Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi


Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi

Infobox_Muslim scholars | notability = Muslim scientist| era = Islamic Golden Age
color = #cef2e0


| image_caption =

| name = Abu al-Qasim Khalaf ibn al-Abbas Al-Zahrawi
title= Alzahrawi, Albucasis
birth = 936 CE| death = 1013 CE| Maddhab = | Ethnicity = Arab, Spanish
Region = Iberia| notable idea= | influences = Muhammad
influenced = Abu Muhammad bin Hazm, Pietro Argallata, Guy de Chauliac, Jaques Delechamps
works = |
Abu al-Qasim Khalaf ibn al-Abbas Al-Zahrawi (936 - 1013), ( _ar. أبو القاسم بن خلف بن العباس الزهراوي) also known in the West as Abulcasis, was an Andalusian physician, surgeon, chemist, cosmetologist, and scientist. He is considered the father of modern surgery, [A. Martin-Araguz, C. Bustamante-Martinez, Ajo V. Fernandez-Armayor, J. M. Moreno-Martinez (2002). "Neuroscience in al-Andalus and its influence on medieval scholastic medicine", "Revista de neurología" 34 (9), p. 877-892.] and as Islam's greatest medieval surgeon, whose comprehensive medical texts shaped both Islamic and European surgical procedures up until the Renaissance. His greatest contribution to history is the "Kitab al-Tasrif", a thirty-volume encyclopedia of medical practices.

Biography

Abu al-Qasim was born in the city of El Zahra, six miles northwest of Córdoba, Spain. He was descended from the Ansar Arab tribe who settled earlier in Spain.Few details remain regarding his life, aside from his published work, due to the destruction of El-Zahra during later Spanish-Moorish conflicts. His name first appears in the writings of Abu Muhammad bin Hazm (993 - 1064), who listed him among the greatest physicians of Moorish Spain. But we have the first detailed biography of El-Zahrawi from al-Humaydi's Jadhwat al-Muqtabis (On Andalusian Savants), completed six decades after El-Zahrawi's death.

He lived most of his life in Córdoba. It is also where he studied, taught and practiced medicine and surgery until shortly before his death in about 1013, two years after the sacking of El-Zahra.

The street in Cordoba where he lived is named in his honour as "Calle Albucasis". On this street he lived in house no. 6, which is preserved today by the Spanish Tourist Board with a bronze plaque (awarded in January 1977) which reads: "This was the house where lived Abul-Qasim."cite web|title=Muslim Contribution to Cosmetics|url=http://muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?ArticleID=364|publisher=FSTC Limited|date=2003-05-20|accessdate=2008-01-29]

Works

Abu al-Qasim was a court physician to the Andalusian caliph Al-Hakam II. He devoted his entire life and genius to the advancement of medicine as a whole and surgery in particular. His best work was the "Kitab al-Tasrif." It is a medical encyclopaedia spanning 30 volumes which included sections on surgery, medicine, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, pharmacology, nutrition etc.

In the 14th century, French surgeon Guy de Chauliac quoted "al-Tasrif" over 200 times. Pietro Argallata (d. 1453) described Abu al-Qasim as "without doubt the chief of all surgeons". In an earlier work, he is credited to be the first to describe ectopic pregnancy in 963, in those days a fatal affliction. Abu Al-Qasim's influence continued for at least five centuries, extending into the Renaissance, evidenced by "al-Tasrif"'s frequent reference by French surgeon Jaques Delechamps (1513-1588).

"Kitab al-Tasrif"

Abu al-Qasim's thirty-chapter medical treatise, "Kitab al-Tasrif", published in 1000, covered a broad range of medical topics, including dentistry and childbirth, which contained data that had accumulated during a career that spanned almost 50 years of training, teaching and practice. In it he also wrote of the importance of a positive doctor-patient relationship and wrote affectionately of his students, whom he referred to as "my children". He also emphasised the importance of treating patients irrespective of their social status. He encouraged the close observation of individual cases in order to make the most accurate diagnosis and the best possible treatment.

"Al-Tasrif" was later translated into Latin by Gerard of Cremona in the 12th century, and illustrated. For perhaps five centuries during the European Middle Ages, it was the primary source for European medical knowledge, and served as a reference for doctors and surgeons.

Not always properly credited, Abu Al-Qasim's "al-Tasrif" described both what would later became known as "Kocher's method" for treating a dislocated shoulder and "Walcher position" in obstetrics. "Al-Tasrif" described how to ligature blood vessels before Ambroise Paré, and was the first recorded book to document several dental devices and explain the hereditary nature of haemophilia.

"Liber Servitoris"

In pharmacy and pharmacology, Abu al-Qasim al-Zahrawi pioneered the preparation of medicines by sublimation and distillation. His "Liber Servitoris" is of particular interest, as it provides the reader with recipes and explains how to prepare the `simples’ from which were compounded the complex drugs then generally used. [Levey M. (1973), "Early Arabic Pharmacology", E. J. Brill, Leiden.]

Advances in surgery

Al-Qasim was a surgeon and specialized in curing disease by cauterization. He also invented several devices used during surgery, for the purpose of:
* inspection of the interior of the urethra
* applying and removing foreign bodies from the throat
* inspection of the ear

Al-Qasim also described the use of forceps in vaginal deliveries. [ Assisted delivery has walked a long and winding road, OBG Management, Vol. 19, No. 6, June 2007, p. 84. ]

Surgical instruments

In his "Al-Tasrif" ("The Method of Medicine"), he introduced his famous collection of over 200 surgical instruments. Many of these instruments were never used before by any previous surgeons. Hamidan, for example, listed at least twenty six innovative surgical instruments that Abulcasis introduced.

Abu al-Qasim's use of catgut for internal stitching is still practised in modern surgery. The catgut appears to be the only natural substance capable of dissolving and is acceptable by the body. Abu al-Qasim also invented the forceps for extracting a dead fetus, as illustrated in the "Al-Tasrif". [Ingrid Hehmeyer and Aliya Khan (2007). "Islam's forgotten contributions to medical science", "Canadian Medical Association Journal" 176 (10).]

In the "Al-Tasrif" (1000), Abu al-Qasim introduced the use of ligature for the blood control of arteries in lieu of cauterization. [Rabie E. Abdel-Halim, Ali S. Altwaijiri, Salah R. Elfaqih, Ahmad H. Mitwall (2003), "Extraction of urinary bladder described" by Abul-Qasim Khalaf Alzahrawi (Albucasis) (325-404 H, 930-1013 AD)", "Saudi Medical Journal" 24 (12): 1283-1291 [1289] .] The surgical needle was invented and described by Abu al-Qasim in his "Al-Tasrif".A. I. Makki. "Needles & Pins", "AlShindagah" 68, January-February 2006.]

Other surgical instruments invented by Abu al-Qasim and first described in his "Al-Tasrif" (1000) include the scalpel, curette, retractor, surgical spoon, sound, surgical hook, surgical rod, and specula. [Khaled al-Hadidi (1978), "The Role of Muslem Scholars in Oto-rhino-Laryngology", "The Egyptian Journal of O.R.L." 4 (1), p. 1-15. (cf. [http://muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?ArticleID=674 Ear, Nose and Throat Medical Practice in Muslim Heritage] , Foundation for Science Technology and Civilization.)]

ee also

*Islamic medicine
*Islamic science
*List of Arab scientists and scholars
*Islamic Golden Age
*Islamic scholars
*Muslim inventions
*Timeline of invention
*Avicenna

Notes

External links

* MWNF manuscript [http://www.museumwnf.net/database_item.php?id=object;ISL;ma;Mus01_F;16;en]
* http://www.ummah.org.uk/history/scholars/ZAHRAWI.html
* http://www.muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?ArticleID=223
* [http://www.ummah.net/history/scholars/el_zahrawi/ El Zahrawi - Father Of Surgery]


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