Hamadan-astronomer, chemist, geologist, Hafiz, Islamic psychologist, Islamic scholar, Islamic theologian, logician, paleontologist, mathematician, Maktab teacher, physicist, poet, and scientist-Islam’s Golden Age-Avicenna-mathematical systems, astronomy, algebra, trigonometry and medicine-(Persian پورسينا Pur Sina /’puːr siːnɑː/ son of Sina) (c. 980, Afshana near Bukhara– 1037, Hamadan), commonly known as Ibn Sīnā or by his Latinized name Avicenna, was a Persian polymath.
Ibn Sīnā studied medicine under a physician named Koushyar. He wrote almost 450 treatises on a wide range of subjects, of which around 240 have survived. In particular, 150 of his surviving treatises concentrate on philosophy and 40 of them concentrate on medicine. His most famous works are The Book of Healing, a vast philosophical and scientific encyclopaedia, and The Canon of Medicine, which was a standard medical text at many medieval universities. The Canon of Medicine was used as a text-book in the universities of Montpellier and Louvain as late as 1650. Ibn Sīnā’s Canon of Medicine provides a complete system of medicine according to the principles of Galen (and Hippocrates).
He was also an astronomer, chemist, geologist, Hafiz, Islamic psychologist, Islamic scholar, Islamic theologian, logician, paleontologist, mathematician, Maktab teacher, physicist, poet, and scientist. He is regarded as the most famous and influential scientist of the Islamic Golden Age
Avicenna created an extensive corpus of works during what is commonly known as Islam’s Golden Age, in which the translations of Greco-Roman, Persian and Indian texts were studied extensively. Greco-Roman (Mid- and Neo-Platonic, and Aristotelian) texts by the Kindi school were commented, redacted and developed substantially by Islamic intellectuals, who also built upon Persian and Indian mathematical systems, astronomy, algebra, trigonometry and medicine. The Samanid dynasty in eastern part of Persia, Greater Khorasan and Central Asia as well as Buyid dynasty in the western part of Persia and Iraq provided a thriving atmosphere for scholarly and cultural development. Under the Samanids, Bukhara rivaled Baghdad as a cultural capital of the Islamic world.
The study of Quran and Hadith thrived in such a scholarly atmosphere. Philosophy, Fiqh and theology (kalam) were further developed, most noticeably by Avicenna and his opponents. Al-Razi and Al-Farabi had provided methodology and knowledge in medicine and philosophy. Avicenna had access to the great libraries of Balkh, Khwarezm, Gorgan, Rey, Isfahan and Hamadan. As various texts, such as the ‘Ahd with Bahmanyar show, he debated philosophical points with the greatest scholars of the time. As Aruzi Samarqandi describes in his four articles before Avicenna left Khwarezm he had met Abu Rayhan Biruni (a famous scientist and astronomer), Abu Nasr Iraqi (a renowned mathematician), Abu Sahl Masihi (a respected philosopher) and Abu al-Khayr Khammar (a great physician).
Avicenna was born c. 980 in Afshana, near Bukhara, the capital of Samanids, a Persian dynasty in Central Asia and Greater Khorasan. His father was from Balkh, in present-day Afghanistan and his mother from Bukhara, in present-day Uzbekistan. His father, Abdullah, was a respected Ismaili scholar from Balkh, an important town of the Samanid Empire, in what is today Balkh Province, Afghanistan. His mother was named Setareh. His father was at the time of his son’s birth the governor in one of the Samanid Nuh ibn Mansur’s estates. He had his son very carefully educated at Bukhara. Ibn Sina’s independent thought was served by an extraordinary intelligence and memory, which allowed him to overtake his teachers at the age of fourteen. As he said in his autobiography, there was nothing that he had not learned when he reached eighteen.
A number of different theories have been proposed regarding Avicenna’s madhab. Medieval historian Ẓahīr al-dīn al-Baīhaqī considered Avicenna to be a follower of the Brethren of Purity. On the other hands, Shia faqih Nurullah Shushtari and historian Seyyed Hossein Nasr have both maintained that he was most likely a Twelver Shia More recently, Dimitri Gutas refuted both these claims and demonstrated that Avicenna was a Sunni Hanafi. Another theory proposed by the theologian Henry Corbin considered that Ibn Sina, just like his father, was himself a good Ismaili. Similar disagreements exist on the background of Avicenna’s family, whereas some writers considered them Sunni, more recent writers thought they were Shia.
Ibn Sīnā was put under the charge of a tutor, and his precocity soon made him the marvel of his neighbors; he displayed exceptional intellectual behaviour and was a child prodigy who had memorized the Qur’an by the age of 10 and a great deal of Persian poetry as well. He learned Indian arithmetic from an Indian greengrocer, and he began to learn more from a wandering scholar who gained a livelihood by curing the sick and teaching the young. He also studied Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) under the Hanafi scholar Ismail al-Zahid.
As a teenager, he was greatly troubled by the Metaphysics of Aristotle, which he could not understand until he read al-Farabi‘s commentary on the work. For the next year and a half, he studied philosophy, in which he encountered greater obstacles. In such moments of baffled inquiry, he would leave his books, perform the requisite ablutions (wudu), then go to the mosque, and continue in prayer (salah) till light broke on his difficulties. Deep into the night, he would continue his studies, and even in his dreams problems would pursue him and work out their solution. Forty times, it is said, he read through the Metaphysics of Aristotle, till the words were imprinted on his memory; but their meaning was hopelessly obscure, until one day they found illumination, from the little commentary by Farabi, which he bought at a bookstall for the small sum of three dirhams. So great was his joy at the discovery, made with the help of a work from which he had expected only mystery, that he hastened to return thanks to God, and bestowed alms upon the poor.
He turned to medicine at 16, and not only learned medical theory, but also by gratuitous attendance of the sick had, according to his own account, discovered new methods of treatment. The teenager achieved full status as a qualified physician at age 18, and found that “Medicine is no hard and thorny science, like mathematics and metaphysics, so I soon made great progress; I became an excellent doctor and began to treat patients, using approved remedies.” The youthful physician’s fame spread quickly, and he treated many patients without asking for payment.