One of the greatest Muslim philosophers whose rationalistic philosophy was more influential in the West than it was in the Muslim world.
Ibn Rush, Spain's one of the intellectual stars, whose rationalistic thought was hailed in the West (who is known in the West as Averroes) as a free spirit - an early champion of rationalisation against blind faith, however, he was a devout Muslim and he believed that there was no contradiction between religion and Falsafah, but that while religion was for everybody, only an intellectual elite should attempt philosophy.
As a deeply religious man, Ibn Rush wrote: 'Anyone who studies anatomy will increase his faith in the omnipotence of Allah the almighty.' In his medical and philosophical works we see the depth of his faith and knowledge of the Qur'an and Prophetic traditions, which he often quotes in support of his views in different matters. His practical knowledge of Islam covers two branches, one, jurisprudence which deals with the material or tangible aspect of human life and, second, the spiritual sciences which deals with matters like patience, gratitude to Allah, and morals.
Ibn Rushd made remarkable contributions in philosophy, logic, medicine, music and jurisprudence and wrote many books on the subjects. In philosophy, his most important work 'Tuhafut al-Tuhafut' (The incoherence of the philosophers) was written in response to al-Ghazali's work, which had a profound influence on European thought, at least until the beginning of modern philosophy and experimental science. His views on fate were that man is neither in full control of his destiny nor it is fully predetermined for him.
Ibn Rushd wrote many books on the question of theology, where he tried to use his knowledge of philosophy and logic. His Commentaries - served to introduce rationalism and anti-mysticism to a new audience, attracted the attention of Christian and Jewish theologians - being rational thought as a virtue. Most of his work in Arabic was lost or destroyed and exists only in fragments. What survived did so in Latin and was studied a great deal during the Renaissance, but even that constituted a tiny proportion of his works.
Ibn Rushd's contribution in medicine was written in 'Kitab al-Kulyat fi al-Tibb', before 1162, whose Latin translation was known as 'Colliget'. In it he has expounded on various aspects of medicine, including the diagnoses, cures and prevention of diseases. This book focuses on specific areas in comparison of Ibn Sina's 'al-Qanun', but contains several original observations of Ibn Rushd.
Ibn Rushd, in astronomy, wrote 'Kitab fi Harakat al-Falak,' a treatise on the motion of the sphere and summarised Almagest and divided it into two parts: description of the spheres, and movement of the spheres. This summary of the Almagest was translated from Arabic into Hebrew in 1231.
Ibn Rushd's book on jurisprudence 'Bidayat al-Mujtahid wa Nihayat-al-Muqtasid' on the Maliki School of Fiqh is held as one of the best. His writings were translated into various languages, including Latin, English, German and Hebrew.
Ibn Rushd was more a philosopher than a physician or astronomer. His writings and commentary, in 1169, on Aristotle became prescribed studies in the University of Paris and other European institutions. Though using in most cases a Latin translation of a Hebrew rendition of an Arabic commentary, the scholars of medieval Europe were greatly influenced by his writings, and Ibn Rushd influenced such Jewish and Christian philosophers as Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas and Albert the Great.
Ibn Rushd has been held as one of the greatest thinkers and scientists of the twelfth century and influenced Western thought from then to the sixteenth century. He was studied in the University of Mexico until 1831.
Ibn Rushd was well versed in the matters of the faith and law, which qualified him to be appointed Qazi of Seville (1160) and Cordova (1171). At the age of twenty-seven, he was invited to the Movahid Court at Marrakesh (Morocco) to help in establishing Islamic educational institutions.
Ibn Rushd was born Abul Walid Muhammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Rushd in Cordova, Spain. Both his father and grandfather were prominent judges. His family was well known for scholarship and it gave him fitting environment to excel in learning.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan / Ghulam Mohiuddin