Hayy ibn Yaqdhan


Hayy ibn Yaqdhan

"Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān" ( _ar. حي بن يقظان "Alive, son of Awake"; _la. Philosophus Autodidactus "The Self-Taught Philosopher"; English: "The Improvement of Human Reason: Exhibited in the Life of Hai Ebn Yokdhan") was the first Arabic novel and the first philosophical novel, written by Ibn Tufail (also known as "Aben Tofail" or "Ebn Tophail"), an Arab philosopher and physician, in early 12th century Islamic Spain. The novel was itself named after an earlier Persian allegorical tale and philosophical romance of the same name, written by Avicenna (Ibn Sina) in early 11th century Persia, [Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Oliver Leaman (1996), "History of Islamic Philosophy", p. 315, Routledge, ISBN 0415131596.] though they both had different stories.

Ibn Tufail's "Hayy ibn Yaqdhan" had a significant influence on Arabic literature, Persian literature, and European literature after it was translated into Latin and English in 1671 and 1686 respectively; the novel was also translated into Dutch (1672) and German at the time. The work also had a "profound influence" on both classical Islamic philosophy and modern Western philosophy, and became "one of the most important books that heralded the Scientific Revolution" and European Enlightenment.

Plot summary

The plot of Avicenna's Persian allegorical tale was very different from Ibn Tufail's later novel. Avicenna's story was essentially a thought experiment about the active intellect, personified by an elderly sage, instructing the narrator, who represents the human rational soul, about the nature of the universe.citation|title=Alfarabi, Avicenna, and Averroes on Intellect: Their Cosmologies, Theories of the Active Intellect, and Theories of Human Intellect|first=Herbert Alan|last=Davidson|year=1992|publisher=Oxford University Press|isbn=0195074238|page=146]

The plot of Ibn Tufail's more famous Arabic novel was inspired by Avicennism, Kalam, and Sufism,Lawrence I. Conrad (1996), "The World of Ibn Tufayl: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Ḥayy Ibn Yaqẓān", p. 17, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004093001.] and was also intended as a thought experiment. [Seyyed Hossein Nasr and Oliver Leaman (1996), "History of Islamic Philosophy", p. 316, Routledge, ISBN 0415131596.] Ibn Tufail's novel tells the story of an autodidactic feral child, raised by a gazelle and living alone on a desert island in the Indian Ocean. After his gazelle mother passes away when he is still a child, he dissects her body and performs an autopsy in order to find out what happened to her. The discovery that her death was due to a loss of innate heat sets him "on a road of scientific inquiry" and self-discovery.Jon Mcginnis, "Classical Arabic Philosophy: An Anthology of Sources", p. 284, Hackett Publishing Company, ISBN 0872208710.]

Without contact with other human beings, Hayy discovers ultimate truth through a systematic process of reasoned inquiry. Hayy ultimately comes into contact with civilization and religion when he meets a castaway named Absal. He determines that certain trappings of religion and civilization, namely imagery and dependence on material goods, are necessary for the multitude in order that they might have decent lives. However, he believes that imagery and material goods are distractions from the truth and ought to be abandoned by those whose reason recognizes that they are distractions.

Ibn Tufail drew the name of the tale and most of its characters from an earlier work by Ibn Sina (Avicenna). Ibn Tufail's book was neither a commentary on nor a mere retelling of Ibn Sina's work, however, but a new and innovative work in its own right. It reflects one of the main concerns of Muslim philosophers (later also of Christian thinkers), that of reconciling philosophy with revelation. At the same time, the narrative anticipates in some ways both "Robinson Crusoe" and "". It tells of a child who is nurtured by a gazelle and grows up in total isolation from humans. In seven phases of seven years each, solely by the exercise of his faculties, Hayy goes through all the graduations of knowledge. The story of "Hayy Ibn Yaqzan" is also similar to the later story of Mowgli in Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book" as well as the character of Tarzan in that a baby is abandoned on a deserted tropical island where he is taken care of and fed by a mother wolf. [http://www.muslimheritage.com/topics/default.cfm?ArticleID=808 Latinized Names of Muslim Scholars] , FSTC.]

Philosophical themes

"Hayy ibn Yaqdhan" dealt with many philosophical themes, especially in regards to epistemology. The thoughts expressed in the novel can be found "in different variations and to different degrees in the books of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Isaac Newton, and Immanuel Kant."

Ibn Tufail's "Hayy ibn Yaqdhan" was written as both a continuation of Avicenna's version of the story and as a response to al-Ghazali's "The Incoherence of the Philosophers", which had criticized many of Avicenna's views. Ibn Tufail cited al-Farabi, Avicenna's Avicennism and al-Ghazali's Ash'ari theology as the main influences behind his work, as well as his teacher Ibn Bajjah (Avempace), Ibn Tumart, [Peter Heath (1998), "Review: "The World of Ibn Tufayl: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Hayy ibn Yaqzan" by Lawrence I. Conrad", "Journal of the American Oriental Society" 118 (3): 413-415 [413] ] and Sufism.

Empiricism, tabula rasa, nature versus nurture

In his "Hayy ibn Yaqdhan", Ibn Tufail was the first to demonstrate Avicenna's theories of empiricism and tabula rasa as a thought experiment in his novel, as he depicted the development of the mind of a feral child "from a tabula rasa to that of an adult, in complete isolation from society" on a deserted island. The Latin translation of his work, entitled "Philosophus Autodidactus", published by Edward Pococke the Younger in 1671, inspired John Locke's formulation of tabula rasa in "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding",G. A. Russell (1994), "The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England", pp. 224-262, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004094598.] which went on to become one of the principal sources of empiricism in modern Western philosophy, and influenced many Enlightenment philosophers, such as David Hume and George Berkeley. The theory of tabula rasa later gave rise to the nature versus nurture debate in modern psychology.

Conditions of possibility

In "Hayy ibn Yaqzan", Ibn Tufail was also "the first author in the history of philosophy to ask himself the question" of the "conditions of possibility" of thought. He asked himself the questions "how does thought manifest itself" and "what is structure?"Dominique Urvoy, "The Rationality of Everyday Life: The Andalusian Tradition? (Aropos of Hayy's First Experiences)", in Lawrence I. Conrad (1996), "The World of Ibn Tufayl: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Ḥayy Ibn Yaqẓān", pp. 38-46, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004093001.] His answer was that "the most humble experience is already, by itself, structured like a thought." [Dominique Urvoy, "The Rationality of Everyday Life: The Andalusian Tradition? (Aropos of Hayy's First Experiences)", in Lawrence I. Conrad (1996), "The World of Ibn Tufayl: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Ḥayy Ibn Yaqẓān", p. 40, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004093001
(cf. Peter Heath (1998), "Review: "The World of Ibn Tufayl: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Hayy ibn Yaqzan" by Lawrence I. Conrad", "Journal of the American Oriental Society" 118 (3): 413-415 [413] )
]

Materialism

Hayy determines that certain trappings of civilization, namely imagery and dependence on material goods, are necessary for the multitude in order that they might have decent lives. However, he believes that imagery and material goods are distractions from the truth and ought to be abandoned by those whose reason recognizes that they are distractions. Hayy's ideas on materialism in the novel also have some similarities to Karl Marx's historical materialism.

Molyneux problem

Ibn Tufail also foreshadowed Molyneux's Problem, an unsolved problem in philosophy proposed by William Molyneux to Locke, who included it in the second book of "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding". Ibn Tufail wrote the following in "Hayy ibn Yaqzan": [Muhammad ibn Abd al-Malik Ibn Tufayl and Léon Gauthier (1981), "Risalat Hayy ibn Yaqzan", p. 5, Editions de la Méditerranée. [http://limitedinc.blogspot.com/2007/04/things-about-arabick-influence-on-john.html] ] [Diana Lobel (2006), "A Sufi-Jewish Dialogue: Philosophy and Mysticism in Baḥya Ibn Paqūda's Duties of the Heart", p. 24, University of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN 0812239539.]

Influence and Legacy

"Hayy ibn Yaqdhan" had a significant influence on Arabic literature, Persian literature, and European literature, and went on to become an influential best-seller throughout Western Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries.G. A. Russell (1994), "The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England", p. 228, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004094598.] The work also had a "profound influence" on both classical Islamic philosophy and modern Western philosophy.G. J. Toomer (1996), "Eastern Wisedome and Learning: The Study of Arabic in Seventeenth-Century England", p. 218, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198202911.] It became "one of the most important books that heralded the Scientific Revolution" and European Enlightenment, and the thoughts expressed in the novel can be found "in different variations and to different degrees in the books of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Isaac Newton, and Immanuel Kant."Samar Attar, "The Vital Roots of European Enlightenment: Ibn Tufayl's Influence on Modern Western Thought", Lexington Books, ISBN 0739119893. [http://bookshop.blackwell.co.uk/jsp/id/The_Vital_Roots_of_European_Enlightenment/9780739119891] ] George Sarton considered the novel "one of the most original books of the Middle Ages."

Middle East

In the late 12th century, Avicenna's original Persian version of "Hayy ibn Yaqzan" inspired Shahab al-Din Suhrawardi to write "Story of Western Loneliness", in which he began the story from where Avicenna ended "Hayy ibn Yaqzan".

In the 13th century, Ibn Tufail's "Hayy ibn Yaqdhan" inspired Ibn al-Nafis to write the first theological novel, "Al-Risalah al-Kamiliyyah fil Siera al-Nabawiyyah" ("The Treatise of Kamil on the Prophet's Biography"), known in the West as "Theologus Autodidactus",Muhsin Mahdi (1974), "The Theologus Autodidactus of Ibn at-Nafis" by Max Meyerhof, Joseph Schacht", "Journal of the American Oriental Society" 94 (2), p. 232-234.] written as a critical response to Ibn Tufail's "Hayy ibn Yaqdhan".Nahyan A. G. Fancy (2006), "Pulmonary Transit and Bodily Resurrection: The Interaction of Medicine, Philosophy and Religion in the Works of Ibn al-Nafīs (d. 1288)", pp. 95-102, "Electronic Theses and Dissertations", University of Notre Dame. [http://etd.nd.edu/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-11292006-152615] ] "Theologus Autodidactus" was also based on a feral child living on a desert island but the plot later expanded beyond this setting and evolved into the first example of a science fiction novel.Dr. Abu Shadi Al-Roubi (1982), "Ibn Al-Nafis as a philosopher", "Symposium on Ibn al-Nafis", Second International Conference on Islamic Medicine: Islamic Medical Organization, Kuwait (cf. [http://www.islamset.com/isc/nafis/drroubi.html Ibn al-Nafis As a Philosopher] , "Encyclopedia of Islamic World").] Ibn al-Nafis' novel was also later translated into English in the early 20th century as "Theologus Autodidactus".

In 2001, an Arabic animated cartoon, "Hay - The Gazelle Child", was produced as an adaptation of Ibn Tufail's "Hayy ibn Yaqdhan". [http://www.islamonline.net/english/ArtCulture/2001/04/article3.shtml Movie Review: Hay - The Gazelle Child] , IslamOnline.]

Europe

A Latin translation of Ibn Tufail's work, entitled "Philosophus Autodidactus", was first published in 1671, prepared by Edward Pococke the Younger, who had earlier completed the translation before 1660. [G. J. Toomer (1996), "Eastern Wisedome and Learning: The Study of Arabic in Seventeenth-Century England", pp. 220-221, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198202911.] The novel inspired the concept of tabula rasa developed in "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding" (1690) by John Locke, who was a student of Pococke, [G. A. Russell (1994), "The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England", pp. 224-239, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004094598.] [G. J. Toomer (1996), "Eastern Wisedome and Learning: The Study of Arabic in Seventeenth-Century England", p. 221-222, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198202911.] and who referred to his translation as a "novelty". "Philosophus Autodidactus" also inspired Robert Boyle, another acquaintance of Pococke, to write his own philosophical novel set on an island, "The Aspiring Naturalist".G. J. Toomer (1996), "Eastern Wisedome and Learning: The Study of Arabic in Seventeenth-Century England", p. 222, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198202911.]

The first English translation of the novel was published by George Ashwell in 1686, based on Pococke's Latin translation.citation|title=The Essence of Islamic Philosophy|first=Mashhad|last=Al-ʻAllāf|year=2003|isbn=0972272216|page=275] The first English translation of the Arabic original, entitled "The Improvement of Human Reason: Exhibited in the Life of Hai Ebn Yokdhan", was published shortly after by Simon Ockley in 1708, [Simon Ockley (1708), "The Improvement of Human Reason: Exhibited in the Life of Hai Ebn Yokdhan", Oxford University.] followed by two more English translations. Baruch Spinoza also read the work and soon encouraged a Dutch translation, which was published by his friend Johannes Bouwmeester in 1672. Another Dutch translation, "De natuurlijke wijsgeer", was published by Adriaan Reland in 1701.

There were also two German translations of the novel, the first based on the Latin translation and the second based on the Arabic original. One of these translations was read by Gottfried Leibniz, who praised it as an excellent example of classical Arabic philosophy. In Paris, Pococke's agent also wrote to him stating that he "delivered a copy to the Sorbonne for which they were very thankful, being much delighted with it."Martin Wainwright, [http://books.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,12084,918454,00.html Desert island scripts] , "The Guardian", 22 March 2003.] G. A. Russell (1994), "The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England", pp. 224-262, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004094598.]

In 1719, one of the English translations of "Hayy ibn Yaqdhan" inspired Daniel Defoe to write "Robinson Crusoe", which was also set on a deserted island and was regarded as the first novel in English. [Nawal Muhammad Hassan (1980), "Hayy bin Yaqzan and Robinson Crusoe: A study of an early Arabic impact on English literature", Al-Rashid House for Publication.] [Cyril Glasse (2001), "New Encyclopedia of Islam", p. 202, Rowman Altamira, ISBN 0759101906.] Amber Haque (2004), "Psychology from Islamic Perspective: Contributions of Early Muslim Scholars and Challenges to Contemporary Muslim Psychologists", "Journal of Religion and Health" 43 (4): 357-377 [369] .] In 1761, an anonymous Crusoe story was printed in London, entitled "The Life and Surprising Adventures of Don Antonio de Trezannio", much of which was conveyed or paraphrased from Ockley's translation of "Hayy ibn Yaqdhan". Ockley's translation was also published again in 1804 by Paul Bronnie in London. Despite "Hayy ibn Yaqdhan" originally being written in Islamic Spain, the first Spanish translation of the novel wasn't published until 1900, by F. Pons Boigues in Zaragoza. An accurate French translation was also published that same year by Prof. L. Gauthier at Algiers.

The story of "Hayy ibn Yaqdhan" also anticipated Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "" in some ways, and is also similar to the later story of Mowgli in Rudyard Kipling's "The Jungle Book" as well Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan, in that a baby is abandoned in a deserted tropical island where he is taken care of and fed by a mother wolf. Both Rousseau and Kipling were likely to have been influenced by "Hayy ibn Yaqzan". Other early modern European scholars and writers who were also influenced by "Philosophus Autodidactus" include Melchisédech Thévenot, John Wallis, Christiaan Huygens, [G. A. Russell (1994), "The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England", p. 227, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004094598.] George Keith, Robert Barclay, the Quakers, [G. A. Russell (1994), "The 'Arabick' Interest of the Natural Philosophers in Seventeenth-Century England", p. 247, Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004094598.] Samuel Hartlib, Karl Marx, and Voltaire.Tor Eigeland, [http://www.millersville.edu/~columbus/data/art/EIGELA05.ART The Ripening Years] , "Saudi Aramco World", September-October 1976.]

See also

*Ibn Tufail
*Avicenna
*Ibn al-Nafis
*Arabic literature
**Arabic epic literature
*Persian literature
*Islamic philosophy
**Early Islamic philosophy

References

Translations

* [http://ar.wikisource.org/wiki/%D8%A7%D8%A8%D9%86_%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B7%D9%81%D9%8A%D9%84_-_%D8%AD%D9%8A_%D8%A8%D9%86_%D9%8A%D9%82%D8%B8%D8%A7%D9%86 Arabic text of "Hayy bin Yaqzan"] from Wikisource
* English translations of "Hayy bin Yaqzan" (in chronological order)
** "The improvement of human reason, exhibited in the life of Hai ebn Yokdhan", written in Arabic above 500 years ago, by Abu Jaafar ebn Tophail, newly translated from the original Arabic, by Simon Ockley. With an appendix, in which the possibility of man's attaining the true knowledge of God, and things necessary to salvation, without instruction, is briefly considered. London: Printed and sold by E. Powell, 1708.
** Abu Bakr Ibn Tufail, "The history of Hayy Ibn Yaqzan", translated from the Arabic by Simon Ockley, revised, with an introdroduction by A.S. Fulton. London: Chapman and Hall, 1929. [http://umcc.ais.org/~maftab/ip/pdf/bktxt/hayy.pdf available online] (omits the introductory section)
** "Ibn Tufayl's Hayy ibn Yaqzān: a philosophical tale", translated with introduction and notes by Lenn Evan Goodman. New York: Twayne, 1972.
** "The journey of the soul: the story of Hai bin Yaqzan", as told by Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Tufail, a new translation by Riad Kocache. London: Octagon, 1982.
** "Two Andalusian philosophers", translated from the Arabic with an introduction and notes by Jim Colville. London: Kegan Paul, 1999.
** "Medieval Islamic Philosophical Writings", ed. Muhammad Ali Khalidi. Cambridge University Press, 2005. (omits the introductory section; omits the conclusion beginning with the protagonist's acquaintance with Asal; includes §§1-98 of 121 as numbered in the Ockley-Fulton version)
* Dutch translations of "Hayy bin Yaqzan"
**"De natuurlijke wijsgeer", translated by Adriaan Reelant, printed by Willem Lamsveld, 1701

* German Translations:
**Ibn Tufail: "Hayy Ibn Yaqdhan. Ein muslimischer Inselroman" [http://www.editionviktoria.at/wiki/index.php/Hayy_Ibn_Yaqdhan] . Edited by Jameleddine Ben Abdeljelil and Viktoria Frysak. Edition Viktoria [http://www.editionviktoria.at/titel/hayyibnyaqdhan.htm] , Vienna 2007. ISBN 978-3-902591-01-2
**Ibn Tufail, Abū Bakr: "Der Philosoph als Autodidakt." Übers. u. hrsg. v. Patric O. Schaerer. Meiner, Hamburg 2004. ISBN 978-3-7873-1797-4


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ibn Tufail — (* 1110 in Wadi Asch (Guadix) bei Granada; † 1185 in Marrakesch), mit vollem Namen Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al Malik ibn Muhammad ibn Tufail al Qaisi al Andalusi (arabisch ‏أبو بكر محمد بن عبدالملك بن محمد بن طفيل القيسي الأندلسي‎, DMG Abū …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ibn Tufayl — Ibn Tufail (* 1110 in Wadi Asch (Guadix) bei Granada; † 1185 in Marrakesch), mit vollem Namen Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al Malik ibn Muhammad ibn Tufail al Qaisi al Andalusi (arabisch ‏أبو بكر محمد بن عبدالملك بن محمد بن طفيل القيسي الأندلسي‎,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ibn Tufail — Infobox Muslim scholars | notability = Muslim scholar| era = Islamic Golden Age | color = #cef2e0 | | image caption = | | name = Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Abd al Malik ibn Muhammad ibn Tufail al Qaisi al Andalusi | title= Ibn Tufail Abubacer Aben… …   Wikipedia

  • Ibn al-Nafis — Infobox Muslim scholars | notability = Muslim scholar| era = Islamic Golden Age| color = #cef2e0 | | image caption = Ibn al Nafis| | name = Ala al Din Abu al Hassan Ali ibn Abi Hazm al Qarshi al Dimashqi | title= Ibn al Nafis | birth = 1213 CE |… …   Wikipedia

  • Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Malik Muhammad Ibn Tufail al-Qaisi — Ibn Tufail (* 1110 in Wadi Asch (Guadix) bei Granada; † 1185 in Marrakesch), mit vollem Namen Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al Malik ibn Muhammad ibn Tufail al Qaisi al Andalusi (arabisch ‏أبو بكر محمد بن عبدالملك بن محمد بن طفيل القيسي الأندلسي‎,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Abdubacer — Ibn Tufail (* 1110 in Wadi Asch (Guadix) bei Granada; † 1185 in Marrakesch), mit vollem Namen Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al Malik ibn Muhammad ibn Tufail al Qaisi al Andalusi (arabisch ‏أبو بكر محمد بن عبدالملك بن محمد بن طفيل القيسي الأندلسي‎,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Abentofail — Ibn Tufail (* 1110 in Wadi Asch (Guadix) bei Granada; † 1185 in Marrakesch), mit vollem Namen Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al Malik ibn Muhammad ibn Tufail al Qaisi al Andalusi (arabisch ‏أبو بكر محمد بن عبدالملك بن محمد بن طفيل القيسي الأندلسي‎,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Abentophal — Ibn Tufail (* 1110 in Wadi Asch (Guadix) bei Granada; † 1185 in Marrakesch), mit vollem Namen Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al Malik ibn Muhammad ibn Tufail al Qaisi al Andalusi (arabisch ‏أبو بكر محمد بن عبدالملك بن محمد بن طفيل القيسي الأندلسي‎,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Abubacer — Ibn Tufail (* 1110 in Wadi Asch (Guadix) bei Granada; † 1185 in Marrakesch), mit vollem Namen Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al Malik ibn Muhammad ibn Tufail al Qaisi al Andalusi (arabisch ‏أبو بكر محمد بن عبدالملك بن محمد بن طفيل القيسي الأندلسي‎,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Tufail — Ibn Tufail (* 1110 in Wadi Asch (Guadix) bei Granada; † 1185 in Marrakesch), mit vollem Namen Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al Malik ibn Muhammad ibn Tufail al Qaisi al Andalusi (arabisch ‏أبو بكر محمد بن عبدالملك بن محمد بن طفيل القيسي الأندلسي‎,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.