Ibn al-Nafis (1213-1288 A.D.)

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July 2, 2013 by theislampost

He was born in 607 A.H./1213 AD in Damascus. Ibn al-Nafis became a renowned expert on Shafi’i School of Jurisprudence as well as a reputed physician. After acquiring his expertise in medicine and jurisprudence, he moved to Cairo where he was appointed as the Principal at the famous Nasri Hospital. Here he imparted training to a large number of medical specialists. He also served at the Mansuriya School at Cairo. When he died in 678 A.H./1288 AD he donated his house, library and clinic to the Mansuriya Hospital.

His major contribution lies in medicine. His approach comprised writing detailed commentaries on early works, critically evaluating them and adding his own original contribution. His major original contribution of great significance was his discovery of the blood’s circulatory system, which was re-discovered by modern science after a lapse of three centuries. He was the first to correctly describe the constitution of the lungs and gave a description of the bronchi and the interaction between the human body’s vessels for air and blood. Also, he elaborated the function of the coronary arteries as feeding the cardiac muscle.

The most voluminous of his books is Al-Shamil fi al-Tibb, which was designed to be an encyclopedia comprising 300 volumes, but it could not be completed due to his death. Ibn Al-Nafis’ works integrated the then existing medical knowledge and enriched it, thus exerting great influence on the development of medical science, both in the East and the West. However, only one of his books was translated into Latin at early stages and, therefore, a part of his work remained unknown to Europe for a long time.

 

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