Monday, May 22, 2023

Abu Muhammed Abdul Latiff Ibn Jusuf (AD 1162-1231)

Abu Muhammed Abdul Latiff Ibn Jusuf, Arabian scientist and traveler in Egypt during the time of Saladin. Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi was born in his grandfather's house in a street called Darb al-Faludhaj in Baghdad.

He grew up in a Shafi‘i family with excellent links with the Nizamiyya madrasa and he received a solid education in Islamic sciences. Then he turned to natural sciences, medicine, philosophy and, critically, to alchemy. His spasmodic search for knowledge brought him to meet through their writings Avicenna, al-Ghazali and al-Suhrawardi.

Abd al-Latif was a celebrated physician, historian, Egyptologist and traveler, and one of the most voluminous writers of the Near East in his time.

He taught medicine at Damascus, Aleppo abd Egypt and has been credited with 166 treatises some of which are on medical topics. He also studied human osteology and found that many of Gallon’s (129-200) writings on the subject were inaccurate.

Abd al-Latif wrote that during the famine in Egypt in 597 AH (1200 C.E.), he had the opportunity to observe and examine a large number of skeletons. This was one of the earliest examples of a postmortem autopsy, through which he discovered that Galen was incorrect regarding the formation of the bones of the lower jaw and sacrum.

Abd al-Latif had a strong preference for the ancient Greek physicians (Hippocrates, Dioscorides, Rufus of Ephesus and Galen). But he also clearly respected some Arab physicians, such as Ibn al-Tilmidh and Ahmad ibn abi l-Ashath.

Abd-ul-Latif is credited with 166 works, of which many were on medical subjects. One of his book, The Book of the Two Pieces of Advice was probably written in Aleppo, Syria, during the years 1216–21, but may have been composed in the Anatolian city of Erzinjan sometime during the 1220s. In this book he challenges the idea that Arabic-Islamic medicine declined after the twelfth century A.D. Moreover, it offers some interesting insights into the social history of medicine.

It is an extensive diatribe directed against ‘false knowledge’, which, according to Abd al-Latif, was even worse than ignorance.
Abu Muhammed Abdul Latiff Ibn Jusuf (AD 1162-1231)

The most popular articles

Selected Articles