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Friday, June 3, 2016

Al-Kindi the father of Islamic Philosophy

Ya'qub `Abu Yusuf' ibn Ishaq al-Kindi (803-873)

Al-Kindi, a philosopher, and chemist and a prized member of the House of Wisdom in Baghdad was born in Kufa, Iraq. Considered to be one of the 12 great minds in history, he pioneered the field of pharmacology and applied chemistry, introducing the concept of drug formulary. He also invented decryption and musical theory.

Al-Kindi wrote on diverse philosophical subjects, physics, optics, astronomy, music, psychology, medicine, chemistry, and more. He invented pharmaceutical methods, perfumes, and distilling of alcohol. In mathematics, he popularized the use of the decimal system, developed spherical geometry, wrote on many other topics and was a pioneer of cryptography (code-breaking).

He was a prolific writer, the total number of books written by him was 241, the prominent among which were divided as follows:

Astronomy 16, Arithmetic 11, Geometry 32, Medicine 22, Physics 12, Philosophy 22, Logic 9, Psychology 5, ar,d Music 7.

He was also an early translator of Greek works into Arabic, but this fact has largely been overshadowed by his numerous original writings. It is unfortunate that most of his books are no longer extant. His books that were translated into Latin during the Middle Ages comprise Risalah dar Tanjim, Ikhtiyarat al-Ayyam, Ilahyat-e-Aristu, al-Mosiqa, Mad-o-Jazr, and Aduiyah Murakkaba.

Although most of his books have been lost over the centuries, a few have survived in the form of latin translations and others have been rediscovered in Arabic manuscripts; most importantly, twenty-four of his lost works were located in the mid-twentieth century in a Turkish library.

He was a master of many different areas of thought. He was held to be one of the greatest Islamic Philosophers of his time.


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