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What is Al Qanoon Fil Tib and Why You Should Read It

Al Qanoon Fil Tib, also known as The Canon of Medicine, is an encyclopedia of medicine in five books compiled by Persian physician-philosopher Avicenna (ابن سینا, Ibn Sina) and completed in 1025. It is one of the most famous and influential early books on medicine, that continued to influence later creations.

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The Canon of Medicine presents an overview of the contemporary medical knowledge of the Islamic world, which had been influenced by earlier traditions including Greco-Roman medicine (particularly Galen), Persian medicine, Chinese medicine and Indian medicine. The Canon of Medicine remained a medical authority for centuries. It set the standards for medicine in Medieval Europe and the Islamic world and was used as a standard medical textbook through the 18th century in Europe. It is also an important text in Unani medicine, a form of traditional medicine practiced in India.

The Structure and Content of The Canon of Medicine

The Canon of Medicine is divided into five books:

  • Essays on basic medical and physiological principles, anatomy, regimen and general therapeutic procedures.

  • List of medical substances, arranged alphabetically, following an essay on their general properties.

  • Diagnosis and treatment of diseases specific to one part of the body.

  • Diagnosis and treatment of conditions covering multiple body parts or the entire body.

  • Formulary of compound remedies.

Books 1, 3, and 4 are each further divided into parts (fanns), chapters (talīms), subchapters (jumlahs), sections (faṣls), and subsections (bābs). The Canon of Medicine covers various topics such as anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, surgery, psychology, hygiene, dietetics, and therapeutics. It also includes descriptions of various diseases, their causes, symptoms, diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, and treatment. It also contains information on various plants, minerals, and animal products used as medicines.

The Significance and Legacy of The Canon of Medicine

The Canon of Medicine is a remarkable work that reflects the scientific and intellectual achievements of the Islamic Golden Age. It synthesizes the medical knowledge of various cultures and traditions into a coherent and comprehensive system. It also demonstrates Avicenna's original contributions to the field of medicine, such as his classification of diseases, his theory of humors, his concept of pulse diagnosis, his experiments on drugs, his surgical techniques, and his psychological insights.

The Canon of Medicine influenced many later medical scholars and practitioners in both the East and the West. It was translated into Latin, Hebrew, Turkish, Persian, Urdu, and other languages. It was widely studied and cited by medieval European physicians such as Roger Bacon , Arnaldus de Villa Nova , William of Saliceto , Gerard of Cremona , Paracelsus , and Andreas Vesalius . It was also used as a reference by Islamic physicians such as Ibn al-Nafis , Ibn al-Quff , Ibn al-Baitar , Al-Zahrawi , Al-Razi , and Al-Biruni .

The Canon of Medicine is still relevant today as a source of historical and cultural knowledge. It also offers valuable insights into the principles and practices of holistic medicine that can benefit modern health care. It is a testament to the human quest for understanding and healing.

How to Download and Read Al Qanoon Fil Tib in PDF Format

If you are interested in reading Al Qanoon Fil Tib, you can download it in PDF format from various online sources. One of them is the UNESCO Mediabank, which preserves one of the oldest copies of the second volume of The Canon of Medicine (1030) by Avicenna. You can access it by clicking on this link: . You can also find other versions of The Canon of Medicine in different languages and formats on websites such as,, and Google Books.

Reading Al Qanoon Fil Tib in PDF format can be a rewarding experience, as you can enjoy the original text and illustrations of this masterpiece of medicine. You can also zoom in and out, search for keywords, bookmark pages, and print sections as you wish. However, you may also encounter some challenges, such as the difficulty of reading the Arabic script, the complexity of the medical terminology, and the lack of modern annotations and explanations. Therefore, you may want to supplement your reading with some additional resources, such as translations, commentaries, glossaries, and summaries.

A Comprehensive Guide to the Principles and Practices of Medieval Medicine

One of the reasons why Al Qanoon Fil Tib is so valuable and influential is that it provides a comprehensive guide to the principles and practices of medieval medicine. It covers various aspects of medical theory and practice, such as the causes and types of diseases, the signs and symptoms of health and illness, the methods of diagnosis and prognosis, the rules of hygiene and dietetics, the modes of treatment and prevention, and the properties and effects of drugs and remedies.

One of the key concepts that underlies Al Qanoon Fil Tib is the theory of humors. According to this theory, the human body is composed of four basic substances: blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. These substances correspond to four elements: air, water, fire, and earth. They also correspond to four qualities: hot, cold, moist, and dry. The balance or imbalance of these humors determines the state of health or disease in a person. The aim of medicine is to restore or maintain the equilibrium of the humors by using various methods such as diet, exercise, purging, bloodletting, surgery, and drugs.

The Legacy of Al Qanoon Fil Tib: How a PDF Book Can Teach You About the History and Science of Medicine

Al Qanoon Fil Tib is not only a historical document but also a scientific one. It contains a wealth of information and knowledge that can teach us about the history and science of medicine. It shows us how medicine developed and evolved over time, how different cultures and civilizations contributed to its advancement, how medical knowledge was transmitted and preserved across generations and regions, how medical ethics and values were shaped and expressed, and how medicine influenced and was influenced by other fields of human endeavor such as philosophy, religion, art, literature, and politics.

Al Qanoon Fil Tib also offers us some insights and lessons that can be useful for our modern health care. It reminds us of the importance of holistic medicine, which considers not only the physical but also the mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of health and well-being. It also emphasizes the role of prevention, which aims to avoid or reduce the risk of disease by adopting a healthy lifestyle and following a balanced diet. It also encourages us to be curious and critical thinkers, who seek to understand the causes and mechanisms of disease, who test and verify our hypotheses with experiments and observations, who compare and contrast different sources and opinions, who acknowledge our limitations and uncertainties, and who strive to improve our knowledge and skills.

How to Learn More About Al Qanoon Fil Tib and Avicenna

If you are interested in learning more about Al Qanoon Fil Tib and Avicenna, there are many resources available for you. You can find many books, articles, websites, podcasts, videos, and courses that explore various aspects of this topic. Some of them are listed below:

Books: You can read some of the original works of Avicenna, such as The Book of Healing and The Canon of Medicine, as well as some of his biographies and commentaries. You can also read some of the secondary sources that analyze and interpret his works and ideas. Some examples are:

  • The Life of Ibn Sina: A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation by W.E. Gohlman

  • Avicenna and the Aristotelian Tradition: Introduction to Reading Avicenna's Philosophical Works by Dimitri Gutas

  • Avicenna's Medicine: A New Translation of the 11th-Century Canon with Practical Applications for Integrative Health Care by Mones Abu-Asab, Hakima Amri, and Marc S. Micozzi

Articles: You can find many scholarly articles that discuss various aspects of Al Qanoon Fil Tib and Avicenna's contributions to medicine and science. You can access some of them through online databases such as PubMed, Google Scholar, JSTOR, and ScienceDirect. Some examples are:

  • The Canon of Medicine (al-Qanun fi'l-tibb): The Law of Natural Healing by Laleh Bakhtiar

  • Avicenna's Concept of Disease Prevention in the Canon of Medicine by Mohammad Hossein Ayati et al.

  • Avicenna's Contribution to Cardiology by Nil Sari

Websites: You can visit some of the websites that provide information and resources on Al Qanoon Fil Tib and Avicenna. Some examples are:

  • The Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions:

  • The Avicenna Project:

  • The International Society for the History of Islamic Medicine:

Podcasts: You can listen to some of the podcasts that feature episodes on Al Qanoon Fil Tib and Avicenna. Some examples are:

  • The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps:

  • The History of Islam Podcast:

  • The Medieval Podcast:

Videos: You can watch some of the videos that showcase Al Qanoon Fil Tib and Avicenna's legacy. Some examples are:

  • The Canon Of Medicine - Ibn Sina - BBC Documentary:

  • Avicenna - The Father Of Modern Medicine Genius Of The Ancient World Timeline:

  • Avicenna - The Prince Of Physicians History Of Science Spark:

Courses: You can enroll in some of the online courses that teach you about Al Qanoon Fil Tib and Avicenna's philosophy and science. Some examples are:

  • Islamic Medicine: An Introduction by EdX:

  • Islamic Philosophy by Coursera:

  • The History and Practice of Ancient Medicine by Udemy:


Al Qanoon Fil Tib is a monumental work of medicine that reflects the genius and wisdom of Avicenna and the Islamic Golden Age. It is a treasure of knowledge and culture that can enrich our understanding of the history and science of medicine. It is also a source of inspiration and guidance for our modern health care. By reading Al Qanoon Fil Tib in PDF format, we can access this masterpiece of medicine and learn from its principles and practices. We can also explore more resources and opportunities to learn more about Al Qanoon Fil Tib and Avicenna. We hope that this article has sparked your interest and curiosity in this fascinating topic. d282676c82


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