- Rāzī, ar-
▪ Persian physicianin full Abū Bakr Muḥammad Ibn Zakarīyāʾ Ar-rāzī, Latin Rhazesborn c. 865, , Rayy, Persia [now in Iran]died 923/932, Rayycelebrated alchemist and Muslim philosopher who is also considered to have been the greatest physician of the Islāmic world.One tradition holds that ar-Rāzī was already an alchemist before he gained his medical knowledge. After serving as chief physician in a Rayy hospital, he held a similar position in Baghdad for some time. Like many intellectuals in his day, he lived at various small courts under the patronage of minor rulers. With references to his Greek predecessors, ar-Rāzī viewed himself as the Islāmic version of Socrates in philosophy and of Hippocrates in medicine.Ar-Rāzī's two most significant medical works are the Kitāb al-Manṣūrī, which he composed for the Rayy ruler Manṣūr ibn Isḥaq and which became well known in the West in Gerard of Cremona's 12th-century Latin translation; and Kitāb al-ḥāwī, the “Comprehensive Book,” in which he surveyed Greek, Syrian, and early Arabic medicine, as well as some Indian medical knowledge. Throughout his works he added his own considered judgment and his own medical experience as commentary. Among his numerous minor medical treatises is the famed Treatise on the Small Pox and Measles, which was translated into Latin, Byzantine Greek, and various modern languages.The philosophical writings of ar-Rāzī were neglected for centuries, and renewed appreciation of their importance did not occur until the 20th century. Although he claimed to be a follower of Plato, he consistently disagreed with such Arabic interpreters of Plato as al-Fārābī, Avicenna, and Averroës. He was probably acquainted with Arabic translations of the Greek atomist philosopher Democritus and pursued a similar tendency in his own atomic theory of the composition of matter. Among his other works, The Spiritual Physick of Rhazes is a popular ethical treatise and a major alchemical study.
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