Ebu Bekir Muhammed Ibn Zakariya Al-Razi (864-930): known as Rhazes in the Western world,
was the leading scholar of the early Islamic world. Influenced by Hippocrates and classical Greek
medicine, Al Razi wrote numerous books on a range of medical and scientific subjects. The Al-
Mansuri and Al-Hawi, his encyclopedic reviews of medicine, were translated into several languages
and became a standard text for Islamic and European medical students for centuries.
“The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer’s art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.”
He was a keen experimenter and observer. As director of a large hospital in Baghdad, he engaged in
medicine on a practical level and these experiences permeate his writings. He saw the importance
of recording a patient’s case history and made clinical notes about the progress and symptoms of
different illnesses, including his own.
“Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind of our, and Adam’s curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.”
One of his most innovative assertions related to measles and smallpox. Previously they were
lumped together simply as a disease that caused rashes, but through careful observation Al-Razi
recorded the differences in appearance of the skin inflammations as well as the accompanying
physical symptoms, and proposed correctly that they were indeed two distinct diseases. He was the first physician to make an explanation about
smallpox, scientists who discovered the disease allergic asthma, and the first scientist to write about the allergy and immunology. In one of his
writings he explained the disease rhintis after smell the roses in the summer. Razi is also the first scientist to explain the mechanism of fever as the
body to protect itself. He was also very instrumental in the pharmaceutical field. He was the first doctor who wrote in detail diseases can be cured
and can not be cured. Al-Razi was first expressed his opinion in the field of medical ethics. His remarks such as the purpose of a doctor is to do good,
even to his enemy. are well-known.
“The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.”*
Samet Kose, MD, PhD
*The poem excerpted from TS Eliot’s East Coker, IV.