Avicenna Aka Abu Ali Al Husain Ibn Abdallah Ibn Sina

Avicenna Aka Abu Ali Al Husain Ibn Abdallah Ibn Sina Cover Avicenna, aka Abu Ali al-Husain ibn Abdallah ibn Sina, was a Persian physician, philosopher, and scientist who was born in 980 in Kharmaithen near Bukhara, now in Uzbekistan (then Persia), and died June 1037 in Hamadan, Persia (Iran). He was the author of 450 books on a wide range of subjects. Many of these concentrated on philosophy and medicine. He is considered by many to be "the father of modern medicine." George Sarton called Ibn Sina "the most famous scientist of Islam and one of the most famous of all races, places, and times." His most famous works are The Book of Healing and The Canon of Medicine, also known as the Qanun (full title: al-qanun fil-tibb). Early years His life is known to us from authoritative sources. An autobiography covers his first thirty years, and the rest are documented by his disciple al-Juzajani, who was also his secretary and his friend. He was born in 370 (AH) / 980 (AD) in Afshana, his mother's home, a small city now part of Uzbekistan (then part of Persia) and his Father from Balkh now part of Afghanistan (then also Persia). His native language was Persian. His father, an official of the Samanid administration, had him very carefully educated at Bukhara. Although traditionally influenced by the Ismaili branch of Islam, his independent thought was served by an extraordinary intelligence and memory, which allowed him to overtake his teachers at the age of fourteen. Ibn Sina was put under the charge of a tutor, and his precocity soon made him the marvel of his neighbours; he displayed exceptional intellectual behavior and was a Child prodigy who had memorized the Koran by the age of 10 and a great deal of Persian poetry as well. From a greengrocer he learned arithmetic, and he began to learn more from a wandering scholar who gained a livelihood by curing the sick and teaching the young. However he was greatly troubled by metaphysical problems and in particular the works of Aristotle. So, for the next year and a half, he also studied philosophy, in which he encountered greater obstacles. In such moments of baffled inquiry, he would leave his books, perform the requisite ablutions, then go to the mosque, and continue in prayer till light broke on his difficulties. Deep into the night he would continue his studies, stimulating his senses by occasional cups of goat's milk, and even in his dreams problems would pursue him and work out their solution. Forty times, it is said, he read through the Metaphysics of Aristotle, till the words were imprinted on his memory; but their meaning was hopelessly obscure, until one day they found illumination, from the little commentary by Farabi, which he bought at a bookstall for the small sum of three dirhems. So great was his joy at the discovery, thus made by help of a work from which he had expected only mystery, that he hastened to return thanks to God, and bestowed alms upon the poor. He turned to medicine at 16, and not only learned medical theory, but by gratuitous attendance on the sick had, according to his own account, discovered new methods of treatment. The teenager achieved full status as a physician at age 18 and found that "Medicine is no hard and thorny science, like mathematics and metaphysics, so I soon made great progress; I became an excellent doctor and began to treat patients, using approved remedies." The youthful physician's fame spread quickly, and he treated many patients without asking for payment.His first appointment was that of physician to the emir, who owed him his recovery from a dangerous illness (997). Ibn Sina's chief reward for this service was access to the royal library of the Samanids, well-known patrons of scholarship and scholars. When the library was destroyed by fire not long after, the enemies of Ibn Sina accused him of burning it, in order for ever to conceal the sources of his knowledge. Meanwhile, he assisted his father in his financial labours, but still found time to write some of his earliest works. When Ibn Sina was 22 years old, he lost his father. The Samanid dynasty came to its end in December 1004. Ibn Sina seems to have declined the offers of Mahmud of Ghazni, and proceeded westwards to Urgench in the modern Uzbekistan, where the vizier, regarded as a friend of scholars, gave him a small monthly stipend. The pay was small, however, so Ibn Sina wandered from place to place through the districts of Nishapur and Merv to the borders of Khorasan, seeking an opening for his talents. Shams al-Ma'ali Qabtis, the generous ruler of Dailam, himself a poet and a scholar, with whom Ibn Sina had expected to find an asylum, was about that date (1052) starved to death by his troops who had revolted. Ibn Sina himself was at this season stricken down by a severe illness. Finally, at Gorgan, near the Caspian Sea, Ibn Sina met with a friend, who bought a dwelling near his own house in which Ibn Sina lectured on logic and astronomy. Several of Ibn Sina's treatises were written for this patron; and the commencement of his Canon of Medicine also dates from his stay in Hyrcania. Ibn Sina subsequently settled at Rai, in the vicinity of modern Tehran, (present day capital of Iran), the home town of Rhazes; where Majd Addaula, a son of the last emir, was nominal ruler under the regency of his mother (Seyyedeh Khatun). At Rai about thirty of Ibn Sina's shorter works are said to have been composed. Constant feuds which raged between the regent and her second son, Amir Shamsud-Dawala, however, compelled the scholar to quit the place. After a brief sojourn at Qazvin he passed southwards to Hamadan, where the emir had established himself. At first, Ibn Sina entered into the service of a high-born lady; but the emir, hearing of his arrival, called him in as medical attendant, and sent him back with presents to his dwelling. Ibn Sina was even raised to the office of vizier. The emir consented that he should be banished from the country. Ibn Sina, however, remained hidden for forty days in a sheikh's house, till a fresh attack of illness induced the emir to restore him to his post. Even during this perturbed time, Ibn Sina persevered with his studies and teaching. Every evening, extracts from his great works, the Canon and the Sanatio, were dictated and explained to his pupils; among whom, when the lesson was over, he spent the rest of the night in festive enjoyment with a band of singers and players. On the death of the amir, Ibn Sina ceased to be vizier and hid himself in the house of an apothecary, where, with intense assiduity, he continued the composition of his works. Meanwhile, he had written to Abu Ya'far, the prefect of the dynamic city of Isfahan, offering his services. The new emir of Hamadan, hearing of this correspondence and discovering where Ibn Sina's was hidden, incarcerated him in a fortress. War meanwhile continued between the rulers of Isfahan and Hamadan; in 1024 the former captured Hamadan and its towns, expelling the Turkish mercenaries. When the storm had passed, Ibn Sina returned with the emir to Hamadan, and carried on his literary labors. Later, however, accompanied by his brother, a favourite pupil, and two slaves, Ibn Sina escaped out of the city in the dress of a Sufite ascetic. After a perilous journey, they reached Isfahan, receiving an honorable welcome from the prince. Avicenna also introduced medical herbs. Late life The remaining ten or twelve years of Avicenna's life were spent in the service of Abu Ya'far 'Ala Addaula, whom he accompanied as physician and general literary and scientific adviser, even in his numerous campaigns. During these years he began to study literary matters and philology, instigated, it is asserted, by criticisms on his style. But amid his restless study Ibn Sina never forgot his love of enjoyment. Unusual bodily vigour enabled him to combine severe devotion to work with facile indulgence in sensual pleasures. Versatile, lighthearted, boastful and pleasure-loving, he contrasts with the nobler and more intellectual character of Averroes. His bouts of pleasure gradually weakened his constitution; a severe colic, which seized him on the march of the army against Hamadan, was checked by remedies so violent that Ibn Sina could scarcely stand. On a similar occasion the disease returned; with difficulty he reached Hamadan, where, finding the disease gaining ground, he refused to keep up the regimen imposed, and resigned himself to his fate.His friends advised him to slow down and take life moderately. He refused, however, stating that: "I prefer a short life with width to a narrow one with length". On his deathbed remorse seized him; he bestowed his goods on the poor, restored unjust gains, freed his slaves, and every third day till his death listened to the reading of the Qur'an. He died in June 1037, in his fifty-eighth year, and was buried in Hamedan, Persia.

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