Review articles

By Dr. Elham Mazraee
Corresponding Author Dr. Elham Mazraee
Nikshar branch , Islamic azad university , Nikshar , Iran, Nikshar branch, Islamic Azad university, Nikshar , Iran - Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Submitting Author Dr. Mahdi Esmaeilzadeh

Medicine , Arabic literature

Mazraee E. Medicine in the Arabic Literature. WebmedCentral PUBLIC HEALTH 2013;4(2):WMC004006
doi: 10.9754/journal.wmc.2013.004006

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License(CC-BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Submitted on: 09 Feb 2013 08:14:44 AM GMT
Published on: 09 Feb 2013 10:50:13 AM GMT


Literary expression has continually excited Arabs’s admiration, that ar captive by spoken or written words (1). Poetry is so thought of together with penmanship and design one in all the main Moslem art forms. Among the various genres of Arabic poetry, didactical verses were dedicated to offer Associate in Nursing approachable and easily remembered epitome of a selected field of information. These didactical poems were for the most part standard in Medieval literature and were usually written in rajaz verse, a metre utilized in Arabic poetry, that may be a reasonably iambic metre whose pattern of syllabic repetitions produces a jingly sound that's significantly straightforward to recollect (2). The rajaz metre has been in use since the earliest times of Arabic literature (3). several authors think about because the father of didactical Arabic verse Ab?n  b. Abd al-Hamad al Lahiqi, WHO established it as a genre of poetry. varied medical treatises, moreover as essays on different subjects like uranology, agriculture, grammar, hippology etc. were written in verses to assist learners imprint basic notions in their mind. so the rajaz verse is quickly learned, as a result of its stanzas ar short and its rhythm lightweight. the most effective noted medieval Arabic didactical medical verse form was the Urjuza fi al tibb (Poem on medicine), written in rajaz verse by Ab?‘Al? al-Husayn ibn ‘Abd All?h Ibn S?n?, noted in Europe as Dr.. Urjuza fi al tibb (Poem on medicine) became very fashionable throughout the eu time of life, thanks conjointly to the Latin translation created within the middle of the twelfth century by the Italian Gherardo district attorney city (who rendered the Arabic science offered to European students through his Latin translations of the main Arabic works) and thereto created, a century later, with the title of Avicennae Cantica, by the French Armengaud Diamond State Blaise (physician of the king King of Great Britain of Aragon and of the Pope Clemente V) (4). It consists of 2 components, the primary on general medical principles and also the second on plan and medicine, and consists by 1326 poetry lines. The verse form confirmed the essential of Avicenna’s theory and practice: principles, observations, prognosis, suggestions on medicine by means that of diet, medicine and surgical techniques. The gap phrase of the Ibn Sina’s Urjuza: “The drugs is that the art of health protective and, in case, of the body diseases curing” may summarize, if it's doable, the Ibn Sina’s medical theory. The poem, printed in varied sixteenth century printings, continued  to be imprimed and skim through the seventeenth century. it had been very fashionable, as genuine  by {the numerous|the varied|the many} manuscripts preserved these days and has been the topic for various commentaries, the foremost renowned written by the Spanish doctor  Ab? al-Wal?d Mu?ammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad Ibn Rushd, noted in Europe as ibn-Roshd. This statement, most frequently referred to as “Sharh urjuzat Ibn Sina fi al-Tibb” (Commentary on Ibn Sina ‘s verse form on Medicine) or Sharh manzumah fi al-Tibb (Commentary on the verse form on Medicine), may be a prose interposed with Ibn Sina’s verse form.

Different Ibn Sina poem’s commentaries has been written within the fifteenth century by M?sá ibn Ibr?h?m al-Baghd?d? (this statement is that the solely al-Baghd?d?’s medical treatises preserved today) and by Al? ibn ‘Abd All?h ibn Hayd?r WHO is particularly referred to as a author on plague.

Ibn Sina is additionally thought of the author of different didactical poems, as:

Urj?zah f? ta‘r?f al-nab? wa-al-bawl (A verse form on the data of the heartbeat and Urine) this can be a brief didactical verse form written with the aim of indicating options of the heartbeat and pee that may be helpful in medical prognostics.

Urj?zah f? amr?? jafn al-‘ayn (A verse form on Diseases of the Eyelid), a brief didactical verse form which incorporates several eye’s diseases.

Urj?zah f? tadb?r al-?ihhah f? al-fu??l al-arba‘ah    (Poem on the plan of Health within the Four Seasons), that circulated beneath many different titles, as urj?zah f? al-fu??l al-arba‘ah (poem on the four seasons), urj?zah f? al-fu??l al-arba‘ah al-da'ir f? al-sanah, (poem on the four seasons progressing through the year) (5).

several different authors wrote didactical poems on varied medical topics, because the case of the fourteenth century official of Granada Ibn al-Kha??b, conjointly referred to as Lis?n al-D?n, whose verse form in rajaz verse al-Manz ?mah f? al-?ibb   (The verse form on Medicine) refers to diseases of various components of the body and their treatment, starting with headaches.


Subjects as incision, the evacuation of humors, and circumcision ar gift within the rajaz poems of Shams al-D?n Mu?ammad ibn Makk?, a medical author that seemingly lived before or within the early seventeenth century:  Urj?zah waj?zah f? ‘ad?d al-‘ur?q al-maf??dah (A Short verse form on the amount of Vessels for Bloodletting) a 20-line didactical verse form on bloodletting techniques; Urj?zah f? jadhab al-khil?  (Poem on the Evacuation of Humors) a 12-line didactical verse form on purging and Urj?zah f? al-khit?n    (Poem on Circumcision) a 30-line didactical verse form. To ibn Makk? {is conjointly|is additionally} attributed a verse form that summarizes the Kitab al-Buthur (The Book of Pustules) also referred to as Ris?lah f? al-Qa??y? (The Essay on the [25] Premises), that was incorrectly ascribed to medical man (5).

The twelfth century Arab doctor, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Abd al-Malik ibn Muhammad ibn Tufail al-Qaisi al-Andalusi noted in Europe with the latinized name of Abubacer, wrote a “rajaz verse form on Medicine” containing several informations regarding designation and medicine, which can shed tidy lightweight conjointly on different areas of medical record. definitely Ibn Tufayl is best noted these days for his philosophical novel “ Havy Ibn Yaqzzam, (Alive Son of Awake)”, that  is told to possess galvanized Daniel Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe”  (6).

The fourteenth century bargainer, instead of doctor, N?gawr?, Shih?b al-D?n ibn ‘Abd al-Kar?m Qiv?m composed a Persian metrical compendium on medicine consisting of 164 chapters, noted beneath 2 titles:  Shif?’ al-mara? (The Healing of Disease) and        ?ibb-i Shih?b-i   (The drugs of Shihab). This metrical therapeutic guide was one in all the most sources for the Tuhfat al-mujarrabat, a later anonymous written material of Persian medical prose.

The didactical verse form Jaw?hir al-maq?l (The Gems of Discourse) written most likely within the seventeenth century by  ‘Al? ibn shaykh Mu?ammad ibn ‘Abd al-Rahm?n covers all aspects of medical theory and medicine as well as, among different subjects, "the malady of the elephant" (da' al-fil, or elephantiasis) and varix (al-sifaq al-dawali).

Besides the higher than cited poems written by noted authors, there ar didactical anonymous poems handling varied subjects, like the subsequent 3 short Persian poems:

Bur’ al-s?‘ah manz?m    (Cure in Associate in Nursing Hour), most likely supported a written material by Ab? Bakr Mu?ammad ibn Zakar?y?’ al-R?z? (d. ca. 925), noted in Europe as Rhazes, deals with  the  ailments which will be speedly cured.

‘Il?j-i va-‘al?mat-i d?' al-asad    (The Treatment and Symptoms of Leontiasis) refers to the treatment and symptoms of a variety of infectious disease referred to as da' al-asad (ailment of the lion).

Dar bayan-i narah va Han   (On the reason of Male and feminine Genitalia), on sexual hygiene.


The use of medical didactical poems falls at intervals the Arab tradition, that continually paid an excellent attention not solely to the clinical treatment of the patients, however conjointly to the education of medical students and to the medication development.


1. Philip Khuri Hitti: History of Arabs, Revised: 10th edition, preface by Walid Khalidi, Palgrave Macmillan, 2002, New York.
2. Khulusi Safa: Didactic verse In: Young MJL, Latham JD and Serjeant RB (eds.):  Religion, learning and science in the Abbasid period. The Cambridge History of Arabic Literature. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
3. Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature. Ed. By J.S.Meisami and P. Starkey, Routledge, London and
New York,1998 II v.
4. Alfredo de Micheli-Serra: Notas sobra la medicina del antiguo Islam. Historia y Filosofia de la Medicina, Gaceta Médica de México 2002, 138, 3,.
6. Yasmin Nasser: Ibn Tufayl’s treatise on Asthma, Lost and Found. Proceedings of the 10th Annual History of Medicine Days WA Whitelaw, 2001.

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Medicine in Arabic Literature
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WebmedCentral Article: Medicine In The Arabic Literature

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