Balham Mosque & Tooting Islamic Centre

The word ISLAM has a two-fold meaning: peace, and submission to Allah (God). This submission requires a fully conscious and willing effort to submit to the one Almighty Allah. One must consciously and conscientiously give oneself to the service of Allah. This means to act on what Allah enjoins all of us to do (in the Qur'an) and what His beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) encouraged us to do in his Sunnah (his lifestyle and sayings).

Once we humble ourselves, rid ourselves of our egoism and submit totally to Allah, and to Him exclusively, in faith and in action, we will surely feel peace in our hearts. Establishing peace in our hearts will bring about peace in our external conduct as well.

Islam is not a religion of customs and rituals; rather it is an all-encompassing way of life. Muslim should practice the five pillars of the religion: the declaration of faith in the oneness of Allah and the prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh), prayer, fasting during the month of Ramadan, the giving of alms, and the pilgrimage to Makkah at least in once in a lifetime is physically and financially able; and believe in the six articles of faith: belief in God, the Holy Books, the Prophets, the angels, the Day of Judgment and God's decree.

There are other injunctions and commandments which concern virtually all facets of one's personal, family and civic life. These include such matters as diet, clothing, personal hygeine, interpersonal relations, business ethics, responsibilities towards parents, spouse and children, marriage, divorce and inheritance, civil and criminal law, relations with the wider community and so much more.

Islam is not just a religion, but a complete way of life. It is the guidance from Allah for all creation. The word Islam is an Arabic word which means submission. Submission is to Allah and true obedience is putting His commands into practice. Submission to Allah, through obedience to Him bring peace, and hence the words Islam and Salam, meaning peace, share the same root in Arabic. Though this submission to God’s will can be manifest in various ways, is often summarized in the five pillars of Islam:

1) Shahada or Declaration of Faith The Muslim declaration of faith is: “There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” This short phrase encapsulates the most fundamental aspects of Muslim belief, notably belief in God and belief in the prophethood of the final messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him). This first pillar forms the basis for all others, and therefore without it, all other religious acts have little value.

2) Salat or Prayer Prayer is the second pillar of Islam and is prescribed upon Muslims five times a day. These prayers are an invaluable opportunity to practically demonstrate one’s obedience to Allah and gain closeness and proximity to Him. Prayer purifies the heart, develops the mind and comforts the soul. The correctness of the prayer is conditional on the attainment of ritual purity (wudu). Wudu involves the washing of various limbs, and is symbolic in that through prayer sins are also washed away.

3) Sawm or Fasting This fasting is compulsory during the Muslim holy month of Ramadhan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. Fasting develops self-control and helps overcome greed and selfishness, as well as engendering empathy for those less fortunate. During this month Muslim must fast from dawn to dusk every day, abstaining from food, drink and sexual relations. The end of this blessed month is marked by Eid al-Fitr, one of the two major festivals in Islamic calendar.

4) Zakat or Charity Zakat literally means “to purify or cleanse.” Giving a small percentage (2.5%) of one’s accumulated wealth annually in charity means that a believer has to opportunity to help others less fortunate. This monetary form of worship is prescribed upon all Muslims who have reached the threshold which makes Zakat obligatory.

5) Hajj or Pilgrimage Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. It is a sacred journey, made once in a lifetime by those who can afford to do so. This pilgrimage centres on the visit to the Ka’ba in Makka. This cube-shaped building was originally built by the prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) for the sole purpose of the worship of Allah. One of the underlying themes in the Hajj is equality, highlighted in the wearing of two plain white cloths by pilgrims called ihram. Barriers of language, territory, colour and race are insignificant as all are servant before God.

Islam means peace and complete submission and obedience to Allah (God). There are 99 attributes to the name of Allah. The name Allah alone cannot be translated literally Below are some of the well know names:

1. Ar-Rahmaan The Most Kind

2. Ar-Raheem The Most Merciful

3. Al-Malik The Owner

4. Al-Khaaliq The Creator

5. Ar-Razzaaq The Provider

6. Al-Ghaffar The Ever Forgiving

What do Muslims believe about Allah?

1. The one and only God, who has no partner.

2. Nothing is like Him. He is the Creator, not created, nor a part of His creation.

3. He is All-Powerful, absolutely Just.

4. There is no other entity in the entire universe worthy of worship besides Him.

5. He is First, Last, and Everlasting; He was when nothing else existed, and will be when nothing else remains.

6. He is the All-Knowing, and All-Merciful,the Supreme, the Sovereign.

7. It is only He Who is capable of granting life to anything.

8. He sent His Messengers Adam, Ibraheem (Abraham), Musa (Moses), Eesa (Jesus), Muhammad (peace be upon them all) to guide all of mankind.

9. He sent Muhammad (pbuh) as the last Prophet and Messenger for all mankind.

10. His words and commands is the Holy Qur'an, the only authentic revealed book in the world that has been kept without change.

11. Allah knows what is in our hearts.

These are some of the basic guidelines Muslims follow in their knowledge of Allah: 1. Eliminate any anthropomorphism (human qualities) from their conception of Allah. His attributes are not like human attributes,despite similar labels or appellations.

2. Have unwavering faith in exactly what Allah and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) described Allah to be, no more, no less.

3. Believe totally in all the names and attributes of Allah; one cannot believe in some and disbelieve the others.

4. One cannot accept the names of Allah without their associated attributes, i.e. one cannot say He is Al-Hayy - 'The Living' and then say that He is without life.

5. Similarity in names (or meanings) does not imply similarity in what is being described (referents). As a robotic arm differs from a human arm, so the "hand" of Allah is nothing like a human hand, His speech is nothing like human speech, etc.

6. Certain words are ambiguous or vague in their meanings, and thus may be susceptible to misinterpretation. Only those meanings that are in accordance with what is specified by Allah and His Prophet (pbuh) are acceptable.

3) Sawm or Fasting This fasting is compulsory during the Muslim holy month of Ramadhan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. Fasting develops self-control and helps overcome greed and selfishness, as well as engendering empathy for those less fortunate. During this month Muslim must fast from dawn to dusk every day, abstaining from food, drink and sexual relations. The end of this blessed month is marked by Eid al-Fitr, one of the two major festivals in Islamic calendar.

4) Zakat or Charity Zakat literally means “to purify or cleanse.” Giving a small percentage (2.5%) of one’s accumulated wealth annually in charity means that a believer has to opportunity to help others less fortunate. This monetary form of worship is prescribed upon all Muslims who have reached the threshold which makes Zakat obligatory.

5) Hajj or Pilgrimage Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. It is a sacred journey, made once in a lifetime by those who can afford to do so. This pilgrimage centres on the visit to the Ka’ba in Makka. This cube-shaped building was originally built by the prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) for the sole purpose of the worship of Allah. One of the underlying themes in the Hajj is equality, highlighted in the wearing of two plain white cloths by pilgrims called ihram. Barriers of language, territory, colour and race are insignificant as all are servant before God.

Muhammad (pbuh) was an unlettered but wise and well-respected man who was born in Makkah in the year 570 C.E., at a time when Christianity was not yet fully established in Europe. His first years were marked by the deaths of his parents. His father (Abdullah) passed away before his birth, and his mother passed away when he was aged 6. His uncle, Abu Talib, from the respected tribe of Quraysh, raised him. As Muhammad (pbuh) grew up, he became known for his truthfulness, generosity and sincerity, so that he was sought after for his ability to arbitrate in disputes. His reputation and personal qualities also led to his marriage, at the age of twenty-five, to Khadijah, a widow whom he had assisted in business. Thenceforth, he became an important and trusted citizen of Makkah. Historians describe him as calm and meditative.

Muhammad (pbuh) never felt fully content to be part of a society whose values he considered to be devoid of true religious significance. It became his habit to retreat from time to time to the cave of Hira, to meditate near the summit of Jabal al-Nur, the "Mountain of Light", near Makkah. At the age of 40, while engaged in one such meditative retreat, Muhammad (pbuh) received his first revelation from Allah through the Angel Gabriel. This revelation, which continued for twenty-three years, is known as the Qur'an, the faithful recording of the entire revelation of Allah. The first revelation read: "Recite: In the name of your Lord Who created man from a clot (of blood). Recite: Your Lord is Most Noble, Who taught by the pen, taught man what he did not know." [96:1-5]

It was this reality that he gradually and steadily came to learn and believe, until he fully realised that it is the truth. The first revert was Khadijah, whose support and companionship provided necessary reassurance and strength. He also won the support of some of his relatives and friends. The basic themes of the early message included the oneness and majesty of Allah; the futility of idol worship; final judgment, the necessity of faith, and compassion and morality in human affairs. All these themes represented an attack on the crass materialism and idolatry prevalent in Makkah at the time. So when he began to proclaim the message to others the Makkans rejected him. He and his small group of followers suffered bitter persecution, which grew so fierce that in the year 622 C.E., Allah gave them the command to emigrate. This event, the Hijrah (migration), in which they left Makkah for the city of Madinah, some 260 miles to the north, marked the beginning of a new era and thus the beginning of the Muslim calendar. During his suffering, Muhammad (pbuh) drew comfort from the knowledge revealed to him about other prophets, such as Ibraheem (Abraham), Yuusuf (Joseph), and Musa (Moses), each of whom had also been persecuted and tested.

After several years and establishing a truce with the Makkans, the Prophet (pbuh) and his followers were able to return to Makkah, where they forgave their enemies and established Islam definitively. By the time the Prophet (pbuh) died, at the age of 63, the greater part of Arabia had accepted Islam. Within a century of his death, Islam had spread as far west as Spain and as far east as China. It was clear that the message was not limited to Arabs; it was for the whole of humanity. The Prophet's (pbuh) sayings (Hadith), are also believed to be revelation. The number of sayings collected by his followers and scholars is about 100,000. Some typical examples of his sayings are as follows:

"Show mercy to those on earth, the One in the Heavens will show mercy to you." [Tirmidhi] “He who is not merciful to our young and who shows no respect to our elderly is not one of us.” [Tirmidhi] "To pursue knowledge is obligatory on every believing man and woman." [Ibn Majah] "Removing a harmful thing from the road is charity." [Bukhari, Muslim] "Those who do not show tenderness and love cannot expect to have tenderness shown to them." [Bukhari] "Adore Allah as though you see Him; even if you do not see Him, He nonetheless sees you." [Bukhari, Muslim] Although Muhammad (pbuh) is deeply loved, revered and emulated by Muslims as God's final messenger, he is not an object of worship.

Islam honours all the prophets who were sent to mankind. Muslims respect all prophets in general, but Jesus (Eesa) (pbuh) in particular, because he was one of the prophets who foretold the coming of Muhammad (pbuh). Muslims, too, await the second coming of Jesus (pbuh). They consider him one of the greatest of Allah's prophets to mankind. A Muslim does not refer to him simply as "Jesus," but normally adds the phrase "peace be upon him" as a sign of respect. The Qur'an confirms his virgin birth (a chapter of the Qur'an is entitled "Mary"(Maryam), and Mary (Maryam) is considered to have been one of the purest women in all creation. The Qur'an describes Jesus' (pbuh) birth as follows:

"Behold!' the Angel said, God has chosen you, and purified you, and chosen you above the women of all nations. Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him, whose name shall be the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, honored in this world and in the Hereafter, and one of those brought near to God. He shall speak to the people from his cradle and in maturity, and he shall be of the righteous. She said: "My Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me?' He said: "Even so; God creates what He will. When He decrees a thing, He says to it, 'Be!' and it is." [3:42-47] Muslims believe that Jesus (pbuh) was born immaculately, and through the same power which had brought Eve to life and Adam into being without a father or a mother.

"Truly, the likeness of Jesus with God is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, and then said to him, 'Be!' and he was." [3:59] During his prophetic mission, Jesus (Eesa) (pbuh) performed many miracles. The Qur'an tells us that he said: "I have come to you with a sign from your Lord: I make for you out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, and breathe into it and it becomes a bird by God's leave. And I heal the blind, and the lepers, and I raise the dead by God's leave." [3:49] Muhammad and Jesus (peace be upon them) , as well as the other prophets, were sent to confirm the belief in one God. This is referred to in the Qur'an where Jesus (pbuh) is reported as saying that he came: "To attest the law which was before me, and to make lawful to you part of what was forbidden you; I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear God and obey me." [3:50] Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) emphasized the importance of Jesus (pbuh) by saying: "Whoever believes there is no God but Allah, alone without partner, that Muhammad is His messenger, that Jesus is a servant and messenger of God, His word breathed into Mary and a spirit emanating from Him, and that Paradise and Hell are true, shall be received by God into Heaven. [Bukhari]

Islam is the religion of all prophets. Muslims believe that all the prophets were sent to their respective peoples by Allah. They all had the same mission and message - guiding people to the right path.

The three revealed, monotheistic religions, Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, go back to Abraham (pbuh). The prophets of these religions were directly descended from him - Moses, Jesus and others from Isaac, but Muhammad from Ismaail (peace be upon them). It was Prophet Abraham (pbuh) who had established the settlement which today is the city of Makkah, and with his son Ismaail (pbuh) built the Kaabah, which Muslims all over the world face when they pray.

Christians and Jews hold a special place in Islam. They are called the People of the Book (Ahl al-Kitab), since the original Torah and Gospel were also divinely revealed and they shared in the prophetic tradition. Islamic states have nearly always shown their religious minorities tolerance and respect and those communities flourished under Islamic rule. Allah says: "...[T]hose who believe (in the message of Islam), and the Jews, the Sabaeans, and the Christians - all those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and act righteously - no fear shall come upon them..." [5:69]

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) made the community he set up inclusive of the Arabian Jews and Christians. Their persons, properties, churches and synagogues were protected, freedom of worship was guaranteed, and they controlled their own community affairs with their own civil and religious laws and courts. For most of the first century of Islam in fact, the majority of the citizens were Christians, enjoying peace and liberty such as they had not had even under Christian Rome or Byzantium.

The Jews, from the very beginning in Madinah, and later everywhere else, were lifted from the burden of being clients of individual Arab tribes to being citizens of the community, thus freeing them to focus on their Jewishness. When the Islamic state expanded outside Arabia the Jews of other lands were treated for the first time as liberated citizens. Judaism flourished as never before, with Jews even serving in Muslim armies and administrations while their culture bloomed in the arts, sciences, medicine and philosophy

At a time when the rest of the world, from Greece and Rome to India and China, considered women as no better than children or even slaves, with no rights whatsoever, Islam acknowledged women's equality with men in a great many respects. The Quran states:

"And among His signs is this: that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest and peace of mind in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Certainly, herein indeed are signs for people who reflect." [Noble Quran 30:21] Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best in manners and kindest to his wife." [Abu Dawud] Muslims believe that Adam and Eve were created from the same soul. Both were equally guilty of their sin and fall from grace, and Allah forgave both. Many women in Islam have had high status; consider the fact that the first person to convert to Islam was Khadijah, the wife of Muhammad (pbuh), whom he both loved and respected. His favorite wife after Khadijah's death, Ayshah, became renowned as a scholar and one of the greatest sources of Hadith literature. Many of the female companions accomplished great deeds and achieved fame, and throughout Islamic history there have been famous and influential scholars and jurists.

With regard to education, both women and men have the same rights and obligations. This is clear in Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) saying: "Seeking knowledge is mandatory for every believer." [Ibn Majah] This implies men and women. A woman is to be treated with respect as Allah has endowed her, with rights, such as to be treated as an individual, with the right to own and dispose of her own property and earnings, enter into contracts, even after marriage. She has the right to be educated and to work outside the home if she so chooses. She has the right to inherit from her father, mother, and husband.

A Muslim woman also has obligations. All the laws and regulations pertaining to prayer, fasting, charity, pilgrimage, doing good deeds, etc., apply to women, albeit with minor differences.

Before marriage, a woman has the right to choose her husband. Islamic law is very strict regarding the necessity of having the woman's consent for marriage. The groom gives a marriage dowry to the bride for her own personal use. She keeps her own family name, rather than taking her husband's. As a wife, a woman has the right to be supported by her husband even if she is already rich. She also has the right to seek divorce and custody of young children.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: "The most perfect man is the one who is best in conduct with his wife."


"Peace" is the most common word on a Muslim's tongue. Whenever two people meet, they exchange greetings, wishing each other peace: "Peace be upon you."


Freedom of belief is guaranteed in Islam. It should be very clear that Islam tolerates not only other faiths but the wider community. It is one function of Islamic law to protect the privileged status of minorities, and this is why other places of worship have flourished all over the Islamic world. Islamic law also permits people of various denominations to set up their own courts to implement family laws drawn up by the minorities themselves and to govern their own affairs.

History provides many examples of Muslim tolerance towards other faiths. When the great leader and second Caliph, Umar, entered Jerusalem in the year 634, Islam guaranteed freedom of worship to all religious communities in the city. In fact, so careful was Umar in setting an example for his people that he not only went to a church to pray, he prayed outside in the courtyard, lest his followers after his death be tempted to convert the church into a mosque. Islam teaches that the closest to Allah and the most beloved of Allah are those who are the best in piety. Thus all people, male and female, and regardless of race, color, nationality or ethnicity, are considered and treated as equal before Allah and before the law.

Human Rights

Islam has been from its inception very concerned with issues of human rights. Privacy, freedom, dignity and equality are guaranteed in Islam. The holy Qur'an states clearly:

"There is no compulsion in religion." Moreover, racism and tribalism are incompatible with Islam, for the Qur'an speaks of human equality in the following terms: "Mankind! We created you from a single soul, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may come to know one another. Truly, the most honoured of you in Allah's sight is the greatest of you in piety."


Muslims have always had a special interest in astronomy. The moon and the sun are of vital importance in the daily life of every Muslim. By the moon, Muslims determine the beginning and the end of the months in their lunar calendar. By the sun the Muslims calculate the times for prayer and fasting. It is also by means of astronomy that Muslims can determine the precise direction of the Qiblah, to face the Ka'bah in Makkah, during prayer. The most precise solar calendar, superior to the Julian, is the Jilali, devised under the supervision of Umar Khayyam. The Qur'an contains many references to astronomy.

"The heavens and the earth were ordered rightly, and were made subservient to man, including the sun, the moon, the stars, and day and night. Every heavenly body moves in an orbit assigned to it by God and never digresses, making the universe an orderly cosmos whose life and existence, diminution and expansion, are totally determined by the Creator." [Qur'an 30:22]

These references, and the injunctions to learn, inspired the early Muslim scholars to study the heavens. They integrated the earlier works of the Indians, Persians and Greeks into a new synthesis. Ptolemy's Almagest (the title as we know it is Arabic) was translated, studied and criticized. Many new stars were discovered, as we see in their Arabic names - Algol, Deneb, Betelgeuse, Rigel, Aldebaran. Astronomical tables were compiled, among them the Toledan tables, which were used by Copernicus, Tycho Brahe and Kepler. Also compiled were almanacs - another Arabic term. Other terms from Arabic are zenith, nadir, albedo, azimuth. Muslim astronomers were the first to establish observatories, like the one built at Mugharah by Hulagu by the son of Genghis Khan, in Persia, and they invented instruments such as the quadrant and astrolabe, which led to advances not only in astronomy but in oceanic navigation, contributing to the European age of exploration.


Muslim scholars paid great attention to geography. In fact, the Muslims' great concern for geography originated with their religion. The Qur'an encourages people to travel throughout the earth to see God's signs and patterns everywhere. Islam also requires each Muslim to have at least enough knowledge of geography to know the direction of the Qiblah (the position of the Ka'bah in Makkah) in order to pray five times a day. Muslims were also used to taking long journeys to conduct trade as well as to make the Hajj and spread their religion. The far-flung Islamic empire enabled scholar-explorers to compile large amounts of geographical and climatic information from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Among the most famous names in the field of geography, even in the West, are Ibn Khaldun and Ibn Batuta, renowned for their written accounts of their extensive explorations.

In 1166, Al-Idrisi, the well-known Muslim scholar who served the Sicilian court, produced very accurate maps, including a world map with all the continents and their mountains, rivers and famous cities. Al-Muqdishi was the first geographer to produce accurate maps in color. It was, moreover, with the help of Muslim navigators and their inventions that Magellan was able to traverse the Cape of Good Hope, and Da Gama and Columbus had Muslim navigators on board their ships.


Seeking knowledge is obligatory in Islam for every Muslim, man and woman. The main sources of Islam, the Qur'an and the Sunnah (Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) traditions), encourage Muslims to seek knowledge to the best of ones ability, since this is the best way for people to know Allah (God), to appreciate His wondrous creations and be thankful for them. Muslims were therefore eager to seek knowledge, both religious and secular, and within a few years of Muhammad's mission, a great civilization sprang up and flourished. The outcome is shown in the spread of Islamic universities; Al-Zaytunah in Tunis, and Al-Azhar in Cairo go back more than 1,000 years and are the oldest existing universities in the world. Indeed, they were the models for the first European universities, such as Bologna, Heidelberg, and the Sorbonne. Even the familiar academic cap and gown originated at Al-Azhar University.

Muslims made great advances in many different fields, such as geography, physics, chemistry, mathematics, medicine, pharmacology, architecture, linguistics and astronomy. Algebra and the Arabic numerals were introduced to the world by Muslim scholars. The astrolabe, the quadrant, and other navigational devices and maps were developed by Muslim scholars and played an important role in world progress, most notably in Europe's age of exploration. Muslim scholars studied the ancient civilations from Greece and Rome to China and India. The works of Aristotle, Ptolemy, Euclid and others were translated into Arabic. Muslim scholars and scientists then added their own creative ideas, discoveries and inventions, and finally transmitted this new knowledge to Europe, leading directly to the Rennaissance. Many scientific and medical treatises, having been translated into Latin, were standard text and reference books as late as the 17th and 18th centuries.


It is interesting to note that Islam so strongly urges mankind to study and explore the universe. For example, the Holy Qur'an states:

"We (Allah) will show you (mankind) Our signs/patterns in the horizons/universe and in yourselves until you are convinced that the revelation is the truth." [Qur'an, 14:53]

This invitation to explore and search made Muslims interested in astronomy, mathematics, chemistry, and the other sciences, and they had a very clear and firm understanding of the correspondences among geometry, mathematics, and astronomy. The Muslims invented the symbol for zero (The word "cipher" comes from Arabic sifr), and they organized the numbers into the decimal system - base 10. Additionally, they invented the symbol to express an unkown quantity, i.e. variables like x. The first great Muslim mathematician, Al-Khawarizmi, invented the subject of algebra (al-Jabr), which was further developed by others, most notably Umar Khayyam. Al-Khawarizmi's work, in Latin translation, brought the Arabic numerals along with the mathematics to Europe, through Spain. The word "algorithm" is derived from his name.

Muslim mathematicians excelled also in geometry, as can be seen in their graphic arts, and it was the great Al-Biruni (who excelled also in the fields of natural history, even geology and mineralogy) who established trigonometry as a distinct branch of mathematics. Other Muslim mathematicians made significant progress in number theory.


In Islam, the human body is a source of appreciation, as it is created by Almighty Allah (God). How it functions, how to keep it clean and safe, how to prevent diseases from attacking it or cure those diseases, have been important issues for Muslims.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) himself urged people to "take medicines for your diseases", as people at that time were reluctant to do so. This was strong motivation to encourage Muslim scientists to explore, develop, and apply empirical laws. Much attention was given to medicine and public health care. The first hospital was built in Baghdad in 706 AC. The Muslims also used camel caravans as mobile hospitals, which moved from place to place. Since the religion did not forbid it, Muslim scholars used human cadavers to study anatomy and physiology and to help their students understand how the body functions. This empirical study enabled surgery to develop very quickly.

Al-Razi, known in the West as Rhazes, the famous physician and scientist, (d. 932) was one of the greatest physicians in the world in the Middle Ages. He stressed empirical observation and clinical medicine and was inrivalled as a diagnostician. He also wrote a treatise on hygeine in hospitals. Khalaf Abul-Qasim Al-Zahrawi was a very famous surgeon in the eleventh century, known in Europe for his work, Concessio (Kitab al-Tasrif). Ibn Sina (d. 1037), better known to the West as Avicenna, was perhaps the greatest physician until the modern era. His famous book, Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb, remained a standard textbook even in Europe, for over 700 years. Ibn Sina's work is still studied and built upon in the East.

Other significant contributions were made in pharmacology, such as Ibn Sina's Kitab al-Shifa' (Book of Healing), and in public health. Every major city in the Islamic world had a number of excellent hospitals, some of them teaching hospitals, and many of them were specialized for particular diseases, including mental and emotional. The Ottomans were particularly noted for their building of hospitals and for the high level of hygeine practiced in them.