Abu Nasr Farabi (Alfarabius) E-mail




By Tahir Kabuli

His full name was Mohammad Ibn Farukh al-Farabi. He was born in village of Wasij near Farab into a Tajik family in the year 870. His family had emigrated to Wasij which is now in Turkestan. He completed his earlier education in the cities of Farab and Bukhara of Khorasan and went to Baghdad for higher education. Farabi is one the earliest Islamic intellectuals who was instrumental in the transmitting the doctrines of Plato and Aristotle to te Muslim world and therefore had a considerable influence on the later Islamic philosophers such as Avicenna.

He was an outstanding linguist who translated the Greek works on Aristotle and Plato and made a considerable addition to them of his own. That is why in the Muslim world he was known as the "Second Teacher" the first being the Greek philosopher Aristotle. Although, Farabi maintained his own originality, showed considerable interest and attachment to the Plato's idea's in political sciences, as set out in the Republic and Laws.

Farabi was the first philosopher to separate philosophy from theology. It is difficult to find a philosopher both in Muslim and Christian world from Middle ages onwards who has not been influenced by his views. He believed in a Supreme Being who had created the world through the exercise of rational intelligence. He also asserted that this same rational faculty to be the sole part of the human being that is immortal, and thus he set as the paramount human goal the development of that rational faculty. He considerably gave more attention to political theory than to any Islamic philosopher.


Farabi was a tremendous source of aspiration for intellectuals of the middle ages and made enormous contributions to the knowledge of his day, paving the way for the later philosopher and thinkers of the Muslim world. His major contributions are in the fields of philosophy, logic, sociology, medicine, mathematics and music. In addition to his more than 100 writings he also compiled a Encyclopedia of Sciences which was the first Muslim work on systematic classification of human knowledge.

Some of his books on different topics are Ara Ahl al-Madina al-Fadila (The Model City) on sociology, Kitab al-Musiqa on music, Fusus al-Hikam on philosophy and Kitab al-Ihsa al Ulum that discusses the classification and fundamental s of science in a unique and useful manner. He was a great expert in the art and science of music and had invented several musical instruments and contributed to the knowledge of musical notes. It is said that he was so good in playing his instrument that would make people laugh or weep at will.

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