Call for Recreating the Spirit of Islam’s Golden Age



By Pervez Bari

NEW DELHI, Dec 15 — The time has come for the entire Muslim world to introspect and revisit five centuries, from 750 to 1258 AD – which is often described as the Golden Age of Islamic science to reinvent Islam’s image and message of peace, human values and service to humanity through Quranic injunction and Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) teachings, said K Rahman Khan, Federal Minister for Minority Affairs, emphasizing that the difference between believers and non-believers is only that of service to humanity according to the directives of the Holy Quran.

This came in the inaugural address of the three-day International Conference on “Revisiting Abul Qasim Al-Zahrawi’s Legacy in Medicine and Surgery” that opened on Friday at the India Islamic Cultural Centre in New Delhi.

Rahman Khan lamented that the whole of Islamic world today is in turmoil despite it is being blessed with immense wealth and resources. No research is being conducted to benefit mankind, he said. He called upon Muslims, especially youth, to emulate Al-Zahrawi, who has been called father of modern medicine and surgery, not only in medicine but all other fields to serve the mankind. The teaching and practice of medicine in Europe was heavily influenced by the works of Al-Razi (d. 925), Al-Zahrawi (d. 1013) and Ibn Sina (d. 1037)

The New Delhi-based Institute of Objective Studies, (IOS), in collaboration with MESCO (Muslim Educational, Social and Cultural Organization, Hyderabad), and Maulana Azad Education Foundation, Ministry of Minority Affairs, New Delhi is hosting the three-day international conference on to mark the 1000th death anniversary of the pioneering physician and surgeon and highlight his wide-ranging contributions to medicine and surgery. The co-sponsors of the event are India Islamic Cultural Center, New Delhi, and Paras Healthcare.

Prof. Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. Faculty of Medicine, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, KSA, in his presidential address said that Islamic medicine is not some specific medical procedures or therapeutic agents used in a particular place or a particular time. Islamic medicine is universal, all-embracing, flexible, and allows for growth and development of various methods of investigation and treatment of diseases’. The conceptual clarification from this definition opened the door to Islamization of modern scientific medicine.

A view of the scientific exhibition organized as part of the conference at India Islamic Cultural Center, New Delhi
A view of the scientific exhibition organized as part of the conference at India Islamic Cultural Center, New Delhi

Prof. Kasule said Islamic Health Care Industry provides a value-added dimension to medical care, spirituality and Islamic ambience. The Islamic approach provides holistic care. Unlike Islamic finance, it started with professional training at faculties of medicine. All have a stake in health only a few have a stake in banking, he added.

In his speech, Federal Minister of Water Resources Harish Chandra Singh Rawat said that he salutes the sense of dedication and sense of equality in Islam which Al-Zahrawi followed to serve whole humanity and not Muslims alone.

Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, Chairman, Institute of Objective Studies, speaking on the occasion said Al-Zahrawi, who made original and enduring contributions to medicine, surgery, orthopedics, gynecology, pharmacology, dentistry and cosmetology, represents just one strand of Islamic civilizational heritage, albeit a significant strand.

Dr. Alam said: “We have been mulling over the establishment of an Al-Zahrawi museum in India where we would love to display editions of most of his works and replicas of his surgical tools, large facsimile editions of his drawings and other memorabilia. At this stage we are in planning stage. All this is to protect the heritage”.

Dr. Ahmad Abdul Hai, Managing Director and Chief Consultant, Hai Medicare and Research Institute, Patna, in his paper said: “Islam has made a very glorious contribution to the art of healing. The basic impetus and the inspiration for this Islamic medicine came from the Noble Quran and the teachings of the Holy Prophet which took medicine away from the realm of superstation and fantasy and gave it a rational footing. This was the basis of Islamic medicine”.

This definition of Islamic medicine may come as a surprise for some of us who feel that Islamic medicine is something limited to the therapy practiced by the revered old hakeems or is rooted in natural herbs or is limited to the direct health related teachings found in the Quran and Hadith, he added.

He said that Islamic medicine includes all the modalities of modern medicine yet differs from it because it is rooted in divine faith and ethics. It strives for excellence. It is comprehensive, paying attention to both body and soul. It takes into account not only the individual patient but also the society. It is universal, utilizing all useful resources and offering its services to all mankind. Earlier, Dr. Fakhruddin Mohammad, Organizing Secretary, MESCO, Hyderabad threw light on the introduction of the theme of the international conference.

Dr. Fakhruddin said that al-Zahrawi (940-1013), known as Albucasis in the West, devoted his entire life, in Madinat al-Zahra, near Cordoba, in Muslim Spain, to medical research and practice. He made an outstanding and original contribution to medicine, surgery, orthopedics, gynecology and obstetrics, pharmacology and dentistry. He has been described as the father of modern surgery.

The inaugural session of the International Conference will be webcast live on the link


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