26 January 2005
The sixth search is to scrutinize a second e-mail sent to me on 20 January 2005 by En. Mohd. Fadli Ghani from Kuala Lumpur. The subject read "Doktor Melayu Pertama". This time the e-mail went into my Inbox and I replied to thank him for his e-mail. I printed his e-mail and only have time to scrutinize it tonight (26 January 2005) while a charity concert "KONSERT KASIH" is playing on TV3 for the recent tsunami victims - it is now 11.40 pm. This is also a 1.5 A4 page e-mail with a whole lot of information to digest!
En. Fadli has alerted me to a few important queries if I were to carry on studying about the Malay doctors:
- Is it certain that before 1905 (opening of the medical college in Singapore) there was no Malay who had studied medicine formally at any university overseas, in England or India, such that we have to accept the graduate of the Singapore medical college as our first Malay doctor? He is still scrutinizing this matter. He wants to be certain. His argument being, there were renowned Malays who were highly educated such as Raja Chulan, Mohd Eunos and others in the early 1900s, before the Singapore medical college was opened. Were they merely MCKK (Malay College, Kuala Kangsar) or VI (Victoria Institute) graduates? Did they continue to study medicine? According to him, there were Malays who entered and studied at University al-Azhar in Cairo, Egypt since 1890. Now, there is even a medical faculty (Kuliyyah Perubatan) but he is not sure when this faculty was set up. En. Fadli suggested that I confirm this matter with Dr. Nik Mazian who had studied there. The Al-Azhar medical faculty was started in 1965.
- Are we only accepting doctors who graduated with either LMS, MBBS or MD as 'true doctors'? What about the other Malay doctors who did not possess any degrees but were well-known experts or tabib such as Tabib Haji Said Yan in Kedah (circa 1962) who wrote the 1956 book "at-Tabib" in the Malay language, and Tabib Ahmad Mianji in Kota Bharu who was an eye expert since 1910?
- Western medicine grew as a result of Islamic civilisation, mainly from the writings of Avecinna (Arabic, Ibnu Sina) and others. This could possibly mean that the Malays had studied about medicine in Makkah because the Malays had been to Makkah to study since the early 17th Century. What was their status?
- Tok Guru Haji Wan Ahmad Mohd Zain (circa 1908) was a teacher to Tok Kenali. He was a clergy, a chemist, a doctor, and an inventor. He wrote chemistry and medical books. He wrote altogether 5 books concerning the goodness of plant and animal sources, including their usage for treatment. He invented surgical instruments and the like. It was said that he had learnt about medicine from a medical expert from India. Many of his students from Pulau Penyegat (Riau-Lingga) also became medical practitioners. If Tok Guru and his students are recognised as doctors, then he deserved to be known not only as an early doctor but also as the first Malay doctor since Tok Guru passed away in 1908 whereas Dr. Abdul Latiff bin Abdul Razak officially graduated in 1911. En. Fadli offered to assist in this matter.
- Besides allopathy, the Malays also practised homeopathy, naturopathy, divinity, bomoh, massage (physiotherapy), and others. En. Fadli referred to a book written by Muhammad Salleh ibni Ahmad Penambang (circa 1870s, Kelantan) who described the various modes of practices of Malay folk medicine. This book also described recipes for making various potions. The book could serve as a medical text, a chemistry book, a biomedical reference, or even a pharmacology manual.
- En. Fadli also mentioned an achievement of the Malays in homeopathy. According to him, Dr. Burhanuddin is said to be the first Malay to study homeopathy in India and graduated in 1936. It is not certain whether there were others who graduated earlier than this. Dr. Burhanuddin was very successful in teaching homeopathy in Malaysia and received many international recognition for his activities, including being labeled as a professor by a German institute. En. Fadli feels that Dr. Burhanuddin is the most outstanding Malay in the international arena in the medical field.
- En. Fadli has written an article entitled "Karya-Karya Sains Ulama Melayu Sebelum 1950: Satu Tinjauan Awal" which has been submitted to Pemikir, a local journal. In this article, he touched on various medical articles written by the Malay clergy, including biology and zoology. He will append this article if he finds time. He will also try to list all the early Malay medical books(kitab-kitab perubatan Melayu) which have been written up until the time the Singapore medical college was opened. He is also reviewing a number of articles on the achievements of the Malays in science and technology, hoping this will help.
It is now 1.57 am on 27 January 2005. I certainly have a lot more search to do.
En. Mohd. Fadli Ghani provided plenty of useful information in his e-mail on 20 January 2005. I take this opportunity to thank him for his assistance in providing more insight into the activities of the early Malay doctors which may actually date back to the time of Avecinna!
En. Mohd. Fadli Ghani
Pengarah Akademi Kajian Kota, Kuala Lumpur
En. Fadli Ghani is in the social sciences. He has BA in Linguistics and Social Development from UPM, MA in Dialog Peradaban from UM, and MA in Political Science from UKM. He is currently preparing his PhD in Malaysian History. Akademi Kajian Kota is a socio-political research establishment.
YB Dr. Nik Mazian Nik Mohamed
University al-Azhar graduate
She is with the EXCO Kelantan State Government.
Dr. Nik Mazian was ex-USM surgeon, in the same batch as Dr. Rozemi, Dr. Mahmud, etc.
Medical Faculty, University al-Azhar, Cairo, Egypt
Need list of students from the Malay States/Malaya/Malaysia since 1890 who studied medicine at al-Azhar.
How many Malays entered al-Azhar to study medicine since 1890?
When was the medical faculty set up?
Medical degrees conferred to the Malays
What were they? LMS, MBBS, MD
How many received each of the degrees?
How do we define a doctor?
Who are 'true doctors'?
Definition of a medical practitioner.
Definition of tabib?
How does a tabib become recognised?
How does he practise?
We still see many tabib practising today in Malaysia.
Examples of tabib:
Tabib Haji Said Yan (circa 1962, Kedah). Wrote book "at-Tabib" (1956) in Malay.
Tabib Ahmad Mianji (1910, Kota Bharu) was an eye expert.
Avecinna (Arabic, Ibnu Sina)
Who were the other Arab doctors?
Did they work with Avecinna or after his death?
When did the West learn from the Arab doctors?
Which Arab doctors were referred to?
What did the Malays study in Mekah in the early 17th Century?
Did the Malays study about medicine in Mekah?
Where did the Malays study about medicine in Mekah?
Who were their teachers in medicine in Mekah?
Tok Guru Haji Wan Ahmad Mohd Zain (circa 1908)
Was a teacher to Tok Kenali. A clergy, a chemist, a doctor, and an inventor. Wrote chemistry and medical books - altogether 5 books on plant and animal sources and their uses for treatment. Taught by a medical expert from India. Many of his students from Pulau Penyegat (Riau-Lingga) also became medical practitioners. Tok Guru passed away in 1908
When did he practise?
Where about did he practise?
Did he go to India to study medicine? No.
When did he go to India to study medicine? He never went.
Who was the medical expert from India?
Was he a Malay who studied in India? No.
Was he an Indian Muslim? Yes.
Who taught medicine to Tok Guru Haji Wan Ahmad Mohd Zain? An Indian expert.
Did the Indian expert come to Malaya? No idea.
When did the Indian expert come to Malaya?
Did he come alone or was he part of a group?
Before or after the East India Company arrived in the Malay States?
Students from Pulau Penyegat (Riau-Lingga)
Did they continue to teach others?
Where can they be located?
Definition of allopathy.
Definition of homeopathy.
Definition of naturopathy.
Meaning of divinity in the Malay context.
Definition of bomoh in the Malay context.
What is a bomoh?
How is a bomoh different from a tabib?
How is a bomoh different from a pawang?
How is a bomoh different from a dukun?
Meaning of massage in the Malay context.
Muhammad Salleh ibni Ahmad Penambang (circa 1870s, Kelantan)
His book described the various modes of practices of Malay folk medicine. It contains recipes for making various potions. The book could serve as a medical text, a chemistry book, a biomedical reference, or even a pharmacology manual.
What is the title of his book?
Where is this book located?
Dr. Burhanuddin al-Helmy Mohd. Noor
The first Malay to study homeopathy in India and graduated in 1936.
Were there others who graduated earlier than 1936?
1936 is after WW1 and before WW2.
What was India like in 1936?
Where is homeopathy taught in India?
Dr. Burhanuddin was very successful in teaching homeopathy in Malaysia and received many international recognition for his activities, including being labeled as a professor by a German institute.
Dr. Burhanuddin is the most outstanding Malay in the international arena in the medical field.
Which German institute is noted for homeopathy?
Where is it located?
When did it operate, before 1936?
Why did it recognise Dr. Burhanuddin's capabilities to such a high status, that of a professor?
Was Dr. Burhanuddin a better doctor than the German homeopathy practitioners?
En. Mohd. Fadli Ghani
"Karya-Karya Sains Ulama Melayu Sebelum 1950: Satu Tinjauan Awal". Submitted to Pemikir, a local journal.
Kitab-kitab perubatan Melayu before 1905
List of all the early Malay medical books before the Singapore medical college was opened.
Science and technology
Achievements of the Malays in science and technology.
Telehealth Research Group
School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia
School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia