Polymath is a term for exceptional geniuses who excelled in more than one discipline. For example, Ibn Sina the late 10th century scholar who was born and raised in Bukhara in Central Asia was an accomplished scholar who wrote hundreds of texts in areas ranging from medical textbooks, to works of philosophy, poetry in both Persian and Arabic, and works on science. By the age of 20 Ibn Sina tells us, he had mastered all that was required or known of studying to become a physician, and so in addition to his duties as a court physician he began writing on nearly all subjects of science, philosophy and literature.
This video segment from Jim Al-Khalili’s documentary series introduces the importance of Ibn Sina’s multivolume Qanun al-Tibb (Laws of Medicine) from the 11th century.
The following is taken from the biographical page on Ibn Sina from Islamic Philosophy Online.
Ibn Sina (Avicenna) (980-1037) is one of the foremost philosophers of the golden age of Islamic tradition that also includes al-Farabi and Ibn Rushd. He is also known as al-Sheikh al-Rais (Leader among the wise men) a title that was given to him by his students. His philosophical works were one of the main targets of al-Ghazali’s attack on philosophical influences in Islam. In the west he is also known as the “Prince of Physicians” for his famous medical text al-Qanun “Canon”. In Latin translations, his works influenced many Christian philosophers, most notably Thomas Aquinas.
In Original Language (Arabic/Persian):
- Autobiography in Arabic Html
- Biography by his student in Arabic word file.
- Biography from Uyun al’anba fi tabaqat al-‘atibia’ by Ibn ‘abi asaiba’ (Arabic word file)
- Isharat wa-Tanbahat (Remarks and Admonitions) (ed. S. Dunya) Commentary by Nasirudeen at-Tusi:
- Volume 1: Logic (PDF, file size: 25000 kb)
- Volume 2: Physics (PDF, file size: 13100 kb)
- Volume 3: Metaphysics (PDF, file size: 8400 kb)
- Volume 4: Sufism (PDF, file size: 4601 kb)
- Kitab an-Najat (Book of Safety) (ed. M. Fakhry) (PDF, File size 9723 Kb)
- Somewhat edited e-text in word format. (1.2 megs) with hyperlinked table of contents
- Somewhat edited e-text in html format. (6.5 megs) with hyperlinked table of contents.
- Kitab al-mabda’ wa l-ma’ad (PDF, File size TBD Kb)
- Ishart (*Unedited e-text in word format) with commentary maybe by Tusi in four parts (from warraq):
- Kitab ash-Shifa (Book of Healing)
- Part 1: Ilhyat:
- Minor editing of e-text in word format. (from warraq) (1.2)
- Ilhyat in Arabic html format. (5.4 Megs) big file -with table of contents.
- Part 2: Psychology (Tabiyat: ilm an-Nafs) ed. Jan Bakos (PDF, file size: 18304kb) (link)
- Part 3: Logic madkhal – maqulat – maqiyas (Zipped in 3 Arabic word files) A gift from Mufid Dankali.
- Part 1: Ilhyat:
- Canon of Medicine (al-Qanun fi al-tibb). (link to complete 1593 edition) thanks to B. Ludvigsen & AUB.
- Kitab al-Hudud (livre des définitions) (Arabic-French) ed. (A. M. Goichon) (PDF, file size: 2624kb)
- Uyun al-Hikmah: e-text in word format. (from warraq)
- Risala fi’l ‘ashq (Treatise on Love) Trans. E. Fackenheim. (PDF, file size: 1919kb) also available in word file.
- al-Mubhathat (discussions) from Aristu inda’ al-Arab (Aristotle According to Arabs) edited by A. Badawi. (Arabic PDF 10200 kb)
- Ibn Sînâ. Lettre au vizir Abû Sa‘d. Editio princeps d’après le manuscrit de Bursa, traduction de l’arabe, introduction, notes et lexique, « Sagesses Musulmanes, 4 », Paris, Albouraq, 1421/2000, XII, 130*, 61, 4 et 186 p. ISBN 2-84161-150-7.
Attributed works (Questionably by Ibn Sina):
- Risala fi al-Huzn (from a rare Persian manuscript) (Arabic PDF, file size: 78kb)
- Danish Nameh Alali (Book of knowledge dedicated to Alai Dawlah) (In Persian) we are looking for it. If you have it do let me know.
- French Translation. (French PDF, file size: 27.2 Megs) 4 volumes.
In English & other languages:
- Medieval Sourcebook: Ibn Sina (Avicenna) (973-1037): On Medicine ( link)
- Overview of Shifa. (link)
- Kitab al-mabda’ wa l-ma’ad (Annotated “exploratory” French Translation by Prof. Y. Michot.) (PDF, File size 427 Kb)
- Remarks and Admonitions Part One: On Logic (Vol. 1 Ishart & Tanbihat) Tr. S. Inati (PDF, file size: 5585kb)
- Ibn Sina & Mysticism (Vol. 4 Ishart & Tanbihat) Tr. S. Inati (PDF, file size: 4591kb)
- Danish Nameh Alali (Book of knowledge dedicated to Alai Dawlah) (Logic) pdf link.
- Mu’allfat Ibn Sina (Works of Ibn Sina) By: G. C. Anawati. (Arabic PDF 12701 kb)
- AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY ON IBN SINA (1970-1989) by: J. Janssens. (link: book Abstract.)
- There is also a supplement to the above. (link)
WORKS ON IBN SINA:
- The inquiry of Avicenna concerning the corporal form by L. Khayrallah. Arabic word file.
- Ibn Sina and dental care (link: in Arabic). This site has a lot on the Medical theories of Ibn Sina.
- Childcare according to Ibn Sina (link: in Arabic).
- Cosmetics in the Canon (link: in Arabic).
- The distinction between existence and essence in the philosophy of Avicenna. by L. Khayrallah. Arabic word file.
- Explications de quelques arguments avicenniens contre la théorie des parties insécables. by L. Khayrallah. Arabic word file.
In English & other languages:
- Avicenna, Jon McGinnis, New York: Oxford University Press, 2010, ISBN: 9780195331486.
- Avicenna and His Legacy, Y. Tzvi Langermann, ed. Turnhout: Berpols, 2009, ISBN: 9782503527536.
- A New Standard for Avicenna Studies. By D. Reisman (PDF) 3.5 megs.
- Avicenna His life and works. By S. Afnan. pdf format.
- Biography from History of Muslim Philosophy. (pdf) by Prof. F. Rahman
- Biography and works from the Encyclopedia Iranica. (www.iranica.com) (pdf) 4.2 megs.
- Biography & Works from Encyclopedia of Islam…(e-text)
- Biography & Works from Encyclopedia of Religion…(PDF e-text). (File Size: 498 KB)
- Biography & works from Routledge…(e-text)
- Avicenna on Casual Priority. M. Marmura. (PDF, file size: 543 KB)
- Avicenna on Theology A. J. Arberry. (pdf -link)
- Avicenna’s Chapter on the Relative in the Metaphysics of the Shifa. M. Marmura. (PDF, file size: 554 KB)
- Ibn Sina’s `Burhan Al-Siddiqin’ –Journal of Islamic Studies. Vol. 12, # 1. Jan. 2001. pp.18-39. pdf. (pdf -link complete e-text) By: T. Mayer
- La distinction de l’existence et de l’essence dans la philosophie d’Avicenna. Par: L. Khayrallah. (French- word file)
- Ibn-Sina on the human soul, in Notes and observations on natural science, Book II, Section 5. By J. Kenny O. P. (link)
- God Physics: From Hawkings to Avicenna. By: W. Carroll (e-text in word only 82KB)
- An article about the Danesh Nameh translated from Russian. PDF.
- Ibn Sina from: “A Medical History of Persia and the Eastern Caliphate” by C. Elgood. (link)
- An Evaluation of Ibn Sina’s Argument for God’s Existence in the Metaphysics of the Isharat, By: T. Mayer (link -Abstract only).
- Nader El-Bizri’s interpretation of Ibn Sina: (link -Book Abstract).
- International Society for the History of Islamic Medicine. (link)
- AVICENNA AND HIS HERITAGE Edited by J. JANSSENS and D. DE SMET (link) Islamic Medicine organization has many articles in Arabic about Ibn Sina & Medicine. (link)
- Über Ibni Sina und die arabische Medizin (link in German)
- Michot, Y. “A Mamluk Theologian’s Commentary on Avicenna’s Risla Adhawiyya: Being a Translation of a Part of the Dar’ al-ta’rud of Ibn Taymiyya with Introduction, Annotation, and Appendices” Part I, Journal of Islamic Studies, 2003 14:2 pp.149-203 and Part II , Journal of Islamic Studies, 2003 14:3 pp. 309-363 (PDF).
- Michot, Y. “Le Riz Trop Cuit Du Kirmânî: Présentation, Éditon Traduction et Lexique de L’épître d’Avicenne Contestant L’accusation d’avoir Pastiché Le Coran”, in F. Dalemans, et. al. Mélanges Offerts À Hossam Elkhadem par ses Amis et ses Éléves, Bruxelles, 2007. pp. 81-129. (PDF)
- Michot, Y. “Al-Nukat wa-l-faw`id: An Important Summa of Avicenian Falsafa”, in Peter Adamson, ed., Classical Arabic Philosophy: Sources and Reception, Warburg Institue, London 2007, pp. 90-123. (pdf)
- Hippias: Avicenna – Ibn Sina. (links) *** Noesis: Avicenna – Ibn Sina. (links)
- Google: Avicenna – Ibn Sina. (links)
- Altavista: Avicenna – Ibn Sina. (links)