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Ibn Sīnā, Abū ʿAlī ḥusayn

Ibn Sīnā, Abū ʿAlī Ḥusayn (980–1037 (AH 370–429)). Muslim philosopher, scholar, theologian, physician, natural scientist, and statesman, known in the West as Avicenna.

Of his large number of written works, most are in Arabic, with a few in Persian. Among his best known are works on philosophy and metaphysics, such as Kitāb al-Shifāʾ (Book of Healing, i.e. for the soul), and Ḥayy ibn Yaqz̳ān, a symbolic narrative. His belief in God as creator was combined with theories derived from Plotinus (as conveyed in the ‘theology of Aristotle’), particularly the idea of emanation through various spheres of being. God as first cause and prime mover produces a single intelligence, which is able in turn to give rise to others. Although he was sometimes accused by other Muslims of being an unbeliever and of contradicting Islamic teaching, Ibn Sīnā considered himself a Muslim attempting to show that philosophy was compatible with religious teachings.

His works were tr. into Latin under the name Avicenna, and had considerable influence in the later Middle Ages. Ibn Sīnā's medical encyclopaedia the Qānūn, latinized as Canon Medicinae, gave rise to many commentaries, influenced the development of European medicine, and was not superseded until the arrival of modern W. medical theories and discoveries.

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