|Name:||Abu al-Qasim Khalaf ibn al-Abbas Al-Zahrawi|
|Influenced:||Abu Muhammad bin Hazm, Pietro Argallata, Guy de Chauliac, Jaques Delechamps|
Abu al-Qasim Khalaf ibn al-Abbas Al-Zahrawi(936 – 1013), (Arabic: أبو القاسم بن خلف بن العباس الزهراوي) also known in the West as Abulcasis, was an Andalusian Arab physician, surgeon, chemist, cosmetologist, and scientist. He is considered Islam's greatest medieval surgeon, whose comprehensive medical texts shaped both Islamic and European surgical procedures up until the Renaissance. His greatest contribution to history is the Kitab al-Tasrif, a thirty-volume encyclopedia of medical practices.
Abū al-Qāsim specialized in curing disease by cauterization. He invented several devices used during surgery, for purposes such as inspection of the interior of the urethra, applying and removing foreign bodies from the throat, inspection of the ear, etc.
Abū al-Qāsim was born in the city of El Zahra, six miles northwest of Córdoba/corona, Spain. He was descended from the Ansar Arab tribe who settled earlier in Spain. Few details remain regarding his life, aside from his published work, due to the destruction of El-Zahra during later castillian-andalousian conflicts. His name first appears in the writings of Abu Muhammad bin Hazm (993 – 1064), who listed him among the greatest physicians of Moorish Spain. But we have the first detailed biography of al-Zahrawī from al-Ḥumaydī's Jadhwat al-Muqtabis (On Andalusian Savants), completed six decades after al-Zahrawī's death.
He lived most of his life in Córdoba. It is also where he studied, taught and practiced medicine and surgery until shortly before his death in about 1013, two years after the sacking of El-Zahra.
The street in Córdoba where he lived is named in his honor as "Calle Albucasis". On this street he lived in house no. 6, which is preserved today by the Spanish Tourist Board with a bronze plaque (awarded in January 1977) which reads: "This was the house where lived Abul-Qasim."
Abū al-Qāsim was a court physician to the Andalusian caliph Al-Hakam II. He devoted his entire life and genius to the advancement of medicine as a whole and surgery in particular. His best work was the Kitab al-Tasrif. It is a medical encyclopaedia spanning 30 volumes which included sections on surgery, medicine, orthopedics, ophthalmology, pharmacology, nutrition etc.
In the 14th century, the French surgeon Guy de Chauliac quoted al-Tasrif over 200 times. Pietro Argallata (d. 1453) described Abū al-Qāsim as "without doubt the chief of all surgeons". In an earlier work, he is credited to be the first to describe ectopic pregnancy in 963, in those days a fatal affliction. Abū al-Qāsim's influence continued for at least five centuries, extending into the Renaissance, evidenced by al-Tasrif's frequent reference by French surgeon Jaques Delechamps (1513-1588).
Abū al-Qāsim's thirty-chapter medical treatise, Kitab al-Tasrif, completed in the year 1000, covered a broad range of medical topics, including dentistry and childbirth, which contained data that had accumulated during a career that spanned almost 50 years of training, teaching and practice. In it he also wrote of the importance of a positive doctor-patient relationship and wrote affectionately of his students, whom he referred to as "my children". He also emphasized the importance of treating patients irrespective of their social status. He encouraged the close observation of individual cases in order to make the most accurate diagnosis and the best possible treatment.
Al-Tasrif was later translated into Latin by Gerard of Cremona in the 12th century, and illustrated. For perhaps five centuries during the European Middle Ages, it was the primary source for European medical knowledge, and served as a reference for doctors and surgeons.
Not always properly credited, Abū Al-Qāsim's al-Tasrif described both what would later became known as "Kocher's method" for treating a dislocated shoulder and "Walcher position" in obstetrics. Al-Tasrif described how to ligature blood vessels almost 600 years before Ambroise Paré, and was the first recorded book to document several dental devices and explain the hereditary nature of haemophilia.
Abū al-Qāsim also described the use of forceps in vaginal deliveries.  H e introduced his famous collection of over 200 surgical instruments. Many of these instruments were never used before by any previous surgeons. Hamidan, for example, listed at least twenty six innovative surgical instruments that Abulcasis introduced.
His use of catgut for internal stitching is still practised in modern surgery. The catgut appears to be the only natural substance capable of dissolving and is acceptable by the body. Abū al-Qāsim also invented the forceps for extracting a dead fetus, as illustrated in the Al-Tasrif.
The Al-Tasrif (1000) also introduces the use of ligature for the blood control of arteries in lieu of cauterization. The surgical needle was invented and described by Abū al-Qāsim in his Al-Tasrif.
In pharmacy and pharmacology, Abū al-Qāsim al-Zahrawī pioneered the preparation of medicines by sublimation and distillation. His Liber Servitoris is of particular interest, as it provides the reader with recipes and explains how to prepare the 'simples' from which were compounded the complex drugs then generally used.