Diseases of the kidney in medieval Persia - The Hidayat of Al-Akawayni

Mohammad R. Ardalan, Mohammadali M. Shoja, R. Shane Tubbs, Garabed Eknoyan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The centralization of socioeconomic resources following the rise of the Islamic empire in the 7th century nurtured an initial gathering and translation into Arabic of extant medical texts in Greek, Syriac, Hindu and Chinese. As Arabic became the lingua franca of scholarship, there followed a second period of assimilation, original observations, commentary and systematization of medical knowledge in Arabic texts, which became the basis of revival and learned medicine in the West in the 12th century. However, not all medical texts of the period were written in Arabic. As central power eroded, provincial principalities arose, and regional cultures flourished, medical texts began to be written in local dialects, particularly in Persia. Notable amongst those and probably the oldest is the Hidayat al-Muallimin fi-al-Tibb (Learner's; guide to medicine) written by Abubakr al-Akawayni al-Bokhari in the closing decades of the 10th century. Written in Farsi and dedicated to his son and other students of medicine, the Hidayat is a relatively short and simplified pandect of medicine at the time and provides a glimpse of the teaching of medicine of the period. The present article is a translation of the sections of the Hidayat related to the kidney and urinary tract and their diseases. These early writings provide insight into the care of patients with kidney disease during the Middle Ages in general, and in Persia in particular.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3413-3421
Number of pages9
JournalNephrology Dialysis Transplantation
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Akhawayni
  • History of nephrology
  • Kidney disease history
  • Medieval nephrology
  • Persian medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation


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