In times of great crisis, sometimes we find evidence of a great scholar's past work providing modern solutions. While the modern world is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, Ibn Sina's scientific discoveries are coming in handy, even centuries later.
Ibn Sina, a Muslim polymath and the father of early modern medicine, held expertise in many fields including medicine, astronomy, mathematics and even theology.
Known as Avicenna in the West, he was a great scientific mind who played a groundbreaking role in curbing the most-feared contagions a thousand years ago.
With the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, the first step the World Health Organisation (WHO) took towards flattening the curve of coronavirus positive infections was to insist on deploying the method of quarantine. This method was invented by Ibn Sina to tackle the outbursts of human-to-human transmission of disease.
In "The Canon of Medicine", which was published in 1025, Ibn Sina proclaimed that a 40-day period of quarantine was essential to weaken the spread of contagious infections.
This book was deemed so essential that the global medical community used it as the main lecture book for almost 600 years.
Ibn Sina's contribution towards modern medicine earned him names such as the Galen of Islam, The Prince and Chief of Physicians, The Teacher Second Only to Aristotle, and The Aristotle of Arabs.
It is believed that Ibn Sina produced 450 works, yet only 240 of those remain. At least 40 of these are manuscripts on medicine.
Besides "The Canon of Medicine", his second masterpiece is "The Book of Healing", which is considered to be the largest encyclopaedia written by one man. Truly a magnum opus, this book contains wisdom on science, religion and philosophy.
This Muslim scholar was the first to discover that germs caused diseases, at a time when the Western world still believed in Roman Philosopher Galen's miasma theory, which blamed "miasma" or pollution as the cause of diseases such as cholera.
Ibn Sina not only discovered germs but also explained the reasons and the processes of how humans develop jaundice and serious bacterial infections like charbon.
Aside from these stunning discoveries, he also used the technique of sedation while curing some life-threatening interior diseases, and invented the method for diagnosing diabetes by measuring sugar rate in urine samples.
Despite his awe-inspiring healing skills, many historians say he never charged for his medical services.
Abu Ali Husayn Ibn Sina, better known as Ibn Sina, was born in a prosperous family in modern-day Uzbekistan in the summer of 980 AD. His father was a famous governor and scholar in the region.
Ibn Sina received extensive education in the field of science and philosophy. He was known for his astounding memory and intelligence.
At the age of 10, he memorised the Holy Quran. Soon afterwards, he began studying Aristotle's works, which intrigued him to reach deeper into philosophy.
At 16, his interest veered towards medicine.
After becoming a physician, he contributed to subjects such as systemic circulation and microcirculation. This eventually led him to conclude that germs are the main carriers of disease. 1,000 years later, this theory guided Louis Pasteur's germ theory.
Ibn Sina's "The Canon of Medicine" played a crucial role in leading the world to the Islamic Golden Age, a period of cultural, economic and scientific development between the 8th and 14th centuries.
Also written by him, "The Book of Healing" became available in Europe with its partial Latin translation almost 50 years after its composition under the title "Sufficientia".
His psychology and theory of knowledge influenced the Western world's William of Auvergne, Bishop of Paris and Albertus Magnus, and his metaphysics influenced Thomas Aquinas' thoughts.
Throughout history, Ibn Sina remained an influential figure. Famous Italian poet Dante mentioned his name in his play "La Divina Commedia".
Ibn Sina's portrait is still found hanging on the walls of many medical faculties across Europe. A crater on the moon is named after him and several countries coined money, stamps and medallions in commemoration of Ibn Sina.
He spent the last 12 years of his life with his protege Abu Jafar, and died in 1037.