Ibn al-Nafis

Born on 1210

Died on 1288

Ala-al-Ddin abu al-Hasan Ali ibn Abi-Hazm al-Qarshi al-Dimashqi;

(Arabic: علاء الدين أبو الحسن عليّ بن أبي حزم القرشي الدمشقي), known as Ibn al-Nafis (Arabic: ابن النفيس), was an Arab physician from Damascus mostly famous for being the first to describe the pulmonary circulation of the blood. The work of Ibn al-Nafis regarding the right sided (pulmonary) circulation pre-dates the later work (1628) of William Harvey’s De motu cordis. Both theories attempt to explain circulation.

As an early anatomist, Ibn al-Nafis also performed several human dissections during the course of his work, making several important discoveries in the fields of physiology and anatomy. Besides his famous discovery of the pulmonary circulation, he also gave an early insight of the coronary and capillary circulations, a contribution for which he is sometimes described as “the father of circulatory physiology”.

Apart from medicine, Ibn al-Nafis studied jurisprudence, literature and theology. He was an expert on the Shafi’i school of jurisprudence and an expert physician. The number of medical textbooks written by Ibn al-Nafis is estimated at more than 110 volumes.