854-c.925: al-Rāzī

al-Rāzī examining a sick boy (Color print after Hossein Behzad)


The nearly 200 books of Persian multi talent Abū Bakr Muhammad ibn Zakariyyā al-Rāzī – also known as ‘Rhazes’ – span everything from medicine and chemistry to logic and philosophy. He supposedly goes blind from all the reading and writing. His greatest achievements include the discovery of alcohol and a groundbreaking thesis on measles and smallpox.


As a religious freethinker, his criticism of revelation and the Qurʾān leads to multiple accusations of heresy. For al-Rāzī:


“Reason is the ultimate authority, which should govern and not be governed; should control and not be controlled, should lead and not be led.” – al-Rāzī