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Monday, 06 October 2014 08:05

Iranian Notables, Sources of Global Honor (19)

Today, we continue our studies on the life of the famous Iranian-Islamic physician of 5th Century AH, Seyed Ismail Jorjani. We said that Seyed Ismail Jorjani was born in the city of Jorjan (present day Gorgan) close to the Caspian Sea coastlines in northern Iran, in the year 434 AH. He completed his preliminary studies in this city and thereafter traveled to a number of cities such as Marv, Balkh, and Neyshapour, completing his studies under the prominent lecturers of his era.

In addition to the science of medicine, he was highly skilled and shot to fame in other scientific fields, such as pharmacology, veterinary, hadith, philosophy, and theology. We also said that Jorjani was acquainted with the Iranian king, Qotb Ed-Din Mohammad Kharazm-Shah and was probably one of the teachers of this king. Certainly, in this period of time, Jorjani took up residence in the city of Marv.

Kharazm which is the name of a land situated south of Aral Sea, on the mouth of Oxus River, had long been a scientific hub. In the year 385 AH, Jorjaniyeh became the capital of this region. During the reign of Saljuqid Dynasty, Kharazm was under the administrative rule of Khorasan for a while. Meanwhile, upon the dispatch of Qotb Ed-Din Mohammad to Kharazm by the Saljuqid Dynasty in the year 491 AH; the commencement of his rule marked the start of a new period of Kharazm’s relative independence and an era of major scientific, political, and economic accomplishments in this region. Later on, upon the efforts of Qotb Ed-Din Mohammad, who were a highly skilled manager and a patron of sciences, this relative independence developed into full independence.

Under these conditions, Jorjani arrived in Kharazm at the age of 70, in the year 504 AH, concurrent with the 14th year of rule of Qotb Ed-Din Mohammad. In that year, he took up residence in Kharazm Capital, the city of Jorjaniyeh. Later on, Jorjani gained entry to the royal court and became one of the close associates and physicians of Qotb Ed-Din Mohammad. In this period of time, upon observing the immediate need of locals for familiarization with the science of medicine ,and the absence of a reference book on medical sciences, Jorjani started to compile an encyclopedia on the science of medicine , thereby highly contributing to revival of Iranian medicine, which marked this physician’s shot to fame.

Compilation of this encyclopedia in that era was important for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was the first medical reference book, published almost a century after the compilation of another medical reference book, Qanoun that was authored by the Iranian-Islamic genius Avicenna. Secondly, this encyclopedia was more comprehensive that Avicenna’s compilation. This is because Jorjani in his scientific tome had mentioned the views, and medical, scientific, and clinical approaches and experiences of prominent physicians of his era, in addition to his own vast knowledge in this scientific field. Significance importance has been attached to Jorjani’s scientific book such that researchers opine this encyclopedia marks a major step in the promotion of Islamic medicine.

The scientific tome of Jorjani was the first complete medical reference book and encyclopedia in Farsi language to that date. Upon the compilation of this reference book, Iran’s medical sciences made resounding accomplishments. The limited movement which had taken shape for the revival and development of national medical sciences, turned into a nationwide movement with compilation of this scientific book by Jorjani in Farsi language. Researchers opine that this book was a major source of medical data and terms in Farsi language. Upon authoring this book, Jorjani completed the scientific independence of Iran’s medicine, and coupled it with Iran’s cultural independence.

The valuable compilations of Jorjani have highly contributed to reinforcement of Iran’s medical centers and hubs.

Given the comprehensiveness of Jorjani’s medical encyclopedia; the compilation of this reference book took a long while. At the end of the 9th volume of this encyclopedia, Jorjani cites his job in a chemist in Kharazm as one of the main reasons behind the delay in compilation of this reference book.

This reference book was in nine volumes. However, upon the insistence of prominent figures he compiled the 10th volume of this reference book on the science of pharmacology.

According to historians, this reference book was compiled from the year 504 AH to 521 AH. A short while after the compilation of this book, the crown prince of Kharazm called on Jorjani to prepare a summary of this encyclopedia. In this manner, a summary of this reference book was compiled in two volumes in Farsi language by Jorjani.

In the year 521 AH, Qotb Ed-Din Mohammad Kharazm-Shah passed away after a thirty-year rule over Kharazm, and the crown prince, Etsez ascended the throne. The latter was also a cultured figure and a patron of sciences, who made every effort for promotion of the sacred religion of Islam. He even reportedly composed poems in Farsi language. Throughout his rule, the royal court turned into a main center for prominent scientists, which motivated Jorjani to remain in Kharazm and to continue to author his compilations. In this period of time, Jorjani also translated his reference book into Arabic, while compiling and preparing other books on medicine, philosophy, and mysticism.


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