Ibn al-Jazzar - The Guide for the Traveller and the Aid for those who Stay at Home
Type of Spiritual Experience
Ahmed Ben Jaafar Ben Brahim Ibn Al Jazzar Al-Qayrawani (c. 895 – c. 979) (Arabic: أبو جعفر أحمد بن أبي خالد بن الجزار القيرواني), was an influential 10th-century Muslim physician who became famous for his writings on Islamic medicine. He was born in Qayrawan in modern-day Tunisia. He was known in Europe by the Latinized name Algizar. His major work was Zād al-Musāfir. He also wrote books on
- geriatric medicine and the health of the elderly (Kitāb Ṭibb al-Mashāyikh) or (Ṭibb al-Mashāyikh wa-ḥifẓ ṣiḥḥatihim).
- sleep disorders
- forgetfulness and how to strengthen memory (Kitāb al-Nisyān wa-Ṭuruq Taqwiyat al-Dhākira)
- a Treatise on causes of mortality (Risāla fī Asbāb al-Wafāh)
A description of the experience
As quoted in Charles Burnett – Spiritual medicine: music and healing in Islam and its influence in Western medicine
Ibn al-Jazzar, the ascetic doctor of Qayrawan (d. 979), in his medical vade mecum ’the Guide for the Traveller and the Aid for those who Stay at Home', writes:
In the case of sickness caused by excessive love, to prevent men from being submerged in excessive brooding, tempered and fragrant wine should be offered, and hearing various kinds of music, speaking with dear friends (etc.)…Rufus says: 'sadness is taken away not only by wine drunk in moderation but also by other things like it, such as a temperate bath. Hence it is that when certain people enter a bath, they are inspired to sing. Therefore certain philosophers say that the sound is like the spirit, the wine is like the body, of which the one is aided by the other.
Others say that Orpheus said: 'Emperors invited me to feasts so that they might take their pleasure from me, but I am delighted by them, since I can turn their spirits in whatever direction I want to, for example from anger to gentleness, from sadness to happiness, from greed to generosity, from fear to boldness.'
This is the application of musical instruments and wine in respect to the health of the soul.