Ibn Sina, commonly known in the West as Avicenna, was a polymath who is regarded as one of the most significant physicians, astronomers, philosophers, and writers of the Islamic Golden Age, and the father of early modern medicine.
89 Facts About Avicenna
Avicenna was a Muslim Peripatetic philosopher influenced by Greek Aristotelian philosophy.
Besides philosophy and medicine, Avicenna's corpus includes writings on astronomy, alchemy, geography and geology, psychology, Islamic theology, logic, mathematics, physics, and works of poetry.
However, Avicenna was not the son but the great-great-grandson of a man named Sina.
Avicenna created an extensive corpus of works during what is commonly known as the Islamic Golden Age, in which the translations of Byzantine Greco-Roman, Persian and Indian texts were studied extensively.
Various texts show that Avicenna debated philosophical points with the greatest scholars of the time.
Aruzi Samarqandi describes how before Avicenna left Khwarezm he had met Al-Biruni, Abu Nasr Iraqi, Abu Sahl Masihi and Abu al-Khayr Khammar.
Avicenna was born in c in the village of Afshana in Transoxiana to a family of Persian stock.
Avicenna's father Abd Allah was a native of the city of Balkh in Tukharistan.
Avicenna was instead an adherent of the Sunni Hanafi school, which was followed by the Samanids.
Avicenna was first schooled in the Quran and literature, and by the age of 10, he had memorized the entire Quran.
Avicenna was later sent by his father to an Indian greengrocer, who taught him arithmetic.
Some time later, Avicenna's father invited the physician and philosopher Abu Abdallah al-Natili to their house to educate Avicenna.
At the age of seventeen, Avicenna was made a physician of Nuh II.
Avicenna later moved to Gurganj, the capital of Khwarazm, which he reports that he did due to "necessity".
The latter ruled from 997 to 1009, which indicates that Avicenna moved sometime during that period.
Avicenna later moved due to "necessity" once more, this time to the west.
Avicenna was planning to visit the ruler of the city of Gurgan, the Ziyarid Qabus, a cultivated patron of writing, whose court attracted many distinguished poets and scholars.
However, when Avicenna eventually arrived, he discovered that the ruler had been dead since the winter of 1013.
Avicenna then left Gurgan for Dihistan, but returned after becoming ill.
Avicenna stayed briefly in Gurgan, reportedly serving Qabus' son and successor Manuchihr and resided in the house of a patron.
In 1015, during Avicenna's stay in Hamadan, he participated in a public debate, as was custom for newly arrived scholars in western Iran at that time.
The person whom Avicenna debated against was Abu'l-Qasim al-Kirmani, a member of the school of philosophers of Baghdad.
The debate became heated, resulting in Avicenna accusing Abu'l-Qasim of lack of basic knowledge in logic, while Abu'l-Qasim accused Avicenna of impoliteness.
Abu'l-Qasim later retaliated by writing a letter to an unknown person, in which he made accusations so serious, that Avicenna wrote to a deputy of Majd al-Dawla, named Abu Sa'd, to investigate the matter.
Not long afterwards, Avicenna shifted his allegiance to the rising Buyid amir Shams al-Dawla, which Adamson suggests was due to Abu'l-Qasim working under Sayyida Shirin.
Avicenna had been called upon by Shams al-Dawla to treat him, but after the latters campaign in the same year against his former ally, the Annazid ruler Abu Shawk, he forced Avicenna to become his vizier.
Avicenna was asked by Shams al-Dawla's son and successor Sama' al-Dawla to stay as vizier, but instead went into hiding with his patron Abu Ghalib al-Attar, to wait for better opportunities to emerge.
Avicenna was imprisoned for four months, until Ala al-Dawla captured Hamadan, thus putting an end to Sama al-Dawla's reign.
Avicenna was released, and went to Isfahan, where he was well received by Ala al-Dawla.
Avicenna dedicated two Persian works to him, a philosophical treatise named Danish-nama-yi Ala'i, and a medical treatise about the pulse.
In 1037, while Avicenna was accompanying Ala al-Dawla to a battle near Isfahan, he was hit by a severe colic, which he had been constantly suffering from throughout his life.
Avicenna died shortly afterwards in Hamadan, where he was buried.
Avicenna wrote extensively on early Islamic philosophy, especially the subjects logic, ethics and metaphysics, including treatises named Logic and Metaphysics.
Avicenna argued that the fact of existence cannot be inferred from or accounted for by the essence of existing things, and that form and matter by themselves cannot interact and originate the movement of the universe or the progressive actualization of existing things.
Avicenna argued that the impossible being is that which cannot exist, while the contingent in itself has the potentiality to be or not to be without entailing a contradiction.
Avicenna adds that the 'Necessary-Existent-due-to-Itself' has no genus, nor a definition, nor a counterpart, nor an opposite, and is detached from matter, quality, quantity, place, situation and time.
Avicenna made an argument for the existence of God which would be known as the "Proof of the Truthful".
Avicenna argued that there must be a "necessary existent", an entity that cannot not exist and through a series of arguments, he identified it with the Islamic conception of God.
Avicenna was a devout Muslim and sought to reconcile rational philosophy with Islamic theology.
Avicenna's aim was to prove the existence of God and Avicenna's creation of the world scientifically and through reason and logic.
Avicenna wrote a number of short treatises dealing with Islamic theology.
Avicenna did not state this more clearly because of the political implications of such a theory, if prophecy could be questioned, and because most of the time he was writing shorter works which concentrated on explaining his theories on philosophy and theology clearly, without digressing to consider epistemological matters which could only be properly considered by other philosophers.
Avicenna memorized the Quran by the age of ten, and as an adult, he wrote five treatises commenting on suras from the Quran.
Avicenna argued that the Islamic prophets should be considered higher than philosophers.
Avicenna is generally understood to have been aligned with the Sunni Hanafi school of thought.
Avicenna studied Hanafi law, many of his notable teachers were Hanafi jurists, and he served under the Hanafi court of Ali ibn Mamun.
Avicenna said at an early age that he remained "unconvinced" by Ismaili missionary attempts to convert him.
Avicenna believed his "Floating Man" thought experiment demonstrated that the soul is a substance, and claimed humans cannot doubt their own consciousness, even in a situation that prevents all sensory data input.
Avicenna argued that, in this scenario, one would still have self-consciousness.
Avicenna referred to the living human intelligence, particularly the active intellect, which he believed to be the hypostasis by which God communicates truth to the human mind and imparts order and intelligibility to nature.
However, Avicenna posited the brain as the place where reason interacts with sensation.
Avicenna thus concluded that the idea of the self is not logically dependent on any physical thing, and that the soul should not be seen in relative terms, but as a primary given, a substance.
Avicenna authored a five-volume medical encyclopedia: The Canon of Medicine.
Avicenna considered whether events like rare diseases or disorders have natural causes.
Avicenna used the example of polydactyly to explain his perception that causal reasons exist for all medical events.
Avicenna wrote on Earth sciences such as geology in The Book of Healing.
Avicenna discussed Aristotle's Posterior Analytics and significantly diverged from it on several points.
Avicenna then added two further methods for arriving at the first principles: the ancient Aristotelian method of induction, and the method of examination and experimentation.
Avicenna's work was further developed by Najm al-Din al-Qazwini al-Katibi and became the dominant system of Islamic logic until modern times.
Avicenna endorsed the law of non-contradiction proposed by Aristotle, that a fact could not be both true and false at the same time and in the same sense of the terminology used.
In mechanics, Avicenna, in The Book of Healing, developed a theory of motion, in which he made a distinction between the inclination and force of a projectile, and concluded that motion was a result of an inclination transferred to the projectile by the thrower, and that projectile motion in a vacuum would not cease.
Avicenna viewed inclination as a permanent force whose effect is dissipated by external forces such as air resistance.
The theory of motion presented by Avicenna was probably influenced by the 6th-century Alexandrian scholar John Philoponus.
Avicenna's is a less sophisticated variant of the theory of impetus developed by Buridan in the 14th century.
Avicenna says in his book of heaven and earth, that heat is generated from motion in external things.
Avicenna's psychology requires that connection between the body and soul be strong enough to ensure the soul's individuation, but weak enough to allow for its immortality.
Avicenna wrote an attack on astrology titled Resala fi ebtal ahkam al-nojum, in which he cited passages from the Quran to dispute the power of astrology to foretell the future.
Avicenna believed that each planet had some influence on the earth, but argued against astrologers being able to determine the exact effects.
Avicenna criticized Aristotle's view of the stars receiving their light from the Sun, stating that the stars are self-luminous, and believed that the planets are self-luminous.
Avicenna claimed to have observed Venus as a spot on the Sun.
For example, Avicenna considers the motion of the solar apogee, which Ptolemy had taken to be fixed.
Unlike al-Razi, Avicenna explicitly disputed the theory of the transmutation of substances commonly believed by alchemists:.
Four works on alchemy attributed to Avicenna were translated into Latin as:.
The third work is agreed to be Avicenna's writing, adapted from the Kitab al-Shifa.
Avicenna classified minerals into stones, fusible substances, sulfurs and salts, building on the ideas of Aristotle and Jabir.
The epistola de Re recta is somewhat less sceptical of alchemy; Anawati argues that it is by Avicenna, but written earlier in his career when he had not yet firmly decided that transmutation was impossible.
Avicenna has been recognized by both East and West as one of the great figures in intellectual history.
Avicenna was one of the Islamic world's leading writers in the field of medicine.
Avicenna is remembered in the Western history of medicine as a major historical figure who made important contributions to medicine and the European Renaissance.
Aristotle's dominant intellectual influence among medieval European scholars meant that Avicenna's linking of Galen's medical writings with Aristotle's philosophical writings in the Canon of Medicine significantly increased Avicenna's importance in medieval Europe in comparison to other Islamic writers on medicine.
Avicenna's influence following translation of the Canon was such that from the early fourteenth to the mid-sixteenth centuries he was ranked with Hippocrates and Galen as one of the acknowledged authorities,.
The Avicenna Prize, established in 2003, is awarded every two years by UNESCO and rewards individuals and groups for their achievements in the field of ethics in science.
Avicenna has had a lasting influence on the development of medicine and health sciences.
The treatises of Avicenna influenced later Muslim thinkers in many areas including theology, philology, mathematics, astronomy, physics and music.
Avicenna's works numbered almost 450 volumes on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived.
Avicenna wrote at least one treatise on alchemy, but several others have been falsely attributed to him.
Avicenna created new scientific vocabulary that had not previously existed in Persian.
Persian poetry from Avicenna is recorded in various manuscripts and later anthologies such as Nozhat al-Majales.