Senin, 21 November 2011

Ibn Árabi

Agus Subandi,Drs.MBA

Ibn Arabi

For the Maliki scholar, see Ibn al-Arabi.

Ibn 'Arabī
Born July 28, 1165 CE
Murcia (today in Southern Spain)

Died November 10, 1240 CE
District of Ṣāliḥiyya at Jabal Qāsiyūn, Damascus

Era Islamic golden age

Main interests Sufism, Mysticism, Sufi metaphysics, Poetry

Notable ideas Oneness of being,
Ibn 'Arabī (Arabic: ابن عربي‎) (July 28, 1165 – November 10, 1240) was an Andalusian Moorish Sufi mystic and philosopher. His full name was Abū 'Abdullāh Muḥammad ibn 'Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn al-`Arabī ('أبو عبد الله محمد بن علي بن محمد بن عربي ).
• 1 Biography
o 1.1 Youth Age
o 1.2 Education
o 1.3 The Sufi Path
o 1.4 Spiritual Masters
o 1.5 Meetings with Khiḍr
o 1.6 Great Vision in Cordoba
o 1.7 Ibn 'Arabī in Fez
o 1.8 The Mi'rāj
o 1.9 A Lifetime Friend
o 1.10 Voyage to Center of Earth
o 1.11 Pilgrim at Makkah
o 1.12 Visions at Ka'ba
o 1.13 Counsel my Servants
o 1.14 Journeys to the North
o 1.15 Return to South
o 1.16 Baghdad, City of the Saints
o 1.17 Tarjumān al-Ashwāq
o 1.18 In Sivas and Malatya
o 1.19 Damascus, the last days
o 1.20 Visions at Damascus
o 1.21 The Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya
o 1.22 Death
• 3 Works
• 4 Commentaries and translations of Fuṣūṣ al-Ḥikam
• 5 See also
• 6 References
o 6.1 Sources
o 6.2 Citations
o 6.3 Bibliography
• 7 External links

Born in the Spanish township of Murcia on 17th of Ramaḍān 561 AH (27th or 28 July 1165 AD) with respectable family roots , this unique MOORISH mystic , Moḥiuddin Muḥammad ibn ‘Alī ibn Muḥammad ibn al-‘Arabī is universally known as al-Shaykh al-Akbar (The Greatest Master OT DOCTORUS MAXIMUS in medieval europe). According to some other sources, his birth day was cited as 27th of Ramadan 560 (AH)or in other words August 7, 1165.
Youth Age
His father, ‘Ali ibn Muḥammad served in the Army of Ibn Mardanīsh, and later when Ibn Mardanīsh died in 1172 AD, he swiftly shifted his allegiance to the Almohad Sultan, Abū Ya’qūb Yūsuf I, and became one of his military advisers. While still a lad of eight years the family of Ibn ‘Arabī left Murcia and took Seville for their home. In Stephen Hirtenstein’s words: “Ibn ‘Arabī spent his youth age in the most advanced city of that time, an atmosphere steeped in the most important ideas – philosophical, scientific and religious – of his day. For the young Ibn ‘Arabī, twelfth century Seville was no doubt the equivalent of today’s London, Paris and New York” (Hirtenstein 36).
Ibn ‘Arabī’s dogmatic and intellectual training began in the cultural and civilized centre of Muslim Spain as Seville was known in 578 AH. Most of his teachers mentioned in the ijāza wrote to King al-Muẓaffar were the ‘ulamā’ of the Almohad era and some of them also held the official posts of Qāḍī or Khaṭīb (Addas 97). He was just a young boy when his father sent him to the renowned jurist Abū Bakr ibn Khalaf to study Qur'an. Ibn ‘Arabī learnt the recitation of the Qur'an from the book of Al-Kāfī in the seven different readings (qirā’āt). The same work was also transmitted to him by another muqrī, ‘Abd al-Raḥmān ibn Ghālib ibn al-Sharrāt (Addas 44). At the age of ten, he was well-versed in the Qira’āt; afterwards he learned the sciences of Ḥadīth and Fiqh from the famous scholars of the time. He studied Ḥadith and Sīra with the muḥaddith ‘Abd al-Raḥmān al-Suhaylī, who taught him all of his works. He also attended lectures of Qāḍī Ibn Zarkūn, who transmitted to him Kitāb al-Taqaṣṣī of Al-Shāṭibī and issued him an Ijāza (permission of transmission to others.) Later he studied under ‘Abd al-Ḥaqq al-Azdī al-Ishbilī his works on Ḥadīth; these are Aḥkām al-Kubrā, al-Wuṣṭā and al-Ṣughrā. In addition to his own works, he also transmitted to Ibn ‘Arabī the writings of the famous Ẓāhirī scholar, Ibn Ḥazm al-Andalusī (Addas 45). The complete list of his teachers and masters can be found in a scholarly certificate Ijāza given to Sultan al-Ashraf al-Muẓaffar, in this document Ibn Arabī mentioned 70 of his teachers and masters (Ibn ‘Arabi, “Ijāza li Malik al-Muẓaffar” 7).
The Sufi Path
Ibn ‘Arabī was about sixteen when he went into seclusion. He himself never explicitly mentioned the reasons behind it. Yet the following factors are worth considering: There goes a story, heard after 150 years of his death, Ibn ‘Arabī was at a dinner party which rounded off with wine. As he took the wine cup to his lips, he heard a voice: “O Muḥammad, it was not for this that you were created!” (Addas 36). This gave him an urge to quit worldly pursuits and to embark upon the search of God. Another important cause of this retreat was a vision of the three great Prophets, Jesus, Moses and Muḥammad. Ibn ‘Arabī says: “When I turned to this path, it was accomplished through a dream-vision (mubashshira) under the guidance of Jesus, Moses and Muḥammad. In it, Jesus urged him to take to asceticism (Zuhd), Moses divulged to him that he would get to the infused knowledge called “al-‘ilm al-ludunnī” and the Prophet Muḥammad advised him to follow him step by step; “Hold fast to me and you will be safe!” (Addas 41). As a consequence of this retreat and the spiritual insights granted to him, two things seem to have happened: firstly, he began to study Qur'an and Ḥadīth and secondly, Ibn ‘Arabī was sent by his father to meet the great philosopher Ibn Rushd (Averroes, 1126-98). The meeting was very significant in the sense that Ibn ‘Arabī answered his questions in ‘Yes’ and ‘No;’ and Ibn Rushd declared: “I myself was of the opinion that such a thing (i.e. spiritual knowledge without learning) is possible, but never met anyone who had experienced it” (OY: II, 372).
Spiritual Masters
Ibn ‘Arabī’s contact with spiritual masters began in Seville. At that time the pursuit of the spiritual life normally involved keeping company with many different masters instead of only one master. Ibn ‘Arabī has described brief biographies of his masters in his book Rūḥ al-Quds. Al-‘Uryabī of ‘Ulya was one of those masters who visited Seville nearly in 1184, and Ibn ‘Arabī met him at that stage of his life when he had already embarked on the Path. One can call al-‘Uryabī as his first teacher (al-murshad al-awwal), a relationship which is always of significance in Sufism. Shaykh al ‘Uryabī had reached the high spiritual state of total servitude (‘ubūdiyya), which in Ibn ‘Arabī’s eyes surpass all others. Later on meetings with his Shaykh transformed Ibn ‘Arabī’s life so quickly that he wrote in Futūḥāt: “While our Shaykh al-‘Uryabī was ‘Isawī at the end of his life. I was ‘Isawī at the beginning of my life on this path. I was then taken to the states of Mūsawī sun illumination. Then I was taken to Hūd, and after that to all the Prophets, there after I was taken to Muḥammad. That was the order for me in this path” (OY: III, 361-2). Some of his masters are: 1. Abū al-Abbās al-‘Uryabī 2. Abū al-Ḥajjāj al-Shubarbulī 3. Abū Ya’qūb Yūsuf al-Kūmī 4. Abū Yaḥyā al-Ṣanhājī 5. Abū ‘Abd Allāh Ibn Qassūm 6. Abū ‘Abd Allāh al-Sharafī 7. Abū ‘Abbās al-Kashshāb 8. Abū ‘Imrān al-Mīrtulī 9. Ṣāliḥ al-‘Adawī 10. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Mahdawī 11. ‘Abd Allāh al-Mawrūrī Detail about his masters and their relationship with Ibn ‘Arabī can be found in Rūḥ al-Quds, Durrat al-Fākhira and Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya.
Meetings with Khiḍr
Factually speaking, Shaykh al-‘Uryabī initiated Ibn ‘Arabī’s contact with Khiḍr in Seville, when he was only a youth. Ibn ‘Arabī says: “I met Khiḍr in Qūs al-haniyya in Seville, and he said to me: “Accept what the Shaykh says!” I immediately turned to the Shaykh [‘Uryabī] and before I spoke he said: “O Muḥammad, does that mean that every time you contradict me, I will have to ask Khiḍr to instruct you in submission to the masters?” I replied: “Master, was that person Khiḍr?” He answered: “Yes!” (I, 331; Addas 63). That was his first meeting with Khiḍr. Later Ibn ‘Arabī met Khiḍr several times. In 1193 at the age of 28 Ibn ‘Arabī visited Tunis and the main intention behind this visit was to meet with the great disciples of Abū Madyan, notably ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Mahdawī and Abū Muḥammad ‘Abdallāh al-Kinānī. He stayed there for less than a year during which he realized the station of pure servant-hood and the Muhammadian inheritance. On return from Tunis, he met Khiḍr for the second time; it happened when he was returning from Tunis by boat, on a lunar night he saw a man walking on the water towards him. On reaching the boat, Khiḍr stood on the sea and showed him that his feet were still dry. After that Khiḍr conversed with Ibn ‘Arabī in a language which is peculiar to him (OY: III, 182). On reaching Andalusia in late 590 AH, Ibn ‘Arabī had his third meeting with Khiḍr, this time Khiḍr performed a miracle to provide evidence to a companion of Ibn ‘Arabī who denies the existence of miracles. A common feature of all these meetings with Khiḍr was that they took place in the presence of a high rank spiritual master initiating Ibn ‘Arabī into the knowledge of Divine mysteries.
Great Vision in Cordoba
In the year 586, Ibn ‘Arabī had a rare vision in Cordoba, in which he met all the Prophets from the time of Adam to Muḥammad in their spiritual reality. Hūd spoke to him and explained him the reason for their gathering. We can trace what Hūd told him in Rūḥ al-Quds when Abū Muḥammad Makhlūf al-Qabā’ili – a saint of Cordoba – died, the Prophet Hūd said: “We came to visit Abū Muḥammad Makhlūf al-Qabā’ili” (Ibn ‘Arabī, “Rūh al-Quds” 116). According to a tradition among the direct disciples of Ibn ‘Arabī, Hūd explained that the real reason for their gathering was to welcome him (Ibn ‘Arabī) as the Seal of Muhammadan Sainthood (khatm al-wilāya al-muḥammadiyya), the supreme heir (Addas 76). Stephen Hartenstein writes in Unlimited Mercifier: “It is from his return from Tunis, we find the first evidence of Ibn ‘Arabī beginning to write; later in 1194, he wrote one of his first major works, Mashāhid al-Asrār al-Qudusiyya (Contemplation of the Holy Mysteries) for the companions of al-Mahdawī and perhaps around the same time, in a space of four days, also composed the voluminous Tadbīrāt al-Ilāhiyya (Divine Governance) in Mawrūr (Moron ) for Shaykh Abū Muḥammad al-Mawrūrī” (Hirtenstein 91).
Ibn 'Arabī in Fez
The next five years were a time when Ibn ‘Arabī entered into a different world. Having been brought up under the instruction and guidance of various spiritual masters of the West, he now came into his own as a Muhammadan heir. As from this point the real genius of Ibn ‘Arabī began to emerge and he became universal. Shortly after his return to Andalusia from North Africa in 1194 AD, Ibn ‘Arabī’s father died and within a few months his mother also died. Now the responsibility of the upbringing of his two young sisters fell upon his shoulders. His cousin came to him with the request that he should take up his wordly duties, and give up the spiritual life (Hirtenstein 110). It was a time of great uncertainty for Seville because of War. The third Sultan, Abū Yūsuf Ya’qūb al Manṣūr offered him a job but Ibn ‘Arabī refused both the job and an offer to marry off his sisters and within days he left Seville heading toward Fez, where they settled. In Fez Ibn ‘Arabī met two men of remarkable spirituality, one of them was a sufi Pillar (awtād), his name was Ibn Ja’dūn and the second one known as al-Ashall (literally, “the withered” for the reason that he had a withered hand) who was the Pole (quṭb) of his time. It was a happy period of his life, where he could utterly dedicate himself to spiritual work. In Fez in 593 AH, he entered a new degree of vision in the form of light. In that vision, when he was leading a Prayer in the al-Azhar Mosque, he saw a light which was more visible than what was in front of him, he says: “I lost the sense of behind [or front]. I no longer had a back or the nape of a neck. While the vision lasted, I had no sense of direction, as if I had been completely spherical (dimensionless).” (II, 486)
The Mi'rāj
This light vision is a kind of foretaste of his great journey of light; in 594 AH at the age of 33, Ibn ‘Arabī was taken on one of the most extraordinary journeys of all: the ascension (al-mi’rāj). Ibn ‘Arabī wrote a book named Kitāb al-Isrā (Book of the Night Journey) immediately after this spiritual experience. Some sections of Futūḥāt and Risālat al-Anwār (Epistle of Light) also elaborate the hidden meaning of these ascensions. It is quite interesting that Ibn ‘Arabī’s (the Muhammadan heir) ascension is an exact and faithful replication of the Prophet Muhammad's ascension; while the Prophet’s ascension took place bodily, his ascension was a dream, vision of a heart or the vision of forms. These divine events are determining the way forward for his ultimate role as the Seal of Muhmmadian Sainthood. Ibn ‘Arabī tells us that in 594 AH, in Fez Allah laid bare to him its true import and showed him the signs of his function. In al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya Chapter 43 starts with an open claim to the Seal of Muhammadian Sainthood, he says: I am the Seal of Sainthood without any doubt, by virtue of the inheritance of the Hashimite, along with the Messiah (OY: IV, 71; Elmore, “Islamic Sainthood” 56). These lines have no possible room for doubt: Ibn ‘Arabī is identifying himself categorically and explicitly with the Muhammadan Seal like Jesus.
A Lifetime Friend
In Fez 594 AH, ‘Abdallāh Badr al-Habshi first met Ibn ‘Arabī and for the rest of his life became a soulemate and a faithful friend, accepting Ibn ‘Arabī as his master and guide. Al-Shaykh al-Akbar said about him in Futūḥāt: “[He is a man] of unadulterated clarity, a pure light, he is a Ḥabashī named ‘Abdallāh, and like a full moon (badr) without eclipse. He acknowledges each person’s right and renders it to him; he assigns to each his right, without going further. He has attained the degree of true discrimination. He was purified at the time of fusion like pure gold. His word is true, his promise sincere” (OY: I, 72; Hirtenstein 123). In the year 595 AH Ibn ‘Arabī returned to the Iberian Peninsula for the last time and it seems he had two intentions: to introduce al-Habashī to his friends and masters and to depart finally from the land of his birth. In December 595 AH, Ibn ‘Arabī was in Cordoba, at the funeral of Ibn Rushd, whom once he met some 18 years earlier. When the coffin was loaded upon a beast of burden, his works were placed upon the other side to counterbalance it. Ibn ‘Arabī said the following verse on that day: Here the master, there his works – Would that I know if his hopes have been fulfilled! From Cordoba they travelled to Granada and met with ‘Abdallāh al-Mawrūrī and Abū Muḥammad al-Shakkāz. From Granada to Murcia, the town of his birth and stayed with an old friend Abū Ahmed Ibn Saydabūn, a famous disciple of Abū Madyan who at the time of their meeting was evidently going through a period of fatra or suspension. They travelled again to Almeria, where they spent the month of Ramadan in 595 AH and Ibn ‘Arabī wrote Mawāqi‘ al-Nujūm over a period of eleven nights. Perhaps in Almeria also, he started writing ‘Anqā’ Mughrib where full explanation about the Seal of Saints can be found. These were his last days in the West, where he started visiting his masters for the last time, and he collected his writings and ensured that he must at least have a single copy of all of his works as now he was departing toward the East forever. When he left Andalusia for the last time he appeared to have a vision of his future destiny at the shores of the Mediterranean as he later told his stepson Ṣadr al-dīn al-Qūnawī: “I turned towards God with total concentration and in a state of contemplation and vigilance that was perfect: God then showed me all of my future states, both internal and external, right through to the end of my days. I saw that your father, Isḥāq ibn Muḥammad, would be my companion and you as well” (Hirtenstein 127). In the year 597 AH/1200 AD, he was in Morocco and took his final leave from his master Yūsuf al-Kūmī, who was living in the village of Salé at that time. This shows that he had finally completed his training under the teachers of his early years and was now ready to go to a new world. On his way to Marrakesh of that year he entered the Station of Proximity (maqām al-qurba). “I entered this station in the month of Muḥarram in 597 AH… In joy I began to explore it, but on finding absolutely no one else in it, I felt anxiety at the solitude. Although I was realized in [this station], but I still did not know its name” (II, 261). Later Ibn ‘Arabī finds Abū ‘Abd al-Raḥmān al-Sulamī in it and he told Ibn ‘Arabī that this station is called, the station of proximity (maqām al-qurba) (Hirtenstein 128).
Voyage to Center of Earth
Having left behind all the traces of his past, Ibn ‘Arabī began his long journey to the East from Marrakesh where he had a marvellous vision of the Divine Throne. In that vision, he saw the treasures beneath the Throne and the beautiful birds flying about within them. One bird greeted Ibn ‘Arabī, saying that he should take him as his companion to the East. This companion was Muḥammad al-Haṣṣār of Fez. He started travelling with his friends towards the East. After visiting the tombs of his uncle Yaḥyā and Abū Madyan in ‘Ubbād near Tlemcen, he stopped at Bijāya (Bougie) during Ramaḍān and saw a remarkable dream about the secrets of letters and stars. He saw himself united like the union in marriage with all the stars of heavens, after the stars the letters were given his union, and he united with all of them (Ibn ‘Arabī, “Kitāb al-Bā’” 10-11). This dream was later interpreted as the great Divine knowledge which was bestowed upon Ibn ‘Arabī. His next stop was Tunis 598 AH where he happened to see Syakh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Mahdawī whom he had met about six year ago. At the same time he continued writing works like Inshā’ al-Dawā’ir for his friend al-Ḥabashī. Resuming his travels, he arrived in Cairo in 598 AH/1202 AD where he met his childhood friends, the two brothers, ‘Abdallāh Muhammad al-Khayyāt and Abū al-Abbās Aḥmad al-Ḥarrārī and stayed at their house in the month of Ramaḍān. That was a period of great devastation, terrible famine and plague for Egypt. Perhaps the death of his companion Muḥammad al-Haṣṣār was due to this plague. Ibn ‘Arabī saw this devastation with his own eyes and a passage of Rūh al-Quds tells us that when people made light of Allāh’s statutes He imposes the strictures of His Law upon them (yūsuf 240). Ibn ‘Arabī resumed travelling toward Palestine, and his route took him to all the major burial places of the great Prophets: Hebron, where Abraham and other Prophets are buried; Jerusalem, the city of David and the later Prophets; and then Madīna, the final resting place of Muhammad.
Pilgrim at Makkah
At the end of his long journey he finally arrived at Makkah, the mother of all cities, in 598 AH (July 1202 AD). The Makkan period of Ibn ‘Arabī’s life can be viewed as the fulcrum of his earthly existence; he spent 36 years of his life in the West and the upcoming 36 years in the East, with about 3 years in Makkah in between. This three year period both connects and differentiates the two halves of his life. It was in Makkah that he started writing the very best of his works Al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya, It was in Makkah that his status as Seal of Muhammadian sainthood was confirmed in the glorious vision of the Prophet; it was in Makkah that he had the dream of the two bricks and his encounter with the Ka‘ba; (Hirtenstein 148) it was in Makkah that the love of women was first evoked in his heart by the beautiful Niẓām, (Hirtenstein, 149) who became the personification of wisdom and beauty. It was in Makkah that he first savoured the pleasures of married life, marrying and becoming a father. His first wife was Fāṭima bint Yūnus and their first son Muḥammad ‘Imāduddin was probably born in Makkah (Hirtenstein 150). Again it was in Makkah that he produced the very best of his works, like the first chapters of Futūḥāt, the Rūḥ al-Quds, the Tāj al-Rasā’il, the Ḥilyat al-Abdāl and a collections of hadīth qudsī named “Mishkat al-Anwār”. It is also worth mentioning that in Makkah he met some of the eminent scholars of Ḥadīth of his time. Amongst them was Abū Shujā’ Ẓāhir bin Rustam, father of the beautiful Niẓām and Yūnus ibn Yaḥyā al-Ḥāshimī, who had been a pupil of the great ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī in Baghdad. He not only introduced Ibn ‘Arabī to the Prophetic tradition but also transmitted to him the teachings of the most famous saint in Egypt in the ninth century, Dhū’l-Nūn al-Miṣrī. Yūnus ibn Yaḥyā also invested him in front of the Ka‘ba with the Khirqa (Mantle) of ‘Abd al-Qādir al-Jīlānī. (Ibn ‘Arabī, “Nasab al-Khirqa”; Elmore “Mantle of Initiation” 1-33). It is believed that after wearing this Khirqa Ibn ‘Arabī formally joined the Qadriyya Traīqa.
Visions at Ka'ba
Apart from all this, several visions were granted to him in Makkah. The first took place at night during his circumambulations of the Ka‘ba when he met a young beautiful girl Qurrat al-‘Ayn (Hirtenstein 148). In the second vision, during his circumambulations of the Ka‘ba, he met the mysterious figure who had appeared at the beginning of his ascension and here at Makkah. He said to Ibn ‘Arabī, you should circumambulate in my footstep and observe me in the light of my moon, so that you may take from my constitution that which you write in your book and transmit to your readers (OY: I, 218). The third vision also occurs at Ka‘ba in a spiritual conversation with the Ḥaram and the Zamzam stream; Ka‘ba ordered him to circumambulate it and the Zamzam told him to drink this pure water but a soft refusal made Ka‘ba angry and he took revenge on a cold and rainy night in the year 600 AH. Shaykh heard the voice of Ka‘ba loud and clear; later in a meditation God taught him the lesson and to express this gratitude Ibn ‘Arabī composed a collection of letters in rhymed prose, entitled the Tāj al-Rasā’il, in homage to the Ka‘ba. The next vision is also related to Ka‘ba, in the year 599 AH in Makkah Ibn ‘Arabī saw a dream which confirms once again his accession to the office of the Seal of the Muhammadian Sainthood. He saw two bricks – one of Gold and the other of Silver – were missing from two rows of the wall of Ka‘ba. He says: “In the mean time I was observing that, standing there, I feel without doubt that I was these two bricks and these two bricks were me …. And perhaps it is through me that God has sealed sainthood” (Addas 213). In the year 599 AH during circumambulating the Ka‘ba, he encountered the son of Caliph Hārūn al-Rashīd, who had been dead for four centuries and was famous for choosing Saturday for work to gather food for rest of the week. Ibn ‘Arabī asked him: “Who are you?” He replied: “I am al-Sabtī ibn Hārūn al-Rashīd.” Later Ibn ‘Arabī asked him: “What was the reason of choosing Saturday for work?” He replied: “As God has made this universe in six days from Sunday to Friday, and he rested on Saturday(This is refuted by the Quranic verse "We created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in six days, nor did any sense of weariness touch Us" (50:38)), so I, as His servant worked on Saturday and devoted myself to worshipping Lord for the rest of the week.” In another glorious vision at Ka‘ba Ibn ‘Arabī saw his forefathers and asked one of them his time, he replied he had been dead around forty thousand years ago. Finally, at Ka‘ba, behind the wall of Hanbalites, Ibn ‘Arabī was granted the privilege of being able to join a meeting of the seven Abdāl (Addas 216).
Counsel my Servants
The message was clear and it was from God; in a passage of Kitab al-Mubashshirāt Ibn ‘Arabī admits that one evening in Makkah he experienced a brief spell of despondency on the face of his disciples, he thought of leaving all counselling, abandon men to their fate and to devote his future efforts to himself alone as those who truly enter the Path are rare. On the same night, he saw himself in dream facing God on the Day of Judgment. In that dream, He said: “I was standing in front of my Lord, head lowered and fearing that He would punish me for my short comings but he said to me: “Servant of Mine, fear nothing! All I ask of you is that you should counsel My servants” (Addas 218). Faithful to this assurance he would spend the rest of his life giving advice to people from all walks of life, direct disciples, religious authorities and political rulers. This vision probably occurred in the year 600 AH at Makkah, as the very first page of the Rūḥ al-Quds, written following this revelational order mentions it vividly. According to Osman Yahia; Ibn ‘Arabī produced 50 of his works after this Divine order, some of which are short epistles of less than 10 pages but all of these are rooted in the Divine order: “Counsel My servants.”
Journeys to the North
Ibn Arabī’s life, spanning between 600 to 617 AH is full of journeys, he frequently kept crossing and re-crossing Syria, Palestine, Anatolia, Egypt, Iraq and the Ḥijāz, yet this physical activity stood in no way in his spiritual pursuits and obligations. The two dimension activity had indeed the same spiritual provenance and was motivated by the sublime purpose of higher life unrelated to egocentricity. The year 600 AH witnessed a meeting between Ibn Arabi and Shaykh Majduddīn Isḥāq ibn Yūsuf, a native of Malatya and a man of great standing at the Seljuk court. This time Ibn ‘Arabī was travelling north; first they visited the city of Muḥammad and in 601 AH they entered Baghdad. This visit besides other benefits offered him a chance to meet the direct disciples of Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qādir Jīlānī. Shaykh al-Akbar stayed there only for 12 days because he wanted to visit Mosul to see his friend ‘Alī ibn ‘Abdallāh ibn Jāmi’, a disciple of Qaḍīb al-Bān. There he spent the month of Ramaḍan and composed Tanazzulāt al-Mawṣiliyya, Kitāb al-Jalāl wa’l-Jamāl and Kunh mā lā Budda lil-MurīdMinhu (Hirtenstein 176). Here he was invested with the khirqa of Khiḍr , transmitted to him by ‘Alī ibn ‘Abdallāh ibn Jāmi’. Later the group travelled north and arrived at Malatya, Majduddīn’s hometown and then to Konya. In Konya Ibn ‘Arabī met with Awḥaduddīn Ḥamīd Kirmānī, who became his friend like Majduddīn. He transmitted to Ibn ‘Arabī teachings and stories of the many great spiritual masters of the East. Over the next 20 years Ibn ‘Arabī and Kirmānī remained close friends and companions (Hirtenstein 179). After spending 9 months in Konya, he returned to Malatya where Kaykā’ūs, one of the Kaykhusraw’s sons, had been made ruler of Malatya. Majduddīn was appointed as his tutor and Ibn ‘Arabī also became involved in the young prince’s education.
Return to South
In the year 602 AH he visited Jerusalem, Makkah and Egypt. It was his first time that he passed through Syria, visiting Aleppo and Damascus. In Jerusalem, he continued writing, and 5 more works were completed. These are: Kitāb al-Bā’, Ishārāt al-Qur'an. In May 602 AH he visited Hebron, where he wrote Kitāb al-Yaqīn at Masjīd al-Yaqīn near the tomb of Ibrāhīm (Yūsuf 307). The following year he headed toward Cairo, staying there with his old Andalusian friends , including Abū al-‘Abbās al-Ḥarrār, his brother Muḥammad al-Khayyāt and ‘Abdallāh al-Mawrūrī. In Cairo Rūḥ al-Quds and Kitāb Ayyām al-Sha’n were read again before Ibn ‘Arabī, with the reader this time being a young man named Ismā’il ibn Sawdakīn al-Nūrī (Yūsuf 309). Like Badr al-Ḥabashī, Ibn Sawdakīn attached himself to Ibn ‘Arabī forever. He left value-oriented commentaries on the works of Ibn ‘Arabī notably Mashāhid al-Asrār, Kitāb al-Isrā’ and the Kitāb al-Tajalliyāt. His house in Aleppo was often used for the reading of Ibn ‘Arabī’s works over the next 40 years (Yūsuf 311). Later in 604 AH he returned to Makkah where he continued to study and write, spending his time with his friend Abū Shujā bin Rustem and family, including the beautiful Niẓām (II, 376; Hirtenstein 181). The next 4 to 5 years of Ibn ‘Arabī’s life were spent in these lands and he also kept travelling and holding the reading sessions of his works in his own presence.
Baghdad, City of the Saints
In the year 608 we find him in Baghdad with his friend Majduddīn Isḥāq and there he met the famous historian Ibn al-Dubaythī and his disciple Ibn al-Najjār. In Baghdad, he had a terrifying vision regarding the Divine deception (makr), In which he saw the gates of heaven open and the treasures of Divine deception fell like rain on everyone. He awoke terrified and looked for a way of being safe from these deceptions. The only safe way he found is by knowing the balance of the Divine law. According to Osman Yahia in Baghdad Ibn ‘Arabī met with the famous Sufi Shihābuddīn Suharwardī (d. 632), author of the ‘Awārif al-ma’ārif who was personal advisor to Caliph al-Nāṣir. In this meeting, they stayed together for a while, with lowered heads and departed without exchanging a single word. Later Ibn ‘Arabī said about Suharwardī: “He is impregnated with the Sunna from tip to toe” and Suharwardī said about Ibn ‘Arabī: “He is an ocean of essential truths (baḥr al-Ḥaqāiq).
Tarjumān al-Ashwāq
In the year 611 he was again in Makkah, where his friend Abū Shujā had died two years before. Ibn ‘Arabī performed Ḥajj and started compilation of his most famous poetic work the Tarjumān al-Ashwāq. After Ḥajj Ibn ‘Arabī left Makkah, travelling north towards the Roman lands, probably Konya or Malatya and in the year 610/611 he returned to Aleppo. In Aleppo this work caused uproar and consternation in certain quarters, since he came under the blame of writing erotic verses under the cover of poetic allusions. The jurists from Allepo severely criticized the claim that this poetry was a mystical or expresses Divine realities, which made his disciples very upset. Later on the request of his two disciples, Ibn Sawdakīn and Badr al-Ḥabashī he wrote a commentary on these poems by the title of “Dhakhā’ir al-A’lāq” in a great hurry. It was completed in Anatolia in 612. When the jurists heard this commentary, they felt sorry for unjustly exposing Ibn ‘Arabī to scathing criticism (Yūsuf 335).
In Sivas and Malatya
The period of extensive travelling came to an end and for the next few years he seems to have made his home in the Seljuk Kingdom. In the year 612 AH, at Sivas he had a vision anticipating Kaykā’ūs victory at Antioch over the Franks. He wrote a poem in which he enlightened the Sultan of the vision and his future victory. Later Ibn ‘Arabī returned to Malatya and according to Stephen Hartenstein he met Bahā’uddīn Walad, father of the famous Persian Poet Jallaluddīn Rūmī. the famous Persian poet of that time. Little Rūmī was with his father and after the meeting when Bahā’uddīn left with his son tagging along behind him, Shaykh al-Akbar said: “What an extraordinary sight, a sea followed by an ocean!” (Hirtenstein 188). His reading and writings continued in Malatya, where in 615 AH, we find hearings of Rūḥ al-Quds, finalization of The Tarjumān al-Ashwāq and compilation of a short epistle on the technical terms of Sufism: the Iṣṭilāhāt al-ṣūfiyya. The year 617 was the year of mourning for him as he lost one of his best friends Majduddīn Isḥāq, Ibn ‘Arabī took charge of the upbringing of the young Ṣadruddīn and married the widow as it was necessary according to the customs of the time. (Hirtenstein 189). Lastly his close companion and valet, friend and fellow, traveller on the way of God Badr al-Ḥabashī died.
Damascus, the last days
After criss-crossing the east for a period of 20 years Ibn ‘Arabī now decided to settle in Syria and spent the last 17 years of his life in Damascus, the city was already known quite well to him, he had several contacts with leading notables there. He was greeted in Damascus as a spiritual master and a spacious house was provided to him by the Grand Qadi of the town Ibn Zakī. In Damascus, he devoted himself to writing and teaching to fulfil the commandment of his Lord: “Counsel My servants.” The first thing he did was to collect and disseminate the works which had already been written, copies were made and reading sessions took place in his house. Kitāb al-Tajalliyāt was one of these first books to record such a certificate (sima‘) in the presence of his disciple Ibn Sawdakīn. In the year 621 AH eight more works bore these hearing certificates, among these were: Kitāb al-Yaqīn, Al-Maqsid al-Asmá, Kitāb al-Mīm wal-Wāw wal-Nun, Mafātīh al-Ghayūb and Kitāb al-Ḥaqq. At the same time, Ibn ‘Arabī devoted his attention to complete the lengthy Futūḥāt, many volumes of this book came into being in this period. During this period of his life, he imparted direct instructions to many of his disciples including Ṣadruddīn al-Qūnawī. He was brought up alongside Ibn ‘Arabī own family in Malatya and after the death of his real father Qūnawī joined Shaykh al-Akbar in Damascus. He accompanied and served Kirmānī on his travels in Egypt, Hijaz and Iran. In his private collection Ṣadruddīn wrote that he had studied 10 works of Ibn ‘Arabī under him and later Ibn ‘Arabī gave him a certificate to freely relate them on his authority. He studied and discussed with Ibn ‘Arabī no less than 40 works, including the whole text of Futūḥāt in 20 volumes.
Visions at Damascus
Ibn ‘Arabī had several visions of Muḥammad at Damascus. In 624 AH he had been told by the Messenger of Allah that angles are superior to men. In the same year, he had another discussion with Muḥammad, this time Muḥammad replied to him regarding the resurrection of animals: “Animals will not be resurrected on the Day of Judgement.” (I, 527; Addas 275) In the third vision he was ordered by the Prophet to write a poem in favour of al-Anṣār. In this vision Ibn ‘Arabī was informed that his mother was from al-Anṣār’s tribe (I, 267). In the fourth vision, at the end of Muḥarram 627 AH the Prophet came to him once again and handed him the book Fuṣūṣ al-Ḥikam (The Bezels of Wisdoms). Ibn ‘Arabī started writing this book with all the purity of his intentions and his deepest aspirations. He said: “I state nothing that has not been projected toward me; I write nothing except what has been inspired in me. I am not a Prophet nor a Messenger but simply an inheritor; and I labour for my future life” (Ibn ‘Arabī, “Fuṣūṣ al-Ḥikam” 47). In the same year just over two months after receiving the book of the Fuṣūṣ he had a vision of Divine Ipseity, it’s exterior and interior which he had not seen before in any of his witnessings.
The Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya
In 629 AH the first draft of al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya was completed. The book has hundreds of manuscript in various libraries of the world, the most important of them is the manuscript of Konya, written by its author. This book had taken the best part of his thirty years and Ibn ‘Arabī dedicated it to his eldest son, ‘Imāduddīn Muḥammad. It contains 560 chapters of esoteric knowledge and is truly the encyclopaedia of Islamic Sufism. The book is divided into six sections and these are: 13. Spiritual Knowledge (al-ma‘ārif) 14. Spiritual Behaviour (al-ma‘lūmāt) 15. Spiritual States (al-aḥwāl) 16. Spiritual Abodes (al-manāzil) 17. Spiritual Encounters (al-munāzalāt) 18. Spiritual Stations (al-maqāmāt) Chapter 559 contains the mysteries and secrets of all the chapters of the book, so we can say that it is like a summary of the whole Futūḥāt. In the 48th chapter of the Futūhāt, he says that the content of the message and the form of its presentation have been determined by Divine Inspiration. Three years later in 632 AH, on the first of Muḥarram, Ibn ‘Arabī embarked on a second draft of the Futūḥāt; this he explained, included a number of additions and a number of deletions as compared with the previous draft. This revision completed in the year 636 (Addas 286). After completion of this 2nd draft, he started teaching it to his disciples. Dr. Osman Yahia has mentioned hundreds of these hearings or public readings that occur between the year 633 AH and 638 AH. These hearings show that the Futūḥāt was a primary document of his concepts and was widespread in his life in comparison with the Fuṣūṣ al-Hikam, which has only one Samā’ given to only Ṣadruddīn al-Qūnawī.
Finally on 22 Rabī‘ al-Thānī 638 AH at the age of seventy-five, Ibn ‘Arabī’s terrestrial life came to an end. He was present at the house of Qaḍī Ibn Zakī at the time of death, Jamāluddīn ibn ‘Abd al-Khāliq, ‘Imād Ibn Naḥḥās and his son ‘Imāduddīn performed his funeral rites. He was buried in the family tomb of the Banū Zakī in the small beautiful district of Ṣāliḥiyya at Jabal Qāsiyūn.
My heart has adopted every shape; it has become a pasture for a gazelles, and a convent for Christian monks.
A temple for idols, and a pilgrim's Ka'ba, The tables of a Torah, and the pages of a Koran.
I follow the religion of Love; wherever Love's camels turn, there Love is my religion and faith.
--Ibn Arabi[1]
Some 800 works are attributed to Ibn Arabi, although only some have been authenticated. Recent research suggests that over 100 of his works have survived in manuscript form, although most printed versions have not yet been critically edited and include many errors.[2]
• The Ringstones of Wisdom (also translated as The Bezels of Wisdom), or Fusus al-Hikam.
• The Meccan Illuminations (Al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya), his largest work in 37 volumes originally and published in 4 or 8 volumes in modern times, discussing a wide range of topics from mystical philosophy to Sufi practices and records of his dreams/visions.
• The Dīwān, his collection of poetry spanning five volumes, mostly unedited. The printed versions available are based on only one volume of the original work.
• The Holy Spirit in the Counselling of the Soul (Rūḥ al-quds), a treatise on the soul which includes a summary of his experience from different spiritual masters in the Maghrib. Part of this has been translated as Sufis of Andalusia, reminiscences and spiritual anecdotes about many interesting people whom he met in al-Andalus.
• Contemplation of the Holy Mysteries (Mashāhid al-Asrār[1]), probably his first major work consisting of fourteen visions and dialogues with God.
• Divine Sayings (Mishkāt al-Anwār[2]), an important collection made by Ibn 'Arabī of 101 hadīth qudsī
• The Book of Annihilation in Contemplation (K. al-Fanā' fi'l-Mushāhada), a short treatise on the meaning of mystical annihilation (fana).
• Devotional Prayers (Awrād[3]), a widely read collection of fourteen prayers for each day and night of the week.
• Journey to the Lord of Power (Risālat al-Anwār), a detailed technical manual and roadmap for the "journey without distance".
• The Book of God's Days (Ayyām al-Sha'n), a work on the nature of time and the different kinds of days experienced by gnostics
• The Fabulous Gryphon of the West ('Unqā' Mughrib), a book on the meaning of sainthood and its culmination in Jesus and the Mahdī
• The Universal Tree and the Four Birds (al-Ittihād al-Kawnī[4]), a poetic book on the Complete Human and the four principles of existence
• Prayer for Spiritual Elevation and Protection (al-Dawr al-A'lā[5]), a short prayer which is still widely used in the Muslim world
• The Interpreter of Desires (Tarjumān al-Ashwāq) love poetry (ghazals) which, in response to critics, Ibn Arabi republished with a commentary explaining the meaning of the poetic symbols.
• Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom (At-Tadbidrat al-ilahiyyah fi islah al-mamlakat al-insaniyyah).
• The Four Pillars of Spiritual Transformation (Hilyat al-abdāl[6]), a short work on the essentials of the spiritual Path
Commentaries and translations of Fuṣūṣ al-Ḥikam
There have been many exceptional commentaries on Ibn 'Arabī's Fuṣūṣ al-Ḥikam: the first, al-Fukūk, was written by his stepson and heir, Ṣadr al-Dīn al-Qunawī, who had studied the book with Ibn 'Arabī; the second by Qunawī's student, Mu'ayyad al-Dīn al-Jandī, which was the first line-by-line commentary; the third by Jandī's student, Dawūd al-Qaysarī, which became very influential in the Persian-speaking world. There were many others, in the Ottoman world (e.g. 'Abdullah al-Bosnawī), the Arab world (e.g. 'Abd al-Ghanī al-Nabulusī) and the Persian world (e.g. Haydar Āmolī). It is estimated that there are over fifty commentaries on the Fuṣūṣ, most of which only exist in manuscript form. The more famous (such as Qunawī's Fukūk) have been printed in recent years in Iran. A recent English translation of Ibn 'Arabī's own summary of the Fuṣūṣ, Naqsh al-Fuṣūṣ (The Imprint or Pattern of the Fusus) as well a commentary on this work by 'Abd al-Raḥmān Jāmī, Naqd al-Nuṣūṣ fī Sharḥ Naqsh al-Fuṣūṣ (1459), by William Chittick was published in Volume 1 of the Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi Society (1982).[3]
The Fuṣūṣ was first critically edited in Arabic by 'Afīfī (1946). The first English translation was done in partial form by Angela Culme-Seymour from the French translation of Titus Burckhardt as Wisdom of the Prophets (1975),[4] and the first full translation was by Ralph Austin as Bezels of Wisdom (1980).[5] There is also a complete French translation by Charles-Andre Gilis, entitled Le livre des chatons des sagesses (1997). The only major commentary to have been translated into English so far is entitled Ismail Hakki Bursevi's translation and commentary on Fusus al-hikam by Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi, translated from Ottoman Turkish by Bulent Rauf in 4 volumes (1985–1991).
In Urdu, the most widespread and authentic translation was made by Bahr-ul-uloom Hazrat Muhammad Abdul Qadeer Siddiqi Qadri Hasrat, the former Dean and Professor of Theology of the Osmania University, Hyderabad. It is due to this reason that his translation is in the curriculum of Punjab University. Maulvi Abdul Qadeer Siddiqui has made an interpretive translation and explained the terms and grammar while clarifying the Shaikh's opinions.
See also
• Sufism
• Al Akbariyya
• Ivan Aguéli
• Mahmud Shabistari
• Miguel Asín Palacios
• List of Sufis influenced by Ibn 'Arabī
• As of this edit, this article uses content from "A Concise biography of Ibn 'Arabi", which is licensed in a way that permits reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License and the GFDL. All relevant terms must be followed.
1. ^ Cited in Monroe, James T. (2004). Hispano-Arabic poetry: a student anthology. Gorgias Pr Llc. p. 320. ISBN 978-1593331153. Retrieved March 22, 2010. From The Interpreter of Desires.
2. ^ Ibn Arabi (560-638/1165-1240)
3. ^ Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi Society
4. ^ Culme-Seymour, A.(tr.)(1975),"The Wisdom of the Prophets", Gloucestershire, U.K.:Beshara Publications
5. ^ Austin, R.W.J.(tr.)(1980),"Ibn Al'Arabi: The Bezels of Wisdom",Mahwah, NJ: The Paulist Press, ISBN 0-8091-2331-2
• Hirtenstein, The Unlimited Mercifier, ISBN 0-9534513-2-1
• Addas, Quest for the Red Sulphur, ISBN 0-946621-45-4
• Titus Burckhardt & Bulent Rauf (translator), Mystical Astrology According to Ibn 'Arabi (The Fons Vitae Titus Burckhardt Series) ISBN 1-887752-43-9
• Torbjörn Säfve, "Var inte rädd", ISBN 91-7221-112-1
• Elmore, Gerald T. “Ibn Al-'Arabī’s Testament on the Mantle of Initiation (al-Khirqah).” Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society XXVI (1999): 1-33. Print.
• Elmore, Gerald T. Islamic Sainthood in the Fullness of Time Ibn Al-‘Arabī's Book of the Fabulous Gryphon. Leiden: Brill, 1999. Print.
• Hirtenstein, Stephen, and Jane Clark. "Ibn 'Arabi Digital Archive Project Report for 2009." Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi 1165AD - 1240AD and the Ibn 'Arabi Society. Dec. 2009. Web. 20 Aug. 2010.>.
• Ibn ‘Arabī. Al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya, Vols. 1–4. Beirut: n.p.; this is a photographic reprint of the old edition of Bulaq 1329/1911 which comprises four volumes each about 700 pages of 35 lines; the page size is 20 by 27 cm. This is the standard version used in citations throughout this book. Print.
• Ibn ‘Arabī, Ibrāhīm Madkūr, and ʻUthmān Yaḥyá. Al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya, Vols. 1–14,. al-Qāhirah: al-Hayʼah al-Miṣrīyah al-ʻĀmmah lil-Kitāb, 1972. Print. this is the critical edition by Osman Yahya. This version was not completed, and the 14 volumes correspond to only volume I of the standard Bulaq/Beirut edition.
• Ibn ‘Arabī, Fuṣūṣ al-Ḥikam. Beirut: Dar al-Kitab al-'Arabī. Print.
• Ibn ‘Arabī. Sharḥ Risālat Rūḥ Al-quds fī Muḥāsabat Al-nafs. Comp. Mahmud Ghurab. 2nd ed. Damascus: Naḍar, 1994. Print.
• Ibn ‘Arabī. Inshā’ al-Dawā’ir, Beirut: Dar al-kutub al-‘Ilmiyya. 2004. Print.
• Ibn ‘Arabī. Rasā’il Ibn ‘Arabī (Ijāza li Malik al-Muẓaffar). Beirut: Dar al-kutub al-‘Ilmiyya, 2001. Print.
• Ibn ‘Arabī. Rasā'il Ibn al-'Arabî (Kitāb al-Jalāla). Hyberadad-Deccan: Dā’irat al-Ma‘ārif al-‘Uthmāniyya, 1948. Print.
• Ibn ‘Arabī. Kitāb al Bā’. Cairo: Maktabat al-Qāhira, 1954. Print.
• Ibn ‘Arabī, Risālat ila Imām al-Rāzī. Hyberadad-Deccan: Dā’irat al-Ma‘ārif al-‘Uthmāniyya, 1948. Print.
• Ibn ‘Arabī. Divine Governance of the Human Kingdom Including What the Seeker Needs and The One Alone. Louisville: Fons Vitae, 1997. Print.
• Ibn ‘Arabī. “Nasab al-Khirqa”. Trans. Gerald Elmore. Vol. XXVI. Oxford: Journal of the Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi Society, 1999. Print.
• Ibn ‘Arabī. Divine Sayings The Mishkāt Al-Anwār of Ibn 'Arabi. Oxford: Anqa, 2005. Print.
• Yahia, Osman. Mu'allafāt Ibn ʻarabī: Tārīkhuhā Wa-Taṣnīfuhā. Cairo: Dār al-Ṣābūnī, 1992. Print.
• Yousef, Mohamed Haj. Ibn 'Arabi - Time and Cosmology (London, Routledge, 2007) (Culture and Civilization in the Middle East).
• Yūsuf, Muhammad Haj. Shams Al-Maghrib. Allepo: Dār al-Fuṣṣilat, 2006. Print.
External links
• Ibn Arabi entry by William Chittick in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
• Ibn Arabi society page about Ibn Arabi
• Information about Ibn 'Arabi's life and works
• Home page of Ibn Arabi Foundation in Pakistan
• The Seals of Wisdom (فصوص الحكم)
• Ibn Arabi & Mystical Journey:The Journey to the Lord of Power -(John G. Sullivan Department of Philosophy Elon College)
• Correspondences between the Sufi Ideas of Ibn Arabi and Physics
v • d • e
Sufism تصوّف‎

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Practices Dhikr • Haḍra • Muraqaba • Qawwali • Sema • Whirling

Sufi orders
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early Sufi Saints
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Junayd Baghdadi
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Junaid ibn Muhammad Abu al-Qasim al-Khazzaz al-Baghdadi (830-910 AD) (Persian: جنید بغدادی) was one of the great early Persian[1][2] Muslim mystics, or Sufis, of Islam and is a central figure in the golden chain of many Sufi orders.
• 1 Life
• 2 Influences
• 3 Teachings
• 4 Difficulties
• 5 References
• 6 Literature
• 7 External links
• 8 See also

[edit] Life
He accompanied his maternal uncle Sari al-Saqati and other guides including al-Harith al-Muhasibi, and others.[3]. He was born in Baghdad from Persian parents[4][5] and according to Dehkhoda, his ancestors where from Nahavand[6].
[edit] Influences
He laid the groundwork for sober mysticism in contrast to that of God-intoxicated Sufis like al-Hallaj, Bayazid Bastami and Abusaeid Abolkheir. In the process of trial of al-Hallaj, his former disciple, Caliph of the time demanded his fatwa and he issued this fatwa: "From the outward appearance he is to die and we judge according to the outward appearance and God knows better". He is referred to by the Sufis as Sayyid-ut Taifa i.e. the leader of the group. He lived and died in the city of Baghdad.
[edit] Teachings
Junayd’s contributions to Sufism are many. His basic ideas deal with a progression that leads one to “annihilate” oneself (fana) so as to be in a closer union with the Divine. People need to “relinquish natural desires, to wipe out human attributes, to discard selfish motives, to cultivate spiritual qualities, to devote oneself to true knowledge, to do what is best in the context of eternity, to wish good for the entire community, to be truly faithful to God, and to follow the Prophet in the matters of the Shari’a” [7]. This starts with the practice of renunciation (zuhd) and continues with withdrawal from society, intensive concentration on devotion (ibadat) & remembrance (dhikr) of God, sincerity (ikhlas), and contemplation (muraqaba) respectively; contemplation produces fana [8]. This type of “semantic struggle “ recreates the experience of trial (bala) that is key in Junayd’s writings [9]. This enables people to enter into the state of fana. Junayd divides up the state of fana into three parts: “1) the passing away from one’s attributes through the effort of constantly opposing one’s ego-self (nafs); 2) passing away from one’s sense of accomplishment, that is, passing away from ‘one’s share of the sweet deserts and pleasures of obedience’; and 3) passing away from the vision of the reality ‘of your ecstasies as the sign of the real overpowers you’” [10]. All of these stages help one to achieve fana. Once that has been attained, a person is in the state of remaining, or baqa. It is through the stage of baqa that one is able to find God – or rather, have God find him / her. Reaching baqa is not an easy thing to do though; getting through the three stages requires strict discipline and patience. There is even debate amongst scholars as to whether or not the third stage is even possible to reach. Junayd helped establish the “sober” school of Sufi thought, which meant that he was very logical and scholarly about his definitions of various virtues, Tawhid, etc. Sober Sufism is characterized by people who “experience fana [and] do not subsist in that state of selfless absorption in God but find themselves returned to their senses by God. Such returnees from the experience of selflessness are thus reconstituted as renewed selves,” just like an intoxicated person sobering up [11]. For example, Junayd is quoted as saying, “The water takes on the color of the cup.” While this might seem rather confusing at first, ‘Abd al-Hakeem Carney explains it best: “When the water is understood here to refer to the Light of Divine self-disclosure, we are led to the important concept of ‘capacity,’ whereby the Divine epiphany is received by the heart of any person according to that person’s particular receptive capacity and will be ‘colored’ by that person’s nature” [12]. As one can see, such a simple phrase holds such deep meaning; it brings the reader back to a deeper understanding of God through a more thoughtful metaphor.
[edit] Difficulties
There are a few other problems when encountering Junayd’s texts. Junayd believed that Sufism was a way for the elite to reach God, not the common man. “Tasawwuf,” he says, “is to purge the heart from every wish to follow the path of common men” [13]. This further elaborates on why Junayd wrote so eloquently. Also, according to Sells, “…Junayd seems to presuppose that his hearer or reader has had the experience about which he is speaking – or, even more radically, that the hearer or reader is able to enter that experience, or some re-creation of it – at the moment of encounter with Junayd’s words” [14]. This statement makes it seem like Junayd was writing to a specific sect of the elite that he described earlier. The elite that he refers to are the elect, or “a tightly-knit group of ‘brethren’ that Junayd designates by such phrases as ‘the choice of believers’ or ‘the pure ones.’ They play significant roles in the community of believers…” [15]. As mentioned, Junayd has always been difficult to read for scholars because most of his writings have been lost to time. Junayd constantly uses precise words & language specific to try and describe God, the longing for Him, and the human condition. His ornate language immediately turns off most people, but Junayd had a reason for writing so cryptically. According to the Encyclopedia of Islam, Junayd found out that a letter he had written was opened by a stranger before it got to its destination: “doubtless by some zealot desirous of finding cause for impugning his orthodoxy; and to this ever-present danger must in part be attributed the deliberate preciosity which marks the writings of all the mystics of J̲unayd's period” [16]. This constant worry about others getting a hold of his ideas caused Junayd to become very protective of his writings.
[edit] References
1. ^ S.H. Nasr, "Iran" in History of Humanity: From the Seventh to the Sixteenth Century, edited by Sigfried J. de Laet, M. A. Al-Bakhit, International Commission for a History of the Scientific and Cultural Development of Mankind History of mankind, L. Bazin, S. M. Cissco. Published by Taylor & Francis US, 2000. pg 368.
2. ^ Edward Granville Browne, "A Literary History of Persia", Published by Iranbooks, 1997. Originally published: 1902. excerpt 428:"It is noteworthy that both Bayazid and Junaid were Persians, and may very likely have imported to sufism..
3. ^ Al-Junaid al-Baghdadi
4. ^ S.H. Nasr, "Iran" in History of Humanity: From the Seventh to the Sixteenth Century, edited by Sigfried J. de Laet, M. A. Al-Bakhit, International Commission for a History of the Scientific and Cultural Development of Mankind History of mankind, L. Bazin, S. M. Cissco. Published by Taylor & Francis US, 2000. pg 368.
5. ^ Edward Granville Browne, "A Literary History of Persia", Published by Iranbooks, 1997. Originally published: 1902. excerpt 428:"It is noteworthy that both Bayazid and Junaid were Persians, and may very likely have imported to sufism..
6. ^ Dehkhoda Dictionary under Junaid Baghdadi
7. ^ Ansari, Muhammad Abdul Haq. "The Doctrine of One Actor: Junayd's View of Tawhid." The Muslim World 1(1983): 33-56. Electronic.
8. ^ Ansari, Muhammad Abdul Haq. "The Doctrine of One Actor: Junayd's View of Tawhid." The Muslim World 1(1983): 33-56. Electronic.
9. ^ Sells, Michael A.. Early Islamic Mysticism: Sufi, Koran, Mi'raj, Poetic and Theological Writings. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1996. Print.
10. ^ Sells, Michael A.. Early Islamic Mysticism: Sufi, Koran, Mi'raj, Poetic and Theological Writings. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1996. Print.
11. ^ Karamustafa, Ahmet T.. Sufism: The Formative Period. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press, 2007. Print.
12. ^ Carney, 'Abd al-Hakeen. "Imamate and Love: The Discourse of the Divine in Islamic Mysticism." Journal of the American Academy of Religion 3(2005): 705-730. Electronic.
13. ^ Ansari, Muhammad Abdul Haq. "The Doctrine of One Actor: Junayd's View of Tawhid." The Muslim World 1(1983): 33-56. Electronic.
14. ^ Sells, Michael A.. Early Islamic Mysticism: Sufi, Koran, Mi'raj, Poetic and Theological Writings. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1996. Print.
15. ^ Karamustafa, Ahmet T.. Sufism: The Formative Period. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press, 2007. Print.
16. ^ Arberry, A.J. "al- ḎJ̲unayd , Abu 'l-Ḳāsim b. Muḥammad b. al-Ḏj̲unayd al-Ḵh̲azzāz al-Ḳawārīrī al-Nihāwandī." Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman , Th. Bianquis , C.E. Bosworth , E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2009. Brill Online. Augustana. 30 April 2009
[edit] Literature
• Ali Hassan Abdel-Kader, The Life, Personality and Writings of al-Junaid, 1962.
[edit] External links
• Early Shaykhs of Sufism: Junaid ibn Muhammad Abu al-Qasim al-Khazzaz (the silk merchant) al-Baghdadi
• Urdu History Biography of Hazrat Junaid Baghdadi
• Biography on Living Islam
[edit] See also
• Qari Muslehuddin Siddiqui
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For the influential Egyptian Islamic scholar who lived from 1917-1996, see Mohammed al-Ghazali.
Al-Ghazālī (الغزالي)

Full name Abū Ḥāmed Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ghazālī
Born 1058
Tus, Iran

Died December 19, 1111 (aged 52–53)
Tus, Khorasan
Era Islamic Golden Age

Region Muslim world

School/tradition Sunni Islam (Shafi'i, Ash'ari)

Main interests Theology, philosophy, fiqh, mysticism, psychology, logic, cosmology

Notable ideas Methodic doubt, skepticism, occasionalism

Major works Revival of Religious Sciences, The Incoherence of the Philosophers

Influenced by[show]


Abū Ḥāmed Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad Ghazālī (1058–19 December 1111[1]) (Persian/Arabic:ابو حامد محمد ابن محمد غزالی), often Algazel in English, was an Islamic theologian, jurist, philosopher, cosmologist, psychologist and Sufi mystic of Persian origin,[2][3] and remains one of the most celebrated scholars in the history of Sunni Islamic thought. He is considered a pioneer of methodic doubt and skepticism,[4] and in one of his major works, The Incoherence of the Philosophers, he changed the course of early Islamic philosophy, shifting it away from an Islamic metaphysics towards an Islamic philosophy based on cause-and-effect that was determined by God or intermediate angels, a theory now known as occasionalism. He was born in Tus, a part of the Khorasan province of Persia. He died there as well.
Ghazali has sometimes been acclaimed by secular historians to be the greatest Muslim after the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.[5] Besides his work that successfully changed the course of Islamic philosophy—the early Islamic Neoplatonism developed on the grounds of Hellenistic philosophy, for example, was so successfully refuted by Ghazali that it never recovered—he also brought the orthodox Islam of his time in close contact with Sufism.[5] The orthodox theologians still went their own way, and so did the mystics, but both developed a sense of mutual appreciation which ensured that no sweeping condemnation could be made by one for the practices of the other.[5]
• 1 Biography
o 1.1 Life
• 2 Major works
o 2.1 The Incoherence of the Philosophers
o 2.2 The Deliverance From Error
o 2.3 The Revival of Religious Sciences
• 3 Other contributions
o 3.1 Atomism
o 3.2 Cosmology and Astronomy
o 3.3 Biology and Medicine
o 3.4 Cosmology
o 3.5 Logic
o 3.6 Psychology
• 4 Ghazali's influence
o 4.1 Islamic world
o 4.2 Europe
• 5 List of works
o 5.1 Works in Persian
• 6 See also
• 7 Notes
• 8 References
• 9 Further reading
• 10 External links

[edit] Biography
Ghazali contributed significantly to the development of a systematic view of Sufism and its integration and acceptance in mainstream Islam. He was a scholar of Sunni Islam, belonging to the Shafi'i school of Islamic jurisprudence and to the Asharite school of theology. Ghazali received many titles such as Sharaful A'emma (Arabic: شرف الأئمّة‎), Zainuddin (Arabic: زين الدين), Hujjatul Islam, meaning "Proof of Islam" (Arabic: حجّة الاسلام). He is viewed as the key member of the influential Asharite school of early Muslim philosophy and the most important refuter of Mutazilites. However, he chose a slightly different position in comparison with the Asharites; his beliefs and thoughts differ, in some aspects, from the Asharite school.[6]
[edit] Life
Ghazali was born in 1058 in Tus, a city in Khorasan province of Persia. His father, a traditional Sufi, died when he and his younger brother, Ahmad Ghazali, were still young. One of their father's friends took care of them for the next few years. In 1070, Ghazali and his brother went to Gurgan to enroll in a madrassah (Islamic seminary). There, he studied fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) next to Ahmad ibn Muhammad Rādkānī and Abu'l Qāsim Jurjānī. After approximately 7 years studying, he returned to Tus.
His first important trip to Nishapur occurred around 1080 when he was almost 23 years old. He became the student of the famous Muslim scholar Abu'l Ma'ālī Juwaynī, known as Imam al-Haramayn. After the death of Al-Juwayni in 1085, Ghazālī was invited to go to the court of Nizamul Mulk Tusi, the powerful vizier of the Seljuq sultans. The vizier was so impressed by Ghazali's scholarship that in 1091 he appointed him as chief professor at the Al-Nizamiyya of Baghdad. He used to lecture to more than 300 students, and his participation in Islamic debates and discussions made him popular in all over the Islamic territories.
He passed through a spiritual crisis in 1095, abandoned his career, and left Baghdad on the pretext of going on pilgrimage to Mecca. Making arrangements for his family, he disposed of his wealth and adopted the life of a poor Sufi. After some time in Damascus and Jerusalem, with a visit to Medina and Mecca in 1096, he settled in Tus to spend the next several years in seclusion. He ended his seclusion for a short lecturing period at the Nizamiyyah of Nishapur in 1106. Later he returned to Tus where he remained until his death on December 19, 1111. He had one son named Abdu'l Rahman Allam.
[edit] Major works

1308 Persian edition of the Alchemy of Happiness
Ghazali wrote more than 70 books on the sciences, early Islamic philosophy, Islamic psychology, Kalam and Sufism. His 11th century book titled The Incoherence of the Philosophers marks a major turn in Islamic epistemology, as Ghazali effectively discovered philosophical skepticism that would not be commonly seen in the West until René Descartes, George Berkeley and David Hume. The encounter with skepticism led Ghazali to embrace a form of theological occasionalism, or the belief that all causal events and interactions are not the product of material conjunctions but rather the immediate and present will of God.
[edit] The Incoherence of the Philosophers
Main article: The Incoherence of the Philosophers
The Incoherence of the Philosophers marked a turning point in Islamic philosophy in its vehement rejections of Aristotle and Plato. The book took aim at the falsafa, a loosely defined group of Islamic philosophers from the 8th through the 11th centuries (most notable among them Avicenna and Al-Farabi) who drew intellectually upon the Ancient Greeks. Ghazali bitterly denounced Aristotle, Socrates and other Greek writers as non-believers and labeled those who employed their methods and ideas as corrupters of the Islamic faith.
The Incoherence of the Philosophers is famous for proposing and defending the Asharite theory of occasionalism. Ghazali famously claimed that when fire and cotton are placed in contact, the cotton is burned directly by God rather than by the fire, a claim which he defended using logic. He argued that because God is usually seen as rational, rather than arbitrary, his behaviour in normally causing events in the same sequence (i.e., what appears to us to be efficient causation) can be understood as a natural outworking of that principle of reason, which we then describe as the laws of nature. Properly speaking, however, these are not laws of nature but laws by which God chooses to govern his own behaviour (his autonomy, in the strict sense) – in other words, his rational will.
However, Ghazali did express support for a scientific methodology based on demonstration and mathematics, while discussing astronomy. After describing the scientific facts of the Solar eclipse resulting from the Moon coming between the Sun and Earth and the Lunar eclipse from the Earth coming between the Sun and Moon, he writes:[7]
Whosoever thinks that to engage in a disputation for refuting such a theory is a religious duty harms religion and weakens it. For these matters rest on demonstrations, geometrical and arithmetical, that leave no room for doubt.
In his defense of the Asharite doctrine of a created universe that is temporally finite, against the Aristotelian doctrine of an eternal universe, Al-Ghazali proposed the modal theory of possible worlds, arguing that their actual world is the best of all possible worlds from among all the alternate timelines and world histories that God could have possibly created. His theory parallels that of Duns Scotus in the 14th century. While it is uncertain whether Al-Ghazali had any influence on Scotus, they both may have derived their theory from their readings of Avicenna's Metaphysics.[8]
In the next century, Ibn Rushd (also known in the West as Averroes) drafted a lengthy rebuttal of Ghazali's Incoherence entitled The Incoherence of the Incoherence; however, the epistemological course of Islamic thought had already been set.

Last page of Ghazali's autobiography in MS Istanbul, Shehid Ali Pasha 1712, dated A.H. 509 = 1115–1116.
[edit] The Deliverance From Error
The autobiography Ghazali wrote towards the end of his life, The Deliverance From Error (Al-munqidh min al-ḍalāl; several English translations[9]) is considered a work of major importance.[10] In it, Ghazali recounts how, once a crisis of epistemological skepticism was resolved by "a light which God Most High cast into my breast...the key to most knowledge,"[11] he studied and mastered the arguments of kalam, Islamic philosophy, and Ismailism. Though appreciating what was valid in the first two of these, at least, he determined that all three approaches were inadequate and found ultimate value only in the mystical experience and insight (the state of prophecy or nubuwwa) he attained as a result of following Sufi practices. William James, in Varieties of Religious Experience, considered the autobiography an important document for "the purely literary student who would like to become acquainted with the inwardness of religions other than the Christian" because of the scarcity of recorded personal religious confessions and autobiographical literature from this period outside the Christian tradition.[12]
In this work, Ghazali expressed support for mathematics as an exact science, but argues that it cannot be used as a form of proof for religious or metaphysical doctrines due to their non-physical nature. He argues that religion and metaphysics are not in need of mathematics in the sense that poetry is not in need of mathematics or in the sense that philology or grammar can be mastered without any knowledge of mathematical sciences. He also argues that every discipline has its own experts and that an expert in one discipline, in this case mathematics, may fail miserably in other disciplines, in this case religion and metaphysics. Ghazali saw the practical usefulness of mathematics and condemns those who reject the mathematical sciences:[7]
A grievous crime indeed against religion has been committed by the man who imagines that Islam is defended by the denial of the mathematical sciences, seeing that there is nothing in revealed truth opposed to these sciences by way of either negation or affirmation, and nothing in these sciences opposed to the truth of religion.
[edit] The Revival of Religious Sciences
Another of Ghazali's major works is The Revival of Religious Sciences (Arabic: احياء علوم الدين‎ Ihya 'Ulum al-Din or Ihya'ul Ulumuddin). It covers almost all fields of Islamic religious sciences: Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), Kalam (Islamic theology) and Sufism. It contains four major sections: Acts of worship (Rub' al-'ibadat), Norms of Daily Life (Rub' al-'adatat), The ways to Perdition (Rub' al-'muhlikat) and The ways to Salavation (Rub' al-'munjiyat). It is said that he used Abu Talib al-Makki as one of his sources. He then wrote a brief version of this book in Persian under The Alchemy of Happiness (Kīmyāye Sa'ādat).
In this book, he classified the mathematics and medicine of medieval Islam as praiseworthy (mamdūh) sciences and considers them to be a community obligation (fard kifāyah). He writes:[7]
Sciences whose knowledge is deemed fard kifāyah comprise [all] sciences which are indispensable for the welfare of this world such as: medicine which is necessary for the life of the body, arithmetic for daily transactions and the divisions of legacies and inheritances, as well as others. These are the sciences which, because of their absence, the community would be reduced to narrow straits.
[edit] Other contributions
[edit] Atomism
Ghazali was responsible for formulating the Ash'ari school of atomism. He argued that atoms are the only perpetual, material things in existence, and all else in the world is “accidental” meaning something that lasts for only an instant. Nothing accidental can be the cause of anything else, except perception, as it exists for a moment. Contingent events are not subject to natural physical causes, but are the direct result of God’s constant intervention, without which nothing could happen. Thus nature is completely dependent on God, which is consistent with other Ash'ari Islamic ideas on causation, or the lack thereof.[13]
In atomic theory, Ghazali alluded to the possibility of dividing an atom. In reference to the wide divisions among Muslims, he wrote: "Muslims are so good at dividing that they can divide the atom. If you see two Muslims, probably they belong to 3 parties."[14]
In the fourteenth century, Nicholas of Autrecourt considered that matter, space, and time were all made up of indivisible atoms, points, and instants and that all generation and corruption took place by the rearrangement of material atoms. The similarities of his ideas with those of Ghazali suggest that Nicholas was familiar with the work of Ghazali, who was known as "Algazel" in Europe, either directly or indirectly through Ibn Rushd.[15]
It was only in the nineteenth century that our atomic theories came into place, with the quantum mechanical model being most up to date.
[edit] Cosmology and Astronomy
See also: The Incoherence of the Philosophers, Islamic cosmology, and Astronomy in medieval Islam
Al-Ghazali's criticism of Aristotelian physics and Aristotelian cosmology played an important role in the development of an independent astronomy over the next several centuries. From the 12th century onwards, Islamic astronomy began becoming a science primarily dependant upon observation rather than philosophy, primarily due to religious opposition from Islamic theologians, most prominently Al-Ghazali, who opposed the interference of Aristotelianism in astronomy, opening up possibilities for an astronomy unrestrained by Aristotelian philosophy.[16] For example, his Ash'ari doctrine influenced the theologian Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (1149–1209) to reject the Aristotelian notion of the Earth's centrality within the universe and instead propose the notion of a multiverse consisting of countless worlds and universes, "such that each one of those worlds be bigger and more massive than this world as well as having the like of what this world has." Al-Razi also criticized the Aristotelian notion of solid celestial spheres and suggested these may be "merely the abstract orbit traced by the stars."[17]
The theologian Adud al-Din al-Iji (1281–1355), under the influence of Al-Ghazali's Ash'ari doctrine of occasionalism, which maintained that all physical effects were caused directly by God's will rather than by natural causes, rejected the Aristotelian principle of an innate principle of circular motion in the heavenly bodies,[18] and maintained that the celestial spheres were "imaginary things" and "more tenuous than a spider's web".[16] Under such influences, Ali al-Qushji (d. 1474) rejected Aristotelian physics and completely separated it from astronomy, allowing astronomy to become a purely empirical and mathematical science. This allowed him to explore alternatives to the Aristotelian notion of a stationary Earth, as he explored the idea of a moving Earth. He concluded, on the basis of empirical evidence rather than speculative philosophy, that the moving Earth theory is just as likely to be true as the stationary Earth theory and that it is not possible to empirically deduce which theory is true.[16]
[edit] Biology and Medicine
Ghazali's writings are believed to have been a source of encouragement for the study of medicine in medieval Islam, particularly anatomy. In The Revival of the Religious Sciences, he classed medicine as one of the praiseworthy (mahmud) secular sciences, in contrast to astrology which he considered blameworthy (madhmutn). In his discourse on meditation (tafakkur), he devoted a number of pages to a fairly detailed anatomical exposition of the parts of the human body, advocating such study as a suitable subject for contemplation and drawing nearer to God."[19]
In The Deliverer from Error, Ghazali made a strong statement in support of anatomy and dissection:
The Naturalists (al-tabi'yun): They are a group of people who are constantly studying the natural world and the wonders of animals and plants. They are frequently engaging in the science of anatomy/dissection ('ilm at-tashriih, علم التَشريح) of animal bodies, and through it they perceive the wonders of God's design and the marvels of His wisdom. With this they are compelled to acknowledge a wise Creator Who is aware of the ends and purposes of things. No one can study anatomy/dissection and the wonders of the utilities of the parts without deducing this unavoidable inference—that is, the perfection of the design of the Creator with regard to the structure (binyah, بنية) of animals and especially the structure of humans.[20]
His support for the study of anatomy and dissection was influential in the rise of anatomy and dissections carried out among Muslim physicians in the 12th and 13th centuries,[21] by the likes of Ibn Zuhr and Ibn al-Nafis, among others. Ibn Rushd, a critic of Ghazali, also agreed with him on the issue of dissection.[22]
[edit] Cosmology
In cosmology, in contrast to ancient Greek philosophers such as Aristotle who believed that the universe had an infinite past with no beginning, medieval philosophers and theologians developed the concept of the universe having a finite past with a beginning (temporal finitism). This view was inspired by the belief in creation shared by the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Christian philosopher, John Philoponus, presented the first such argument against the ancient Greek notion of an infinite past. His logic was adopted by many, most notably; Muslim philosopher, Al-Kindi (Alkindus); the Jewish philosopher, Saadia Gaon (Saadia ben Joseph); and finally Ghazali. They proposed two logical arguments against an infinite past, the first being the "argument from the impossibility of the existence of an actual infinite", which states:[23]
"An actual infinite cannot exist."
"An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite."
".•. An infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist."
His second argument, the "argument from the impossibility of completing an actual infinite by successive addition", states:[23]
"An actual infinite cannot be completed by successive addition."
"The temporal series of past events has been completed by successive addition."
".•. The temporal series of past events cannot be an actual infinite."
Both arguments were adopted by later Christian philosophers and theologians, and the second argument in particular became more famous after it was adopted by Immanuel Kant in his thesis of the first antinomy concerning time.[23]
[edit] Logic
In Islamic logic, Al-Ghazali had an important influence on the use of logic in Islamic theology, as he was the first to apply the Avicennian system of temporal modal logic to Islamic theology.[24] He also established the application of three types of logical systems in Islamic Sharia law and Fiqh jurisprudence: reasoning by analogy, deductive logic, and inductive logic. In cases that have multiple legal precedents, he recommended the use of inductive logic, stating that the "larger the number of pieces of textual evidence is, the stronger our knowledge becomes."[25]
[edit] Psychology
In Islamic psychology and Sufi psychology, Ghazali discussed the concept of the self and the causes of its misery and happiness. He described the self using four terms: Qalb (heart), Ruh (spirit), Nafs (soul) and 'Aql (intellect). He stated that "the self has an inherent yearning for an ideal, which it strives to realize and it is endowed with qualities to help realize it." He further stated that the self has motor and sensory motives for fulfilling its bodily needs. He wrote that the motor motives comprise of propensities and impulses, and further divided the propensities into two types: appetite and anger. He wrote that appetite urges hunger, thirst, and sexual craving, while anger takes the form of rage, indignation and revenge. He further wrote that impulse resides in the muscles, nerves, and tissues, and moves the organs to "fulfill the propensities."[26]
Ghazali was one of the first to divide the sensory motives (apprehension) into five external senses (the classical senses of hearing, sight, smell, taste and touch) and five internal senses: common sense (Hiss Mushtarik) which synthesizes sensuous impressions carried to the brain while giving meaning to them; imagination (Takhayyul) which enables someone to retain mental images from experience; reflection (Tafakkur) which brings together relevant thoughts and associates or dissociates them as it considers fit but has no power to create anything new which is not already present in the mind; recollection (Tadhakkur) which remembers the outer form of objects in memory and recollects the meaning; and the memory (Hafiza) where impressions received through the senses are stored. He wrote that, while the external senses occur through specific organs, the internal senses are located in different regions of the brain, and discovered that the memory is located in the hinder lobe, imagination is located in the frontal lobe, and reflection is located in the middle folds of the brain. He stated that these inner senses allow people to predict future situations based on what they learn from past experiences.[27]
In The Revival of Religious Sciences, he wrote that the five internal senses are found in both humans and animals. In Mizan al Amal, however, he later stated that animals "do not possess a well-developed reflective power" and argued that animals mostly think in terms of "pictorial ideas in a simple way and are incapable of complex association and dissociation of abstract ideas involved in reflection." He wrote that "the self carries two additional qualities, which distinguishes man from animals enabling man to attain spiritual perfection", which are 'Aql (intellect) and Irada (will). He argued that the intellect is "the fundamental rational faculty, which enables man to generalize and form concepts and gain knowledge." He also argued that human will and animal will are both different. He wrote that human will is "conditioned by the intellect" while animal will is "conditioned by anger and appetite" and that "all these powers control and regulate the body." He further wrote that the Qalb (heart) "controls and rules over them" and that it has six powers: appetite, anger, impulse, apprehension, intellect, and will. He stated that humans have all six of these traits, while animals only have three (appetite, anger, and impulse).[27] This was in contrast to other ancient and medieval thinkers such as Aristotle, Avicenna, Roger Bacon and Thomas Aquinas who all believed that animals cannot become angry.[28]
Ghazali wrote that knowledge can either be innate or acquired. He divided innate knowledge into phenomenal, (material world) and spiritual (related to God and soul), and divided acquired knowledge into imitation, logical reasoning, contemplation and intuition. He also argued that there are four elements in human nature: the sage (intellect and reason), the pig (lust and gluttony), the dog (anger), and the devil(brutality). He argued that the latter three elements are in conflict with the former element and that "different people have such powers in different proportions."[27]
Ghazali divided the Nafs into three categories based on the Qur'an: Nafs Ammarah(12:53) which "exhorts one to freely indulge in gratifying passions and instigates to do evil", Nafs Lawammah (75:2) which is "the conscience that directs man towards right or wrong", and Nafs Mutmainnah (89:27) which is "a self that reaches the ultimate peace." As an analogy between psychology and politics, he compared the soul to that of a king running a kingdom, arguing that the bodily organs are like the artisans and workers, intellect is like a wise vizier, desire is like a wicked servant, and anger is like the police force. He argued that a king can correctly run the state of affairs by turning to the wise vizier, turns away from the wicked servant, and regulating the workers and the police; and that in the same way, the soul is balanced if it "keeps anger under control and makes the intellect dominate desire." He argued that for a soul to reach perfection, it needs to evolve through several stages: sensuous (like a moth which has no memory), imaginative (lower animal), instinctive (higher animal), rational ("transcends animal stage and apprehends objects beyond the scope of his senses") and divine ("apprehends reality of spiritual things").[29]
He stated that there are two types of diseases: physical and spiritual. He considered the latter to be more dangerous, resulting from "ignorance and deviation from God", and listed the spiritual diseases as: self-centeredness; addiction to wealth, fame and social status; and ignorance, cowardice, cruelty, lust, waswas (doubt), malevolence, calumny, envy, deception, and greed. To overcome these spiritual weaknesses, Ghazali suggested the therapy of opposites ("use of imagination in pursuing the opposite"), such as ignorance & learning, or hate & love. He described the personality as an "integration of spiritual and bodily forces" and believed that "closeness to God is equivalent to normality whereas distance from God leads to abnormality."[30]
Ghazali argued that human beings occupy a position "midway between animals and angels and his distinguishing quality is knowledge." He argues that a human can either rise to "the level of the angels with the help of knowledge" or fall to "the levels of animals by letting his anger and lust dominate him." He also argued that Ilm al-Batin (esotericism) is fard (incumbent) and advised Tazkiya Nafs (self-purification). He also noted that "good conduct can only develop from within and does not need total destruction of natural propensities."[30]
[edit] Ghazali's influence

The grave believed to belong to Ghazali
Ghazali had an important influence on Medieval philosophy, among Muslim philosophers, Christian philosophers, and Jewish philosophers like Maimonides.[31][32]
[edit] Islamic world
Ghazali played a very major role in integrating Sufism with Islamic law (Sharia). He combined the concepts of Sufism very well with the Shariah laws. He was also the first to present a formal description of Sufism in his works. His works also strengthened the status of Sunni Islam against other schools. The Batinite (Ismailism) had emerged in Persian territories and were gaining more and more power during Ghazali's period, as Nizam al-Mulk was assassinated by the members of Ismailis. Ghazali strictly refuted their ideology and wrote several books on refutation of Baatinyas which significantly weakened their status.
Whether the actual outcome of "freezing Islamic thinking in time" was the goal of Ghazali is highly debatable. While he himself was a critic of the philosophers, Ghazali was a master in the art of philosophy and had immensely studied the field. After such a long education in philosophy, as well as a long process of reflection, he had criticized the philosophical method. But only taking Ghazali's final conclusions, while lacking a comparable education (and a reflection process) in the area, and as a result being unable to trace Ghazali in his thought process, only exacerbates the probability of the misuse of Ghazali's conclusions.
This traditional view, however, has been disputed by recent scholarship, which has shown that scientific and philosophical activity continued to flourish in the Islamic world long after him. For example, Dimitri Gutas and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy consider the period between the 11th and 14th centuries to be the "Golden Age" of Arabic and Islamic philosophy, initiated by Ghazali's successful integration of logic into the Islamic seminary Madrasah curriculum.[33] Emilie Savage-Smith has also shown that Ghazali was a source of encouragement for the study of medicine in medieval Islam, and that his support for the study of anatomy was influential in the rise of dissections carried out among Muslim physicians in the 12th and 13th centuries.[34]
[edit] Europe
Margaret Smith writes in her book Al-Ghazali: The Mystic (London 1944): "There can be no doubt that Ghazali’s works would be among the first to attract the attention of these European scholars" (page 220). Then she emphasizes,
"The greatest of these Christian writers who was influenced by Al-Ghazali was St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), who made a study of the Islamic writers and admitted his indebtedness to them. He studied at the University of Naples where the influence of Islamic literature and culture was predominant at the time."
Ghazali's influence has been compared to the works of Thomas Aquinas in Christian theology, but the two differed greatly in methods and beliefs. Whereas Ghazali rejected Greek metaphysical philosophers such as Aristotle and saw it fit to refute their metaphysical teachings on the basis of their "irrationality", Aquinas embraced non-Christian philosophers and incorporated ancient Greek, Latin and Islamic thought into his own philosophical writings.
"A careful study of Ghazali's works will indicate how penetrating and widespread his influence was on the Western medieval scholars. A case in point is the influence of Ghazali on St. Thomas Aquinas — who studied the works of Islamic philosophers, especially Ghazali's, at the University of Naples. In addition, Aquinas' interest in Islamic studies could be attributed to the infiltration of ‘Latin Averroism’ in the 13th century, especially at [the University of] Paris."[35]
Scholars have noted the similarities between Descartes' Discourse on Method and Ghazali's work[4] and the writer George Henry Lewes went even further by claiming that "had any translation of it [The Revival of Religious Sciences] in the days of Descartes existed, every one have cried out against the plagiarism."[36]
[edit] List of works

The pen box belonging to al-Ghazali, preserved in the Cairo museum.
Ghazali had mentioned the number of his works "more than 70", in one of his letters to Sultan Sanjar in the late years of his life. However, there are more than 400 books attributed to him today. Making a judgment on the number of his works and their attribution to Ghazali is a difficult step. Many western scholars such as William Montgomery Watt (The works attributed to Al-Ghazali), Maurice Bouyges (Essai de chronologie des oeuvres d'Al-Ghazali) and others prepared a list of his works along with their comments on each book.
Finally, Abdel Rahman Badawi, an Egyptian scholar, prepared a comprehensive list of Ghazali's works under 457 titles:
• from 1 to 72: works definitely written by Ghazali
• from 73 to 95: works of doubtful attribution
• 96 – 127: works which are not those of Ghazali with most certainty
• 128 – 224: are the names of the Chapters or Sections of Ghazali's books that are mistakenly thought books of his
• 225 – 273: books written by other authors regarding Ghazali's works
• 274 – 389: books of other unknown scholars/writers regarding Ghazali's life and personality
• 389 – 457: the name of the manuscripts of Ghazali's works in different libraries of the world
The following is a short list of his Major works:
• al-Munqidh min al-dalal (Rescuer from Error)
• Hujjat al-Haq (Proof of the Truth)
• al-Iqtisad fil-i`tiqad (Median in Belief)
• al-maqsad al-asna fi sharah asma' Allahu al-husna (The best means in explaining Allah's Beautiful Names)
• Jawahir al-Qur'an wa duraruh (Jewels of the Qur'an and its Pearls)
• Fayasl al-tafriqa bayn al-Islam wa-l-zandaqa (The Criterion of Distinction between Islam and Clandestine Unbelief)
• Mishkat al-Anwar (The Niche of Lights)
• Tafsir al-yaqut al-ta'wil
• Sirr al-`Alamin (Secret of the Worlds)
• al-Risālah al-Qudsiyyah (The Jerusalem Tract)
• Mizan al-'amal (Criterion of Action)
• Ihya' ulum al-din, "Revival of Religious Sciences", Ghazali's most important work
• Bidayat al-hidayah (Beginning of Guidance)
• Kimiya-ye sa'ādat (The Alchemy of Happiness) [a compact version of Ihya, in Persian]
• Nasihat al-muluk (Counseling Kings) [in Persian]
• al-Munqidh min al-dalal (Rescuer from Error)
• Minhaj al-'Abidin (Methodology for the Worshipers)
• Maqasid al falasifa (Aims of Philosophers) [written in the beginning of his life, in favour of philosophy and presenting the basic theories in Philosophy, mostly influenced by Avicenna's works]
• Tahafut al-Falasifa (The Incoherence of the Philosophers), [in this book he refutes the Greek Philosophy aiming at Avicenna and Al-Farabi; and of which Ibn Rushd wrote his famous refutation Tahafut al-tahafut (The Incoherence of the Incoherence)]
• Miyar al-Ilm fi fan al-Mantiq (Criterion of Knowledge in the Art of Logic)
• Mihak al-Nazar fi al-mantiq (Touchstone of Reasoning in Logic)
• al-Qistas al-mustaqim (The Correct Balance)
• Makashfa Al Quloub
• Fatawy al-Ghazali (Verdicts of Ghazali)
• Al-wasit fi al-mathab (The medium [digest] in the Jurisprudential school)
• Kitab tahzib al-Isul (Prunning on Legal Theory)
• al-Mustasfa fi 'ilm al-isul (The Clarified in Legal Theory)
• Asas al-Qiyas (Foundation of Analogical reasoning)
[edit] Works in Persian
Ghazali wrote most of his works in Arabic and few in Persian. His most important Persian work is Kīmyāyé Sa'ādat (The Alchemy of Happiness). It is Ghazali's own Persian version of Ihya'e Ulumuddin (The Revival of Religious Sciences) in Arabic, but a shorter work. It is one of the outstanding works of 11th century Persian literature. The book was published several times in Tehran by the edition of Hussain Khadiv-jam, an Iranian scholar. It has been translated to English, Arabic, Turkish, Urdu and other languages.

a manuscript copy of al-Munqidh min al-Dalal, Persian, 1705 A.D.
Apart from Kimya, the most celebrated of Ghazali's works in Persian is Nasīhatul Mulūk (The Counseling Kings), written most probably for Sultan Ahmad Sanjar ibn Malekshah. In the edition published by Jalāluddīn Humāyī, the book consists of two parts of which only the first can reliably be attributed to Ghazali. The language and the contents of some passages are similar to the Kimyaye Sa'adat. The second part differs considerably in content and style from the well-known writings of Ghazali. It contains the stories of pre-Islamic kings of Persia, especially those of Khosrau I. Nasihatul Muluk was early translated to Arabic under the title al-Tibr al-masbuk fi nasihat al-muluk (The Forged Sword in Counseling Kings).
Zād-e Ākherat (Provision for the hereafter) is an important Persian book of Ghazali but gained less scholarly attention. The greater part of it consists of the Persian translation of one of his Arabic books, Bedāyat al-Hedāya (Beginning of Guidance). It contains in addition the same contents as the Kīmyāyé Sa'ādat. The book was most probably written during the last years of his life. Its manuscripts are in Kabul (Library of the Department of Press) and in Leiden.
Pand-nāma (Book of Counsel) is another book of advice and probably attributed to Sultan Sanjar. The introduction to the book relates that Ghazali wrote the book in response to a certain king who had asked him for advice. Ay farzand (O son!) is a short book of counsel that Ghazali wrote for one of his students. The book was early translated to Arabic entitled ayyuhal walad. His another Persian work is Hamāqāti ahli ibāhat or Raddi ebāhīyya (Condemnation of antinomians) which is his opinion in Persian illustrated with Quranic verses and Hadiths.
Faza'ilul al-anam min rasa'ili hujjat al-Islam is the collection of letters in Persians that Ghazali wrote in response to the kings, ministers, jurists and some of his friends after he returned to Khorasan. The collection was gathered by one of his grandchildren after his death, under five sections/chapters. The longest letter is the response to objections raised against some of his statements in Mishkat al-Anwar (The Niche of Light) and al-Munqidh min al-dalal (Rescuer from Error). The first letter is the one which Ghazali wrote to Sultan Sanjar presenting his excuse for teaching in Nizamiyya of Nishapur; followed by Ghazali's speech in the court of Sultan Sanjar. Ghazali made an impressive speech when he was taken to the king's court in Nishapur in 1106, giving very influential counsels, asking the sultan once again to excuse him from teaching in Nizamiyya and refuting the accusations made against him for disrespecting Imam Abu Hanifa in his books. The sultan was so impressed that he ordered Ghazali to write down his speech so that it would be sent to all the religious scholars of Khorasan and Persian Iraq.
[edit] See also
• List of Iranian scientists and scholars
[edit] Notes
1. ^ [1]
2. ^ Ghazali, The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition 2006
3. ^ [2] Böwering, Gerhard – ḠAZĀLĪ entry in Encyclopaedia Iranica
4. ^ a b Najm, Sami M. (July–October 1966), "The Place and Function of Doubt in the Philosophies of Descartes and Al-Ghazali", Philosophy East and West (Philosophy East and West, Vol. 16, No. 3/4) 16 (3–4): 133–41, doi:10.2307/1397536,
5. ^ a b c The Faith and Practice of Al-Ghazali. William Montgomery Watt. Published in 1953 by George Allen and Unwin Ltd, London. pp. 14-16
6. ^ R.M. Frank, Al-Ghazali and the Ash'arite School, Duke University Press, London 1994
7. ^ a b c Anwar, Sabieh (October 2008), "Is Ghazālī really the Halagu of Science in Islam?", Monthly Renaissance 18 (10),, retrieved 2008-10-14
8. ^ Taneli Kukkonen (2000), "Possible Worlds in the Tahâfut al-Falâsifa: Al-Ghazâlî on Creation and Contingency", Journal of the History of Philosophy 38 (4): 479–502, doi:10.1353/hph.2005.0033
9. ^ Annotated translations by Richard Joseph McCarthy (Freedom and Fulfillment, Boston: Twayne, 1980; Deliverance From Error, Louisville, Ky.: Fons Vitae, 1999) and George F. McLean (Deliverance from error and mystical union with the Almighty, Washington, D.C.: Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 2001). An earlier translation by William Montgomery Watt was first published in 1953 (The faith and practice of al-Ghazālī, London: G. Allen and Unwin).
10. ^ Gerhard Böwering, Encyclopedia Iranica, s.v. Ghazali.
11. ^ McCarthy 1980, p. 66
12. ^ William James, Varieties of Religious Experience, Harvard University Press, 1985, p. 319 [= 2002 Modern Library Paperback Edition, p. 438].
13. ^ Gardet, L., “djuz’” in Encyclopaedia of Islam, CD-ROM Edition, v. 1.1, Leiden: Brill, 2001.
14. ^ Dr. Suwaidan, Tareq (13 July 2002), "Challenges Facing the Islamic Reawakening", Salam Magazine (FAMSY’s 20th Annual Conference, RMIT Melbourne) (May–August 2002), archived from the original on 2007-09-05,, retrieved 2008-02-14
15. ^ Marmura, Michael E (1973), "Causation in Islamic Thought", in Wiener, Philip P, Dictionary of the History of Ideas, ISBN 0684132931,;, retrieved 2009-12-02
16. ^ a b c Ragep, F. Jamil (2001b), "Freeing Astronomy from Philosophy: An Aspect of Islamic Influence on Science", Osiris, 2nd Series 16 (Science in Theistic Contexts: Cognitive Dimensions): 49–64 & 66–71
17. ^ Adi Setia (2004), "Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi on Physics and the Nature of the Physical World: A Preliminary Survey", Islam & Science 2,, retrieved 2010-03-02
18. ^ Huff, Toby (2003), The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China, and the West, Cambridge University Press, p. 175, ISBN 0521529948
19. ^ Savage-Smith 1995, pp. 94–5
20. ^ Savage-Smith 1995, pp. 95–6
21. ^ Savage-Smith 1995, pp. 83, 94
22. ^ Savage-Smith 1995
23. ^ a b c Craig, William Lane (June 1979), "Whitrow and Popper on the Impossibility of an Infinite Past", The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 30 (2): 165–170 [165–6], doi:10.1093/bjps/30.2.165
24. ^ History of logic: Arabic logic, Encyclopædia Britannica.
25. ^ Hallaq, Wael B. (1985-1986), "The Logic of Legal Reasoning in Religious and Non-Religious Cultures: The Case of Islamic Law and the Common Law", Cleveland State Law Review 34: 79–96 [91–3]
26. ^ Haque 2004, p. 366
27. ^ a b c Haque 2004, p. 367
28. ^ Simon Kemp, K.T. Strongman, Anger theory and management: A historical analysis, The American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 108, No. 3. (Autumn, 1995), pp. 397–417
29. ^ Haque 2004, pp. 367–8
30. ^ a b Haque 2004, p. 368
31. ^ H-Net Review: Eric Ormsby on Averroes (Ibn Rushd): His Life, Works and Influence
32. ^ The Influence of Islamic Thought on Maimonides (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
33. ^ Tony Street (July 23, 2008). "Arabic and Islamic Philosophy of Language and Logic". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2008-12-05.
34. ^ Savage-Smith 1995, pp. 83, 94–5
35. ^ Shanab, R. E. A. 1974. Ghazali and Aquinason Causation. The Monist: The International Quarterly Journal of General Philosophical Inquiry 58.1: p.140
36. ^ Lewes, George Henry (1867), The History of Philosophy from Thales to Comte, Vol. 2: Modern Philosophy, London: Longmans, Green, and Co., pp. 40,
[edit] References
• Haque, Amber (2004), "Psychology from Islamic perspective: contributions of early Muslim scholars and challenges to contemporary Muslim psychologists", Journal of Religion & Health 43 (4): 357–377, doi:10.1007/s10943-004-4302-z
• Savage-Smith, Emilie (1995), "Attitudes toward dissection in medieval Islam", Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 50 (1): 67–110, doi:10.1093/jhmas/50.1.67, PMID 7876530
[edit] Further reading
• Laoust, H: La politique de Gazali, Paris 1970
• Campanini, M.: Al-Ghazzali, in S.H. Nasr and O. Leaman, History of Islamic Philosophy 1996
• Watt, W. M.: Muslim Intellectual: A Study of al-Ghazali, Edinburgh 1963
• Zwemer, S. M. A Moslem Seeker after God, New York 1920
• Nakamura, K. Al-Ghazali, Encyclopedia of Philosophy
[edit] External links
Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Author:Abu Hamid al-Ghazālī

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Ghazali

• Al-Ghazali website
• Ghazali and Islamic reform
• Al-Ghazali website
• Full text of Incoherence of the Philosophers, from Al-Ghazali website
• Public domain documentary on al-Ghazali
• Al-Ghazali entry by Frank Griffel in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
• Short commentary on The Alchemy of Happiness
• The Alchemy of Happiness, by Mohammed Al-Ghazzali, the Mohammedan Philosopher, trans. Henry A. Homes (Albany, N.Y.: Munsell, 1873). See original text in The Online Library of Liberty.
• "Al-Ghazali Contra Aristotle: An Unforeseen Overture to Science In Eleventh-Century Baghdad". Richard P. Aulie. PSCF 45. March 1994. pp. 26–46.
• Review of Ghazali's Tahafat al-Falasifa

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Muslim scholar

Name: Abū Naṣr Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Fārābī[1]

Title: The Second Teacher[2]

Birth: c. 872[2]

Death: c. 950[2]

Region: Iran, Egypt and Syria

Maddhab: Muslim

School tradition: known as "Father of Islamic Neoplatonism"; gave rise to the Farabian school[1]

Main interests: Metaphysics, Political philosophy, Logic, Music, Science(Tabi'iat), Ethics, Mysticism,[2] Epistemology and Medicine

Works: kitāb al-mūsīqī al-kabīr ("The Great Book Of Music"), ārā ahl al-madīna al-fāḍila ("The Virtuous City"), kitāb iḥṣāʾ al-ʿulūm ("On The Introduction Of Knowledge"), kitāb iḥṣāʾ al-īqā'āt ("Classification Of Rhythms")[2]

Influences: Aristotle, Plato, Porphyry, Ptolemy[citation needed], Al-Kindi

Influenced: Avicenna, Yahya ibn Adi, Abu Sulayman Sijistani, Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi, Ibn Bajjah, Mulla Sadra[2]
Al Amiri, Averroes, Maimonides and Abū Hayyān al-Tawhīdī, Leo Strauss[3]

Abū Naṣr al-Fārābī (Arabic: أبو نصر محمد الفارابي‎, Abū Naṣr Muḥammad al-Fārābī;[1] for other recorded variants of his name see below) known in the West as Alpharabius[4] (c. 872[2] – between 14 December, 950 and 12 January, 951), was a Muslim[2] polymath and one of the greatest scientists and philosophers of the Islamic world in his time. He was also a cosmologist, logician, musician, psychologist and sociologist.
• 1 Biography
o 1.1 Name
o 1.2 Birthplace
o 1.3 Origin
 1.3.1 Iranic origin
 1.3.2 Turkic origin
o 1.4 Life and Education
• 2 Contributions
o 2.1 Alchemy
o 2.2 Logic
o 2.3 Music and sociology
o 2.4 Philosophy
o 2.5 Physics
o 2.6 Psychology
o 2.7 Musician
• 3 Philosophical thought
• 4 Works
o 4.1 Metaphysics and cosmology
o 4.2 Epistemology and eschatology
o 4.3 Psychology, the soul and prophetic knowledge
o 4.4 Practical philosophy (ethics and politics)
• 5 See also
• 6 Notes
• 7 Literature
• 8 External links

[edit] Biography
The existing variations in the basic accounts of al-Farabi's origins and pedigree indicate that they were not recorded during his lifetime or soon thereafter by anyone with concrete information, but were based on hearsay or guesses (as is the case with other contemporaries of al-Farabi).[1] The sources for his life are scanty which makes the reconstruction of his biography beyond a mere outline nearly impossible.[1] The earliest and more reliable sources, i. e., those composed before the 6th/12th century, that are extant today are so few as to indicate that no one among Fārābī’s successors and their followers, or even unrelated scholars, undertook to write his full biography, a neglect that has to be taken into consideration in assessing his immediate impact.[1] The sources prior to the 6th/12th century consist of: (1) an autobiographical passage by Farabi, preserved by Ibn Abī Uṣaibiʿa. In this passage, Farabi traces the transmission of the instruction of logic and philosophy from antiquity to his days. (2) Reports by Al-Masudi, Ibn al-Nadim and Ibn Hawqal as well as by Said Al-Andalusi (d. 1070), who devoted a biography to him.
When major Arabic biographers decided to write comprehensive entries on Farabi in the 6th-7th/12th-13th centuries, there was very little specific information on hand; this allowed for their acceptance of invented stories about his life which range from benign extrapolation on the basis of some known details to tendentious reconstructions and legends.[1] Most modern biographies of the philosopher present various combinations of elements drawn at will from this concocted material.[1] The sources from the 6th/12th century and later consist essentially of three biographical entries, all other extant reports on Farabi being either dependent on them or even later fabrications[1]: 1) the Syrian tradition represented by Ibn Abī Uṣaibiʿa.[1] 2) The Wafayāt al-aʿyān wa-anbāʾ abnāʾ az-zamān (“Deaths of Eminent Men and History of the Sons of the Epoch”; trans. by Baron de Slane, Ibn Khallikan’s Biographical Dictionary, 1842–74) compiled by Ibn Khallikān.[1] 3) the scanty and legendary Eastern tradition, represented by Ẓahīr-al-Dīn Bayhaqī.[1]
From incidental accounts it is known that he spent significant time in Baghdad with Christian scholars including the cleric Yuhanna ibn Haylan, Yahya ibn Adi, and Abu Ishaq Ibrahim al-Baghdadi. He later spent time in Damascus, Syria and Egypt before returning to Damascus where he died in 950-1.[5]
[edit] Name
His name was Abū Naṣr Moḥammad b. Moḥammad Farabi, as all sources, and especially the earliest and most reliable, Al-Masudi, agree.[1] In some manuscripts of Fārābī’s works, which must reflect the reading of their ultimate archetypes from his time, his full name appears as Abū Naṣr Moḥammad b. Moḥammad al-Ṭarḵānī, i.e., the element Ṭarḵān appears in a nisba (family surname or attributive title).[1] Moreover, if the name of Farabi’s grandfather was not known among his contemporaries and immediately succeeding generations, it is all the more surprising to see in the later sources the appearance of yet another name from his pedigree, Awzalaḡ.[1] This appears as the name of the grandfather in Ibn Abī Uṣaibiʿa and of the great-grandfather in Ibn Khallekān. Ibn Abī Uṣaibiʿa is the first source to list this name which, as Ibn Khallekān explicitly specifies later, is so to be pronounced as Awzalaḡ.[1] In modern Turkish scholarship and some other sources, the pronunciation is given as Uzluḡ rather than Awzalaḡ, without any explanation.[1]
[edit] Birthplace
His brithplace is contradicted in the classical sources as either Fāryāb in Khorasan (in modern Afghanistan)[1] or Fārāb on the Jaxartes (Syr Darya) in modern Kazakhstan.[1] The older Persian[1] Pārāb (in Ḥudūd al-ʿĀlam) or Fāryāb (also Pāryāb), is a common Persian toponym meaning “lands irrigated by diversion of river water”.[6][7] By the 13th century, Fārāb on the Jaxartes was known as Otrār.[8]
[edit] Origin
There exist a difference of opinion on the ethnic background of Farabi.[1][9][10] According to D. Gutas, "ultimately pointless as the quest for Farabi’s ethnic origins might be, the fact remains that we do not have sufficient evidence to decide the matter".[1] The Cambridge companion to Arabic philosophy also states that "[...] these biographical facts are paltry in the extreme but we must resist the urge to embellish them with fanciful stories, as the medieval biographers did, or engage in idle speculation about al-Farabi’s ethnicity or religious affiliation on the basis of contrived interpretations of his works, as many modern scholars have done [...]"[11]
[edit] Iranic origin

An Iranian stamp bearing an illustration of Al-Farabi
Medieval Arab historian Ibn Abī Uṣaibiʿa (died in 1269) - al-Farabi's oldest biographer - mentions in his ʿOyūn (final rescension in 1268) that al-Farabi's father was of Persian descent.[1][12] Al-Shahrazūrī who lived around 1288 A.D. and has written an early biography also has stated that Farabi hailed from a Persian family.[13][14] Additionally, Farabi has in a number of his works references and glosses in Persian and Sogdian (and even Greek but, interestingly, no Turkish; see below).[1][15] Sogdian has been mentioned as his native language[16] and the language of the inhabitants of Fārāb.[17] Mohammad Javad Mashkoor argues for an Iranian-speaking Central Asian origin[18] but states Farabi was foremost a Muslim and was great due to blessing of the Quran and Prophet Muhammad, and hence is a Muslim scholar belonging to all of humanity and whether he was Turkish, Iranian or Arab is not of importance.[18] A Persian origin has been discussed by other sources as well.[19]
[edit] Turkic origin

Al-Farabi's imagined face appeared on the currency of the Republic of Kazakhstan
The oldest known reference to a possible Turkic origin is given by the medieval historian Ibn Khallekān (died in 1282), who in his work Wafayāt (completed in 669/1271) states that Farabi was born in the small village of Wasij near Fārāb (in what is today Otrar, Kazakhstan) of Turkic parents. Based on this account, some modern scholars state his origin to be Turkic.[20] Others, such as D. Gutas, criticize this, saying that Ibn Khallekān's account is aimed at the earlier historical accounts by Ibn Abī Uṣaibiʿa, and serves the sole purpose to prove a Turkic origin for al-Farabi, for instance by inventing the additional nisba (surname) "al-Turk" (arab. "the Turk") - a nisba Farabi never had.[1] In this regard, Oxford professor C.E. Bosworth notes that "great figures [such] as al-Farabi, al-Biruni, and ibn Sina have been attached by over enthusiastic Turkish scholars to their race".[21]
[edit] Life and Education
Al-Farabi spent almost his entire life in Baghdad, capital of Abbasids that ruled the Islamic world.[10] In the auto-biographical passage about the appearance of philosophy preserved by Ibn Abī Uṣaibiʿa, Farabi has stated that he had studied logic with Yūḥannā b. Ḥaylān up to and including Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics, i.e., according to the order of the books studied in the curriculum, Fārābī said that he studied Porphyry’s Eisagoge and Aristotle’s Categories, De Interpretatione, Prior and Posterior Analytics. His teacher, Yūḥannā b. Ḥaylān, was a Christian cleric who abandoned lay interests and engaged in his ecclesiastical duties, as Fārābī reports. His studies of Aristotelian logic with Yūḥannā in all probability took place in Baghdad, where Al-Masudi tells us Yūḥannā died during the caliphate of al-Moqtader (295-320/908-32).[1] He was in Baghdad at least until the end of September 942 as we learn from notes in some manuscripts of his Mabādeʾ ārāʾ ahl al-madīna al-fāżela, he had started to compose the book in Baghdad at that time and then left and went to Syria.[1] He finished the book in Damascus the following year (331), i.e., by September 943).[1] He also lived and taught for some time in Aleppo. Later on Farabi visited Egypt; and complete six sections summarizing the book Mabādeʾ in Egypt in 337/July 948-June 949.[1] He returned from Egypt to Syria. Al-Masudi writing writing barely five years after the fact (955-6, the date of the composition of the Tanbīh), says that he died in Damascus in Rajab 339 (between 14 December 950 and 12 January 951).[1] In Syria, he was supported and glorified by Saif ad-Daula, the Hamdanid ruler of Syria.
[edit] Contributions
Farabi made notable contributions to the fields of logic, mathematics, medicine, music, philosophy, psychology, sociology, Educationist,and Musician.
[edit] Alchemy
Al-Farabi wrote: The Necessity of the Art of the Elixir[22]
[edit] Logic
Though he was mainly an Aristotelian logician, he included a number of non-Aristotelian elements in his works. He discussed the topics of future contingents, the number and relation of the categories, the relation between logic and grammar, and non-Aristotelian forms of inference.[23] He is also credited for categorizing logic into two separate groups, the first being "idea" and the second being "proof".
Al-Farabi also considered the theories of conditional syllogisms and analogical inference, which were part of the Stoic tradition of logic rather than the Aristotelian.[24] Another addition Al-Farabi made to the Aristotelian tradition was his introduction of the concept of poetic syllogism in a commentary on Aristotle's Poetics.[25]
[edit] Music and sociology
Farabi wrote books on early Muslim sociology and a notable book on music titled Kitab al-Musiqa (The Book of Music). According to Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Mehdi Aminrazavi[26]: the book of Kitab al-Musiqa is in reality a study of the theory of Persian music of his day although in the West it has been introduced as a book on Arab music. He presents philosophical principles about music, its cosmic qualities and its influences. Al-Farabi's treatise Meanings of the Intellect dealt with music therapy, where he discussed the therapeutic effects of music on the soul.[27]
[edit] Philosophy
As a philosopher, Al-Farabi was a founder of his own school of early Islamic philosophy known as "Farabism" or "Alfarabism", though it was later overshadowed by Avicennism. Al-Farabi's school of philosophy "breaks with the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle [... and ...] moves from metaphysics to methodology, a move that anticipates modernity", and "at the level of philosophy, Alfarabi unites theory and practice [... and] in the sphere of the political he liberates practice from theory". His Neoplatonic theology is also more than just metaphysics as rhetoric. In his attempt to think through the nature of a First Cause, Alfarabi discovers the limits of human knowledge".[28]
Al-Farabi had great influence on science and philosophy for several centuries, and was widely regarded to be second only to Aristotle in knowledge (alluded to by his title of "the Second Teacher") in his time. His work, aimed at synthesis of philosophy and Sufism, paved the way for the work of Ibn Sina (Avicenna).[29]
Al-Farabi also wrote a commentary on Aristotle's work, and one of his most notable works is Al-Madina al-Fadila where he theorized an ideal state as in Plato's The Republic.[30] Al-Farabi represented religion as a symbolic rendering of truth, and, like Plato, saw it as the duty of the philosopher to provide guidance to the state. Al-Farabi departed from the Platonic view in that he regarded the ideal state to be ruled by the prophet-imam, instead of the philosopher-king envisaged by Plato. Al-Farabi argued that the ideal state was the city-state of Medina when it was governed by the prophet Muhammad as its head of state, as he was in direct communion with Allah whose law was revealed to him.
Influenced by the writings of Aristotle, in The Ideas of the Citizens of the Virtuous City and other books, Al-Farabi advanced the view that philosophy and revelation are two different modes of approaching the same truth.[citation needed]
[edit] Physics
Al-Farabi is also known for his early investigations into the nature of the existence of void in Islamic physics.[30] In thermodynamics, he appears to have carried out the first experiments concerning the existence of vacuum, in which he investigated handheld plungers in water.[31] He concluded that air's volume can expand to fill available space, and he suggested that the concept of perfect vacuum was incoherent.[30]
[edit] Psychology
In psychology, al-Farabi's Social Psychology and Model City were the first treatises to deal with social psychology. He stated that "an isolated individual could not achieve all the perfections by himself, without the aid of other individuals." He wrote that it is the "innate disposition of every man to join another human being or other men in the labor he ought to perform." He concluded that in order to "achieve what he can of that perfection, every man needs to stay in the neighborhood of others and associate with them."[27]
[edit] Musician
His On the Cause of Dreams, which appeared as chapter 24 of his Book of Opinions of the people of the Ideal City, was a treatise on dreams, in which he was the first to distinguish between dream interpretation and the nature and causes of dreams.[27]
[edit] Philosophical thought
The main influence on al-Farabi's philosophy was the neo-Aristotelian tradition of Alexandria. A prolific writer, he is credited with over one hundred works.[32] Amongst these are a number of prolegomena to philosophy, commentaries on important Aristotelian works (such as the Nicomachean Ethics) as well as his own works. His ideas are marked by their coherency, despite drawing together of many different philosophical disciplines and traditions. Some other significant influences on his work were the planetary model of Ptolemy and elements of Neo-Platonism,[33] particularly metaphysics and practical (or political) philosophy (which bears more resemblance to Plato's Republic than Aristotle's Politics).[34]
Al-Farabi as well as Ibn Sina and Averroes have been recognized as Peripatetics(al-Mashsha’iyun) or rationalists(Estedlaliun) among Muslims.[35][36][37] However he tried to gather the ideas of Plato and Aristotle in his book "The gathering of the ideas of the two philosophers".[38]
According to Adamson, his work was singularly directed towards the goal of simultaneously reviving and reinventing the Alexandrian philosophical tradition, to which his Christian teacher, Yuhanna bin Haylan belonged. His success should be measured by the honorific title of "the second master" of philosophy (Aristotle being the first), by which he was known. Interestingly, Adamson also says that he does not make any reference to the ideas of either al-Kindi or his contemporary, Abu Bakr al-Razi, which clearly indicates that he did not consider their approach to Philosophy as a correct or viable one.[39]
[edit] Works
[edit] Metaphysics and cosmology
In contrast to al-Kindi, who considered the subject of metaphysics to be God, al-Farabi believed that it was concerned primarily with being qua being (that is, being in of itself), and this is related to God only to the extent that God is a principal of absolute being. Al-Kindi's view was, however, a common misconception regarding Greek philosophy amongst Muslim intellectuals at the time, and it was for this reason that Avicenna remarked that he did not understand Aristotle's Metaphysics properly until he had read a prolegomenon written by al-Farabi.[40]
Al-Farabi's cosmology is essentially based upon three pillars: Aristotelian metaphysics of causation, highly developed Plotinian emanational cosmology and the Ptolemaic astronomy.[41] In his model, the universe is viewed as a number of concentric circles; the outermost sphere or "first heaven", the sphere of fixed stars, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury and finally, the Moon. At the centre of these concentric circles is the sub-lunar realm which contains the material world.[42] Each of these circles represent the domain of the secondary intelligences (symbolized by the celestial bodies themselves), which act as causal intermediaries between the First Cause (in this case, God) and the material world. Furthermore these are said to have emanated from God, who is both their formal and efficient cause. This departs radically from the view of Aristotle, who considered God to be solely a formal cause for the movement of the spheres, but by doing so it renders the model more compatible with the ideas of the theologians.[42]
The process of emanation begins (metaphysically, not temporally) with the First Cause, whose principal activity is self-contemplation. And it is this intellectual activity that underlies its role in the creation of the universe. The First Cause, by thinking of itself, "overflows" and the incorporeal entity of the second intellect "emanates" from it. Like its predecessor, the second intellect also thinks about itself, and thereby brings its celestial sphere (in this case, the sphere of fixed stars) into being, but in addition to this it must also contemplate upon the First Cause, and this causes the "emanation" of the next intellect. The cascade of emanation continues until it reaches the tenth intellect, beneath which is the material world. And as each intellect must contemplate both itself and an increasing number of predecessors, each succeeding level of existence becomes more and more complex. It should be noted that this process is based upon necessity as opposed to will. In other words, God does not have a choice whether or not to create the universe, but by virtue of His own existence, He causes it to be. This view also suggests that the universe is eternal, and both of these points were criticized by al-Ghazzali in his attack on the philosophers[43][44]
In his discussion of the First Cause (or God), al-Farabi relies heavily on negative theology. He says that it cannot be known by intellectual means, such as dialectical division or definition, because the terms used in these processes to define a thing constitute its substance. Therefore if one was to define the First Cause, each of the terms used would actually constitute a part of its substance and therefore behave as a cause for its existence, which is impossible as the First Cause is uncaused; it exists without being caused. Equally, he says it cannot be known according to genus and differentia, as its substance and existence are different from all others, and therefore it has no category to which it belongs. If this were the case, then it would not be the First Cause, because something would be prior in existence to it, which is also impossible. This would suggest that the more philosophically simple a thing is, the more perfect it is. And based on this observation, Adamson says it is possible to see the entire hierarchy of al-Farabi's cosmology according to classification into genus and species. Each succeeding level in this structure has as its principal qualities multiplicity and deficiency, and it is this ever-increasing complexity that typifies the material world.[45]
[edit] Epistemology and eschatology
Human beings are unique in al-Farabi's vision of the universe because they stand between two worlds: the "higher", immaterial world of the celestial intellects and universal intelligibles, and the "lower", material world of generation and decay; they inhabit a physical body, and so belong to the "lower" world, but they also have a rational capacity, which connects them to the "higher" realm. Each level of existence in al-Farabi's cosmology is characterized by its movement towards perfection, which is to become like the First Cause; a perfect intellect. Human perfection (or "happiness"), then, is equated with constant intellection and contemplation.[46]
Al-Farabi divides intellect into four categories: potential, actual, acquired and the Agent. The first three are the different states of the human intellect and the fourth is the Tenth Intellect (the moon) in his emanational cosmology. The potential intellect represents the capacity to think, which is shared by all human beings, and the actual intellect is an intellect engaged in the act of thinking. By thinking, al-Farabi means abstracting universal intelligibles from the sensory forms of objects which have been apprehended and retained in the individual's imagination.[47]
This motion from potentiality to actuality requires the Agent Intellect to act upon the retained sensory forms; just as the Sun illuminates the physical world to allow us to see, the Agent Intellect illuminates the world of intelligibles to allow us to think.[48] This illumination removes all accident (such as time, place, quality) and physicality from them, converting them into primary intelligibles, which are logical principles such as "the whole is greater than the part". The human intellect, by its act of intellection, passes from potentiality to actuality, and as it gradually comprehends these intelligibles, it is identified with them (as according to Aristotle, by knowing something, the intellect becomes like it).[49] Because the Agent Intellect knows all of the intelligibles, this means that when the human intellect knows all of them, it becomes associated with the Agent Intellect's perfection and is known as the acquired Intellect.[50]
While this process seems mechanical, leaving little room for human choice or volition, Reisman says that al-Farabi is committed to human voluntarism.[49] This takes place when man, based on the knowledge he has acquired, decides whether to direct himself towards virtuous or unvirtuous activities, and thereby decides whether or not to seek true happiness. And it is by choosing what is ethical and contemplating about what constitutes the nature of ethics, that the actual intellect can become "like" the active intellect, thereby attaining perfection. It is only by this process that a human soul may survive death, and live on in the afterlife.[48][51]
According to al-Farabi, the afterlife is not the personal experience commonly conceived of by religious traditions such as Islam and Christianity. Any individual or distinguishing features of the soul are annihilated after the death of the body; only the rational faculty survives (and then, only if it has attained perfection), which becomes one with all other rational souls within the agent intellect and enters a realm of pure intelligence.[50] Henry Corbin compares this eschatology with that of the Ismaili Neo-Platonists, for whom this process initiated the next grand cycle of the universe.[52] However, Deborah Black mentions we have cause to be skeptical as to whether this was the mature and developed view of al-Farabi, as later thinkers such as Ibn Tufayl, Averroes and Ibn Bajjah would assert that he repudiated this view in his commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics, which has been lost to modern experts.[50]
[edit] Psychology, the soul and prophetic knowledge
In his treatment of the human soul, al-Farabi draws on a basic Aristotelian outline, which is informed by the commentaries of later Greek thinkers. He says it is composed of four faculties: The appetitive (the desire for, or aversion to an object of sense), the sensitive (the perception by the senses of corporeal substances), the imaginative (the faculty which retains images of sensible objects after they have been perceived, and then separates and combines them for a number of ends), and the rational, which is the faculty of intellection.[53] It is the last of these which is unique to human beings and distinguishes them from plants and animals. It is also the only part of the soul to survive the death of the body. Noticeably absent from these scheme are internal senses, such as common sense, which would be discussed by later philosophers such as Avicenna and Averroes.[54][55]
Special attention must be given to al-Farabi's treatment of the soul's imaginative faculty, which is essential to his interpretation of prophethood and prophetic knowledge. In addition to its ability to retain and manipulate sensible images of objects, he gives the imagination the function of imitation. By this he means the capacity to represent an object with an image other than its own. In other words, to imitate "x" is to imagine "x" by associating it with sensible qualities that do not describe its own appearance. This extends the representative ability of the imagination beyond sensible forms and to include temperaments, emotions, desires and even immaterial intelligibles or abstract universals, as happens when, for example, one associates "evil" with "darkness".[56][57] The prophet, in addition to his own intellectual capacity, has a very strong imaginative faculty, which allows him to receive an overflow of intelligibles from the agent intellect (the tenth intellect in the emanational cosmology). These intelligibles are then associated with symbols and images, which allow him to communicate abstract truths in a way that can be understood by ordinary people. Therefore what makes prophetic knowledge unique is not its content, which is also accessible to philosophers through demonstration and intellection, but rather the form that it is given by the prophet's imagination.[58][59]
[edit] Practical philosophy (ethics and politics)
The practical application of philosophy is a major concern expressed by al-Farabi in many of his works, and while the majority of his philosophical output has been influenced by Aristotelian thought, his practical philosophy is unmistakably based on that of Plato.[60] In a similar manner to Plato's Republic, al-Farabi emphasizes that philosophy is both a theoretical and practical discipline; labeling those philosophers who do not apply their erudition to practical pursuits as "futile philosophers". The ideal society, he says, is one directed towards the realization of "true happiness" (which can be taken to mean philosophical enlightenment) and as such, the ideal philosopher must hone all the necessary arts of rhetoric and poetics to communicate abstract truths to the ordinary people, as well as having achieved enlightenment himself.[61] Al-Farabi compares the philosopher's role in relation to society with a physician in relation to the body; the body's health is affected by the "balance of its humours" just as the city is determined by the moral habits of its people. The philosopher's duty, he says, is to establish a "virtuous" society by healing the souls of the people, establishing justice and guiding them towards "true happiness".[62]
Of course, al-Farabi realizes that such a society is rare and will require a very specific set of historical circumstances in order to be realized, which means very few societies will ever be able to attain this goal. He divides those "vicious" societies, which have fallen short of the ideal "virtuous" society, into three categories: ignorant, wicked and errant. Ignorant societies have, for whatever reason, failed to comprehend the purpose of human existence, and have supplanted the pursuit of happiness for another (inferior) goal, whether this be wealth, sensual gratification or power. It is interesting to note that democratic societies also fall into this category, as they too lack any guiding principle. Both wicked and errant societies have understood the true human end, but they have failed to follow it. The former because they have willfully abandoned it, and the latter because their leaders have deceived and misguided them. Al-Farabi also makes mention of "weeds" in the virtuous society; those people who try to undermine its progress towards the true human end.[63]
Whether or not al-Farabi actually intended to outline a political programme in his writings remains a matter of dispute amongst academics. Henry Corbin, who considers al-Farabi to be a crypto-Shi'ite, says that his ideas should be understood as a "prophetic philosophy" instead of being interpreted politically.[64] On the other hand, Charles Butterworth contends that nowhere in his work does al-Farabi speak of a prophet-legislator or revelation (even the word philosophy is scarcely mentioned), and the main discussion that takes place concerns the positions of "king" and "statesmen".[65] Occupying a middle position is David Reisman, who like Corbin believes that al-Farabi did not want to expound a political doctrine (although he does not go so far to attribute it to Islamic Gnosticism either). He argues that al-Farabi was using different types of society as examples, in the context of an ethical discussion, to show what effect correct or incorrect thinking could have.[66] Lastly, Joshua Parens argues that al-Farabi was slyly asserting that a pan-Islamic society could not be made, by using reason to show how many conditions (such as moral and deliberative virtue) would have to be met, thus leading the reader to conclude that humans are not fit for such a society.[67] Some other authors like Mykhaylo Yakubovych attest that for al-Farabi religion (milla) and philosophy (falsafa) constituted the same praxeological value (i.e. basis for amal al-fadhil - "virtuos deed"), while its epistemological level (ilm - "knowledge") was different.[68]
[edit] See also
• Charles Butterworth
• List of Iranian scholars
• Islamic scholars
• Islamic mythology
• List of Shi'a Muslims
[edit] Notes
1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad Dimitri Gutas, "Farabi" in Encyclopædia Iranica, Online Edition. accessed April 4, 2010. [1]
2. ^ a b c d e f g h Corbin, Henry; Hossein Nasr and Utman Yahya (2001). History of Islamic Philosophy. Kegan Paul. ISBN 978-0710304162.
3. ^ Brague, Rémi; Brague, Remi (1998). "Athens, Jerusalem, Mecca: Leo Strauss's "Muslim" Understanding of Greek Philosophy". Poetics Today 19 (2): 235–259. doi:10.2307/1773441. ISSN 0333-5372.
4. ^ Alternative names and translations from Arabic include: Alfarabi, Farabi, and Abunaser
5. ^ Reisman, D.(ed.)Before and After Avicenna. Princeton, NJ. 2001
6. ^ DANIEL BALLAND, "FĀRYĀB" in Encyclopedia Iranica [2]. excerpt: "Fāryāb (also Pāryāb), common Persian toponym meaning “lands irrigated by diversion of river water"
7. ^ Dehkhoda Dictionary under "Parab" excerpt: "پاراب . (اِ مرکب ) زراعتی که به آب چشمه و کاریز ورودخانه و مانند آن کنند مَسقوی . آبی . مقابل دیم" (translation: "Lands irrigated by diversion of river water, springs and qanats.")
8. ^ C. E. Bosworth, "OTRĀR" in Encyclopedia Iranica
9. ^ al-Fārābī. (2010). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved February 20, 2010, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:
10. ^ a b D. Gutas, "AlFarabi" in Barthaolomew's World accessed Feb 18, 2010
11. ^ David C. Reisman, "Al-Farabi and the philosophical curriculum", in Peter Adamson, Richard C. Taylor, "The Cambridge companion to Arabic philosophy", Cambridge University Press, 2005. pp 53: "These biographical facts are paltry in the extreme but we must resist the urge to embellish them with fanciful stories, as the medieval biographers did, or engage in idle speculation about al-Farabi’s ethnicity or religious affiliation on the basis of contrived interpretations of his works, as many modern scholars have done"
12. ^ Ebn Abi Osaybea, Oyun al-anba fi tabaqat at-atebba, ed. A. Müller, Cairo, 1299/1882. و كان ابوه قائد جيش و هو فارسي
13. ^ Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Mehdi Amin Razavi. "An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia, Vol. 1: From Zoroaster to Umar Khayyam", I.B. Tauris in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2007. Pg 134: “Ibn Nadim in his al-Fihrist, which is the first work to mention Farabi considers him to be of Persian origin, as does Mohammad Shahrazuri in his Tarikh al-hukama and Ibn Abi Usaybi'ah in his Tabaqat al-atibba. In contrast, Ibn Khallikan in his '"Wafayat al-'ayan considers him to be of Turkish descent. In any case, he was born in Farab in Khurasan of that day around 257/870 in a climate of Persianate culture"
14. ^ Arabic: و كان من سلاله فارس in J. Mashkur, Farab and Farabi,Tehran,1972. See also Dehkhoda Dictionary under the entry Farabi for the same exact Arabic quote.
15. ^
o George Fadlo Hourani, Essays on Islamic Philosophy and Science, Suny press, 1975.
o Kiki Kennedy-Day, Books of Definition in Islamic Philosophy: The Limits of Words, Routledge, 2002, page 32.
16. ^ Joshua Parens (2006). An Islamic philosophy of virtuous religions : introducing Alfarabi. Albany, NY: State Univ. of New York Press. pp. 3. ISBN 0-7914-6689-2 excerpt: "He was a native speaker of Turkic [sic] dialect, Soghdian".
17. ^ Joep Lameer, "Al-Fārābī and Aristotelian syllogistics: Greek theory and Islamic practice", E.J. Brill, 1994. ISBN 90-04-09884-4 pg 22: "..Islamic world of that time, an area whose inhabitants must have spoken Soghdian or maybe a Turkish dialect..."
18. ^ a b مشكور، محمدجواد. “فاراب و فارابي“. دوره14، ش161 (اسفند 54): 15-20- . J. Mashkur, "Farabi and Farabi" in volume 14, No. 161, pp 15-12 ,Tehran,1972. [3] English translations of the arguments used by J. Mashkur can be found in: G. Lohraspi, "Some remarks on Farabi's background"; a scholarly approach citing C.E. Bosworth, B. Lewis, R. Frye, D. Gutas, J. Mashkur and partial translation of J.Mashkur's arguments: PDF. ولي فارابي فيلسوف تنها متعلق به ايران نبود بلكه به عالم اسلام تعلق داشت و از بركت قرآن و دين محمد به اين مقام رسيد. از اينجهت هه دانشمنداني كه در اينجا گرد آمدهاند او را يك دانشمند مسلمان متعلق به عالم انسانيت ميدانند و كاري به تركي و فارسي و عربي بودن او ندارند.
19. ^
o P.J. King, "One Hundred Philosophers: the life and work of the world's greatest thinkers", chapter al-Fārābi, Zebra, 2006. pp 50: "Of Persian stock, al-Farabi (Alfarabius, AbuNaser) was born in Turkestan"
o Henry Thomas, Understanding the Great Philosophers, Doubleday,Published 1962
o T. J. Denboer, "The History of Philosophy in Islam", BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2008. Excerpt page 98:"His father is said to have been a Persian General". ISBN 0-554-30253-5, 9780554302539
ت، حـ، ديبور: تاريخ الفلسفة في الإسلام. ترجمة: محمد عبد الهادي أو ريدة. مطبعة لجنة التأليف والترجمة، القاهرة، ط4، 1957،ص 196
o Sterling M. McMurrin, Religion, Reason, and Truth: Historical Essays in the Philosophy of Religion, University of Utah Press, 1982, ISBN 0-87480-203-2. page 40.
o edited by Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen M. Higgins. (2003). From Africa to Zen : an invitation to world philosophy. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 163. ISBN 0-7425-1350-5 "al-Farabi (870-950), a Persian,"
o Thomas F. Glick. (1995). From Muslim fortress to Christian castle : social and cultural change in medieval Spain. Manchester: Manchester University Press. pp. 170. ISBN 0-7190-3349-7 "It was thus that al-Farabi (c. 870-950), a Persian philosopher"
o The World's Greatest Seers and Philosophers.. Gardners Books. 2005. pp. 41. ISBN 81-223-0824-4 "al-Farabi (also known as Abu al-Nasr al-Farabi) was born of Turkish parents in the small village of Wasij near Farab, Turkistan (now in Uzbekistan) in 870 AD. His parents were of Persian descent, but their ancestors had migrated to Turkistan."
o Bryan Bunch with Alexander Hellemans. (2004). The history of science and technology : a browser's guide to the great discoveries, inventions, and the people who made them, from the dawn of time to today. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 108. ISBN 0-618-22123-9 "Persian scholar al-Farabi"
o Olivier Roy, "The new Central Asia: the creation of nations ", I.B.Tauris, 2000. 1860642799. pg 167: "Kazakhistan also annexes for the purpose of bank notes Al Farabi (870-950), the Muslim philosopher who was born in the south of present-day Kazakhistan but who persumably spoke Persian, particularly because in that era there were no Kazakhs in the region"
o Majid Khadduri; [foreword by R. K. Ramazani]. The Islamic conception of justice. Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, c1984.. pp. 84. ISBN 0-8018-6974-9 "Nasr al-Farabi was born in Farab (a small town in Transoxiana) in 259/870 to a family of mixed parentage — the father, who married a Turkish woman, is said to have been of Persian and Turkish descent — but both professed the Shi'l heterodox faith. He spoke Persian and Turkish fluently and learned the Arabic language before he went to Baghdad.
o Fākhūrī, Ḥannā., Tārīkh al-fikr al-falsafī ʻinda al-ʻArab, al-Duqqī, al-Jīzah : al-Sharikah al-Miṣrīyah al-ʻĀlamīyah lil-Nashr, Lūnjmān, 2002.
20. ^ * edited by Ted Honderich. (1995). The Oxford companion to philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 269. ISBN 0-19-866132-0 "Of Turki origin, al-Farabi studied under Christian thinkers"
o edited and translated by Norman Calder, Jawid Mojaddedi and Andrew Rippin. (2003). Classical Islam : a sourcebook of religious literature. New York: Routledge. pp. 170. ISBN 0-415-24032-8 "He was of Turkish origin, was born in Turkestan"
o Ian Richard Netton. (1999). Al-Fārābī and his school. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon. ISBN 0-7007-1064-7 "He appears to have been born into a military family of Turkish origin in the village of Wasil, Farab, in Turkestan"
o edited by Henrietta Moore. (1996). The future of anthropological knowledge. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-10786-5 "al-Farabi (873-950), a scholar of Turkish origin."
o Diané Collinson and Robert Wilkinson. (1994). Thirty-Five Oriental Philosophers.. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-203-02935-6 "Al-Farabi is thought to be of Turkish origin. His family name suggests that he came from the vicinity of Farab in Transoxiana."
o Fernand Braudel ; translated by Richard Mayne. (1995). A history of civilizations. New York, N.Y.: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-012489-6 "Al-Farabi, born in 870, was of Turkish origin. He lived in Aleppo and died in 950 in Damascus"
o Jaroslav Krejčí ; assisted by Anna Krejčová. (1990). Before the European challenge : the great civilizations of Asia and the Middle East. Albany: State University of New York Press. pp. 140. ISBN 0-7914-0168-5 "the Transoxanian Turk al-Farabi (d. circa 950)"
o Hamid Naseem. (2001). Muslim philosophy science and mysticism. New Delhi: Sarup & Sons. pp. 78. ISBN 81-7625-230-1 "Al-Farabi, the first Turkish philosopher"
o Clifford Sawhney. The World's Greatest Seers and Philosophers, 2005, p. 41
o Zainal Abidin Ahmad. Negara utama (Madinatuʾl fadilah) Teori kenegaraan dari sardjana Islam al Farabi. 1964, p. 19
o Haroon Khan Sherwani. Studies in Muslim Political Thought and Administration. 1945, p. 63
o Ian Richard Netton. Al-Farabi and His School, 1999, p. 5
21. ^ Clifford Edmund Bosworth, "Barbarian Incursions: The Coming of the Turks into the Islamic World." In Islamic Civilization, ed. by D.S. Richards. Oxford, 1973.
22. ^
23. ^ History of logic: Arabic logic, Encyclopædia Britannica.
24. ^ Feldman, Seymour (26 November 1964). "Rescher on Arabic Logic". The Journal of Philosophy (Journal of Philosophy, Inc.) 61 (22): 726. ISSN 0022362X. Retrieved 2010-03-24.
Long, A. A.; D. N. Sedley (1987). The Hellenistic Philosophers. Vol 1: Translations of the principal sources with philosophical commentary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-27556-3.
25. ^ Ludescher, Tanyss (February 1996). "The Islamic roots of the poetic syllogism". College Literature. Archived from the original on 2008-02-17. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
26. ^ Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Professor Mehdi Aminrazavi. “An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia, Vol. 1: From Zoroaster to ‘Umar Khayyam”, I.B. Tauris in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2007. Pg 135: “Morever, he was a master of music theory; his Kitab al-Musiqa al-Kabir (The Great book on Music), known in the West as a book on Arabic music, is in reality a study of the theory of Persian music of his day as well as presenting certain great philosophical principle about music, its cosmic qualities, and its influence on the soul”
27. ^ a b c Amber Haque (2004), "Psychology from Islamic Perspective: Contributions of Early Muslim Scholars and Challenges to Contemporary Muslim Psychologists", Journal of Religion and Health 43 (4): 357-377 [363].
28. ^ Netton, Ian Richard (2008). "Breaking with Athens: Alfarabi as Founder, Applications of Political Theory By Christopher A. Colmo". Journal of Islamic Studies (Oxford University Press) 19 (3): 397–8. doi:10.1093/jis/etn047.
29. ^ "Avicenna/Ibn Sina (CA. 980-1137)". The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2007-07-13.
30. ^ a b c Arabic and Islamic Natural Philosophy and Natural Science, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
31. ^ Zahoor, Akram (2000). Muslim History: 570-1950 C.E.. Gaithersburg, MD: AZP (ZMD Corporation). ISBN 9780970238900.[self-published source?]
32. ^ Black, D. Al-Farabi in Leaman, O & Nasr, H (2001). History of Islamic Philosophy. London: Routledge. p178.
33. ^ Motahhari, Mortaza, Becoming familiar with Islamic knowledge, V1, p:162
34. ^ Reisman, D. Al-Farabi and the Philosophical Curriculum In Adamson, P & Taylor, R. (2005). The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p52
35. ^ Motahhari, Morteza, Becoming familiar with Islamic knowledge, V1, p.166 اگر بخواهيم كلمه‏ای را به‏ كار بريم كه مفيد مفهوم روش فلسفی مشائين باشد بايد كلمه ( استدلالی ) را به كار بريم .
36. ^ Dictionary of Islamic Philosophical Terms
37. ^ Aristotelianism in Islamic philosophy
38. ^ Motahhari, Mortaza, Becoming familiar with Islamic knowledge, V1, p.167 فارابی كتاب كوچك معروفی دارد به نام ( الجمع بين رأيی الحكيمين ) در اين كتاب مسائل اختلافی اين دو فيلسوف طرح شده و كوشش شده كه به نحوی‏ اختلافات ميان اين دو حكيم از بين برود .
39. ^ Reisman, p55
40. ^ Black, p188
41. ^ Reisman, p56
42. ^ a b Black, p189
43. ^ Reisman, p57
44. ^ Corbin, H. (1993). History of Islamic Philosophy. London: Keagan Paul International. p161
45. ^ Reisman, p58-59
46. ^ Reisman, p61
47. ^ page 461
48. ^ a b Reisman, p64
49. ^ a b Reisman, p63
50. ^ a b c Black, p186
51. ^ Corbin, p158
52. ^ Corbin, p165
53. ^ Black, p184
54. ^ Reisman, p60-61
55. ^ Black (2), D. Psychology: Soul and Intellect in Adamson, P and Taylor, R. (2005). The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p313
56. ^ Black (b), p313
57. ^ Black, p185
58. ^ Corbin, p164
59. ^ Black, p187
60. ^ Corbin, p162
61. ^ Black, p190
62. ^ Butterworth, p278
63. ^ Black, p191
64. ^ Corbin, p162-163
65. ^ Butterworth, C. Ethical and Political Philosophy in Adamson, P and Taylor, R. (2005). The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p276
66. ^ Reisman, p68
67. ^ Joshua Parens, An Islamic Philosophy of Virtuous Religions: Introducing Alfarabi (New York: State University of New York Press, 2006), 2.
68. ^ Mykhaylo Yakubovych. Al-Farabi's Book of Religion. Ukrainian translation, introduction and comments / Ukrainian Religious Studies Bulletin, 2008, Vol. 47, P. 237.
[edit] Literature
• Corbin, Henry; Hossein Nasr and Utman Yahya (1993). History of Islamic Philosophy. Keagan Paul International. ISBN 978-0710304162.
• Habib Hassan Touma (1996). The Music of the Arabs, trans. Laurie Schwartz. Portland, Oregon: Amadeus Press. ISBN 0-9313...
• Majid Fakhry, Al-Farabi, Founder of Islamic Neoplatonism: His Life, Works, and Influence, Oxford: Oneworld Publications, (2002), ISBN 1-85168-302-X. Trad. esp.: "Alfarabi y la fundación de la filosofía política islámica", trad R. Ramón Guerrero, Barcelona, Herder, 2003.
• Christoph Marcinkowski, "A Biographical Note on Ibn Bajjah (Avempace) and an English Translation of his Annotations to Al-Farabi's Isagoge". Iqbal Review (Lahore, Pakistan), vol. 43, no 2 (April 2002), pp 83–99.
• Deborah Black. Al-Farabi in Leaman, O & Nasr, H (2001). History of Islamic Philosophy. London: Routledge.
• David Reisman. Al-Farabi and the Philosophical Curriculum In Adamson, P & Taylor, R. (2005). The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
• Deborah Black. Psychology: Soul and Intellect in Adamson, P and Taylor, R. (2005). The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
• Charles Butterworth. Ethical and Political Philosophy in Adamson, P and Taylor, R. (2005). The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
• Rafael Ramón Guerrero. “Apuntes biográficos de al-Fârâbî según sus vidas árabes”, in Anaquel de Estudios Árabes, 14 (2003) 231-238.
[edit] External links
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Al-Farabi

• Mahdi, Muhsin (2008) [1970-80]. "Al-Fārābī, Abū Naṣr Muḥammad Ibn Muḥammad Ibn Ṭarkhān Ibn Awzalagh". Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography.
• First Iranian Expert in the Art and the Science of Music: A Research Article by Professor Saadat Noury
• al-Farabi at Britannica
• Abu Al-Nasr Al-Farabi: The Second Teacher
• Hakim Abou Nasr Farabi at
• Abu Nasr al-Farabi at
• al-Fārābi—brief introduction by Peter J. King
• The Philosophy of Alfarabi and Its Influence on Medieval Thought (1947)
• Al-Farabi Kazakh National University
• al-madina al-fadila (The Virtuous City). German introduction with Arabic text.
• Article discussing Soghdian origin for Farabi PDF version[4]
• ALFARABI-Trinity College

Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī
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Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī

A stamp issued September 6, 1983 in the Soviet Union, commemorating al-Khwārizmī's (approximate) 1200th birthday.
Born c. 780
Died c. 850
Ethnicity Persian[1][2][3]

Known for Contributions to mathematics; Founder of Algebra

Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī[4] (Persian/Arabic: أبو عبد الله محمد بن موسى الخوارزمي) (c. 780, Khwārizm[2][5][6] – c. 850) was a Persian[1][2][3] mathematician, astronomer and geographer, a scholar in the House of Wisdom in Baghdad.
His Kitab al-Jabr wa-l-Muqabala presented the first systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations. He is considered the founder of algebra,[7] a credit he shares with Diophantus. In the twelfth century, Latin translations of his work on the Indian numerals, introduced the decimal positional number system to the Western world.[6] He revised Ptolemy's Geography and wrote on astronomy and astrology.
His contributions had a great impact on language. "Algebra" is derived from al-jabr, one of the two operations he used to solve quadratic equations. Algorism and algorithm stem from Algoritmi, the Latin form of his name.[8] His name is the origin of (Spanish) guarismo[9] and of (Portuguese) algarismo, both meaning digit.
• 1 Life
• 2 Contributions
o 2.1 Algebra
o 2.2 Arithmetic
o 2.3 Trigonometry
o 2.4 Astronomy
o 2.5 Geography
o 2.6 Jewish calendar
o 2.7 Other works
• 3 See also
• 4 Notes
• 5 Further reading
o 5.1 General references

[edit] Life
He was born in a Persian[1][2][3] family and his birthplace is given as Chorasmia by Ibn al-Nadim.
Few details of al-Khwārizmī's life are known with certainty. His birthplace is given as Chorasmia by Ibn al-Nadim. His name may indicate that he came from Khwarezm (Khiva), then in Greater Khorasan, which occupied the eastern part of the Greater Iran, now Xorazm Province in Uzbekistan. Abu Rayhan Biruni calls the people of Khwarizm "a branch of the Persian tree".[10]
Al-Tabari gave his name as Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwārizmī al-Majousi al-Katarbali (Arabic: محمد بن موسى الخوارزميّ المجوسـيّ القطربّـليّ). The epithet al-Qutrubbulli could indicate he might instead have come from Qutrubbul (Qatrabbul)[11], a viticulture district near Baghdad. However, Rashed[12] points out that:
There is no need to be an expert on the period or a philologist to see that al-Tabari's second citation should read “Muhammad ibn Mūsa al-Khwārizmī and al-Majūsi al-Qutrubbulli,” and that there are two people (al-Khwārizmī and al-Majūsi al-Qutrubbulli) between whom the letter wa [Arabic ‘و’ for the article ‘and’] has been omitted in an early copy. This would not be worth mentioning if a series of errors concerning the personality of al-Khwārizmī, occasionally even the origins of his knowledge, had not been made. Recently, G. J. Toomer ... with naive confidence constructed an entire fantasy on the error which cannot be denied the merit of amusing the reader.
Regarding al-Khwārizmī's religion, Toomer writes:
Another epithet given to him by al-Ṭabarī, "al-Majūsī," would seem to indicate that he was an adherent of the old Zoroastrian religion. This would still have been possible at that time for a man of Iranian origin, but the pious preface to al-Khwārizmī's Algebra shows that he was an orthodox Muslim, so al-Ṭabarī's epithet could mean no more than that his forebears, and perhaps he in his youth, had been Zoroastrians.[1]
In Ibn al-Nadīm's Kitāb al-Fihrist we find a short biography on al-Khwārizmī, together with a list of the books he wrote. Al-Khwārizmī accomplished most of his work in the period between 813 and 833. After the Islamic conquest of Persia, Baghdad became the centre of scientific studies and trade, and many merchants and scientists from as far as China and India traveled to this city, as did Al-Khwārizmī. He worked in Baghdad as a scholar at the House of Wisdom established by Caliph al-Maʾmūn, where he studied the sciences and mathematics, which included the translation of Greek and Sanskrit scientific manuscripts.
[edit] Contributions
Al-Khwārizmī's contributions to mathematics, geography, astronomy, and cartography established the basis for innovation in algebra and trigonometry. His systematic approach to solving linear and quadratic equations led to algebra, a word derived from the title of his 830 book on the subject, "The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing" (al-Kitab al-mukhtasar fi hisab al-jabr wa'l-muqabalaالكتاب المختصر في حساب الجبر والمقابلة).
On the Calculation with Hindu Numerals written about 825, was principally responsible for spreading the Indian system of numeration throughout the Middle East and Europe. It was translated into Latin as Algoritmi de numero Indorum. Al-Khwārizmī, rendered as (Latin) Algoritmi, led to the term "algorithm".
Some of his work was based on Persian and Babylonian astronomy, Indian numbers, and Greek mathematics.
Al-Khwārizmī systematized and corrected Ptolemy's data for Africa and the Middle east. Another major book was Kitab surat al-ard ("The Image of the Earth"; translated as Geography), presenting the coordinates of places based on those in the Geography of Ptolemy but with improved values for the Mediterranean Sea, Asia, and Africa.
He also wrote on mechanical devices like the astrolabe and sundial.
He assisted a project to determine the circumference of the Earth and in making a world map for al-Ma'mun, the caliph, overseeing 70 geographers.[13]
When, in the 12th century, his works spread to Europe through Latin translations, it had a profound impact on the advance of mathematics in Europe. He introduced Arabic numerals into the Latin West, based on a place-value decimal system developed from Indian sources.[14]
[edit] Algebra
Main article: The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing

A page from al-Khwārizmī's Algebra
Al-Kitāb al-mukhtaṣar fī ḥisāb al-jabr wa-l-muqābala (Arabic: الكتاب المختصر في حساب الجبر والمقابلة‎, 'The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing') is a mathematical book written approximately 830 CE. The book was written with the encouragement of the Caliph al-Ma'mun as a popular work on calculation and is replete with examples and applications to a wide range of problems in trade, surveying and legal inheritance[15]. The term algebra is derived from the name of one of the basic operations with equations (al-jabr, meaning completion, or, subtracting a number from both sides of the equation) described in this book. The book was translated in Latin as Liber algebrae et almucabala by Robert of Chester (Segovia, 1145) hence "algebra", and also by Gerard of Cremona. A unique Arabic copy is kept at Oxford and was translated in 1831 by F. Rosen. A Latin translation is kept in Cambridge.[16]
This book is considered the foundational text of modern algebra. It provided an exhaustive account of solving polynomial equations up to the second degree,[17] and introduced the fundamental methods of "reduction" and "balancing", referring to the transposition of subtracted terms to the other side of an equation, that is, the cancellation of like terms on opposite sides of the equation.[18]
Al-Khwārizmī's method of solving linear and quadratic equations worked by first reducing the equation to one of six standard forms (where b and c are positive integers)
• squares equal roots (ax2 = bx)
• squares equal number (ax2 = c)
• roots equal number (bx = c)
• squares and roots equal number (ax2 + bx = c)
• squares and number equal roots (ax2 + c = bx)
• roots and number equal squares (bx + c = ax2)
by dividing out the coefficient of the square and using the two operations al-jabr (Arabic: الجبر‎ “restoring” or “completion”) and al-muqābala ("balancing"). Al-jabr is the process of removing negative units, roots and squares from the equation by adding the same quantity to each side. For example, x2 = 40x − 4x2 is reduced to 5x2 = 40x. Al-muqābala is the process of bringing quantities of the same type to the same side of the equation. For example, x2 + 14 = x + 5 is reduced to x2 + 9 = x.
The above discussion uses modern mathematical notation for the types of problems which the book discusses. However, in al-Khwārizmī's day, most of this notation had not yet been invented, so he had to use ordinary text to present problems and their solutions. For example, for one problem he writes, (from an 1831 translation)
"If some one say: "You divide ten into two parts: multiply the one by itself; it will be equal to the other taken eighty-one times." Computation: You say, ten less thing, multiplied by itself, is a hundred plus a square less twenty things, and this is equal to eighty-one things. Separate the twenty things from a hundred and a square, and add them to eighty-one. It will then be a hundred plus a square, which is equal to a hundred and one roots. Halve the roots; the moiety is fifty and a half. Multiply this by itself, it is two thousand five hundred and fifty and a quarter. Subtract from this one hundred; the remainder is two thousand four hundred and fifty and a quarter. Extract the root from this; it is forty-nine and a half. Subtract this from the moiety of the roots, which is fifty and a half. There remains one, and this is one of the two parts."[15]
In modern notation this process, with 'x' the "thing" (shay') or "root", is given by the steps,
(10 − x)2 = 81x
x2 + 100 = 101x
Let the roots of the equation be 'p' and 'q'. Then , pq = 100 and

So a root is given by

Several authors have also published texts under the name of Kitāb al-jabr wa-l-muqābala, including |Abū Ḥanīfa al-Dīnawarī, Abū Kāmil Shujā ibn Aslam, Abū Muḥammad al-ʿAdlī, Abū Yūsuf al-Miṣṣīṣī, 'Abd al-Hamīd ibn Turk, Sind ibn ʿAlī, Sahl ibn Bišr, and Šarafaddīn al-Ṭūsī.
J. J. O'Conner and E. F. Robertson wrote in the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive:
"Perhaps one of the most significant advances made by Arabic mathematics began at this time with the work of al-Khwarizmi, namely the beginnings of algebra. It is important to understand just how significant this new idea was. It was a revolutionary move away from the Greek concept of mathematics which was essentially geometry. Algebra was a unifying theory which allowed rational numbers, irrational numbers, geometrical magnitudes, etc., to all be treated as "algebraic objects". It gave mathematics a whole new development path so much broader in concept to that which had existed before, and provided a vehicle for future development of the subject. Another important aspect of the introduction of algebraic ideas was that it allowed mathematics to be applied to itself in a way which had not happened before."[19]
R. Rashed and Angela Armstrong write:
"Al-Khwarizmi's text can be seen to be distinct not only from the Babylonian tablets, but also from Diophantus' Arithmetica. It no longer concerns a series of problems to be resolved, but an exposition which starts with primitive terms in which the combinations must give all possible prototypes for equations, which henceforward explicitly constitute the true object of study. On the other hand, the idea of an equation for its own sake appears from the beginning and, one could say, in a generic manner, insofar as it does not simply emerge in the course of solving a problem, but is specifically called on to define an infinite class of problems."[20]

Page from a Latin translation, beginning with "Dixit algorizmi"
[edit] Arithmetic
Al-Khwārizmī's second major work was on the subject of arithmetic, which survived in a Latin translation but was lost in the original Arabic. The translation was most likely done in the twelfth century by Adelard of Bath, who had also translated the astronomical tables in 1126.
The Latin manuscripts are untitled, but are commonly referred to by the first two words with which they start: Dixit algorizmi ("So said al-Khwārizmī"), or Algoritmi de numero Indorum ("al-Khwārizmī on the Hindu Art of Reckoning"), a name given to the work by Baldassarre Boncompagni in 1857. The original Arabic title was possibly Kitāb al-Jamʿ wa-l-tafrīq bi-ḥisāb al-Hind[21] ("The Book of Addition and Subtraction According to the Hindu Calculation")[22]
Al-Khwarizmi's work on arithmetic was responsible for introducing the Arabic numerals, based on the Hindu-Arabic numeral system developed in Indian mathematics, to the Western world. The term "algorithm" is derived from the algorism, the technique of performing arithmetic with Hindu-Arabic numerals developed by al-Khwarizmi. Both "algorithm" and "algorism" are derived from the Latinized forms of al-Khwarizmi's name, Algoritmi and Algorismi, respectively.
[edit] Trigonometry
In trigonometry, al-Khwārizmī (c. 780-850) produced tables for the trigonometric functions of sines and cosine in the Zīj al-Sindhind,[23] alongside the first tables for tangents. He was also an early pioneer in spherical trigonometry, and wrote a treatise on the subject.[19]
[edit] Astronomy

Corpus Christi College MS 283
Al-Khwārizmī's Zīj al-Sindhind[1] (Arabic: زيج "astronomical tables of Sind and Hind") is a work consisting of approximately 37 chapters on calendrical and astronomical calculations and 116 tables with calendrical, astronomical and astrological data, as well as a table of sine values. This is the first of many Arabic Zijes based on the Indian astronomical methods known as the sindhind.[23] The work contains tables for the movements of the sun, the moon and the five planets known at the time. This work marked the turning point in Islamic astronomy. Hitherto, Muslim astronomers had adopted a primarily research approach to the field, translating works of others and learning already discovered knowledge. Al-Khwarizmi's work marked the beginning of non-traditional methods of study and calculations.[24]
The original Arabic version (written c. 820) is lost, but a version by the Spanish astronomer Maslamah Ibn Ahmad al-Majriti (c. 1000) has survived in a Latin translation, presumably by Adelard of Bath (January 26, 1126).[25] The four surviving manuscripts of the Latin translation are kept at the Bibliothèque publique (Chartres), the Bibliothèque Mazarine (Paris), the Bibliotheca Nacional (Madrid) and the Bodleian Library (Oxford).
Al-Khwarizmi made several important improvements to the theory and construction of sundials, which he inherited from his Indian and Hellenistic predecessors. He made tables for these instruments which considerably shortened the time needed to make specific calculations. His sundial was universal and could be observed from anywhere on the Earth. From then on, sundials were frequently placed on mosques to determine the time of prayer.[26] The shadow square, an instrument used to determine the linear height of an object, in conjunction with the alidade for angular observations, was also invented by al-Khwārizmī in ninth-century Baghdad.[27][not in citation given]
The first quadrants and mural instruments were invented by al-Khwarizmi in ninth century Baghdad.[28][not in citation given] The sine quadrant, invented by al-Khwārizmī, was used for astronomical calculations.[29][not in citation given] The first horary quadrant for specific latitudes, was also invented by al-Khwārizmī in Baghdad, then center of the development of quadrants.[29][not in citation given] It was used to determine time (especially the times of prayer) by observations of the Sun or stars.[30] The Quadrans Vetus was a universal horary quadrant, an ingenious mathematical device invented by al-Khwarizmi in the ninth century and later known as the Quadrans Vetus (Old Quadrant) in medieval Europe from the thirteenth century. It could be used for any latitude on Earth and at any time of the year to determine the time in hours from the altitude of the Sun. This was the second most widely used astronomical instrument during the Middle Ages after the astrolabe. One of its main purposes in the Islamic world was to determine the times of Salah.[29][not in citation given]
[edit] Geography

Hubert Daunicht's reconstruction of al-Khwārizmī's planisphere.
Al-Khwārizmī's third major work is his Kitāb ṣūrat al-Arḍ (Arabic: كتاب صورة الأرض "Book on the appearance of the Earth" or "The image of the Earth" translated as Geography), which was finished in 833. It is a revised and completed version of Ptolemy's Geography, consisting of a list of 2402 coordinates of cities and other geographical features following a general introduction.[31]
There is only one surviving copy of Kitāb ṣūrat al-Arḍ, which is kept at the Strasbourg University Library. A Latin translation is kept at the Biblioteca Nacional de España in Madrid. The complete title translates as Book of the appearance of the Earth, with its cities, mountains, seas, all the islands and rivers, written by Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwārizmī, according to the geographical treatise written by Ptolemy the Claudian.
The book opens with the list of latitudes and longitudes, in order of "weather zones", that is to say in blocks of latitudes and, in each weather zone, by order of longitude. As Paul Gallez points out, this excellent system allows us to deduce many latitudes and longitudes where the only document in our possession is in such a bad condition as to make it practically illegible.
Neither the Arabic copy nor the Latin translation include the map of the world itself, however Hubert Daunicht was able to reconstruct the missing map from the list of coordinates. Daunicht read the latitudes and longitudes of the coastal points in the manuscript, or deduces them from the context where they were not legible. He transferred the points onto graph paper and connected them with straight lines, obtaining an approximation of the coastline as it was on the original map. He then does the same for the rivers and towns.[32]
Al-Khwārizmī corrected Ptolemy's gross overestimate for the length of the Mediterranean Sea[33] (from the Canary Islands to the eastern shores of the Mediterranean); Ptolemy overestimated it at 63 degrees of longitude, while al-Khwarizmi almost correctly estimated it at nearly 50 degrees of longitude. He "also depicted the Atlantic and Indian Oceans as open bodies of water, not land-locked seas as Ptolemy had done."[34] Al-Khwarizmi thus set the Prime Meridian of the Old World at the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, 10–13 degrees to the east of Alexandria (the prime meridian previously set by Ptolemy) and 70 degrees to the west of Baghdad. Most medieval Muslim geographers continued to use al-Khwarizmi's prime meridian.[33]
[edit] Jewish calendar
Al-Khwārizmī wrote several other works including a treatise on the Hebrew calendar (Risāla fi istikhrāj taʾrīkh al-yahūd "Extraction of the Jewish Era"). It describes the 19-year intercalation cycle, the rules for determining on what day of the week the first day of the month Tishrī shall fall; calculates the interval between the Jewish era (creation of Adam) and the Seleucid era; and gives rules for determining the mean longitude of the sun and the moon using the Jewish calendar. Similar material is found in the works of al-Bīrūnī and Maimonides.[1]
[edit] Other works
Several Arabic manuscripts in Berlin, Istanbul, Tashkent, Cairo and Paris contain further material that surely or with some probability comes from al-Khwārizmī. The Istanbul manuscript contains a paper on sundials, which is mentioned in the Fihirst. Other papers, such as one on the determination of the direction of Mecca, are on the spherical astronomy.
Two texts deserve special interest on the morning width (Maʿrifat saʿat al-mashriq fī kull balad) and the determination of the azimuth from a height (Maʿrifat al-samt min qibal al-irtifāʿ).
He also wrote two books on using and constructing astrolabes. Ibn al-Nadim in his Kitab al-Fihrist (an index of Arabic books) also mentions Kitāb ar-Ruḵāma(t) (the book on sundials) and Kitab al-Tarikh (the book of history) but the two have been lost.
The shaping of our mathematics can be attributed to Al-Khwarizmi, the chief librarian of the observatory, research center and library called the House of Wisdom in Baghdad. His treatise, "Hisab al-jabr w'al-muqabala" (Calculation by Restoration and Reduction), which covers linear and quadratic equations, solved trade imbalances, inheritance questions and problems arising from land surveyance and allocation. In passing, he also introduced into common usage our present numerical system, which replaced the old, cumbersome Roman one.
[edit] See also
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: al-Khwārizmī

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi

• Al-Khwarizmi (crater) — A crater on the far side of the moon named after al-Khwārizmī.
• Khwarizmi International Award — An Iranian award named after al-Khwārizmī.
• Mathematics in medieval Islam
• Astronomy in medieval Islam
• Hindu and Buddhist contribution to science in medieval Islam

[edit] Notes
1. ^ a b c d e f Toomer 1990
2. ^ a b c d Hogendijk, Jan P. (1998). "al-Khwarzimi" ([dead link]). Pythagoras 38 (2): 4–5. ISSN 0033–4766.
3. ^ a b c Oaks, Jeffrey A.. "Was al-Khwarizmi an applied algebraist?". University of Indianapolis. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
4. ^ There is some confusion in the literature on whether al-Khwārizmī's full name is Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī or Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī. Ibn Khaldun notes in his encyclopedic work: "The first who wrote upon this branch (algebra) was Abu ʿAbdallah al-Khowarizmi, after whom came Abu Kamil Shojaʿ ibn Aslam." (MacGuckin de Slane). (Rosen 1831, pp. xi–xiii) mentions that "[Abu Abdallah Mohammed ben Musa] lived and wrote under the caliphat of Al Mamun, and must therefore be distinguished from Abu Jafar Mohammed ben Musa, likewise a mathematician and astronomer, who flourished under the Caliph Al Motaded (who reigned A.H. 279-289, A.D. 892-902)." Karpinski notes in his review on (Ruska 1917) that in (Ruska 1918): "Ruska here inadvertently speaks of the author as Abū Gaʿfar M. b. M., instead of Abū Abdallah M. b. M."
5. ^ Berggren 1986
6. ^ a b Struik 1987, p. 93
7. ^ Gandz 1936
8. ^ Daffa 1977
9. ^ Knuth, Donald (1979). Algorithms in Modern Mathematics and Computer Science. Springer-Verlag. ISBN 0-387-11157-3.
10. ^ Abu Rahyan Biruni, "Athar al-Baqqiya 'an al-Qurun al-Xaliyyah"(Vestiges of the past: the chronology of ancient nations), Tehran, Miras-e-Maktub, 2001. Original Arabic of the quote: "و أما أهل خوارزم، و إن کانوا غصنا ً من دوحة الفُرس" (pg. 56)
11. ^ "Iraq After the Muslim Conquest", by Michael G. Morony, ISBN 1593333153 (a 2005 facsimile from the original 1984 book), p. 145
12. ^ Rashed, Roshdi (1988). "al-Khwārizmī's Concept of Algebra". In Zurayq, Qusṭanṭīn; Atiyeh, George Nicholas; Oweiss, Ibrahim M.. Arab Civilization: Challenges and Responses : Studies in Honor of Constantine K. Zurayk. SUNY Press. p. 108. ISBN 0887066984.,M1
13. ^ "al-Khwarizmi". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
14. ^ "Khwarizmi, Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn Musa al-" in Oxford Islamic Studies Online
15. ^ a b Rosen, Frederic. The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing "The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing, al-Khwārizmī". 1831 English Translation. The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
16. ^ Karpinski, L. C. (1912). "History of Mathematics in the Recent Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica". American Association for the Advancement of Science.
17. ^ Boyer, Carl B. (1991). "The Arabic Hegemony". A History of Mathematics (Second ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. pp. 228. ISBN 0471543977.
"The Arabs in general loved a good clear argument from premise to conclusion, as well as systematic organization — respects in which neither Diophantus nor the Hindus excelled."
18. ^ (Boyer 1991, "The Arabic Hegemony" p. 229) "It is not certain just what the terms al-jabr and muqabalah mean, but the usual interpretation is similar to that implied in the translation above. The word al-jabr presumably meant something like "restoration" or "completion" and seems to refer to the transposition of subtracted terms to the other side of an equation; the word muqabalah is said to refer to "reduction" or "balancing" — that is, the cancellation of like terms on opposite sides of the equation."
19. ^ a b O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews,
20. ^ Rashed, R.; Armstrong, Angela (1994). The Development of Arabic Mathematics. Springer. pp. 11–2. ISBN 0792325656. OCLC 29181926
21. ^ Ruska
22. ^ Berggren 1986, p. 7
23. ^ a b Kennedy 1956, pp. 26–9
24. ^ (Dallal 1999, p. 163)
25. ^ Kennedy 1956, p. 128
26. ^ (King 1999a, pp. 168–9)
27. ^ David A. King (2002), "A Vetustissimus Arabic Text on the Quadrans Vetus", Journal for the History of Astronomy 33: 237-255 [238-9]
28. ^ David A. King, "Islamic Astronomy", in Christopher Walker (1999), ed., Astronomy before the telescope, p. 167-168. British Museum Press. ISBN 0-7141-2733-7.
29. ^ a b c (King 2002, pp. 237–238)
30. ^ (King 1999a, pp. 167–8)
31. ^ "The history of cartography". GAP computer algebra system. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
32. ^ Daunicht
33. ^ a b Edward S. Kennedy, Mathematical Geography, p. 188, in (Rashed & Morelon 1996, pp. 185–201)
34. ^ Covington, Richard (2007). Saudi Aramco World, May–June 2007: 17–21. Retrieved 2008-07-06
[edit] Further reading
• Toomer, Gerald (1990). "Al-Khwārizmī, Abu Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn Mūsā". In Gillispie, Charles Coulston. Dictionary of Scientific Biography. 7. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. ISBN 0-684-16962-2.
• Dunlop, Douglas Morton (1943). "Muḥammad b. Mūsā al-Khwārizmī". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland (Cambridge University): 248–250.
• O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Musa Al-Khwarizmi", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews,
• Fuat Sezgin. Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums. 1974, E. J. Brill, Leiden, the Netherlands.
• Sezgin, F., ed., Islamic Mathematics and Astronomy, Frankfurt: Institut für Geschichte der arabisch-islamischen Wissenschaften, 1997–9.
• Gandz, Solomon (November 1926). "The Origin of the Term "Algebra"". The American Mathematical Monthly (The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 33, No. 9) 33 (9): 437–440. doi:10.2307/2299605. ISSN 0002–9890.–0.
• Gandz, Solomon (1936). "The Sources of al-Khowārizmī's Algebra". Osiris 1 (1): 263–277. doi:10.1086/368426. ISSN 0369–7827.–3.
• Gandz, Solomon (1938). "The Algebra of Inheritance: A Rehabilitation of Al-Khuwārizmī". Osiris 5 (5): 319–391. doi:10.1086/368492. ISSN 0369–7827.–2.
• Hughes, Barnabas (1986). "Gerard of Cremona's Translation of al-Khwārizmī's al-Jabr: A Critical Edition". Mediaeval Studies 48: 211–263.
• Barnabas Hughes. Robert of Chester's Latin translation of al-Khwarizmi's al-Jabr: A new critical edition. In Latin. F. Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden (1989). ISBN 3-515-04589-9.
• Karpinski, L. C. (1915). Robert of Chester's Latin Translation of the Algebra of Al-Khowarizmi: With an Introduction, Critical Notes and an English Version. The Macmillan Company.
• Rosen, Fredrick (1831). The Algebra of Mohammed Ben Musa. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 1-4179-4914-7.
• Ruska, Julius. "Zur ältesten arabischen Algebra und Rechenkunst". Isis.
• Folkerts, Menso (1997) (in German and Latin). Die älteste lateinische Schrift über das indische Rechnen nach al-Ḫwārizmī. München: Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften. ISBN 3-7696-0108-4.
• Goldstein, B. R. (1968). Commentary on the Astronomical Tables of Al-Khwarizmi: By Ibn Al-Muthanna. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300004982.
• Hogendijk, Jan P. (1991). "Al-Khwārizmī's Table of the "Sine of the Hours" and the Underlying Sine Table". Historia Scientiarum 42: 1–12.
• King, David A. (1983). Al-Khwārizmī and New Trends in Mathematical Astronomy in the Ninth Century. New York University: Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies: Occasional Papers on the Near East 2. LCCN 85-150177.
• Neugebauer, Otto (1962). The Astronomical Tables of al-Khwarizmi.
• Rosenfeld, Boris A. (1993). Menso Folkerts and J. P. Hogendijk. ed. ""Geometric trigonometry" in treatises of al-Khwārizmī, al-Māhānī and Ibn al-Haytham". Vestiga mathematica: Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Mathematics in Honour of H. L. L. Busard (Amsterdam: Rodopi). ISBN 90-5183-536-1.
• Suter, H. [Ed.]: Die astronomischen Tafeln des Muhammed ibn Mûsâ al-Khwârizmî in der Bearbeitung des Maslama ibn Ahmed al-Madjrîtî und der latein. Übersetzung des Athelhard von Bath auf Grund der Vorarbeiten von A. Bjørnbo und R. Besthorn in Kopenhagen. Hrsg. und komm. Kopenhagen 1914. 288 pp. Repr. 1997 (Islamic Mathematics and Astronomy. 7). ISBN 3-8298-4008-X.
• Van Dalen, B. Al-Khwarizmi's Astronomical Tables Revisited: Analysis of the Equation of Time.
Jewish calendar
• Kennedy, E. S. (1964). "Al-Khwārizmī on the Jewish Calendar". Scripta Mathematica 27: 55–59.
• Daunicht, Hubert (1968–1970) (in German). Der Osten nach der Erdkarte al-Ḫuwārizmīs : Beiträge zur historischen Geographie und Geschichte Asiens. Bonner orientalistische Studien. N.S.; Bd. 19. LCCN 71-468286.
• Mžik, Hanz von (1915). "Ptolemaeus und die Karten der arabischen Geographen". Mitteil. D. K. K. Geogr. Ges. In Wien 58: 152.
• Mžik, Hanz von (1916). "Afrika nach der arabischen Bearbeitung der γεωγραφικὴ ὑφήγησις des Cl. Ptolomeaus von Muh. ibn Mūsa al-Hwarizmi". Denkschriften d. Akad. D. Wissen. In Wien, Phil.-hist. Kl. 59.
• Mžik, Hanz von (1926). Das Kitāb Ṣūrat al-Arḍ des Abū Ǧa‘far Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Ḫuwārizmī. Leipzig.
• Nallino, C. A. (1896), "Al-Ḫuwārizmī e il suo rifacimento della Geografia di Tolemo", Atti della R. Accad. dei Lincei, Arno 291, Serie V, Memorie, Classe di Sc. Mor., Vol. II, Rome
• Ruska, Julius (1918). "Neue Bausteine zur Geschichte der arabischen Geographie". Geographische Zeitschrift 24: 77–81.
• Spitta, W. (1879). "Ḫuwārizmī's Auszug aus der Geographie des Ptolomaeus". Zeitschrift Deutschen Morgenl. Gesell. 33.
[edit] General references
For a more extensive bibliography see: History of mathematics, Mathematics in medieval Islam, and Astronomy in medieval Islam.
• Berggren, J. Lennart (1986). Episodes in the Mathematics of Medieval Islam. New York: Springer Science+Business Media. ISBN 0-387-96318-9
• Boyer, Carl B. (1991). "The Arabic Hegemony". A History of Mathematics (Second ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. ISBN 0471543977.
• Daffa, Ali Abdullah al- (1977). The Muslim contribution to mathematics. London: Croom Helm. ISBN 0-85664-464-1
• Dallal, Ahmad (1999). "Science, Medicine and Technology". In Esposito, John. The Oxford History of Islam. Oxford University Press, New York
• Kennedy, E.S. (1956). A Survey of Islamic Astronomical Tables; Transactions of the American Philosophical Society. 46. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society
• King, David A. (1999a). "Islamic Astronomy". In Walker, Christopher. Astronomy before the telescope. British Museum Press. pp. 143–174. ISBN 0-7141-2733-7
• King, David A. (2002). "A Vetustissimus Arabic Text on the Quadrans Vetus". Journal for the History of Astronomy 33: 237–255
• Struik, Dirk Jan (1987). A Concise History of Mathematics (4th ed.). Dover Publications. ISBN 0486602559
• O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Abraham bar Hiyya Ha-Nasi", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews,
• O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Arabic mathematics: forgotten brilliance?", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews,
• Roshdi Rashed, The development of Arabic mathematics: between arithmetic and algebra, London, 1994.

Ibn Battuta
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Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Al Lawati Al Tanji Ibn Battuta
Full name Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Al Lawati Al Tanji Ibn Battuta
Born February, 1304 Tangier, Morocco

Died 1368 or 1369 Morocco

Era Medieval era

Region Islamic scholar/Explorer

Sunni Maliki

Hajji Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Al Lawati Al Tanji Ibn Battuta (Arabic: أبو عبد الله محمد ابن عبد الله اللواتي الطنجي بن بطوطة‎), or simply Ibn Battuta (February 25, 1304–1368 or 1369), was a Moroccan Berber Islamic scholar and traveller who is known for the account of his travels and excursions called the Rihla. His journeys lasted for a period of nearly thirty years and covered almost the entirety of the known Islamic world and beyond, extending from North Africa, West Africa, Southern Europe and Eastern Europe in the West, to the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and China in the East, a distance readily surpassing that of his predecessors and his near-contemporary Marco Polo. With this extensive account of his journey, Ibn Battuta is often considered as one of the greatest travellers ever.[1]
• 1 Early life and his first hajj
• 2 Iraq and Persia
• 3 Arabian Peninsula
• 4 Somalia
• 5 Swahili Coast
• 6 Byzantine Empire, Golden Horde, Anatolia, Central Asia and India
• 7 Southeast Asia and China
• 8 Return home and the Black Death
• 9 Andalus and North Africa
• 10 The Sahara Desert to Mali and Timbuktu
• 11 The Rihla
• 12 Places visited by Ibn Battuta
o 12.1 Ibn Battuta Itinerary 1325-1332 (North Africa, Iraq, Persia, the Arabian Peninsula, Somalia, Swahili Coast)
o 12.2 Ibn Battuta Itinerary 1332-1346 (Black Sea Area, Central Asia, India, South East Asia and China)
o 12.3 Ibn Battuta Itinerary 1349-1354 (North Africa, Spain and West Africa)
• 13 Popular culture
• 14 See also
• 15 Notes
• 16 References
• 17 Further reading
• 18 External links

[edit] Early life and his first hajj

A 13th century book illustration produced in Baghdad by al-Wasiti showing a group of pilgrims on a Hajj.
All that is known about Ibn Battuta's life comes from the autobiographical information included in the account of his travels. Ibn Battuta was born into a Berber family of Islamic legal scholars in Tangier, Morocco, on February 25, 1304 during the reign of the Marinid dynasty.[2] As a young man he would have studied the Sunni Maliki madhhab of Muslim law, which was dominant in North Africa at the time.[3] In June 1325, when he was twenty one years old, Ibn Battuta set off from his hometown on a hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca, a journey that would take 16 months, but he would not see Morocco again for 24 years.
His journey to Mecca was by land, and followed the North African coast crossing the sultanates of Abd al-Wadid and Hafsid. His route passed through Tlemcen, Béjaïa and then to Tunis where he stayed for two months.[4] He usually chose to join a caravan to reduce the risk of being attacked by wandering Arab bedouin. In the town of Sfax, he got married for the first of several occasions on his journeys.[5]
In the early spring of 1326, after a journey of over 3,500 km (2,200 mi), Ibn Battuta arrived at the port of Alexandria, then part of the Bahri Mamluk empire.[6] He spent several weeks visiting the sites and then headed inland to Cairo, a large important city and capital of the Mamluk kingdom, where he stayed for about a month.[7] Within Mamluk territory, travelling was relatively safe and he embarked on the first of his many detours. Three commonly used routes existed to Mecca, and Ibn Battuta chose the least-travelled: a journey up the Nile valley, then east to the Red Sea port of Aydhab.[8] However, upon approaching the town he was forced to turn back due to a local rebellion.[9]
Returning to Cairo, Ibn Battuta took a second side trip to Damascus (then controlled by the Mamluks), having encountered a holy man , Shaykh Abul Hasan al Shadili, during his first trip who prophesied that he would only reach Mecca after a journey through Syria. An additional advantage to the side journey was that other holy places lay along the route—Hebron, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem—and the Mamluk authorities made great efforts to keep the routes safe for pilgrims.
After spending the Muslim month of Ramadan in Damascus, he joined up with a caravan travelling the 1,500 km (930 mi) from Damascus to Medina, burial place of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. After 4 days in the town, he journeyed on to Mecca. There he completed the usual rituals of a Muslim pilgrim, and having graduated to the status of al-Hajji, faced his return home but instead decided to continue journeying. His next destination was the Ilkhanate situated in modern-day Iraq and Iran.
[edit] Iraq and Persia

An interactive display about Ibn Battuta in Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
On 17 November 1326, after a month in Mecca, Ibn Battuta joined a large caravan of pilgrims returning across the Arabian Peninsula to Iraq.[10] The caravan first went north to Medina and then, travelling at night, headed northeastwards across the Nejd plateau to Najaf, a journey lasting approximately 44 days. In Najaf he visited the mausoleum of Ali (Ali ibn Abi Talib), the first Imam and fourth Rashidun and son-in-law of Muhammad, a site venerated particularly by the Shi’a community.
At this point, instead of continuing on to Baghdad with the caravan, Ibn Battuta started a 6 month detour that took him into Persia. From Najaf he journeyed to Wasit and then south following the Tigris to Basra. His next destination was the town of Esfahān across the Zagros Mountains in Persia. From there he headed south to Shiraz, a large flourishing city which had been spared the destruction wrought by the Mongol invasion on many more northerly towns. Finally, he headed back across the mountains to Baghdad arriving there in June 1327.[11] Parts of the city were in ruins as it had been heavily damaged by the army of Hulagu Khan.
In Baghdad he found that Abu Sa'id, the last Mongol ruler of the unified Ilkhanid state was leaving the city and heading north with a large retinue.[12] Ibn Battuta travelled with the royal caravan for a while, then turned north to Tabriz on the Silk Road. It had been the first major city in the region to open its gates to the Mongols and had become an important trading centre after most of its nearby rivals were razed.
On returning again to Baghdad, probably in July, he took an excursion northwards following the Tigris, visiting Mosul, then Cizre and Mardin, both in modern Turkey. On returning to Mosul he joined a "feeder" caravan of pilgrims heading south for Baghdad where they met up with the main caravan that crossed the Arabian Desert to Mecca. Ibn Battuta was ill with diarrhea on this crossing and arrived back in Mecca weak and exhausted for his second hajj.[13]
[edit] Arabian Peninsula
Ibn Battuta then stayed for some time in Mecca. He suggests in the Rihla that he remained in the town for three years: from September 1327 until autumn 1330. However, because of problems with the chronology, commentators have suggested that he may have spent only one year and left after the hajj of 1328.[14]
Leaving Mecca after the hajj in 1328 (or 1330) he made his way to the port of Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea and from there caught a series of boats down the coast. His progress was slow as the vessels had to beat against the south easterly winds. Arriving in the Yemen he visited Zabīd, and then the highland town of Ta'izz where he met the Rasulid Malik (king) Mujahid Nur al-Din Ali. Ibn Battuta also mentions visiting Sana'a, but whether he actually did is doubtful.[15] It is more likely that he went directly from Ta'izz to the port of Aden, arriving at around the beginning of 1329 (or 1331).[16] Aden was an important transit centre in the trade between India and Europe.
[edit] Somalia
In Aden, Battuta embarked on a ship heading first to Zeila on the Somali littoral of the Gulf of Aden. He then moved to Cape Guardafui and further down the Somali seaboard. Spending about a week in each of his destinations, Battuta would later visit Mogadishu, the pre-eminent city in the بلد البربر Bilad al Barbar ("Land of the Berbers"), which was the medieval Arabic term for the Horn of Africa.[17][18][19] By the time of his appearance on the Somali coast in 1331, the city was at the zenith of its prosperity. Battuta described Mogadishu as "an exceedingly large city" with many rich merchants, which was famous for its high quality fabric that it exported to Egypt, among other places.[20][21] He added that the city was ruled by a Somali Sultan originally from Berbera in northern Somalia who spoke both Somali (referred to by Batutta as Mogadishan, the Benadir dialect of Somali) and Arabic with equal fluency.[22][23] The Sultan also had a retinue of wazirs (ministers), legal experts, commanders, royal eunuchs, and assorted hangers-on at his beck and call.[22]
[edit] Swahili Coast
Ibn Battuta continued south to the Swahili Coast, a region then known in Arabic as the Bilad al-Zanj ("Land of the Zanj").[24] The ship stopped for one night at the island town of Mombasa.[25] Although relatively small at the time, it would become important in the following century.[26] He then continued along the coast to the island town of Kilwa in present day Tanzania[27] which had become an important transit centre in the gold trade.[28]
With the change of the monsoon, Battuta returned by ship to Arabia. He visited Oman and the Strait of Hormuz and then returned to Mecca for the hajj of 1330 (or 1332).
[edit] Byzantine Empire, Golden Horde, Anatolia, Central Asia and India
After spending another year in Mecca, Ibn Battuta resolved to seek employment with the Muslim Sultan of Delhi, Muhammad bin Tughluq. Needing a guide and translator for his journey, he set off in 1330 (or 1332) to Anatolia, then under the control of the Seljuqs, to join up with one of the caravans that went from there to India. A sea voyage from the Syrian port of Latakia on a Genoese ship landed him in Alanya on the southern coast of modern-day Turkey. From Alanya, he travelled by land to Konya and then to Sinope on the Black Sea coast.[29]
Crossing the Black Sea, Ibn Battuta landed in Caffa (now Feodosiya), in the Crimea, and entered the lands of the Golden Horde. He bought a wagon and fortuitously was able to join the caravan of Ozbeg, the Golden Horde's Khan, on a journey as far as Astrakhan on the Volga River.
Upon reaching Astrakhan, the Khan allowed one of his pregnant wives, Princess Bayalun, supposedly an illegitimate daughter of Byzantine Emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos, to return to her home city of Constantinople to give birth. Ibn Battuta talked his way into this expedition, his first beyond the boundaries of the Islamic world.[30]
Arriving in Constantinople towards the end of 1332 (or 1334), he met the Byzantine emperor Andronikos III Palaiologos and saw the outside of the great church of Hagia Sophia. After a month in the city, he retraced his route to Astrakhan, then continued past the Caspian and Aral Seas to Bukhara and Samarkand. From there, he journeyed south to Afghanistan, the mountain passes of which he used to cross into India.[31]
The Delhi Sultanate was a new addition to Dar al-Islam, and Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq had resolved to import as many Muslim scholars and other functionaries as possible to consolidate his rule. On the strength of his years of study while in Mecca, Ibn Battuta was employed as a qazi ("judge") by the sultan.
Tughlaq was erratic even by the standards of the time, and Ibn Battuta veered between living the high life of a trusted subordinate, and being under suspicion for a variety of treasons against the government. Eventually he resolved to leave on the pretext of taking another hajj, but the Sultan asked him to become his ambassador to Yuan Dynasty China. Given the opportunity to both get away from the Sultan and visit new lands, Ibn Battuta took the opportunity.
[edit] Southeast Asia and China
En route to the coast, Battuta and his party were attacked by a group of Hindus,[32] and, separated from the others, he was robbed and nearly lost his life.[33] Nevertheless, he managed to catch up with his group within ten days and continued the journey to Khambhat (Cambay). From there, they sailed to Kozhikode (Calicut) (two centuries later, Vasco da Gama also landed at the same place). However, while Ibn Battuta visited a mosque on shore, a storm came up, and one of the ships of his expedition was sunk.[34] The other then sailed away without him and ended up being seized by a local king in Sumatra a few months later.
Fearful of returning to Delhi as a failure, he stayed for a time in the south of India under the protection of Jamal-ud-Din. Jamal-ud-Din was ruler of a small but powerful Nawayath sultanate on the banks of the Sharavathi River on the Arabian Sea coast. This place is presently known as Hosapattana and is located in the Honavar tehsil of Uttara Kannada district. When the sultanate was overthrown, it became necessary for Ibn Battuta to leave India altogether. He resolved to carry on to China, with a detour near the beginning of the journey to the Maldives.
He spent nine months in the Maldive Islands, much longer than he had intended. As a qadi, his skills were highly desirable in these formerly Buddhist islands that had been recently converted to Islam, and he was half-bribed, half-kidnapped into staying. Appointed chief judge and marrying into the royal family of Omar I, he became embroiled in local politics and ended up leaving after wearing out his welcome by imposing strict judgments in the laissez-faire island kingdom. In the Rihla he mentions his dismay at the local women going about with no clothing above the waist, and remarking his criticism of this practice, but being ignored by the locals. From there, he carried on to Sri Lanka for a visit to Adam's Peak (Sri Pada).
Setting sail from Sri Lanka, his ship nearly sank in a storm, then the ship that rescued him was attacked by pirates. Stranded on shore, Ibn Battuta once again worked his way back to Kozhikode, from where he then sailed to the Maldives again before getting on board a Chinese junk and trying once again to get to the Mongol Yuan Dynasty China.
This time he succeeded, reaching in quick succession: Chittagong; but changed direction for Sylhet and added an extra 170 miles just to meet Shah jalal(R) who will later be famous for converting Bangladesh into a muslim majority country. He went another 2 miles further north to Assam where he met followers of Shah Jalal Shekh Giyes Uddin Aiwlia of Hajo(Sujabad); then turning around and back to his original travel plan Sumatra Indonesia; Vietnam; the Philippines and then finally Quanzhou in Fujian Province, China. From there, he went north to Hangzhou, not far from modern-day Shanghai. He also described travelling further north, through the Grand Canal to Beijing, although it is considered unlikely that he actually did so.[35]
[edit] Return home and the Black Death
Returning to Quanzhou, in 1346 Ibn Battuta begins his journey back to Morocco.[36] On reaching Calicut (Kozhikode) once again, he considered throwing himself at the mercy of Muhammed Tughlaq but thought better of it and decided to carry on to Mecca. Returning via Hormuz and the Ilkhanate, he saw that the state had dissolved into civil war with Abu Sa'id having died since his previous visit.[37]
Returning to Damascus in 1348 with the intention of retracing the route of his first hajj, he learned that his father had died 15 years earlier.[38] Death was the theme of the next year or so, for the Black Death had begun, and Ibn Battuta was on hand as it spread through Syria, Palestine, and Arabia. After reaching Mecca, he decided to return to Morocco, nearly a quarter century after leaving it.[39] During the trip he made one last detour to Sardinia, then in 1349 returned to Tangier by way of Fez to discover that his mother had also died a few months before.[40]
[edit] Andalus and North Africa
After a few days in Tangier, Ibn Battuta set out for a trip to al-Andalus—Muslim Iberia. Alfonso XI of Castile and León was threatening the conquest of Gibraltar, and in 1350 Ibn Battuta joined up with a group of Muslims leaving Tangier with the intention of defending the port.[41] By the time he arrived, the Black Death had killed Alfonso, and the threat had receded, so Ibn Battuta decided to visit for pleasure instead. He travelled through Valencia and ended up in Granada.[42]
Leaving al-Andalus, he decided to travel through one of the few parts of the Muslim world that he had never explored: Morocco. On his return home, he stopped for a while in Marrakech, which was nearly a ghost town after the recent plague and the transfer of the capital to Fez.[43]
Once more Battuta returned to Tangier, and once more he moved on. In 1324, two years before his own first visit to Cairo, the Malian Mansa (king of kings) Musa had passed through the same city on his own hajj and had caused a sensation with his extravagant riches—West Africa contained large quantities of gold. While Ibn Battuta never mentions this specifically, hearing of this during his own trip could have planted a seed in his mind, for he decided to set out and visit the Muslim kingdom on the far side of the Sahara desert.
[edit] The Sahara Desert to Mali and Timbuktu

A 13th century book illustration produced in Baghdad by al-Wasiti showing a slave-market in the town of Zabid in Yemen.
In the autumn of 1351, Ibn Battuta left Fes and made his way to the town of Sijilmasa on the northern edge of the Sahara desert in present day Morocco.[44] There he bought some camels and stayed for four months. He set out again with a caravan in February 1352 and after 25 days, arrived at the salt mines of Taghaza which were situated in the bed of a dry salt lake. The buildings were constructed from slabs of salt by slaves of the Masufa tribe, who cut the salt in thick slabs for transport by camel. Taghaza was a commercial centre and awash with Malian gold, though Ibn Battuta did not have a favourable impression of the place: the water was brackish and the place was plagued with flies.
After a 10 day stay in Taghaza the caravan set out for the oasis of Tasarahla (probably Bir al-Ksaib)[45] where it stopped for 3 days to prepare for the last and most difficult leg of the journey across a vast sand desert. From Tasarahla a Masufa scout was sent ahead to the oasis town of Oualata to arrange for a party to bring water a distance of four days travel to meet the thirsty caravan. Oualata was the southern terminus of the trans-Saharan trade route and had recently become part of the Mali Empire. Altogether, the caravan took two months to cross the 1,600 km (990 mi) of desert from Sijilmasa.[46]
From there, he travelled southwest along a river he believed to be the Nile (it was actually the Niger River) until he reached the capital of the Mali Empire.[47] There he met Mansa Suleyman, king since 1341. Dubious about the miserly hospitality of the king, he nevertheless stayed for eight months. Ibn Battuta disapproved that female slaves, servants and even the daughters of the sultan went about completely naked. He left the capital in February and journeyed overland by camel to Timbuktu.[48] Though in the next two centuries it would become the most important city in the region, at the time it was small and unimpressive, and Ibn Battuta soon moved on by boat to Gao where he spent a month. While at the oasis of Takedda on his journey back across the desert, he received a message from the Sultan of Morocco commanding him to return home. He set off for Sijilmasa in September 1353 accompanying a large caravan transporting 600 black female slaves. He arrived back in Morocco early in 1354.
[edit] The Rihla
See also: Rihla
After returning home from his travels in 1354 and at the instigation of the Sultan of Morocco, Abu Inan Faris, Ibn Battuta dictated an account of his journeys to Ibn Juzayy, a scholar whom he had met previously in Granada. The account, recorded by Ibn Juzayy and interspersed with the latter's own comments, is the only source of information on his adventures. The title of the manuscript تحفة الأنظار في غرائب الأمصار وعجائب الأسفار may be translated as A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling but is often simply referred to as the Rihla الرحلة, or "The Journey".
There is no indication that Ibn Battuta made any notes during his 29 years of travelling, so, when he came to dictate an account of his adventures, he had to rely on his memory and to make use of manuscripts produced by earlier travellers. When describing Damascus, Mecca, Medina and some other places in the Middle East, Ibn Juzayy clearly copied passages from the 12th century account by Ibn Jubayr.[49] Similarly, most of Ibn Juzayy’s descriptions of places in Palestine were copied from an account by the 13th century traveller Muhammad al-Abdari.[50]

House in the Medina of Tangier perhaps lodging Ibn Battuta's grave
Western Orientalists do not believe that Ibn Battuta visited all the places that he described and argue that in order to provide a comprehensive description of places in the Muslim world Ibn Battuta relied on hearsay evidence and made use of accounts by earlier travellers. For example, it is considered very unlikely that Ibn Battuta made a trip up the Volga River from New Sarai to visit Bolghar[51] and there are serious doubts about a number of other journeys such as his trip to Sana'a in Yemen,[52] his journey from Balkh to Bistam in Khorasan[53] and his trip around Anatolia.[54] Some orientalists have also questioned whether he really visited China.[55] Nevertheless, whilst apparently fictional in places, the Rihla provides an important account of many areas of the world in the 14th century.
Ibn Battuta often experienced culture shock in regions he visited where local customs of recently converted peoples did not fit his orthodox Muslim background. Among Turks and Mongols, he was astonished at the way women behaved (he remarked that on seeing a Turkish couple, and noting the woman's freedom of speech, he had assumed that the man was the woman's servant, but he was in fact her husband) and he felt that dress customs in the Maldives, and some sub-Saharan regions in Africa were too revealing.
After the completion of the Rihla in 1355, little is known about Ibn Battuta's life. He was appointed a judge in Morocco and died in 1368 or 1369.[56]
For centuries his book was obscure, even within the Muslim world, but in the early 19th century extracts were published in German and English based on manuscripts discovered in the Middle East containing abridged versions of Ibn Juzayy’s Arabic text. When French forces occupied Algeria in the 1830s they discovered five manuscripts in Constantine including two that contained more complete versions of the text.[57] These manuscripts were brought back to the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris and studied by the French scholars, Charles Defrémery and Beniamino Sanguinetti. Beginning in 1853, they published a series of four volumes containing the Arabic text, extensive notes and a translation into French.[58] Defrémery and Sanguinetti’s printed text has now been translated into many other languages. Ibn Battuta has grown in fame and is now a well-known figure.
[edit] Places visited by Ibn Battuta
Ibn Battuta travelled almost 75,000 miles in his lifetime. Here is a list of places he visited.
Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia
• Tangier
• Fes
• Marrakech
• Tlemcen (Tilimsan)
• Miliana
• Algiers
• Djurdjura Mountains
• Béjaïa
• Constantine - Named as Qusantînah.
• Annaba - Also called Bona.
• Tunis - At that time, Abu Yahya (son of Abu Zajaria) was the sultan of Tunis.
• Sousse - Also called Susah.
• Sfax
• Gabès
• Tripoli
Mamluk Empire
• Cairo
• Alexandria
• Jerusalem
• Bethlehem
• Hebron
• Damascus
• Latakia
• Egypt
• Syria
Arabian Peninsula
• Medina - Visited the tomb of Prophet Muhammad.
• Jeddah - A famous port for pilgrims to Mecca.
• Mecca - Performed the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
• Rabigh - city north of Jeddah on the Red Sea.
• Oman
• Dhofar
• Bahrain
• Al-Hasa
• Strait of Hormuz
• Yemen
• Qatif
• Granada
• Valencia
Byzantine Empire and Eastern Europe
• Konya
• Antalya
• Bulgaria
• Azov
• Kazan
• Volga River
• Constantinople
Central Asia
• Khwarezm and Khorasan (now Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Balochistan (region) and Afghanistan)
• Bukhara and Samarqand
• Pashtun areas of eastern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan (Pashtunistan)
India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh
• Punjab region (now in Pakistan and northern India)
• Sindh
• Multan
• Delhi
• Uttar Pradesh
• Deccan
• Konkan Coast
• Kozhikode
• Malabar
• Kilakarai-
• Bengal (now Bangladesh and West Bengal)
• Brahmaputra River in Bangladesh visited the area on his way from China.
• Meghna River near Dhaka
• Sylhet met Muslim saint Hazrat Shah Jalal Yamani, commonly known as Shah Jalal.
• Quanzhou - as he called in his book the city of donkeys
• Hangzhou — Ibn Battuta referred to this city in his book as "Madinat Alkhansa" مدينة الخنساء. He also mentioned that it was the largest city in the world at that time; it took him three days to walk across the city.
• Beijing - Ibn Battuta mentioned in his journey to Beijing how neat the city was.
Other places in Asia
• Burma (Myanmar)
• Maldives
• Sri Lanka - Known to the Arabs of his time as Serendip.
• Sumatra Indonesia
• Malay Peninsula Malaysia
• Philippines - Ibn Battuta visited the Kingdom of Sultan Tawalisi, Tawi-Tawi, the country's southernmost province.
• Mogadishu
• Zeila
Swahili Coast
• Kilwa
• Mombasa
Mali West Africa
• Timbuktu
• Gao
• Takedda
• Oualata (Walata)
During most of his journey in the Mali Empire, Ibn Battuta travelled with a retinue that included slaves, most of whom carried goods for trade but would also be traded as slaves. On the return from Takedda to Morocco, his caravan transported 600 female slaves, suggesting that slavery was a substantial part of the commercial activity of the empire.[59]

[edit] Ibn Battuta Itinerary 1325-1332 (North Africa, Iraq, Persia, the Arabian Peninsula, Somalia, Swahili Coast)























Zagros Mountains





















Ibn Battuta Itinerary 1325-1332 (North Africa, Iraq, Persia, the Arabian Peninsula, Somalia, Swahili Coast)
[edit] Ibn Battuta Itinerary 1332-1346 (Black Sea Area, Central Asia, India, South East Asia and China)








Hagia Sophia

Caspian Sea

Aral Sea










Uttara Kannada


Sri Lanka

Adam's Peak




Brahmaputra River

Meghna River
















Uttar Pradesh












Ibn Battuta Itinerary 1332-1346 (Black Sea Area, Central Asia, India, South East Asia and China)
[edit] Ibn Battuta Itinerary 1349-1354 (North Africa, Spain and West Africa)




















Ibn Battuta Itinerary 1349-1354 (North Africa, Spain and West Africa)
[edit] Popular culture
• The 2007 BBC television documentary Travels with a Tangerine, hosted by classicist Tim Mackintosh-Smith, traces Ibn Battuta's journey from Tangier to China.
• He was portrayed by Richar van Weyden in the film Ninja Assassin (2009).[60] His fictional persona is mentioned as being invited to the undisclosed training grounds in an oral history about the Ninja clans.
• Ibn Batuta pehen ke joota is a popular Hindi nursery rhyme from the 1970s, written by the poet Sarveshwar Dayal Saxena.[61]
• Ibn-E-Batuta is a song from the 2010 Bollywood film Ishqiya, titled after Ibn Batuta.
• The 2009 OMNIMAX film Journey to Mecca is based on Ibn Battuta's travels.[62]
[edit] See also
• Geography in medieval Islam
• List of explorers
• Ibn Battuta Mall in Dubai
• Ibn Battuta (crater), the lunar landmark
• Xuanzang, Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveller, and translator, who travelled around the same region of the Silk Road and India.
• Evliya Çelebi Way
• Benjamin of Tudela
[edit] Notes
1. ^ Nehru, Jawaharlal (1989). Glimpses of World History. Oxford University Press. pp. 752. ISBN 0195613236. After outlining the extensive route of Ibn Battuta's Journey, Nehru notes: "This is a record of travel which is rare enough today with our many conveniences.... In any event, Ibn Battuta must be amongst the great travellers of all time."
2. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 19
3. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 22
4. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 37; Defrémery & Sanguinetti 1853, p. 21 Vol. 1
5. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 39Defrémery & Sanguinetti 1853, p. 26 Vol. 1
6. ^ Defrémery & Sanguinetti 1853, p. 27 Vol. 1
7. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 49; Defrémery & Sanguinetti 1853, p. 67 Vol. 1
8. ^ Aydhad was a port situated on the west coast of the Red Sea at 22°19′51″N 36°29′25″E22.33083°N 36.49028°E. See Peacock, David; Peacock, Andrew (2008), "The enigma of 'Aydhab: a medieval Islamic port on the Red Sea coast", International Journal of Nautical Archaeology 37: 32–48, doi:10.1111/j.1095-9270.2007.00172.x
9. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 53–54
10. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 88–89; Defrémery & Sanguinetti 1853, p. 404 Vol. 1
11. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 97; Defrémery & Sanguinetti 1853, p. 100 Vol. 2
12. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 98–100
13. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 102–103; Defrémery & Sanguinetti 1853, p. 149 Vol. 2
14. ^ Ibn Battuta states that he stayed in Mecca for the hajj of 1327, 1328, 1329 and 1330 but gives comparatively little information on his stay. After the hajj of 1330 he left for East Africa, arriving back again in Mecca before the 1332 hajj. He states that he then left for India and arrived at the Indus river on 12 September 1333; however, although he does not specify exact dates, the description of his complex itinerary and the clues in the text to the chronology suggest that this journey to India lasted around three years. He must have therefore either left Mecca two years earlier than stated or arrived in India two years later. The problems with the chronology are discussed by Gibb 1962, pp. 528–537 Vol. 2, Hrbek 1962 and Dunn 2005, pp. 132–133.
15. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 115–116, 134
16. ^ Gibb 1962, p. 373 Vol. 2
17. ^ Sanjay Subrahmanyam, The Career and Legend of Vasco Da Gama, (Cambridge University Press: 1998), pp. 120-121.
18. ^ J. D. Fage, Roland Oliver, Roland Anthony Oliver, The Cambridge History of Africa, (Cambridge University Press: 1977), p. 190.
19. ^ George Wynn Brereton Huntingford, Agatharchides, The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea: With Some Extracts from Agatharkhidēs "On the Erythraean Sea", (Hakluyt Society: 1980), p. 83.
20. ^ Helen Chapin Metz (1992). Somalia: A Country Study. US: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. ISBN 0844407755.
21. ^ P. L. Shinnie, The African Iron Age, (Clarendon Press: 1971), p.135
22. ^ a b David D. Laitin, Said S. Samatar, Somalia: Nation in Search of a State, (Westview Press: 1987), p. 15.
23. ^ Chapurukha Makokha Kusimba, The Rise and Fall of Swahili States, (AltaMira Press: 1999), p.58
24. ^ Chittick 1977, p. 191
25. ^ Gibb 1962, p. 379 Vol. 2
26. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 126
27. ^ Defrémery & Sanguinetti 1853-1858, p. 192 Vol. 2
28. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 126–127
29. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 137–156
30. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 169–171
31. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 171–178
32. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 215; Gibb & Beckingham 1994, p. 777 Vol. 4
33. ^ Gibb & Beckingham 1994, pp. 773–782 Vol. 4; Dunn 2005, pp. 213–217
34. ^ Gibb & Beckingham 1994, pp. 814–815 Vol. 4
35. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 259–261
36. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 261
37. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 268–269
38. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 269
39. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 274–275
40. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 278
41. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 282
42. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 283–284
43. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 286–287
44. ^ Defrémery & Sanguinetti 1853, p. 376 Vol. 4; Levtzion & Hopkins 2000, p. 282; Dunn 2005, p. 295
45. ^ Levtzion & Hopkins 2000, p. 457. Bir al-Ksaib (also Bir Ounane or El Gçaib) is in northern Mali at 21°17′33″N 5°37′30″W21.2925°N 5.625°W. The oasis is 265 km (165 mi) south of Taghaza and 470 km (290 mi) north of Oualata.
46. ^ Defrémery & Sanguinetti 1853, p. 385 Vol. 4; Levtzion & Hopkins 2000, p. 284; Dunn 2005, p. 298
47. ^ Ibn Battuta's itinerary is uncertain as the location of the capital of the Mali Empire is not known.
48. ^ Defrémery & Sanguinetti 1853, p. 430 Vol. 4; Levtzion & Hopkins 2000, p. 299; Gibb & Beckingham 1994, pp. 969–970 Vol. 4; Dunn 2005, p. 304
49. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 313–314
50. ^ Dunn 2005, pp. 63–64
51. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 179
52. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 134 Note 17
53. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 180 Note 3
54. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 157 Note 13
55. ^ Dunn 2005, p. 253 and 262 Note 20
56. ^ Gibb 1958, p. ix Vol. 1; Dunn 2005, p. 318
57. ^ Defrémery & Sanguinetti 1853, p. xx Vol. 1
58. ^ Defrémery & Sanguinetti 1853-1858
59. ^ Candice Goucher, Charles LeGuin, and Linda Walton, Trade, Transport, Temples, and Tribute: The Economics of Power, in In the Balance: Themes in Global History (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998)
60. ^ IMDB (2009). "Full cast and crew for Ninja Assassin (2009)". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2010-05-09.
61. ^ Jyothi Prabhakar (4 February 2010). "Why credit for Ibn-e-Batuta asks Gulzar". The Times of India. Retrieved 2010-03-14.
62. ^ "Journey to Mecca OMNIMAX Movie at the St. Louis Science Center". St. Louis Science Center. Retrieved October 31, 2010.
[edit] References
• Chittick, H. Neville (1977), "The East Coast, Madagascar and the Indian Ocean", in Oliver, Roland, Cambridge History of Africa Vol. 3. From c.1050 to c.1600, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 183–231, ISBN 0521209811.
• Defrémery, C.; Sanguinetti, B.R. trans. and eds. (1853-1858), Voyages d’Ibn Batoutah (Arabic and French text) 4 vols., Paris: Société Asiatic. Google books: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4.
• Dunn, Ross E. (2005), The Adventures of Ibn Battuta, University of California Press, ISBN 0-520-24385-4. First published in 1986, ISBN 0-520-05771-6.
• Gibb, H.A.R. trans. (1929), Ibn Battuta Travels in Asia and Africa (selections), London: Routledge. Reissued several times. Extracts are available on the Fordham University site.
• Gibb, H.A.R.; Beckingham, C.F. trans. and eds. (1958, 1962, 1971, 1994, 2000), The Travels of Ibn Baṭṭūṭa, A.D. 1325–1354 (full text) 4 vols. + index, London: Hakluyt Society, ISBN 978-0904180374. Gibb is the sole author of volumes I-III. Volume IV was translated by Beckingham after Gibb's death in 1971. The volume lists both Gibb and Beckingham as authors.
• Hrbek, Ivan (1962), "The chronology of Ibn Battuta's travels", Archiv Orientalni 30: 409–486.
• Levtzion, Nehemia; Hopkins, John F.P., eds. (2000), Corpus of Early Arabic Sources for West Africa, New York, NY: Marcus Weiner Press, ISBN 1-55876-241-8. First published in 1981. Pages 279-304 contain Ibn Battuta's account of his visit to West Africa.
[edit] Further reading
• Gordon, Stewart (2008), When Asia was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors, and Monks who created the "Riches of the East", Philadelphia, PA.: Da Capo Press, Perseus Books, ISBN 0-306-81556-7.
• Mackintosh-Smith, Tim (ed.) (2003), The Travels of Ibn Battutah, Picador, ISBN 0-330-41879-3. An abridged translation.
• Waines, David (2010), The Odyssey of Ibn Battuta: Uncommon Tales of a Medieval Adventurer, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0-226-86985-8.

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For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation) and Platon (disambiguation).
Plato (Πλάτων)

Plato: copy of portrait bust by Silanion

Full name Plato (Πλάτων)
Born c. 428–427 BC[1]

Died c. 348–347 BC (age approx 80)
Era Ancient philosophy

Region Western Philosophy

Main interests Rhetoric, Art, Literature, Epistemology, Justice, Virtue, Politics, Education, Family, Militarism

Notable ideas Platonic realism

Influenced by[show]


Plato (English pronunciation: /ˈpleɪtoʊ/; Greek: Πλάτων, Plátōn, "broad"[2]; 428/427 BC[a] – 348/347 BC), was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the foundations of Western philosophy and science.[3] Plato was originally a student of Socrates, and was as much influenced by his thinking as by his apparently unjust execution.
Plato's sophistication as a writer is evident in his Socratic dialogues; thirty-six dialogues and thirteen letters have been ascribed to him. Plato's writings have been published in several fashions; this has led to several conventions regarding the naming and referencing of Plato's texts.
Plato's dialogues have been used to teach a range of subjects, including philosophy, logic, rhetoric and mathematics.
• 1 Biography
o 1.1 Early life
 1.1.1 Birth and family
 1.1.2 Name
 1.1.3 Education
o 1.2 Later life
o 1.3 Plato and Socrates
• 2 Philosophy
o 2.1 Recurrent themes
o 2.2 Metaphysics
o 2.3 Theory of Forms
o 2.4 Epistemology
o 2.5 The state
o 2.6 Unwritten doctrine
• 3 Works
o 3.1 Composition of the dialogues
o 3.2 Narration of the dialogues
o 3.3 Trial of Socrates
o 3.4 Unity and diversity of the dialogues
o 3.5 Platonic scholarship
o 3.6 Text history
• 4 See also
• 5 Notes
• 6 Footnotes
• 7 References
o 7.1 Primary sources (Greek and Roman)
o 7.2 Secondary sources
• 8 Further reading
• 9 External links

Early life
Main article: Early life of Plato
Birth and family
The definite place and time of Plato's birth are not known, but what is certain is that he belonged to an aristocratic and influential family. Based on ancient sources, most modern scholars believe that he was born in Athens or Aegina[b] between 429 and 423 BC.[a] His father was Ariston. According to a disputed tradition, reported by Diogenes Laertius, Ariston traced his descent from the king of Athens, Codrus, and the king of Messenia, Melanthus.[4] Plato's mother was Perictione, whose family boasted of a relationship with the famous Athenian lawmaker and lyric poet Solon.[5] Perictione was sister of Charmides and niece of Critias, both prominent figures of the Thirty Tyrants, the brief oligarchic regime, which followed on the collapse of Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War (404-403 BC).[6] Besides Plato himself, Ariston and Perictione had three other children; these were two sons, Adeimantus and Glaucon, and a daughter Potone, the mother of Speusippus (the nephew and successor of Plato as head of his philosophical Academy).[6] According to the Republic, Adeimantus and Glaucon were older than Plato.[7] Nevertheless, in his Memorabilia, Xenophon presents Glaucon as younger than Plato.[8]
Ariston tried to force his attentions on Perictione, but failed of his purpose; then the ancient Greek god Apollo appeared to him in a vision, and, as a result of it, Ariston left Perictione unmolested.[9] Another legend related that, while he was sleeping as an infant, bees had settled on the lips of Plato; an augury of the sweetness of style in which he would discourse philosophy.[10]
Ariston appears to have died in Plato's childhood, although the precise dating of his death is difficult.[11] Perictione then married Pyrilampes, her mother's brother,[12] who had served many times as an ambassador to the Persian court and was a friend of Pericles, the leader of the democratic faction in Athens.[13] Pyrilampes had a son from a previous marriage, Demus, who was famous for his beauty.[14] Perictione gave birth to Pyrilampes' second son, Antiphon, the half-brother of Plato, who appears in Parmenides.[15]
In contrast to his reticence about himself, Plato used to introduce his distinguished relatives into his dialogues, or to mention them with some precision: Charmides has one named after him; Critias speaks in both Charmides and Protagoras; Adeimantus and Glaucon take prominent parts in the Republic.[16] From these and other references one can reconstruct his family tree, and this suggests a considerable amount of family pride. According to Burnet, "the opening scene of the Charmides is a glorification of the whole [family] connection ... Plato's dialogues are not only a memorial to Socrates, but also the happier days of his own family".[17]
According to Diogenes Laërtius, the philosopher was named Aristocles after his grandfather, but his wrestling coach, Ariston of Argos, dubbed him "Platon", meaning "broad," on account of his robust figure.[18] According to the sources mentioned by Diogenes (all dating from the Alexandrian period), Plato derived his name from the breadth (platytês) of his eloquence, or else because he was very wide (platýs) across the forehead.[19] In the 21st century some scholars disputed Diogenes, and argued that the legend about his name being Aristocles originated in the Hellenistic age.[c]
Apuleius informs us that Speusippus praised Plato's quickness of mind and modesty as a boy, and the "first fruits of his youth infused with hard work and love of study".[20] Plato must have been instructed in grammar, music, and gymnastics by the most distinguished teachers of his time.[21] Dicaearchus went so far as to say that Plato wrestled at the Isthmian games.[22] Plato had also attended courses of philosophy; before meeting Socrates, he first became acquainted with Cratylus (a disciple of Heraclitus, a prominent pre-Socratic Greek philosopher) and the Heraclitean doctrines.[23]
Later life
Plato may have traveled in Italy, Sicily, Egypt and Cyrene.[24] Said to have returned to Athens at the age of forty, Plato founded one of the earliest known organized schools in Western Civilization on a plot of land in the Grove of Hecademus or Academus.[25] The Academy was "a large enclosure of ground that was once the property of a citizen at Athens named Academus... some, however, say that it received its name from an ancient hero",[26] and it operated until AD 529, when it was closed by Justinian I of Byzantium, who saw it as a threat to the propagation of Christianity. Many intellectuals were schooled in the Academy, the most prominent one being Aristotle.[27]
Throughout his later life, Plato became entangled with the politics of Syracuse. According to Diogenes Laertius, Plato initially visited Syracuse while it was under the rule of Dionysus. During this first trip Dionysus's brother-in-law, Dion of Syracuse, became one of Plato's disciples, but the tyrant himself turned against Plato. Plato was sold into slavery and almost faced death in Cyrene, a city at war with Athens, before an admirer bought Plato's freedom and sent him home. After Dionysius's death, according to Plato's Seventh Letter, Dion requested Plato return to Syracuse to tutor Dionysus II and guide him to become a philosopher king. Dionysius II seemed to accept Plato's teachings, but he became suspicious of Dion, his uncle. Dionysus expelled Dion and kept Plato against his will. Eventually Plato left Syracuse. Dion would return to overthrow Dionysus and ruled Syracuse for a short time before being usurped by Calippus, a fellow disciple of Plato.
Plato and Socrates

Plato and Socrates in a medieval depiction
The precise relationship between Plato and Socrates remains an area of contention among scholars. Plato makes it clear, especially in his Apology of Socrates, that he was Socrates' most devoted young follower. In that dialogue, Socrates is presented as mentioning Plato by name as one of those youths close enough to him to have been corrupted, if he were in fact guilty of corrupting the youth, and questioning why their fathers and brothers did not step forward to testify against him if he was indeed guilty of such a crime (33d-34a). Later, Plato is mentioned along with Crito, Critobolus, and Apollodorus as offering to pay a fine of 30 minas on Socrates' behalf, in lieu of the death penalty proposed by Meletus (38b). In the Phaedo, the title character lists those who were in attendance at the prison on Socrates' last day, explaining Plato's absence by saying, "Plato was ill" (Phaedo 59b).
Plato never speaks in his own voice in his dialogues. In the Second Letter, it says, "no writing of Plato exists or ever will exist, but those now said to be his are those of a Socrates become beautiful and new" (341c); if the Letter is Plato's, the final qualification seems to call into question the dialogues' historical fidelity. In any case, Xenophon and Aristophanes seem to present a somewhat different portrait of Socrates than Plato paints. Some have called attention to the problem of taking Plato's Socrates to be his mouthpiece, given Socrates' reputation for irony.[28]
Aristotle attributes a different doctrine with respect to the ideas to Plato and Socrates (Metaphysics 987b1–11). Putting it in a nutshell, Aristotle merely suggests that his idea of forms can be discovered through investigation of the natural world, unlike Plato's Forms that exist beyond and outside the ordinary range of human understanding.
Recurrent themes

Plato (left) and Aristotle (right), a detail of The School of Athens, a fresco by Raphael. Aristotle gestures to the earth, representing his belief in knowledge through empirical observation and experience, while holding a copy of his Nicomachean Ethics in his hand. Plato holds his Timaeus and gestures to the heavens, representing his belief in The Forms
Plato often discusses the father-son relationship and the "question" of whether a father's interest in his sons has much to do with how well his sons turn out. A boy in ancient Athens was socially located by his family identity, and Plato often refers to his characters in terms of their paternal and fraternal relationships. Socrates was not a family man, and saw himself as the son of his mother, who was apparently a midwife. A divine fatalist, Socrates mocks men who spent exorbitant fees on tutors and trainers for their sons, and repeatedly ventures the idea that good character is a gift from the gods. Crito reminds Socrates that orphans are at the mercy of chance, but Socrates is unconcerned. In the Theaetetus, he is found recruiting as a disciple a young man whose inheritance has been squandered. Socrates twice compares the relationship of the older man and his boy lover to the father-son relationship (Lysis 213a, Republic 3.403b), and in the Phaedo, Socrates' disciples, towards whom he displays more concern than his biological sons, say they will feel "fatherless" when he is gone.
In several dialogues, Socrates floats the idea that Knowledge is a matter of recollection, and not of learning, observation, or study.[29] He maintains this view somewhat at his own expense, because in many dialogues, Socrates complains of his forgetfulness. Socrates is often found arguing that knowledge is not empirical, and that it comes from divine insight. In many middle period dialogues, such as the Phaedo, Republic and Phaedrus Plato advocates a belief in the immortality of the soul, and several dialogues end with long speeches imagining the afterlife. More than one dialogue contrasts knowledge and opinion, perception and reality, nature and custom, and body and soul.
Several dialogues tackle questions about art: Socrates says that poetry is inspired by the muses, and is not rational. He speaks approvingly of this, and other forms of divine madness (drunkenness, eroticism, and dreaming) in the Phaedrus (265a–c), and yet in the Republic wants to outlaw Homer's great poetry, and laughter as well. In Ion, Socrates gives no hint of the disapproval of Homer that he expresses in the Republic. The dialogue Ion suggests that Homer's Iliad functioned in the ancient Greek world as the Bible does today in the modern Christian world: as divinely inspired literature that can provide moral guidance, if only it can be properly interpreted.
On politics and art, religion and science, justice and medicine, virtue and vice, crime and punishment, pleasure and pain, rhetoric and rhapsody, human nature and sexuality, love and wisdom, Socrates and his company of disputants had something to say.
Main article: Platonic realism
"Platonism" is a term coined by scholars to refer to the intellectual consequences of denying, as Socrates often does, the reality of the material world. In several dialogues, most notably the Republic, Socrates inverts the common man's intuition about what is knowable and what is real. While most people take the objects of their senses to be real if anything is, Socrates is contemptuous of people who think that something has to be graspable in the hands to be real. In the Theaetetus, he says such people are "eu a-mousoi", an expression that means literally, "happily without the muses" (Theaetetus 156a). In other words, such people live without the divine inspiration that gives him, and people like him, access to higher insights about reality.
Socrates's idea that reality is unavailable to those who use their senses is what puts him at odds with the common man, and with common sense. Socrates says that he who sees with his eyes is blind, and this idea is most famously captured in his allegory of the cave, and more explicitly in his description of the divided line. The allegory of the cave (begins Republic 7.514a) is a paradoxical analogy wherein Socrates argues that the invisible world is the most intelligible ("noeton") and that the visible world ("(h)oraton") is the least knowable, and the most obscure.
Socrates says in the Republic that people who take the sun-lit world of the senses to be good and real are living pitifully in a den of evil and ignorance. Socrates admits that few climb out of the den, or cave of ignorance, and those who do, not only have a terrible struggle to attain the heights, but when they go back down for a visit or to help other people up, they find themselves objects of scorn and ridicule.
According to Socrates, physical objects and physical events are "shadows" of their ideal or perfect forms, and exist only to the extent that they instantiate the perfect versions of themselves. Just as shadows are temporary, inconsequential epiphenomena produced by physical objects, physical objects are themselves fleeting phenomena caused by more substantial causes, the ideals of which they are mere instances. For example, Socrates thinks that perfect justice exists (although it is not clear where) and his own trial would be a cheap copy of it.
The allegory of the cave (often said by scholars to represent Plato's own epistemology and metaphysics) is intimately connected to his political ideology (often said to also be Plato's own), that only people who have climbed out of the cave and cast their eyes on a vision of goodness are fit to rule. Socrates claims that the enlightened men of society must be forced from their divine contemplations and be compelled to run the city according to their lofty insights. Thus is born the idea of the "philosopher-king", the wise person who accepts the power thrust upon him by the people who are wise enough to choose a good master. This is the main thesis of Socrates in the Republic, that the most wisdom the masses can muster is the wise choice of a ruler.
The word metaphysics derives from the fact that Aristotle's musings about divine reality came after ("meta") his lecture notes on his treatise on nature ("physics"). The term is in fact applied to Aristotle's own teacher, and Plato's "metaphysics" is understood as Socrates' division of reality into the warring and irreconcilable domains of the material and the spiritual. The theory has been of incalculable influence in the history of Western philosophy and religion.
Theory of Forms
Main article: Theory of Forms
The Theory of Forms (Greek: ιδέες) typically refers to the belief expressed by Socrates in some of Plato's dialogues, that the material world as it seems to us is not the real world, but only an image or copy of the real world. Socrates spoke of forms in formulating a solution to the problem of universals. The forms, according to Socrates, are roughly speaking archetypes or abstract representations of the many types of things, and properties we feel and see around us, that can only be perceived by reason (Greek: λογική); (that is, they are universals). In other words, Socrates sometimes seems to recognise two worlds: the apparent world which is constantly changing, and an unchanging and unseen world of forms, which may perhaps be a cause of what is apparent.
Main article: Platonic epistemology
Many have interpreted Plato as stating that knowledge is justified true belief, an influential view that informed future developments in modern analytic epistemology. This interpretation is based on a reading of the Theaetetus wherein Plato argues that belief is to be distinguished from knowledge on account of justification. Many years later, Edmund Gettier famously demonstrated the problems of the justified true belief account of knowledge. This interpretation, however, imports modern analytic and empiricist categories onto Plato himself and is better read on its own terms than as Plato's view.
Really, in the Sophist, Statesman, Republic, and the Parmenides Plato himself associates knowledge with the apprehension of unchanging Forms and their relationships to one another (which he calls "expertise" in Dialectic). More explicitly, Plato himself argues in the Timaeus that knowledge is always proportionate to the realm from which it is gained. In other words, if one derives one's account of something experientially, because the world of sense is in flux, the views therein attained will be mere opinions. And opinions are characterized by a lack of necessity and stability. On the other hand, if one derives one's account of something by way of the non-sensible forms, because these forms are unchanging, so too is the account derived from them. It is only in this sense that Plato uses the term "knowledge".
In the Meno, Socrates uses a geometrical example to expound Plato's view that knowledge in this latter sense is acquired by recollection. Socrates elicits a fact concerning a geometrical construction from a slave boy, who could not have otherwise known the fact (due to the slave boy's lack of education). The knowledge must be present, Socrates concludes, in an eternal, non-experiential form.
The state

Papirus Oxyrhynchus, with fragment of Plato's Republic
Plato's philosophical views had many societal implications, especially on the idea of an ideal state or government. There is some discrepancy between his early and later views. Some of the most famous doctrines are contained in the Republic during his middle period, as well as in the Laws and the Statesman. However, because Plato wrote dialogues, it is assumed that Socrates is often speaking for Plato. This assumption may not be true in all cases.
Plato, through the words of Socrates, asserts that societies have a tripartite class structure corresponding to the appetite/spirit/reason structure of the individual soul. The appetite/spirit/reason stand for different parts of the body. The body parts symbolize the castes of society.[30]
• Productive, which represents the abdomen. (Workers) — the labourers, carpenters, plumbers, masons, merchants, farmers, ranchers, etc. These correspond to the "appetite" part of the soul.
• Protective, which represents the chest. (Warriors or Guardians) — those who are adventurous, strong and brave; in the armed forces. These correspond to the "spirit" part of the soul.
• Governing, which represents the head. (Rulers or Philosopher Kings) — those who are intelligent, rational, self-controlled, in love with wisdom, well suited to make decisions for the community. These correspond to the "reason" part of the soul and are very few.
According to this model, the principles of Athenian democracy (as it existed in his day) are rejected as only a few are fit to rule. Instead of rhetoric and persuasion, Plato says reason and wisdom should govern. As Plato puts it:
"Until philosophers rule as kings or those who are now called kings and leading men genuinely and adequately philosophise, that is, until political power and philosophy entirely coincide, while the many natures who at present pursue either one exclusively are forcibly prevented from doing so, cities will have no rest from evils,... nor, I think, will the human race." (Republic 473c-d)

Plato in his academy, drawing after a painting by Swedish painter Carl Johan Wahlbom
Plato describes these "philosopher kings" as "those who love the sight of truth" (Republic 475c) and supports the idea with the analogy of a captain and his ship or a doctor and his medicine. According to him, sailing and health are not things that everyone is qualified to practice by nature. A large part of the Republic then addresses how the educational system should be set up to produce these philosopher kings.
However, it must be taken into account that the ideal city outlined in the Republic is qualified by Socrates as the ideal luxurious city, examined to determine how it is that injustice and justice grow in a city (Republic 372e). According to Socrates, the "true" and "healthy" city is instead the one first outlined in book II of the Republic, 369c–372d, containing farmers, craftsmen, merchants, and wage-earners, but lacking the guardian class of philosopher-kings as well as delicacies such as "perfumed oils, incense, prostitutes, and pastries", in addition to paintings, gold, ivory, couches, a multitude of occupations such as poets and hunters, and war.
In addition, the ideal city is used as an image to illuminate the state of one's soul, or the will, reason, and desires combined in the human body. Socrates is attempting to make an image of a rightly ordered human, and then later goes on to describe the different kinds of humans that can be observed, from tyrants to lovers of money in various kinds of cities. The ideal city is not promoted, but only used to magnify the different kinds of individual humans and the state of their soul. However, the philosopher king image was used by many after Plato to justify their personal political beliefs. The philosophic soul according to Socrates has reason, will, and desires united in virtuous harmony. A philosopher has the moderate love for wisdom and the courage to act according to wisdom. Wisdom is knowledge about the Good or the right relations between all that exists.
Wherein it concerns states and rulers, Plato has made interesting arguments. For instance he asks which is better—a bad democracy or a country reigned by a tyrant. He argues that it is better to be ruled by a bad tyrant, than be a bad democracy (since here all the people are now responsible for such actions, rather than one individual committing many bad deeds.) This is emphasised within the Republic as Plato describes the event of mutiny onboard a ship.[31] Plato suggests the ships crew to be in line with the democratic rule of many and the captain, although inhibited through ailments, the tyrant. Plato's description of this event is parallel to that of democracy within the state and the inherent problems that arise.
According to Plato, a state made up of different kinds of souls will, overall, decline from an aristocracy (rule by the best) to a timocracy (rule by the honorable), then to an oligarchy (rule by the few), then to a democracy (rule by the people), and finally to tyranny (rule by one person, rule by a tyrant)[citation needed].
Unwritten doctrine
For a long time Plato's unwritten doctrine[32][33][34] had been considered unworthy of attention. Most of the books on Plato seem to diminish its importance. Nevertheless the first important witness who mentions its existence is Aristotle, who in his Physics (209 b) writes: "It is true, indeed, that the account he gives there [i.e. in Timaeus] of the participant is different from what he says in his so-called unwritten teaching (ἄγραφα δόγματα)." The term ἄγραφα δόγματα literally means unwritten doctrine and it stands for the most fundamental metaphysical teaching of Plato, which he disclosed only to his most trusted fellows and kept secret from the public.
The reason for not revealing it to everyone is partially discussed in Phaedrus (276 c) where Plato criticizes the written transmission of knowledge as faulty, favoring instead the spoken logos: "he who has knowledge of the just and the good and beautiful ... will not, when in earnest, write them in ink, sowing them through a pen with words, which cannot defend themselves by argument and cannot teach the truth effectually." The same argument is repeated in Plato's Seventh Letter (344 c): "every serious man in dealing with really serious subjects carefully avoids writing." In the same letter he writes (341 c): "I can certainly declare concerning all these writers who claim to know the subjects that I seriously study ... there does not exist, nor will there ever exist, any treatise of mine dealing therewith." Such secrecy is necessary in order not "to expose them to unseemly and degrading treatment" (344 d).
It is however said that Plato once disclosed this knowledge to the public in his lecture On the Good (Περὶ τἀγαθοῦ), in which the Good (τὸ ἀγαθόν) is identified with the One (the Unity, τὸ ἕν), the fundamental ontological principle. The content of this lecture has been transmitted by several witnesses, among others Aristoxenus who describes the event in the following words: "Each came expecting to learn something about the things that are generally considered good for men, such as wealth, good health, physical strength, and altogether a kind of wonderful happiness. But when the mathematical demonstrations came, including numbers, geometrical figures and astronomy, and finally the statement Good is One seemed to them, I imagine, utterly unexpected and strange; hence some belittled the matter, while others rejected it." Simplicius quotes Alexander of Aphrodisias who states that "according to Plato, the first principles of everything, including the Forms themselves are One and Indefinite Duality (ἡ ἀόριστος δυάς), which he called Large and Small (τὸ μέγα καὶ τὸ μικρόν) ... one might also learn this from Speusippus and Xenocrates and the others who were present at Plato's lecture on the Good"
Their account is in full agreement with Aristotle's description of Plato's metaphysical doctrine. In Metaphysics he writes: "Now since the Forms are the causes of everything else, he [i.e. Plato] supposed that their elements are the elements of all things. Accordingly the material principle is the Great and Small [i.e. the Dyad], and the essence is the One (τὸ ἕν), since the numbers are derived from the Great and Small by participation in the One" (987 b). "From this account it is clear that he only employed two causes: that of the essence, and the material cause; for the Forms are the cause of the essence in everything else, and the One is the cause of it in the Forms. He also tells us what the material substrate is of which the Forms are predicated in the case of sensible things, and the One in that of the Forms - that it is this the duality (the Dyad, ἡ δυάς), the Great and Small (τὸ μέγα καὶ τὸ μικρόν). Further, he assigned to these two elements respectively the causation of good and of evil" (988 a).
The most important aspect of this interpretation of Plato's metaphysics is the continuity between his teaching and the neoplatonic interpretation of Plotinus[35] or Ficino[36] which has been considered erroneous by many but may in fact have been directly influenced by oral transmission of Plato's doctrine. A modern scholar who recognized the importance of the unwritten doctrine of Plato was Heinrich Gomperz who described it in his speech during the 7th International Congress of Philosophy in 1930.[37] All the sources related to the ἄγραφα δόγματα have been collected by Konrad Gaiser and published as Testimonia Platonica.[38] These sources have subsequently been interpreted by scholars from the German Tübingen School such as Hans Joachim Krämer or Thomas A. Szlezák.[39]

Part of the series on:
The Dialogues of Plato
Early dialogues:
Apology – Charmides – Crito

Euthyphro – First Alcibiades

Hippias Major – Hippias Minor

Ion – Laches – Lysis

Transitional & middle dialogues:
Cratylus – Euthydemus – Gorgias

Menexenus – Meno – Phaedo

Protagoras – Symposium

Later middle dialogues:
Republic – Phaedrus

Parmenides – Theaetetus

Late dialogues:
Clitophon – Timaeus – Critias

Sophist – Statesman

Philebus – Laws

Of doubtful authenticity:
Axiochus – Demodocus

Epinomis – Epistles – Eryxias

Halcyon – Hipparchus – Minos

On Justice – On Virtue

Rival Lovers – Second Alcibiades

Sisyphus – Theages

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Thirty-six dialogues and thirteen letters have traditionally been ascribed to Plato, though modern scholarship doubts the authenticity of at least some of these. Plato's writings have been published in several fashions; this has led to several conventions regarding the naming and referencing of Plato's texts.
The usual system for making unique references to sections of the text by Plato derives from a 16th century edition of Plato's works by Henricus Stephanus. An overview of Plato's writings according to this system can be found in the Stephanus pagination article.
One tradition regarding the arrangement of Plato's texts is according to tetralogies. This scheme is ascribed by Diogenes Laertius to an ancient scholar and court astrologer to Tiberius named Thrasyllus.
In the list below, works by Plato are marked (1) if there is no consensus among scholars as to whether Plato is the author, and (2) if most scholars agree that Plato is not the author of the work. Unmarked works are assumed to have been written by Plato.[40]
• I. Euthyphro, (The) Apology (of Socrates), Crito, Phaedo
• II. Cratylus, Theaetetus, Sophist, Statesman
• III. Parmenides, Philebus, (The) Symposium, Phaedrus
• IV. First Alcibiades (1), Second Alcibiades (2), Hipparchus (2), (The) (Rival) Lovers (2)
• V. Theages (2), Charmides, Laches, Lysis
• VI. Euthydemus, Protagoras, Gorgias, Meno
• VII. (Greater) Hippias (major) (1), (Lesser) Hippias (minor), Ion, Menexenus
• VIII. Clitophon (1), (The) Republic, Timaeus, Critias
• IX. Minos (2), (The) Laws, Epinomis (2), Epistles (1).
The remaining works were transmitted under Plato's name, most of them already considered spurious in antiquity, and so were not included by Thrasyllus in his tetralogical arrangement. These works are labelled as Notheuomenoi ("spurious") or Apocrypha.
• Axiochus (2), Definitions (2), Demodocus (2), Epigrams (2), Eryxias (2), Halcyon (2), On Justice (2), On Virtue (2), Sisyphus (2).
Composition of the dialogues
No one knows the exact order Plato's dialogues were written in, nor the extent to which some might have been later revised and rewritten.
Lewis Campbell was the first[41] to make exhaustive use of stylometry to prove objectively that the Critias, Timaeus, Laws, Philebus, Sophist, and Statesman were all clustered together as a group, while the Parmenides, Phaedrus, Republic, and Theaetetus belong to a separate group, which must be earlier (given Aristotle's statement in his Politics[42] that the Laws was written after the Republic; cf. Diogenes Laertius Lives 3.37). What is remarkable about Campbell's conclusions is that, in spite of all the stylometric studies that have been conducted since his time, perhaps the only chronological fact about Plato's works that can now be said to be proven by stylometry is the fact that Critias, Timaeus, Laws, Philebus, Sophist, and Statesman are the latest of Plato's dialogues, the others earlier.[43]
Increasingly in the most recent Plato scholarship, writers are skeptical of the notion that the order of Plato's writings can be established with any precision,[44] though Plato's works are still often characterized as falling at least roughly into three groups.[45] The following represents one relatively common such division.[46] It should, however, be kept in mind that many of the positions in the ordering are still highly disputed, and also that the very notion that Plato's dialogues can or should be "ordered" is by no means universally accepted.
Among those who classify the dialogues into periods of composition, Socrates figures in all of the "early dialogues" and they are considered the most faithful representations of the historical Socrates.[citation needed] They include The Apology of Socrates, Charmides, Crito, Euthyphro, Ion, Laches, Less Hippias, Lysis, Menexenus, and Protagoras (often considered one of the last of the "early dialogues"). Three dialogues are often considered "transitional" or "pre-middle": Euthydemus, Gorgias, and Meno.[citation needed]
Whereas those classified as "early dialogues" often conclude in aporia, the so-called "middle dialogues" provide more clearly stated positive teachings that are often ascribed to Plato such as the theory of forms.[citation needed] These dialogues include Cratylus, Phaedo, Phaedrus, Republic, Symposium, Parmenides, and Theaetetus.[citation needed] Proponents of dividing the dialogues into periods often consider the Parmenides and Theaetetus to come late in this period and be transitional to the next, as they seem to treat the theory of forms critically (Parmenides) or not at all (Theaetetus).[citation needed]
The remaining dialogues are classified as "late" and are generally agreed to be difficult and challenging pieces of philosophy.[citation needed] This grouping is the only one proven by stylometic analysis.[43] While looked to for Plato's "mature" answers to the questions posed by his earlier works, those answers are difficult to discern. Some scholars[who?] say that the theory of forms is absent from the late dialogues, its having been refuted in the Parmenides, but there isn't total consensus that the Parmenides actually refutes the theory of forms.[47] The so-called "late dialogues" include Critias, Laws, Philebus, Sophist, Statesman, and Timaeus.[citation needed]
Narration of the dialogues
Plato never presents himself as a participant in any of the dialogues, and with the exception of the Apology, there is no suggestion that he heard any of the dialogues firsthand. Some dialogues have no narrator but have a pure "dramatic" form (examples: Meno, Gorgias, Phaedrus, Crito, Euthyphro), some dialogues are narrated by Socrates, wherein he speaks in first person (examples: Lysis, Charmides, Republic). One dialogue, Protagoras, begins in dramatic form but quickly proceeds to Socrates' narration of a conversation he had previously with the sophist for whom the dialogue is named; this narration continues uninterrupted till the dialogue's end.

Plato's Symposium (Anselm Feuerbach, 1873)
Two dialogues Phaedo and Symposium also begin in dramatic form but then proceed to virtually uninterrupted narration by followers of Socrates. Phaedo, an account of Socrates' final conversation and hemlock drinking, is narrated by Phaedo to Echecrates in a foreign city not long after the execution took place.[48] The Symposium is narrated by Apollodorus, a Socratic disciple, apparently to Glaucon. Apollodorus assures his listener that he is recounting the story, which took place when he himself was an infant, not from his own memory, but as remembered by Aristodemus, who told him the story years ago.
The Theaetetus is a peculiar case: a dialogue in dramatic form imbedded within another dialogue in dramatic form. In the beginning of the Theaetetus (142c-143b), Euclides says that he compiled the conversation from notes he took based on what Socrates told him of his conversation with the title character. The rest of the Theaetetus is presented as a "book" written in dramatic form and read by one of Euclides' slaves (143c). Some scholars take this as an indication that Plato had by this date wearied of the narrated form.[49] With the exception of the Theaetetus, Plato gives no explicit indication as to how these orally transmitted conversations came to be written down.
Trial of Socrates
Main article: Trial of Socrates
The trial of Socrates is the central, unifying event of the great Platonic dialogues. Because of this, Plato's Apology is perhaps the most often read of the dialogues. In the Apology, Socrates tries to dismiss rumors that he is a sophist and defends himself against charges of disbelief in the gods and corruption of the young. Socrates insists that long-standing slander will be the real cause of his demise, and says the legal charges are essentially false. Socrates famously denies being wise, and explains how his life as a philosopher was launched by the Oracle at Delphi. He says that his quest to resolve the riddle of the oracle put him at odds with his fellow man, and that this is the reason he has been mistaken for a menace to the city-state of Athens.
If Plato's important dialogues do not refer to Socrates' execution explicitly, they allude to it, or use characters or themes that play a part in it. Five dialogues foreshadow the trial: In the Theaetetus (210d) and the Euthyphro (2a–b) Socrates tells people that he is about to face corruption charges. In the Meno (94e–95a), one of the men who brings legal charges against Socrates, Anytus, warns him about the trouble he may get into if he does not stop criticizing important people. In the Gorgias, Socrates says that his trial will be like a doctor prosecuted by a cook who asks a jury of children to choose between the doctor's bitter medicine and the cook's tasty treats (521e–522a). In the Republic (7.517e), Socrates explains why an enlightened man (presumably himself) will stumble in a courtroom situation. The Apology is Socrates' defense speech, and the Crito and Phaedo take place in prison after the conviction. In the Protagoras, Socrates is a guest at the home of Callias, son of Hipponicus, a man whom Socrates disparages in the Apology as having wasted a great amount of money on sophists' fees.
Unity and diversity of the dialogues
Two other important dialogues, the Symposium and the Phaedrus, are linked to the main storyline by characters. In the Apology (19b, c), Socrates says Aristophanes slandered him in a comic play, and blames him for causing his bad reputation, and ultimately, his death. In the Symposium, the two of them are drinking together with other friends. The character Phaedrus is linked to the main story line by character (Phaedrus is also a participant in the Symposium and the Protagoras) and by theme (the philosopher as divine emissary, etc.) The Protagoras is also strongly linked to the Symposium by characters: all of the formal speakers at the Symposium (with the exception of Aristophanes) are present at the home of Callias in that dialogue. Charmides and his guardian Critias are present for the discussion in the Protagoras. Examples of characters crossing between dialogues can be further multiplied. The Protagoras contains the largest gathering of Socratic associates.
In the dialogues Plato is most celebrated and admired for, Socrates is concerned with human and political virtue, has a distinctive personality, and friends and enemies who "travel" with him from dialogue to dialogue. This is not to say that Socrates is consistent: a man who is his friend in one dialogue may be an adversary or subject of his mockery in another. For example, Socrates praises the wisdom of Euthyphro many times in the Cratylus, but makes him look like a fool in the Euthyphro. He disparages sophists generally, and Prodicus specifically in the Apology, whom he also slyly jabs in the Cratylus for charging the hefty fee of fifty drachmas for a course on language and grammar. However, Socrates tells Theaetetus in his namesake dialogue that he admires Prodicus and has directed many pupils to him. Socrates' ideas are also not consistent within or between or among dialogues.
Platonic scholarship

"The safest general characterisation of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato." (Alfred North Whitehead, Process and Reality, 1929).
Plato's thought is often compared with that of his most famous student, Aristotle, whose reputation during the Western Middle Ages so completely eclipsed that of Plato that the Scholastic philosophers referred to Aristotle as "the Philosopher". However, in the Byzantine Empire, the study of Plato continued.
The Medieval scholastic philosophers did not have access to the works of Plato, nor the knowledge of Greek needed to read them. Plato's original writings were essentially lost to Western civilization until they were brought from Constantinople in the century of its fall, by George Gemistos Plethon. It is believed that Plethon passed a copy of the Dialogues to Cosimo de' Medici when in 1438 the Council of Ferrara, called to unify the Greek and Latin Churches, was adjourned to Florence, where Plethon then lectured on the relation and differences of Plato and Aristotle, and fired Cosimo with his enthusiasm.[citation needed] Medieval scholars knew of Plato only through translations into Latin from the translations into Arabic by Persian and Arab scholars. These scholars not only translated the texts of the ancients, but expanded them by writing extensive commentaries and interpretations on Plato's and Aristotle's works (see Al-Farabi, Avicenna, Averroes).
Only in the Renaissance, with the general resurgence of interest in classical civilization, did knowledge of Plato's philosophy become widespread again in the West. Many of the greatest early modern scientists and artists who broke with Scholasticism and fostered the flowering of the Renaissance, with the support of the Plato-inspired Lorenzo de Medici, saw Plato's philosophy as the basis for progress in the arts and sciences. By the 19th century, Plato's reputation was restored, and at least on par with Aristotle's.
Notable Western philosophers have continued to draw upon Plato's work since that time. Plato's influence has been especially strong in mathematics and the sciences. He helped to distinguish between pure and applied mathematics by widening the gap between "arithmetic", now called number theory and "logistic", now called arithmetic. He regarded logistic as appropriate for business men and men of war who "must learn the art of numbers or he will not know how to array his troops," while arithmetic was appropriate for philosophers "because he has to arise out of the sea of change and lay hold of true being."[50] Plato's resurgence further inspired some of the greatest advances in logic since Aristotle, primarily through Gottlob Frege and his followers Kurt Gödel, Alonzo Church, and Alfred Tarski; the last of these summarised his approach by reversing the customary paraphrase of Aristotle's famous declaration of sedition from the Academy (Nicomachean Ethics 1096a15), from Amicus Plato sed magis amica veritas ("Plato is a friend, but truth is a greater friend") to Inimicus Plato sed magis inimica falsitas ("Plato is an enemy, but falsehood is a greater enemy"). Albert Einstein drew on Plato's understanding of an immutable reality that underlies the flux of appearances for his objections to the probabilistic picture of the physical universe propounded by Niels Bohr in his interpretation of quantum mechanics.[citation needed] Conversely, thinkers that diverged from ontological models and moral ideals in their own philosophy, have tended to disparage Platonism from more or less informed perspectives. Thus Friedrich Nietzsche attacked Plato's moral and political theories, Martin Heidegger argued against Plato's alleged obfuscation of Being, and Karl Popper argued in The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945) that Plato's alleged proposal for a government system in the Republic was prototypically totalitarian. Leo Strauss is considered by some as the prime thinker involved in the recovery of Platonic thought in its more political, and less metaphysical, form. Deeply influenced by Nietzsche and Heidegger, Strauss nonetheless rejects their condemnation of Plato and looks to the dialogues for a solution to what all three thinkers acknowledge as 'the crisis of the West.'
Text history
The oldest surviving manuscript for about half of Plato's dialogues is the Clarke Plato (MS. E. D. Clarke 39), which was written in Constantinople in 895 and acquired by Oxford University in 1809.[51]
See also
• Cambridge Platonists
• List of speakers in Plato's dialogues
• Plato's tripartite theory of soul
• Platonic love
• Platonic realism
• Seventh Letter (Plato)
• Proclus (The Platonic successor)
a. ^ The grammarian Apollodorus argues in his Chronicles that Plato was born in the first year of the eighty-eighth Olympiad (427 BC), on the seventh day of the month Thargelion; according to this tradition the god Apollo was born this day.[52] According to another biographer of him, Neanthes, Plato was eighty-four years of age at his death.[52] If we accept Neanthes' version, Plato was younger than Isocrates by six years, and therefore he was born in the second year of the 87th Olympiad, the year Pericles died (429 BC).[53] According to the Suda, Plato was born in Aegina in the 88th Olympiad amid the preliminaries of the Peloponnesian war, and he lived 82 years.[54] Sir Thomas Browne also believes that Plato was born in the 88th Olympiad.[55] Renaissance Platonists celebrated Plato's birth on November 7.[56] Wilamowitz-Moellendorff estimates that Plato was born when Diotimos was archon eponymous, namely between July 29 428 BC and July 24 427 BC.[57] Greek philologist Ioannis Kalitsounakis believes that the philosopher was born on May 26 or 27 427 BC, while Jonathan Barnes regards 428 BC as year of Plato's birth.[58] For her part, Debra Nails asserts that the philosopher was born in 424/423 BC.[56]
b. ^ Diogenes Laertius mentions that Plato "was born, according to some writers, in Aegina in the house of Phidiades the son of Thales". Diogenes mentions as one of his sources the Universal History of Favorinus. According to Favorinus, Ariston, Plato's family, and his family were sent by Athens to settle as cleruchs (colonists retaining their Athenian citizenship), on the island of Aegina, from which they were expelled by the Spartans after Plato's birth there.[59] Nails points out, however, that there is no record of any Spartan expulsion of Athenians from Aegina between 431-411 BC.[60] On the other hand, at the Peace of Nicias, Aegina was silently left under Athens' control, and it was not until the summer of 411 that the Spartans overran the island.[61] Therefore, Nails concludes that "perhaps Ariston was a cleruch, perhaps he went to Aegina in 431, and perhaps Plato was born on Aegina, but none of this enables a precise dating of Ariston's death (or Plato's birth).[60] Aegina is regarded as Plato's place of birth by Suda as well.[54]
c. ^ Plato was a common name, of which 31 instances are known at Athens alone.[62]
1. ^, St. Andrews University
2. ^ Diogenes Laertius 3.4; p. 21, David Sedley, Plato's Cratylus, Cambridge University Press 2003
3. ^ "Plato". Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2002.
4. ^ Diogenes Laertius, Life of Plato, III
* D. Nails, "Ariston", 53
* U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Plato, 46
5. ^ Diogenes Laertius, Life of Plato, I
6. ^ a b W. K. C. Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy', IV, 10
* A.E. Taylor, Plato, xiv
* U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Plato, 47
7. ^ Plato, Republic, 2.368a
* U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Plato, 47
8. ^ Xenophon, Memorabilia, 3.6.1
9. ^ Apuleius, De Dogmate Platonis, 1
* Diogenes Laertius, Life of Plato, I
"Plato". Suda.
10. ^ Cicero, De Divinatione, I, 36
11. ^ D. Nails, "Ariston", 53
* A.E. Taylor, Plato, xiv
12. ^ Plato, Charmides, 158a
* D. Nails, "Perictione", 53
13. ^ Plato, Charmides, 158a
* Plutarch, Pericles, IV
14. ^ Plato, Gorgias, 481d and 513b
* Aristophanes, Wasps, 97
15. ^ Plato, Parmenides, 126c
16. ^ W. K. C. Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy, IV, 11
17. ^ C.H. Kahn, Plato and the Socratic Dialogue, 186
18. ^ Diogenes Laertius, Life of Plato, IV
19. ^ Diogenes Laertius, Life of Plato, IV
* A. Notopoulos, The Name of Plato, 135
20. ^ Apuleius, De Dogmate Platonis, 2
21. ^ Diogenes Laertius, Life of Plato, IV
* W. Smith, Plato, 393
22. ^ Diogenes Laertius, Life of Plato, V
23. ^ Aristotle, Metaphysics, 1.987a
24. ^ McEvoy, James (1984). "Plato and The Wisdom of Egypt". Irish Philosophical Journal (Belfast: Dept. of Scholastic Philosophy, Queen's University of Belfast) 1 (2). ISSN 0266-9080. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
25. ^ Huntington Cairns, Introduction to Plato: The Collected Dialogues, p. xiii.
26. ^ Robinson, Arch. Graec. I i 16.
27. ^ "Biography of Aristotle". ClassicNote. GradeSaver LLC. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
28. ^ Leo Strauss, The City and Man (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964), 50–1.
29. ^ Baird, Forrest E.; Walter Kaufmann (2008). From Plato to Derrida. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-158591-6.
30. ^ Gaarder, Jostein (1996). Sophie's World. New York City: Berkley. pp. 91.
31. ^ The Republic; p282
32. ^ Rodriguez- Grandjean, Pablo. Philosophy and Dialogue: Plato's Unwritten Doctrines from a Hermeneutical Point of View, Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, in Boston, Massachusetts from August 10–15, 1998.
33. ^ Reale, Giovanni, and Catan, John R., A History of Ancient Philosophy, SUNY Press, 1990. ISBN 0-7914-0516-8. Cf. p.14 and onwards.
34. ^ Krämer, Hans Joachim, and Catan, John R., Plato and the Foundations of Metaphysics: A Work on the Theory of the Principles and Unwritten Doctrines of Plato with a Collection of the Fundamental Documents, (Translated by John R. Catan), SUNY Press, 1990. ISBN 0-7914-0433-1, Cf. pp.38-47
35. ^ Plotinus describes this in the last part of his final Ennead (VI, 9) entitled On the Good, or the One (Περὶ τἀγαθοῦ ἢ τοῦ ἑνός). Jens Halfwassen states in Der Aufstieg zum Einen (2006) that "Plotinus' ontology—which should be called Plotinus' henology - is a rather accurate philosophical renewal and continuation of Plato's unwritten doctrine, i.e. the doctrine rediscovered by Krämer and Gaiser."
36. ^ In one of his letters (Epistolae 1612) Ficino writes: "The main goal of the divine Plato ... is to show one principle of things, which he called the One (τὸ ἕν)", cf. Marsilio Ficino, Briefe des Mediceerkreises, Berlin, 1926, p. 147.
37. ^ H. Gomperz, Plato's System of Philosophy, in: G. Ryle (ed.), Proceedings of the Seventh International Congress of Philosophy, London 1931, pp. 426-431. Reprinted in: H. Gomperz, Philosophical Studies, Boston, 1953, pp. 119-24.
38. ^ K. Gaiser, Testimonia Platonica. Le antiche testimonianze sulle dottrine non scritte di Platone, Milan, 1998. First published as Testimonia Platonica. Quellentexte zur Schule und mündlichen Lehre Platons as an appendix to Gaiser's Platons Ungeschriebene Lehre, Stuttgart, 1963.
39. ^ For a bried description of the problem see for example K. Gaiser, Plato's enigmatic lecture "On the Good", Phronesis 25 (1980), pp. 5-37. A detailed analysis is given by Krämer in his Plato and the Foundations of Metaphysics: A Work on the Theory of the Principles and Unwritten Doctrines of Plato With a Collection of the Fundamental Documents, Albany: SUNY Press, 1990. Another good description is by Giovanni Reale: Toward a New Interpretation of Plato, Washington, D.C.: CUA Press, 1997. Reale summarizes the results of his research in A History of Ancient Philosophy: Plato and Aristotle, Albany: SUNY Press, 1990. However the most complete analysis of the consequences of such an approach is given by Thomas A. Szlezak in his fundamental Reading Plato, New York: Routledge, 1999. Another supporter of this interpretation is the german philosopher Karl Albert, cf. Griechische Religion und platonische Philosophie, Hamburg, 1980 or Einführung in die philosophische Mystik, Darmstadt, 1996. Hans-Georg Gadamer is also sympathetic towards it, cf. J. Grondin, Gadamer and the Tübingen School and Gadamer's 1968 article Plato's Unwritten Dialectic reprinted in his Dialogue and Dialectic. Gadamer's final position on the subject is stated in his introduction to La nuova interpretazione di Platone. Un dialogo tra Hans-Georg Gadamer e la scuola di Tubinga, Milano 1998.
40. ^ The extent to which scholars consider a dialogue to be authentic is noted in John M. Cooper, ed., Complete Works, by Plato (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1997), v–vi.
41. ^ p. 9, John Burnet, Platonism, University of California Press 1928.
42. ^ 1264b24-27
43. ^ a b p. xiv, J. Cooper (ed.), Plato: Complete Works, Hackett 1997.
44. ^ Richard Kraut, "Plato", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, accessed 24 June 2008; Malcolm Schofield (1998, 2002), "Plato", in E. Craig (Ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy,, accessed 24 June 2008; Christopher Rowe, "Interpreting Plato", in H. Benson (ed.), A Companion to Plato, Blackwell 2006.
45. ^ T. Brickhouse & N. Smith, "Plato", The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, accessed 24 June 2008.
46. ^ See W. Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy, vol. 4, Cambridge University Press 1975; G. Vlastos, Socrates: Ironist and Moral Philosopher, Cambridge University Press 1991; T. Penner, "Socrates and the Early Dialogues", in R. Kraut (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Plato, Cambridge University Press 1992; C. Kahn, Plato and the Socratic Dialogue, Cambridge University Press 1996; G. Fine, Plato 2: Ethics, Politics, Religion, and the Soul, Oxford University Press 1999.
47. ^ Constance Chu Meinwald, Plato's Parmenides (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991).
48. ^ "The time is not long after the death of Socrates; for the Pythagoreans [Echecrates & co.] have not heard any details yet" (J. Burnet, Plato's Phaedo, Oxford 1911, p. 1.
49. ^ sect. 177, J. Burnet, Greek Philosophy, MacMillan 1950.
50. ^ Boyer, Carl B. (1991). "The age of Plato and Aristotle". A History of Mathematics (Second ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. pp. 86. ISBN 0471543977. "Plato is important in the history of mathematics largely for his role as inspirer and director of others, and perhaps to him is due the sharp distinction in ancient Greece between arithmetic (in the sense of the theory of numbers) and logistic (the technique of computation). Plato regarded logistic as appropriate for the businessman and for the man of war, who "must learn the art of numbers or he will not know how to array his troops." The philosopher, on the other hand, must be an arithmetician "because he has to arise out of the sea of change and lay hold of true being.""
51. ^ Manuscripts - Philosophy Faculty Library
52. ^ a b Diogenes Laertius, Life of Plato, II
53. ^ F.W. Nietzsche, Werke, 32
54. ^ a b "Plato". Suda.
55. ^ T. Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, XII
56. ^ a b D. Nails, The Life of Plato of Athens, 1
57. ^ U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Plato, 46
58. ^ "Plato". Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2002. | birth_place = *"Plato". Encyclopaedic Dictionary The Helios Volume V (in Greek). 1952.
59. ^ Diogenes Laertius, Life of Plato, III
60. ^ a b D. Nails, "Ariston", 54
61. ^ Thucydides, 5.18 | birth_place = * Thucydides, 8.92
62. ^ W. K. C. Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy, IV, 10
* L. Tarán, Plato's Alleged Epitaph, 61
Primary sources (Greek and Roman)
• Apuleius, De Dogmate Platonis, I. See original text in Latin Library.
• Aristophanes, The Wasps. See original text in Perseus program.
• Aristotle, Metaphysics. See original text in Perseus program.
• Cicero, De Divinatione, I. See original text in Latin library.
• Diogenes Laërtius, Life of Plato, translated by Robert Drew Hicks (1925).
• Plato: Charmides on Wikisource. See original text in Perseus program.
• Plato: Gorgias on Wikisource. See original text in Perseus program.
• Plato, Parmenides. See original text in Perseus program.
• Plato: The Republic on Wikisource. See original text in Perseus program.
• Plutarch, Pericles. See original text in Perseus program.
• Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War on Wikisource, V, VIII. See original text in Perseus program.
• Xenophon, Memorabilia. See original text in Perseus program.
Secondary sources
• Browne, Sir Thomas (1646-1672). Pseudodoxia Epidemica.
• Guthrie, W.K.C. (1986). A History of Greek Philosophy: Volume 4, Plato: The Man and His Dialogues: Earlier Period. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-31101-2.
• Kahn, Charles H. (2004). "The Framework". Plato and the socratic dialogue: The Philosophical Use of a Literary Form. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-64830-0.
• Nails, Debra (2006). "The Life of Plato of Athens". A Companion to Plato edited by Hugh H. Benson. Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 1-405-11521-1.
• Nails, Debra (2002). "Ariston/Perictione". The People of Plato: A Prosopography of Plato and Other Socratics. Hackett Publishing. ISBN 0-872-20564-9.
• Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm (1967). "Vorlesungsaufzeichnungen". Werke: Kritische Gesamtausgabe (in German). Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 3-110-13912-X.
• Notopoulos, A. (April 1939). "The Name of Plato". Classical Philology (The University of Chicago Press) 34 (2): 135–145. doi:10.1086/362227.
• "Plato". Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2002.
• "Plato". Encyclopaedic Dictionary The Helios Volume XVI (in Greek). 1952.
• "Plato". Suda. 10th century.
• Smith, William (1870). "Plato". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
• Tarán, Leonardo (2001). Collected Papers 1962-1999. Brill Academic Publishers. ISBN 9-004-12304-0..
• Taylor, Alfred Edward (2001). Plato: The Man and his Work. Courier Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-41605-4.
• Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Ulrich von (2005 (first edition 1917)). Plato: his Life and Work (translated in Greek by Xenophon Armyros. Kaktos. ISBN 960-382-664-2.
Further reading
• Allen, R.E. (2006). Studies in Plato's Metaphysics II. Parmenides Publishing. ISBN 978-1-930972-18-6
• Ambuel, David (2006). Image and Paradigm in Plato's Sophist. Parmenides Publishing. ISBN 978-1-930972-004-9
• Bakalis, Nikolaos (2005). Handbook of Greek Philosophy: From Thales to the Stoics Analysis and Fragments, Trafford Publishing ISBN 1-4120-4843-5
• Barrow, Robin (2007). Plato: Continuum Library of Educational Thought. Continuum. ISBN 0-8264-8408-5.
• Cadame, Claude (1999). Indigenous and Modern Perspectives on Tribal Initiation Rites: Education According to Plato, pp. 278–312, in Padilla, Mark William (editor), "Rites of Passage in Ancient Greece: Literature, Religion, Society", Bucknell University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-8387-5418-X
• Cooper, John M. & Hutchinson, D. S. (Eds.) (1997). Plato: Complete Works. Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. ISBN 0-87220-349-2.
• Corlett, J. Angelo (2005). Interpreting Plato's Dialogues. Parmenides Publishing. ISBN 978-1-930972-02-5
• Durant, Will (1926). The Story of Philosophy. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-69500-2.
• Derrida, Jacques (1972). La dissémination, Paris: Seuil. (esp. cap.: La Pharmacie de Platon, 69-199) ISBN 2-02-001958-2
• Field, G.C. (Guy Cromwell) (1969). The Philosophy of Plato (2nd ed. with an appendix by R. C. Cross. ed.). London: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198880405.
• Fine, Gail (2000). Plato 1: Metaphysics and Epistemology Oxford University Press, USA, ISBN 0-19-875206-7
• Garvey, James (2006,). Twenty Greatest Philosophy Books. Continuum. ISBN 0826490530.
• Guthrie, W. K. C. (1986). A History of Greek Philosophy (Plato - The Man & His Dialogues - Earlier Period), Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-31101-2
• Guthrie, W. K. C. (1986). A History of Greek Philosophy (Later Plato & the Academy) Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-31102-0
• Havelock, Eric (2005). Preface to Plato (History of the Greek Mind), Belknap Press, ISBN 0-674-69906-8
• Hamilton, Edith & Cairns, Huntington (Eds.) (1961). The Collected Dialogues of Plato, Including the Letters. Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 0-691-09718-6.
• Irwin, Terence (1995). Plato's Ethics, Oxford University Press, USA, ISBN 0-19-508645-7
• Jackson, Roy (2001). Plato: A Beginner's Guide. London: Hoder & Stroughton. ISBN 0-340-80385-1.
• Kochin, Michael S. (2002). Gender and Rhetoric in Plato’s Political Thought. Cambridge Univ. Press. ISBN 0-521-80852-9.
• Kraut, Richard (Ed.) (1993). The Cambridge Companion to Plato. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43610-9.
• Krämer, Hans Joachim (1990). Plato and the Foundations of Metaphysics. SUNY Press. ISBN 0-791-40433-1.
• Lilar, Suzanne (1954), Journal de l'analogiste, Paris, Éditions Julliard; Reedited 1979, Paris, Grasset. Foreword by Julien Gracq
• Lilar, Suzanne (1963), Le couple, Paris, Grasset. Translated as Aspects of Love in Western Society in 1965, with a foreword by Jonathan Griffin London, Thames and Hudson.
• Lilar, Suzanne (1967) A propos de Sartre et de l'amour , Paris, Grasset.
• Lundberg, Phillip (2005). Tallyho - The Hunt for Virtue: Beauty,Truth and Goodness Nine Dialogues by Plato: Pheadrus, Lysis, Protagoras, Charmides, Parmenides, Gorgias, Theaetetus, Meno & Sophist. Authorhouse. ISBN 1-4184-4977-6.
• Melchert, Norman (2002). The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy. McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-19-517510-7.
• Meinwald, Constance Chu (1991). Plato's Parmenides. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-506445-3.
• Miller, Mitchell (2004). The Philosopher in Plato's Statesman. Parmenides Publishing. ISBN 978-1-930972-16-2
• Mohr, Richard D. (2006). God and Forms in Plato - and other Essays in Plato's Metaphysics. Parmenides Publishing. ISBN 978-1-930972-01-8
• Moore, Edward (2007). Plato. Philosophy Insights Series. Tirril, Humanities-Ebooks. ISBN 978-1-84760-047-9
• Nightingale, Andrea Wilson. (1995). "Genres in Dialogue: Plato and the Construct of Philosophy", Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-48264-X
• Reale, Giovanni (1990). A History of Ancient Philosophy: Plato and Aristotle. SUNY Press. ISBN 0-791-40516-8.
• Reale, Giovanni (1997). Toward a New Interpretation of Plato. CUA Press. ISBN 0-813-20847-5.
• Sallis, John (1996). Being and Logos: Reading the Platonic Dialogues. Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-21071-2.
• Sallis, John (1999). Chorology: On Beginning in Plato's "Timaeus". Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-21308-8.
• Sayre, Kenneth M. (2006). Plato's Late Ontology: A Riddle Resolved. Parmenides Publishing. ISBN 978-1-930972-09-4
• Seung, T. K. (1996). Plato Rediscovered: Human Value and Social Order. Rowman and Littlefield. ISBN 0-8476-8112-2
• Szlezak, Thomas A. (1999). Reading Plato. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-18984-5.
• Taylor, A. E. (2001). Plato: The Man and His Work, Dover Publications, ISBN 0-486-41605-4
• Vlastos, Gregory (1981). Platonic Studies, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-10021-7
• Vlastos, Gregory (2006). Plato's Universe - with a new Introducution by Luc Brisson, Parmenides Publishing. ISBN 978-1-930972-13-1
• Zuckert, Catherine (2009). Plato's Philosophers: The Coherence of the Dialogues, The University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0-226-99335-5
• Oxford University Press publishes scholarly editions of Plato's Greek texts in the Oxford Classical Texts series, and some translations in the Clarendon Plato Series.
• Harvard University Press publishes the hardbound series Loeb Classical Library, containing Plato's works in Greek, with English translations on facing pages.
• Thomas Taylor has translated Plato's complete works.
• Smith, William. (1867 — original). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. University of Michigan/Online version.
• Aspects of antiquity: Discoveries and Controversies by M.I. Finley, issued 1969 by The Viking Press, Inc.
• Interpreting Plato: The Dialogues as Drama by James A. Arieti, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-8476-7662-5

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This article is about the Classical Greek philosopher. For other uses of Socrates or Sócrates, see Socrates (disambiguation).
Socrates (Σωκράτης)

Full name Socrates (Σωκράτης)
Born c. 469 / 470 BC[1]

Died 399 BC (age approx. 71)
Era Ancient philosophy

Region Western Philosophy
Classical Greek

Main interests Epistemology, ethics

Notable ideas Socratic method, Socratic irony


Part of a series on

Method • Dialogues
Social gadfly
Aspasia • Ascetism • Diotima of Mantinea • Virtue • Trial
"I know that I know nothing"
Socratic paradox
Socratic problem


Plato • Xenophon
Antisthenes • Aristippus

Related topics
Platonism • Stoicism
Cynics • Cyrenaics
The Clouds

v • d • e

Socrates (Greek: Σωκράτης, Ancient Greek pronunciation: [soˈkraːtɛːs], Sōkrátēs; c. 469 BC–399 BC,[1] in English pronounced /ˈsɒkrətiːz/) was a Classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary Aristophanes. Many would claim that Plato's dialogues are the most comprehensive accounts of Socrates to survive from antiquity.[2]
Through his portrayal in Plato's dialogues, Socrates has become renowned for his contribution to the field of ethics, and it is this Platonic Socrates who also lends his name to the concepts of Socratic irony and the Socratic method, or elenchus. The latter remains a commonly used tool in a wide range of discussions, and is a type of pedagogy in which a series of questions are asked not only to draw individual answers, but also to encourage fundamental insight into the issue at hand. It is Plato's Socrates that also made important and lasting contributions to the fields of epistemology and logic, and the influence of his ideas and approach remains strong in providing a foundation for much western philosophy that followed.
As one recent commentator has put it, Plato, the idealist, offers "an idol, a master figure, for philosophy. A Saint, a prophet of the 'Sun-God', a teacher condemned for his teachings as a heretic."[3] Yet, the 'real' Socrates, like many of the other Ancient philosophers, remains at best enigmatic and at worst unknown.
• 1 Biography
o 1.1 The Socratic problem
o 1.2 Life
o 1.3 Trial and death
• 2 Philosophy
o 2.1 Socratic method
o 2.2 Philosophical beliefs
 2.2.1 Socratic Paradoxes
 2.2.2 Knowledge
 2.2.3 Virtue
 2.2.4 Politics
 2.2.5 Mysticism
• 3 Satirical playwrights
• 4 Prose sources
o 4.1 The Socratic dialogues
• 5 Legacy
o 5.1 Immediate influence
o 5.2 Later historical effects
o 5.3 Criticism
o 5.4 Ahmadiyya Viewpoint
• 6 See also
• 7 Notes
• 8 References
• 9 Further reading
• 10 External links

The Socratic problem
Forming an accurate picture of the historical Socrates and his philosophical viewpoints is problematic. This issue is known as the Socratic problem.
Socrates did not write philosophical texts. The knowledge of the man, his life, and his philosophy is based on writings by his students and contemporaries. Foremost among them is Plato; however, works by Xenophon, Aristotle, and Aristophanes also provide important insights.[4] The difficulty of finding the “real” Socrates arises because these works are often philosophical or dramatic texts rather than straightforward histories. Aside from Thucydides (who makes no mention of Socrates or philosophers in general) and Xenophon, there are in fact no straightforward histories contemporary with Socrates that dealt with his own time and place. A corollary of this is that sources that do mention Socrates do not necessarily claim to be historically accurate, and are often partisan (those who prosecuted and convicted Socrates have left no testament). Historians therefore face the challenge of reconciling the various texts that come from these men to create an accurate and consistent account of Socrates' life and work. The result of such an effort is not necessarily realistic, merely consistent.
Plato is frequently viewed as the most informative source about Socrates' life and philosophy.[5] At the same time, however, many scholars believe that in some works Plato, being a literary artist, pushed his avowedly brightened-up version of "Socrates" far beyond anything the historical Socrates was likely to have done or said; and that Xenophon, being an historian, is a more reliable witness to the historical Socrates. Parsing which Socrates—the "real" one, or Plato's own mouthpiece—Plato is using at any given point is a matter of much debate.
However, it is also clear from other writings, and historical artifacts that Socrates was not simply a character, or invention, of Plato. The testimony of Xenophon and Aristotle, alongside some of Aristophanes' work (especially The Clouds), can be usefully engaged in fleshing out our perception of Socrates beyond Plato's work.

Carnelian gem imprint representing Socrates, Rome, 1st century BC-1st century AD.
Details about Socrates can be derived from three contemporary sources: the dialogues of Plato and Xenophon (both devotees of Socrates), and the plays of Aristophanes. He has been depicted by some scholars, including Eric Havelock and Walter Ong, as a champion of oral modes of communication, standing up at the dawn of writing against its haphazard diffusion.[6]
Aristophanes' play The Clouds portrays Socrates as a clown who teaches his students how to bamboozle their way out of debt. Most of Aristophanes' works, however, function as parodies. Thus, it is presumed this characterization was also not literal.
According to Plato, Socrates' father was Sophroniscus[7] and his mother Phaenarete,[8] a midwife. Though characterized as unattractive in appearance and short in stature, Socrates married Xanthippe,[9] who was much younger than he. She bore for him three sons,[10] Lamprocles, Sophroniscus and Menexenus. His friend Crito of Alopece criticized him for abandoning his sons when he refused to try to escape before his execution.[11]
It is unclear how Socrates earned a living. Ancient texts seem to indicate that Socrates did not work. In Xenophon's Symposium, Socrates is reported as saying he devotes himself only to what he regards as the most important art or occupation: discussing philosophy. In The Clouds Aristophanes portrays Socrates as accepting payment for teaching and running a sophist school with Chaerephon, while in Plato's Apology and Symposium and in Xenophon's accounts, Socrates explicitly denies accepting payment for teaching. More specifically, in the Apology Socrates cites his poverty as proof he is not a teacher. According to Timon of Phlius and later sources, Socrates took over the profession of stonemasonry from his father. There was a tradition in antiquity, not credited by modern scholarship, that Socrates crafted the statues of the Three Graces, which stood near the Acropolis until the second century AD.[12]
Several of Plato's dialogues refer to Socrates' military service. Socrates says he served in the Athenian army during three campaigns: at Potidaea, Amphipolis, and Delium. In the Symposium Alcibiades describes Socrates' valour in the battles of Potidaea and Delium, recounting how Socrates saved his life in the former battle (219e-221b). Socrates' exceptional service at Delium is also mentioned in the Laches by the General after whom the dialogue is named (181b). In the Apology, Socrates compares his military service to his courtroom troubles, and says anyone on the jury who thinks he ought to retreat from philosophy must also think soldiers should retreat when it looks like they will be killed in battle.
In 406 he was a member of the Boule, and his tribe the Antiochis held the Prytany on the day the Generals of the Battle of Arginusae, who abandoned the slain and the survivors of foundered ships to pursue the defeated Spartan navy, were discussed. Socrates was the Epistates and resisted the unconstitutional demand for a collective trial to establish the guilt of all eight Generals, proposed by Callixeinus. Eventually, Socrates refused to be cowed by threats of impeachment and imprisonment and blocked the vote until his Prytany ended the next day, whereupon the six Generals were condemned to death.
In 404 the Thirty Tyrants sought to ensure the loyalty of those opposed to them by making them complicit in their activities. Socrates and four others were ordered to bring a certain Leon of Salamis from his home for unjust execution. Socrates quietly refused, his death averted only by the overthrow of the Tyrants soon afterwards.
Trial and death
Main article: Trial of Socrates

The Death of Socrates, by Jacques-Louis David (1787).
Socrates lived during the time of the transition from the height of the Athenian hegemony to its decline with the defeat by Sparta and its allies in the Peloponnesian War. At a time when Athens sought to stabilize and recover from its humiliating defeat, the Athenian public may have been entertaining doubts about democracy as an efficient form of government. Socrates appears to have been a critic of democracy, and some scholars interpret his trial as an expression of political infighting.
Despite claiming loyalty to his city, Socrates clashed with the current course of Athenian politics and society.[13] He praises Sparta, archrival to Athens, directly and indirectly in various dialogues. But perhaps the most historically accurate of Socrates' offenses to the city was his position as a social and moral critic. Rather than upholding a status quo and accepting the development of immorality within his region, Socrates worked to undermine the collective notion of "might makes right" so common to Greece during this period. Plato refers to Socrates as the "gadfly" of the state (as the gadfly stings the horse into action, so Socrates stung various Athenians), insofar as he irritated some people with considerations of justice and the pursuit of goodness.[14] His attempts to improve the Athenians' sense of justice may have been the source of his execution.
According to Plato's Apology, Socrates' life as the "gadfly" of Athens began when his friend Chaerephon asked the oracle at Delphi if anyone was wiser than Socrates; the Oracle responded that none was wiser. Socrates believed that what the Oracle had said was a paradox, because he believed he possessed no wisdom whatsoever. He proceeded to test the riddle by approaching men considered wise by the people of Athens—statesmen, poets, and artisans—in order to refute the Oracle's pronouncement. Questioning them, however, Socrates concluded that, while each man thought he knew a great deal and was wise, in fact they knew very little and were not wise at all. Socrates realized that the Oracle was correct, in that while so-called wise men thought themselves wise and yet were not, he himself knew he was not wise at all, which, paradoxically, made him the wiser one since he was the only person aware of his own ignorance. Socrates' paradoxical wisdom made the prominent Athenians he publicly questioned look foolish, turning them against him and leading to accusations of wrongdoing. Socrates defended his role as a gadfly until the end: at his trial, when Socrates was asked to propose his own punishment, he suggests a wage paid by the government and free dinners for the rest of his life instead, to finance the time he spends as Athens' benefactor.[15] He was, nevertheless, found guilty of both corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens and of "not believing in the gods of the state",[16] and subsequently sentenced to death by drinking a mixture containing poison hemlock.

Bust of Socrates in the Vatican Museum.
According to Xenophon's story, Socrates purposefully gave a defiant defense to the jury because "he believed he would be better off dead". Xenophon goes on to describe a defense by Socrates that explains the rigors of old age, and how Socrates would be glad to circumvent them by being sentenced to death. It is also understood that Socrates also wished to die because he "actually believed the right time had come for him to die".
Xenophon and Plato agree that Socrates had an opportunity to escape, as his followers were able to bribe the prison guards. He chose to stay for several reasons:
1. He believed such a flight would indicate a fear of death, which he believed no true philosopher has.
2. If he fled Athens his teaching would fare no better in another country as he would continue questioning all he met and undoubtedly incur their displeasure.
3. Having knowingly agreed to live under the city's laws, he implicitly subjected himself to the possibility of being accused of crimes by its citizens and judged guilty by its jury. To do otherwise would have caused him to break his "social contract" with the state, and so harm the state, an act contrary to Socratic principle.
The full reasoning behind his refusal to flee is the main subject of the Crito.
Socrates' death is described at the end of Plato's Phaedo. Socrates turned down the pleas of Crito to attempt an escape from prison. After drinking the poison, he was instructed to walk around until his legs felt numb. After he lay down, the man who administered the poison pinched his foot. Socrates could no longer feel his legs. The numbness slowly crept up his body until it reached his heart. Shortly before his death, Socrates speaks his last words to Crito: "Crito, we owe a rooster to Asclepius. Please, don't forget to pay the debt." Asclepius was the Greek god for curing illness, and it is likely Socrates' last words meant that death is the cure—and freedom, of the soul from the body. Additionally, in Why Socrates Died: Dispelling the Myths, Robin Waterfield adds another interpretation of Socrates' last words. He suggests that Socrates was a voluntary scapegoat; his death was the purifying remedy for Athens’ misfortunes. In this view, the token of appreciation for Asclepius would represent a cure for the ailments of Athens.[14]

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Early life • Works
Platonism • Epistemology
Idealism / Realism
Theory of Forms
Form of the Good
Third man argument
Euthyphro dilemma
Five regimes
Philosopher king

Allegories and metaphors
Ring of Gyges • The cave
The divided line • The sun
Ship of state • Myth of Er
The chariot

Related articles
The Academy in Athens
Socratic problem
Commentaries on Plato
Middle Platonism
Neoplatonism and Christianity

v • d • e

Socratic method
Main article: Socratic method
Perhaps his most important contribution to Western thought is his dialectic method of inquiry, known as the Socratic method or method of "elenchus", which he largely applied to the examination of key moral concepts such as the Good and Justice. It was first described by Plato in the Socratic Dialogues. To solve a problem, it would be broken down into a series of questions, the answers to which gradually distill the answer a person would seek. The influence of this approach is most strongly felt today in the use of the scientific method, in which hypothesis is the first stage. The development and practice of this method is one of Socrates' most enduring contributions, and is a key factor in earning his mantle as the father of political philosophy, ethics or moral philosophy, and as a figurehead of all the central themes in Western philosophy.
To illustrate the use of the Socratic method; a series of questions are posed to help a person or group to determine their underlying beliefs and the extent of their knowledge. The Socratic method is a negative method of hypothesis elimination, in that better hypotheses are found by steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions. It was designed to force one to examine one's own beliefs and the validity of such beliefs. In fact, Socrates once said, "I know you won't believe me, but the highest form of Human Excellence is to question oneself and others."[17]
Philosophical beliefs
The beliefs of Socrates, as distinct from those of Plato, are difficult to discern. Little in the way of concrete evidence exists to demarcate the two. The lengthy theories given in most of the dialogues are those of Plato, and some scholars think Plato so adapted the Socratic style as to make the literary character and the philosopher himself impossible to distinguish. Others argue that he did have his own theories and beliefs, but there is much controversy over what these might have been, owing to the difficulty of separating Socrates from Plato and the difficulty of interpreting even the dramatic writings concerning Socrates. Consequently, distinguishing the philosophical beliefs of Socrates from those of Plato and Xenophon is not easy and it must be remembered that what is attributed to Socrates might more closely reflect the specific concerns of these thinkers.
The matter is complicated because the historical Socrates seems to have been notorious for asking questions but not answering, claiming to lack wisdom concerning the subjects about which he questioned others.[18]
If anything in general can be said about the philosophical beliefs of Socrates, it is that he was morally, intellectually, and politically at odds with his fellow Athenians. When he is on trial for heresy and corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens, he uses his method of elenchos to demonstrate to the jurors that their moral values are wrong-headed. He tells them they are concerned with their families, careers, and political responsibilities when they ought to be worried about the "welfare of their souls". Socrates' belief in the immortality of the soul, and his conviction that the gods had singled him out as a divine emissary seemed to provoke, if not ridicule, at least annoyance. Socrates also questioned the Sophistic doctrine that arete (virtue) can be taught. He liked to observe that successful fathers (such as the prominent military general Pericles) did not produce sons of their own quality. Socrates argued that moral excellence was more a matter of divine bequest than parental nurture. This belief may have contributed to his lack of anxiety about the future of his own sons.
Socrates frequently says his ideas are not his own, but his teachers'. He mentions several influences: Prodicus the rhetor and Anaxagoras the scientist. Perhaps surprisingly, Socrates claims to have been deeply influenced by two women besides his mother: he says that Diotima, a witch and priestess from Mantinea, taught him all he knows about eros, or love; and that Aspasia, the mistress of Pericles, taught him the art of rhetoric.[19] John Burnet argued that his principal teacher was the Anaxagorean Archelaus but his ideas were as Plato described them; Eric A. Havelock, on the other hand, considered Socrates' association with the Anaxagoreans to be evidence of Plato's philosophical separation from Socrates.
Socratic Paradoxes
Many of the beliefs traditionally attributed to the historical Socrates have been characterized as "paradoxal" because they seem to conflict with common sense. The following are among the so-called Socratic Paradoxes:[20]
• No one desires evil.
• No one errs or does wrong willingly or knowingly.
• Virtue - all virtue - is knowledge.
• Virtue is sufficient for happiness.
The phrase Socratic paradox can also refer to a self-referential paradox, originating in Socrates' phrase, "I know that I know nothing noble and good".[21]
One of the best known sayings of Socrates is "I only know that I know nothing". The conventional interpretation of this remark is that Socrates' wisdom was limited to an awareness of his own ignorance. Socrates believed wrongdoing was a consequence of ignorance and those who did wrong knew no better. The one thing Socrates consistently claimed to have knowledge of was "the art of love", which he connected with the concept of "the love of wisdom", i.e., philosophy. He never actually claimed to be wise, only to understand the path a lover of wisdom must take in pursuing it. It is debatable whether Socrates believed humans (as opposed to gods like Apollo) could actually become wise. On the one hand, he drew a clear line between human ignorance and ideal knowledge; on the other, Plato's Symposium (Diotima's Speech) and Republic (Allegory of the Cave) describe a method for ascending to wisdom.
In Plato's Theaetetus (150a) Socrates compares himself to a true matchmaker (προμνηστικός promnestikós), as distinguished from a panderer (προᾰγωγός proagogos). This distinction is echoed in Xenophon's Symposium (3.20), when Socrates jokes about his certainty of being able to make a fortune, if he chose to practice the art of pandering. For his part as a philosophical interlocutor, he leads his respondent to a clearer conception of wisdom, although he claims he is not himself a teacher (Apology). His role, he claims, is more properly to be understood as analogous to a midwife (μαῖα maia). Socrates explains that he is himself barren of theories, but knows how to bring the theories of others to birth and determine whether they are worthy or mere "wind eggs" (ἀνεμιαῖον anemiaion). Perhaps significantly, he points out that midwives are barren due to age, and women who have never given birth are unable to become midwives; they would have no experience or knowledge of birth and would be unable to separate the worthy infants from those that should be left on the hillside to be exposed. To judge this, the midwife must have experience and knowledge of what she is judging.

Bust of Socrates in the Palermo Archaeological Museum.
Socrates believed the best way for people to live was to focus on self-development rather than the pursuit of material wealth.[citation needed] He always invited others to try to concentrate more on friendships and a sense of true community, for Socrates felt this was the best way for people to grow together as a populace.[citation needed] His actions lived up to this: in the end, Socrates accepted his death sentence when most thought he would simply leave Athens, as he felt he could not run away from or go against the will of his community; as mentioned above, his reputation for valor on the battlefield was without reproach.
The idea that humans possessed certain virtues formed a common thread in Socrates' teachings. These virtues represented the most important qualities for a person to have, foremost of which were the philosophical or intellectual virtues. Socrates stressed that "virtue was the most valuable of all possessions; the ideal life was spent in search of the Good. Truth lies beneath the shadows of existence, and it is the job of the philosopher to show the rest how little they really know."[citation needed]
It is often argued that Socrates believed "ideals belong in a world only the wise man can understand",[citation needed] making the philosopher the only type of person suitable to govern others. In Plato's dialogue the Republic, Socrates was in no way subtle about his particular beliefs on government. He openly objected to the democracy that ran Athens during his adult life. It was not only Athenian democracy: Socrates objected to any form of government that did not conform to his ideal of a perfect republic led by philosophers, and Athenian government was far from that. It is, however, possible that the Socrates of Plato's Republic is colored by Plato's own views. During the last years of Socrates' life, Athens was in continual flux due to political upheaval. Democracy was at last overthrown by a junta known as the Thirty Tyrants, led by Plato's relative, Critias, who had been a student of Socrates. The Tyrants ruled for about a year before the Athenian democracy was reinstated, at which point it declared an amnesty for all recent events.
Socrates' opposition to democracy is often denied, and the question is one of the biggest philosophical debates when trying to determine exactly what Socrates believed. The strongest argument of those who claim Socrates did not actually believe in the idea of philosopher kings is that the view is expressed no earlier than Plato's Republic, which is widely considered one of Plato's "Middle" dialogues and not representative of the historical Socrates' views. Furthermore, according to Plato's Apology of Socrates, an "early" dialogue, Socrates refused to pursue conventional politics; he often stated he could not look into other's matters or tell people how to live their lives when he did not yet understand how to live his own. He believed he was a philosopher engaged in the pursuit of Truth, and did not claim to know it fully. Socrates' acceptance of his death sentence, after his conviction by the Boule (Senate), can also be seen to support this view. It is often claimed much of the anti-democratic leanings are from Plato, who was never able to overcome his disgust at what was done to his teacher. In any case, it is clear Socrates thought the rule of the Thirty Tyrants was at least as objectionable as Democracy; when called before them to assist in the arrest of a fellow Athenian, Socrates refused and narrowly escaped death before the Tyrants were overthrown. He did however fulfill his duty to serve as Prytanis when a trial of a group of Generals who presided over a disastrous naval campaign were judged; even then he maintained an uncompromising attitude, being one of those who refused to proceed in a manner not supported by the laws, despite intense pressure.[22] Judging by his actions, he considered the rule of the Thirty Tyrants less legitimate than the Democratic Senate that sentenced him to death.
In the Dialogues of Plato, Socrates often seems to support a mystical side, discussing reincarnation and the mystery religions; however, this is generally attributed to Plato[citation needed]. Regardless, this cannot be dismissed out of hand, as we cannot be sure of the differences between the views of Plato and Socrates; in addition, there seem to be some corollaries in the works of Xenophon. In the culmination of the philosophic path as discussed in Plato's Symposium and Republic, one comes to the Sea of Beauty or to the sight of the form of the Good in an experience akin to mystical revelation; only then can one become wise. (In the Symposium, Socrates credits his speech on the philosophic path to his teacher, the priestess Diotima, who is not even sure if Socrates is capable of reaching the highest mysteries.) In the Meno, he refers to the Eleusinian Mysteries, telling Meno he would understand Socrates' answers better if only he could stay for the initiations next week. Further confusions result from the nature of these sources, insofar as the Platonic Dialogues are arguably the work of an artist-philosopher, whose meaning does not volunteer itself to the passive reader nor again the lifelong scholar. Plato himself was a playwright before taking up the study of philosophy. His works are, indeed, dialogues; Plato's choice of this, the medium of Sophocles, Euripides, and the fictions of theatre, may reflect the interpretable nature of his writings. What is more, the first word of nearly all Plato's works is a, or the, significant term for that respective study, and is used with the commonly approved definition in mind. Finally, the Phaedrus and the Symposium each allude to Socrates' coy delivery of philosophic truths in conversation; the Socrates of the Phaedrus goes so far as to demand such dissembling and mystery in all writing. The mysticism we often find in Plato, appearing here and there and couched in some enigmatic tract of symbol and irony, is often at odds with the mysticism Plato's Socrates expounds in some other dialogue. These mystical resolutions to hitherto rigorous inquiries and analyses fail to satisfy caring readers, without fail. Whether they would fail to satisfy readers who understood them is another question, and will not, in all probability, ever be resolved.
Perhaps the most interesting facet of this is Socrates' reliance on what the Greeks called his "daemonic sign", an averting (ἀποτρεπτικός apotreptikos) inner voice Socrates heard only when he was about to make a mistake. It was this sign that prevented Socrates from entering into politics. In the Phaedrus, we are told Socrates considered this to be a form of "divine madness", the sort of insanity that is a gift from the gods and gives us poetry, mysticism, love, and even philosophy itself. Alternately, the sign is often taken to be what we would call "intuition"; however, Socrates' characterization of the phenomenon as "daemonic" suggests its origin is divine, mysterious, and independent of his own thoughts.
Satirical playwrights
He was prominently lampooned in Aristophanes' comedy The Clouds, produced when Socrates was in his mid-forties; he said at his trial (according to Plato) that the laughter of the theater was a harder task to answer than the arguments of his accusers. Søren Kierkegaard believed this play was a more accurate representation of Socrates than those of his students. In the play, Socrates is ridiculed for his dirtiness, which is associated with the Laconizing fad; also in plays by Callias, Eupolis, and Telecleides. Other comic poets who lampooned Socrates include Mnesimachus and Ameipsias. In all of these, Socrates and the Sophists were criticised for "the moral dangers inherent in contemporary thought and literature".
Prose sources
Plato, Xenophon, and Aristotle are the main sources for the historical Socrates; however, Xenophon and Plato were direct disciples of Socrates, and presumably, they idealize him; however, they wrote the only continuous descriptions of Socrates that have come down to us. Aristotle refers frequently, but in passing, to Socrates in his writings. Almost all of Plato's works center around Socrates. However, Plato's later works appear to be more his own philosophy put into the mouth of his mentor.
The Socratic dialogues
Main article: Socratic dialogues
The Socratic Dialogues are a series of dialogues written by Plato and Xenophon in the form of discussions between Socrates and other persons of his time, or as discussions between Socrates' followers over his concepts. Plato's Phaedo is an example of this latter category. Although his Apology is a monologue delivered by Socrates, it is usually grouped with the Dialogues.
The Apology professes to be a record of the actual speech Socrates delivered in his own defense at the trial. In the Athenian jury system, an "apology" is composed of three parts: a speech, followed by a counter-assessment, then some final words. "Apology" is a transliteration, not a translation, of the Greek apologia, meaning "defense"; in this sense it is not apologetic according to our contemporary use of the term.
Plato generally does not place his own ideas in the mouth of a specific speaker; he lets ideas emerge via the Socratic Method, under the guidance of Socrates. Most of the dialogues present Socrates applying this method to some extent, but nowhere as completely as in the Euthyphro. In this dialogue, Socrates and Euthyphro go through several iterations of refining the answer to Socrates' question, "...What is the pious, and what the impious?"
In Plato's Dialogues, learning appears as a process of remembering. The soul, before its incarnation in the body, was in the realm of Ideas (very similar to the Platonic "Forms"). There, it saw things the way they truly are, rather than the pale shadows or copies we experience on earth. By a process of questioning, the soul can be brought to remember the ideas in their pure form, thus bringing wisdom.
Especially for Plato's writings referring to Socrates, it is not always clear which ideas brought forward by Socrates (or his friends) actually belonged to Socrates and which of these may have been new additions or elaborations by Plato — this is known as the Socratic Problem. Generally, the early works of Plato are considered to be close to the spirit of Socrates, whereas the later works — including Phaedo and the Republic — are considered to be possibly products of Plato's elaborations.
Immediate influence
Immediately, the students of Socrates set to work both on exercising their perceptions of his teachings in politics and also on developing many new philosophical schools of thought. Some of Athens' controversial and anti-democratic tyrants were contemporary or posthumous students of Socrates including Alcibiades and Critias. Critias' cousin, Plato would go on to found the Academy in 385 BC, which gained so much notoriety that 'Academy' became the base word for educational institutions in later European languages such as English, French, and Italian. Plato's protege, another important figure of the Classical era, Aristotle went on to tutor Alexander the Great and also to found his own school in 335 BC- the Lyceum, whose name also now means an educational institution.
While Socrates was shown to demote the importance of institutional knowledge like mathematics or science in relation to the human condition in his Dialogues, Plato would emphasize it with metaphysical overtones mirroring that of Pythagoras - the former who would dominate Western thought well into the Renaissance. Aristotle himself was as much of a philosopher as he was a scientist with rudimentary work in the fields of biology and physics.
Socratic thought along the lines of challenging conventions, especially in stressing a simplistic way of living, became divorced from Plato's more detached and philosophical pursuits but was inherited heavily by one of Socrates' older and diehard students, Antisthenes who became another originator of a philosophy in the years after Socrates' death - Cynicism. Antisthenes attacked Plato and Alcibiades over what he deemed as their betrayal of Socrates' tenets in his writings.
The idea of asceticism being hand in hand with an ethical life or one with piety, ignored by Plato and Aristotle and somewhat dealt with by the Cynics, formed the core of another philosophy in 281 BC - Stoicism when Zeno of Citium would discover Socrates' works and then learn from Crates, a Cynic philosopher. None of the schools however, would inherit his tendency to openly associate with and respect women or the regular citizen.
Later historical effects
While some of the later contributions of Socrates to Hellenistic Era culture and philosophy as well as the Roman Era have been lost to time, his teachings began a resurgence in both medieval Europe and the Islamic Middle East alongside those of Aristotle and Stoicism. Socrates is mentioned in the dialogue Kuzari by Jewish philosopher and rabbi Yehuda Halevi in which a Jew instructs the Khazar king about Judaism. al-Kindi, a well-known Arabic philosopher, introduced and tried to reconcile Socrates and Hellenistic philosophy to an Islamic audience.
Socrates' stature in Western philosophy returned in full force with the Renaissance and the Age of Reason in Europe when political theory began to resurface under those like Locke and Hobbes. Voltaire even went so far as to write a satirical play about the Trial of Socrates. There were a number of paintings about his life including Socrates Tears Alcibiades from the Embrace of Sensual Pleasure by Jean-Baptiste Regnault and The Death of Socrates by Jacques-Louis David in the later 18th Century.
To this day, the Socratic Method is still used in classroom and law school discourse to expose underlying issues in both subject and the speaker. He has been rewarded with accolades ranging from numerous mentions in pop culture such as the movie Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure and a Greek rock band to numerous busts in academic institutions in recognition of his contribution to education.
Evaluation and reaction to Socrates has been undertaken with both historical and philosophical inquiry from the time of his death to the present day with a multitude of conclusions and perspectives. One of the initial criticisms levied against the philosopher was presented at his trial - that he was not the proponent of a philosophy but an individual with a method of undermining the fabric of Athenian society, a charge carried by the 500-man jury of Athenians that sentenced him to death. Although he was not directly prosecuted for his connection to Critias, leader of the Spartan-backed Thirty Tyrants, he was seen as a controversial figure, who mentored oligarchs who became abusive tyrants, and undermined Athenian democracy. The Sophist establishment he railed at in life survived him, but by the 3rd Century BC, was rapidly overtaken by the many philosophical schools of thought that Socrates influenced.
Socrates' death is considered iconic and his status as a martyr of philosophy overshadowed most contemporary and posthumous criticism at the time. However, Xenophon attempts to explain that Socrates purposely welcomed the hemlock due to his old age using the arguably self-destructive testimony to the jury as evidence. Direct criticism of Socrates almost disappears at this point, but there is a noticeable preference for Plato or Aristotle over the elements of Socratic philosophy distinct from those of his students, even into the Middle Ages.
Modern scholarship holds that, with so much of the philosopher obscured and possibly altered by Plato, it is impossible to gain a clear picture of Socrates amidst all the seeming contradictions. That both Cynicism and Stoicism, which carried heavy influence from Socratic thought, were unlike or even contrary to Platonism further illustrates this. The ambiguity and lack of reliability serves as the modern basis of criticism - that it is near impossible to know the real Socrates. Some controversy also exists about claims of Socrates exempting himself from the homosexual customs of Ancient Greece and not believing in the Olympian gods to the point of being monotheistic or if this was an attempt by later Medieval scholars to reconcile him with the morals of the era. However, it is still commonly taught and held with little exception that Socrates is the founder of modern Western philosophy, to the point that philosophers before him are referred to as pre-Socratic.
Ahmadiyya Viewpoint
Mirza Tahir Ahmad (the fourth Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community) argued in his book Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth that Socrates was a prophet of the ancient Greeks. The apparent prophetic qualities of Socrates are indeed a subject for debate [23]. His constant reference to the oracle and how it performs the active function of a moral compass by preventing him from unseemly acts could easily be taken as a reference to - or substitute for revelation. Similarly, Socrates often refers to God in the singular as opposed to the plural and actively rejected the Greek pantheon of Gods and Goddesses unless citing them as examples of their falseness. [6].
See also
• I know that I know nothing
1. ^ a b "Socrates". 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica. 1911. Retrieved 2007-11-14.
2. ^ Sarah Kofman, Socrates: Fictions of a Philosopher (1998) ISBN 0-8014-3551-X
3. ^ Martin Cohen, Philosophical Tales (2008) ISBN 1405140372
4. ^ Many other writers added to the fashion of Socratic dialogues (called Sőkratikoi logoi) at the time. In addition to Plato and Xenophon, each of the following is credited by some source as having added to the genre: Aeschines of Sphettus, Antisthenes, Aristippus, Bryson, Cebes, Crito, Euclid of Megara, and Phaedo. It is unlikely Plato was the first in this field (Vlastos, p. 52).
5. ^ There are several reasons this is the case. For one, Socrates is credited as an intellectual by almost every existing primary source. It is more likely then, that a fellow intellectual (i.e., Plato) would be more capable of understanding Socrates's ideas than a comic playwright, like Aristophanes. Furthermore, Socrates - as he is depicted by Xenophon's works - does nothing that would lead one to conclude he was a revolutionary or a threat to Athens (both Socrates and Xenophon served in military forces). Plato's Socrates behaves in ways that would explain why he was condemned for impiety (May, On Socrates).
6. ^ Ong, pp. 78–79.
7. ^ Plato, Laches 180d [1], Euthydemus 297e [2], Hippias Major 298c [3]
8. ^ Plato, Theaetetus 149a [4], Alcibiades 1 131e [5]
9. ^ Xenophon, Symposium 2.10
10. ^ Plato, Phaedo 116b
11. ^ Plato, Crito 45c-45e
12. ^ The ancient tradition is attested in Pausanias, 1.22.8; for a modern denial, see Kleine Pauly, "Sokrates" 7; the tradition is a confusion with the sculptor, Socrates of Thebes, mentioned in Pausanias 9.25.3, a contemporary of Pindar.
13. ^ Here it is telling to refer to Thucydides (3.82.8): "Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question inaptness to act on any. Frantic violence, became the attribute of manliness; cautious plotting, a justifiable means of self-defense. The advocate of extreme measures was always trustworthy; his opponent a man to be suspected."
14. ^ a b Waterfield,Robin. Why Socrates Died:Dispelling the Myths. New York:W.W.Norton and Company, 2009
15. ^ Brun (1978).
16. ^ Plato. Apology, 24 - 27.
17. ^ Coppens.
18. ^ Plato, Republic 336c & 337a, Theaetetus 150c, Apology 23a; Xenophon, Memorabilia 4.4.9; Aristotle, Sophistical Refutations 183b7.
19. ^ Plato, Menexenus 235e
20. ^ p. 14, Terence Irwin, The Development of Ethics, vol. 1, Oxford University Press 2007; p. 147, Gerasimos Santas, "The Socratic Paradoxes", Philosophical Review 73 (1964), pp. 147-64.
21. ^ Apology of Socrates 21d.
22. ^ Kagen (1978).
23. ^ Hughes, Bettany. Socrates: The Hemlock Cup. (Random House, 2009)
• Brun, Jean (1978 (sixth edition)). Socrate. Presses universitaires de France. pp. 39–40. ISBN 2-13-035620-6. (French)
• Coppens, Philip, "Socrates, that’s the question" Feature Articles - Biographies,
• May, Hope (2000). On Socrates. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth. ISBN 0534576044.
• Ong, Walter (2002). Orality and Literacy. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0415281296.
• Kagan, Donald. The Fall of the Athenian Empire. First. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1987.
• Pausanias, Description of Greece. W. H. S. Jones (translator). Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. (1918). Vol. 1. Books I–II: ISBN 0-674-99104-4. Vol. 4. Books VIII.22–X: ISBN 0-674-99328-4.
• Thucydides; The Peloponnesian War. London, J. M. Dent; New York, E. P. Dutton. 1910.
• Vlastos, Gregory (1991). Socrates, Ironist and Moral Philosopher. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0801497876.
Further reading
• Bernas, Richard, cond. Socrate. By Erik Satie. LTM/Boutique, 2006
• Bruell, C. (1994). “On Plato’s Political Philosophy”, Review of Politics, 56: 261-82.
• Bruell, C. (1999). On the Socratic Education: An Introduction to the Shorter Platonic Dialogues, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
• Grube, G.M.A.(2002). "Plato, Five Dialogues". Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
• Hanson, V.D. (2001). "Socrates Dies at Delium, 424 B.C.", What If? 2, Robert Cowley, editor, G.P. Putnam's Sons, NY.
• Egan, K. The educated mind : how cognitive tools shape our understanding. (1997) University of Chicago Press, Chicago. ISBN 0-226-19036-6 p. 137-144
• Kierkegaard, Søren (1968). The Concept of Irony: with Constant Reference to Socrates. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 9780253201119.
• Levinson, Paul (2007). The Plot to Save Socrates. New York: Tor Books. ISBN 0765311976.
• Luce, J.V. (1992). An Introduction to Greek Philosophy, Thames & Hudson, NY.
• Maritain, J. (1930, 1991). Introduction to Philosophy, Christian Classics, Inc., Westminster, MD.
• Robinson, R (1953). Plato's Earlier Dialectic. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 9780198247777. Ch. 2: "Elenchus", Ch. 3: "Elenchus: Direct and Indirect"
• Taylor, C.C.W. , Hare, R.M. & Barnes, J. (1998). Greek Philosophers — Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, Oxford University Press, NY.
• Taylor, C.C.W. (2001). Socrates: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Socrates

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Socrates

• Socrates on In Our Time at the BBC. (listen now)
• Socrates entry by Debra Nails in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
• Greek Philosophy: Socrates
• Diogenes Laërtius, Life of Socrates, translated by Robert Drew Hicks (1925).
• Original Fresque of Socrates in Archaeological Museum of Ephesus
• Socrates Narrates Plato's The Republic
• Apology of Socrates, by Plato.
• Project Gutenberg e-texts on Socrates, amongst others:
o The Dialogues of Plato (see also Wikipedia articles on Dialogues by Plato)
o The writings of Xenophon, such as the Memorablia and Hellenica.
o The satirical plays by Aristophanes
o Aristotle's writings
o Voltaire's Socrates
• A free audiobook of the Socratic dialogue Euthyphro at LibriVox
• Socratic Method Research Portal
• Video on Socratic method
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René Descartes
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René Descartes

Portrait after Frans Hals, 1648.[1]

Full name René Descartes
Born 31 March 1596
La Haye en Touraine, Touraine (present-day Descartes, Indre-et-Loire), France

Died 11 February 1650 (aged 53)
Stockholm, Sweden

Era 17th-century philosophy

Region Western Philosophy
Cartesianism, Rationalism, Foundationalism

Main interests Metaphysics, Epistemology, Mathematics

Notable ideas Cogito ergo sum, method of doubt, Cartesian coordinate system, Cartesian dualism, ontological argument for the existence of God; regarded as a founder of Modern philosophy

Influenced by[show]



Part of a series on

René Descartes
Cartesianism • Rationalism
Doubt and certainty
Dream argument
Cogito ergo sum
Trademark argument
Mind-body dichotomy
Analytic geometry
Coordinate system
Cartesian circle • Folium
Rule of signs • Cartesian diver
Balloonist theory

The World
Discourse on the Method
La Géométrie
Meditations on First Philosophy
Principles of Philosophy
Passions of the Soul

Christina of Sweden
Baruch Spinoza
Gottfried Leibniz

v • d • e

René Descartes (French pronunciation: [ʁəne dekaʁt]; 31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650) (Latinized form: Renatus Cartesius; adjectival form: "Cartesian")[2] was a French philosopher, mathematician, physicist, and writer who spent most of his adult life in the Dutch Republic. He has been dubbed the "Father of Modern Philosophy", and much subsequent Western philosophy is a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day. In particular, his Meditations on First Philosophy continues to be a standard text at most university philosophy departments. Descartes' influence in mathematics is also apparent; the Cartesian coordinate system—allowing geometric shapes to be expressed in algebraic equations—was named after him. He is credited as the father of analytical geometry. Descartes was also one of the key figures in the Scientific Revolution.
Descartes frequently sets his views apart from those of his predecessors. In the opening section of the Passions of the Soul, a treatise on the Early Modern version of what are now commonly called emotions, Descartes goes so far as to assert that he will write on this topic "as if no one had written on these matters before". Many elements of his philosophy have precedents in late Aristotelianism, the revived Stoicism of the 16th century, or in earlier philosophers like St. Augustine. In his natural philosophy, he differs from the Schools on two major points: First, he rejects the analysis of corporeal substance into matter and form; second, he rejects any appeal to ends—divine or natural—in explaining natural phenomena.[3] In his theology, he insists on the absolute freedom of God’s act of creation.
Descartes was a major figure in 17th-century continental rationalism, later advocated by Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz, and opposed by the empiricist school of thought consisting of Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Hume. Leibniz, Spinoza and Descartes were all well versed in mathematics as well as philosophy, and Descartes and Leibniz contributed greatly to science as well. As the inventor of the Cartesian coordinate system, Descartes founded analytic geometry, the bridge between algebra and geometry, crucial to the discovery of infinitesimal calculus and analysis. He is perhaps best known for the philosophical statement "Cogito ergo sum" (French: Je pense, donc je suis; English: I think, therefore I am; or I am thinking, therefore I exist or I do think, therefore I do exist), found in part IV of Discourse on the Method (1637 – written in French but with inclusion of "Cogito ergo sum") and §7 of part I of Principles of Philosophy (1644 – written in Latin).
• 1 Biography
• 2 Philosophical work
• 3 Dualism
• 4 Mathematical legacy
• 5 Contemporary reception
• 6 Religious beliefs
• 7 Writings
• 8 See also
• 9 Notes
• 10 References
• 11 External links

[edit] Biography

Graduation registry for Descartes at the Collège Royal Henry-Le-Grand, La Flèche, 1616
Descartes was born in La Haye en Touraine (now Descartes), Indre-et-Loire, France. When he was one year old, his mother Jeanne Brochard died. His father Joachim was a member in the provincial parliament. At the age of eight, he entered the Jesuit Collège Royal Henry-Le-Grand at La Flèche.[4] After graduation, he studied at the University of Poitiers, earning a Baccalauréat and Licence in law in 1616, in accordance with his father's wishes that he should become a lawyer.[5]
"I entirely abandoned the study of letters. Resolving to seek no knowledge other than that of which could be found in myself or else in the great book of the world, I spent the rest of my youth traveling, visiting courts and armies, mixing with people of diverse temperaments and ranks, gathering various experiences, testing myself in the situations which fortune offered me, and at all times reflecting upon whatever came my way so as to derive some profit from it." (Descartes, Discourse on the Method).
In 1618, Descartes joined the International College of War of Maurice of Nassau in the Dutch Republic.[6] On 10 November 1618, while walking through Breda, Descartes met Isaac Beeckman, who sparked his interest in mathematics and the new physics, particularly the problem of the fall of heavy bodies. While in the service of the Duke Maximilian of Bavaria, Descartes was present at the Battle of the White Mountain outside Prague, in November 1620.[7]
On the night of 10–11 November 1619, while stationed in Neuburg (near Ulm), Germany, Descartes experienced a series of three powerful dreams or visions that he later claimed profoundly influenced his life. In the first of these dreams, Descartes found himself buffeted and thrown down by a powerful whirlwind while walking near a college. In the second, he was awoken by an inexplicable thunder or explosion-like sound in his head to see sparks coming from the stove in his room. In the third dream, he finds a great dictionary and an anthology of ancient Latin poets on his bedside table. In the latter book, he reads a verse that begins, "What path shall I follow in life?" Descartes concluded from these visions that the pursuit of science would prove to be, for him, the pursuit of true wisdom and a central part of his life's work.[8]
In 1622 he returned to France, and during the next few years spent time in Paris and other parts of Europe. He arrived in La Haye in 1623, selling all of his property to invest in bonds, which provided a comfortable income for the rest of his life. Descartes was present at the siege of La Rochelle by Cardinal Richelieu in 1627.
He returned to the Dutch Republic in 1628, where he lived until September 1649. In April 1629 he joined the University of Franeker, living at the Sjaerdemaslot, and the next year, under the name "Poitevin", he enrolled at the Leiden University to study mathematics with Jacob Golius and astronomy with Martin Hortensius.[9] In October 1630 he had a falling out with Beeckman, whom he accused of plagiarizing some of his ideas. In Amsterdam, he had a relationship with a servant girl, Helena Jans van der Strom, with whom he had a daughter, Francine, who was born in 1635 in Deventer, at which time Descartes taught at the Utrecht University. Francine Descartes died in 1640 in Amersfoort, the cause of death being Scarlet Fever.
While in the Netherlands he changed his address frequently, living among other places in Dordrecht (1628), Franeker (1629), Amsterdam (1629–30), Leiden (1630), Amsterdam (1630–32), Deventer (1632–34), Amsterdam (1634–35), Utrecht (1635–36), Leiden (1636), Egmond (1636–38), Santpoort (1638–1640), Leiden (1640–41), Endegeest (a castle near Oegstgeest) (1641–43), and finally for an extended time in Egmond-Binnen (1643–49).
Despite these frequent moves he wrote all his major work during his 20 plus years in the Netherlands, where he managed to revolutionize mathematics and philosophy. In 1633, Galileo was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church, and Descartes abandoned plans to publish Treatise on the World, his work of the previous four years. "Discourse on the Method" was published in 1637. In it Descartes lays out four rules of thought, meant to ensure that our knowledge rests upon a firm foundation.

René Descartes with Queen Christina of Sweden
Descartes continued to publish works concerning both mathematics and philosophy for the rest of his life. In 1643, Cartesian philosophy was condemned at the University of Utrecht, and Descartes began his long correspondence with Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia. In 1647, he was awarded a pension by the King of France. Descartes was interviewed by Frans Burman at Egmond-Binnen in 1648.
René Descartes died on 11 February 1650 in Stockholm, Sweden, where he had been invited as a teacher for Queen Christina of Sweden. The cause of death was said to be pneumonia—accustomed to working in bed until noon, he may have suffered a detrimental effect on his health due to Christina's demands for early morning study (the lack of sleep could have severely compromised his immune system). Others believe that Descartes may have contracted pneumonia as a result of nursing a French ambassador, Dejion A. Nopeleen, ill with the aforementioned disease, back to health.[10] In his recent book, Der rätselhafte Tod des René Descartes (The Mysterious Death of René Descartes),[11] the German philosopher Theodor Ebert [12] asserts that Descartes died not through natural causes, but from an arsenic-laced communion wafer given to him by a Catholic priest. He believes that Jacques Viogué, a missionary working in Stockholm, administered the poison because he feared Descartes' radical theological ideas would derail an expected conversion to Roman Catholicism by the monarch of Protestant Lutheran Sweden.[13]
In 1663, the Pope placed his works on the Index of Prohibited Books.

The tomb of Descartes (middle, with detail of the inscription), in the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris
As a Roman Catholic in a Protestant nation, he was interred in a graveyard mainly used for unbaptized infants in Adolf Fredriks kyrkan in Stockholm. Later, his remains were taken to France and buried in the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris. Although the National Convention in 1792 had planned to transfer his remains to the Panthéon, they are, two centuries later, still resting between two other graves—those of the scholarly monks Jean Mabillon and Bernard de Montfaucon—in a chapel of the abbey. His memorial, erected in the 18th century, remains in the Swedish church.
[edit] Philosophical work
Descartes is often regarded as the first thinker to provide a philosophical framework for the natural sciences as these began to develop.[14] In his Discourse on the Method, he attempts to arrive at a fundamental set of principles that one can know as true without any doubt. To achieve this, he employs a method called hyperbolical/metaphysical doubt, also sometimes referred to as methodological skepticism: he rejects any ideas that can be doubted, and then reestablishes them in order to acquire a firm foundation for genuine knowledge.[15]
Initially, Descartes arrives at only a single principle: thought exists. Thought cannot be separated from me, therefore, I exist (Discourse on the Method and Principles of Philosophy). Most famously, this is known as cogito ergo sum (English: "I think, therefore I am"). Therefore, Descartes concluded, if he doubted, then something or someone must be doing the doubting, therefore the very fact that he doubted proved his existence. "The simple meaning of the phrase is that if one is skeptical of existence, that is in and of itself proof that he does exist." [16]

René Descartes at work.
Descartes concludes that he can be certain that he exists because he thinks. But in what form? He perceives his body through the use of the senses; however, these have previously been unreliable. So Descartes determines that the only indubitable knowledge is that he is a thinking thing. Thinking is his essence as it is the only thing about him that cannot be doubted. Descartes defines "thought" (cogitatio) as "what happens in me such that I am immediately conscious of it, insofar as I am conscious of it". Thinking is thus every activity of a person of which he is immediately conscious.[17]
To further demonstrate the limitations of the senses, Descartes proceeds with what is known as the Wax Argument. He considers a piece of wax; his senses inform him that it has certain characteristics, such as shape, texture, size, color, smell, and so forth. When he brings the wax towards a flame, these characteristics change completely. However, it seems that it is still the same thing: it is still a piece of wax, even though the data of the senses inform him that all of its characteristics are different. Therefore, in order to properly grasp the nature of the wax, he cannot use the senses. He must use his mind. Descartes concludes:
“ And so something which I thought I was seeing with my eyes is in fact grasped solely by the faculty of judgment which is in my mind. ”
In this manner, Descartes proceeds to construct a system of knowledge, discarding perception as unreliable and instead admitting only deduction as a method. In the third and fifth Meditation, he offers an ontological proof of a benevolent God (through both the ontological argument and trademark argument). Because God is benevolent, he can have some faith in the account of reality his senses provide him, for God has provided him with a working mind and sensory system and does not desire to deceive him. From this supposition, however, he finally establishes the possibility of acquiring knowledge about the world based on deduction and perception. In terms of epistemology therefore, he can be said to have contributed such ideas as a rigorous conception of foundationalism and the possibility that reason is the only reliable method of attaining knowledge.
In Descartes' system, knowledge takes the form of ideas, and philosophical investigation is the contemplation of these ideas. This concept would influence subsequent internalist movements as Descartes' epistemology requires that a connection made by conscious awareness will distinguish knowledge from falsity. As a result of his Cartesian doubt, he viewed rational knowledge as being "incapable of being destroyed" and sought to construct an unshakable ground upon which all other knowledge can be based. The first item of unshakable knowledge that Descartes argues for is the aforementioned cogito, or thinking thing.
Descartes also wrote a response to skepticism about the existence of the external world. He argues that sensory perceptions come to him involuntarily, and are not willed by him. They are external to his senses, and according to Descartes, this is evidence of the existence of something outside of his mind, and thus, an external world. Descartes goes on to show that the things in the external world are material by arguing that God would not deceive him as to the ideas that are being transmitted, and that God has given him the "propensity" to believe that such ideas are caused by material things.
Descartes was also known for his work in producing the Cartesian Theory of Fallacies. This can be most easily explored using the statement: "This statement is a lie." While it is most commonly referred to as a paradox, the Cartesian Theory of Fallacies states that at any given time a statement can be both true and false simultaneously because of its contradictory nature. The statement is true in its fallacy. Thus, Descartes developed the Cartesian Theory of Fallacies, which greatly influenced the thinking of the time. Many would-be philosophers were trying to develop inexplicable statements of seeming fact, however, this laid rumors of such a proposition impossible. Many philosophers believe that when Descartes formulated his Theory of Fallacies, he intended to be lying, which in and of itself embodies the theory.[citation needed]
[edit] Dualism
Further information: Mind-body dichotomy and dualism
Descartes in his Passions of the Soul and The Description of the Human Body suggested that the body works like a machine, that it has the material properties of extension and motion, and that it follows the laws of physics. The mind (or soul), on the other hand, was described as a nonmaterial entity that lacks extension and motion, and does not follow the laws of physics. Descartes argued that only humans have minds, and that the mind interacts with the body at the pineal gland. This form of dualism or duality proposes that the mind controls the body, but that the body can also influence the otherwise rational mind, such as when people act out of passion. Most of the previous accounts of the relationship between mind and body had been uni-directional.
Descartes suggested that the pineal gland is "the seat of the soul" for several reasons. First, the soul is unitary, and unlike many areas of the brain the pineal gland appeared to be unitary (though subsequent microscopic inspection has revealed it is formed of two hemispheres). Second, Descartes observed that the pineal gland was located near the ventricles. He believed the cerebrospinal fluid of the ventricles acted through the nerves to control the body, and that the pineal gland influenced this process. Finally, although Descartes realized that both humans and animals have pineal glands (see Passions of the Soul Part One, Section 50, AT 369), he believed that only humans have minds. This led him to the belief that animals cannot feel pain, and Descartes' practice of vivisection (the dissection of live animals) became widely used throughout Europe until the Enlightenment. Cartesian dualism set the agenda for philosophical discussion of the mind–body problem for many years after Descartes' death.
[edit] Mathematical legacy
Descartes' theory provided the basis for the calculus of Newton and Leibniz, by applying infinitesimal calculus to the tangent line problem, thus permitting the evolution of that branch of modern mathematics.[18] This appears even more astounding considering that the work was just intended as an example to his Discours de la méthode pour bien conduire sa raison, et chercher la verité dans les sciences (Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason, and Searching for Truth in the Sciences, better known under the shortened title Discours de la méthode; English, Discourse on the Method).
Descartes' rule of signs is also a commonly used method to determine the number of positive and negative roots of a polynomial.
Descartes created analytic geometry, and discovered an early form of the law of conservation of momentum (the term momentum refers to the momentum of a force). He outlined his views on the universe in his Principles of Philosophy.
Descartes also made contributions to the field of optics. He showed by using geometric construction and the law of refraction (also known as Descartes' law or more commonly Snell's law, who discovered it 16 years earlier) that the angular radius of a rainbow is 42 degrees (i.e., the angle subtended at the eye by the edge of the rainbow and the ray passing from the sun through the rainbow's centre is 42°).[19] He also independently discovered the law of reflection, and his essay on optics was the first published mention of this law.[20]
One of Descartes most enduring legacies was his development of Cartesian geometry, which uses algebra to describe geometry. He also "invented", the notation that uses superscripts to show the powers or exponents, for example the 4 used in x4 to indicate squaring of squaring.[citation needed]
[edit] Contemporary reception
Although Descartes was well known in academic circles towards the end of his life, the teaching of his works in schools was controversial. Henri de Roy (Henricus Regius, 1598–1679), Professor of Medicine at the University of Utrecht, was condemned by the Rector of the University, Gijsbert Voet (Voetius), for teaching Descartes' physics.[21]
[edit] Religious beliefs
The religious beliefs of René Descartes have been rigorously debated within scholarly circles. He claimed to be a devout Roman Catholic, claiming that one of the purposes of the Meditations was to defend the Christian faith. However, in his own era, Descartes was accused of harboring secret deist or atheist beliefs. Contemporary Blaise Pascal said that "I cannot forgive Descartes; in all his philosophy, Descartes did his best to dispense with God. But Descartes could not avoid prodding God to set the world in motion with a snap of his lordly fingers; after that, he had no more use for God."[22]
Stephen Gaukroger's biography of Descartes reports that "he had a deep religious faith as a Catholic, which he retained to his dying day, along with a resolute, passionate desire to discover the truth."[23] After Descartes died in Sweden, Queen Christina abdicated her throne to convert to Roman Catholicism (Swedish law required a Protestant ruler). The only Roman Catholic with whom she had prolonged contact was Descartes, who was her personal tutor.[citation needed]
[edit] Writings

Handwritten letter by Descartes, December 1638.
• 1618. Compendium Musicae. A treatise on music theory and the aesthetics of music written for Descartes' early collaborator Isaac Beeckman.
• 1626–1628. Regulae ad directionem ingenii (Rules for the Direction of the Mind). Incomplete. First published posthumously in 1684. The best critical edition, which includes an early Dutch translation, is edited by Giovanni Crapulli (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1966).
• 1630–1633. Le Monde (The World) and L'Homme (Man). Descartes' first systematic presentation of his natural philosophy. Man was published posthumously in Latin translation in 1662; and The World posthumously in 1664.
• 1637. Discours de la méthode (Discourse on the Method). An introduction to the Essais, which include the Dioptrique, the Météores and the Géométrie.
• 1637. La Géométrie (Geometry). Descartes' major work in mathematics. There is an English translation by Michael Mahoney (New York: Dover, 1979).
• 1641. Meditationes de prima philosophia (Meditations on First Philosophy), also known as Metaphysical Meditations. In Latin; a French translation, probably done without Descartes' supervision, was published in 1647. Includes six Objections and Replies. A second edition, published the following year, included an additional objection and reply, and a Letter to Dinet.
• 1644. Principia philosophiae (Principles of Philosophy), a Latin textbook at first intended by Descartes to replace the Aristotelian textbooks then used in universities. A French translation, Principes de philosophie by Claude Picot, under the supervision of Descartes, appeared in 1647 with a letter-preface to Queen Christina of Sweden.
• 1647. Notae in programma (Comments on a Certain Broadsheet). A reply to Descartes' one-time disciple Henricus Regius.
• 1647. The Description of the Human Body. Published posthumously.
• 1648. Responsiones Renati Des Cartes… (Conversation with Burman). Notes on a Q&A session between Descartes and Frans Burman on 16 April 1648. Rediscovered in 1895 and published for the first time in 1896. An annotated bilingual edition (Latin with French translation), edited by Jean-Marie Beyssade, was published in 1981 (Paris: PUF).
• 1649. Les passions de l'âme (Passions of the Soul). Dedicated to Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia.
• 1656. Musicae Compendium (Instruction in Music). Posth. Publ.: Johannes Janssonius jun., Amsterdam
• 1657. Correspondence. Published by Descartes' literary executor Claude Clerselier. The third edition, in 1667, was the most complete; Clerselier omitted, however, much of the material pertaining to mathematics.
In January 2010, a previously unknown letter from Descartes, dated 27 May 1641, was found by the Dutch philosopher Erik-Jan Bos when browsing through Google. Bos found the letter mentioned in a summary of autographs kept by Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania. This was the third letter by Descartes found in the last 25 years.[24][25]
[edit] See also
• 3587 Descartes, asteroid
• Analytic geometry
• Balloonist theory
• Baruch Spinoza
• Philosophy of Spinoza
• Cartesian circle
• Cartesian coordinate system
• Cartesian diagram
• Cartesian diver
• Cartesian morphism
• Cartesian product
• Cartesian product of graphs
• Cartesian tree
• Defect (geometry)
• Descartes' rule of signs
• Descartes' theorem
• Dualistic interactionism
• Folium of Descartes
• Self-organization
• Scientific Revolution
• Solipsism
[edit] Notes
1. ^ Russell Shorto. Descartes' Bones. (Doubleday, 2008) p. 218; see also The Louvre, Atlas Database,
2. ^ Colie, Rosalie L. (1957). Light and Enlightenment. Cambridge University Press. p. 58.
3. ^ Carlson, Neil R. (2001). Physiology of Behavior. Needham Heights, Massachusetts: Pearson: Allyn & Bacon. p. 8. ISBN 0-205-30840-6.
4. ^ Desmond, p. 24
5. ^ Baird, Forrest E.; Walter Kaufmann (2008). From Plato to Derrida. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall. pp. 373–377. ISBN 0-13-158591-6.
6. ^ See “Descartes, Œuvres et lettres”, Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, presented by A. Bridoux and reviewed by Charles Adam for this detail.
7. ^ Battle of White Mountain, Britannica Online Encyclopedia
8. ^ Clarke, Desmond (2006). Descartes: A biography, pp. 58–59. Cambridge U. Press.
9. ^ A.C. Grayling, Descartes: The Life of Rene Descartes and Its Place in His Times, Simon and Schuster, 2006, pp 151–152
10. ^ "Rene Descartes". Archived from the original on 7 May 2007. Retrieved 15 August 2007.
11. ^ Theodor Ebert, Der rätselhafte Tod des René Descartes, 235 p., Alibri, 2009. ISBN 9783865690487
12. ^ Prof. Dr. Theodor Ebert, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, Erlangen-Nürnberg.
13. ^ Lizzy Davies, Descartes was 'poisoned by Catholic priest' , The Observer, Sunday, 14 February 2010.
14. ^ Emily Grosholz (1991). Cartesian method and the problem of reduction. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198242506. "But contemporary debate has tended to…understand [Cartesian method] merely as the ‘method of doubt’…I want to define Descartes' method in broader terms…to trace its impact on the domains of mathematics and physics as well as metaphysics."
15. ^ Rebecca, Copenhaver. "Forms of skepticism". Archived from the original on 8 January 2005. Retrieved 15 August 2007.
16. ^ "Ten books: Chosen by Raj Persaud". The British Journal of Psychiatry.
17. ^ Descartes, René (1644). The Principles of Philosophy (IX).
18. ^ Gullberg, Jan (1997). Mathematics From The Birth Of Numbers. W. W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-04002-X.
19. ^ Tipler, P. A. and G. Mosca (2004). Physics For Scientists And Engineers. W. H. Freeman. ISBN 0-7167-4389-2.
20. ^ "René Descartes". Encarta. Microsoft. 2008. Retrieved 15 August 2007.
21. ^ Cottingham, John, Dugald Murdoch, and Robert Stoothof. The Philosophical Writings of Descartes.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985. 293.
22. ^ Think Exist on Blaise Pascal. Retrieved 12 Feb. 2009.
23. ^ The Religious Affiliation of philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes. Webpage last modified 5 October 2005.
24. ^ "Unknown letter from Descartes found"
25. ^ (Dutch)" Hoe Descartes in 1641 op andere gedachten kwam – Onbekende brief van Franse filosoof gevonden"
[edit] References
Collected works
• 1983. Oeuvres de Descartes in 11 vols. Adam, Charles, and Tannery, Paul, eds. Paris: Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin.
Collected English translations
• 1988. The Philosophical Writings Of Descartes in 3 vols. Cottingham, J., Stoothoff, R., Kenny, A., and Murdoch, D., trans. Cambridge University Press.
Single works
• 1618. Compendium Musicae.
• 1628. Rules for the Direction of the Mind.
• 1637. Discourse on the Method ("Discours de la Methode"). An introduction to Dioptrique, Des Météores and La Géométrie. Original in French, because intended for a wider public.
• 1637. La Géométrie. Smith, David E., and Lantham, M. L., trans., 1954. The Geometry of René Descartes. Dover.
• 1641. Meditations on First Philosophy. Cottingham, J., trans., 1996. Cambridge University Press. Latin original. Alternative English title: Metaphysical Meditations. Includes six Objections and Replies. A second edition published the following year, includes an additional ‘’Objection and Reply’’ and a Letter to Dinet. HTML Online Latin-French-English Edition
• 1644. Les Principes de la philosophie. Miller, V. R. and R. P., trans., 1983. Principles of Philosophy. Reidel.
• 1647. Comments on a Certain Broadsheet.
• 1647. The Description of the Human Body.
• 1648. Conversation with Burman.
• 1649. Passions of the Soul. Voss, S. H., trans., 1989. Indianapolis: Hackett. Dedicated to Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia.
Secondary literature
• Boyer, Carl (1985). A History of Mathematics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-02391-3.
• Clarke, Desmond (2006). Descartes: A Biography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-82301-3.
• Costabel, Pierre (1987). René Descartes – Exercices pour les éléments des solides. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. ISBN 2-13-040099-X.
• Cottingham, John (1992). The Cambridge Companion to Descartes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-36696-8.
• Duncan, Steven M. (2008). The Proof of the External World: Cartesian Theism and the Possibility of Knowledge. Cambridge: James Clarke & Co. ISBN 978-02271-7267-4
• Farrell, John. “Demons of Descartes and Hobbes.” Paranoia and Modernity: Cervantes to Rousseau (Cornell UP, 2006), chapter 7.
• Garber, Daniel (1992). Descartes' Metaphysical Physics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-28219-8.
• Garber, Daniel; Michael Ayers (1998). The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-53721-5.
• Gaukroger, Stephen (1995). Descartes: An Intellectual Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-823994-7.
• Giuseppe Leone, [Il quarto centenario dalla nascita di Cartesio (1596)], Una "ragione" per l'Europa Unita, in "Ricorditi di me...", su Lecco 2000, Aprile 1996.
• Grayling, A.C. (2005). Descartes: The Life and times of a Genius. New York: Walker Publishing Co., Inc.. ISBN 0-8027-1501-X.
• Gillespie, A. (2006). Descartes’ demon: A dialogical analysis of ‘Meditations on First Philosophy.’[1] Theory & Psychology, 16, 761–781.
• Keeling, S. V. (1968). Descartes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN.
• Melchert, Norman (2002). The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy. New York: McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-19-517510-7.
• Moreno Romo, Juan Carlos (Coord.), Descartes vivo. Ejercicios de hermenéutica cartesiana, Anthropos, Barcelona, 2007'
• Ozaki, Makoto (1991). Kartenspiel, oder Kommentar zu den Meditationen des Herrn Descartes. Berlin: Klein Verlag.. ISBN 392719901X.
• Moreno Romo, Juan Carlos, Vindicación del cartesianismo radical, Anthropos, Barcelona, 2010.
• Schäfer, Rainer (2006). Zweifel und Sein – Der Ursprung des modernen Selbstbewusstseins in Descartes' cogito. Wuerzburg: Koenigshausen&Neumann. ISBN 3-8260-3202-0.
• Serfati, M., 2005, "Geometria" in Ivor Grattan-Guinness, ed., Landmark Writings in Western Mathematics. Elsevier: 1–22.
• Sorrell, Tom (1987). Descartes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.. ISBN 0-19-287636-8.
• Vrooman, Jack Rochford (1970). René Descartes: A Biography. Putnam Press.

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