The Emergence of Verification (taqīq) in Islamic Medicine

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In this article, I discuss the legacy of Far al-Dīn al-Rāzī's commentary on Avicenna's Canon of Medicine in Islamic medical commentary after 1100. I argue that Far al-Dīn's legacy lies in the exegetical practices, the method of verification (taqīq) he introduced into Islamic medical scholarship through his commentary on the Canon. I first argue that the features that characterise the method of verification in works such as Far al-Dīn's commentary on Avicenna's Pointers and Reminders are present in the commentary on the Canon, even if Far al-Dīn's introduction to the latter work does not allude to these practices in the way that the introductions to his later works do. Based on an analysis of Galen's prescription about exegetical best-practice in his Hippocratic commentaries and Muammad ibn Zakarīyā al-Rāzī's (d. ca. 925) introduction to Doubts on Galen, I argue next that Far al-Dīn's introduction of the verification method into the Islamic medical discourse was a watershed moment in the tradition. I use Ibn al-Quff's (d. 1286) commentary on the Hippocratic Aphorisms to show how these methods were imitated by later medical commentators. This final section illustrates the enormous exegetical interest that the Canon of Medicine attracted, suggesting other promising trajectories for research into Far al-Dīn's medical legacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-113
Issue number1-2
Early online date29 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2019


  • Avicenna
  • Canon of Medicine
  • Far al-Dīn al-Rāzī
  • Galen
  • Ibn al-Quff
  • Islamic medicine
  • taqīq


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