Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Ali Bin Rabban's surname was Abu al-Hasan, the full name being Abu al-Hasan Ali Bin Sahl Rabban al-Tabari. Born in 838 C.E. his father Sahl hailed from a respectable Jew family. The nobility and sympathy inherent in his very nature soon endeared him to his countrymen so much so that they used to call him Rabban which implies "my leader". Ali received his education in the disciplines of Medical science and calligraphy from his able father Sahl and attained perfection in these fields. He had also mastered Syriac and Greek languages to a high degree of proficiency.

On the Quran he said: "When I was a Christian I used to say, as did an uncle of mine who was one of the learned and eloquent men, that eloquence is not one of the signs of prophet-hood because it is common to all the peoples; but when I discarded (blind) imitation and (old) customs and gave up adhering to (mere) habit and training and reflected upon the meanings of the Qur'an I came to know that what the followers of the Qur'an claimed for it was true. The fact is that I have not found any book, be it by an Arab or a Persian, an Asian or a Greek, right from the beginning of the world up to now, which contains at the same time praises of God, belief in the prophets and apostles, exhortations to good, everlasting deeds, command to do good and prohibition against doing evil, inspiration to the desire of paradise and to avoidance of hell-fire as this Qur'an does. So when a person brings to us a book of such qualities, which inspires such reverence and sweetness in the hearts and which has achieved such an everlasting success and he is (at the same time) an illiterate person who did never learnt the art of writing or rhetoric, that book is without any doubt one of the signs of his Prophethood.

In fact the main cause behind his exalta- tion lies in this world-renowned treatise Firdous al-Hikmat, it is the first ever Medical encyclopaedia which incorporates all the branches of medical science in its folds. Firdous al-Hikmat was divided into 7 sections and 30 parts, with 360 chapters in total. It deals with pediatrics and child development in Depth, as well as Psychology and Psychotherapy. In the fields of medicine and psychotherapy, the work was primarily influenced by Islamic thought and ancient Sub-continent’s physicians. In Sanskrit, the word Ayurveda comprises the words meaning 'life' and 'science'....such as Sushruta and Charaka.

Unlike earlier physicians, however, al-Tabari emphasized strong ties between psychology and medicine, and the need of psychotherapy and counseling in the therapeutic treatment of patients. He wrote that patients frequently feel sick due to delusions or imagination and that these can be treated through "wise counselling" by smart and witty physicians who could win the rapport and confidence of their patients, leading to a positive therapeutic outcome.
This work has been published in this century (20th century) only. Prior to this publication only five of his manuscripts were to be found scattered in libraries the world over. Dr. Mohammed Zubair Siddiqui compared and edited the manuscripts. In his preface he has provided extremely useful information regarding the book and the author and, wherever felt necessary, explanatory notes have been written to facilitate publication of this work on modern publishing standards. Later on this unique work was published with the cooperation of English and German institutions. Following are the details of its all seven parts:

His Firdous al-Hikmah ("Paradise of Wisdom"), which he wrote in Arabic called also Al-Kunnash was a system of medicine in seven parts. He also translated it into Syriac, to give it wider usefulness.
Part one: Kulliyat-e-Tibb . This part throws light on contempo- rary ideology of medical science. In that era these principles formed the basis of medical science.

Part two: Elucidation of the organs of the human body, rules for keeping good health and comprehensive account of certain muscular diseases.

Part three: Description of diet to be taken in conditions of health and disease.

Part four: All diseases right from head to toe. This part is of profound significance in the whole book and comprises twelve papers:
* General causes relating to eruption of diseases.
* Diseases of the head and the brain.
* Diseases relating to the eye,nose,ear,mouth and teeth.
* Muscular diseases (paralysis and spasm).
* Diseases of the regions of the chest, throat and lungs.
* Diseases of the abdomen.
* Diseases of the liver.
* Diseases of gallbladder and spleen.
* Intestinal diseases.
* Different kinds of fever.
* Miscellaneous diseases- explanation of body organs
* Examination of pulse and urine. This part is the detailed in the book and is almost
half the size of the whole book.

Part five: Description of flavour, taste and colour.

Part six: Drugs and poison.

Part seven: Deals with diverse topics. Discusses climate and astronomy. Also contains
a brief mention of sub-continent’s medicine.

Tuhfat al-Muluk ("The King's Present")

A work on the proper use of food, drink, and medicines.

Hafzh al-Sihhah ("The Proper Care of Health") follows Greek and Asian Authorities.

Kitab al-Ruqa ("Book of Magic or Amulets")

Kitab fi al-hijamah ("Treatise on Cupping")

Kitab fi Tartib al-'Ardhiyah ("Treatise on the Preparation of Food")

1 comment:

  1. Salaam u'alaikoem,

    Do you know where I can get his book
    Firdous al-Hikmah (Paradise of Wisdom)
    I want to read it. But did a search but couldnt find it. Insjallah you know where I can get his book.