Abu Ja'far Ahmed bin Abi Khalid bin Al-Jazzar, born in Qayrawan, and grew up in the midst of a family of physicians. He studied under the famous Jewish philosopher and physician Is'haq bin Sulayman Al-Israeli (855 – 955). Then, Al-Jazzar practiced medicine in his native city of Qayrawan, in Tunisia, where he died in 980. His birth date is undetermined.

Al-Jazzar lived rigorous life, devoting himself to the study and practice of medicine. Once a year, on every summer, he would travel to Al-Muntasir, on the Mediterranean coast, in order to stay in a famous Sufi cell.

He did not look for a position, like many of his associates, to work in a royal court. As part of his medical practice, he would examine the urine samples of his patients. His servant Rashiq would then administer medicines to the patients free of charge.

Al-Jazzar wrote many books in medicine. His writings made him very influential in medieval Europe. Kitab Al-Adwia Al-Mufrada (Book on Simple Drugs) was translated into Hebrew, Greek, and Latin and was copied frequently.

Constantine the African's Latin translation of Al-Adwia Al-Mufrada was known as Liber de gradibus in Europe. In this translation, the book became one of the most popular of pharmacopoeias in the west.

Tibb Al-Fuqara wal Masakeen (Medicine for the Poor and Pitiful) presented a popular work during the middle ages, where different authors relied on it, for instance, Al-Razi and Peter of Spain.

Zad Al-Musafir wa Qut Al-Hadir (Provisions for the Traveler and the Nourishment of the settled) was his prime work. This research, consisting of seven book, is not a guide for the traveler as the title suggest. On the contrary, it discusses different disease and their treatments in a concise form.

In the book of Zad, many quotations from the works of famous physicians and philosophers are found, for instance, Hippocrates, Aristotle, Rufus, Galen, Paul of Aegina, Palladios, Polemon, et al.

By the 11th century, Zad was already translated into Greek and widely circulated. In Jewish circles, it was translated into Hebrew thrice due to its popularity: an anonymous translation in 1124 titled Ya'ir Nativ, then Moses Ibn Tibbon translated it as Zedat ha-Derakhim in 1254, and finally, Abraham bin Isaac wrote it as Zeda la-Orehim.

In 1124, Constatine the African translated it as Viaticum Peregrinates. Ibn Al-Jazzar's book on fevers and on sexual diseases have recently been translated and edited into English. Al-Jazzar's textbooks were widely used in the universities of Salerno and Montpellier.


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