How did pious medieval Muslims experience health and disease? Rooted in the prophet’s experiences with medicine and healing, Muslim pietistic literature developed cosmologies in which physical suffering and medical interventions interacted with religious obligations and spiritual health. This book traces the development of prophetic medical literature and religious writings around health and disease to give a new perspective on how patienthood was conditioned by the intersection of medicine and Islam.
The author investigates the early and foundational writings on prophetic medicine and related pietistic writings on health and disease produced during the Islamic Classical Age. Looking at attitudes from and towards clerics, physicians and patients, sickness and health are gradually revealed as a social, gendered, religious, and cultural experience. Patients are shown to experience certain sensoria that are conditioned not only by medical knowledge, but also by religious and pietistic attitudes.
This is a fascinating insight into the development of Muslim pieties and the traditions of medical practice. It will be of great interest to scholars interested in Islamic Studies, history of religion, history of medicine, science and religion and the history of embodied religious practice, particularly in matters of health and medicine.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1 "A Beau Ideal for whosoever hopes for God" 2 From Medical Prophetics to Prophetic Medicine 3 Piety and Illness 4 Spiritual Medicine 5 The Pious Physician Coda
Ahmed Ragab is Richard T. Watson Associate Professor of Science and Religion, Affiliate Associate Professor at the Department of the History of Science, and Director of the Science, Religion and Culture program at Harvard University, USA. He is a physician, a historian of science and medicine, and a scholar of science and religion.
"This excellent book is at once a study of a specific aspect of medieval Islamic piety and a formidable commentary on the way intellectual, literary, and religious history should be studied. […] Ragab presents us with a richly textured and deeply satisfying account of how illness, medicine, and piety were intertwined in the Islamic Middle Ages. […] It is a work that will be essential and educational reading for scholars of many fields—including but not limited to religion, the history of medicine, hadith studies, and literary studies. […] I found it to be an outstanding contribution and see it as a model of interdisciplinary and cutting-edge scholarship." – Nancy Khalek in Isis: A Journal of the History of Science Society