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Saturday, 04 October 2014 13:15

Iranian Notables, Sources of Global Honor (18)

Today, we get to know the famous Iranian physician of the 5th Century AH, Seyed Ismail Jorjani. Not much information is available about the life of Seyed Ismail Jorjani, the acclaimed Iranian physician. He is considered as one of the sources of honor for Iran. Seyed Ismail Ibn-e Hassan Ibn-e Ahmad was born in the city of Jorjan, currently known as Gorgan, in the vicinity of the Caspian Sea coastlines in the year 1042 AD. It is said that he was originally from the city of Isfahan.


Throughout the era of this well-known physician, the city of Jorjan was at the peak of its development and prosperity. Hence, it can be said that he completed his early studies in this city. Also, seemingly, he commenced his medical studies in the same city as of an early age. Meanwhile, Avicenna, for a while took up residence in the city of Jorjan and groomed a number of students in this city, while also compiling his medical book, Qanoun, over there. Moreover, another major scientist and physician, Abul-Faraj Ali Ibn-e Hussein Ibn-e Hendu, who has authored the famous book of “Maftah al-Teb”, lived in Jorjan as of 400 AH to 455 AH, lecturing a number of sciences in this city. In this manner, it can be said that Jorjani has most probably learned medicine under the leading students of Avicenna and Abul-Faraj.

By studying the writings of Jorjani, it becomes clear that he went on a number of scientific journeys. Seemingly, he left his hometown for Neyshapour and a number of other regions in Iraq, Fars, and Khuzestan, while acquiring knowledge by attending the classes of well-known physicians in each of these destinations.

The journeys of Jorjani to a number of cities go to show the presence of medical hubs in in 5th Century AH. In those days, the city of Neyshapour in northeastern Iran was a scientific center and was home to large and well-established hospitals. In the view of researchers, upon a glance at the history of science of medicine in that era, one realizes that Jorjani traveled to Neyshapour in order to attend the classes of a famous physician of his days, Abul-Qasem Ibn-e Abi Sadeq Neyshapouri.

Cities such as Rayy and Isfahan also had large and well-known hospitals. In the city of Shiraz, there was a hospital which had recruited highly skilled physicians. Moreover, famous and prominent physicians lived in a number of cities of Khuzestan, such as Ahwaz.

The only other city which Jorjani refers to in his writings is the city of Qom. This was a Shiite city during his era, and was home to a number of prominent scientists, who lectured religious and non-religious sciences. It is not clear when and why Jorjani traveled to the city of Qom and the only hint is that he may have traveled to this city prior to 504 AH. In addition to these regions, Jorjani refers to his presence in the cities of Marv and Balkh at an early age.

Although Jorjani went on a number of journeys to acquire sciences under the prominent lecturers of his era, most of his teachers are not known to us. One of his few known lecturers is Abul-Qasem Abdul-Rahman Ibn-e Abi Sadeq Neyshapouri. Meanwhile, upon the emergence of Avicenna, the Iranian-Islamic science of medicine entered a new phase and his prominent students continued his scientific path. One of Avicenna’s students was Ibn-e Abi Sadeq, who returned to the city of Neyshapour, grooming a large number of medical students, practicing medicine, and compiling several works; thereby continuing the medical approach of Avicenna and turning this city into a medical hub. Jorjani has referred to this lecturer in his writings.

A physician which Jorjani has mentioned as one of his teachers is Ahmad Farrokh. Another one of his well-known lecturers is Abul-Qasem Qoshairi Neyshapouri, who passed away in 465 AH. He is considered to be one of the main Islamic Ulema in the East. Jorjani learned the science of Hadith under this prominent lecturer.

In addition to medicine; Jorjani acquired and mastered the sciences of physiology, pharmacology, veterinary, and the science of hadith. He has most probably compiled books in these domains, too. He also developed an interest in Arabic literature and poetry, and ethics. He was also highly knowledgeable in Islamic sciences such as theology, hadith, and exegesis of Holy Quran.

In the view of researchers, upon the study of Jorjani’s books, one can realize that he was present in the most important cities of Khorasan, such as Marv and Balkh, and that he practiced medicine over there. At that time, Khorasan was one of the most important centers of Iranian civilization and culture and was divided into four sections, under the name of four major cities. These four cities, which were known as the most important scientific hubs were Neyshapour, Balkh, Marv, and Herat.  Jorjani traveled to Neyshapour at an early age. Later on, he traveled to Marv and Balkh most probably when he was middle-aged.

In this era, in addition to grooming students in these cities, he practiced medicine. Given that he was familiar with the accent of Marv residents, many researchers believe he mostly resided in Marv in his middle-age years.

Moreover, the other possibility is the acquaintance of Jorjani with the Iranian King, Qotb Ed-Din Mohammad Kharazm-Shah. Jorjani compiled a book under the name of this Iranian king in the year 504 AH. Given that the rule of this king started in 491 AH, Jorjani may have been one of his teachers.


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