Ibn Rushd (Averroes)

From WikiIslam, the online resource on Islam
(Redirected from Averroes)
Jump to: navigation, search

ʾAbū l-Walīd Muḥammad bin ʾAḥmad bin Rušd (أبو الوليد محمد بن احمد بن رشد‎), commonly known as Ibn Rushd (ابن رشد‎) or by his Latinized name Averroës (April 14, 1126 – December 10, 1198), was (with Ibn Sina) the most famous of the medieval Islamic philosophers. He was born in Cordoba, Spain. He wrote commentaries on the Greek philosopher Aristotle, as well as works on jurisprudence and medicine.

His main works survive in Hebrew and Latin, consisting of commentaries on Aristotelian texts and on Plato's Republic. Averroes held that theologians are cannot reach the highest demonstrative knowledge and are therefore unfit to interpret divine law correctly. The main purpose of his Aristotelian commentaries was to recover the true ideas of philosophy by separating them from the theological arguments of earlier Islamic philosophers such as al-Farabi and Ibn Sina.

His work had little impact in the Islamic world, and there is no Islamic 'school of Averroism'. In 1185 he was banished in disgrace (for reasons now unknown) and many of his works were burnt. Of his thirty-eight commentaries, only twenty-eight survive in the original Arabic: the rest are in Latin and Hebrew translations made by philosophers from the Christian and Jewish tradition. His impact was on these traditions, particularly in the Latin West in the thirteenth century, when he was known simply as 'The Commentator'. His work marked the climax of Aristotelian thought in the Islamic world and, to a large extent, its end.

Much later, beginning in the nineteenth century, his work was rediscovered by Arab nationalists for political purposes, and by secular or liberal Islamic apologists to show the compatibility of Islam and modern science. Today, in order to counter the image of Islam as a repressive and reactionary faith, Ibn Rushd is held up as a model for the reconciliation of religion, philosophy and science. However, Butterworth[1] has argued that this 'Enlightenment' view of Ibn Rushd does not correctly relate his thought to that of the European enlightenment.

See Also

  • Philosophy - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Philosophy


  • Butterworth, Charles E. (1996) "Averroes, precursor of the enlightenment", Alif 16, pp. 6-18.
  • Von Kuglegen, Anke, (1994) Averroes und die Arabische Moderne. Ansatze zu einer Neubegrundung des Rationalismus im Islam, Leiden: Brill.


  1. Butterworth 1996