“Put a piece of meat in various parts of town and see in which place it will get rotten more slowly, that would be the proper place for a hospital.” That was the extraordinarily wise and innovative advice of a famous Iranian physician, who at that time lived in Baghdad, to the people who were in search of the most suitable place for building a hospital.This great physician is no one other than Muhammad Ibn Zakariya Razi, also known as Ar-Razi or Rhazes among European scholars, who for the first time in the history of medicine and chemistry, discovered a chemical substance, which served a great deal to these fields, called “alcohol.”
He was born in 865 A.D in the city of Rey, located in Iran. Though his father tried so hard to make him follow his occupation which was gold smithery, he finally pursued his interest which was alchemy and chemistry at that time.
Having spent many years of his life as an alchemist, he eventually found out that the only field worth learning and working in, was medicine. Moreover, as Al-Birooni  claimed, he lost his eyesight when he was occupied in alchemy, and finding a cure for this disability became his motive in turning his direction to medicine.
To learn medicine thoroughly, he left his hometown for Baghdad where the most advanced hospitals were located. He studied and practiced medicine at the local hospital. After spending many years in Baghdad and gaining experience, he moved back to his beloved hometown, Rey.
There, he became the head of its local hospital. He is known to have been the first person who introduced the method of teaching medicine in its modern form used today in our hospitals. As compassionate and devoted as he was, he never stopped curing sick people, rich or poor, and teaching medicine to the students of any background.
He died on the 15th of October in 925 A.D where he was born and spent most of his life, in the city of Rey.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica , he was the first physician who differentiated between measles and smallpox. Besides he is considered to be the father of pediatrics and a pioneer in ophthalmology- the study and treatment of eye disorders and diseases.
He also believed in treatment with proper diet rather than prescribing medicines to his patients. The translation of his most important works in medicine such as “Al-Hawi”  and “Al-Mansuri”  has long been taught in medical universities of European countries such as Germany and France.
He was a devoted Muslim who was profoundly influenced by the teachings of Islam. His idea about the importance of seeking knowledge with one’s full capacity is in close association with the idea of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when he said: “those who peruse knowledge, will be perused by heaven”  & .
The great Iranian Muslim physician, chemist, and philosopher, Muhammad Ibn Zakariya Razi, with his everlasting contributions in medicine and chemistry, did not remain limited to his time or geographical boundaries. He was the great physician of his time and is considered a respected and influential doctor of our age in all parts of the world.
- "ar-Razi." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.Jun. 2014
- Mahmud Najm Abadi, The History of Medicine in Iran and World of Islam.
- Mottaqi Hindi, Kanz al-Aamal.
- Muhammad, Mizan al Hekmah, vol. IV, Qum: Dar al-Hadith Institution, 1386. p.398.
One of the aims of sending Prophets (PBUT), including Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) , was to recite to faithful people the signs of Allah Almighty, to purify them and to teach them the Book and wisdom (3:164). Therefore, the Quran considers Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) as an excellent exemplar for the believers (33:21). It means that all his deeds and behaviors at the individual, social, political, and cultural levels and even with other nations of that era, are instructive and he (PBUH & HP) is a perfect role model to be followed. Besides, he (PBUH & HP) was sent as a mercy to all the nations (21:107), both Muslims and non-Muslims. Hence, his approach in spreading peace and concordance in the world can be an excellent model to be followed. Here, we review how Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) acted in this regard.
Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH & HP) Sunnah did not ignore other nations and their internal independence at all. On the contrary, Islam is a worldwide religion that has recognized other tribes and nations, whether inside or outside of the Islamic state’s territory. Clear evidence for that are the treaties that have been made between the Islamic state and different nations or tribes during the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP). In the pre-Islamic Arab era, fighting other tribes, killing, and bloodshed was a culture. But, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) made various treaties and emphasized on adhering to them to demonstrate how the tension between parties can be peacefully reduced and fighting back is the option only when invaded. The Islamic state was always faithful to the peace treaties as far as other parties were so.
As an example, as soon as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) arrived at Medina, he drew up a covenant among those who had emigrated with him from Mecca (Muhajirin) and the Jewish tribes of Medina including Aws and Khazraj (who were known later as Ansar (i.e. helpers, since they helped Muhajirin). This covenant was called the Constitution of Medina. This constitution aimed to guarantee the security and coexistence of various groups who lived in Medina and formed the basis of a multi-religious Islamic state. Some of its articles were:
• Muslims and Jews constitute “one nation” (Ummah Wahidah). Muslims are on their religion, so are Jews;
• Muslims and Jews are gracious to each other;
• The Jews adhered to this constitution should be protected and helped. No oppression upon them. No alliance with their enemies;
• Each party of this constitution should be allied with the other in case one of them is invaded;
• Both parties should ally whenever Medina is invaded;
• Both parties should take part in the expenses in case of a war. Muslims should pay their expenses, so do the Jews .
At the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP), Mecca was under the control of one of the most significant Arabian tribes called Quraysh, who were polytheists. They had forbidden Muslims to enter the city and perform Hajj rituals. After Prophet (PBUH & HP) had dreamed entering Mecca doing Hajj rituals with companions, this Ayah confirmed his (PBUH & HP) dream: “Certainly Allah has fulfilled His Apostle’s vision in all truth: You will surely enter the Sacred Mosque, God willing, in safety, with your heads shaven or hair cropped, without any fear.” (48:27). Hence, The Prophet (PBUH & HP) and a group of Muslims with some other Arabs of around Medina, marched peacefully towards Mecca without arms, in the hope of making a pilgrimage. At first, Quraysh prevented them from entering Mecca. Still, after some negotiations, a treaty called the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah was drawn up between the two parties, which helped to decrease the tension between them.
This treaty guaranteed a 10-year peace between Quraysh and Muslims and authorized Muslims to return to Mecca in the following year to perform a peaceful pilgrimage .
- M. A. Amini, “The principle of peaceful coexistence with non-Muslims in Islam,” Ma’rifat Journal, no. 165, p. 35-52.
In the first part of the story, we went through Prophet Moses in Islam and his childhood events, his youth and his journey to Midian (Madyan), where he met Prophet Shu’ayb (PBUH) and married his daughter, and after a few years, he decided to return to Egypt to help his people.
On the way to Egypt Moses and his family got lost in the desert. Suddenly “he descried a fire on the side of the mountain. He said to his family, ‘Wait! Indeed, I descry a fire! Maybe I will bring you some news from it, or a brand of fire so that you may warm yourselves’” (28: 29).
When Moses reached the fire, he was called, “‘O Moses! Indeed, I am your Lord! So take off your sandals. You are indeed in the sacred valley of Tuwa. I have chosen you; so listen to what is revealed” (20: 11-3).
So he became a messenger and was given certain miracles. Then he was ordered to “Go to Pharaoh” as “He has indeed rebelled” (20:24). Moses asked God to appoint a minister for him from his family; his brother, Aaron from his biological mother. And God accepted (20: 29-36).
Still, Moses and Aaron were afraid to go Pharaoh as they knew him and his power very well. It sounded impossible for both of them to go to Pharaoh and try to guide him to the right path and to ask him not to torture Children of Israel (Bani-Israel) anymore. But as God was aware of their fear, so He revealed to Moses: “We will strengthen your arm by means of your brother, and invest both of you with such authority that they will not touch you. With the help of Our signs, you two, and those who follow the two of you, shall be the victors” (28: 35).
One crucial point that the Quran emphasizes is that God even tells Moses and Aaron about how to speak to Pharaoh to make their words effective. God said to them: “Speak to him in a soft manner; maybe he will take admonition or fear” (20: 44). From this verse and the depiction of Moses in Islam, one can learn that if he/she wants to have an influential chat or speech with others, he/she should speak softly and with kindness so that the listener can hear and think in peace of mind .
Moses and Aaron meet Pharaoh and Aaron turns his rod into a snake. Culture Club / Contributor / Getty Images
Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said: “We are the apostles of your Lord. Let the Children of Israel go with us, and do not torture them! We certainly bring you a sign from your Lord, and may peace be upon him who follows guidance!” (20: 47)
As mentioned in the verses of chapter Taha, Moses started a discussion with Pharaoh, mostly based on issues about the unity of God and believing in the hereafter (20: 48 -55). And God “showed him all Our signs. But he denied [them] and refused [to believe them]. He said, ‘Moses, have you come to us to expel us from our land with your magic?” (20: 56-7)
Pharaoh decides to compete with Moses’ miracles with magic. So they set a date to compete (20: 58 -9).
On the day of competition, the magicians said: “O Moses! Will you throw first, or shall we? He said, ‘No, you throw first’” (20: 65 -6). “So they threw down their sticks and ropes, and said, ‘By the might of Pharaoh, we shall surely be victorious!” (26: 44) “Thereat Moses threw down his staff, and behold; it was swallowing what they had faked” (26: 45).
Since the magicians were the best magicians from around Egypt that Pharaoh had gathered, and they had complete magic trainings, as soon as they saw the act of Moses, they realized that it could, by no means, be magic.  “There at the magicians fell down prostrating. They said, ‘We have believed in the Lord of Aaron and Moses!’” (20: 70)
After the magicians believed in God of Moses and other people also became believers, the elite of Pharaoh’s people said: “Will you leave Moses and his people to cause corruption in the land, and to abandon you and your gods?” (7: 127)
It can be driven from the above verse that after Moses’ victory against magicians, Pharaoh might have given Children of Israel (Bani-Israel) some sort of freedom in which they had the chance to spread the religion of Moses. Therefore, the elites of Pharaoh’s people warned him about this issue, and Pharaoh replied: “…We will kill their sons and spare their women, and indeed we are dominant over them” (7: 127) .
As Pharaoh threatened Children of Israel (Bani-Israel), Moses advised his people that in case they wished to overcome the enemy they should “Turn to Allah for help and be patient” and to make sure that “the outcome will be in favor of the Godwary” (7: 128) .
As followers of Moses complained to him about Pharaoh’s torments, he said: “Maybe your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you successors in the land, and then He will see how you act” (7: 129). It seems that they wished by the arrival of their savior, everything would be changed at a glance and they would have no hardship anymore, while Moses informed them that for reaching the success they had to go through hard times, and have patience and piety.
And in the latter verse it mentions that “maybe” your Lord will help you by destroying your enemy, and if He does so, He will do it to test you and see what you will do if you come to power .
During the years that Moses and his people were living in Egypt, God tested People of Pharaoh by many different challenges [ii], so that they might return to God. But they never believed.
They kept saying that all the signs were magic
As the first wave of incidents did not bring about a change in the heart of People of Pharaoh, and they said to Moses “Whatever sign you may bring us to bewitch us, we are not going to believe you” (7: 132), God sent down to them harder challenges such as “a flood and locusts, lice, frogs and blood, as distinct signs. But they acted arrogantly, and they were a guilty lot” (7: 133).
It is said in the exegesis of the above verse that People of Pharaoh kept denying Moses and kept calling his miracles as magic. Therefore, God sent them a flood. They went to Moses and said if he stopped it, they would believe in him. But when the flood stopped, they turned their back on Moses. The same happened by sending locusts, lice, frogs, and blood and they kept denying .
After many years that Moses tried to convey God’s messages to Pharaoh and his people, they still kept denying him.
So, Allah Ordered Moses to take his people out of Pharaoh’s land; “We revealed to Moses, [saying], ‘Set out with My servants at night, and strike out for them a dry path through the sea. Do not be afraid of being overtaken, and have no fear [of getting drowned]” (20: 77).
In the next part of this article, we will follow the story of Moses in Islam from the time they were saved from Pharaoh.
[i] Children of Israel (Bani-Israel) were the generation of Prophet Jacob or Israel (PBUH), who at the time of Prophet Joseph (PBUH), migrated to Egypt and settled there for years. (12: 93-9)
[ii] “Certainly We afflicted Pharaoh’s clan with droughts and loss of produce, so that they may take admonition. But whenever any good came to them, they would say, ‘This is our due.’ And if any ill visited them, they took it for ill omens attending Moses and those who were with him. (Look! Indeed the cause of their ill omens is from Allah, but most of them do not know)” (7: 130-1)
- Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 13, p. 209
- Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 13, p. 247
- Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 6, p. 309- 310
- Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 6, p. 311
- Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 6, pp. 312 – 13
- Makarem –e Shirazi, N. Tafseer-e Nemouneh, vol. 6, pp. 321-3