It would be somewhat of an understatement to assert that the notion of ars medicina has been substantially transformed from its classical definition as the art of healing. Practitioners of modern medicine would probably be more inclined to refer to themselves as practising the science of medicine, dispatching all other forms of treatment to the shamanistic margins where abide “traditional,” “alternative,” or “complementary” medicines such as acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, herbalism and bush or tribal remedies.
Then there is Islamic medicine, an altogether tricky term to pin down. Some believe it to be a comprehensive form of medicine based on a complete system of theory and practice. Others say it’s largely a medieval notion that has been abandoned by all but the most tribal Muslims as the Arab World moves inexorably into the 21st century. Still others view it in prophetic terms, as having been crafted from the central religious text and core source of all knowledge in Islam, the Qur’an, with natural remedies for most ailments and specific prayers that must be recited for any disease to be conquered.
Historically, Islamic medicine is believed to be a body of knowledge cultivated largely from the first eight centuries and based primarily on Greek sources, Dr. Husain Nagamia, chairman of the Brandon, Florida–based International Institute of Islamic Medicine wrote in the Journal of the International Society for the History of Islamic Medicine (www.ishim.net/ishimj/4/04.pdf). It was built incrementally into a type of medicine before being subsumed, as were most other forms of religious prescription, by the birth of modern medicine during the European renaissance. read more