The Challenge of Medical Charlatanism in Adab al-Tabib: A Historical Review

Sajjad Sadeghi, Farzaneh Ghaffari


Medical charlatanism is a significant topic in historical manuscripts from the golden age of Islamic medicine. The topic has been dealt with substantially in Adab al-Tabib, an epic work by AI-Ruhawi (12th century AD). In this paper, we review the challenges to medical charlatanism in Adab al-Tabib. AI-Ruhawi has offered a variety of strategies to fight against this phenomenon. We classified these strategies into prevention of and combating medical charlatanism. The formulation of a multifaceted assessment of candidates to medical training, respect for physicians and their rights, assessment of a medical practitioner’s competence and promotion of spiritual, ethical and religious values are considered preventive strategies. Strategies in the fight against charlatanism include monitoring a physician’s performance and exposure of charlatanism to the authorities. AI-Ruhawi has correctly understood the enormous risk posed by medical charlatanism and has provided practical and useful guidelines for its prevention and combating existing cases.


Adab al-Tabib, AI-Ruhawi, Medical charlatanism, Preventive strategies, Strategies to combat

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