepted view had been that of the renowned Greek physician Galen Galen said that blood passes directly between the right and left ventricles of the heart through tiny holes in the sceptum the dividing wall that separates them Ibn Al-Nafis was the first to challenge Galen’s view; he established that there weren’t any holes, so there had to be another way to pass fro right to left

100 Comments

  1. All muslim scientists were students of Imam Jaffir Sadiq(SAW) and Imam Raza(SAW) the Grandsons of Prophet Muhammad(PBUH), Wisdom and Knowldge came from Allah through Prophet Muhammad(PBUH), same like jews got wisdom from prophet Solomon and David,the messengers of Allah, so science is nothing but Knowldge of Allah , the God of Abraham(PBUH).
    Thats why Allah Sent Darod o salam to the Family of Abraham(PBUH) and Family of Prophet of Muhammad(PBUH)

  2. I like the fact that Qatar is investing in science and researches and putting the Islamic contribution back to where it was during those golden ages. Back then Baghdad, Samarkand, Bukhara, Damascus etc were very developed places. When they were studying stars and galaxies, people in Europe were painting their faces, covering their genitals with tree leaves and hiding in woods. Then there were wars, Islamic developed places were conquered and scientists and books were taken out. I believe those times will come back and we can already see the beginning of it.

  3. Dears, please understand what is the Islamic ideologies and it's world view. Islam is not only a religion but it is a truth which exists in everyone's soul. Learn about Islam and be a part of it.

  4. Mansha Allah Alhamdullilaah SubXaanaAllah thanks to Allah.
    all the early knowledge of Arbic people started long before any other Humans on knew what is or how to heal in Medicine and Surgery in Humans
    the first Doctor of the Eyes were Arbic desent and First Neurological problem with babies less than 5 months .

  5. White jewish american here watching, respect to all enlightened peoples of all cultures. And i only list the first part due to comments below. Normally i just go by 'human' as description.

  6. From maraco to Indonesia are Muslim countries and if you are a Muslim or writing some books in Arabic it doesn't mean that you are a Arab !!! Avecina was a Persian scientist ! He was born in Iran and his grave is in Iran ! Because he was writing his books ( shafaa and ghanoon ) in Arabic ! It doesn't mean that he was a Arab 🤔🤔🤔🤔 I think if you make some documentaries please pay attention because a lots of people watching Aljazira TV and all of them are not Arabs !!! Dont get me wrong !! Nothing against Arabs !! But this kind of things are ouer identity and pride and for a lots of people watching Aljazira like iranian ! Is a very sensitive issue !

  7. In this video, for some reason, he doesn't mention that Ibn Sina, Razi, Birouni and… were all Iranians (Persians). Arabs tried to impose their language and religion to Iranians after invasion. Iranians scientists, artists and architects contributed a lot to what is now called Muslim golden age.

  8. What nonsense. They may be moslems but they are using western science and western medical technology. Islam is in the intellectual toilet and has been since the 7th century.

  9. Do not Worry. Let the fish stay in that well. The sky it can see, is it's world. Everything outside is not real for it.
    Souls who breed Ignorance, deception, dishonesty, persecution and bondage still can experience, the fruits of labour from righteous soul. True God is so Merciful and Loving. There is no freedom if you belong to cult , gang or ideology.
    Freedom comes from free thinking, unbiased intellect and truth.

  10. It is impressive how Islamic world copied other nations, cultures, and knowledge during Golden age after long blood shed; burning books and largest libraries in those countries. Red cross converted to Red crescent. Adding local languages or Arabic, when practice Western medicine or writing all over hospitals in Arabic, will not make it, made in Bagdad. You can write all over on those western derived equipment's with Arabic, but still the technology and hard work is western. The only way to win is with mere works and idiotic supremacy ideology which has no value.

  11. those(Razi and sina) wher persian scintests and if it was not because of persians arabs wer beheading and killing each others up to now adays

  12. Yes but by the turning of the Millenium,Europe realised the advancement of the Islamic Civilisation!Many texts were translated from Arabic to Latin thereby giving birth to the Renaissance in Europe!!!

  13. What these documentaries don't reveal is the teacher of these great scientists. Majority of them were the student of imam Jafar-al-sadiq. And because of this reason today they are way behind others. God doesn't favor injustice.

  14. The PERSIAN had many scientists and had built a great civilization way before Islam coming to IRAN. It did not matter if they were made Muslim or became Muslim. They could become Christian, Buddhist or anything else and still, they would shine due to their PERSIAN genes!
    IRAN, Iraq, and Syria always shined and had nothing to do with religion.

  15. Vonage Vintage volcanic Ash RA life card xxx Codec Vionich the early Students in Great Mandarin ancient Chinese secret control of Health Heavenly Gateway Jesuit community Studies Medical Med Botany Roots of Branches of Mapping . Only 30% of it was decrypted the Vonage book by Iranian Mandar

  16. Alhamdulillah rabbil alamin ik Ra . Al Ham Dow Dill Awaa lay Two Ventilation system from 👃 Throughout 💓 has 4 parts Two come from mouth throat & Two from the nose too lung's then 💓 where as Mouth throat other Two ventricles of the 💓 Fast Leisure Walking & Running the Nose Ventilation system ventricles Sleeping repairing represent necessitating body repair and Mind slow resources resuscitating sleep patterns of vibration of recovery neurology patients Sabar Service Saa laam

  17. Actually unani system of medicine is following those great scientists , ibn sinna , jalinoos , ibn nafys , and books like canoon of medicine. ….bt most of the present society don't know about this truth ..anyway proud to be an unani doctor

  18. Acupuncture from China proceed what so called golden age. And still exists now . It's just aljazeera trying to show how good middle East culture.

  19. That is why you see Arabs and Persians as foes nowadays…. because if they are reunited, they would once again establish a super power.

  20. Genesis According to False Prophet Muhammad

    Quran and Hadith contain references to creation of the world and the physical realities that are nothing short of scientific heresies. Despite the effort of some Muslim apologists to reinterpret them and find some esoteric meaning hidden within these absurd talks, their obvious contrast with science and logic is enough to realize that Islam was not inspired by God. The following is one of them.

    Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 414

    "… He (Muhammad) said, "First of all, there was nothing but Allah, and (then He created His Throne). His throne was over the water, and He wrote everything in the Book (in the Heaven) and created the Heavens and the Earth…"

    Does this story make any sense? Notice that the contents of the parenthesis are from the translator. If there was ‘nothing’ how Allah could have put His Throne over the water? Where was Allah sitting prior to that? From the above hadith one perceives that the water was there before the creation of the heaven and the earth. There is no mention that God created water! What was holding that water? Don’t you have to have a space first to put the Earth in it? And don’t you need to have an Earth to contain the water? It appears as if there is an error in the order of creation.

    According to Muhammad the Earth was flat and there are several verses as well as hadithes that confirm this belief.

    Q: 18: 86-90
    Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it set in a spring of murky water: Near it he found a People: We said: "O Zul-qarnain! (thou hast authority,) either to punish them, or to treat them with kindness."

    Then followed he (another) way,

    Until, when he came to the rising of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had provided no covering protection against the sun.

    Some scholars believe that Zul-qaranain is Alexander the Great who, according to the old folks had conquered from one end of the world to the other. What is important here, is that the sun rises and sets in ALL places. One does not have to go ‘another way’ to the other end of the world to find it rising. This gives an idea that Muhammad, just like the people of his time believed that the Earth is flat and the sun moves in the sky rising from one place and setting in another. There is also a hadith that supports this idea.

    Sahih Bukhari Volume 4, Book 54, Number 421

    Narrated Abu Dhar:
    The Prophet asked me at sunset, "Do you know where the sun goes (at the time of sunset)?" I replied, "Allah and His Apostle know better." He said, "It goes (i.e. travels) till it prostrates Itself underneath the Throne and takes the permission to rise again, and it is permitted and then (a time will come when) it will be about to prostrate itself but its prostration will not be accepted, and it will ask permission to go on its course but it will not be permitted, but it will be ordered to return whence it has come and so it will rise in the west. And that is the interpretation of the Statement of Allah: "And the sun Runs its fixed course for a term (decreed). That is The Decree of (Allah) The Exalted in Might, The All-Knowing."

    Q. 6: 38
    See how this Hadith is confirmed in the Quran? So there is no doubt about it. It is sahih. But does it make sense?
    Do you get the picture? Now compliment the whole thing with these verses.

    Q. 78: 6-7
    Have We not made the earth as a wide expanse,
    And the mountains as pegs?

    The word “expanse” gives an idea of something flat. The Arabic word used in Quran is "mehad", (bed). Beds are flat.

    I don’t want to dwell on the obvious. Dose the whole story make sense? Doesn’t this Hadith and the one above it, backed by these verses from Quran, clearly describe a flat Earth, where the sun rises from one side of it and sets in the murky waters on the opposite side? Is there a Throne somewhere that the sun goes under it and gets permission? What Throne is he talking about? Is it the same Throne of God that is placed over the waters? When and how the sun prostrates itself? The Earth is spherical; can anybody look out and see any Throne anywhere? Has anybody noticed where in the sky the sun stops to ask permission? The absurdity of these tales is self-explanatory yet a Muslim would not pause for a moment to question their validity. If it is in the Quran, it must be true even if it is blatantly absurd.

    For the origin of these stories one has to look into the tales of the people before Islam. In 1952 Theodor H. Gaster compiled a book called The Oldest Stories in the Word. It is a collection of the lore of the Babylonian, Hittite and Canaanite people of 3500 years ago; stories that were lost and then unearthed in the 20th century. One is astounded to find the similarities of those old stories and the stories in Quran and the Bible including the above Hadith, which proves that Quran is not a divine book but a collection of the, old tales that was part of the folklore of the people to whom Muhammad was talking.

    In another Hadith Muhammad compares the rise and the set of the sun to a bow. This is of course how the movement of the sun appears from the Earth. To the primitive people it appeared that the sun rises from the East and sets in the West making a bow in the sky. Therefore the comparison.

    Volume 4, Book 52, Number 51:

    Narrated Abu Huraira:

    The Prophet said, "A place in Paradise as small as a bow is better than all that on which the sun rises and sets (i.e. all the world)." He also said, "A single endeavor in Allah's Cause in the afternoon or in the forenoon is better than all that on which the sun rises and sets."

  21. Love those Manuscripts😍🏩🏪, written on Papers made by Wasps ☺🌌and Poisonous Ink from Rat snakes,😏🌃 edged with real Gold.😎 🏰The writers themselves were true warriors🤨🗽, writing away Hungry and Thirsty😭🕋 in Dungeons and Forests ⛲without any proper sorce of light😤, in star nights 🌃🌉with glass jars of 🗺🏝🏜🏖🏕🏞 Fireflies

  22. Ibn Sina was from current Uzbekistan, holy city of Bukhara. We have his muzeum in Bukhara city. Salam from Bukhara and welcome to Uzbekistan, Bukhara

  23. Placebo on babies, are the babies conscious of the fact? It makes no sense. Yes the idea of controlled group is fine but the sample is not.

  24. Almost all the so called "Islamic" scientists, philosophers, and mathematicians were Persians. The "golden age" only became possible after the Abbasids wisely brought the Persians into their system after the disaster of Umayyads rule.

  25. Islam is nothing but barbarianism and terrorism and I read the Quran in Arabic as I am an Arab and see that the main problem in the Middle East is ISLAM.

  26. Islam is a peaceful Religion and teach us peace and love with humanity.There is no space for terriorism in islam and world should be understand that Islam spread peace and love and dislike terriorsm and creulty upon entire humanity

  27. Great PERSIA EMPIRE 💖💖💖💖, Remember when arabs attacted the persian empire they damaged all libery, sinece, and every thing in the empire,, persian carpets piece by piece, that is why Persians became muslim by war.

  28. The medieval European was visiting shrines and saints for treatment!!
    Because of the church😃
    At the same time, Islam has strengthened the presence of doctors

  29. It wasn't "Islamic" golden Age It was "Persian Golden" age of science since all the scientists were Persian including Razi and Pur Sina ! Most other "Islamic" scientists were from Syria and Lebanon which are not ethnically Arabs !

  30. I teach my college students here in the U.S. about the Golden Age of Islam, in particular the history of psychology at the time. They learn about Ibn Sina and many others, along with the development of hospital care, including psychiatric wards in Baghdad. The students are amazed at the knowledge developed and practiced at the time and express frustration that they’ve never learned it before. I also teach about psychology in ancient Mesoamérica, China, and India, among others. The more we know, the more we appreciate and respect.

  31. Ibn sina razi kharazmi and many more to name all were persian scientists its hard to relate them to islam or any other religion in any shape or form

  32. Muslin world was way ahead of Christian world in knowledge but the biggest mistake they did was banning the printing press in 1500century. That turned to be worst mistake and Muslim world crashed

  33. This comment section is a disgrace ,,,, the Muslim Ibn Sina or the Jew Einstein were simply mortal human beings used as a medium by God to deliver superior knowledge to the mankind. A mortal being i.e a human being can never create anything that can be termed as great. Only God is great.

  34. They were iranian scientists not arab . Ibn sina and razi were materialist scientists not islamic . They was under Islamic rulers pressure because of their materialist idias

  35. Islamic world took the prior knowledge of medicine from Persia and brought it to surface. So credit goes to Persian empire , much longer before Islam ever came to existence. As narrator refers to Razi Persian scientist one of the many Persians , Abu Ali Cina being another.

  36. all iranians of course razi was atheist or at least rejected revelation in religio (openly) so lets call it the iranian golden age lol

  37. Islam is a powerful religion islam gave us everything how we can survive in this world before the islam there was no humanity no science no education its my challenge you white people do search about it islam was great and islam is great ALHAMDULILLAH

  38. EVEN THE EUROPEANS KNOW ABOUT ISLAM IS THE ONLY TRUER RELIGION IN THE UNIVERSE , WHOEVER DOUGHT SHOULD GO TO JERUSALEM AND TO THE MOSQUE OF AQSA WHERE CHRISTAINS CLAIM TO BE WORSHIPPING THERE, PRAISE BE TO ALLAH

    ISLAM IS THE ONLY TRUE RELIGION THAT ALLAH WILL ACCEPT

  39. oh..how i wish every hospital still had a herb garden and prescribed patients natural remedies and cures where it was beneficial ….rather than chemicals everytime….its also our fault..we want to be cured fast..we want all our solutions in a pill! a magic pill to cure it all!

  40. let’s pretend that most important medical inventions thermometer, Stethoscope, X-ray, Antibiotics, Hypodermic Needle, Spectacles (glasses), pacemaker, CT scanner, Prosthetics, implants and Cardiac Defibrillator

    Or what about most important medicine discoveries Penicillin, vaccines, insulin, morphine.

    Let’s pretend it was not white people who invented this

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