Islamic Medicine

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Written by Dr. Shahid Athar   

It gives me great joy to present this book "Islamic Medicine" to the reader. This is a compilation of articles published in the Journal of Islamic Medical Association over the last several years on the art, science and history of Islamic Medicine, to which I have added a few articles of mine.

What prompted me to compile this book was a paragraph I read in the new book on History of Medicine (by Lyons and Pettrollis, published by Abrahams) which starts the chapter on Islamic Medicine as "Arabic Medicine." Many have characterized Muslim contributions as principally of preservation and compilation. As one historian commented, "Certainly they (Muslim Physicians) contributed no original novel ideas to develop Hippocratic thought; but in a period of unrest (the dark ages) they were preservers of knowledge."

While growing up as a young student of science, I was taught in high school to college, all the contributions of western scientists from Newton to Einstein but was never told about contributions of early Muslim scientists in the field of chemistry, astronomy, mathematics, and so on. Similarly in the five year curriculum of medicine that I underwent while studying medicine in a Muslim country, I never had even a single lecture about contributions of Muslims in the science of Medicine.

Thus I compiled these articles in the form of a book, so that it can be used by Muslims and Non-Muslims alike. The chronology of arrangements of these articles is my own as I thought the best. The book deals not only with history, but also with the art of Islamic Medicine. I have extended the book to include articles on how principles of Islam apply to the modern Science including Medical Ethics. I thank the authors and the publishers for making this successful. I am also grateful to Hakim Mohammed Said for his valuable advice and for writing the preface for this book.