Islamic Civilization Term Paper

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Ibn Sina

The great Avicenna or Abu Ali al-Husayn Ibn Abdullah Ibn Sina, born in 980 was often known in the West by this Latin name. Among all the Islamic philosopher-scientists this Persian physician became not only the most famous but also an influential figure (Edward G, 1921). He was awarded royal favor for treating the Kings of Bukhara and Hamadan for illness which other physicians were unable to neither diagnose nor cure. He died in 1037 in Hamadan, where his grave is maintained (Edward G, 1921).

Out of his 450 works, only 240 have survived and among those surviving works, 150 are on philosophy, while the remaining majority 40 works are dedicated to medicine. Thus, his major contribution was in these two fields. However, he has also written on psychology, logic, mathematics, geology and astronomy (Watan Afghanistan).

Although, he was educated and trained in the field of physics, he made his vital and valuable contributions to philosophy, chemistry, mathematics and astronomy. Kitab al-Shifa ("Book of Healing") which is his philosophical encyclopedia brought Aristotelian and Platonian philosophy simultaneously with Islamic theology in dividing the field of knowledge into theoretical knowledge as physics, metaphysics and mathematics while practical knowledge as economics, politics and ethics (Watan Afghanistan).

Thus, two of the most Ibn Sina's important works are The Book of Healing and The Canon of Medicine. The first which is a scientific or philosophical encyclopedia covers logic, music, natural sciences, astronomy, geometry, arithmetic and psychology. The other book is the most well-known single book in the history of medicine (M.A, 1983).

About his Life & Contributions

Ibn Sina born at Afshaneh near Bukhara received his early education in Bukhara. By the age of ten he became well versed in the study of the Quran and different sciences. He read various Greek, Muslim and other books on the philosophy subject and learnt logic while at the same time he learned other subjects from famous philosopher of the time, Abu Abdallah Natili (Edward G, 1921).

While he was still young, he achieved such a degree of expertise in medicine that his fame spread far and wide. Further, he was lucky in curing just at the age of 17, Nooh Ibn Mansoor, the King of Bukhhara, of an ailment, in which all the renowned physicians had given up hope. Thus, on the Kings recovery he was permitted to use Kings uniquely stocked library as his reward desired by him (Watan Afghanistan).

He was also given an administrative post at the age of 21 and shortly wrote his first book. By this time, Ibn Sina now was an established physician and political administrator and which he continued to practice in the courts of several Iranian rulers, heads of the various heir states of Iran that appeared during the collapse of the Abbasid authority (Watan Afghanistan). However, after his father death, he left Bukhara and moved to Jurjan where he was welcomed by Khawarizm Shah and he also met his well-known contemporary Abu Raihan al-Biruni (Watan Afghanistan).

Ibn Sina decided to leave Hamadan in 1022 after being imprisoned and on the death of the Buyid prince to whom he was serving. He went to Isfahan where he entered the court of the local prince and spent the last years of his life in comparative peace. At Isfahan he completed his major works he started at Hamadan: The Book of Healing and The Canon of Medicine. He also wrote various other works on philosophy, medicine and the Arabic language (Watan Afghanistan).

Ibn Sina during the campaigns of military was likely to go with his supporters. He also composed many of his works on these campaigns. He wrote his famous book Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb after moving to Ray and then to Hamadan. Also, he treated Shams al-Daulah, the King of Hamadan, for severe colic. However, later from Hamadan, he traveled to Isphahan and completed most of his monumental writings. Nonetheless, he continued his traveling along with the extreme mental exertion in addition to political disorder that further spoilt his health. He thus, returned to Hamadan where he died in 1037 A.D (The Islamic World to 1600).

Being the most famous philosopher, physician, encyclopedic, mathematician and astronomer of his time, he made his major contribution to medical science with his well-known book al-Qanun, known as the "Canon" in the West. Furthermore, the Qanun fi al-Tibb is an enormous encyclopedia of medicine that extended over a million words, that includes the survey of the complete medical knowledge available from ancient and Muslim sources (Philip K, 1970).

Due to its methodical approach, according to Philip K. Hitti,

Formal perfection as well as its intrinsic value, the Qanun superseded Razi's Hawi, Ali Ibn Abbas's Maliki, and even the works of Galen, and remained supreme for six centuries (Philip K, 1970)."

Additionally, in order to bring together the available knowledge, the Qanun fi al-Tibb is rich with the author's unique contribution. However, his significant unique and creative contribution includes advances such as recognition of the contagious nature of phthisis and tuberculosis; spreading of diseases by means of water and soil, and communication between psychology and health (Edward G, 1921).

The book also described pharmacological methods by means of 760 drugs, making this book as the most authentic material of medicine of the period. He was also the leader in describing meningitis and made rich contributions in the fields of gynecology, child health and anatomy. Approximately, he wrote 99 books, which were mostly in Arabic language since it was the language of religious and scientific expression in the whole Muslim world of that era (The Islamic World to 1600).

However, he wrote two of his books in his native language, Farsi, the 'Daneshnameh-e-Alai' (Encylopedia of philosophical sciences) and a small treatise on the pulse. He has not only written on fields of medicine, psychology, natural philosophy and astronomy, theology and metaphysics, mathematics and physical sciences and music but also the reported author of Persian quatrains and short poems such as (Philip K, 1970):

Up from Earth's Centre through the Seventh Gate I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn

Sate, and many a knot unraveled by the Road, But not the Master-knot of Human Fate (The Islamic World to 1600)."

Kitab al-Shifa, which was his philosophical encyclopedia, was a monumental work, symbolizing an extensive field of knowledge from philosophy to science. He categorized the complete field as theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge (The Islamic World to 1600).

Ibe Sina Scientific Development in Islamic Civilization & Contributions to Scientific World

Contributing in the fields of mathematics, physics, music and much more, he explained the "casting out of nines" as well as its application to the verification of squares and cubes. He even made numerous astronomical observations, and created a device similar to the venire, in order to increase the precision of instrumental readings (The Islamic World to 1600).

In physics, his role includes the study of various forms of energy, light, heat and mechanical, and concepts like infinity, force and vacuum. He also made one of the important observations, which was; if the view of light is due to the release of some kind of particles by the luminous source, than the speed of light must be finite (Watan Afghanistan). He put forward an inter-link between time and motion, in addition to the surveys on particular gravity and use of an air thermometer. Also, he was the first physician who recommended the treatment for lachrymal fistula and introduced medical probe for the channel (Watan Afghanistan).

In dealing with the field of Chemistry, he did not consider in the possibility of chemical transmutation in metals as in his opinion, the metals differed in a basic sense. However, these views were completely opposed to those prevailing in this era (Philip K, 1970). Also, his treatise on…[continue]

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