Saturday, April 29, 2017

Kitāb al-Šifāʾ by Ibnu Sina

Abu ‘Ali al-Husayn ibn Sina (980 – 1037) known in Latin as Avicenna, was a physician, natural philosopher, mathematician poetic mystic and princely minister. Of Persian descent, he was born in the neighborhood of Bukhara, in what is now modern Uzbekistan. By age of 10, Avicenna had already memorized The Quran, the holy book of Islam. By age 21, Avicenna was recognized as a philosopher, physician and legal expert.

His philosophical chief work, Kitāb al-Šifāʾ (Book of Healing) which was known in Latin as Liber Sufficienta, together with its condensed revision Kitab al-Najat (Book of Deliverance), led by many to regard him as being the authoritative Neoplatonist integrator of the Aristotelian.

The Kitāb al-Šifāʾ is often confused with the Canon of Medicine, because of the medical connotation of its title, which is meant to suggest however, only that philosophy constitutes and antidote against illness of false opinions.
Kitāb al-Šifāʾ may have been composed in 1014 and competed in 1020. The Kitāb al-Šifāʾ divides into sections on logic, mathematics, physics and metaphysics and ends with an abridgement of itself, The Book of Salvation. The author openly declares his debt to al-Farabi for his understanding of metaphysics, but his exposition of it is a great deal more organized.

The Kitāb al-Šifāʾ also included detailed descriptions of natural phenomena such as rainbows and geological formations including description of igneous and sedimentary rocks and stalagmites, with references to Avicenna’s own childhood observations of Amu Darya River in Bukhara.

There is one special section on the “science of god’ in Kitāb al-Šifāʾ. This section was translated into Latin and circulated under the title The Metaphysic of Avicenna, thus guaranteeing it would be known to the masters of western scholasticism and exert an exceptional influence on them.

Archbishop John of Toledo became aware of the importance of Kitāb al-Šifā: the work may have been introduced to him Avendauth. The religious and philosophical material in the Kitab became synthesized with work of St, Agustine to form one of the foundation stones of Scholasticism.

The Kitāb al-Šifāʾ, a vast eighteenth volume philosophical and scientific encyclopedia which has been described a “probably the largest work its kind ever written by one man”.
Kitāb al-Šifāʾ by Ibnu Sina
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