Supplement 4

"In my opinion then, said I, "the stars which you say, are connected with the birth of the human race were created after the skies, because it is in the skies they perform their rotation-sometimes moving upwards and sometimes downwards. "All proved so clearly, said he, that only an insane man could deny it. The sky is the foundation of the luminaries, and undoubtedly existed before them, for it is in that those said luminaries move and perform their duties.

"Now, said I, "you have admitted the creator of the stars, according to whose movements, human beings are born, to be the same as He, who created the skies and the earth, for without the earth, there could be no creation." Yes you are right, he said, I see no alternative but to accept this as true.

Does not your reason further point out, said I, "that He Who created the earth, the skies, Sun, Moon and other planets must be All-powerful and Wise, for without the skies, the creatures of the earth must perish; for the heavenly ladies are directly necessary for those upon the earth to live? For instance, had there only been no Sun, nothing could ripen, the poisonous effect of the air would not be nullified and everything would die.

Now, said he. 'I would bear witness to the wisdom of Allah, Who made all these things, for you have completely overthrown my doubts. I must hold your theory that the teacher of the science of Astronomy, and the inventor of the calculations appertaining to it, cannot be an inhabitant of this earth, for that which he studies is in the skies, and the person able to unravel the mysteries of the skies must be powerful enough to pry beneath the earth.

It is beyond my comprehension all the same as to how a human being has mastered this science and brought it to its present state of uniformity, the logic of which no one denies. If I had not known the principles of the science I would have from the very start, flatly denied the same, and called the article a futile one.

"I will make it clear to you, said I, "by the means of halila you hold in your hand, and the science of medicine which has been the profession of your forefathers and is now yours. This halila, with medical science, I will compare to the heavenly objects and their science. But do you promise not only to acknowledge the truth, but do justice by it?

Yes, I do promise, he replied. Please go on.

Has there, asked I, "ever been a time when the human race was in ignorance of knowledge ('ilm) and its benefits, in fact as senseless as this halila?

"Why not? he replied, There must have been a time, when none was acquainted with medical science and its advantages. Knowledge was acquired. "How? When they were totally ignorant of science, how did they acquire it? 

"By experience and experiments, he said, "after considerable time. Whence came the idea of experimenting I asked. "What made them think such thing made into medicine was beneficial to the human body, when the external form of these things appear hurtful, and some placed on the tongue are so bitter as to cause pain and uneasiness And how came they to the investigation of such medicinal plants that were totally unknown, and not recognized by their senses, for to demand an unknown thing is quite an impossibility and absurdity?

"Experience led to the investigation, he said, and invention of the medical science.

"Well, said I, "tell me who invented it, or who described the nature and effects of the herbs used, when some grow far west and some others far east. Do you not sensibly feel that the person who did so, was one who inhabited the places where they grew."

Yes, he said, and what a wise man he was, for he has drawn every other man to his side to agree with his conclusions, If you wish to abide by your promise to me, and give justice to the truth, tell me how that man-the inventor came to know the nature of every medicinal plant. Let us suppose he got himself acquainted with all the medicinal plants in his village, or even the whole of Persia; but can you suppose that he continued his researches and investigations allover the world and tasted every fruit, leaf and root to test their qualities from the effects on himself?

Can you suppose even with the help on other wise persons that he was able to fully acquaint himself with the plants growing in Persia alone, studying with his senses those plants that his senses did not recognize; nothing their peculiarities and importance or non-importance of the botany of Persia, how came they to know that such and such herb was useless, unless the prescription. included the halila from India, gum mastich from Rome, 

musk from Tibet, cinnamon from China, willow from Turkey, opium from Egypt, aloes from Yemen, salt peter from Armenia and various other articles from different parts of the world, which mixed and pounded together make a particular medicine. How could they know living in Persia that individually these articles produce no effects?

How came they to know the places where these articles are produced, when they are so different in kind and nature, and grow at so great a distance from each other-of some plants roots alone are used, of others the fruit, shell, essence, juice, gum or oil- some are used internally, and others externally; again in different countries they hold different names; the people of different countries are not always friendly to each other they vary in opinions, manners and modes of life; one nation desires to predominate over the other , they slaughter and pillage and try to imprison one another: it is not always easy for a stranger to carryon investigation? How was that knowledge gained? 

Can you say that the person who invented the science went to every nook and corner of the world, learnt every language, and traveled every country? That he was able to investigate the medicines from east to west quite fearlessly and safely, and that he never fell sick, did not under go: any troubles but remained healthy and intact? That he made no mistakes, was never misdirected found all the countries, remembered all he learnt, remained always happy and finished all his researches with regard to the origin and nature and effects of what he sought-despite all differences of color quality and names? That he got correct description of each and every tree, its origin, smell and taste, flowers and fruits?

Can you really think the enterprise such as one individual may undertake and accomplish when you consider that each and every medicine has at least twenty different natures? Is it not impossible that he learnt the science of medicine the secrets of the trees that demand close observation and grow in so many different countries? Even granting him the possibility how did he come by the knowledge that such and such a plant could be used as a medicine for the senses do not hold the innate ideas? 

How did he separate the bitter, the sweet, the saltish and acrid trees-one from another? If you say that he did so by inquiry and converse with the people of different lands they grew in how came he to inquire and converse about the things unknown to him? How came it to his mind that he must ask these questions of a particular man? And how could he arrive at a satisfactory conclusion despite so many social and political barriers, and the difference of languages? Even granting these things whence came the knowledge of advantages and disadvantages of medicine? Why this affected a cure and this an injury-their nature their sweet and bitter tastes the softness of one and the hardness of the other?

If you answer, by pondering, I say it is impossible; because these things are beyond the scope of the senses and cannot be comprehended by thought. You cannot say either it was by personal test; for had he made experiments upon himself he must have died from some poisonous effects that he had not before known. And if you say that he traveled in all the countries, lived with every class of people mastered their languages, experimented upon them, killing some here and some there, yet still it was impossible to know the exact nature of one medicine without killing many people. And is it possible that these people would allow him to continue his experiments upon them to take more lives.

Still let us say that by some miracle they listened to what he said, and tolerated his deadly experiments. Well, where did he get the opportunity and time for mixing the various things and knowing the respective weights.

How did he learn the proportion necessary to mix one with another? Never mind. Granted, this knowledge was also acquired. Whence came the knowledge that an overdose would bring death to the person to whom it is administered, whilst an under close would have no good effect.

Granting again that he succeeded in acquiring all this traveled in all parts of the world and had the necessary long life to do so, how did he acquire the knowledge of those thing not belonging to the vegetable world? You are perhaps aware that some of the medicines unless mixed with the bill of the gall bladders of certain beast and birds on earth and sea, are inefficacious and not pure. As such is the case, his mode of investigation must be similar to the one relating to the vegetable world. He has no other alternative, but to investigate the birds and beasts of the world, slay them and examine their gall bladders.

Well let him has finished his investigations with the birds and beasts of this world, there remain now the animals of the sea. To know their nature it was just as necessary to dive down into the seas and investigate them also, as it was necessary for him to investigate the vegetable world. It does not matter if you do not know all these things, but you cannot deny the knowledge, that the animals of the sea live in the sea, and that to thoroughly know them he must necessarily dive in the sea and study them in that element. Tell me now can you reasonably say that these things were known through experience and experiment "I am completely at a loss to reply, he said.

"I will describe something more, said I, "which will convince you of the truth. You are probably aware that the biles of the different animals unless mixed with roots cannot form prescription." "Yes, he said.

"Tell me, said I, How he fixed the exact weights of medicine to such a nicety? As you are a physician you probably know only too well that you put four hundred 'miskals' of a particular leaf or fruit, and one or two or another in a compound prescription, some few 'miskals' sometimes less sometimes more till the prescription reaches a satisfactory point. When a particular dose of a particular medicine is given to a patient suffering from diarrhea, it cures him of it, yet the same medicine in large dose when given in a case of colic has quite an opposite effect, and set up purging. 

How came the physician by the knowledge of the effects of medicines? How he knows that one medicine would affect the head and not the foot, though it is easier for the medicine to descend than to rise, that if it is given for the lower extremities, it will not affect the higher though the head is near the mouth, and could be more easily affected? In the same way particular medicines carried the affected part by means of blood vessels are used for its different parts of the body. 

First of all these internal medicines reach the stomach and from thence by reason of their power are distributed to the different parts of the body. How did that wise man discover that the effect meant for the brain would not reach the hands, legs, loins, or abdomen, etc, or vice versa. Was it really possible for his senses to have known all these things?

Why do medicines administered for one part of the body produce no effect on the other parts? How did his senses know that a certain medicine affected the ears and not the eyes? Why do different medicines cure diseases in different parts? And how came senses, reason or discernment to know the places of all those parts concealed as, they are from external contemplation -blood vessels are hidden in muscles, and covered up with skin, to which the medicines reach? The senses by themselves cannot detect them.