Tibb al Islam

Durre Najaf

Tib al Islam

Tibb al Islam discusses the medicines and methods of treatment of ailments granted by Muhammad Rasulullah (S) which later became famous as Tibb al Nabavi. This term has been understood by both physicians and commoners. Under the patronage of Muslims, Greek medicinal science developed and flourished and has become a part of Tibb al Islam. According to Rasulullah(S), every disease has a cause and cure. Prophetic medicinal traditions encourage constant research in order to find cures in the light of Islamic Tibb. Tibb or the science of medicine flourished from the early era of Islam, as Rasulullah (S) provided numerous prescriptions and applications for cure of many health disorders. Abi Jafar Al Imam Muhammad al Baqir (as) and Abi Abdillah Al Imam Jafar us Sadiq (as) taught medicine to selected students who then trained others in the science and in turn it spread to other parts of the world. Health professionals were highly regarded and patronized during the glorious era of the Fatimid Empire, which extended from the Atlantic shore of Morocco, eastward to Egypt, Syria and Palestine, and down the Arabian Peninsula to Yemen. Shia Fatimi Ismaili Imams introduced the concept of hospitals outside of the city which was later practiced by the west at large. Historical evidences reveal that Fatimid hospitals were highly regarded and well equipped. There was a generously endowed hospital in Al-Fustat known as Bimaristan or Dar ul Shifa that was equipped with apparatus and abundant supplies to fulfill the needs of the poor and rich alike. The hospital served the academic and health needs of the community for almost four centuries with a well-furnished library, medical wards, facilities and separate bath-halls for men and women up to the Mamluk period in the fourteenth century. Today, John Hopkins Hospital and University is a replica of the early Fatimid Hospitals. Works of Abu Jafar Ibn Al-Jazzar of Al-Qayrawan discussed in detail the contribution of Fatimi Imams to medico-pharmaceutical sciences. His father and uncle, Ibrahim and Abu Bakr Muhammad, were both well-known practitioners in the field of health. Ibn Al-Jazzar took the lead in promoting medical teaching and practice and became the most eminent physician during the reign of Fatimi Imam Al Muiz (as).

Medical science under Muslims flourished to different parts of the world, transliterated from Arabic to Latin in Europe and was instrumental to developments in the health sector. For more than one thousand years, “Canon of Medicine,” written by Al Shaikh al Rais, Bu Ali Sina (ra), Dai of the Shia Fatimi Ismaili Imam al Hakim (as), was taught in all Western Medical Institutions. When we see our glorious past, we see progress and prosperity in all sectors including scientific research and inventions. As a result, Europe arose from darkness and experienced the age of renaissance. In Arabia, however, the Golden Era of Muslims was culminating due to sectarian hatred, profligacy and corruption. Muslims became slaves of dominating nations and dependent on them for all their affairs. It is important to note that the terms Islamic and Muslim medicine have been used interchangeably when discussing Tibb, albeit both have different meanings. Muslim medicine refers to traditional medicine practiced by Muslims in the Islamic State. Islamic medicine on the other hand refers to values, ideals, guiding principles, and application of the Qur’an and Sunnah towards healing of the body and soul. Islamic medicine is therefore the true and objective medicine for all people irrespective of their geographical location, cultural or religious background. Lack of understanding over the distinction between Islamic and Muslim medicines amongst the Ummah is gradually degrading the value of Islamic medicine. The modern world is reacting against Islam, belittling its influence and exaggerating its dependence on Greek and Roman Heritage. Changing times necessitate the need to acquire modern education, especially in science, technology and medicine complemented with research into how Islamic teachings have served as the guiding principles for progress in the field of medicinal sciences.

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