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Arabic: ibn rushd 'abū l-walīd muhammad


(Cordoba 1126- Marrakech 1198) Muslim philosopher, physician, maliki jurist and ashari theologian.
Averroës' (Arabic, Ibn Rushd) father was a judge in Cordoba, and here Averroës studied the sciences in which he practised the rest of his life. He studied mathematics under Ibn Tufayl, and medicine under Avenzoar.
Averroës became judge in Seville in 1169, and in Cordoba in 1171. In 1182 he became the chief physician of the Almohad Caliph Abu Yaqub Yussuf. In 1195 he was expelled by the new Caliph Mansur, as he claimed that reason must prevail even at the cost of religious belief. Averroës was restored to favour 3 years later, shortly before he died.
The philosophy of Averroës, for which he has become most known, was Aristotelian in its foundations, but was strongly influenced by Christian scholasticism and philosophy, as well as by Jewish philosophers. He represented a continuation of al-Farabi and Avicenna, but he was merciless in his controversy towards Avicenna. Averroës had more influence among Christian and Jewish philosophers, than among Muslim. And only a few of his works are today available in Arabic version. At first was his philosophy hard to accept for Christians, but he came to have influence on the curriculum at universities up until the 17th century.
Averroës believed that metaphysical truths have two forms of appearance: Philosophy and religion, where religion is the simplified and allegorical form. These two forms of appearance were not thought of as contradictory, but many people understood his theory as a theory of "double truth". Averroës attitude was that religion was principally useful where it gave rules to ordinary people. He rejected that there had been any creation, and believed that the world had no beginning. But behind everything is God, the one who brings everything into reality, the one who sustains everything. Moreover, Averroës believed that the human soul comes from a unified universal soul.
Among the works of Averroës, where we find books on medicine, astronomy, law, and grammar, the main work was Incoherence of the Incoherence (tahāfutu t-tahāfut), in which he refutes the theories of Ghazzali, and defends his Neoplatonic and Aristotelian philosophy.

By Tore Kjeilen