Ali Ibn Rabban Al-Tabari
This accomplished Hakim was the tutor of the unparalleled
al-Razi. Luck favoured the disciple more than
the teacher in terms of celebrity. As compared to Razi people know
very little about his teacher Ali.
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 A.D.
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".
Professionally Sahl was an extremely successful physician. He
had command over the art of calligraphy too. Besides he had a deep
insight into the disciplines of Astronomy, Philosophy, Mathematics
and Literature. Some complicated articles of Batlemus's book
al-Mijasti came to be resolved by way of Sahl's scholarly expertise,
translators preceding him had failed to solve the mystery.
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.
Ali hailed from a Israelite family. Since he had embraced Islam,
he is classified amongst Muslirn Scholars. This family belonged to
Tabristan's famous city Marv.
The fame acquired by Ali Bin Rabban did not simply account
for the reason that a physician of the stature of Zakariya al-Razi
was amongst his disciple. In fact the main cause behind his exaltation lies in his world-renowned treatise Firdous al-Hikmat.
Spread over seven parts, Firdous al-Hikmat is the first ever
Medical encyclopaedia which incorporates all the branches of
medical science in its folds. 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:
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
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
General causes relating to eruption of diseases.
of the head and the brain.
Diseases relating to the eye,
nose, ear, mouth and the teeth.
Muscular diseases (paralysis
Diseases of the regions of the chest, throat
and the lungs.
Diseases of the abdomen.
Diseases of gallbladder and spleen.
Different kinds of fever.
diseases--Brief explanation of organs of the body.
nation of pulse and urine. This part is the largest 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 Indian medicine.
Though he wrote Firdous al-Hikmat in Arabic but he simultaneously
translated it into Syriac. He has two more compilations to his
credit namely Deen-o-Doulat and Hifdh al-Sehhat. The latter is
available in manuscript-form in the library of Oxford University.
Besides Medical science, he was also a master of Philosophy, Mathe-
matics and Astronomy. He breathed his last around 870 A.D.
This page last updated 10/11/2009 12:39 p.m.