Abu Nasr Mohammad Farabi

Abu Nasr Mohammad Farabi, around 260 A. H., was one of the greatest oriental Iranian philosophers in the third and the fourth Hegira century. His importance is more due to
Abu Nasr Mohammad Farabi
Abu Nasr Mohammad Farabi



Abu Nasr Mohammad Farabi, around 260 A. H., was one of the greatest oriental Iranian philosophers in the third and the fourth Hegira century. His importance is more due to the descriptions that are written on the works of Aristotle and due to same descriptive he was being known as the `Second Teacher’ and was ranked after Aristotle. He has kept his works analogous to ``The Sum of the Votes’’, ``Motives of Aristotle in the Metaphysics book’’, ``The Wisdom Separators’’ and ``Scientific Recording’’ as a memorial. In the medieval ages a few of his works entitled Alpharabius, Alfarabi, El Farati and Avenassar have been translated into Latin.


Abu Nasr Mohammad Ibn Mohammad Tarkhani nicknamed as Farabi, was born around 257 A. H. / 870 A. D. in the village `Wasij’’ from the region Parab (Farab) in (Otrar city currently south Kazakhstan) or Paryab (Faryab) Greater Khorasan (currently Afghanistan). Sheriff as narrated from Badiozzaman Forouzanfar writes: ``His father’s name was Tarkhan and his ancestor’s name was Awzalag. In the life history of Farabi, the matter which is on the real life flux of his childhood and youth does not exist in books. Ibn Abi Usaibia narrates two contradictory reports about him: primarily Farabi in the beginning worked as a garden caretaker in Damascus and secondly, in the prime of his youth he was engrossed in judgement and since he was introduced to other learnings, he left judgment and wholeheartedly selected other learnings.’’ In adolescence he went to Baghdad for studies and with ``Matthew ibn Jonah’ learned logic and philosophy. Later he travelled to Harran and became an apprentice of `Yuhanna ibn Haylan’.

Pedigree of Farabi

Iranian genealogy

In the historical record Arab Ibn Abi Usaibia (Died in 668 A. D.) has pointed in his Uyūn book that Farabi, the father of Quran had Persian genealogy. This companion in his index, and even Al-Shahrazuri, who lived around 1288 A.D. and has written an early biography, stated that he hailed from an Iranian family. In addition to these Farabi in the margin of many of his work has introduced references related to Farsi language and Saadi (even in Greek but not Turkish), besides, he has considered the Saadi language as his mother tongue and language of the Farab inhabitants.
Mohammad Javad Mashkoor has argued the Iranian-speaking Central Asian authenticity. But Farab in the prime degree belonged to the Muslim land and in the first degree Farabi belongs to the world of Islam and all the humanity and his origin as an Arabic, Persian or Turk is not of an importance.
The Persian nobility of Farabi is even discussed via the other sources. Besides, the professor of Oxford University Mr. Bosworth notes that the great figures like Farabi, Biruni and Avicenna via knowledge have attached the enthusiastic Turkish scholars to their race. In the Encyclopedia Iranica, Dr. Gutas has criticized the statements of Ibn Khallekan and the documents prior him from Ibn Usaibia in this field as regards Persian originality of Farabi which led Ibn Khallekan to attempt for the documentation to reveal his abandonment. In this framework he has pointed out that Khallekan has increased the beginning of Farabi’s kinship to Turkish in a manner that Farabi never had such a relation.

Turkish genealogy

The oldest person who has considered the originality of Farabi as Turkish is Ibn Khallekan. He in his work has shown Farabi’s origins like Farabi’s birthplace as Farab and a small village named Wasij, presently known as Otrar in Kazakhstan and of Turkic origin. Some other sources also believe this origin theory.

Intelligence and aptitude of Farabi

In the beginning of work, his plentiful intelligence and wisdom led to learning of all the subjects that were taught. Soon his name was popularized as a philosopher and scientist and since he returned to Baghdad, a group of students gathered around him among whom `Yahya ibn ´Adi’ a Christian philosopher was one of them. Farabi was incomparable in varied sciences. Since he wrote about each of these science knowledge in his time and it is clear from his books that he had a great skill in language, mathematics, alchemy, theology, military science, music, natural sciences, divinity, civil sciences, jurisprudence and logic.
It is true that Kindi is the first Islamic philosopher who opened the path for the others after himself; but he couldn’t establish a philosophical school and form a unity among the issue that were discussed; whereas Farabi could institute a complete school.
Avicenna accounted him as his master and Ibn Rushd and other intellects of Islam and Arab has a high respect for him. It is among Avicenna’s word that expresses the peak of his scientific status: I have read his metaphysics book and after reading it forty times I could get aware of the author’s passion till I encountered a book from Abu Nasr Farabi in the market that had described the metaphysics book, after reading it I could understand the intents of metaphysics and was truly delighted. In the Islamic philosophical tradition, Farabi was titled `Second Teacher’, after the Aristotle, who was titled as `First Teacher’.

Works of Farabi

What is worth to learn before philosophy: In this book, Farabi mentioned that logic; geometry, good morality and retreat from perspectives are the pre-requirements of philosophy and delivered a unique explanation for each subject.
Urban policy: This book is about the political economy.
The sum of the votes of two great philosophers, Plato and Aristotle: Farabi in this book has tried to establish coordination between the opinions of Plato and Aristotle.
A treatise about the nature and reason of intellect: In this treatise the intellectuals’ types are defined and are being expressed in the articles.
Achieving happiness: In morals and theoretical philosophy
Answers to the philosophical issues: Are the answers to some of the philosophical questions and problems
A treatise to prove the presence of immaterial existences: In this treatise, Farabi has discussed about the immaterial existences.
Motives of Aristotle in the metaphysics book: This book is one of the important books of Farabi which was even used by Avicenna.
A treatise on politics: Farabi talks about the politics.
The wisdom separators: This book is about the divine wisdom and includes 74 discussions in this field and is the augment of breath.
The great music book: This book determines the various musical aspects effect like statuses.

Philosophy of Farabi

From the Islamic Golden age (Farabi) to Sabzavari era i.e. From the ninth to the nineteenth century, the subject of world creation and occurrence and the cosmos pace were the most important Islamic meditation discussions. Farabi believed followings of Aristotle that the world is `ancient’. But since it had not to be extruded from the framework of Qur´anic teachings, he tried to find a way between the belief of Aristotle and the world creation issue in the Quran. For the same reason he tried to explain the subjects of ``Blessings’’ and ``Incarnation’’ with intellectual methodology.
He believes that intellect and its types are the invention of God. But he asserts that this invention has not occurred in the period. He believes that an ``Active Intellect’ of Aristotle is the same Qur´anic revelation.
Farabi’s philosophy is a mix of Aristotelian philosophy and Neo-Platonism that has attained the Islamic color especially sectarian duodecimal. He is an Aristotelian in the logics and natural physics and is a Platonism in the morals and politics and in the metaphysics has a tendency towards the Platonizing School.

Philosophical unity

Farabi is among those who want to reconcile different votes with each other. He in this route antedated all his predecessors. He in this way reached up to a limit where he said that: Philosophy is not more than one and the philosophical reality – although there are several philosophical schools – but are not many.
Farabi strongly believed in philosophical unity and for its validity mentioned several augments and arguments and wrote many treatises, among which the book entitled ``The sum of the votes between Plato and Aristotle’ is gained by us.
He believed that if philosophical truth is a unit, then an agreement can be evolved between the great philosophical imaginations especially Plato and Aristotle. Basically, when an objective and the aim of these two big sages, was a discussion about the unique truthfulness, how is it possible that the votes and ideas, had a difference with each other?
Farabi had found some differences between these two Greek philosophers, but believed that these differences are the superficial differences and is not about the basic issues. Especially that they are the originators and creations of philosophy and all the later eminent were more or less, are dependent on these two.
The issues that were mentioned as the differing principles of Plato and Aristotle and Farabi sought to and succeed to form a harmony between them consisted of: the living method of Plato and Aristotle, the philosophical method of Plato and Aristotle, theory of ideas, theory of knowledge with notification, occurrence and step and theory of habit.
However, it is doubtless that Farabi in this affair has suffered many sufferings; but the important point in this regard is that one of the sources that he used for carrying out this purpose, was ``Uthu Lujiya’’ or ``Divinity’’ which is one of the sections of the Plotinus `Plotins Schriften’’ book. He was thinking that this book belonged to Aristotle and since he had encountered with a Platonic voting hierarchy in it, this affair had encouraged him to this work (while the matters of this book had no correlation with Aristotle).
Therefore, although Farabi in his work did not gain a total success, but enlightened the path for the other Islamic philosophers in a manner that he formed a kind of harmony between Aristotle and Islamic beliefs and included the philosophy of Aristotle in the derivations and principles of Islamic philosophy.
Farabi has divided the subjective into two groups: `evident’ and `theory’. People don’t make mistakes in axioms. As it is confirmed by all that a total is bigger than a fragment. But the other subjective has to be realized with the help of understanding and comparison and in this affair that a need for the logic is raised Farabi compares the wisdom of logic with wisdom of syntax and says that logic with subjective has the same proportion that syntax has with the words.
Besides Farabi recognized logic comparable with prosody. These comparisons are of importance only if the logic as a rhetoric is separated from the language and is placed in the general verdict of mankind type wisdom. Aristotle and Plato also had the same outlook towards the logic.

Logic of Farabi

Farabi had a special effort towards the discussion of logic and has written important works in this portal and has tried to determine the status and importance of logic in a period where some individuals denied it and showed that those who are knowledge oriented do not need a logic and can be an indicative of advantages from it. Farabi knows the logic as an industry that with it knowledge attains a consistency and in the cases that we suffer from mucus and a mistake it governs us in a right direction.

Metaphysics of Farabi

The result of Farabi’s effort in philosophical monotheism and success, the system and a part of it that does not have an estrangement and an open conflict with the religion and it is such provided that a philosopher can precept it as a conscience of religion. The divine knowledge which was considered by Aristotle as the crown of first philosophy did not remain same as it was covered in the metaphysics of Aristotle.
Farabi mentioned that the divine knowledge is in three sections:
The first section; in the existing essence of mine the breath destruction circumstances exist and these are affair related symptoms that a complainant is formed without an intermediate. Even a wish from the present logic is that an entity is not bound to any kind of constraint, whether it is divine, mathematics and nature.
The second section consists of discussion from odd sciences elements viz. logic and mathematics.
In the third section the entities are discussed that are neither a material nor are in the objects. In this section in the beginning, it is asked that whether a non-materialistic entity exists and if it exists whether this entity is unitary or is a finite or an infinite multilateral?
And if the non-materialistic entities are multilateral then whether all are in the same category or some are stronger and some weaker?
Farabi believes that the entities are multilateral and these multilaterals are infinite and in response to the third question are able to be categorized. In his viewpoint, entities are in the most imperfect category and are moving towards the perfection and he achieves nothing in the perfection category and for this reason they neither have an antagonist nor an analogous.
Perhaps Farabi in the history of philosophy was the prime scholar who divided an existence into `imperative’ and `conceivable’ and said that existence is not out of these two divisions and the existential imperative is also divided into existential imperative by nature and existential imperative by alien and of course existential imperative in its essence limit is possible and its incumbency comes externally.
For a possible essence to become an entity needs a reason and since the hierarchy of reason doesn’t reach an infinite, this reason should be supreme into an essence which is an imperative i.e. in an essence, it is an existence itself and it is the first entity and all the existences exist from it. We said that this entity is an existential imperative by nature and does not have an essence or its nature is same as an existence and we in the assumption and illusion cannot look at it as a non-existent since it is necessitated from assumption contradiction and impossible.

Ibn Khaldun’s viewpoint about Farabi

``Aristotle is known as the first teacher for this reason that he collected those that were dispersed and scattered from the issues and discussions of logic and tried to build them and made its base stable and positioned it as the prima facie philosophical science and their exordium, and for the reason that Farabi struggled in the same path and gathered all these issues from the scattered and disconcert translations and summarized them in a book, made him alike Aristotle and in this manner he was given the title of second teacher.’’


In 330 A. H. /941 A. D. he went to Damascus and joined the theologians’ category of the `Saif al-Daula Hamedani’, court in Halab (Aleppo). Farabi expired in 338 A. H. /950 A. D. at the age of eighty in Damascus. Some people believe that when Abu Nasr was travelling from Damascus to Ascalon he encountered the thieves. Abu Nasr said: ``Takeaway whatever is from ink, weapon, dress and wealth and do not harm me.’’ They refused and intended to kill him. Abu Nasr unwontedly fought with them and was killed. When the emperors of Sham were informed about the event, they buried Abu Nasr and hanged the thieves over his grave.




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