Talk:Ibn al-Nafis

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Grammer and Spelling[edit]

I corrected a few grammar and spelling errors but could not correct the main body of article as I could not understand it.

--Banana04131 03:13, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

There is also Ibn Nafis. It is the same person, surely, despite a few factual discrepancies. Charles Matthews 19:58, 23 October ---- Insert non-formatted text here#REDIRECT [[<nowiki>Insert text<nowiki>Insert non-formatted text here--~~~~Insert non-formatted text herefughj <ref>Insert footnote text here</ref></nowiki>]]</nowiki>005 (UTC)

Content from there not included in merge. Charles Matthews 13:19, 25 October 2005 (UTC)


Ibn Nafis (1210-1288) was perhaps the first person to accurately describe the process of right sided blood circulation in the human body (in 1242). Contemporary drawings of this process have survived. Ibn Nafis is the first known person to have documented the Pulmonary circuit. His work was largely unnoticed in the West until found in Berlin in 1924. Credit for the modern concept of left sided Systemic blood circulation is generally given to William Harvey, who published his work entitled "De Motu Cordis" (in 1628).

Manner of death[edit]

Wasn't he accused of heresy and ordered killed for his work on the circulatory system?

That was Michael Servetus, not Ibn al-Nafis. Jagged 85 (talk) 22:53, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Broad Unsubstantiated Generalization[edit]

I quote: "This was a view that was held by a majority of ulema (legal scholars) in his time, but this view was not shared by traditional hadith scholars in his time who did not differentiate between hadiths that were "sahih" and "mutawatir"." What historical evidence is there to support this claim? Mutawatir is mentioned in ibn al-Salah's Introduction to the Sciences of Hadith, for example, as well as in al-Kifayah by Khatib al-Baghdadi. Therefore this was not an overlooked concept the traditional scholars nor was the 'distinction' between the two categories a new concept in ibn al-Nafis's time. Supertouch (talk) 21:43, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Religious and philosophical background section[edit]

What's does an orthodox Sunni Muslim mean? What does orthodox has to do with Islam?--TheEgyptian (talk) 08:53, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

  • I also wondered about this word. I have never read/heard this adjective being used to describe Muslims. However, after searching google for "define:Orthodox", I found out that it's dereived from Latin "ortho", which means straight or correct and "dox", meaning belief or opinion, Orthodox refers to the approved form of a philosophy, ideology, doctrine, religion, and so on. - Aateyya (talk) 20:38, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Transliteration scheme[edit]

Please explain why this article uses a non-standard scheme of transliterating Arabic. For example, it uses the Latin letter 'c' to represent the Arabic letter 'ain', more usually represented by a grave accent '`'. Again, it uses 'ou' for either a short or long 'u'; and also uses 'e', representing what, I am unsure. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.191.51.146 (talk) 19:42, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

We are regularly trying to fix transliteration on articles. I have noticed you have made wonderful contributions to Wikipedia, why don't you become a member and then post on my talk page and I can forward you to the right people to help with transliteration (or whatever else you're interested in). --Enzuru 18:09, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

Optic Nerve[edit]

I am not familiar with the work of Ibn al-Nafis (though I'm quite impressed by what I have read), however it is not true that the right optic nerve communicates only with the left-side of the brain and vis-versa. The right medial visual field is detected by the left eye's lateral/temporal retina and does not cross over to the right, rather it communicates directly with the ipsilateral/left brain. The right temporal visual field is detected by the right eye's medial retina and does cross over to the contralateral/left brain. So if Ibn states that the optic nerve totally crosses over, he is also incorrect. If he states the above understanding, then the article should be changed to reflect an accurate description of the path of the optic nerve. For reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optic_tract http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optic_nerve 74.79.243.131 (talk) 03:29, 6 March 2009 (UTC)GMM

First sci-fi novel?[edit]

The section on Theologus Autodidactus claims, without any clarification, that:

"This work is one of the first Arabic novels, the first science fiction novel..."

With regard to the sci-fi claim: surely True History, written in the second century AD, would have more of a claim to this title? At the very least it doesn't seem particularly clear that TA was the first sci-fi-esque novel in history. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.110.247.58 (talk) 14:30, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

True History is not a novel, whereas Theologus Autodidactus is a novel. In other words, True History has a claim for the first proto-science fiction, but not the first science fiction novel. As for science fiction in general, one point that brings Theologus Autodidactus closer to science fiction is that it provides scientific explanations for every unnatural event in the book, something that is lacking in earlier proto-science fiction works. Regards, Jagged 85 (talk) 01:56, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

Using names in place of pictures for medieval writers in Arabic.[edit]

A general proposal: in articles for medieval writers from the arabic cultural area, instead of using pictures with dubious historical and aesthetical credentials writers' names in Arabic calligraphy can be used as visual enhancers, unless historically and aesthetically significant pictures can be found.

Absolutely.These fictional drawings are not suitable for an encyclopedia.S711 (talk) 20:14, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Stub and rework[edit]

For background information, please see RFC/U and Cleanup. With 441 edits, User:Jagged 85 is the main contributor to this article by far (2nd: 11 edits). The issues are a repeat of what had been exemplarily shown here, here, here or here. For this reason I restored contents to the last pre-Jagged85 version, that is 26 April 2007, with some modifications. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 20:21, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

Discovery of pulmonary circulation[edit]

If true, this would be important. But it has no refs, and I've no idea of its provenance. So removing to talk for repair. Someone might want to look at pulmonary circulation too William M. Connolley (talk) 15:20, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

There's a complete English translation of this floating around on the internet. Search Google for "Theologus Autodidactus". It's a PDF scan of the book. Someone underlined in pen Ibn al-Nafis comments on pulmonary circulation which are clearly understandable as describing pulmonary circulation. That he talked about pulmonary circulation cannot be in dispute as this is an academically accepted translation which includes the original Arabic. If someone has evidence of someone "discovering" it before him, then they should reference that. Of course, this requires undertaking the arduous task of typing things into Google and using the mouse to click. For most Wikipedia editors, it's much easier to just cut out things and stub articles if they don't already know the information in their heads. If it's not already in their heads, it can't possibly be true. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 110.37.26.43 (talk) 00:31, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Moved to talk[edit]

In 1924, an Egyptian physician, Muhyo Al-Deen Altawi, discovered a script titled, "Commentary on the Anatomy of Canon of Avicenna" in the Prussian State Library in Berlin while studying the history of Arab Medicine at the medical faculty of Albert Ludwig’s University in Germany. This script covers in detail the topics of anatomy, pathology and physiology. This was the earliest description of pulmonary circulation.

The theory that was accepted, prior to Al-Nafis, was placed by Galen in the second century. Galen had theorized that the blood reaching the right side of the heart went through invisible pores in the cardiac septum, to the left side of the heart, where it mixed with air to create spirit, and was then distributed to the body. According to Galen's views, the venous system was quite separate from the arterial system, except when they came in contact through the unseen pores.

Based on his anatomical knowledge, Al-Nafis stated that:

"...the blood from the right chamber of the heart must arrive at the left chamber but there is no direct pathway between them. The thick septum of the heart is not perforated and does not have visible pores as some people thought or invisible pores as Galen thought. The blood from the right chamber must flow through the vena arteriosa (pulmonary artery) to the lungs, spread through its substances, be mingled there with air, pass through the arteria venosa (pulmonary vein) to reach the left chamber of the heart and there form the vital spirit..."

Elsewhere in his book, he said: ...

"The heart has only two ventricles ...and between these two there is absolutely no opening. Also dissection gives this lie to what they said, as the septum between these two cavities is much thicker than elsewhere. The benefit of this blood (that is in the right cavity) is to go up to the lungs, mix with what is in the lungs of air, then pass through the arteria venosa to the left cavity of the two cavities of the heart..."

In describing the anatomy of the lungs, Al-Nafis stated:

"The lungs are composed of parts, one of which is the bronchi; the second, the branches of the arteria venosa; and the third, the branches of the vena arteriosa, all of them connected by loose porous flesh."

He then added:

"... the need of the lungs for the vena arteriosa is to transport to it the blood that has been thinned and warmed in the heart, so that what seeps through the pores of the branches of this vessel into the alveoli of the lungs may mix with what there is of air therein and combine with it, the resultant composite becoming fit to be spirit, when this mixing takes place in the left cavity of the heart. The mixture is carried to the left cavity by the arteria venosa."

Al-Nafis also postulated that nutrients for heart are extracted from the coronary arteries:

"... again his (Avicenna's) statement that the blood that is in the right side is to nourish the heart is not true at all, for the nourishment to the heart is from the blood that goes through the vessels that permeate the body of the heart..."

So first, you disputed the historically established fact backed by many references that Ibn al-Nafis was the first to discover the pulmonary circulation. No references ? fine then use the "cn" tag. But here is the disturbing bit: You haven't done the same for the entirely unreferenced section in William Harvey's article, instead you added "pulmonary circulation" to his article seconds after you've removed it from Ibn al-Nafis.
If this is not an attempt to push a Eurocentric POV, then I don't know what it is. Al-Andalusi (talk) 15:59, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Can we leave out the "clash of civilisations" stuff? It didn't help before, it won't help now. The WH stuff is well known. It would be nice to ref it, but it is in no doubt at all. In contrast, all the stuff I've removed is (a) unrefd and (b) in very considerable doubt. As to your you disputed the historically established fact backed by many references that - I don't know where you get that from. There are no refs, currently. If you can find some, untainted by Jagged, then great: add them. That would be helpful, unlike push a Eurocentric POV which is entirely unhelpful William M. Connolley (talk) 17:11, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
The removal of Ibn al-Nafis' discovery section and the line of thought you described above to justify this act is a textbook example of Eurocentrism. In addition, the call to inquire about and question the originality of Ibn al-Nafis' discovery by stating "I've no idea of its provenance" even after accepting the possibility of truths to the fact is insulting and distributing; as if everything in this world must have an (Ancient Greek/European) origin, non-Europeans can never be "first".
References: I was referring to the recommended way of approaching unreferenced material as described in WP:CITE#Dealing with unsourced material. As this material is not harmful (because it remained in the stubbed version), a cn tag IMO would have been more appropriate. Also, let's stop invoking Jagged 85 on stubbed articles, we're done with his crap. Al-Andalusi (talk) 19:19, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

Reliable sources Prioreschi, Plinio (2001). A History of Medicine: Byzantine and Islamic medicine. Horatius press. pp. 277–278. ISBN 9781888456042. Retrieved 15 April 2011.  tell us exactly who contributed what to the history of medicine. Its not what we have here.J8079s (talk) 19:03, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

From what I know it is true that Ibn al-Nafis was the first to describe the pulmonary circulation, centuries before European writers did. But his discovery went unnoticed in Islamic science and elsewhere and thus had no bearing on the subsequent development of medicine which started with William Harvey who described the blood circulation in the entire body. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 23:07, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Doomsday in his sci-fi novel[edit]

Here's an excerpt from the translation of Theologus Autodidactus by Meyerhof and Schacht (Oxford Clarendon Press 1968):

Part 1: http://i.imgur.com/JFtXN.png

Part 2: http://i.imgur.com/BF94s.jpg

Part 3: http://i.imgur.com/T9uVk.png

It's a summary translation (thus the word summary) and not word for word, but it's the only thing in English.

Where he uses the cosmology of celestial spheres (in vogue before the 15th century) to describe an apocalypse resulting from a deviation in the norm of the Sun-Earth-Moon "orbit" (or whatever they called it), the subsequent effects on human civilization (even describing the biblical prophecy of the Beast more as a man-animal hybrid product of natural forces) then a resurrection of life (where humans' bodies regrow from a small piece of the vertebrae).

It was basically describing the Islamic eschatology of the apocalypse (similar to the Bible's) via the science of his day. You can find references describing the work as science fiction everywhere once again using that mystical tool that is Google (using it doesn't hurt, I promise).

On the bottom of page 57 is the quote regarding the body, "...the body of man as an infant is different from his body as an old man, and likewise the parts of the body, because both the body and its parts are continuously in dissolution and reconstruction, and unavoidably in constant change." The idea of the body building and breaking down the materials of its own constitution wouldn't exist in Europe until the studies of Santorio Santorio in the 17th century (according to the Wiki page on metabolism), and what he did was:

He described how he weighed himself before and after eating, sleep, working, sex, fasting, drinking, and excreting. He found that most of the food he took in was lost through what he called "insensible perspiration".

Which can hardly be called an acknowledgement of metabolism (at least Ibn al-Nafis specifically described "dissolution" and "reconstruction", corresponding to catabolism and anabolism) but as long as it's a part of the European tradition it counts, and whatever the Arabs said doesn't count, because history is only relevant insofar as it's a part of modern European scientific tradition and there is absolutely no historical value to anything that occurred before that according to standard Wikipedia editing policy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 110.37.26.43 (talk) 01:25, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Actually, a previous version of the article did already discuss Theologus Autodidactus to some extent, before it was all overzealously deleted by a certain Eurocentric witch-hunting "cleanup" group. Regards, Jagged 85 (talk) 09:37, 6 July 2011 (UTC)