The Method of Medicine


Abu al-Qasim Khalaf ibn al-Abbas Al-Zahrawi (also known by his Latinized name Albucasis, circa 936–1013 AD) was an Andalusian Muslim surgeon, who was born in El Zahra (known today as Medina Azahara), near Cordoba, Spain. He is considered by some to be the father of modern surgery and is best known for his medical encyclopedia Al-tasreef liman ajiza an al-taaleef (The method of medicine). This work became a standard text in Europe for five centuries under its Latin title, Liber Alsaharavi de cirugia, after it was translated from the Arabic in the mid–late 12th century by Gerard of Cremona. The encyclopedia consists of 30 chapters or treatises, which cover such topics as the doctor–patient relationship, various areas of medical specialization, nutrition, the link between diet and disease, diagnosis by examination, pharmacology, and classification of diseases and their symptoms. The last section deals with surgery, and in it, al-Zahrawi argues that the surgeon requires knowledge from all other medical areas before operating. The book also contains diagrams and illustrations of the medical and dental tools that al-Zahrawi used, some of which he himself devised.

Last updated: March 7, 2014