Prof. Rabie E. Abdel-Halim - A Short biography*
Rabie El Said Abdel-Halim is a professor of urology well known for his original contributions in the field of urinary stone research in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where he taught and practiced urology for about 25 years. He is a reputable pioneer in his field and a mentor for a generation of medical practitioners, surgeons and urologists who graduated from and trained at the university hospitals of Jeddah and Riyadh. Among his noted contributions to the urological literature are a book and thirty-three articles and conference presentations.
Professor Rabie Abdel-Halim was born in 1940 in a Nile Delta village in the Arab Republic of Egypt. He was awarded an MB BCh with distinction from Ein Shams University, Cairo in 1962. Three years later, he obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in surgery from the same university. In 1969 he was granted the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (FRCS Ed). Prior to his appointments in Saudi Arabia, he held many academic and clinical posts in Egypt, United Kingdom and Libya.
Professor Abdel-Halim also has a special interest in the history of medicine, which he has been actively pursuing since 1980. His work evaluates the influence of Islamic Medicine during the 9th – 14th century on the progress of medical knowledge. Primary source studies of original medical works of scholars of that era have been extensively investigated and compared with the works of their predecessors and those who came after them. Their influence on Medieval Europe and European Renaissance has been traced, evaluated and documented. Furthermore, original translations into English were made of relevant excerpts from all the works studied. For the collection of primary source references, Professor Abdel-Halim has travelled extensively visiting departments of history of medicine, historic libraries, museums, heritage centers, private manuscript collectors and antiquarian book dealers.
Professor Abdel-Halim's research on the history of medicine focused mainly on the discipline of Urology, his medical field of specialty. He documented the contributions of Muslim Scholars to its progress through the careful study of the original works of Al-Razi, Ibn Sina, Al-Zahrawi, Ibn Al-Jazzar, Ibn Zuhr, Ibn Rushd, Muhadhdhab Al-Din Al-Baghdadi, Ibn Al-Nafis and others who lived in the Medieval Islamic Era. To date, 27 articles have been published in refereed medical journals, mainly in English, and further results and research are awaiting publication. These publications of Professor Rabie Abdel-Halim represent a major research contribution towards the revival of Arabic and Islamic Scientific Heritage.
Since his retirement in September 2006 from a Professorship of Urology at the College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Professor Abdel-Halim is giving his full time commitment to his history of medicine studies. His publications and activities in the field of history of Islamic Medicine were recognized by the Kuwait Foundation for Science and Technology which awarded him the prestigious Kuwait Prize in 2005.
The prolific work of Professor Rabie Abdel-Halim is mainly characterized by its original contributions in the field of Islamic Medical Heritage. Furthermore, his authored websites, containing full online text of his publications on history of medicine, have helped in disseminating his work to a worldwide audience and positioned him as a leading figure in the revival of Islamic Medical Heritage. This widely recognized outstanding scientific activity has led some international universities such as Karolinska University in Sweden to include his website, containing the full text of his publications on history of medicine, in their selected lists of recommended educational resources. Similarly the "Intute" group, one of the online Oxford University Services "providing access to the very best web resources for education and research", has recently reviewed Professor Abdel-Halim's site and added it to their database, fully catalogued and made available through the "intute-best of the web" website. Furthermore, one of Professor Rabie Abdel-Halim's articles on the history of anesthesia is considered by Medline of the National Library of Medicine in Washington as a Classic Article and is widely included in online anesthesiology databases.
Professor Rabie Abdel-Halim also helped to spread the interest in the study of history of medicine among his colleagues from other clinical departments (anesthesiology, medicine, surgery, urology, nephrology physiology and anatomy) by encouraging them to participate as coauthors. For the same goal of spreading interest in history of medicine among undergraduate and postgraduate students, relevant historical glimpses were included in his clinical rounds, tutorials and lectures. Exclusive history of surgery presentations were similarly introduced in the surgery department grand rounds. He, also, introduced, for the first time, a one-hour lecture on history of surgery in the undergraduate basic general surgery course in the College of Medicine, King Saud University.
Verses of poetry related to patients, illness, medicaments and doctors were also utilized in both the clinical and history of medicine teaching rounds and lectures. This was meant to stimulate the interest of students in medical humanities; an important, though often overlooked, pillar of medical education. He also designed and prepared the material for a course in Medical Humanities to be taught at Al-Faisal University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Professor Rabie Abdel-Halim is also a reputable poet with a published and frequently quoted Arabic anthology titled "Fakku-'t-talsim" (Clues to the riddles) together with several other published poems including poetry related to his medical profession. He is also an amateur photographer skilled not only in medical photography, but also in scenery photography where, for him, the real focus of the camera lens is on the marvels and beauty of creation.
For more information on the work of Professor Rabie Abdel-Halim on the history of medicine, you can visit the following resources:
Recently published articles by Professor Rabie Abdel-Halim on www.MuslimHeritage.com:
*This short biography was reworked and augmented from a CV for Prof. Rabie Abdel-Halim as well as from a biography on him in the website of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science (KFAS). The text has been revised and approved by Prof. Rabie Abdel-Halim.
by: FSTC Limited, Fri 19 June, 2009