By Nikhila Henry
August 2, 2015
The translation of the books will help to distinctly understand the
contribution that Arab medicine had made to medical science. Photo: G.
A doctor, while examining a head injury,
should look for dysfunctional speech, hearing and vision; the instructions that
seem right out of an MBBS text book was written in Arabic in 925 AD by scholar
Abu Bakr Al-Razi. All of Al Razi’s medical work which runs into 24 volumes
named Kutabu’l Hawi Fi’t-Tibb will soon be translated into English and
converted to e-books in Hyderabad.
The multi-Crore, translation and
digitisation project will be undertaken by Dairutul Maarifil Osmania, a centre
that the VI Nizam, Mir Mahboob Ali Khan Siddiqui, established in 1888.
The centre has edited and compiled 240
manuscripts that runs into 800 volumes with two Lakh pages.
The translation of the books will help to
distinctly understand the contribution that Arab medicine had made to medical
“Al Razi could have been the first medical
theorist to state that fever is not a disease but a symptom of some other
illness. He lists out a 1,000 varieties of fever that are symptoms to a 1,000
varieties of diseases,” said Md. Mubeen Iqbal, an Arabic scholar who has done
translations of ancient texts.
Al Razi’s medical textbooks details out
symptom based diagnosis. Each of the 24 volumes look into one aspect of human
illness. For instance, the first volume is titled, diseases of the head and the
second diseases of the eye. The third volume is on diseases of the throat, ear,
nose and teeth.
As per the project, it is not just Al
Razi’s work but all the two Lakh pages of Arabic scholarship on medicine,
history and religion will be translated into English, centre officials said.
“Among the books which are to be translated are Kitab-al-Umda which is on
surgery. All our compilations are authentic as they are based on original
manuscripts collected from countries including Turkey, Germany and Spain,” said
Prof Mustafa Shareef, Arabic scholar and director of the centre.
The oldest compilation that the centre has
dates back to 9th century AD. “Musnad Abu Yala’s Hadis or collection of
Prophetic traditions was the first book that was compiled from manuscripts,”
the director said. The manuscripts are collected in microfilm format. The Nizam
had established the centre to improve on Hyderabad state’s wealth of knowledge.
The Union government which has in principle
agreed to fund the project is expected to release Rs. 37.9 Crore in the coming
month. As per the calculation of Dairutul Maarifil Osmania, the translation
work will alone cost Rs. 25 Crore.