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}}Averroesar|ʾAbū l-Walīd Muḥammad ibn ʾAḥmad ibn Rushd}}| birth_date = 1126Córdoba, Spain>Córdoba, Al-Andalus, Almoravid emirate (in present-day Spain)| death_date = 11 December 1198 (aged 72 years)| death_place = Marrakesh, Maghreb, Almohad Caliphate (in present-day Morocco)| era = Medieval philosophy (Islamic Golden Age)| region = Islamic philosophy| school_tradition = Aristotelianism (philosophy)Maliki (jurisprudence)| main_interests = Islamic theology, philosophy, Islamic jurisprudence, medicine, astronomy, physics, linguistics| influences = Aristotle, Plato, Al-Farabi, Avicenna, Al-Ghazali, Ibn Bajja Maimonides, Samuel ibn Tibbon, Siger of Brabant, Boethius of Dacia, Thomas Aquinas, John of Jandun, Marsilius of Padua, Gaetano da Thiene (philosopher)>Gaetano da Thiene, Pietro Pomponazzi, Agostino Nifo, Marcantonio Zimara. See also Averroism.| notable_ideas = Relation between Islam and philosophy, non-contradiction of reason and revelation, unity of the intellect}}{{Contains Arabic text}}Ibn Rushd (}}; full name ; 1126 – 11 December 1198), often Latinized as Averroes ({{IPAc-en|ə|ˈ|v|ɛr|oʊ|ˌ|iː|z}}), was an Andalusian philosopher and thinker who also wrote on various subjects including philosophy, theology, medicine, astronomy, physics, Islamic jurisprudence and law, and linguistics. His philosophical works included numerous commentaries on Aristotle, for which he was known in the West as The Commentator. He also served as a judge and a court physician for the Almohad caliphate. He was born in Córdoba in 1126 to a family of prominent judges—his grandfather was the celebrated chief judge of the city. In 1169 he was introduced to the caliph Abu Yaqub Yusuf, who was impressed by his knowledge, became his patron and commissioned many of Averroes' commentaries. Subsequently, he served multiple terms as judge in Seville and Córdoba. In 1182 he was appointed both court physician and the chief judge of Córdoba. After Abu Yusuf's death in 1184, he remained in royal favor until his fall into disgrace in 1195. He was targeted on various charges—likely for political reasons—and was exiled to nearby Lucena. He returned to royal favor shortly before his death on the 11th of December, 1198.A strong proponent of Aristotelianism, he attempted to restore what he saw as the original teachings of Aristotle, opposing the Neoplatonist tendencies of previous Muslim thinkers, such as Al-Farabi and Avicenna. He also defended the pursuit of philosophy against the criticism by Ashari theologians such as Al-Ghazali. He argued that philosophy was not only permissible in Islam, but also compulsory among certain elites. He also argued that if scriptural text appeared to contradict conclusions reached by reason and philosophy, then the text should be interpreted allegorically. Ultimately, his legacy in the Islamic world was modest, both for geographic and intellectual reasons.In the West he was known for his extensive commentaries on Aristotle, which was heavily translated into Latin and Hebrew. The translations of his work reawakened Western European interest in Aristotle and Greek thinkers in general, an area of study which had generally been abandonened after the fall of the Roman Empire. His thoughts generated controversies in Latin Christendom. They triggered a philosophical movement based on him, called Averroism. His works were also condemned by the Catholic Church in 1270 and 1277. Although weakened by the condemnations and sustained critique by Thomas Aquinas, Latin Averroism continued to attract followers up to the sixteenth century.


{{see also|Latinization of names}}Ibn Rushd's full, transliterated Arabic name is "ʾAbū l-Walīd Muḥammad Ibn ʾAḥmad Ibn Rushd".{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=909}}{{sfn|Rosenthal|2017}} "Averroes" is the Medieval Latin form of "Ibn Rushd", derived from the Spanish pronunciation of the original Arabic name, wherein "Ibn" becomes "Aben" or "Aven".BOOK, Averroès et l'Averroïsme: Essai Historique, Renan, Ernest, Calmann-Lévy, 6, 1882,weblink June 21, 2017, Le nom latin d' Averroès s'est formé d'Ibn-Roschd par l'effet de la prononciation espagnole, où Ibn devient Aben ou Aven., French, The Latinized name is also spelled in some instances as "Averroës", "Averrhoës", or "Averroès", with the varying accents to mark that the "o" and "e" are separate vowels and not an "œ" diphthong.Robert Irwin (2006). Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and its Discontents. The Overlook Press. {{ISBN|978-1-58567-835-8}}. Other forms of the name include: "Ibin-Ros-din", "Filius Rosadis", "Ibn-Rusid", "Ben-Raxid", "Ibn-Ruschod", "Den-Resched", "Aben-Rassad", "Aben-Rasd", "Aben-Rust", "Avenrosdy", "Avenryz", "Adveroys", "Benroist", "Avenroyth", and "Averroysta".BOOK, Averroès et l'Averroïsme: Essai Historique, Renan, Ernest, Calmann-Lévy, 6, 1882,weblink June 21, 2017, Peu de noms ont subi des transcriptions aussi variées : Ibin-Rosdin, Filius Rosadis, Ibn Rusid, Ben-Raxid, Ibn Ruschod, Ben-Resched, Aben Rassad, Aben-Rois, Aben-Rasd. Aben-Rust, Avenrosd, Avenryz, Adveroys, Benroist, Avenroyth, Averroysta, etc., French,


File:AverroesColor.jpg|thumb|Ibn Rushd was the preeminent philosopher in the history of Al-Andalus. 14th-century painting by Andrea di Bonaiuto ]]

Early life and education

Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Rushd was born in 1126 in Córdoba to a family with a long and well-respected tradition of legal and public service. His grandfather, Abu al-Walid Muhammad (d. 1126) was the chief judge (qadi) of Córdoba as well as the imam of the Great Mosque of Córdoba under the Almoravids.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=909}} His father, Abu al-Qasim Ahmad, was not as celebrated as his grandfather, but was also qadi until the Almoravids were replaced by the Almohads in 1146.{{sfn|Hillier|loc=Biography}}Ibn Rushd's education was, according to his traditional biographers, "excellent",{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=909}} beginning with studies in hadith (traditions of Prophet Muhammad), fiqh (jurisprudence), medicine and theology. He learned Maliki jurisprudence under al-Hafiz Abu Muhammad ibn Rizq, and hadith with Ibn Bashkuwal, a student of his grandfather.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=909}}{{sfn|Wohlman|2009|p=16}} His father also taught him about jurisprudence, including on Imam Malik's magnum opus the Muwatta.{{sfn|Dutton|1994|p=190}} He studied medicine under Abu Jafar Jarim al-Tajail, who probably taught him philosophy too.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} He also knew the works of the philosopher Ibn Bajjah (also known as Avempace), and might have known him personally or been tutored by him.{{sfn|Hillier|loc=Biography}}{{sfn|Wohlman|2009|p=16}} He also studied the kalam theology of the Ashari school, which he would criticize later in life.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} His 13th century biographer Ibn al-Abbar mentioned that he was more interested in the study of law and its principles (usul) than that of hadith, and he was especially competent in the field of khilaf (disputes and controversies in the Islamic jurisprudence).{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} Ibn al-Abbar also mentioned his interests in "the sciences of the ancients", probably in reference to Greek philosophy and sciences.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}}


File:Almohad Expansion.png|thumb|Averroes served various official positions in the Almohad caliphateAlmohad caliphateBy 1153, he was in Marrakesh (in present-day Morocco), the capital of the Almohad caliphate to perform astronomical observations,. He was hoping to find physical laws of astronomical movements instead of just the mathematical laws known at the time, but this research was unsuccessful.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} During his stay in Marrakesh he likely met Ibn Tufayl, a renowned philosopher and the author of Hayy ibn Yaqdhan who was also the court physician in Marrakesh.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}}{{sfn|Wohlman|2009|p=16}} Despite the differences in their philosophy, Averroes and ibn Tufayl became friends.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=1}}{{sfn|Wohlman|2009|p=16}} In 1169, Ibn Tufayl introduced Averroes to the Almohad caliph, Abu Yaqub Yusuf.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=2}}{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} In a famous account reported by historian Abdelwahid al-Marrakushi, the caliph asked Averroes about whether the heavens had existed since eternity, or if it had a beginning.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=2}}{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} Knowing that this question was controversial and worried that a wrong answer could put him in danger, Averroes was did not answer.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=2}} The caliph then elaborated the views of Plato, Aristotle and Muslim philosophers on the topic, and discussed them with Ibn Tufayl.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=2}}{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} This display of knowledge Averroes at ease, and who then explained his own views on the issue, which impressed the caliph.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} Averroes was similarly impressed by Abu Yaqub, and later said that the caliph had "a profuseness of learning I did not suspect".{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=2}} After the introduction, Averroes remained in the Abu Yaqub's favor up until the caliph's death in 1184.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} When the caliph complained about the difficulty of understanding Aristotle's work to ibn Tufayl, the philosopher recommended to the caliph that Averroes work on explaining it.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=2}}{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} This was the beginning of Averroes' massive commentaries on Aristotle.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=2}} His very first works on Aristotle were written in 1169.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=2}}In the same year, he was appointed qadi (judge) in Seville.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}}{{sfn|Dutton|1994|p=196}} In 1171, he became qadi in his hometown of Córdoba.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}}{{sfn|Dutton|1994|p=190}} As qadi his day-to-day job was to decide cases and give fatwas (legal opinion) based on the Islamic law.{{sfn|Dutton|1994|p=196}} The rate of his writing increased during this time, despite other obligations and his travels within the Almohad empire.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} Many of his works between 1169 and 1179 were dated in Seville rather than Córdoba.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} In 1179 he was appointed qadi in Seville again.{{sfn|Dutton|1994|p=190}} In 1182 he succeeded his friend Ibn Tufayl as court physician, and later in the same year he was appointed the chief qadi of Córdoba, a prestigious office which had once been held by his grandfather.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}}{{sfn|Dutton|1994|p=196}}In 1184 Caliph Abu Yaqub died and was succeeded by Abu Yusuf Yaqub al-Mansur.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} Initially, Averroes remained in royal favor, but in 1195 his fortune reversed.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}}{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=2}} Various charges were made against him and he was then tried by a tribunal in Córdoba.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=2}}{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} The tribunal condemned his teachings, ordered his works burned and banished Averroes to the nearby Lucena.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} Early biographers gave various reasons for this fall from grace, including a possible insult to the caliph in his writings,{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=2}} but modern scholars attribute it to political reasons. The Encyclopaedia of Islam argued that the caliph distanced himself from Averroes to gain support from more orthodox ulema, who opposed Averroes and whose support al-Mansur needed for his war against Christian kingdoms.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} Historian of Islamic philosophy Majid Fakhry also argued that public pressure from traditional Maliki jurists who were opposed to Averroes played a role.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=2}}After a few years, he returned to court in Marrakesh and was again in the caliph's favor.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} However, he died shortly afterwards, on 11 December 1198 (9 Safar 595 in the Islamic calendar).{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} He was initially buried in North Africa, but his body was later moved Córdoba for another funeral.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}} Future Sufi mystic and philosopher Ibn Arabi (1165–1240) was present at the Córdoba funeral.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|p=910}}


File:AverroesAndPorphyry.JPG|thumb|Imaginary debate between Ibn Rushd and third century philosopher Porphyry. Monfredo de Monte Imperiali Liber de herbis, 14th century.]]{{See also|List of works by Averroes}}Ibn Rushd's first writings date from his age of 31 (year 1157).WEB, Kenny, Joseph, Joseph Kenny OP, Chronology of the works of Ibn-Rushd,weblink April 18, 2014,weblink" title="">weblink August 3, 2002, {{Better source|date=March 2018}} He was a prolific writer and his works, according to Fakhry, "covered a greater variety of subjects" than any of his predecessors in the East, including philosophy, medicine, jurisprudence or legal theory, and linguistics.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=3}} The largest share of his writing were commentaries or paraphrases on the works of Aristotle, which—especially the long ones—often contain his original thoughts.{{sfn|Taylor|2005|p=181}} In addition, French author Ernest Renan wrote that Averroes had at least 67 original works, which included 28 works on philosophy, 20 on medicine, 8 on law, 5 on theology, and 4 on grammar, in addition to his commentaries on most of Aristotle's works and his commentary on Plato's The Republic.{{citation|last=Ahmad|first=Jamil|date=September 1994|title=Averroes|journal=Monthly Renaissance|volume=4|issue=9|url=|accessdate=2008-10-14}} Many of Averroes' works did not survive in Arabic, but survived in its Hebrew or Latin translations. For example, among the long commentaries of Aristotle, only "a tiny handful of Arabic manuscript remains".{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=180}}

Commentaries on Aristotle

(File:Arabic aristotle.jpg|thumb|An Arabic illustration of Aristotle teaching a student, {{circa|1220}}. Aristotle's works are the subject of extensive commentaries by Averroes.)Ibn Rushd wrote commentaries on nearly all of Aristotle's surviving works.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=3}} The only exception was Politics (Aristotle), which he did not have access to, so he wrote commentaries on Plato's Republic's instead.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=3}} He classified his commentaries into three categories, called by modern scholars short, middle and long commentaries.{{sfn|Adamson|2006|p=180}} The short commentaries (jami) were generally written in his early career and contain summaries of Aristotlean doctrines.{{sfn|Taylor|2005|p=181}} The middle commentaries (talkhis) contain paraphrases to clarify and simplify Aristotle's original text.{{sfn|Taylor|2005|p=181}} The middle commentaries were probably written in response to his patron and caliph Abu Yaqub Yusuf's complaints about the difficulty of understanding Aristotle's original texts, as well as to help others in a similar position.{{sfn|Taylor|2005|p=181}}{{sfn|Adamson|2006|p=180}} The long commentaries (tafsir), or line-by-line commentaries include the whole text with a detailed analysis of each line.{{sfn|McGinnis|Reisman|2005|p=295}} The long commentaries are very detailed and contain high degree of original thought,{{sfn|Taylor|2005|p=181}} and were unlikely to be intended for the general audience.{{sfn|Adamson|2006|p=180}} Only five of Aristotle's works had all three types of commentaries: Physics, Metaphysics, On the Soul, On the Heavens, and Posterior Analytics''.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=3}}

Standalone philosophical works

Other than commentaries, Averroes also wrote standalone philosophical treatises, including On the Intellect, On the Syllogism, On Conjunction with the Active Intellect, On Time, On the Heavenly Sphere and On the Motion of the Sphere. He also wrote several polemics: Essay on al-Farabi's Approach to Logic, as Compared to that of Aristotle, Methaphysical Questions Dealt with in the Book of Healing by Ibn Sina, and Rebuttal of Ibn Sina's Classification of Existing Entities.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=3}}

Islamic theology

Scholarly sources, including Fakhry and the Encyclopedia of Islam, named three theological works as Averroes' key writings in this area. Fasl al-Maqal ("The Decisive Treatise") is a 1178 treatise which argued for the compatibility of Islam and philosophy.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|pp=911–912}} Al-Kashf 'an Manahij al-Adillah ("Exposition of the Methods of Proof"), written in 1179 criticizes the theologies of the Asharites,{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|pp=913–914}} and laid out Averroes' argument for proving the existence of God, as well as his thoughts on God's attributes and actions.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|pp=914}} The 1180 Tahafut al-Tahafut ("Incoherence of the Incoherence") is a rebuttal of al-Ghazali's (d. 1111) landmark criticism of philosophy The Incoherence of the Philosophers. It combines ideas in his commentaries and standalone works and uses them to respond to al-Ghazali.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|pp=915}} In addition, the work also criticizes Avicenna and his neo-Platonist tendencies, sometimes agreeing with al-Ghazali's critique against him.{{sfn|Arnaldez|1986|pp=915}}


(File:Colliget Auerrois totam medicinam V00026 00000002.tif|thumb|Title page from a Latin edition of Colliget, Averroes' main work in medicine.)Averroes, who served as the royal physician at the Almohad court, wrote a number of medical treatises. The most famous was al-Kulliyat fi al-Tibb ("General Principles of Medicine", Latinized in the west as the Colliget), written around 1162, before his appointment at court.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=124}} The Latin translation became a medical texbook in Europe for centuries.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=124}} He also wrote summaries of the works of Greek physician Galen (died {{circa|210}}) and a commentary on Avicenna's Urjuzah fi al-Tibb ("Poem on Medicine").{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=124}}

Jurisprudence and law

Averroes served multiple tenures as judge, and produced multiple work in the fields of Islamic jurisprudence or legal theory. The only book that survives today is Bidāyat al-Mujtahid wa Nihāyat al-Muqtaṣid, "Primer of the Discretionary Scholar".{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=xvi}} In this work he detailed the legal difference between the Sunni madhhabs (schools of Islamic jurisprudence) both in practice and in their underlying juristic principles.{{sfn|Dutton|1994|p=188}} Despite his status as a Maliki judge, the book discusses the opinion of other schools as well, including liberal and conserative ones.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=xvi}} Other than this surviving text, bibliographical information also showed that he wrote a summary of Al-Ghazali's On Legal Theory of Muslim Jurisprudence (Al-Mustasfa) as well as tracts on sacrifices and land tax.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=115}}


Aristotelianism in the Islamic philosophical tradition

In his philosophical writings, Averroes attempted to return to Aristotelianism, which according to him had been distorted by the Neoplatonist tendencies of Muslim philosophers such as Al-Farabi and Avicenna.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=5}}{{sfn|Leaman|2007|p=27}} He rejected al-Farabi's attempt to merge Plato and Aristotle's ideas, pointing out the difference between the two, such as Aristotle's rejection of Plato's theory of ideas.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=6}} He also criticized Al-Farabi's works on logic for misinterpreting its Aristotelian source.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|pp=6–7}} He wrote extensive critique of Avicenna, who was the standard-bearer of Islamic Neoplatonism in the Middle Ages.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=7}} He argued that Avicenna's theory of emanation had many fallacies and was not found in the works of Aristotle.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=7}} He also disagreed with Avicenna's view that existence is merely an accident added to essence, arguing the reverse: something exists per se, and essence is something that can only be found by subsequent abstraction. {{sfn|Fakhry|2001|pp=8–9}}. He also rejected Avicenna's modality as well as Avicenna's argument to prove the existence of God as the Necessary Existent.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=9}}

Relation between religion and philosophy

During Averroes' time, philosophy came under attack in the Sunni Islam tradition, especially from theological school like the traditionalist (Hanbalite) and the Ashari schools.{{sfn|Hillier|loc=Philosophy and Religion}} In particular, the Ashari scholar al-Ghazali (10581111) wrote The Incoherence of the Philosophers (Tahafut al-falasifa), a scathing and influential critique against the Neoplatonic philosophical tradition in the Islamic world, and against the works of Avicenna in particular.{{sfn|Hillier|loc=paragraph 2}} Among others, Al-Ghazali charged philosophers with unbelief in Islam, and sought to disprove the teaching of the philosophers using logical arguments.{{sfn|Hillier|loc=Philosophy and Religion}}{{sfn|Leaman|2002|p=55}}In Decisive Treatise, Averroes argues that philosophy—which for him represented conclusions reached using reason and careful method—cannot contradict revelations in Islam, because they are just two different methods of reaching the truth, and "truth cannot contradict truth".{{sfn|Guessoum|2011|p=xx}}{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=184}} When conclusions reached by philosophy appear to contradict the text of the revelation, then, according to Averroes, revelation must be subjected to interpretation or allegorical understanding in order to remove the contradiction.{{sfn|Guessoum|2011|p=xx}}{{sfn|Hillier|loc=Philosophy and Religion}} This interpretation must be done by those "rooted in knowledge"—a phrase taken by from the Quran 3:7, which, for Averroes, refers to philosophers who during his time had access to the "highest methods of knowledge".{{sfn|Guessoum|2011|p=xx}}{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=184}} He also argues that the Quran calls for Muslims to study philosophy, as the study and reflection of nature would increase a person's knowledge of "the Artisan" (God).{{sfn|Guessoum|2011|p=xxii}} He quotes Quranic passages calling on Muslims to reflect on nature, and used them to render a fatwa (legal opinion) that philosophy is not only allowed for Muslims, but even obligatory, at least among those who have the talent.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=182}} Averroes also distinguishes three modes of discourse: the rhetorical (based on persuasion), accessible to the common masses; dialectical (based on debate), often employed by theologians and the ulama'; and demonstrative (based on logical deduction) which were employed by philosophers.{{sfn|Hillier|loc=Philosophy and Religion}}{{sfn|Guessoum|2011|p=xxii}} According to Averroes, the Quran uses the rhetorical method of inviting people to the truth, which allows it to reach the common masses with its persuasiveness.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=183}} Philosophy, on the other hand, uses the demonstrative methods which were only available to the learned but provided the best possible understanding and knowledge.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=183}}Averroes also tries to deflect Al-Ghazali's criticisms of philosophy by saying that many only apply to the philosophy of Avicenna, and not that of Aristotle, which Averroes argues to be the true philosophy from which Avicenna deviated.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=181}}

Nature of God


Averroes lays out his views on the existence and nature of God in the treatise The Exposition of the Methods of Proof.{{sfn|Hillier|loc=Existence and Attributes of God}}{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=74}} He examines and critiques the doctrines of four sects of Islam: the Asharites, Mutazilites, the Sufis and the those whom he calls the "literalists" (al-hashwiyah).{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=74}} Among other things, he examines their proofs of God's existence and critiques each one.{{sfn|Hillier|loc=Existence and Attributes of God}} Averroes argues that there are only two arguments for God's existence that he deems logically sound and in accordance to the Quran: the arguments from "providence" and "from invention".{{sfn|Hillier|loc=Existence and Attributes of God}} The first argument considers the fact that the world and the universe seem fine-tuned to support human life. Averroes cited the sun, the moon, the rivers, the seas, and the location of humans on the earth.{{sfn|Hillier|loc=Existence and Attributes of God}}{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=77}} According to him, this suggests a creator who created them for the welfare of mankind.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=77}}{{sfn|Hillier|loc=Existence and Attributes of God}} The second argument contends that entities in the world, such as animals and plants, appear as if they were invented. Therefore, Averroes argues that a designer was behind the creation, and that is God.{{sfn|Hillier|loc=Existence and Attributes of God}}Averroes's two arguments are teleological in nature, and not cosmological like the arguments of Aristotle and most Muslim kalam theologians at the time.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|pp=77–78}}

God's attributes

Averroes upholds the doctrine of divine unity (tawhid), and argues, in agreement with contemporary theologians, that God has seven divine attributes: knowledge, life, power, will, hearing, vision, and speech. He devotes the most attention to the attribute of knowledge. He argues that divine knowledge differs from human knowledge because God knows the universe based on being its cause, while humans only know the universe based on effects.{{sfn|Hillier|loc=Existence and Attributes of God}} Averroes argues that the attribute of life can be inferred because it is the precondition of knowledge, and also by the fact that God willed objects into being.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=79}} Power can be inferred by God's ability to bring creations into existence. As to speech, Ibn Rushd argues that knowledge and power inevitably give rise to speech. Finally, in regards to vision and speech, Ibn Rushd points out that because God created the world, he necessarily knows every part of it, just like an artist that understands their work intimately. Given that two elements of the world are the visual and the auditory, God must necessarily possess the vision and speech.{{sfn|Hillier|loc=Existence and Attributes of God}}

Pre-eternity of the world

In the centuries preceding Averroes, there had been a debate between Muslim thinkers on the question of whether the world was created at a point in time, or whether it has always existed.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=14}} Neo-Platonic philosophers such as Al-Farabi and Avicenna argued that the world has always existed.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=18}} This view was criticized by theologians and philosophers of the Ashari kalam tradition. In particular, al-Ghazali wrote an extensive refutation of the pre-eternity doctrine in his Incoherence of the Philosophers, and accused the Neo-Platonic philosophers of unbelief (kufr).{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=18}} Averroes responded to Al-Ghazali in his Incoherence of the Incoherence. First, he argued that the difference between the two positions were not so vast to warrant the charge of unbelief.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=18}} He also said that the pre-eternity doctrine did not necessarily contradict the Quran, and cited verses which mentions pre-existing "throne" and "water" in passages related to creation.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=19}}{{sfn|Hillier |loc=Origin of the World}} Averroes argued that a careful reading of the Quran implied that only the "form" of the universe was created in time, but its existence has been eternal.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=19}} Averroes further criticized the kalam theologians for using their own interpretation of scripture to decide on questions that should have been left to the philosophers.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|pp=19–20}}


Averroes lays down his political philosophy in his commentary to Plato's Republic. He combines his ideas with Plato's as well as with the Islamic tradition. He considers the ideal state to be one based on the Islamic law (shariah).{{sfn|Rosenthal|2017|loc=Contents And Significance Of Works}} His interpretation of Plato's philosopher-king followed that of Al-Farabi, which equates the philosopher king to be the imam, caliph and lawgiver of the state.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=111}}{{sfn|Rosenthal|2017|loc=Contents And Significance Of Works}} Characteristics of a philosopher-king given by Averroes are largely similar to those given by Al-Farabi. They include love of knowledge, good memory, love of learning, love of truth, dislike for sensual pleasures, dislike for amassing wealth, magnanimity, courage, steadfastness, eloquence, and the ability to "light quickly on the middle term".{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=111}} Averroes holds that if philosophers cannot rule, such as the case in the Almoravid and Almohad empires around his time, philosophers must still try to influence the rulers towards implementing the ideal state.{{sfn|Rosenthal|2017|loc=Contents And Significance Of Works}} According to Averroes, there are two methods to teach virtue to citizens: persuasion and coercion.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=106}} Persuasion is the more natural method, consisting of rhetorical, dialectical and demonstrative methods, but sometimes coercion is necessary for those not amenable to persuasion, e.g. enemies of the state.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=106}} Therefore he justifies war as a last resort, which he also supports using Quranic arguments.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=106}} Consequently, he argues that a ruler should have both wisdom and courage, which are needed for governance and defense of the state.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=107}} Similar to Plato, he also calls for women to share with men in the administration of the state, including participating as soldiers, philosophers and rulers.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=110}} He regrets that Muslim societies of his time limited the public role of women; he thinks that this limitation is harmful to the state's well-being.{{sfn|Rosenthal|2017|loc=Contents And Significance Of Works}}He also accepted Plato's ideas of the deterioration of the ideal state. He cited examples from Islamic history, when the Rashidun caliphate—which in Sunni tradition represented the ideal state, led by "rightly guided caliphs"—became a dynastic state under Muawiyah, founder of the Umayyad dynasty. Nearer to home, he also says that the Almoravid and the Almohad empires started as an ideal, shariah-based states but then deteriorated into timocracy, oligarchy, democracy and tyranny.{{sfn|Rosenthal|2017|loc=Contents And Significance Of Works}}{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=112–114}}


Regarding his studies in astronomy, Averroes followed Avempace and Ibn Tufail in criticizing the Ptolemaic system on philosophical grounds and rejected the existence of eccentrics and epicycles. Instead he argued for a strictly concentric model of the universe and tried in vain to formulate a new system that was based on Aristotelian principles.WEB, Ibn Rushd,weblink, Averroes also explained sunspots and gave a scientific reasoning regarding the occasional opaque colors of the moon, in which he argued that the moon has some parts which are thicker than others, with the thicker parts receiving more light from the Sun than the thinner parts. Ariew, Roger (2011). Descartes Among the Scholastics. BRILL. p. 193.


Ibn Rushd proposed a definition of force as "the rate at which work is done in changing the kinetic condition of a material body", close to the definition of power in today's physics.BOOK, Agutter, Paul S., Wheatley, Denys N., Thinking about Life: The history and philosophy of biology and other sciences, 2008, Springer Science & Business Media, 9781402088667, 45,weblink en, Ibn Rushd also developed the notion that celestial bodies have a (non-gravitational) inherent resistance to motion into physics{{clarification needed|date=May 2018}}, an idea which was was adopted by Thomas Aquinas.BOOK, Nicolaidis, Efthymios, Science and Eastern Orthodoxy: From the Greek Fathers to the Age of Globalization, 2011, JHU Press, 9781421404264,weblink en,


File:Bnf lat16151 f22.jpg|thumb|The Long Commentary on Aristotle's On the SoulOn the SoulAverroes expounds his thoughts on psychology in his three commentaries on Aristotle's On the Soul.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=188}} Averroes is interested in explaining the human intellect using philosophical methods as well as by interpreting Aristotle's ideas.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=188}} His position on the topic changes throughout his career as his thoughts develop.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=188}} In his short commentary, the first of the three works, he follows Ibn Bajja's theory that the "material intellect" stores specific images that a person encounters.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=189–190}} These images serve as basis for the "unification" by the universal "agent intellect", which, once it happens, allow a person to gain universal knowledge on that particular concept.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=190}} In his middle commentary, Averroes moves towards the ideas of Al-Farabi and Avicenna, saying that the agent intellect gives humans the power of universal understanding, which is the material intellect.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=190}} Once the person has sufficient empirical encounters with a certain concept, the power activates, giving the person universal knowledge{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=190}} (see also logical induction).In his last commentary (called the Long Commentary) he proposes another theory, which becomes known as the theory of "the unity of the intellect". In it, Averroes argues that there is only one material intellect, which is one and the same for all humans, and unmixed with human body.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=191}} To explain how different individuals can have different thoughts, he uses a concept he calls fikr (known as cogitatio in Latin), a process which happens in human brain and contains not universal knowledge but "active consideration of particular things" that the person has encountered.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=191}} This theory attracted controversy when Averroes' works entered Christian Europe, and Thomas Aquinas wrote a detailed critique in 1270, titled On the Unity of the Intellect against the Averroists.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=188}}{{sfn|Hasse|2014|loc=Averroes' Unicity Thesis}}


In Jewish tradition

Maimonides (d. 1204) was among early Jewish scholars who received Averroes' works enthusiastically, saying that he "received lately everything Averroes had written on the works of Aristotle" and declaring that Averroes "was extremely right".{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=132}} Thirteenth century Jewish writers relied heavily on Averroes, including Samuel ibn Tibbon in his work Opinion of the Philosophers, Judah ibn Solomon Cohen in his Search for Wisdom and Shem-Tov ibn Falaquera.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=132}} The first Jewish translation of a complete work took place in 1232, when Joseph Ben Abba Mari translated Averroes' commentaries on the Organon. In 1260 Moses Ben Tebbon published almost all of Averroes' commentaries as well as some of his works on medicine.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=132}} Jewish Averroism peaked in the fourteenth century.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=133}} Jewish writers of this time who translated or were influenced by Averroes included Kalonymus ben Kalonymus of Arles, France, Samuel ibn Judah of Marseilles, Todros Todrosi of Arles and Gersonides of Languedoc.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|pp=132–133}}

In Latin tradition

Averroes' main influence on the Christian West was due to his extensive commentaries on Aristotle.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=131}} After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, western Europe fell into a cultural decline.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=129}} This resulted in the loss of nearly all of the intellectual legacy of the Classical Greek scholars, including Aristotle.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=129}} Averroes' commentaries, which were translated into Latin and entered Western Europe in the thirteenth century, provided an expert account of Aristotle's legacy and made them available again.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|pp=181–182}}{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=133}} Due to the influence of his commentaries, he was often referred to not by name, but simply as "The Commentator", in Latin Christian writings.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=180}}Michael Scot (1175 – c. 1232) was the first Latin translator of Averroes who translated the long commentaries of Physics, Metaphysics, On the Soul, and On the Heavens, as well as multiple middle and short commentaries, at Paris and Toledo, starting in 1217.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=133–134}} Following this, European authors such as Hermannus Alemannus, William de Luna and Armengaud of Montpellier translated other works of Averroes, sometimes with help from Jewish authors.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=134}} Soon after, Averroes' works propagated among Christian scholars in the scholastic tradition.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=134}} His writing attracted a strong circle of followers, known as the Latin Averroists.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=134}} Paris and Padua were major centers of Latin Averroism, and its prominent leaders in the thirteenth century included Siger of Brabant and Boethius of Dacia.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=134}}Catholic church authorities reacted against the spread of Averroism. In 1270, the Bishop of Paris Étienne Tempier issued a condemnation against 15 doctrines—many of which Aristotelian or Averroist—which he said were in conflict with the doctrines of the church. In 1277, at the request of Pope John XXI, Tempier issued another condemnation, this time targeting 219 theses drawn from many sources, mainly the teaching of Aristotle and Averroes.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=134–135}} Ibn Rushd received a mixed reception from other Catholic thinkers. Thomas Aquinas, a leading Catholic thinker of the thirteenth century, relied extensively on Averroes' interpretation of Aristotle, but disagreed with him on many points.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=138}}{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=180}} For example, he wrote a detailed attack on Averroes' theory that all humans shares the same intellect.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=192}} He also opposed Averroes on the topic of the eternity of the universe and divine providence.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=140}}The church condemnations of 1270 and 1277, as well as the detailed critique by Aquinas, weakened the spread of Averroism in Latin Christendom.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=135}} However, it still found following up to the sixteenth century, when European thought began to move away from Aristotelianism.{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=133}} Leading Averroists in the following centuries included John of Jandun and Marsilius of Padua (fourteenth century), Gaetano da Thiene and Pietro Pomponazzi (fifteenth century), as well as Agostino Nifo and Marcantonio Zimara (sixteenth century).{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=137–138}}

In Islamic tradition

Ibn Rushd had no major influence on Islamic philosophic thought until modern times.{{sfn|Leaman|2002|p=28}} Part of the reason is geography: Averroes came from Spain, the extreme west of the Islamic civilization, far from the heartlands of Islamic intellectual traditions.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=181}} More importantly, his philosophy likely did not appeal to Islamic scholars at his time.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=181}} His focus on Aristotle's works was outdated in the twelfth-century Muslim world, which had already scrutinized Aristotle since the ninth century, and by now was engaging deeply with newer schools of thought, especially that of Avicenna.{{sfn|Adamson|2016|p=181}} Only in the nineteenth century did Muslim thinkers begin to engage with the works Averroes again.{{sfn|Leaman|2002|p=28}} By this time, there was a cultural renaissance called Al-Nahda ("reawakening") in the Arabic-speaking world, and the works of Averroes was seen as inspiration to modernize the Muslim intellectual tradition.{{sfn|Leaman|2002|p=28}}

In popular culture

File:Averroes closeup.jpg|thumb|Ibn Rushd, detail of the fresco The School of Athens by RaphaelRaphaelReferences to Averroes appear in the popular culture of both the Western and Muslim world. The poem The Divine Comedy by the Italian Dante Alighieri, completed in 1320, depicts Averroes, "who made the Great Commentary", along with other non-Christian thinkers (Greek and Muslim) in Limbo around Saladin.{{sfn|Sonneborn|2006|p=94}}{{sfn|Fakhry|2001|p=138}} The prologue of The Canterbury Tales (1387) by Geoffrey Chaucer, lists Averroes among other medical authorities known in Europe at the time.{{sfn|Sonneborn|2006|p=94}} Averroes is depicted in Raphael's 1501 fresco The School of Athens, decorating the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican, which features seminal figures of philosophy. In the painting, Averroes wears a green robe and a turban, peering from behind Pythagoras, who is shown writing a book.{{sfn|Sonneborn|2006|p=95}} Averroes is the hero of the 1997 Egyptian movie Destiny by Youssef Chahine. The movie was made partly in commemoration of the 800th anniversary of Averroes' death, and shows him as a man of wisdom in twelfth-century Cordoba.{{sfn|Sonneborn|2006|p=95}}{{sfn|Guessoum|2011|p=xiv}} The plant genus Averrhoa, the lunar crater ibn Rushd, and the asteroid 8318 Averroes were named after him.

See also



Works cited

  • BOOK, harv, Peter, Adamson, Peter Adamson (academic), Philosophy in the Islamic World: A History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps,weblink 2016, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-957749-1,
  • ENCYCLOPEDIA, Ibn Rushd, Roger, Arnaldez, Roger Arnaldez, The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, Vol. III: H-Iram, 1986, Brill Publishers, Brill and Luzac & co., Leiden and London, harv,weblink B. Lewis, V.L. Menage, Ch. Pellat and J. Schacht, 90-04-08118-6, 909–920, 10.1163/1573-3912_islam_COM_0340,
  • JOURNAL, Dutton, Yasin, The Introduction to Ibn Rushd's "Bidāyat al-Mujtahid", 10.2307/3399333, 3399333, Brill, 1994, 1, 2, Islamic Law and Society, 188-205, harv,
  • {{Citation |last=Fakhry |first=Majid |title=Averroes (Ibn Rushd) His Life, Works and Influence |publisher=Oneworld Publications |year=2001 |isbn=1-85168-269-4 |ref=harv|url=}}
  • BOOK, harv, Guessoum, Nidhal, Nidhal Guessoum, Islam's Quantum Question: Reconciling Muslim Tradition and Modern Science,weblink 15 February 2011, I. B. Tauris, 978-1-84885-518-2,
  • ENCYCLOPEDIA, Influence of Arabic and Islamic Philosophy on the Latin West, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Hasse, Dag Nikolaus, 2014, Edward N. Zalta, Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University,weblink
  • ENCYCLOPEDIA, Ibn Rushd (Averroes) (1126—1198), H. Chad, Hillier, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2161-0002,weblink harv,
  • {{Citation |last= Leaman |first= Olivier |title=An Introduction to Classical Islamic Philosophy |publisher=Cambridge University Press |year=2002 |edition=2nd |isbn=978-0-521-79757-3|ref=harv}}
  • BOOK, Jon, McGinnis, David C., Reisman, Classical Arabic Philosophy: An Anthology of Sources,weblink 2007, Hackett Publishing, 1-60384-392-2, harv,
  • BOOK, harv, Sonneborn, Liz, Averroes (Ibn Rushd): Muslim Scholar, Philosopher, and Physician of the Twelfth Century,weblink 2006, The Rosen Publishing Group, 978-1-4042-0514-7,
  • ENCYCLOPEDIA, Averroes: religious dialectic and Aristotelian philosophical thought, The Cambridge Companion to Arabic Philosophy, Taylor, Richard C., 2005, Peter Adamson, Richard C. Taylor, Cambridge University Press, 180–200,weblink 9780521520690,
  • BOOK, harv, Wohlman, Avital, Al-Ghazali, Averroes and the Interpretation of the Qur'an: Common Sense and Philosophy in Islam,weblink 2009-12-04, Routledge, 978-1-135-22444-8,
  • ENCYCLOPEDIA, Averroës, Erwin I.J., Rosenthal, Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., 2017-12-26,weblink harv,

Further reading

  • {{Citation |last= Baffioni |first= Carmela |title= Averroes and the Aristotelian Heritage |publisher= Guida Editori |year=2004 |month= |isbn= 88-7188-862-6 }}
  • {{Citation |last=Campanini|first=Massimo|title= Averroè|publisher= Il Mulino|location= Bologna|year= 2007}}
  • {{Citation |last=Glasner |first=Ruth|title= Averroes' Physics: A Turning Point in Medieval Natural Philosophy|location= Oxford|publisher=Oxford University Press|year=2009}}
  • {{Citation |last= Kogan |first= Barry S. |title= Averroes and the Metaphysics of Causation |publisher= SUNY Press |year= 1985 |month= |isbn= 0-88706-063-3 }}
  • {{Citation |last=Kupka |first=Thomas|title=Averroes als Rechtsgelehrter|trans-title=Averroes as a Legal Scholar|journal=Rechtsgeschichte|number=18|year=2011|pages=214–216|url=}}
  • {{Citation |last= Leaman |first= Olivier |title= Averroes and his philosophy |publisher= Routledge |year= 1998|month= |isbn= 0-7007-0675-5 }}
  • {{Citation |last=Sorabji |first=Richard|title= Matter, Space and Motion|publisher= Duckworth|year= 1988}}
  • {{Citation|last=Schmidt-Biggemann|first=Wilhelm|url=|chapter=Sketch of a Cosmic Theory of the Soul from Aristotle to Averroes|title=Variantology 4. On Deep Time Relations of Arts, Sciences and Technologies In the Arabic-Islamic World and Beyond|editors=Siegfried Zielinski and Eckhard Fürlus in cooperation with Daniel Irrgang and Franziska Latell|location=Cologne|publisher=Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König|year=2010|pages=19–42|deadurl=yes|archiveurl=|archivedate=2011-07-16|df=}}

External links

{{Commons+cat|Averroes}}{{wikisource author}}

Works of Averroes

  • DARE, the Digital Averroes Research Environment, an ongoing effort to collect digital images of all Averroes manuscripts and full texts of all three language-traditions.
  • Averroes, Islamic Philosophy Online (links to works by and about Averroes in several languages)
  • The Philosophy and Theology of Averroes: Tractata translated from the Arabic, trans. Mohammad Jamil-ur-Rehman, 1921
  • The Incoherence of the Incoherence translation by Simon van den Bergh. [N. B. : This also contains a translation of most of the tahafut as the refutations are mostly commentary of al-Ghazali statements that were quoted verbatim.] There is also an Italian translation by Massimo Campanini, Averroè, L'incoerenza dell'incoerenza dei filosofi, Turin, Utet, 1997.
  • SIEPM Virtual Library, including scanned copies (PDF) of the Editio Juntina of Averroes' works in Latin (Venice 1550–1562)

Information about Averroes

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