Named after Abu al-Qassem al-Zahrawi, one of the greatest Arab physicians and scientists in the Middle Ages, the Al-Zahrawi society was founded in 1993 to explore the interplay between modernization and authenticity or the ways in which our Islamic heritage can enhance our interaction with the modern world.
The founders were academics and researchers who sought different ways to encourage and promote research and development in the Arab community in Israel. Al-Zahrawi attitude sees modernization as a cultural and scientific opportunity to understand and deepen knowledge about the authenticity of Arab-Islamic culture and to highlight it as a true non-folkloric cultural identity that can be a dynamic springboard for active integration into the present.
Moreover, in Al-Zahrawi we believe that increasing awareness of the Arab-Islamic scientific heritage in many areas, such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, and more, will greatly help the acceptance and assimilation of modern sciences as those that are not foreign to Arab culture. The emphasis on the scientific heritage and the awareness of the history of Arab-Islamic sciences contains the statement that authenticity and heritage can be integrated with modernity and these two approaches should no longer be seen as existing at the expense of each other.
In many senses Al-Zahrawi Society is the holder and developer of the TRDC’s intellectual legacy. While the TRDC was launched to enact the ideas developed by Al-Zahrawi, work continued in developing these idea and to find fields of knowledge where they can be demonstrated.
Al-Zahrawi sees modern science as a historical opportunity to study and understand the scientific heritage of Arab-Islamic culture and to define its position in the history of science, i.e. understanding roots with the help of modernity, which gives a positive attitude and openness to other cultures. This provides an opportunity to harmonize between the authentic past and the current reality in place of the existing conflict.
Our vision is to draw the connecting lines between past and future, between tradition and science and take advantage of opportunities for continuous connection without relinquishing on the one hand values.
The name of Al-Zahrawi also draws attention to the history of cooperation between Jews and Arabs during the heyday of the golden age in Spain where Jews and Muslims engaged in creation in science, art and other fields. The Society views this at the center of its vision to view this history as a basis for a common future, a future in which Arabs and Jews preserve their culture, values, traditions and religion but at the same time create cooperation among children and youth to create a developing environment and society.
Since its establishment, the association has been working to assimilate the importance of engaging in the Arab-Islamic scientific heritage and to highlight its position in the development of universal science. The Al Zahrawi- Society and the TRDC have different but complementary investigative agendas. The one area where they meet is in extensive work that has been done in using highly sophisticated machine learning tools to decipher classic Islamic scientific manuscripts. Relatively few of the millions of Islamic manuscripts have been deciphered in a way that allows them to be searched. The TRDC is one of the world leaders in this field and this pure research activity exemplifies both the need to match authenticity with modern life and the benefits that accrue for such research. Such work that combines deep scholarship on classic texts with groundbreaking scientific research on image recognition is the Society’s aim in its future projects.
A community project intended to accommodate large numbers of students of all ages, a place where scientists, students, parents, and teachers will share this experience of growing trees and medicinal herbs. In an era of highly accelerated urbanization of Arab villages connecting people on the community level through traditional trees and plants is expected to be both pleasurable and useful.
A special section in the garden will be dedicated to historical science tools (in the fields of astronomy, metrology, hydraulics, medicine, etc.) especially from Greek culture and Arab culture in order to strengthen the scientific identity of Arab culture among students and the community in general.
Modernization of folk medicine – The modernization of folk medicine is based on the conversion of existing knowledge into a disciplinary discipline according to modern standards of complementary medicine.
This process is based on 4 main axes:
- Written inheritance in the fields of medicine, pharmacy and botany – most of the literature in the field already exists in the association’s library.
- Folk remedies that exist in the Altarin markets like Cairo and Casablanca and more (there are about 15,000 different types of drugs and formulas). As mentioned, there are about 1500 different drugs on display.
- Folk therapists of all kinds. The association was able to contact a large number of folk therapists from Israel and abroad and invite some of them to folk therapies in the association’s structure. The treatments were supervised by doctors as part of a study supported by the Ministry of Health.
- Adoption of existing standards in complementary medicine.