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Qadi Ibn Rushd (Averroes) The Jurist, Mathematician, Philosopher

Qadi Ibn Rushd (Averroes)

This is what the Islamic sources say about him:

Ibn Rushd the grandson (520-595) was the foremost authority of the Maliki school of Law in Cordoba in his time both in the law and its principles. There was no one higher than him in the matter of legal ruling (fatwa) for crucial issues. Here are some testimonies on him:

- Al-Dhahabi in Siyar A`lam al-`Ulama' (15:452) quotes al-Abbar as saying: "No one of his scholarly perfection, his erudition, or his high manners was ever raised in Andalus."

- Ibn Usaybi`a in Tabaqat al-Atibba' wa Tarikh al-Hukama' (2:75) says: "He was the peerless authority of his time in the Law and knowledge of juristic differences, and he excelled in medicine... speculative theology, and philosophy."

- Ibn Farhun in al-Dibaj al-Mudhahhab (p. 379) states: "On top of all this he was of examplary modesty... he gained eminence in his life through the office of judge in Cordoba, and although kings held him in great awe and respect he never sought after honor nor material gain."

- Ibn `Imad in Shadharat al-Dhahab (4:320): "He excelled in the Law, heard hadith, mastered medicine, and embraced speculative theology and philosophy until his erudition became proverbial in the latter. He authored works together with intellectual brilliance and diligent work night and day. He authored numerous works in jurisprudence, medicine, logic, mathematics, theology. He died in Marrakesh."

- Makhluf in Shajarat al-Nur al-Dhakiyya (p. 146 #439): "The Qadi of the Congregation, Abu al-Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Abi al-Walid ibn Rushd (520-595)... [After mentioning the above reports:] He was severely tried through exile and the burning of his valuable books in the last days of Ya`qub al-Mansur's rule due to religious and political matters they had attributed to him. Then he was pardoned, but he lived for only one year after his pardon."

None of these sources mentioned that Ibn Rushd the grandson held the simplistic view that "reason takes precedence over religion" or that it "led to his exile in 1195 by the caliph of Morocco and Spain" as it is claimed by many Western sources. The last excerpt shows that the latter construction is deceptive and misleading.

His Works

Most of Ibn Rushd's works are only available in Arabic and many have been published:

Bidaya al-Mujtahid wa Nihayat al-Muqtasid (fiqh of the Sunni Schools of thought) -  now available in English.

Al-Damima (Addendum to the preceding)
Fasl min Kitab al-Sihha fi al-Kulliyyat (Book of Medicine from Aristotle's Universals)
Al-Kashf `an Manahij al-Adilla fi `Aqa'id al-Milla (Islamic Doctrine and Its Proofs)
Al-Kulliyyat (Aristotle's Universals)
Muqaddimaat Ibn Rushd (Marginalia on al-Tannukhi's Great Compilation of Maliki Fiqh)
Tahafut al-Tahafut *
Talkhis al-Khataba (oratory)
Talkhis al-Safsata (sophistry)
Talkhis Kitab al-Hass wa al-Mahsus and Talkhis Kitab al-Nafs (Aristotle on the Soul)
Talkhis Kitab al-Jadal (Aristotle on Logic)
Talkhis al-`Ibara (Rhetoric) Talkhis Kitab al-Shi`r (Aristotle's Poetics)
Talkhis Kitab al-Maqulat Talkhis ma Ba`d al-Tabi`a (Aristotle's Metaphysics) Rasa'il (Epistles)
Fasl al-Maqal fi ma bayn al-Shari`a wa al-hikma min al-Ittisal (Relationship of Law with Philosophy

Medicine and Philosophy
His well-known book Kitab al-Kulyat fi al-Tibb was written before 1162 C.E. Its Latin translation was known as 'Colliget.' In it, Ibn Rushd has expounded on various aspects of medicine, including the diagnoses, cures and prevention of diseases. This book focuses on specific areas in comparison of Ibn Sina's of al-Qanun, but contains several original observations of Ibn Rushd. In Astronomy, he wrote a treatise on the motion of the sphere, Kitab fi-Harakat al-Falak. According to Draper, Ibn Rushd is credited with the discovery of sunspots. He also summarized Almagest and divided it into two parts: description of the spheres, and movement of the spheres. This summary of the Almagest was translated from Arabic into Hebrew by Jacob Anatoli in 1231

Ibn Rushd made remarkable contributions in philosophy, logic, medicine and jurisprudence. Ibn Rushd's writings spread more than 20,000 pages, the most famous of which deal with philosophy, medicine and jurisprudence. He wrote 20 books on medicine.

Conclusion

A careful examination of his works reveals that Ibn Rushd ( Averroes) 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." In his medical and philosophical works we see the depth of his faith and knowledge of the Qur'an and Prophetic traditions, which he often quotes in support of his views in different matters. Ibn Rushd said that true happiness for man can surely be achieved through mental and psychological health, and people cannot enjoy psychological health unless they follow ways that lead to happiness in the hereafter, and unless they believe in God and His oneness

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The Prophet (SAW) Said: There are three things concerning which the heart of a believer should feel no enmity or malice: devoting one's actions to Allah, giving counsel to the Imams of the Muslims, and being loyal to the majority.
(Ibn Majah. Source :The Purification of the Soul compiled from the works of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Ibn Al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya, and Abu Hamid al-Ghazali)