Islamic Medicine [Electronic resources] نسخه متنی

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Islamic Medicine [Electronic resources] - نسخه متنی

Husain F.Nagamia

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which had been known to the Hakims for several centuries before
being exploited by the west. No doubt in this pharmacopoeia
there are other drugs equally effective in other diseases that
need to be scientifically analyzed by random studies and double
blind clinical trials for their effectiveness!


Islamic Medicine
continues to be practiced in many of the Islamic countries
today. However western traditional modern medicine has replaced
the core of the health care systems in most of these countries.
The only countries where it has to some degree enjoyed an
official status is the Indian Subcontinent. The three main
countries of the Indian subcontinent are India, Pakistan and
Bangladesh. Thus in India there have been established medical
schools where 'Tibb or Unani' medicine (translated as Natural
medicine or Greek medicine) continues to be taught. These
schools give their students a formal diploma in 'Tibb or Unani'
medicine; which enables their students to be licensed
practitioner of 'Tibb or Unani' medicine.

These students
are instructed in 'Unani' concepts of medicine. They then
utilize this knowledge and therapeutics in their practice. Their
certification, licensing and supervision is controlled by the
Indian Medical Council. In India both in rural and urban
communities one finds practitioners of 'Unani or Tibbi'
medicine. In Pakistan in the middle sixties the government under
the then President Muhammed Ayub Khan ordered the official
registration and licensing of the traditional Hakims (much to
the chagrin of practitioners of modern medicine)! Tibb also
enjoys favor of public popularity in other countries including
Afghanistan, Malaysia and countries in the Middle East. In the
latter it has recently had a resurgence in practitioners.


The greatest
challenge of Islamic Medicine is not in its practice,
therapeutics or application but in adaptation to modern day
needs. Thus it is my belief that the fundamental challenge is
not the way in which Islamic Medicine is practiced but the way
in which it is defined. Somewhere in the late 16th century and
17th century a dichotomy developed between Islamic medicine and
Modern or western medicine. This dichotomy was mainly related to
the development of one civilization and concomitant decline of
another, a cycle that is an ongoing fact of history. This
upsurge of one, and slide of another civilization is no doubt an
ongoing phenomena that has its effect on the great cultures of

To say that one
system of medicine is superior to another is akin to committing
the folly of labeling one antibiotic superior to another.
Although one of them may have been discovered earlier and one
later each antibiotic continues to play its role in a given
ailment. The challenge then would be to study and define the
interrelationships between these and precisely define when one
is more useful than another. Exactly the same would apply to
these two different systems of medicine. The roles of each of
these needs to be defined, each needs to be studied in depth and
in the light of each others progress, and each needs to be
supplemented so that humanity can benefit from the good of each.

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