Rhazes (854-925)

Rhazes (Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariyya al-Razi)

Abu Bakr Mohammad Ben Zakariyā Rāzi born in the year 865 in the city of Rey, is a scholar, a doctor, a philosopher and an Iranian chemist, famous for the discovery of alcohol, sulfuric acid and kerosene and according to George Sarton, father of the history of science, he was "the greatest physician of Iran and of the Islamic world in the Middle Ages".

Rāzi spent his childhood, adolescence and youth in Rey; he was so gifted that he played the lute as a young man and sometimes composed poems. Later he devoted himself to the goldsmith's art and then to alchemy and in late age he taught medicine.

Rāzi is among the doctors of whom some intuition is still used today in medicine, particularly in the care of patients with liquids and food. Doctors and researchers have used Rāzi's books and treatises over many centuries. Ibn Khallikān, Arturo Castiglioni etc. have mentioned it as the forefather of empirical physicians. It can be affirmed that Rāzi is among the first physicians to have introduced in the medicine the experience and the experiment and the first one to have declared the recognition of a separation between smallpox and measles. Although he is known as a famous doctor, some historians know him as the "surgeon".

Rāzi undertook the study of chemistry before medicine and can be said to be the progenitor of modern chemistry.

Rāzi was a man of good character and scrupulous. He had special attention to the sick and was very helpful with the poor. Rāzi, in contrast to many doctors who were inclined to care for kings, princes and dignitaries, had more relationships with ordinary people. He believed that an authoritative doctor must also be a philosopher; he did not follow the popular philosophical currents of his time, he had his own particular ideas and therefore in the end he found himself defamed by the followers of the philosophy of his time and also of that after him. Rāzi can be considered the most authoritative rationalist and empirical in Iranian culture. Even in metaphysics and cosmology he has his principles. In the collection of the works of Mohammad Zakariyā Rāzi have been cataloged 271 books, treatises and articles in the medical, chemical, pharmaceutical, philosophical, metaphysical, cosmological, logical, mathematical, astronomical, theological etc..e among these we can mention the following works : Al-Hāwi (monumental nine-volume encyclopedia), Alkenāsh Al-Mansuri (medical book in ten chapters) Man la ya huru tabib (He who does not have a doctor available) Kitāb al Judari wa al Hasbāb (book on smallpox and measles), a book about food and its harmfulness, etc.

There are places, squares, institutions, associations, universities, statues etc. in Iran and in the world that bear his name. In January 2009 in the courtyard of the United Nations office in Vienna was placed a sort of pavilion in the shape of four arches which is a combination of architectural styles, in which are visible Achaemenid and Islamic decorations and inside there are statues of four Iranian philosophers, Khayyam, Abu Rayhān Biruni, Zakariyā Rāzi e Abu Ali Sinā.


The 27 August, which coincides with the birth anniversary of Rāzi in Iran was named the day of the pharmacist. Rāzi in the last years of his life became blind, on the causes of his blindness there are different stories; perhaps the continuous work with chemicals was among them. Rāzi died in the year 930 in his birthplace. The main place of his mausoleum is not known.



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