Science Medicine Technology and Islam
The Islamic culture is very special and unusual from the point of view of Christians, Buddhists or any other religious group. Many people find the practice of the Moslems highly inhumane and undemocratic. Such perception especially increased after the hijackers’ attack on the 11th of September. However, the Moslems are as different within their religion as are the Christians. Islam carries the doctrine of peace, tolerance, and charity in it, and citizens of many Islamic countries (Iraq of present day, Turkey) stick closely to it, respecting other religions and not being extremely strict about their rules. On the other hand, there are Islamic extremists (like in Afghanistan and Egypt) who do not see anything but their religion. There they do not imagine the government being ruled by other laws than religious, justifying death in the name of Islam and treating women extremely unequally.
For example, taking into consideration some medical facts, circumcision is still practiced there. The majority of women who had this procedure done, thankfully, decline nowadays. The issue was first internationally brought up to the public eye when the CNN broadcast one program which featured a young girl who was circumcised by an ordinary barber from Cairo. The waves of protests arouse which made president of Egypt recognize that such an operation must be forbidden by the People’s Assembly. It was banned. But despite it, it is still conducted in the country. The Islamist groups oppose that if this operation is not practiced on women than when she reaches puberty and is still not married, she will be sexually tempted. The same goes with spinsters. They say that if their daughters are not circumcised, not a single man will marry them. The worst from it all is that usually this practice is conducted by unprofessional people, and as a result a number of various medical problems and infections are the frequent outcome (Kandela, n.d.).
However, the Islamic component does not only make the problem with world’s health more serious, there are still many factors which indicate the positive impact of Islam onto the development of the Science Medicine Technology, especially if to take into consideration the historical perspective: Moslem scholars facilitated the end of the Middle Ages in Europe, bringing together with the Crusades their profound knowledge of sciences. Moreover, even before the Dark Ages, the Moslems doctors were very competent as for their era (Ibn Rushd, Ibn Sina, or as he is better known Avicenna, Ar-Razi) (Muslim Contributions in Medicine, Science & Technology, n.d.).
The favorable position of Persia (today’s Iran) for the East and the West overtook the best features of both Indian practices as well as Greek. The first time in history, Persian physicians were educated at the Academy of Jundishapur, which finally evolved into the Bimaristan hospitals of Islamic medieval period. The Islamic doctors tackled and significantly developed such branches of medicine as anatomy, pharmacology, pharmaceutical sciences, pharmacy, ophthalmology, surgery, and physiology (Muslim Contributions in Medicine, Science & Technology, n.d.).
Moslem physicians started one of the first hospitals, Avicenna separated pharmacology from medicine, giving in such a way a great potential to the development of pharmaceutical studies, Abulcasis used some of the surgical instruments which already at that time were made only for women. The Moslems were first to discover the presence of the immune system, use animals to test their skills, open the first in history drugstore in Baghdad in 754, and introduce over 2,000 chemical and medical substances (Muslim Contributions in Medicine, Science & Technology, n.d.).
However, on this the Islamic contribution to the world’s medicine strictly declined. Nowadays, the rate of people dying from various diseases in the Islamic countries is very high, especially concerning women who succumb to different women’s diseases. Such a drastic change can be explained by many factors, but the most prominent seems to be the fast change of the medical practice around the American continent and Europe which brought up modern, highly sophisticated technologies, which allowed to treat very serious illnesses. Islamic countries seem to be more preoccupied now with the ongoing military actions on the area of some of them, and constantly fighting for promotion of Islam.
I would choose such a table of contents as according to the description of the history of the Islamic impact on the world’s history as described above, it seems to be the most logical and coherent, easy to percept such a layout of the textbook as it tackles the most important features of the world’s medical history, highlighting the positive impact of the Islamic component, however, not being unreasonable and outlining the problems the Moslems are facing now in order to show how the world changes under the progress of the high technologies.
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