Al Razi

Ibn Sina

islamic medicine

medieval medicine


Al Razi

Al Razi was one of the first and most creative thinkers of the medieval Islamic civilization and he made much contribution to the Islamic Medicine when he decided at an advanced age to study medicine. Today Razi’s work is well recognized and to honor his memory, his native country Iran, has named August 27 as ‘Razi day’ also known as ‘Pharmacy day’, in Tehran there is the’ Razi Institute’ and the famous Razi University in Iran is also named after him to honor his memory and achievements...

Al Razi, whose full name is Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariya Al-Razi, is also known by Rhazes especially to the western world. He is Persian, born in the year 841, in a small town in Iran called Rayy. He lived to the age of 60 years old and died in 925 AD.

Interestingly enough, Al Razi did not start off as a physician. He was first a musician and then took some interest in mathematics and worked in alchemy. It is reported that his many experiments in Alchemy caused him an eye disease and he shifted his interest to medicine to cure his eye problems.

He went to Baghdad and started studying medicine day and night at the age of 40 (although some report that he was younger than that). According to his teacher’s testimonies, Al Razi was also very interested and brilliant in philosophy. He believed that philosophy and medicine go hand in hand and to treat patients you must try to answer questions about existentialism. Al Razi was a gifted student and very quickly he even surpassed his professors. After completion of his studies, Al Razi returned to his home town and managed a hospital where he was a highly skilled Chief Physician.

Al Razi was so reputable, that soon a hospital was to be built in Baghdad and he was to be the new Director a well. He believed in Hygiene and Bacteria and when he was consulted on the location of the new hospital he carried out the most interesting and original experiment to determine the location; It was in the 10th century, so Al Razi took pieces of meat and hung them all over Baghdad and the place where the meat decayed the slowest was the most hygienic and the best fit to build a Hospital.

Al Razi was an inexhaustible writer and wrote more than 200 books about medicine, Al Razi also wrote about Pharmacy and many Books about Alchemy and philosophy as well!

Al Razi was the first to write a Medical Manual which is like a medical advisor to help people of all classes to refer to and treat some common ailments when doctors were not available.

Al Razi wrote many articles about Children’s Diseases and is therefore often considered to be the Father of Pediatrics.

Al Razi was the first physician to give an exact description and diagnosis of the Small pox and measles and describes their symptoms. Moreover, Al Razi was the first Doctor to differentiate between those two diseases and separate them and offered effective treatment methods.

Al Razi made much advancement in the field of allergies; he discovered allergic asthma and identified Hay fever.

Al Razi also emphasized the Ethics of Physicians which we still often apply. He encouraged mutual trust and respect between the Doctor and his patients, encouraging comments and compassion from the doctor. He also advised doctors to take note of the patient history and description of symptoms.

This is but a summary of some of Al Razis contribution and field of interest.