Today is the birthday of an Iranian genius at various fields ranging from philosophy to medicine.
The birth anniversary of Abu Ali Sina is commemorated as National Doctors’ Day by Iranians each year on August 23.
Abu Ali Sina is better known in Europe by the Latinized name “Avicenna.”
He is probably the most significant philosopher in the Islamic tradition and arguably the most influential philosopher of the pre-modern era.
Born in Afshana near Bukhara in Central Asia in about 980, he is best known as a polymath, as a physician whose major work the Canon (al-Qanun fi’l-Tibb) continued to be taught as a medical textbook in Europe and in the Islamic world until the early modern period, and as a philosopher whose major summa the Cure (al-Shifa’) had a decisive impact upon European scholasticism and especially upon Thomas Aquinas.
He is regarded as the father of the modern medicine for introducing systematic experimentation and quantification into the study of physiology and contributing to the discovery of contagious diseases. He is also considered as the father of the fundamental concept of momentum in physics.
Avicenna wrote some 450 books on a wide range of subjects, many of which concentrated on philosophy and medicine. His most famous works are the ‘Book of Healing’ and the ‘Canon of Medicine’, which was a standard medical text at many Islamic and European universities until the 18th century. He wrote most of his works in Arabic, since it was the dominant language for centuries following the Arab invasion of Iran.
However, he also wrote a large manual on philosophical science entitled ‘Danesh-Naame Alai’ and a small paper on the pulse in his native language, Persian.
Among Avicenna’s 16 medical works, eight are versified treatises on issues such as the 25 signs indicating the fatal termination of illnesses, hygienic precepts, proved remedies, anatomical memoranda etc. Amongst his prose works, after the great Canon, the treatise on cardiac drugs, a large number of fine manuscripts which have remained unpublished, are being kept at the British Museum.
The Canon is the most famous and most important of Ibn Sina’s works. The work contains about one million words and like most Arabic books, is elaborately divided and subdivided into five books, of which the first deals with general principles, the second with simple drugs arranged alphabetically, the third with diseases of particular organs and members of the body from the head to the foot, the fourth with diseases which though local in their inception spread to other parts of the body such as fevers and the fifth with compound medicines