It’s common knowledge that the advances in modern medicine are the result of numerous centuries of research, development and experimentation. However, unbeknownst to many people, a large number of those...
Avicenna, originally known as Abu Ali al-Husayn ibn Abd Allah ibn Sina, was born in the vicinity of Bukhara (in present-day Uzbekistan) around 980 AD.
He was a child prodigy, having memorized the Quran by age 10, and by his late teens, he had become proficient in multiple sciences.
- The Canon of Medicine: This monumental work became the standard reference in the West and the Islamic world for centuries. It remained a fundamental text in Europe until the Renaissance and was used extensively in the medieval universities of Montpellier and Leuven.
- Pharmacology and Clinical Practice: Avicenna made advances in pharmacology and set clear guidelines for testing the effectiveness of new drugs.
- The Book of Healing: A vast philosophical and scientific encyclopedia, it covered logic, mathematics, astronomy, music theory, and other subjects.
- Metaphysics: He offered new arguments for the existence of God, challenged the Greek philosophical belief of an eternal universe, and emphasized the concept of the Necessary Existent.
- Bridging Cultures: Avicenna’s works acted as a bridge between Greco-Roman and Islamic knowledge. He made Aristotle accessible to the Islamic world and later influenced the European scholastic tradition, notably in the works of Thomas Aquinas.
- Influence on Europe: His works were translated into Latin and were used as reference in Europe for centuries, influencing thinkers and medical practitioners alike.
Death and Legacy
The Islamic scholar died in June 1037, in Hamadan, Persia (modern-day Iran). Today, he is remembered as a foundational figure in the history of medical and philosophical thought, with statues, institutions, and commemorative events dedicated to his legacy around the world.