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Averroes was an Andalusian-Arab philosopher and physician. His interests included philosophy, Islamic law, medicine and mathematics. He was born in 1126 in Cordoba, Spain and died in 1198 in Morocco. In Arabic, he is know as Ibn Rushd.


Averroes came from a family of legal scholars. He spent a great part of his life as a judge and a physician. He was appointed a judge "Qadi" of Seville and served in courts in Cordoba.

Averroes wrote a medical encyclopedia and commentaries on Aristotle. One of his most prominent philosophical works was The Incoherence of the Incoherence "Tahafut al Tahafut", written in response to Al Ghazali's The Incoherence of the Philosophers "Tahafut al Falasifa". In this book, he defended Aristotle philosophy. He tried to bring Aristotle's system of thought and Islam together. He believed that there is no contradiction between philosophy and religion, and that one can reach the truth through either one of them. Averroes was criticized by many Muslim scholars for this book, though it had a profound influence on European thought from the 12th to the 16th centuries.

As a result of the fanaticism that swept Al Andalus at the end of the 12th century, he was exiled to a village near Cordoba, his books were burned and his writings were banned. Though he returned two years later to Cordoba, he soon died the following year after his return.

Jurisprudence and Law

Averroes is also a remarkable legal scholar of the Maliki School of Islamic jurisprudence "Fiqh". His book 'Bidayat al Mujtahid wa Nihayat al Muqtasid', was regarded as probably the best book on Maliki doctrine.

Averroes also wrote commentaries on other books such as Plato's Republic and Al Farabi's logic. He made significant contributions in philosophy, logic, medicine, music and jurisprudence. Averroes writings were translated into many languages, such as Latin, English, Hebrew and German. According to the French philosopher Renan, Averroes wrote seventy-eight books on different subjects. His books were included in the syllabi of Paris and other Western universities till the beginning of modern experimental sciences.


Before 1150 a small number of Aristotle translated works existed in Europe, and were not given much thought by monastic scholars. It was through the Latin translations of Averroes's work beginning in the 12th century that the writings of Aristotle were revived in the West.

Averroes wrote commentaries on almost all of Aristotle's work. Jewish philosophy was also affected by the Hebrew translations of his work. Averroes' ideas were studied by Christian scholars including Thomas Aquinas, who referred to him by "The Commentator" while Aristotle was called "The Philosopher." Averroes' death marks the decline of liberal culture in Moorish Spain.

Most of his commentaries on philosophy could be found in Hebrew or Latin translation, while only a few are found in the original Arabic. Some of his books were entirely lost such as his commentary on zoology. Many of his writings in logic and metaphysics were also lost in censorship.