Qazi Saiyid Nurullah Shushtari His life and works


Hakeem Sayed Zillur Rahman Library

Catalogue of Microfilm of the Persian & Arabic Manuscripts (vol.3)

Though, there is no authentic information about the beginnings of the Medical Science, however, Physicians have existed and worked to promote this science and profession from very early days of human history on earth, as is obvious human beings have suffored pains and other health problems, the mankind over the centuries has worked hard to find treatment for his physical ailments. In early days people use to keep their dear ones in the vicinity of some god or other hoping that some charisma will happen and divine forces and deities will help as in those days belief prevailed that disease was nothing but the penetration of some malicious and impure spririts into the human body. They used to opt on expect for miraculous treatment for their patients. At a later stage, they started making use of various limbs and parts of animals, birds and herbal plants, which finally led to the discovery of medical science.
In early days different tribes used different methods which continue to improved with passage of time in the light of experience and as per geographical, and environmental requirements. According to some scholars of the medical science, if we accept one of the disciples of Hazrat Idrees namely Hakim Asclepiade as the first physician, then the people of Greece emerge to be the first people who learnt to about the medical science much before other nations. In this way, Greece becomes the first cradle of the medical science. However, there are other scholars, who attribute the beginning of the medical science to the Babylonians and the Assyrian. This group of Scholars believes that in 3000 B.C., an Assyrian tribe named Sameer lived at the river bank of Tigris and Euphorates and they were conversant with the medical science. After a millenium, this tribe was divided into two northern and southern sectors and ultimately two centres known as Ashoor and Nineveh came into existence as the capital cities of Babylonia and Assyria. Therefore, the region, which is situated at the bank of river Tigris and Euphorates, should be considered as the first centre of medical science.
Ibn-e Nadim in his "Alfihrist" about Ishaque bin Hunain and Ibne Abi Usaibi'a in ."Uyoon -ul-Anba ti Tarikh al-Atibba" have described the Egyptians as the pioneers of the medical science asserting that they were the first nation who were introduced with this branch of knowledge. On the other hand the existence of some books among Indians like "Sushtra" which is considered to have been produced in 400 B.C., is regarded as the first book on surgery in Ayurvedic system of medical science. The "Charak Sanghita" is another comprehensive book on medioal science, which is regarded as a basic book on naturopathy and the Ayurvedic system of medicine in India. A large number of commentaries were written on this book as an evidence of the presence of medical science in India during the ancient times.
However, it is but natural that controversy emerges regarding the first person, period and place of the discovery of medical science. The historical evidences prove that the Greek had a very glorious past in the field of medical science in comparison to other nations of the world. This science is attributed to Plato, who belonged to 260 B.C. but the writing, compilation editing and publication of medical books started during the periods of Hippocrates in 260 B.C. and about 72 medical books and journals are supposed to have been produced by Hippocrates in his lifetime. A large number of students were actually engaged in medical studies under his supervision and a dispensary was also established close to the medical research laboratory.
Likewise, various methods of medical treatment also came into existence with the aim of coping with their geographical and environmetal requirements of various nations the world over. These methods and systems of medical tratment were named after the regions of their originity like Egyptian, Babylonian, Chinese, Iranian, and Indian systems of medicine. The people of these regions were providing medical treatment to their patients with the help of the prevailing systern of medicine in heir region. After Plato and Hippocrates, a major institute was founded in Alexendria and elaborate arrangements were made for imparting necessary education and training in the field of not only medical science but also in the field of Philosophy, Chemistry and other releted sciences, which enabled Greece to lead the world in the field of medical Science, which was divided into seven sections. The medical science started with six books written by Hakeem Galien. The studens after getting acquainted with introductory knowledge of medical science used to work to understand the cause of disease. After that, with the help of pulse reading, he used to develop an idea of the functioning of inner parts ailing human body. Pursuant upon thorough chek-up and medical investigation the physicians used to prescribe necessary medicines. A large number of physicians continued their studies at the Alexandria Institute of Medical Studies for centuries together. However, we can only find the name of seven noted scholars produced in this esteemed school and the life sketch of only Yahya Nahvi in the books of history of medical science like Tarikh-ul-Hukama. Likewise, the research material produced by the noted scholars and physicians associated with the Alexandria Institute paved new ground for the development of pathology and surgery and ulimately, the high quality of research work produced in this institute turned into source of inspiration for important inventions and innovations in the field of medical science even before and after the advent of Islam.
The school of Jundishapoor, which was founded in 220 A.D. by Shapoor I, was regarded as one of the most prominent centres of medical studies and research but it started its academic functioning during the reign of King Shapoor II and with the arrival of Theodorus, who wrote a book on medical sciences in the Persian Language. The academic activities were promoted and patronised by King Anushirvan and a new academic movement was started in the school of Jundishapoor, and his patronisation resulted in the development of Unani medical Science in Iran. Later on, Anushirvan sent his physician Berzuyeh to India to meet the Indian physcians and to collect information about the Indian system of medicine. This visit, infact, played an important role in making new developments in the field of medical sciences. The arrival of a large number of physicians and medical students from all over the world even before the open declaration of Islam, rendered the Jundishapor School into a high seat of learning.
After the advent of Islam, the top ranking physicians like Haris bin Kaldeh Saqafi and Al-Hakam of Damascus who were directly associated with this school, were later embraced Islam. The Prophet of Islam used to have consultations with them on medical affairs. Though a group is of the opinion that Islam suggests a special method for providing medical relief to the ailing people. The people of the group do not welcome other scientific researches in the field of medical science. Besides, the history also shows that no considerable development was made in the field of medical science in the early days of Islam. However, book like Tibb al-Nabi, Tibb al-A-imma, Tibb al-Sadeq and Tibb al-Reza based on the recommendations of the prophet of Islam and other great religious personalities of Islam were described essential for every Muslim. Special attention was paid to the social and personal cleanliness in Islam their education. These books were ultimately presented to the Muslims in the form of valuable medical books.
Even after the victory of Islam over Iran, the Jundishapoor school continued its academic activities. During the rule of Umayyed dynasty, a large number of the Arabs came to Iran and Joined Jundishapoor School. They stayed and studied medical sciences and after completing their studies returned to the Arab land and joined the Umayyed court as medical experts.
During the rule of Haroon al-Rasheed ways and means were made available for a comparative and research oriented study of the medical science. A well-equipped institute namely Bait ul-Hikmah was founded in Baghdad during the rule of Haroon al-Rasheed alongwith a grand library having books on medical sciences in Greek, Syrian. Chaldean, Nabatean, Persian and Sanskrit languages. Besides, so many famous books were also translated into the Arabic Language and scholars including well known physicians were also invited to develop an atmosphere of research and creative activity. Among the Baramecides during the time of Yahya ben Khalid, special attention was paid to learn about various systems of medicines prevailing in different parts of the world. The Indian physician Mankeh was invited to Baghdad to provide necessary medical treatment to Ibrahim bin al-Mehdi al-Abbasi (Haroon's brother). The success of the Indian physician in his medical mission resulted in the establishment of new section of translation in Darul-Hikmah and a large number of medical books were translated from Sanskrit into Arabic language, like Kitab al-Sumoom, which was first translated into Persian by Mankeh and then into Arabic. Similarly Tafseer Asma' Aqaqir al-Hind was also translated into Arabic. The book Charak Sanghita was also translated by Mankeh into Persian and later it was translated into Arabic by Abdullah bin Ali. The famous book Sushrat, which is known as the source book on Indian system of surgery was translated by Yaya bin Khalid in Arabic language. Among other Indian physicians and translators who found opportunity to visit Darul Hikmah was Kankeh. He was a scholar of medical sciences and also had command over astronomy. During his stay in Baghdad, he wrote a number of books on various branches of knowledge like astrology, astronomy, philosophy and medical sciences and most of them were translated into the Arabic language. Asrar ul-Mavaleed, Kitab fi al- Tib, Kitab al-Qaranat al-Kabir Va Qaranat al-Sagheer are on opthalmology.
Though, we know very little about the history of the arrival of Indian physicians and medical science in other parts of world, however we know nothing about the arrival of the Unani system of medicine in India. Some scholars believe that the Unani system of medicine arrived in India when Alexander attacked India in 327 B.C. Moreover, the presence of high ranking physicians like Talamid and Ketees after the Alexander's attack speaks of the glory of Unani system of medicine in India. Whereas, another group of scholar have expounded that the Unani system of medicine was promoted in India with the arrival of Muslims in this land. Prof. Zillur Rahman, while speaking about the promotion and development of Unani medicine in India, says that the Unani system of medicine was promoted in India by traders, travellers, Muslim conquerors and the Islamic governments but no specific period of time has been mentioned about its arrival in India. He further says that Ziauddin Abdur Raaf'e bin Abul Fateh Haravi was the first Unani physician who arrived in India during the rule of Khusro Malik, known as the ruler of Ghazni (1160 to 1186 A.D.).
The noted Unani physician Hakim Zia Muhammad Rashid Zangi and his associates came to India during the rule of Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq (1335-1351 A.H.). Hakim Bahu bin Khawas Khan was the famous Unani physicians during the reign of Sultan Sikander Lodi (1517 A.D.). He was also a famous musician and attained the status of a great Sufi under the spiritual guidance of Sheikh Abdul Quddoos Saharanpuri. He wrote a wonderful book on Unani Medicine namely Ma'dan al-Shefa Askandarshahi.
The Unani medicine flourished in India during the Mughal period when a large number of Unani physicians arrived in India from Iran. Since the Unani medical science was promoted mainly by the top ranking Muslim physicians and scholars, therefore it was also named as Islamic system of medicine. Hakim Ali Gilani was the most famous physician during the period of Akbar, the Great. Besides, Hakim Sadra son of Hakim Fakhruddin Shirazi, Hakim Muhammad Akbar Arzani, Hakim Muhammad Hashim Alavi Khan, Hakim Amanullah Khan and hundreds of other physicians and scholars played pivotal role in the promotion and development of Unani or Islamic system of medicine in India.
The Mughal Kings, beside paying due respect and high degree of honour to these scholars and physicians, had given them special status in the Indian society. The kings used to encourage them for establishing new schools, hospitals, medical research centres and laboratories where necessary education and training was imparted to the students, suitable medical treatment was made available to the patients and all possible facilities were provided to the scholars for further research.
Following the fall of the Islamic governments in India and during the British rule over the land, the Islamic system of maintained its status among the Indian people. The presence of Masih -ul- Mulk Hakim Muhammad Ajmal Khan (1846-1927) , who was known as one of the prominent students of Hakim Hazeq-ul-Mulk I and with the establishment of a general hospital for providing Unani and herbal treatment to the masses, paved way for the popularity and development of Unani System of medicine. Besides, the active presence of Unani physicians and scholars of repute like Hakim Abdul Aziz, Hakim Abdul Hameed, Hakeem Abdul Rasheed Lukhnawi, Hakim Abdul Latif Falsafi and tens of others during the British rule on India enabled the Unani system of medicine to retain its high status and also to maintain its popularity among the Indian masses which ultimately resulted in the development of the Islamic system of medicine.
In view of the process of ever increasing development of medical sciences and availability of ultra modern medical equipments and high quality of research in the field of medicine and surgery, the development of Unani medicine has considerably reduced. But a number of educational centres research organisations and botanical gardens having medicinal plants like Ajmal Khan Tibbia College, AMU, Aligarh, Government Tibbia College, Patna, Ayurvedic and Tibbia College, Delhi and Tibbia College and Botanical Research Institute of Hamdard University are still engaged in promoting Unani Medicine by imparting medical education and necessary training to the students of the Unani medical science and by growing medicinal plants at these research centres.
In the recent past, Professor Hakim Zillur Rahman one of the prominent professors of Unani medicine in Tibbia College, AMU, Aligarh took up the task of introducing Unani system of medicine to all over India and also to some of the Islamic nations. Beside compiling, writing and translating books on medical science, Prof Rahman presented hundreds of research articles before the scholars participating in national and international seminars and conferences in countries like Iran, Jordan, Syria, Pakistan. Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates wherein he successfullly introduced various aspects of the Unani system of medicine with new approaches. On the other hand, the present generation, because of being ignorant of Arabic, Persian and Urdu languages, could not make use of academic treasure of its ancestors. Prof. Zillur Rahman started collecting manuscripts on the Unani system of medicine and has recently established an "Academy of Ibn Sina" in order to provide necessary protection to the valuable manuscripts on Unani Medicine and also to upgrade the knowledge of the Unani physicians by consulting these books on Unani and traditional medicines.
The Noor Microfilms Centre, keeping in view the importance of the manuscripts preserved in the library of Prof. Zillur Rahman, prepared microfilm of all the manuscripts available in this library with the aim of providing more protection to these books and also to make them mobile so that the scholars could know of the presence of books in the library. Since, there has been no proper catalogue of these books, the Centre is publishing microfilm catalogue of Prof. Zillur Rahman' collection of manuscripts.

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