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DAWUD IBN LIMAR AL- ANTAKI - (1543-1599 )

As we mentioned above, most historians divide the History of Arab Medicine into three periods: that of Translation, that of Creation and that of Decadence. This last period begins with the fall of Baghdad which was taken by the Mongols in 1258. But the term decadence does not mean that science stopped. It was still a subject of study, but at a slower pace. Some excellent doctors have left us with some valuable books, for example Hajij lbn Qasem (died 1584) and Dawud AI-Antaki, considered by L. Leclerc to be the last representative of Arab Medicine. The Ottoman Empire had already enveloped most of the Arab countries (victory of Sultan Salim I over Qait-Bai, the Mamelouk of Egypt in 1516 and the conquest of Egypt in 1517). The period of Translation had begun with Prince Omeyyade Khaled lbn Yazid, grandson of Caliph Mu'awiyya lbn Ah Soufiane (661-680). The period of Decadence began with AI-Antaki, who died in 1590. Thus Arab Medicine had an important position for 8 centuries. It is absolutely essential to keep this in mind. Dawud was born in Antioch. He was blind and paraplegic and was nick-named AI-Basir (the non-seeing), as his paraplegia had improved. He studied Medicine

and excelled. He travelled to Alep, Damascus and Cairo where h taught. He was particularly gifted in logic, philosophy, astronomy and medicine. He spoke Latin (?). At the end of his life, he was accused of heresy. He made a pilgrimage to Mecca where he died. He left us several books, including The Research of Diseases , The Poem of the Doctor , a treatise on baths, The Pleasure of Sight , etc...

The most interesting and best known of his books is entitled The Memento , which contains 3 books, of which the last is the most important. It deals with the pharmacopoeia and contains more than 1712 names of drugs (the Canon contained less than 800). This is the most complete book after that of lbn Al Bitar. In this book, he described, for the first time, syphilis and its treatment with mercury.

The first mention of coffee is also found in this book. Leclerc speaks of it in these terms : This book proves that the author was a very wise man, who was serious and conscientious . The book has been edited on several occasions. The picture shows Al Antaki and his disciples during a class in the great Omayade Mosque in Alep.