Collection of Well-tested Medical Remedies


The genre of mujarrabat consists of collections of medical case studies, including tested medical remedies found to be useful in the treatment of the listed ailments. Therapeutic manuals of this type do not describe the nature and the cause of the ailments per se, but focus rather on the symptoms and the remedy—reflecting, perhaps, the nature of the work as a reference manual for the practicing clinician. According to the introduction of Jirāb al-mujarrabāt (Collection of well-tested medical remedies), this work is a compilation of case studies related by Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi (died circa 925), as recorded and commented on by an unnamed disciple. Born in Ray (near modern-day Tehran), Razi is recognized as one of the intellectual luminaries of the medieval Islamic world. Among his astonishing intellectual output (exceeding 150 titles on all the scientific topics of his era) is one of the earliest surviving instances of the mujarrabat genre: the Kitāb al-Tajārib (Book of experiments). Jirāb al-mujarrabāt presents a different collection of case studies than those appearing in Kitāb al-Tajārib, but it shares in the usual organizational structure of Razi’s work, in that maladies of the superior parts of the human body (such as the head) precede those that afflict the lower parts (such as the abdomen). Of the 31 chapters present in the Jirāb al-mujarrabāt, the final ten chapters depart from this scheme to present general topics, such as fī aujā‘ al-mafāsil wa niqris (joint pain and gout) in, for example, chapter 22. The manuscript contains a large number of transcription errors, suggesting that the scribe was not conversant in Arabic or perhaps that he was copying a text that he could not read. The scribe concludes the book with a short phrase in Persian, tamām shud ([the transcription] is finished).

Last updated: December 29, 2015