Historiography of Science and Medicine: Balancing Scholarship with Public Engagement

In recent years, here at Fez and all over the world, distinguished scholars have rediscovered the immense importance of Islamic medicine which preserved, systematized and developed the medical knowledge of classical Antiquity. From the seventh century onwards, and for over 1000 years, Islamic physicians remained the main authority throughout the whole of Europe.

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Note of the Editor

This article was presented in the International Congress on History of Medicine in Muslim Heritage, held on 24-28 October 2016 in Fez, Morocco. We are grateful to the editors and the general coordinator of the congress for permitting publishing the article on the Muslim Heritage website.


It is a great honour for me to be here today and I thank you most warmly for your invitation as I look forward to learning much in the days to come.

In recent years, here at Fez and all over the world, distinguished scholars have rediscovered the immense importance of Islamic medicine which preserved, systematized and developed the medical knowledge of classical Antiquity. From the seventh century onwards, and for over 1000 years, physicians [from Muslim Civilisation] remained the main authority throughout the whole of Europe.

It is now well known, at least in academic circles, that medicine has always been an important aspect of Islamic culture. In The Prophetic Medicine (Tibb-an-Nabawi), we find this passage narrated by Usamah ibn Sharik:

I came to the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him), and his Companions were sitting as if they had birds on their heads. I saluted and sat down. The desert Arabs then came from here and there. They asked: Apostle of Allah, should we make use of medical treatment? He replied: Make use of medical treatment, for Allah has not made a disease without appointing a remedy for it, with the exception of one disease, namely old age”
Prophetic Medicine (Tibb-an-Nabawi), Book 28, Number 3846)

You will forgive me for saying that the remedy for last disease was the one I was really hoping for!

Doctors [from Muslim Civilisation] became familiar with the Graeco-Roman and late Hellenistic medicine through direct contact with physicians who were practicing in the newly conquered regions. Muslim leaders were remarkably open-minded and displayed a tolerance of personal beliefs that would be commendable in our own age. One remarkable instance is that of the House of Wisdom (Bayt al-Hikma) that was established in the ninth century by the Abbasid Caliph Al-Ma’mun who sent envoys to the Byzantine Emperor Theophilos, asking him to provide whatever classical texts he had available. When these works, which included the writings of Galen and Hippocrates, reached the Caliph he appointed a physician from a Christian family, Hunayn Ibn Ishaq, to supervise their translation.

As the incumbent of the Galileo Chair in the History of Science at the University of Padua I had the opportunity of studying what was being taught to the students at the beginning of the 17th century, the dawn of what has become known as the Scientific Revolution. Galileo is best remembered for his achievements in physics and astronomy, but most of his students came from the Faculty of Medicine. A glance at their curriculum and their textbooks is more than revealing. Prominent among the works they had to study over their three-year course are those of Ibn Sina (whose name was Latinised as Avicenna) and Al-Razi (known in the West as Rhazes). More time was spent studying these great physicians [from Muslim Civilisation] than pouring over Vesalius’ celebrated De Humani Corporis Fabrica, the leading luminary of the Faculty.

A list of subjects offered at this time not only in Padua but also in other Italian universities provides the following information. Courses were given in the morning and in the afternoon. The lectures given in the morning were the most important and belonged to the “Ordinary” course. Those given in the afternoon were less prestigious and were called “Extraordinary”, an instance where words can conceal rather than reveal. The first lecture in the morning was considered basic. In the first of the three-year curriculum, the textbook consisted of Book I of Ibn Sina’s Canon of Medicine (Al-Qānūn fī al-ṭibb) commented by Giovanni Battista da Monte (known as Montano) and published in Venice in 1557. The Canon is a very large encyclopaedia in five books, which covers general principles of medicine, simple drugs, diseases of individual organs, general diseases of the whole body or occurring in various parts of the body, prescriptions for drugs and antidotes. It was just too large to be studied in detail in one year. In the second year, the Aphorisms of Hippocrates were commented, and in third year the Ars Medica or the Tegni of Galen.

Inside image of the Canon of Medicine book (Source)

After the main morning lecture, a second one was devoted to practical medicine. In the first year fevers were discussed in the light of Book IV of the Canon of Medicine. In the second and in the third year “specific diseases between the head and the heart” and “specific diseases below the heart” were taken into consideration, and students were made to study closely book IX of Al-Razi’s Liber ad Almansorem, as this great work was known in Latin translation. The importance attached to this treatise was brought home to the students by the fact that Vesalius himself had written the extended paraphrase that was placed in their hands. Al-Razi had studied Galen carefully, and he had found that Galen’s descriptions were at variance with his own clinical observations regarding the run of a fever. Al-Razi also offered an incisive criticism of the theory that the body possesses four separate humours or fluids whose balance were considered the key to health. When taken up, this line of criticism led to the destruction of Galen’s theory of humours including Aristotle’s theories of the four elements on which it was grounded. I should point out that if Al-Razi challenged the current fundamentals of medical theory, he invariably did so with courtesy, for instance, in the following passage:

I pray to God to direct and lead me to the truth in writing this book. I’m sorry to have to oppose and criticize Galen from whom I have received so much, for he is indeed the master and I am the disciple. But respect and admiration will not deter me from querying what is erroneous . . . I strongly believe that Galen has chosen me to undertake this task, and if he were alive, he would congratulate me on what I am doing. I say this because Galen’s aim was to seek the truth and bring light out of darkness. I wish indeed he were alive to read what I have published.

Galileo spoke in the same way. When his telescope had revealed that the heavens are not unchangeable as Aristotle had taught, Galileo insisted on saying:  “I contradict the doctrine of Aristotle much less than do those people who still want to keep the sky unchangeable, for I’m sure that Aristotle never said that the belief that there is no change in the heavens is as certain as the duty to assent to propositions that depend upon new observations.”

I am not claiming that Galileo was consciously imitating Al-Razi, but I do wish to suggest that the open-mindedness of Al-Razi and Ibn Sina may well have created a climate of genuine enquiry and intellectual daring among students of the Faculty of Medicine.

From Al-Razi’s book (Source)

After lunch (and no siesta as far as I can make out!) students were expected to attend two “extraordinary” courses. The first was on theoretical medicine, and the strange thing was that the professor took up the subject taught in the morning by the ordinary professor but in reverse order. The three-year sequence, instead of being Avicenna, Hippocrates and Galen, became Galen, Hippocrates and Avicenna! The second “extraordinary” course, which was on practical medicine, also proceeded in reverse order, and moved from Al-Razi to Ibn Sina. Why this should have been the case, I have yet to learn, but I do know one thing. Professors had to teach what the students needed to know, and they had to make your lectures interesting. If the number of students fell below six, their salary was reduced accordingly. And if no one showed up, the professor went broke! Student power was not invented yesterday! But I should add that the bylaws made it clear that, at the examinations, students would have to comment on texts from the works of Galen, Hippocrates or Ibn Sina.

But scholarship is not enough. We have the duty to document the Muslim Heritage, but it is also incumbent upon us to communicate the results of our research in a way that is accessible to a large audience. Knowing about the past is not enough by itself for, if undirected, it can issue only in the pursuit of an aimless omniscience. Our curiosity as historians has to be channelled into the task of answering questions that are relevant to our generation. A model for this kind of broad communication is 1001 Inventions. We should also, when possible, draw attention to more recent contributions of [Muslim Civilisation] to medicine and public health.

Similar manuscripts of work on anatomy contained illustrated chapters on five systems of the body: bones, nerves, muscles, veins and arteries. This page depicts the arteries, with the internal organs shown in watercolors (Source)

We are challenged with a shocking ignorance of Islam in several parts of the allegedly civilized world. How has this come to pass? And how are we to correct such a profound historical misunderstanding? I believe that we should, within each and every branch of knowledge with which we are familiar, stress the contributions that have been made in the light of the beliefs that everyone here this morning shares or cherishes.

Allow me to mention one recent development in which not only historians of medicine but all medical doctors should take pride. My example is a vivid one even if it is skin-deep. For years now we have been told by dermatologists that too much sun is bad for the skin. Pharmaceutical companies have made a fortune selling creams and ointments that claim to shut off sunrays. Now three years ago in Australia a designer from the Muslim community came up with a practical solution for women concerned about both their decency and their health. The brand name of the product is Burkini, and we might have expected dermatologists the world over to hail it as a major breakthrough. It has a number of practical advantages. For instance, there is no problem of security. The face is perfectly identifiable, and the hands are exposed, ready for fingerprinting should this be considered useful by some overzealous guard on the beach. I am told that non-Muslim women who purchase this swimwear are four times as numerous as Muslim ladies. It comes in a variety of colours and is said to both comfortable and flexible.

Since skin cancer affects males as well as females, some enterprising company should consider a masculine version of the Burkini. Why the Ministries of health in countries on the Mediterranean, and more specifically on the northern shore, should seriously consider making available to swimmers what is most emphatically not a military costume (as I have heard it said) but a medical invention. It is also a reminder that modesty is a virtue. 

Tibb Al-Nabawi of Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah. Dated 21 Shawwal 926 (4 October 1520). Probably Damascus, Syria. Ink, gold and opaque watercolour on paper. © Nour Foundation (Source)


A Culture Devoted to Healing

Muslim Contributions to the Medical Sciences A Tribute to Dr Rabie E. Abdel-Halim

Figure 1. Professor Rabie El Said Abdel-Halim, eminent expert in urology, poet and well known historian of Islamic medicine (Source) and pages from the original manuscript of Al-Tasrif depicting surgical instruments (Source)

Purpose here is to remember the life and work of Prof. Rabie E. Abdel-Halim Dr. Rabie passed away suddenly April 15, 2015.

إنّا  وإنّا إليه راجعون

Dr. Rabie, who was a prolific amateur historian of medicine, was also an emeritus professor of urology from the Department of Urology at King Saud University Medical College, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. His main urological research interest was urinary stone disease, about which he published a book: Urolithiasis in the Western Region of Saudi Arabia: A Clinical, Biochemical and Epidemiological Study (King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, 1996). In his later years he was invited to Al-Faisal University, Riyadh, as a visiting professor, where he continued his research and taught courses on the History of Islamic Science, and Islamic Medical Ethics. What is even more fascinating to me personally is that he created a course on Arabic Medical Poetry, intended for future programs in medical humanities. (I would love to see his syllabus!) A multi-faceted person, Prof. Rabie E. Abdel-Halim was also a published poet in Arabic. That last achievement I especially admire, as an amateur poet myself.

He was, moreover, a remarkable and accomplished historian of medicine. In 2005 he was honored by the Kuwait Foundation for Advancement of Sciences, who awarded him the Kuwait Prize for his contributions to history of medicine. Since May 2009 until his death he was an associate member of the Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation, based in Manchester, UK. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him, but especially by his colleagues in the history of Islamic medicine.

It was my privilege to become acquainted with him at a conference in Manchester in April of 2015. Though the conference lasted only three days, that was enough time for me to develop a warm affection for him. He reminded me of my grandfather, who also was a physician, whom I admired, and of my father who was about the same age, who recently passed away this last summer. The last time I saw Dr Rabie, we were descending some stairs, and I offered my arm for him to grasp for his stability. I will never forget that small bit of human touch and warmth. Even though he was elderly, he had a strong spirit. What also impressed me was: here we were, two men from opposite parts of the world, separated by a generation, and one a Muslim, the other a Mormon Christian, but we shared an interest in medieval Islamic medicine. But we also shared something else: a deep and abiding faith in God, and a commitment to acquiring knowledge and understanding as part of our respective religious traditions. Most importantly, however, inspired by our respective faith traditions, we were both committed to sharing this knowledge with others. When I learned of his passing only a few days later, I wept. I know his life was filled with good deeds and creative activity, but I had personally missed out on what could have been a rewarding and deep association. I’ll always remember his warm spirit and intelligent expression, and I’ll cherish the memory of him on my arm, descending those stairs. It was a great privilege to be asked to review his magnum opus history of Islamic medicine, although unfortunate that I was unable to discuss it with him. Dr Rabie completed this great work the night before he died.

Figure 2. Muslim Heritage – An Obituary: Professor Rabie El-Said Abdel-Halim 

Introduction to the History of Islamic Medicine

The book Introduction to the History of Islamic Medicine would not be considered academic history, as some of his methods and perspectives would not agree with those of professional historians. However, that does not detract from its usefulness and contribution. In my view, the great value of the book is two-fold. First, as a practicing physician Dr Rabie brought to the subject valuable insights about medicine that are not possessed by a non-physician professional historian such as myself. And this reminds us that for the history of Islamic medicine, both historians and physicians are needed–just as the broader history of Islamic science requires historians and technical specialists. And second is the feature that I shall discuss in more detail, namely, his deep religious faith and his insights into how the spirit of Islam not only made Islamic civilization possible, but more importantly for our present discussion, how it created within Islamic civilization an environment wherein science could flourish. So, I would like to focus on this theme of his work, which he also expressed in his publication that was included with your conference materials, the article entitled: “The Spirit of Scientific Enquiry in the Early Islamic World.”

Acknowledging that the science of today is “a joint global contribution” of many civilizations, Dr. Rabie focuses on one of the most creative periods in the history of this global science, namely, that of Islamic civilization. He finds that the most important factor in the contribution of Islam was what he calls “The spirit of scientific inquiry.” The spirit of scientific inquiry is an attitude and orientation toward nature that affects the way of handling empirical data, and fosters a community of shared practices, beliefs, and criteria for scientists to assess each another’s work.

Figure 3. Turning a fistula into in rhinophyma treatment by a Muslim surgeon. Miniature in Sharaf al-Din Sabuncuoglu’s book Cerrahiyat al-Hâniyya

Dr. Rabie finds the ultimate source of this spirit in the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet. Islamic science began with the divine command to search for knowledge that became ingrained in the Muslim heart, the command to use the divine gift of reason to contemplate the world and the cosmos, and to avoid intellectual taqlid, or blind imitation of past authorities. Islamic jurisprudence is the central Islamic discipline where this rational, scientific spirit was further developed. The importance of gathering corroborating evidence and testimony, as well as recognizing the inherent uncertainties within all intellectual constructs, were at work in the source methodology of Islamic fiqh, which sought to discover God’s law for specific situations. Even the notion of natural law owes something to the Islamic notion of nature having its own God-given sunnah, or habitual patterns of behavior, which in the simplest case is understood as God’s own sunnah as he works His will through the natural world. Dr. Rabie also taught that Islamic society fostered the brotherhood of intellectuals through the exercise of reason, a fraternity that transcended ethnic and religious lines, which came about as a result of this spirit of scientific inquiry. As Aristotle would say: for Islamic civilization, reason was a good in itself, with applications in all fields.

Dr. Rabie sees this seeds of this spirit in the very first verse of the Qur’an (Please forgive me for not reciting this in Arabic, but it will be well-known to nearly everyone here):

اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي

خَلَقَ خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ

اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الْأَكْرَمُ

الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ

عَلَّمَ الْإِنسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ

Read! In the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created man out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood. Read! and thy Lord is Most Bountiful, He Who taught (the use of) the Pen, Taught man that which he knew not” (Qur’an, Sura 96, verses 1-50).

The emphasis of the Divine Word here is on reading and writing, the tools through which the new revelation of Islam would be fulfilled.

There are many other verses in the Qur’an that command mankind to seek and acquire knowledge, and to not be content with what one thinks one already knows, but to seek more knowledge and understanding. Knowledge is central to the Qur’anic revelation, and is contrasted with the jahiliyya “ignorance” that prevailed before.

God commands mankind to observe and contemplate the world, and the objects of nature. For example, in another sura and aya of the Qur’an:

وَسَخَّرَ لَكُم مَّا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا مِّنْهُ إِنَّ فِي ذَ‌ٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

And He has subjected to you, as from Him, all that is in the heavens and on earth: Behold, in that are Signs indeed for those who reflect” (Qur’an, Sura 45, verse 13)

Everything in the natural world is encompassed by this command. The signs, of course, point to something (as all signs do), namely, to God’s activity in the cosmos. The true believer sees the natural world as “an ongoing epiphany”, i.e. a continuous revelation of divine activity. Dr. Rabie calls the search for truth the “method of Islam”, which is an intriguing phrase because of its resonance with the ancient Greek philosophical schools, each with their methods for living a complete life in accord with what the respective school valued most.

Specific to medicine is the ethical dimension of Islam, a subject that has been discussed in this conference already (by Dr Wael Kaawach “Building a Culture of Mercy”), who spoke of mercy as a central ethical ideal of Islam. The human body and the quality of the Muslims’ lives are important in Islam. So, medicine, which is concerned with maintaining and restoring the well-being of the body and its health—to paraphrase Ibn Sina’s famous Introduction to medicine in his Canon of Medicine, as well as with the relief of suffering, these are virtuous acts of worship and are essential religious duties.

Furthermore, the Qur’an chastises those who insist on following old ways over discovering and adopting new knowledge. Dr Rabie sees this as reflected in the well-known critical attitude of Muslim scientists, such as al-Razi and Ibn al-Haytham, toward established authorities, like Galen and Ptolemy. The seeker after truth must question everything said by these authorities and test it against his own firsthand experience. He must “make himself the enemy of all he reads”, in the words of Ibn al-Haytham.

Galen, Ibn Sina, and Hippocrates
Figure 4. Galen, Ibn Sina (Avecena), and Hippocrates, the three authorities on medical theory and practice in a woodcut from an early 15th-century Latin medical book. (Source).

Figure 5. Muslim Heritage – Botany, Herbals and Healing In Islamic Science and Medicine

Dr Rabie observes the curious fact that many of the intellectual tools later applied to the sciences were first developed within and by the thinkers who created the religious sciences of Islam. He is careful not to suggest that this means that the religious scholars were all therefore naturally inclined to accept the sciences, which they were not, as the well-known historical conflicts between some scientists and some more conservative ulamā’ show. However, the mere fact that so many of the greatest scientific thinkers in Islam were also known as religious scholars strongly indicates that there was an essential affinity between these two spheres of intellectual activity. 

This fact refutes the commonly held view that science and religion are and always will be essentially incompatible and always in conflict with each other, a view that has, unfortunately, prevailed in the West and has retarded scholarship. Within the Golden Age of Islamic science, however, it was not the case that science and religion were essentially incompatible and inescapably in conflict with one another. Rather, there eventually developed a harmony between them, which could serve as a model for our present age. Aristotle has shown how all scientific activity must rest on a metaphysics which, by its very nature is speculative, since it deals with things that are unobservable, things that pre-condition what we do observe in the natural world. And so, a metaphysics that is given by revelation may be a superior place for science to begin than one derived from human wisdom alone, the latter being the preferred perspective in secular science today.

In effect, Dr. Rabie describes the setting up of an intellectual milieu within a society that was organized around Islamic ideals, in which the sciences could flourish, and scientific knowledge could advance. This milieu is an entire cosmology, and a complete existential way of being for a Muslim seeker after truth. This milieu rests on the central imperative that God-given rationality is to be used not only to further the cause of Islam, which is also the cause of mankind generally, but also that knowledge, like reason, is a universal good, and knows no ethnic, sectarian, or religious boundaries.

Moreover, Islam is essentially a culture of healing, a religious tradition that has had a deep affinity with medicine from its beginning. The relationship of Islam and healing, as Dr. Rabie taught, is that Islam is concerned with the two-fold healing of the body and mind of a person. That Muslim medical thinkers were concerned to heal the body is obvious from the contributions to medicine that we have been discussing at this Congress. The second part, namely, the healing of the mind, may be less clear to us moderns. Islam aims to heal people’s minds from ignorance or lack of understanding of the pure principles of Islam, which are the essential principles of human existence. (Remember that the Pre-Islamic period in Arabia is called jahiliyya, “[The era of] ignorance”). For some Muslim thinkers, this healing of the minds or psyches involves a systematic organization of the whole body of rational thought, as Ibn Sina sought to do in his Kitāb al-Shifā’, a vast encyclopedia of knowledge.

Figure 6. Muslim Heritage – Ibn Sina’s The Canon of Medicine Article

image alt text
Figure 7. Medical flasks and bottles can be seen in this Ottoman manuscript about Islamic market, medicine and pharmacy. (Source)

In his history of Islamic medicine, Dr. Rabie begins with the revelation of Islam and the creation of the Islamic community. Proceeding from there, he describes how the Islamic conquests and translations brought the medical knowledge of Greece, India, and Persia to the Muslims, and how they assimilated and appropriated it—making it their own. In his book, as I have indicated, Dr. Rabie wrote much about the compatibility of Islam and science. In the first part he showed how the revelation given to the Prophet enjoins mankind to use reason and to seek knowledge, and how the systematic working out of Islamic Law requires both reason and data/evidence, which are also the two pillars of science, namely, theory and data. This essential connection of Islam and reason is found in the commandment, mentioned above from the Qur’an, to apprehend the many signs in God’s creation, and to follow them rationally to the object toward which they point, which object is the existence of the Creator and his attributes. (This is related to the famous medieval European argument for God’s existence, “The Argument from Design”). The signs do not point to God’s being per se, which could not be apprehended even if they did, but rather to His activities, or His energies, to employ a useful expression from Orthodox Christian theology, namely, His activities in our world—that which is profoundly expressed by the 99 Beautiful Names of God, such as the one in Dr Rabie’s own name (الحليم) al-Hālim “the Forbearing”, or my personal favorite (الوالي) al-Wālī “the Protecting Friend.”

Dr. Rabie is correct, I think, that there never was a religion and a culture more compatible with the investigation of nature and the activity of science than Islam. The rapid assimilation of the essential intellectual tools from other traditions into Abbasid culture, which parallels the rapid military conquests of the Umayyads, is proof enough of that. And then there was the flowering of the sciences under the auspices of Islamic civilization, when thinkers creatively shaped the ancient tools into something new and original. And space was opened for Christians and Jews to participate in these efforts, because reason as an activity transcends the boundaries of culture, religion, and language. The Baghdad Renaissance of the 10th Century under Buyid rule is the first major demonstration of this principle. At that point, the fruits of the first several generations of translations were being studied by Muslims, Jews, and Christians, and thinkers from each of these groups were discussing and arguing with one another in Baghdad, in a grand intellectual enterprise, using Arabic as well as reason, the universal language. What Muslim thinkers were creating was a science that was embedded within an Islamic cosmos. This is a reminder that science is never without a cosmology—there’s no such thing as a metaphysics-free science—whether that be a religious, philosophical, or secular-materialist.

One of the greatest achievements of Muslim thinkers, in my view, has had a profound effect on the development of science in later cultures. Muslim thinkers demonstrated how faith and philosophy, religion and science, revelation and reason could not merely co-exist, but thrive together in harmony within a monotheistic cosmology. (See Ibn Rushd’s Decisive Treatise, كتاب فصل المقال في ما بين الحكمة والشريعة من إتصال).

Figure 8. Ibn Rushd in a dialogue with Porphyre in a medieval Latin manuscript Liber de herbis by Monfredo de Monte Imperiali. (Source)

Figure9. This woodcut from a book about the nervous system, published in Venice in 1495, shows shelved reference volumes by Muslim physicians Ibn Sina, Al-Razi and Ibn Rushd, alongside works by Aristotle and Hippocrates. (Source)

There are certain fundamental incompatibilities between science as expressed in Aristotelian philosophy and revealed religion—for example, the issue of the creation. Aristotle’s view was that the world has always existed, that it has been in a state of perpetual change. (He was, no doubt, thinking of the paradox of beginnings: how could anything ever get started, when every starter itself must have a starter? With the motions of the spheres, he could stop with the Prime Mover, but that option was not satisfactory to him where the existence of the whole cosmos was concerned.) In Islam (and the other Abrahamic religions) the universe was created by an eternal self-existent creator God. Muslim philosophers such as Ibn Sina and Ibn Rushd showed how both points of view could be true. Well, without these philosophical tools from Islamic philosophy, Christian philosophers, such as Thomas Aquinas, might not have been able to accomplish the same type of reconciliation between reason and faith for Christianity, and thus science might not have developed in Christian society when and as it did, and the history of science would have been very different.

In medicine, the Islamic principle that God, the Creator, placed purposes in everything, helped to advance the study of anatomy and physiology. In the first place, this idea made Galen the favored Greek physician, whose treatise On the Usefulness of the Parts was an extended effort to show how the Divine Wisdom is manifest in bodily structure and function. Moreover, the legacy of Islamic medicine to Europe was more than just hospitals, surgical tools, and medical theories, etc. There was, I believe, something even more significant for the development of science that came with the medicine: the whole empirical attitude toward nature that reached maturity under Islam. Medicine is essentially empirical, and is a model for how practical sciences actually work, as it shows how the empirical and the rational must work together in the creation of new scientific knowledge.

To adapt a famous quote by Albert Einstein: “Theory without empiricism is lame, empiricism without theory is blind”. The original quote, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind,” would be appropriate in this context, since the dyad “science and religion” was a live issue for Muslim thinkers of all fields and in all periods.

Western science before the “reawakening” in the 12th and 13th Centuries was notoriously slanted toward the theoretical at the expense of the empirical, although with a few important exceptions. As I am trying to demonstrate in my own research into Islamic astronomy and medicine, these tools, when appropriated by Western thinkers, spurred the development of science at a crucial time. Basically, physicians required the empirical data of the stars to assist them in giving prognoses for patients in a kind of scientific astrology—a kind of astrology that was distinctly removed from the superstitious sort of astrology, and so within that medical-astrological context, the relationship between theory and practice became highly developed.

Figure 10. Muslim Heritage – The Simurgh: A Symbol of Holistic Medicine in the Middle Eastern Culture in History


To conclude, in presenting significant historical Muslim contributions to medicine, Dr Rabie has invited us to assume a perspective on the history of medicine that has not been the popular or dominant one. He invites us to follow him to a vantage point where we can see that, within Islamic civilization, the fundamental tenets of the religion harmonize with the fundamental principles of scientific method. From that perspective it seems that there should be a natural affinity between Islam and science, one that is closer than that between science and any other religious tradition. How, then, can we account for the well-attested conflicts between science and religion that have occurred historically? If Dr Rabie is correct, then such conflicts can be shown to have been motivated by political and social factors, rather than by purely scientific or theological ones. Dr Rabie’s achievement reminds us that a responsible history of science must not only keep track of these multiple factors for the culture and period under investigation, but must also attend to they ways that these factors interact with one another. If we do this, then many of the misconceptions about the historical relationship between science and religion will evaporate. Attending to these details will also help us to avoid projecting the issues of our present age back onto the subjects of our study. This includes discarding “grand narratives” about the history of science that center on the West and its supposed destiny, while minimizing the pivotal contributions of Islamic civilization, without which world science would not have become what it is. Thank you.

Prof Rabie Abdel-Halim’s 


Bismillahi Rahmani Raheem
When Satan choose you, that time you do things that please Satan and displease Allah and make your ego to feel you are an independent lord. You will feel your life is based on your knowledge hard work and luck and self esteemed!

When Allah Subhana wa Ta’la Choose you,that time you will do things that please Allah and displease Satan and make your ego feel you are a highly depended slave of Allah, depending highly on Allah’s Mercy and Forgiveness!

So this turning begin according to your priority and sincerity. Sincerity come from priority. Everything is centered in the heart ..

Anti-Christ ( false Messiah is highest in the first category)
He shall speak words against Most high and think to change law and time and proclaim himself to be god.(says Bible-Daniel 7:25 and in 2 Thessalonians)
Most of us therefore have an element of anti-Christ(Dajjal) in us.
Most of us speak words against Allah Aliyyul Kabir. We adopt the laws and tradition of people and abandon Shariah and Sunnah and most of us become gods deceived by our ego and walk and live like demi gods forgetting Allah and His Laws and Supreme authority. The God of Abraham Moses Jesus and our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be up on them).
So today when everyone speak about Dajjal everyone worry about Dajjal, i feel like small Dajjals worrying about big dajjal. Like cobras worry about king cobra!
Because people are worrying about Dajjal not because Dajjal will take over their faith,but they worry dajjal will take over their life wealth and shelter, they worry dajjal will destroy their worldly comfort and possessions.
The sign is they are waiting for Mahdi and Christ to receive gold to receive heavenly life on earth.
So ask yourself, are you fighting dajjal that is inside you?
If not,then you are wasting your time and life. Isa a.s coming and fighting big dajjal, Nabi Isa is obligated to do that. Why you are not obligated? Because you think you are a holy god so you are not fighting against the great evil inside of you. You like some fairy tales about end of times. Your End of time is your death and it can happen in any moment of your life.
You are making five times wudu in your body..but are you making ablution for your heart?
You need good soap (means) made by best manufacturer (Tariqha);to rub dirt on your heart.
You are prostrating five times but is your heart prostrating? Your heart is in the world and this world is only an atom in this vast univerese.
So the idol worship is still there, you are standing infront of the King but talking to those around you that is the state of our salah.
Salah has become a parrot talk…

So now if you want to see anti-Christ go to the mirror and think about what I said here at that time you will start seeing anti-Christ in your mirror.

Enemy within

Skeptic’s Reaction

Dr. Moore also wrote a book on clinical embryology, and
when he presented this information in Toronto, it caused
quite a stir throughout Canada. It was on the front pages
of some of the newspapers across Canada, and some of the
headlines were quite funny. For instance, one headline
PRAYER BOOK!” It seems obvious from this example that
people do not clearly understand what it is all about. As a
matter of fact, one newspaper reporter asked Professor
Moore, “Don’t you think that maybe the Arabs might
have known about these things ‐ the description of the
embryo, its appearance and how it changes and grows?
Maybe they were not scientists, maybe they did some
crude dissections on their own ‐ carved up people and
examined these things.” The professor immediately
pointed out to him that he [i.e., the reporter] had missed a
very important point ‐ all of the slides of the embryo that
had been shown and that had been projected in the film
had come from pictures taken through a microscope. He
said, “It does not matter if someone had tried to discover
embryology fourteen centuries ago. They could not have
seen it!”
All of the descriptions in the Quran of the appearance of
the embryo are of the item when it is still too small to see

with the eye; therefore, one needs a microscope to see it.
Since such a device had only been around for little more
than two hundred years, Dr. Moore taunted, “Maybe
fourteen centuries ago someone secretly had a microscope
and did this research, making no mistakes anywhere.
Then he somehow taught Prophet () and convinced
him to put this information in his book. Then he destroyed
his equipment and kept it a secret forever. Do you believe
that? You really should not unless you bring some proof
because it is such a ridiculous theory.” In fact, when he
was asked, “How do you explain this information in the
Quran?” Dr. Moore’s reply was, “It could only have been
divinely revealed!”