ABUBACER (Abu Bakr Muhhammad ibn 'Abd al-Malik ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Tufayl al-Qaysi) — the name comes from the honorary epithet "Abu Bakr" — "Father of Bakr" . Abubacer was a Arab philosopher, physician, poet and politician. He was one of the chief representatives of Arab philosophy in the west. Abubacer was born approximately in the first decade of the 12th century in Wadi Aš (today's Guadix, about 60 km from Granada) and died in 1185 in Marrakesh.

He probably received a broad education in Seville and Granada, the intellectual centers of the time. He lectured on medicine in Granada, was secretary to the governor of the province of Granada, and from 1154 he was secretary to the governor of Ceuta and Tangiers, Abu Sa'ida. He held the highest honors of the state; he was the first doctor and vizier (minister) of the sultan of the Almohad dynasty of Abu Yusuf Ya'qub. In 1169 Abubacer met Averroes. Averroes was persuaded by Abubacer and the sultan to write a commentary upon the works of Aristotle. In 1182 Abubacer resigned from his post as court physician on account of his advanced age, but he remained at the royal court for the rest of his life.

Only fragmentary information about Abucacer's works survives. In the Chronicles of the Almohads whose author was Ibn Sahib as-Salat there is a political qasida (a type of poem) of Abucacer. According to the famous historian of Granada, Lisan an-Din ibn al-Hatib, Abubacer also wrote two volumes on medicine. There are also mentions of a work by Abucacer on medicinal herbs Urğuza fi't-tibb. As for information concerning philosophical works, the historian Al-Marrakuš (in his work Al-Mu'ğib) mentions a treatise on the soul (Risalah fi'l-nafs). There is an extant work of Abubacer entitled Hayy ibn Yaqzan. There is no doubt that Abubacer was the author of this work and it is a basic source for studies on his philosophical views. This work was translated into many languages — the first known translation was by Moses of Norbonne into the Hebrew language in 1349.

There are many references to the thought of Avicenna in Abubacer's philosophical views. Abubacer argued that there is no contradiction between religious (revealed) laws and the truth discovered in philosophy. Thus the religion of Islam can be harmonized with Greek philosophy, since they seek the same truths by different ways. At the same time, Abubacer regarded philosophical knowledge as higher than religious knowledge and held that by philosophy we gain not only an understanding of the world but also the knowledge of revealed truths.

Abubacer seems to have been a follower of the theory of the spontaneous emergence of life from inorganic matter, or spontaneous generation. He also held that the world is eternal and thus that motion is eternal, and that the world is stable while undergoing constant changes. He also was convinced of the unity of the whole word (as understood in neo-Platonic pantheism).

Ibn Tufayl, Hajj ibn Jakzan. Opowiść filozoficzna [Hayy Ibn Yaqzan. Philosophical narrative], introduction, notes and trans. J. Bielawski, SM 1 (1958), 5-111; H. Corbin, EPh IV 109-110; Islamic Naturalism and Mysticism. A Philosophical Study of Ibn Tufayl's Hayy Ibn Yaqzan, Lei 1974; L. Goodman, Ibn Tufayl, in: History of Islamic Philosophy, Lo 1996, 313-328; The World of Ibn Tufayl. Interdisciplinary Perspectives of Hayy Ibn Yaczan, Lei 1996; S. C. Inati, REPh IV 657-659 (bibliogr.).

Jacek Banaś

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