al-Razi (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: The most original thinker and the keenest clinical observer of all the medieval Muslim physicians, al-Razi produced the first clinical account of smallpox and measles, a twenty-four-volume compendium of medical knowledge, and set new standards for medical ethics, the clinical observation of disease, and the testing of medical treatment.
There is little authentic information about the life of al-Razi. He was born around 864 in Rayy, a few miles from modern Tehran, administered a hospital in that town as well as in Baghdad, and died in his hometown about 925. In his youth, music was his chief interest; he played the lute and studied voice. Upon reaching adulthood he rejected this pursuit, however, asserting that music produced by grown men lacked charm. He then turned to the study of philosophy, a lifelong interest, and developed decidedly egalitarian views, a keen interest in ethics, and a profoundly questioning stance toward received dogmas, both religious and scientific. In his thirties he began to pursue medical studies and a career as a physician.
His interest in medicine reportedly arose after a visit to a sick home in Baghdad, where he was so moved by the suffering of the sick and maimed patients that he determined to devote the rest of his life to alleviating human misery through the practice of medicine. Exactly where he acquired his medical training is unknown, although...
(The entire section is 2104 words.)
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