The famous Spanish Muslim philosopher and polymath, Ibn Rushd
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On December 10,1198 AD, the famous Spanish Muslim philosopher and polymath, Mohammad Ibn Ahmad Ibn Rushd, known to Medieval Europe as “Averroes”, passed away at the age of 72, while on a visit to Marakesh, from where his body was brought back to Spain and buried in his birthplace Cordoba. He was an expert in the sciences of the day, including medicine, astronomy, jurisprudence, Qur’an and hadith, at a time when the Christian World was living in ignorance and darkness.
At the age of 25, he conducted astronomical observations in Morocco, discovering a previously unobserved star. He was also of the view that the Moon is opaque and has some parts which are thicker than others, with the thicker parts receiving more light from the Sun than the thinner parts of the Moon. He gave one of the first descriptions on sunspots. Ibn Rushd made remarkable contributions in medicine. His well-known book in this field is “Kitab al-Kulliyaat fi’t-Tibb”, whose Latin translation known as “Colliget” aroused much interest in medieval Europe.
He has thrown light on various aspects of medicine, including the diagnoses, cure and prevention of diseases and several original observations of him. He was nicknamed “the jurisprudent philosopher” and as a follower of the Maliki School, he compiled a summary of opinions (fatwa) of previous jurists. His works include interpretation of Qur’anic concepts. Ibn Rushd’s most important original philosophical work is “Tahafut at-Tahafut” (Incoherence of the Incoherence), which is a refutation of the Iranian Shafei theologian, Ghazali’s “Tahafut al-Falasefa” (Incoherence of the Philosophers).
Ghazali had criticized as self-contradictory and an affront to Islamic teachings, the presentation of Aristotle’s thoughts by the famous Iranian Islamic genius, Abu Ali Ibn Sina. Ibn Rushd has shown Ghazali's arguments as mistaken.