Thursday, December 28, 2023

Arab Physician Ibn al-Nafis

Born in Damascus in 1213, Ala-al-din Abu al-Hassan Ali ibn Abi-Hazm al-Qarshi al-Dimashqi, an Arab physician, originated from Qarash, a village beyond the River Oxus, which bestowed upon him the "nisbah" of al-Qurashi, as indicated by certain records.

Initiating his medical studies at 16, he devoted more than ten years to education at the Nuri Hospital in Damascus, founded by Nur-al Din Muhmud ibn Zanki, the Turkoman emir of Aleppo and Damascus, in the 12th century.

Renowned for introducing the concept of pulmonary blood circulation, he challenged the prevailing Galen School belief that blood could pass through the cardiac interventricular septum. Instead, he asserted that all blood reaching the left ventricle traversed the lungs. Additionally, he posited the existence of tiny connections or pores between the pulmonary artery and vein, anticipating Marcello Malpighi's discovery of pulmonary capillaries by four centuries.

Sultan Saladin appointed him as the chief physician at the al-Naseri Hospital. Noteworthy among his works is his Commentary on Anatomy in Avicenna's Canon (Sharh Tashrih al-Qanun Ibn Sina).

Among his prolific writings, Al-Shamil fi al-Tibb (The Comprehensive Book on Medicine) stands out as his most extensive undertaking, originally envisioned as a 300-volume encyclopedia. Regrettably, only 80 volumes were completed before his passing. Ibn al-Nafis died in Cairo on December 17, 1288, at the age of 78, succumbing to an undisclosed illness.
Arab Physician Ibn al-Nafis

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