al-Fārābī, Abu Nasr Muḥammad Iḅn Tarkhān

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al-Fārābī, Abu Nasr Muḥammad Iḅn Tarkhān (c.870–950 (AH 257–339)). A philosopher-mystic of Turkish origin who lived during the height of ʿAbbāsid rule in Baghdād. His philosophy contained elements of Aristotelanism, Platonism, and Sufism. Al-Fārābī wrote on many diverse subjects. Among Muslim philosophers he is considered the Second Teacher (al-muʿallim ath-thāni) after Aristotle. Al-Fārābī's chief work, Attainment of Happiness, defends the basis of revelation (i.e. prophecy) against the strong attacks of such free-thinkers as Al-Rawandī.

He reconciled the various modes of human reflection and enquiry by dividing the intellect (the extension of Being into the human) into three: the active intellect, the potential intellect and the acquired intellect. In this way he could affirm the equal validity of many human arts and skills. His Kitāb al-Musiqa (The Book of Music) laid the foundations for an Islamic theory of music, drawing attention to relations between mathematics and music; and his Risalah fi araʾ ahl al Madina al-fadilah (Treatise on the … Virtuous City) was widely influential in the development of political science.

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al-Fārābī, Abu Nasr Muḥammad Iḅn Tarkhān

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