THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF AL FARABI, AL KINDI, ABU ZAKARIYA, IBN RUSHD AND IBN SINA TO ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION AND PHILOSOPHY

INTRODUCTION

In every society many people has contributed in one way or the other to civilization, as far as the globe is concerned, every nation, tribe, society had attained a drastic form of civilization. The world today is growing faster in science and technology which is the cornerstone of civilization. In as much as, no nation want to struggle with development, every nation had actively or passively indulge in the propagation, promotion and elevation of civilization, and the Muslim Ummah {societies or nations} are no exception to this tussle.

Islamic or Muslim Philosophy is also another area of focus, at the initial stage of Islam, there was nothing like Islamic philosophy, but as time goes on, the early Islamic elite or scholars, i.e. scholars of the Umayyad dynasty who really started the Islamic philosophy. These scholars came across philosophy as a discipline, during the course of proliferating, disseminating and propelling Islam to other part of the world. These scholars came across philosophy precisely in Greece. At the initial stage of their contact with the Greek philosophy, they became eager, curious, and enthusiastic to know about this foreign knowledge, that was how they began to study deep into the Greek Philosophy, which they don’t just accept unless if compatible with the doctrines and teachings of Islam. They will scrutinize those ideologies and take and accept the favourable ones and repudiate the irrelevant ones. The collective effort of the early Muslim scholars, i.e. their study, scrutinizing and their rational proclivity towards the Greek philosophy, had culminated to the emergence of the discipline known as the “Islamic Philosophy”.

The early Islamic scholars who were mentally outstanding, studied philosophy to the climax, to the extent that even the Greek philosophers would come to consult or seek knowledge from them, even though they were the pioneer founders of philosophy. The rational reason one can think of, which has contributed meaningfully to the profound knowledge of the Muslim philosophers, is that the holy Qur’an a divine revelation from God, already entails virtually all the bases of philosophy, which the Muslims where initially ignorant of. When the Muslim scholars began to study philosophy, they became conversant with the intricacies of philosophy, to the extent that they subvert, submerge, surmount, surpass and suppress the Greek philosophers in philosophy, scientists in science, astronauts in astronomy etc.

The sole area of focus, is to recognize and establish some of those early Muslim philosophers who had contributed meaningfully either individually or collectively to civilization and Islamic philosophy.

WHAT IS CIVILIZATION?

Civilization simply means the improvement, development and advancement in every aspect of human society.

Civilization can also be defined as a state of human society that is very developed and organised.

More so, civilization can also be seen as the comprehensive development of the physical, intellectual, spiritual, psychological and moral potential of man.

Again, civilization is also considered to be a place where there is an organised form of leadership and ways to represent themselves; they have government to lead, writing to record events, art and architecture to show their culture and religion to show what they believe.

Civilization is an advanced state of human society in which a high level of culture, science, industry and government has been reached.

The Oxford dictionary defined civilization as “an organized culture encompassing many communities, often on the scale of a nation or a people; a stage or system of social, political, or technical development”.

While ISLAMIC PHILOSOPHY can be defined as “the systematic investigation of problems connected with life, the universe, ethics, societies and so on as conducted in the Muslim {or Islamic} world”.

More so, ISLAMIC PHILOSOPHY is a branch of Islamic studies, and is a longstanding attempt to create harmony between philosophy {reason} and the religious teachings of Islam. Islamic philosophy as it implies, refers to philosophical activity within the Islamic social setting. The main sources of classical or early Islamic philosophy are the religion of Islam itself; Greek philosophy which the early Muslims inherited as a result of conquests when Alexandria, Syria and Jundishapur came under Muslim rule; and pre-Islamic Iranian and Indian philosophy.

IBN – RUSHD

BIOGRAPHY

Abu Walid Mohammad Ibn Rushd born in 1128 C.E. in Cordova, Spain, to a family with a long and well-respected tradition of legal and public service. His grandfather the influential Abdul-Walid Muhammad {d. 1126}, was the chief judge of Cordova, under the Almoravid dynasty, establishing himself as a specialist in legal methodology and in the teachings of the various legal schools. Ibn Rushd’s father, Abdul Qasim Ahmad, although not as venerated as his grandfather, held the same position until the Almoravids were ousted by the Almohad dynasty in 1146.

Ibn Rushd’s education followed a traditional path, beginning with studies in hadith, linguistics, jurisprudence and scholastic theology. The earliest biographers and Muslims chroniclers speak little about his education in science and philosophy, where most interest from Western scholarship in him lies, but note his propensity towards the law and his life as a jurist. It is generally believed that Ibn Rushd was influenced by the philosophy of Ibn Bajjah, and perhaps was once tutored by him. His medical education was directed under Abu Jafar Ibn Harun of Trujillo. His aptittude for medicine was noted by his contemporaries and can be seen in his major enduring work kitab alkulyat fi altabb {Generalities}. This book, together with kitab al Taisir fi al-Mudawat wa al-Tadbir {Particilarities} written by Abu Marwan ibn Zuhr, became the main medical textbooks for physicians in the Jewish, Christians and Muslim worlds for centuries to come.

He has been envisaged to be one of the greatest thinkers and scientists of the history. A product of twelfth-century Islamic Spain, he set out to integrate Aristotelian philosophy with Islamic thought. A common theme throughout his writings is that there is no inappropriateness between religion and philosophy when both are properly understood.

His contributions to philosophy took many forms, ranging from his detailed commentaries on Aristotle, his defence of philosophy against the attacks of those who condemned it as different to Islam and his construction of a form of Aristotelianism which cleansed it, as far as was possible at the time, of, Neoplatonic influences.

In philosophy his most important work Tuhafut al-Tuhafut was written in response to Al-Ghazali’s work. Ibn Rushd was criticized by many Muslim scholars for this book, which nevertheless, had a deep influence on European thought, at list 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 is it fully predetermined for him.

Ibn Rushd died in Marakesh in 1198 where he was buried. Three month later, his body was moved to Qurtuba, the tribune of his thought. It leaves no room for any doubt about the important influence that the Muslim philosopher had on the greatest of all Catholic theologians.

ACHIEVEMENTS AND CONTRIBUTIONS OF IBN RUSHD TO CIVILIZATION AND ISLAMIC PHILOSOPHY

Ibn Rushd’s education followed a traditional path, beginning with studies in Hadith, linguistics, jurisprudence and theology. Throughout his life he wrote extensively on philosophy and religion, attributes of God, origin of the universe, metaphysics and psychology but he excelled in philosophy and jurisprudence and was nicknamed “the jurisprudent philosopher”. The role of the philosopher in the state was a topic of continual interest for ibn Rushd.

His thought is genuinely creative and highly controversial, producing powerful arguments that were to puzzle his philosophical successors in the Jewish and Christian worlds. He seems to argue that there are two forms of truth, a religious form and a philosophical form, and that it does not matter if they point in different directions. He also appears to be doubtful about the possibility of personal immortality or of God’s being able to know that particular events have taken place. There is much in his work also which suggests that religion is inferior to philosophy as a means of attaining knowledge, and that the understanding of religion which ordinary believers can have is very different and impoverished when compared either that available to the philosopher.

In philosophy, his most important work Tuhafut al-tuhafut was written in response to Al-Ghazail’s work ibn Rushd was criticized by many Muslim scholars for this book, which, nevertheless, had a deep 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 is it fully predetermined for him. Al Rushd’s longest commentary was, in fact, an original contribution as it was, in fact, an original contribution as it was largely based on his analysis including interpretation of Quranic concepts. Ibn Rushd’s summary the opinions of previous Islamic jurists on a variety of issues has continued to influence Islamic scholars to the present day, notably faved Ahmad Ghamidi.

At the age of 25, ibn Rushd conducted astronomical observations in Morocco, during which he discovered a star. He was also of the view that the Moon is opaque and obscure, 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 also gave one of the first descriptions on sunspots.

Ibn Rushd also made remarkable contributions in medicine in medicine his well-known book Kitab al-kulyat fi al-Tibb was written before 1162 A.D its Latin translation was known as “College”. In it ibn Rushd has thrown light on various aspects of medicine, including the diagnoses, cure and prevention of diseases and several original observations of him.

He wrote at least 67 original works, which included 28 works on philosophy, 20 on medicine, 8 on law, 5 on theology, 4 on grammar, in addition to his commentary on Plato’s The Republic. A careful examination of his works reveals that ibn Rushd was a deeply Islamic man. As an example, we find in his writing, “Anyone who studies anatomy will increase his faith in the omnipotence and oneness of God the Almighty”. He believed that true happiness for man can surely be achieved through mental and psychological health unless they follow ways that lead to happiness in the hereafter, and unless they believe in God and His oneness.

IBN RUSHD DEFENCE OF PHILOSOPHY

Ibn Rushd did not present his philosophy as a system. His philosophical doctrine has to be reconstructed from his numerous works. This doctrine is rich and multifaceted enough to be summarized easily. A survey of two emblematic themes, his causal theory and his thesis of the relation of religion to philosophy, shall provide an idea on his practice of theoretical discourse.

Ibn Rushd developed his causal theory against al-Ghazaliis occasionalist doctrine embodied in the latter’s denial of necessary casual connection in nature. Al-Ghazalii had claimed indeed that the world order has no inherent necessity. And the uniformity of nature is only a habit arbitrarily decreed by God who can disrupt it at will. In contrast to this occationalist account, Ibn Rushd relies on a central metaphysical argument based on his concept of real essence, which intimately relates essence to casual action. Things, he maintains, “have essences and attributes that determine the specific action of each existent and by virtue of which the essences, names and definitions of things are differentiated”. If this were not the case, then all the existence would either become one existent or cease to exist altogether. For, if it is one, the question arises as to whether such an existent has or does not have a specific act, {for example, whether or not fire has the specific act of burning}. If the answer is that it has, then the existence of a specific act proceeding from a specific nature is acknowledged. If the answer is that it does not, then the oneness is removed, the nature of existence is removes and the necessary consequence is nonexistence”. For Al-Ghazalii, it is possible for fire to contact cotton without burning it. Ibn Rushd answers that this can happen only when there is an impediment, but this does not deprive fire of having the property of conflagration “so long as it retains the name and definition of fire”. Fire, to be fire, must have the property of burning something. A denial of this is not only a denial of objective truth, but a violation the normal way we name things and speak about them.

Another important concern of Ibn Rushd was to prove the harmony between philosophy and religion, and hence to build a specific defence of philosophy. Al-Ghazalii not only endeavoured to refute the Islamic philosophers logically, but condemned them as infidels for affirming the word’s eternity, for their denial that God knows terrestrial particulars, and for their denial of bodily resurrection. The charge of infidelity was also a challenge to the deeply religious commitment of ibn Rushd. In several of his writings, he defends the philosophers against the charge of infidelity. He begins by raising a more general question, namely, whether Islamic religious law allows or prohibits the study of philosophy. Basing himself on certain Qur’anic statements, he argues that the study of philosophy is allowed, for philosophy is the proper study of nature that leads the proof of the existence of God.

In Fasl al-maqaal, ibn Rushd formulates a conception of philosophy which was in accordance with the Islamic teachings as it was considered as a rational view of creation which leads to the knowledge of the Creator. Thus formulated, philosophy becomes a valid path for discovery of truth which is also to be comprehension, God speaks to humans through three kinds of discourses: dialectical, rhetorical and demonstrative syllogism.

The distinction between three levels of discourse and of the audiences to which they are addressed is an important device in Ibn Rushd’s contextualize philosophy in the Islamic environment. Hence, the philosophy can be practiced only by the demonstrative class, the members of which possess a specific capacity and training. The two other classes are capable of reasoning only on the dialectical of reasoning or rhetorical levels. The scriptural statements are also divided into three classes: those that must be accepted literally because they have clear and unambiguous intent, those that should not be taken literally, error in their interpretation is permissible; finally, a class of statements that must be interpreted by each class according to its intellectual capacity. Error here again is permissible. It is within the framework of this theory of interpretation that ibn Rushd defends the Islamic philosophers against the charge of infidelity. Their condemned doctrines relate to scriptural statements where error in interpretation is permissible. Furthermore, in practical matters, it is the consensus of the Muslim community that rules on whether or not an act constitutes infidelity. On this basis, Ibn Rushd shows that consensus in matters of theoretical belief is impossible.

INFLUENCE OF IBN RUSHD TO ISLAMIC PHILOSOPHY AND CIVILIZATION

Despite his philosophical achievements, Islamic philosophy of the sort Ibn Rushd practiced did not survive after him. Actually, he did not have any significant Muslim disciple. In their Arabic original versions. Fortunately, interest in his thought remained vivace among Jews and Christians, to the languages of whom his works were translated. By this way, his philosophical works as well as his commentaries on Aristotle were read all along the European middle ages and the Renaissance. As a result, a philosophical doctrine, known as the Averroism, emerged among his Latin and Hebrew followers.

In the psychological sphere, like Aristotle, ibn Rushd views the study of the psyche as a part of physics, since it is related specifically to the generable and corruptible union of form and matter found in the physical world and passed from generation to generation through the seed and natural heat. Ibn Rushds’ views on psychology are most fully discussed In his Talkbis kitab al-Nafs {Aristotle on the soul}. Here ibn Rushd, as M. Fakhry comments, divided the soul into five faculties: the nutritive, the sensitive, the imaginative, the appetitive and the rational. The primary psychological faculty of all plants and animals is the nutritive, or vegetative faculty, passed on through sexual generation, as noted above. The remaining four higher faculties are dependent on the nutritive faculty and are really perfections of this faculty. The product of a nature urging to move high and higher.

In the cosmological sphere, according to physics, one finds things that are both moving and moved at once and things that are only moved. Therefore, there must be something that imparts motion but is never moved, this is the Prime Mover {i.e. God}. Physics, thus, provides the proof for the existence of a Prime Mover, and metaphysics is concerned with the action of the mover. The Prime Mover is the ultimate agent for ibn Rushd and it must be eternal and pure actuality. It did not merely push the universe into existence and remain idle thereafter, for the universe would slip into chaos. Ibn Rushd acknowledges that the idea of actuality being essentially prior to potentiality counters common senses, but to accept the opposite would entail the possibility of spontaneous movement or negation of movement within the universe.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO IBN RUSHD

Some of the quotes or pronouncement made by ibn Rushd include:

“Philosophers do not claim that God does not know particulars; they rather claim that He does not know them the way humans do, God knows particular as their Creator whereas humans know them as a privileged creations of God might know them”.

More so, another of his quote read thus; “The world is divided into men who have wit and no religion and men who have religion and no wit”.

Again, “Knowledge is the conformity of the object and the intellect”.

Another is disclosed as follows, “necessary connexion of movement and time is real and time is something the soul construct in movement”.

Another one read thus; “There is no city that is truly one other than this city that we are involved in bringing forth”.

In the introduction to his Middle Commentary on Aristotle’s Topics, ibn Rushd said; “This art has three parts. The first part sets forth the speeches from which dialectical conversation is composed i.e. its parts, and the parts of its parts on to its simplest components. This part is found in the first treatise on Aristotle’s book….”

On the harmony of philosophy and religion, ibn Rushd said; “The law teaches that the universe was invented and created by God, and that it did not come into being by chance or by itself”.

Again, he said; “on the whole, a man who denies the existence of the effects arranged according to the causes in the question of arts, or whose wisdom cannot understand it, then he has no knowledge of the art of its Maker”.

He also said; “it is quite clear to you that all the people see that lower kinds of creation could have been made in a different way from that in which they really are, and as they see this lower degree in many things they think that they must have been made by chance”.

He is also reported to the effect that: “The double meaning has been given to suit people’s diverse intelligence. The apparent contradictions are meant to stimulate the learned to deeper study.”

ABU ZAKARIYYA

BRIEF BIOGRAPHY

His full names are Abubakr Muhammad ibn Zakariyya al Razi {865-925   CE}. He was a physician, scientist, philosopher, and prolific author in medicine and ancillary subjects, alchemy, logic and philosophy. He was known as Rhazes in the West, was born in Ray, a town in the vicinity of Tehran, in 865 CE, 9 until his thirties, Razi was a musician and a money changer. He wrote an encyclopedia of music {on the beauty of music} before pursuing his interest in science. 10,11 later, Abu Zakariyya studied philosophy, mathematics, literature, astronomy, and alchemy. 12 sometime after 30 years of age, Abu Zakariyya went to Baghdad, where he completed his medical education {probably} under the supervision of al Tabari. During his 10-year residence in Baghdad {895-905 CE} Razi was the head of rhe Bimaristani Muqtadiri {Al Muqtadir Hospital} founded by al Muqtadir of the Abbasid caliphate. In 981 CE, the hospital was renovated by Emir Adud al dowleh Fana Khusraw {reigning form 949 to 982 CE} of the Buyid dynasty and renamed as the Bimaristani Adudi {al Adudi Hospital}. Although inspired by the theories of Galen, Razi primarily adhered to knowledge derived from his own observations and scientific experiments.

Abu Zakariyya questioned many of Galen’s medical philosophical theories in his book Al Shukuk ala Jalinus {Doubts about Galen}. Having written 200 books and treatises on a variety of subjects, Razi major medical contributions are Kitab al Hawi {Liber Continens} and Kitab al Mansuri {Liber Mansuri} combining ancient and contemporary knowledge of his era, Razi is considered one of the authorities who established the basis of medical theory and practice that guided subsequent scholars in the Islamic Golden Age and in Europe.

Abu Zakariyya died a blind pauper at the age of 60 in Ray in 925 CE. Abu Zakariyyas’ birthday is celebrated each year as pharmacists’ day in Iran to honor his contributions to medicine. 9 of all the many works of Abu Zakariyya, by far the most voluminous is Liber continence {the comprehensive book of medicine}. This medical masterpiece is a posthumous collection of Razis’ notes containing 24 volumes on different medical issues roughly a capite adcalcem .

CONTRIBUTIONS OF ABU ZAKARIYYA TO CIVILIZATION AND ISLAMIC PHILOSOPHY

Abu Zakariyya is the first to produce acids such as sulfuric acid, writing up limited or extensive notes on disease such as smallpox and chickenpox, a pioneer in ophthalmology, author of first on paediatrics, making leading contributions in inorganic and organic chemistry, also the author of several philosophical works.

A comprehensive thinker, Razi made fundamental and enduring contributions to various fields, which he recorded in over 200 manuscripts, and is particularly remembered for numerous advances in medicine through his observatuibs abd dusciveries. An early proponent of experimental medicine, he became a successful doctor, and served as chief physical of Baghdad and Rey hospitals.

As a teacher of medicine, he attracted students of all backgrounds and interests and was said to be compassionate and devoted to the service of his patients, whether rich or poor.

He was among the first to use humorism to distinguish one contagious disease from another, and wrote a pioneering book about smallpox and measles providing clinical characterization of the diseases. He also discovered numerous compounds and chemicals including Alcohol, kerosene, among others.

Through translation, his medical works and ideas became known among medieval European practioners and profoundly influenced medical education in the Latin West. Some volume of his work al Mansuri, namely “on surgery” and “A General Book on Therapy”, bevame part of the medical curriculum in Western Universities. Edward Granville Browne considers him as “probably the greatest and most original of all the Muslim physicians, and one of the most prolific as an author”. And has been described as a doctor’s doctor, the father of paediatrics. And a pioneer of ophithalmology.

Meningitis

Abu Zakariyya compared the outcome of patients with meningitis treated with blood letting with the outcome of those treated without it to see if blood-letting could help.

Pharmacy

Abu Zakariyya contributed in many ways to the early practice of pharmacy by compiling texts, in which he introduces the use of ‘mercurial ointments’ and mortars, flasks, spatulas and phials, which were used in pharmacies until the early twentieth century.

Ethics of medicine

On a professional level, Abu Zakariyya introduced many practical, progressive, medical and psychological ideas. He attacked charlatans and fake doctors who roamed the cities and countryside selling their nostrums and “cures”. At the same time, he warned that even highly educated doctors did not have the answers to all medical problems and could not cure all sicknesses or heal every disease, which was humanly speaking impossible. To become more useful in their services and truer to their calling. Razi advised practitioners to keep up with advanced knowledge by continually studying medical books and exposing themselves to new information. He made a distinction between curable and incurable diseases. Pertaining to the latter, he commented that in the case of advanced cases of cancer and leprosy the physician should not be blamed when he could not cure them. To add a humorous note, Razi felt great pity for physicians who took care for the well being of princes, nobility and women, because they did not obey the doctor’s orders to restrict their diet or get medical treatment, thus making it most difficult being their physician.

He also wrote the following on medical ethics:

“The doctor’s aim is to do good, even to our enemies, so much more to our friends, and my profession forbids us to do harm to our kindred, as it is instituted for the benefit and welfare of the human race, and God imposed on physicians the oath not to compose mortiferous remedies”.

The Diseases of Children

Abu Zakariyya’s “The Diseases of Children” was the first book to deal with paediatrics as an independent field of medicine.

Mental health

As many other theorists in his time of exploration of illnesses he believed that mental illnesses were caused by demons. Demons were believed to enter the body and possess the body.

Books on medicine

This is a partial list of Abu Zakariyya’s books and articles in medicine, according to ibn Abi Usaybi’ah. Some books may have been copied or printed under different names.

  1. Al-Hawi al-kabir : is also known as The Virtuos Life, Continence Liber. The large medical Encyclopedia containing mostly recipes and Razi’s notebooks.
  2. Dar Amadi bar Elmh pezeshki {Persian} “outcome of the science of medicine”
  3. The Experimentation of Medical Science and its Application.
  4. The classification of diseases.
  5. Royal Medicine.
  6. The book of simple medicine.
  7. The great book of krabadin.
  8. The little book of krabadin.
  9. The book of Taj or the book of the crown.
  10. Food and its harmfulness. Etc.

Abu Zakariyya’s theory of the transmutation of metals

Abu Zakariyya’s interest in alchemy and his strong belief in the possibility of transmutation of lesser metals to silver and gold was attested half a century after his death by ibn an-Nadim’s book {the philosophers stone-lapis philosophorum in Latin}. Nadim attributed a series of twelve books to Razi, plus an additional seven, including his refutation to al-kindi’s denial of the validity of alchemy. Al kindi had been appointed by the Abbasid Caliph Ma’mum founder of Baghdad, to the ‘House of Wisdom’ in that city, he was a philosopher and an opponent of alchemy. Razi’s two best known alchemical texts, which largely superseded his earlier ones: al-Asrar {the secrets}, and sirrr al-Asrai {The Secret of Secrets}, which incorporates much of the previous work.

Apparently Abu Zakariyya’s contemporaries believed that he had obtained the secret of turning iron and copper into gold. Biographer khosro Moetazed reports in Mohammad Zakaria Razi in public, and asked whether that was the underlying reason for his willingness to treat patients without a fee. “it appeared to those present that Razi was reluctant to answer; he looked sideways at the general and replied”.

“I understand alchemy and I have been working on the characteristic properties of metals for and extended time. However, it still has not turned out to be evident to me how one can transmute gold from copper. Despite the research from the ancient scientists done over the past centuries, there has been no answer. I very much doubt if it is possible”.

Metaphysics

The metaphysical doctrines of Abu Zakariyyya derives from the theory of “five eternals”, according to which the world is produced out of an interaction between God and four other eternal principles {soul, matter, time and place}. He accepted a pre-socratic type of atomism of the bodies, and for that he differd from both the falasifa and the mutakallimun while he was influenced by Plato and the medical writers, mainly Galen, rejected taqlid and thus expressed criticism in the title of one of his works, “Doubt About Galen”.

Chemical instruments and substances developed by Abu Zakariyya

Abu Zakariyya developed several chemical instruments that remain in use to this day. He is known to have perfect methods of distillation to gain alcohol and extraction al Razi dismissed the idea of portions and dispensed with magic, meaning the reliance on symbols as causes. Although Razi does not reject the idea that miracles exist, in the sense of unexplained phenomena in nature, his alchemical stockroom was enriched with products of Persian mining and manufacturing, even with sal ammoniac, a Chinese discovery. He relied predominantly on the concept of “dominant” forms or essences, which is the Neoplatonic conceptual approach or a mechanical one. Razi’s alchemy brings forward such empiric qualities as salinity and inflammability –the latter associated to ‘oiliness’ and ‘sulphurousness’. These properties are not readily explained by the traditional composition of the elements such as; fire, water, earth and air, as al ohazaili and others after him were quick to note, influenced by critical thougths such as Razi had.

Abu Zakariyyas’ major works in alchemy

Abu Zakariyya’s achievements are of exceptional importance in the history of chemistry, since in his books we find for the first time a systematic classification of carefully observed and verified facts regarding chemical substances, reactions and apparatus, described in a language almost entirely free from ambiguity and mysticism. Razi’s scheme of classification of the substances used in chemistry shows sound research on his part.

The secret {Al-Asrar}

This book was written in response to a request from Razi’s close friend, colleague, and former student, Abu Mohammad b. Yunus of Bukhara, a Muslim mathematician, philosopher, a highly reputable natural scientist in his book sirr al-Asrar, Razi divide the subject of “Matter” into three categories as he did in his previous book al-Asrar.

  1. Knowledge and identification of drug components of plant, animal and mineral-origin and the description of the best type of each for utilization in treatment.

AL KINDI

BRIEF BIOGRAPHY

His full name Abu Yusuf Ya’qub ibn ishaq ibn al Sabbah ibn Imran ibn Ismail ibn al Ash’ath ibn Qais al Kindi. Al kindi was born and brought up in Kufa, which was a centre for Arab culture and learning in the 9th century. This was certainly the right place for al Kindi to get the best education possible at this time.

Al kind’s father was the governor of Kufah, as his grandfather had before him. Certainly all agree that al kindi was descended from the Royal kindah tribe which had originated in southern Arabia.

After beginning his education in Kufah, al Kindi moved to Baghdad to complete his studies and there he quickly achieved fame for his scholarship. He came to the attention of the Caliph al Ma’mun who was at that time setting up the “House of Wisdom” in Baghdad.

Most of al Kindi’s philosophical writings seem designed to show that he believed that the pursuit of philosophy is compatible with orthodox Islam. This would seem to indicate that it is more probably  that al Kindi became the victim of such rivals. Al Kindi was best known as a philosopher but he was also a mathematician and scientist of importance. To his people he became known as the philosopher of the Arabs. He was the only notable philosopher of pure Arabian blood and the first one in Islam. Al Kindi was the most leaned of his age, unique among his contemporaries in the knowledge of the totality of ancient scientists, embracing logic, philosophy, mathematics, music and astrology.

Al Kindi does not appear to have been fluent enough in Greek to do the translations himself. Rather he polished the translations made by others and wrote commentaries on many Greek works. Clearly he was most influenced most strongly by the writings of Aristotle but the influence of Plato, Porphyry and Proclus can be seen in al Kindi’s ideas. We should certainly not give the impression that al Kindi merely borrowed from these earlier writer, for he built their ideas into an overall scheme which was certainly his own invention.

Al Kindi wrote many works on arithmetic which included manuscripts on Indian numbers, the harmony of numbers, lines and multiplication with numbers, relative quantities, measuring proportion and time, and numerical procedures and cancellation. He also wrote on space and time, both of which he believed were finite, proving his assertion with a paradox of the infinite.

ACHIEVEMENTS AND CONTRIBUTIONS OF AL KINDI TO CIVILIZATION AND ISLAMIC PHILOSOPHY

Harmony Between Philosophy and Religion

Al-Kindi directed Muslim philosophy towards an accord between philosophy and religion. Philosophy depends on reason, and religion relies on revelation. Logic is the method of philosophy, faith, which is belief in the realities mentioned in the Qur’an as revealed by God to His Prophet, is the way of religion. From the very outset, men of religion mistrusted philosophy and the philosophers. Philosophers were attacked for being heretics.

Al-Kindi was obliged to defend himself against the accusation of religious spokesmen that the acquisition of the knowledge of the reality of things is atheism. In his turn, al-kindi accused those religious spokesmen ofr being irreligious with religion “they dipute with good men in defence of the untrue position which they had founded and occupied without any merit only to gain power and to trade with religion”.

The accord between philosophy and religion is laid down on the basis of three arguments:
1] that theology is part of philosophy; 2] that the Prophet’s revelation and philosophical truth are in accord with each other, 3] that the pursuit of theology is logically ordained.

Philosophy is the knowledge of the reality of things, and this knowledge comprises theology, the science of monotheism, ethics and all useful sciences.

In al-Kindi’s treatise on the number of the works of Aristotle, al-kindi makes a sharp distinction between religion and philosophy. The fact that he discussed this point in this particular treatise proves that he was comparing the religion of Islam with Aristotle’s philosophy. The divine science, which he distinguished from philosophy, is Islam as revealed to the Prophet and recorded in the Qur’an.

Contrary to Al-Kindis’ general view that theology is a part of philosophy, here we find 1] that theology occupies a rank higher than philosophy, 2] that religion is a divine science and philosophy is a human one; 3] that the way of religion is faith and that of philosophy is reason; 4] that the knowledge of the prophet is immediate and though inspiration and that of the philosopher is by way of logic and demonstration.

AL-KINDI’S CONCEPT OF GOD

Al-kindi in his treatise paraphrases the same idea. He says: “for God, great is His praise, is the reason and agent of this motion, being eternal, He cannot be seen and does not move, but in fact causes motion without moving Himself. This is His description for those who understand Him in plain words: it is simple in that He cannot be dissolved into something simpler; and He is invisible because He is not composed to composition has hold on Him, but in fact He is separate from the visible bodies, since He … is the reason of the motion of the visible bodies”.

Al-kindi assert that simplicity, indivisibility, invisibility and causality of motion are the divine attributes of GOD. Al-kindi also said that he is simply a transmitter of the Hellenistic conception of God. The originality of al-Kindi lies in his conciliation of the Islamic concept of Giod with the philosophical ideas which were current in the later Neo-Platonism.

The basic Islamic notions concerning God are His unicity. His act of creation from nothing, and the dependence of all creatures on Him. These attributes are stated in the Qur’an in a manner which is neither philosophical nor dialectical. Al-kindi qualifies God in new terms. God is the true one. He is transcendent and can be qualified only by negative attributes. “He has no matter, no form, no quantity, no quality, no relation, nor is He qualified by any of the remaining categories. He has no genius, no differentia, no species, no proprium, no accident. He is immutable, He is therefore, absolute oneness, nothing but oneness, every else is multiple.”

CONCEPT OF INFINITY

Al-kindi contrary to his great successors, maintained that the world is not eternal of this problem he gave a radical solution by discussing the notion of infinity on mathematical grounds.

Physical bodies are composed of matter and form and move in space and time matter, form, space, movement, and time are the five substances in every physical body, being so connected with corporeal bodies, time and space are finite, and these latter are finite because they cannot exist except within limits.

Time is not movement; it is the number which measures the motion, for it is nothing other than the prior and posterior. Number is of two kinds, time is definable as the past to the future. In other words, time is the sum continuum of instants. The arguments against infinity are repeated in a numner of Al-kindi’s treatises. We gibe from his treatise “on the Finitude of the Body of the world” the four theorems given as proofs for finitude:

1] Two magnitude of the same kind are called equal if one is not greater than the other.

2] If a magnitude of the same kind is added to one of the two magnitudes of the kind, they will be unequal.

3] Two magnitude of the kind cannot be infinite, if one is less than the other, because the less measures the greater or a part of it.
4] The sum of two magnitudes of the same kind, each of which is finite, is finite.

Giving these axioms, everybody, being composed of matter and form, limited in space, and moving in time, is finite, even if it is the body of the world. And, being finite it is not eternal. God alone is eternal.

CONCLUSION

Civilization and philosophy are some of the cornerstone of the human existence, and Islam is a religion that accepts any concept or ideology provided it is not detrimental or diabolic in nature.

The aforementioned Muslim philosophers, had delved into philosophy in a bid to propel the propagation of Islam, to show how influential, emphatic, and effective the religion of Islam is. These philosophers without bias tried their utmost best to represent philosophy in its true form, the universe in it precise reality, metaphysics in its actual nature etc.

The afore mentioned philosophers do not totally contradict or counter the Greek philosophers in their philosophical works and conceptions, but commend and comment on their works which are truly given the actual representations, and they also reprimand and repudiate those ideologies and concepts that they believed are not given their true representations.

Some of these philosophers defend philosophy, Because philosophy was misconceived by some Muslim scholars then that philosophy is not Islamical , Ibn Rushd one the Muslim philosopher, played a vital role in creating unity between philosophy and the religious teachings of Islam.

Another misconception was that, any Muslim philosopher is an infidel, some these scholars also came forth to clear this misunderstanding, they also tried their best to woo or mesmerize those against philosophy to embrace it because there is nothing bad in it, buttress their stand on the Qur’an and Hadith.

It was due to this perpetual effort of theirs that culminated to the discipline known today as the “Islamic Thought”.

REFERENCES

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http://www.wdl.org/item/10673/

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