Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi : biography
Muhammad ibn Zakariyā Rāzī ( Abu Bakr Mohammad Bin Yahia Bin Zakaria Al-Razi)( Mohammad-e Zakariā-ye Rāzi), known as Rhazes or Rasis after medieval Latinists (August 26, 865 – 925), was a Persian Muslim polymath, a prominent figure in Islamic Golden Age,History of civilizations of Central Asia, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., ISBN 81-208-1596-3, vol. IV, part two, p. 228. physician, alchemist and chemist, philosopher, and scholar.
Numerous "firsts" in medical research, clinical care, and chemistry are attributed to him, including being the first to differentiate smallpox from measles, and the discovery of numerous compounds and chemicals including alcohol, kerosene, among others. Edward Granville Browne considers him as "probably the greatest and most original of all the physicians, and one of the most prolific as an author".
Razi made fundamental and enduring contributions to the fields of medicine, alchemy, music, and philosophy, recorded in over 200 books and articles in various fields of science. He was well-versed in Ancient Persian, Greek and Ancient Indian medical knowledge and made numerous advances in medicine through own observations and discoveries.Hakeem Abdul Hameed,
Educated in music, mathematics, philosophy, and metaphysics, he chose medicine as his professional field. As a physician, he was an early proponent of experimental medicine and has been described as the father of pediatrics.David W. Tschanz, PhD (2003), "Arab(?) Roots of European Medicine", Heart Views 4 (2). He was also a pioneer of ophthalmology. He was among the first to use Humoralism to distinguish one contagious disease from another. In particular, Razi was the first physician to distinguish smallpox and measles through his clinical characterization of the two diseases. He became chief physician of Rey and Baghdad hospitals.
He traveled extensively, mostly in Persia. As a teacher in medicine, he attracted students of all disciplines and was said to be compassionate and devoted to the service of his patients, whether rich or poor.
Al-Razi’s religious and philosophical views were later criticized by Persian Islamic philosophers such as Abu Rayhan Biruni and Avicenna in the early 11th century. Biruni in particular wrote a short Risala treatise dealing with al-Razi, criticizing him for his sympathy with Manichaeism, his Hermetical writings, his religious and philosophical views,Seyyed Hossein Nasr (1993), An Introduction to Islamic Cosmological Doctrines, p. 166. State University of New York Press, ISBN 0-7914-1516-3. for refusing to mathematize physics, and his active opposition to mathematics. Avicenna, who was himself a physician and philosopher, also criticized al-Razi. During a debate with Biruni, Avicenna stated:
Razi’s masters and opponents
Razi studied medicine under Ali ibn Rabban al-Tabari, however, Ibn al-Nadim indicates that he studied philosophy under al-Bakhi, who had travelled much and possessed great knowledge of philosophy and ancient sciences.
Razi’s hamud opponents, on the contrary, are well-known. They are the following:
- Abu al-Rabban al-Balki, chief of the Mu’tazilah of Baghdad (d. 319 AH/931 CE), a contemporary of Razi who wrote many refutations about Razi’s books, especially in his Ilm al-Ilahi. His disagreements with Razi entailed his thoughts on the concept of ‘Time’.
- Shuhaid ibn al-Husain al-Balkhi, with whom Razi had many controversies; one of these was on the concept of ‘Pleasure’, expounded in his Tafdll Ladhdhat al-Nafs which abu Sulaiman al-Mantiqi al-Sijistani quotes in his work Siwan al-Hikmah. Al-Balkhi died prior to 329 AH/940 CE.
- Abu Hatim al-Razi (Ahmad ibn Hamdan). an Isma’ili missionary, was one of his most influential opponents (d. 322 AH/933-934 CE). He published his controversies with Razi in his book A’lam al-Nubuwwah. Because of this book, Razi’s thoughts on Prophets and Religion are preserved to the present time.
- Ibn al-Tammar (seemingly being abu Bakr Husain al-Tammar, according to Kraus) was a physician who had some disputes with Razi, as documented by Abu Hatim al-Razi in A’lam al-Nubuwwah. Ibn al-Tammar disagreed with Razi’s book al-Tibb al-Ruhani but Razi rebutted him in two antitheses: