Ibn Rushd (Averroes)
is what the Islamic sources say about him:
Rushd the grandson (520-595) was the foremost authority of the Maliki school
of Law in Cordoba in his time both in the law and its principles. There was no
one higher than him in the matter of legal ruling (fatwa) for crucial issues.
Here are some testimonies on him:
Al-Dhahabi in Siyar A`lam al-`Ulama' (15:452) quotes al-Abbar as saying:
"No one of his scholarly perfection, his erudition, or his high manners
was ever raised in Andalus."
Ibn Usaybi`a in Tabaqat al-Atibba' wa Tarikh al-Hukama' (2:75) says: "He
was the peerless authority of his time in the Law and knowledge of juristic
differences, and he excelled in medicine... speculative theology, and
Ibn Farhun in al-Dibaj al-Mudhahhab (p. 379) states: "On top of all this
he was of examplary modesty... he gained eminence in his life through the
office of judge in Cordoba, and although kings held him in great awe and
respect he never sought after honor nor material gain."
Ibn `Imad in Shadharat al-Dhahab (4:320): "He excelled in the Law, heard
hadith, mastered medicine, and embraced speculative theology and philosophy
until his erudition became proverbial in the latter. He authored works
together with intellectual brilliance and diligent work night and day. He
authored numerous works in jurisprudence, medicine, logic, mathematics,
theology. He died in Marrakesh."
Makhluf in Shajarat al-Nur al-Dhakiyya (p. 146 #439): "The Qadi of the
Congregation, Abu al-Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Abi al-Walid ibn Rushd
(520-595)... [After mentioning the above reports:] He was severely tried
through exile and the burning of his valuable books in the last days of Ya`qub
al-Mansur's rule due to religious and political matters they had attributed to
him. Then he was pardoned, but he lived for only one year after his
None of these sources mentioned that Ibn Rushd the grandson held the simplistic view that "reason takes precedence over religion" or that it "led to his exile in 1195 by the caliph of Morocco and Spain" as it is claimed by many Western sources. The last excerpt shows that the latter construction is deceptive and misleading.
of Ibn Rushd's works are only available in Arabic and many have been
(Addendum to the preceding)
Ibn Rushd made remarkable
contributions in philosophy, logic, medicine and jurisprudence. Ibn Rushd's
writings spread more than 20,000 pages, the most famous of which deal with
philosophy, medicine and jurisprudence. He wrote 20 books on medicine.
A careful examination of his works reveals that Ibn Rushd ( Averroes) was a deeply Islamic man. As an example, we find in his writing, "Anyone who studies anatomy will increase his faith in the omnipotence and oneness of God the Almighty." In his medical and philosophical works we see the depth of his faith and knowledge of the Qur'an and Prophetic traditions, which he often quotes in support of his views in different matters. Ibn Rushd said that true happiness for man can surely be achieved through mental and psychological health, and people cannot enjoy psychological health unless they follow ways that lead to happiness in the hereafter, and unless they believe in God and His oneness
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al-Mujtahid wa Nihayat al-Muqtasid (fiqh of the Sunni Schools of thought)
- Translated by Professor Ahsan Khan Nyazee.
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