(born in 854 CE, Reu Iran, died in 925 CE Rey, Iran)
Abū Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariyyā al-Rāzī (also known by his Latinized name Rhazes or Rasis), was a Persian polymath, physician, alchemist, philosopher, and important figure in the history of medicine.
A comprehensive thinker, Razi made fundamental and enduring contributions to various fields, which he recorded in over 200 manuscripts, and is particularly remembered for numerous advances in medicine through his observations and discoveries.
He was among the first to use humorism to distinguish one contagious disease from another, and wrote a pioneering book about smallpox and measles providing clinical characterization of the diseases. He also discovered numerous compounds and chemicals including Alcohol, kerosene, among others.
Through translation, his medical works and ideas became known among medieval European practitioners and profoundly influenced medical education in the Latin West. Some volumes of his work Al-Mansuri, namely “On Surgery” and “A General Book on Therapy”, became part of the medical curriculum in Western universities.
Edward Granville Browne considers him as “probably the greatest and most original of all the Muslim physicians, and one of the most prolific as an author”. He has been described as a doctor’s doctor, the father of pediatrics, and a pioneer of ophthalmology. Al-Hawi (Kitab al-Hawi fi tebb, Comprehensive book on medicine) is the title of a major medical book on medicine in twenty-five volumes by Rhazes. He spent 15 years on this book.
The disposition of the material in al-Ḥāwi generally follows the traditional order: localized diseases and their therapy from the crown of the head to the sole of the feet; worms, gout, etc; external lesions and their treatment; fevers; acute diseases; crises; uroscopy, animal bites, etc., poisons; materia medica, pharmacy; diabetes, dermatology etc.
Kitab al-Hawi fi al-tibb (The comprehensive book on medicine), which was translated into Latin in 1279 under the title Continens Rasis.
This book is also known in Latin as Continens Liber and in English as The Virtuous Life. Shown here is the rare 1529 edition of Continens Rasis, which was printed in Venice by Johannes Hamman.
Statue of Rhazes, United Nations Office, Vienna, Austria.