Ibn Rushd: Father of Secularism

  • post Type / Young Humanists International
  • Date / 2 September 2009

Abū ‘l-Walīd Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Rushd (a.k.a. Ibn Rushd), and in European literature as Averroes, was an Andalusian Muslim polymath: a master of Islamic philosophy, Islamic theology, Maliki law and jurisprudence, logic, psychology, politics, Arabic music theory, and the sciences of medicine, astronomy, geography, mathematics, physics and celestial mechanics. He was born in Córdoba, Al Andalus, modern day Spain, and died in Marrakesh, modern day Morocco. His school of philosophy is known as Averroism. He has been described as the founding father of secular thought in Western Europe and “one of the spiritual fathers of Europe.

He was like most Islamic Philosophers, also a jurist, a man of letters and a scientist. He lived in Cordoba for some time, and also shuttled between Cordoba and Marakesh. This was one Islamic Cultural Formation was one single, open area. Open for ideas, philosophy, people, merchants, travel, etc. until the First World War i.e. only 80 years ago. No visa was required to go from country to country. There were no boundaries until recently. Ibn Rushd was introduced to the court of Muagida Mugavid, the Sultan, who was impressed by his Philosophy. He was appointed a judge and was very close to the court. Later fell out of favor.

According to Ibn Rushd, there is no conflict between religion and philosophy, rather that they are different ways of reaching the same truth. He believed in the eternity of the universe. He also held that the soul is divided into two parts, one individual and one divine; while the individual soul is not eternal, all humans at the basic level share one and the same divine soul.

Ibn Rushd has two kinds of Knowledge of Truth. The first being his knowledge of truth of religion being based in faith and thus could not be tested, nor did it require training to understand. The second knowledge of truth is philosophy, which was reserved for an elite few who had the intellectual capacity to undertake this study.

What a great contribution to church-state separation!


WordPress theme developer - whois: Andy White London