The Story of Hayy ibn Yaqzan – Risalat hayy ibn yaqzan – Ibn Tufayl

AbuBakr ibn Muhammad Ibn Tufayl

Paperback, 89 pages
5.83 x 8.27 nch
Dar Ul Thaqafah

The story of Hayy ibn Yaqzan (Risalat hayy ibn yaqzan) is described by its author, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Tufayl, as an introduction to the philosophy or ‘wisdom’ intimated by one of the most renowned philosophers of Islam, the Sheikh and Master, Abu’ Ali ibn Sina (Avicenna). It was written to counter what Ibn Tufayl perceived to be the damaging influence of pseudo-philosophic ideas then current in Muslim Spain. Hayy ibn Yaqzan is thus, on one level a sort of primer on medieval Islamic Philosophy. 

The book establishes its frame of reference with a short and selective critique of Islamic philosophy before introducing the narrative framework of a boy of obscure origins reared by a gazelle on a desert island without human contact. The very uncertainty of the boy’s origin is used by the author as an oppurtunity to include a theory of the origins of life. As the boy gradually becomes aware of his surroudings, he begins to understand that he is somehow different from the other animals, yet superior by virtue of the technical advantages he can realise with his hands.

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