Within a century after
the death of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the Muslims not only
conquered new lands, but also became scientific innovators with originality
and productivity. They hit the source ball of knowledge over the fence to
Europe. By the ninth century, Islamic medical practice had advanced from
talisman and theology to hospitals with wards, doctors who had to pass
tests, and the use of technical terminology. The then Baghdad General
Hospital incorporated innovations which sound amazingly modern. The
fountains cooled the air near the wards of those afflicted with fever; the
insane were treated with gentleness; and at night the pain of the restless
was soothed by soft music and storytelling. The prince and pauper received
identical attention; the destitute upon discharge received five gold pieces
to sustain them during convalescence. While Paris and London were places of
mud streets and hovels, Baghdad, Cairo and Cardboard had hospitals open to
both male and female patients; staffed by attendants of both sexes. These
medical centers contained libraries pharmacies, the system of interns,
externs, and nurses. There were mobile clinics to reach the totally
disabled, the disadvantaged and those in remote areas. There were
regulations to maintain quality control on drugs. Pharmacists became
licensed professionals and were pledged to follow the physician's
prescriptions. Legal measures were taken to prevent doctors from owning or
holding stock. in a pharmacy. The extent to which Islamic medicine advanced
in the fields of medical education, hospitals, bacteriology, medicine,
anesthesia, surgery, pharmacy, ophthalmology, psychotherapy and
psychosomatic diseases are presented briefly.
(peace be upon him) who is ranked number one by Michael Hart', a Jewish
scholar, in his book The 100: The Most Influential Persons in History,
was able to unite the Arab tribes who had been tom by revenge, rivalry, and
internal fights, and produced a strong nation acquired and ruled
simultaneously, the two known empires at that time, namely the Persian and
Byzantine Empires. The Islamic Empire extended from the Atlantic Ocean on
the West to the borders of China on the East. Only 80 years after the death
of their Prophet, the Muslims crossed to Europe to rule Spain for more than
700 years. The Muslims preserved the cultures of the conquered lands.
However when the Islamic Empire became weak, most of the Islamic
contributions in an and science were destroyed. The Mongols bunt Baghdad
(1258 A.D.) out of barbarism, and the Spaniards demolished most of the
Islamic heritage in Spain out of hatred.
The Islamic Empire for more than 1000 years remained the most advanced and
civilized nation in the world. This is because Islam stressed the importance
and respect of learning, forbade destruction, developed in Muslims the
respect for authority and discipline, and tolerance for other religions. The
Muslims recognized excellence and hungering intellectually, were avid for
the wisdom of the world of Galen, Hippocrates, Rufus of Ephesus, Oribasius,
Discorides and Paul of Aegina. By the tenth century their zeal and
enthusiasm for learning resulted in all essential Greek medical writings
being translated into Arabic in Damascus, Cairo, and Baghdad. Arabic became
the International Language of learning and diplomacy. The center of
scientific knowledge and activity shifted eastward, and Baghdad emerged as
the capital of the scientific world. The Muslims became scientific
innovators with originality and productivity. Islamic medicine is one of the
most famous and best known facets of lslamic civilization, and in which the
Muslims most excelled. The Muslims were the great torchbearers of
international scientific research. They hit the source ball of knowledge
over the fence to Europe. In the words of Campbell' "The European medical
system is Arabian not only in origin but also in its structure. The Arabs
are the intellectual forebears of the Europeans."
The aim of this paper is to prove that the Islamic Medicine was 1000 years
ahead of its times. The paper covers areas such as medical education,
hospitals, bacteriology, medicine, anesthesia, surgery, opthalmology,
pharmacy, and psychotherapy.
In 636 A.D., the Persian City of Jundi-Shapur, which originally meant
beautiful garden, was conquered by the Muslims with its great university and
hospital intact. Later the Islamic medical schools developed on the
Jundi-Shapur pattern. Medical education was serious and systematic. Lectures
and clinical sessions included in teaching were based on the apprentice
system. The advice given by Ali ibnul-Abbas (Haly Abbas: -994 -A.D.) to
medical students is as timely today as it was then'. "And of those things
which were incumbent on the student of this art (medicine) are that he
should constantly attend the hospitals and sick houses; pay unremitting
attention to the conditions and circumstances of their intimates, in company
with the most astute professors of medicine, and inquire frequently as to
the state of the patients and symptoms apparent in them, bearing in mind
what he has read about these variations, and what they indicate of good or
Razi (Rhazes: 841-926 A.D.) advised the medical students while they were
seeing a patient to bear in mind the classic symptoms of a disease as given
in text books and compare them with what they found (6).
The ablest physicians such as Razi (Al-Rhazes), Ibn-Sina (Avicenna: 980-1037
A.D.) and Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar: 116 A.D.) performed the duties of both
hospital directors and deans of medical schools at the same time. They
studied patients and prepared them for student presentation. Clinical
reports of cases were written and preserved for teaching'. Registers were
Training in Basic Sciences
Only Jundi-Shapur or Baghdad had separate schools for studying basic
sciences. Candidates for medical study received basic preparation from
private tutors through private lectures and self study. In Baghdad anatomy
was taught by dissecting the apes, skeletal studies, and didactics. Other
medical schools taught anatomy through lectures and illustrations. Alchemy
was once of the prerequisites for admission to medical school. The study of
medicinal herbs and pharmacognosy rounded out the basic training. A number
of hospitals maintained barbel gardens as a source of drugs for the patients
and a means of instruction for the students.
Once the basic training was completed the candidate was admitted as an
apprentice to a hospital where, at the beginning, he was assigned in a large
group to a young physician for indoctrination, preliminary lectures, and
familiarization with library procedures and uses. During this preclinical
period, most of the lectures were on pharmacology and toxicology and the use
The next step was to give the
student full clinical training. During this period students were assigned in
small groups to famous physicians and experienced instructors, for ward
rounds, discussions, lectures, and reviews. Early in this period
therapeutics and pathology were taught. There was a strong emphasis on
clinical instruction and some Muslim physicians contributed brilliant
observations that have stood the test of time. As the students progressed in
their studies they were exposed more and more to the subjects of diagnosis
and judgment. Clinical observation and physical examination were stressed.
Students (clinical clerks) were asked to examine a patient and make a
diagnosis of the ailment. Only after an had failed would the professor make
the diagnosis himself. While performing physical examination, the students
were asked to examine and report six major factors: the patients' actions,
excreta, the nature and location of pain, and swelling and effuvia of the
body. Also noted was color and feel of the skin- whether hot, cool, moist,
dry, flabby. Yellowness in the whites of the eye (jaundice) and whether or
not the patient could bend his back (lung disease) was also considered
After a period of ward instructions, students, were assigned to outpatient
areas. After examining the patients they reported their findings to the
instructors. After discussion, treatment was decided on and prescribed.
Patients who were too ill were admitted as inpatients. The keeping of
records for every patient was the responsibility of the students.
There was a difference in the
clinical curriculum of different medical schools in their courses; however
the mainstay was usually internal medicine. Emphasis was placed on clarity
and brevity in describing a disease and the separation of each entity. Until
the time of Ibn Sina the description of meningitis was confused with acute
infection accompanied by delirium. Ibn Sina described the symptoms of
meningitis with such clarity and brevity that there is very little that can
be added after I 000 yearS6. Surgery was also included in the curriculum.
After completing courses, some students specialized under famous
specialists. Some others specialized while in clinical training. According
to Elgood9 many surgical procedures such as amputation, excision of varicose
veins and hemorrhoids were required knowledge. Orthopedics was widely
taught, and the use of plaster of Paris for casts after reduction of
fractures was routinely shown to students. This method of treating fractures
was rediscovered in the West in 1852. Although ophthalmology was practiced
widely, it was not taught regularly in medical schools. Apprenticeship to an
eye doctor was the preferred way of specializing in ophthalmology. Surgical
treatment of cataract was very common. Obstetrics was left to midwives.
Medical practitioners consulted among themselves and with specialists. Ibn
Sina and Hazi both widely practiced and taught psychotherapy. After
completing the training, the medical graduate was not ready to enter
practice, until he passed the licensure examination. It is important to note
that there existed a Scientific Association which had been formed in the
hospital of Mayyafariqin to discuss the conditions and diseases of the
Licensing of Physicians
In Baghdad in 931 A.D.
Caliph Al-Muqtadir learned that a patient had died as the result of a
physician's error. There upon he ordered his chief physician, Sinan-ibn
Thabit bin Qurrah to examine all those who practiced the art of healing. In
the first year of the decree more than 860 were examined in Baghdad alone.
From that time on, licensing examinations were required and administered in
various places. Licensing Boards were set up under a government official
called Muhtasib or inspector general . The Muhtasib also inspected weights
and measures of traders and pharmacists. Pharmacists were employed as
inspectors to inspect drugs and maintain quality control of drugs sold in a
pharmacy or apothecary. What the present Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
is doing in America today was done in Islamic medicine I 000 years ago. The
chief physician gave oral and practical examinations, and if the young
physician was successful, the Muhtasib administered the Hippocratic oath and
issued a license. After 1000 years licensing of physicians has been
implemented in the West, particularly in America by the State Licensing
Board in Medicine. For specialists we have American Board of Medical
Specialities such as in Medicine, Surgery, Radiology, etc. European medical
schools followed the pattern set by the Islamic medical schools and even in
the early nineteenth century, students at the Sorbonne could not graduate
without reading Ibn Sina's Qanun (Cannon). According to Razi a physician had
to satisfy two condition for selection: firs0y, he was to be fully
conversant with the new and the old medical literature and secondly, he must
have worked in a hospital as house physician.
The development of
efficient hospitals was an outstanding contribution of Islamic medicine (7).
'ne hospitals served all citizens free without any regard to their color,
religion, sex, age or social status. The hospitals were run by government
and the directors of hospitals were physicians.
Hospitals and separate wards for male patients and female patients. Each
ward was furnished with a nursing staff and porters of the sex of the
patients to be treated therein. Different diseases such as fever, wounds,
infections, mania, eye conditions, cold diseases, diarrhea, and female
disorders were allocated different wards. Convalescents had separate
sections within them. Hospitals provided patients with unlimited water
supply and with bathing facilities. Only qualified and licensed physicians
were allowed by law to practice medicine. The hospitals were teaching
hospitals educating medical students. They had housing for students and
house-staff. They contained pharmacies dispensing free drugs to patients.
Hospitals had their own conference room and expensive libraries containing
the most up-to-date books. According to Haddad, the library of the Tulum
Hospital which was founded in Cairo in 872 A.D. (I 100 years ago) had
100,000 books. Universities, cities and hospitals acquired large libraries
(Mustansiriyya University in Baghdad contained 80,000 volumes; the library
of Cordova 600,000 volumes; that of Cairo 2,000,000 and that of Tripoli
3,000,000 books), physicians had their own extensive personal book
collections, at a time when printing was unknown and book editing was done
by skilled and specialized scribes putting in long hours of manual labour.
For the first time in history, these hospitals kept records of patients and
their medical care.
From the point of view of treatment the hospital was divided into an out-
patient department and an inpatient department. The system of the in-patient
department differed only slightly from that of today. At tile Tulun
hospital, on admission the patients were given special apparel while their
clothes, money, and valuables were stored until the time of their discharge.
On discharge, each patient - received five gold pieces to support himself
until he could return to work.
The hospital and medical school at Damascus had elegant rooms and an
extensive library. Healthy people are said to have feigned illness in order
to enjoy its cuisine. There was a separate hospital in Damascus for lepers,
while, in Europe, even six centuries later, condemned lepers were burned to
death by royal decree.
The Qayrawan Hospital (built in 830 A.D. in Tunisia) was characterized by
spacious separate wards, waiting rooms for visitors and patients, and female
nurses from Sudan, an event representing the first use of nursing in Arabic
history. The hospital also provided facilities for performing prayers.
The Al-Adudi hospital (built in 981 A.D. in Baghdad) was furnished with die
best equipment and supplies known at the time. It had interns, residents,
and 24 consultants attending its professional activities, An Abbasid
minister, Ali ibn Isa, requested the court physician, Sinan ibn Thabit, to
organize regular visiting of prisons by medical officers (14). At a time
when paris and London were places of mud streets and hovels, Baghdad, Cairo,
and Cordova had hospitals which incorporated innovations which sound
amazingly modern. It was chiefly in the humaneness of patient care, however,
that the hospitals of Islam excelled. Near the wards of those afflicted with
fever, fountains cooled the air; the insane were treated with gentleness;
and at night music and storytelling soothed the patients
. The Bimaristans (hospitals) were of two types - the fixed and the mobile.
The mobile hospitals were transported upon beasts of burden and were erected
from time to time as required. The physicians in the mobile clinics were of
the same standing as those who served the fixed hospitals. Similar moving
hospitals accompanied the armies in the field. The field hospitals were well
equipped with medicaments, instruments, tents and a staff of doctors,
nurses, and orderlies. The traveling clinics served the totally disabled,
the disadvantaged and those in remote areas. These hospitals were also used
by prisoners,and by the general public,particularly in times of epidemics.
Al-Razi was asked to
choose a site for a new hospital when he came to Baghdad. First he deduced
which was the most hygienic area by observing where the fresh pieces of meat
he had hung in various parts of the city decomposed least quickly.
Ibn Sina stated explicitly that the bodily secretion is contaminated by foul
foreign earthly body before getting the infection. Ibn Khatima stated that
man is surrounded by minute bodies which enter the human system and cause
In the middle of the fourteenth century "black death" was ravaging Europe
and before which Christians stood helpless, considering it an act of God.
At that time Ibn al Khatib of Granada composed a treatise in the defense of
the theory of infection in the following way:
To those who say, "How can we admit the possibility of infection while the
religious law denies it?" We reply that the existence of contagion is
established by experience, investigation, the evidence of the senses and
trustworthy reports. These facts constitute a sound argument. The fact of
infection becomes clear to the investigator who notices how he who
establishes contact with the afflicted gets the disease, whereas he who is
not in contact remains safe, and how transmission is effected through
garments, vessels and earrings.
Al-Razi wrote the first medical description of smallpox and measles - two
important infectious diseases. He described the clinical difference between
the two diseases so vividly that nothing since has been added. Ibn Sina
suggested the communicable nature of tuberculosis. He is said to have been
the first to describe the preparation and properties of sulphuric acid and
alcohol. His recommendation of wine as the best dressing for wounds was very
popular in medieval practice. However Razi was the first to use silk sutures
and alcohol for hemostatis. He was the first to use alcohol as an
Ibn Sina originated
the idea of the use of oral anesthetics. He recognized opium as the most
powerful mukhadir (an intoxicant or drug). Less powerful anesthetics
known were mandragora, poppy, hemlock, hyoscyamus, deadly nightshade
(belladonna), lettuce seed, and snow or ice cold water. The Arabs invented
the soporific sponge which was the precursor of modem anesthesia. It was a
sponge soaked with aromatics and narcotics and held to the patient's
The use of anesthesia was one of the reasons for the rise of surgery in the
Islamic world to the level of an honourable speciality, while in Europe,
surgery was belittled and practiced by barbers and quacks. The Council of
Tours in 1163 A.D. declared Surgery is to be abandoned by the schools of
medicine and by all decent physicians." Burton stated that "anesthetics have
been used in surgery throughout the East for centuries before ether and
chloroform became the fashion in civilized West."
Al-Razi is attributed
to be the first to use the seton in surgery and animal gut for sutures.
Abu al-Qasim Khalaf Ibn Abbas Al-Zahrawi (930-1013 A.D.) known to the West
as Abulcasis, Bucasis or Alzahravius is considered to be the most famous
surgeon in Islamic medicine. In his book Al-Tasrif, he described hemophilia
for the first time in medical history. The book contains the description and
illustration of about 200 surgical instruments many of which were devised by
Zahrawi himself. In it Zahrawi stresses the importance of the study of
Anatomy as a fundamental prerequisite to surgery. He advocates the re
implantation of a fallen tooth and the use of dental prosthesis carved from
cow's bone, an improvement over the wooden dentures worn by the first
President of America George Washington seven centuries later. Zahrawi
appears to be the first surgeon in history to use cotton (Arabic word) in
surgical dressings in the control of hemorrhage, as padding in the splinting
of fractures, as a vaginal padding in fractures of the pubis and in
dentistry. He introduced the method for the removal of kidney stones by
cutting into the urinary bladder. He was the first to teach the lithotomy
position for vaginal operations. He described tracheotomy, distinguished
between goiter and cancer of the thyroid, and explained his invention of a
cauterizing iron which he also used to control bleeding. His description of
varicose veins stripping, even after ten centuries, is almost like modern
surgery. In orthopedic surgery he introduced what is called today Kocher's
method of reduction of shoulder dislocation and patelectomy, 1,000 years
before Brooke reintroduced it in 1937.
Ibn Sina's description of the surgical treatment of cancer holds true even
today after 1,000 years. He says the excision must be wide and bold; all
veins running to the tumor must be included in the amputation. Even if this
is not sufficient, then the area affected should be cauterized.
The surgeons of Islam practiced three types of surgery: vascular, general,
and orthopedic, Ophthalmic surgery was a speciality which was quite distinct
both from medicine and surgery. They freely opened the abdomen and drained
the peritoneal cavity in the approved modern style. To an unnamed surgeon of
Shiraz is attributed the first colostomy operation. Liver abscesses were
treated by puncture and exploration.
Surgeons all over the world practice today unknowingly several surgical
procedures that Zahrawi introduced 1,000 years ago .
The most brilliant
contribution was made by Al-Razi who differentiated between smallpox and
measles, two diseases that were hitherto thought to be one single disease.
He is credited with many contributions, which include being the first to
describe true distillation, glass retorts and luting, corrosive sublimate,
arsenic, copper sulfate, iron sulphate, saltpeter, and borax in the
treatment of disease . He introduced mercury compounds as purgatives (after
testing them on monkeys); mercurial ointments and lead ointment." His
interest in urology focused on problems involving urination, venereal
disease, renal abscess, and renal and vesical calculi. He described
hay-fever or allergic rhinitis.
Some of the Arab contributions include the discovery of itch mite of scabies
(Ibn Zuhr), anthrax, ankylostoma and the guinea worm by Ibn Sina and
sleeping sickness by Qalqashandy. They described abscess of the mediastinum.
They understood tuberculosis and pericarditis.
Al Ash'ath demonstrated gastric physiology by pouring water into the mouth
of an anesthetized lion and showed the distensibility and movements of the
stomach, preceding Beaumont by about 1,000 years" Abu Shal al- Masihi
explained that the absorption of food takes place more through the
intestines than the stomach. Ibn Zuhr introduced artificial feeding either
by gastric tube or by nutrient enema. Using the stomach tube the Arab
physicians performed gastric lavage in case of poisoning. Ibn Al-Nafis was
the first to discover pulmonary circulation.
Ibn Sina in his masterpiece Al-Quanun (Canon), containing over a million
words, described complete studies of physiology, patlhology and hygiene. He
specifically discoursed upon breast cancer, poisons, diseases of the skin,
rabies, insomnia, childbirth and the use of obstetrical forceps, meningitis,
amnesia, stomach ulcers, tuberculosis as a contagious disease, facial tics,
phlebotomy, tumors, kidney diseases and geriatric care. He defined love as a
The doctors of Islam
exhibited a high degree of proficiency and certainly were foremost in the
treatment of eye diseases. Words such as retina and cataract are of Arabic
origin. In ophthalmology and optics lbn al Haytham (965-1039 A.D.) known to
the West as Alhazen wrote the Optical Thesaurus from which such
worthies as Roger Bacon, Leonardo da Vinci and Johannes Kepler drew theories
for their own writings. In his Thesaurus he showed that light falls on the
retina in the same manner as it falls on a surface in a darkened room
through a small aperture, thus conclusively proving that vision happens when
light rays pass from objects towards the eye and not from the eye towards
the objects as thought by the Greeks. He presents experiments for testing
the angles of incidence and reflection, and a theoretical proposal for
magnifying lens (made in Italy three centuries later). He also taught that
the image made on the retina is conveyed along the optic nerve to the brain.
Razi was the first to recognize the reaction of the pupil to light and Ibn
Sina was the first to describe the exact number of extrinsic muscles of the
eyeball, namely six. The greatest contribution of Islamic medicine in
practical ophthalmology was in the matter of cataract. The most significant
development in the extraction of cataract was developed by Ammar bin Ali of
Mosul, who introduced a hollow metallic needle through the sclerotic and
extracted the lens by suction. Europe rediscovered this in the nineteenth
roots in Islam during the 9th century. Yuhanna bin Masawayh (777-857 A.D.)
started scientific and systematic applications of therapeutics at the
Abbasids capital. His students Hunayn bin Ishaq al-lbadi (809-874 A.D.) and
his associates established solid foundations of Arabic medicine and
therapeutics in the ninth century. In his book al-Masail Hunayn outlined
methods for confirming the pharmacological effectiveness of drugs by
experimenting with them on humans. He also explained the importance of
prognosis and diagnosis of diseases for better and more effective treatment.
Pharmacy became an independent and separate profession from medicine and
alchemy. With the wild sprouting of apothecary shops, regulations became
necessary and imposed to maintain quality control." The Arabian apothecary
shops were regularly inspected by a syndic (Muhtasib) who threatened the
merchants with humiliating corporal punishments if they adulterated drugs."
As early as the days of al-Mamun and al-Mutasim pharmacists had to pass
examinations to become licensed professionals and were pledged to follow the
physician's prescriptions. Also by this decree, restrictive measures were
legally placed upon doctors, preventing them from owning or holding stock in
Methods of extracting and preparing medicines were brought to a high art,
and their techniques of distillation, crystallization, solution,
sublimation, reduction and calcination became the essential processes of
pharmacy and chemistry. With the help of these techniques, the Saydalanis
(pharmacists) introduced new drugs such as camphor, senna, sandalwood,
rhubarb, musk, myrrh, cassia, tamarind, nutmeg, alum, aloes, cloves,
coconut, nuxvomica, cubebs, aconite, ambergris and mercury. The important
role of the Muslims in developing modern pharmacy and chemistry is
memorialized in the significant number of current pharmaceutical and
chemical terms derived from Arabic: drug, alkali, alcohol, aldehydes,
alembic, and elixir among others, not to mention syrups and juleps. They
invented flavorings extracts made of rose water, orange blossom water,
orange and lemon peel, tragacanth and other attractive ingredients. Space
does not permit me to list the contributions to pharmacology and
therapeutics, made by Razi, Zahrawi, Biruni, Ibn Butlan, and Tamimi.
From freckle lotion to
psychotherapy- such was the range of treatment practiced by the physicians
of Islam. Though freckles continue to sprinkle the skin of 20th century man,
in the realm of psychosomatic disorders both al-Razi and Ibn Sina achieved
dramatic results, antedating Freud and Jung by a thousand years. When Razi
was appointed physician-in-chief to the Baghdad Hospital, he made it the,
first hospital to have a ward exclusively devoted to the mentally ill."
Razi combined psychological methods and physiological explanations, and he
used psychotherapy in a dynamic fashion, Razi was once called in to treat a
famous caliph who had severe arthritis. He advised a hot bath, and while the
caliph was bathing, Razi threatened him with a knife, proclaiming he was
going to kill him. This deliberate provocation increased the natural caloric
which thus gained sufficient strength to dissolve the already softened
humours, as a result the caliph got up from is knees in the bath and ran
after Razi. One woman who suffered from such severe cramps in her joints
that she was unable to rise was cured by a physician who lifted her skirt,
thus putting her to shame. "A flush of heat was produced within her which
dissolved the rheumatic humour."
The Arabs brought a refreshing spirit of dispassionate clarity into
psychiatry. They were free from the demonological theories which swept over
the Christian world and were therefore able to make clear cut clinical
observations on the mentally ill.
Najab ud din Muhammad'", a contemporary of Razi, left many excellent
descriptions of various mental diseases. His carefully compiled observation
on actual patients made up the most complete classification of mental
diseases theretofore known." Najab described agitated depression,
obsessional types of neurosis, Nafkhae Malikholia (combined priapism
and sexual impotence). Kutrib (a form of persecutory psychosis),
Dual-Kulb (a form of mania) .
Ibn Sina recognized 'physiological psychology' in treating illnesses
involving emotions. From the clinical perspective Ibn Sina developed a
system for associating changes in the pulse rate with inner feelings which
has been viewed as anticipating the word association test of Jung. He is
said to have treated a terribly ill patient by feeling the patient's pulse
and reciting aloud to him the names of provinces, districts, towns, streets,
and people. By noticing how the patient's pulse quickened when names were
mentioned Ibn Sina deduced that the patient was in love with a girl whose
home Ibn Sina was able to locate by the digital examination. The man took
Ibn Sina's advice , married the girl , and recovered from his illness.
It is not surprising to know that at Fez, Morocco, an asylum for the
mentally ill had been built early in the 8th century, and insane, asylums
were built by the Arabs also in Baghdad in 705 A.D., in Cairo in 800 A.D.,
and in Damascus and Aleppo in 1270 A.D. In addition to baths, drugs, kind
and benevolent treatment given to the mentally ill, musico-therapy and
occupational therapy were also employed. These therapies were highly
developed. Special choirs and live music bands were brought daily to
entertain the patients by providing singing and musical performances and
comic performers as well.
1,000 years ago lslamic medicine
was the most advanced in the world at that time. Even after ten centuries,
the achievements of Islamic medicine look amazingly modern. 1,000 years ago
the Muslims were the great torchbearers of international scientific
research. Every student and professional from each country outside the
Islamic Empire, aspired, yearned, a dreamed to go to the lslamic
universities to learn, to work, to live and to lead a comfortable life in an
affluent and most advanced and civilized society. Today, in this twentieth
century, the United States of America has achieved such a position. The
pendulum can swing back. Fortunately Allah has given a bounty to many
Islamic countries - an income over 100 billion dollars per year. Hence
Islamic countries have the opportunity and resources to make Islamic science
and medicine number one in the world, once again.
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