One of the earliest Islamic philosophers who brought the doctrines of Plato and Aristotle to the attention of the Muslim world was Abu Nasr Al-Farabi. An outstanding linguist and scientist, Al-Farabi not only translated the works of Aristotle and Plato from the original Greek, he also contributed his own thoughts and beliefs to these works. Nicknamed Mallim-e-Sani, which means “Second Master” or “Second Teacher” many future Islamic philosophers including Avicenna were influenced by his teachings.
His Early Life:
Al-Farabi began his education at Farab and continued it at Bukhara before moving to Baghdad to complete his higher studies. During this period in his life he mastered several languages.He also became knowledgeable in a wide variety of subjects including technology. His major subjects were philosophy,logic and sociology for which he became known later in life as an encyclopedist.
His Contributions and Achievements:
Al-Farabi was the first philosopher to separate philosophy from technology. Both Muslim and Christian philosophers dating back to the Middle Ages were influenced by his views. He was a strong believer that the world was created by a Supreme Being who was able to exercise balanced intelligence and he firmly believed all human beings possess this immortal rational facility, they just have to be taught how to develop it. His ultimate goal was to achieve this. He was far more dedicated to political theory than any other Islamic philosopher.
In the later stages of his life Al-Farabi set down the qualities he believed a ruler should possess. He felt the ruler should have the right attitude to rule and maintain the high standards expected of a ruler.
Central to his political philosophy was the concept that people who co-operate to find contentment gain ultimate happiness.
Al-Farabi wrote a number of books on early Muslim sociology and one of his most notable books is ‘Kitab al-Musiqa’ (The Book of Music). It is a theoretical study on Persian music although in the Western world it appeared as a book on Arab music. He also invented several musical instruments and contributed his knowledge to musical notes.A talented musician himself he could make his audience laugh or cry when playing his instrument. He also a wrote a pamphlet named the ‘Meanings of the Intellect’. The subject of this pamphlet was music therapy. Al-Farabi stressed about the therapeutic effects music has on the soul.
Al-Farabi in Later Life
All through his life he traveled a lot, picking up different experiences on the way and he is still remembered in a number of countries for the valuable contributions he made to science and philosophy. He was a bachelor and faced many hardships in his life but that never stopped his dedication to work and he is known to have been one of the most popular scientists in history. Many mourned his death at the age of 80 in Damascus in 339AH/950 AD.
10 Facts Abu Nasr Al-Farabi Will be Remembered For.
- One of the earliest Islamic intellectuals to teach the doctrines of Plato and Aristotle to the Muslim world.
- A great example to philosophers and intellectuals and admired by both Muslim and Christian philosophers
- An outstanding linguist and an encyclopedist in his work.
- The first philosopher to separate philosophy from technology.
- More dedicated to political theory than any other Islamic philosopher.
- A firm believer that the concept of happiness is achieved by people who co-operate to gain contentment.
- Always stressed the importance of knowledge in his work.
- An expert in music,he also invented several musical instruments.
- A talented musician himself he could make people laugh or cry when he played his instrument.
- An avid traveler he was mourned around the world when he died in Damascus aged 80.
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