W R I T T E N
8 Saudi Aramco World
A man can be adopted by a civilization other than his own and can there become a symbol of something very different from that which he signifies to his own civilization. This was the case with Abu ‘l-Walid Muhammad ibn Rushd, who came to be known to the West as Averroës. And just as the medieval Arab world and the medieval European world knew him by two names, so did they value two different aspects of his scholarship: In the Arab world, he is remembered primarily as a medical pioneer, while the West esteemed his philosophy.
B Y C A R O L I N E S T O N E
TOP RIGHT: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY; TOP LEFT: COURTESY OF CAROLINE STONE; OPPOSITE: PAUL LUNDE
Doctor, Philosopher, Renaissance Man
May/June 2003 9
The Crusades had begun. could be a terrain where exciting and productive work could be done and differences of faith at least briefly forgotten. in southern Spain. Muhammad Salim Salim and published in Cairo in 1971. and the rising awareness that sciences. searching for intellectual common ground. and to which he was most closely linked. The great Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. Mosque. LEFT: S. the intellectual activities of these years often took a far less competitive direction. while the works of al-Andalus were fundamentally new creations. the Giralda. Previous spread: A statue of Ibn Rushd stands near the Puerta de Almodóvar in Córdoba’s old city wall. working in Marrakech. During his middle years. 2002). edited by Dr. still the symbol of the city to this day. medicine or astronomy. Weak as they were. science and music were increasingly viewed with suspicion—along with the consequent social upheavals and greatly increased contacts with Morocco would all be of consequence to Ibn Rushd. new intellectual ventures.
Despite its fractious politics. symbolized by the impressive construction activity of this time. he must have watched the construction of that
culture made of the other’s works. Although these buildings physically proclaimed the differences between the faiths. As an old man in Seville. many of them were nonetheless admirable cradles of learning and the arts. published in 1562 in Venice. the bridge between “the ancients” of Greece and the European Renaissance. His likeness is conjectural. was completed in the year that Ibn Rushd was born. FLORENCE / SCALA / ART RESOURCE (DETAIL)
Renaissance paintings. such as mathematics. in 1126. From the north. the Kutubiyyah. This was a time when thoughtful men were searching for areas of common ground where they might escape destructive fanaticism from either side. rising from its foundations. the third most important pilgrimage site in the Christian world. They were the shoots. known as the “taifa kingdoms” (from the Arabic ta’ifah. with dates Ishbiliyya Capitals of taifa kingdoms
N 0 0 100 miles 200 km
10 Saudi Aramco World
MAP AFTER HISTORICAL ATLAS OF ISLAM (BRILL.
. the newly unified Christians had embarked on the reconquest of Spain from the Muslims that would finally conclude in 1492. Jerusalem was a Crusader state. independent but vulnerable.Ibn Rushd
was born in Córdoba. found the sciences a fruitful area of endeavor. During his lifetime. for no portrait of him is known to have been made. however.” a pensive Ibn Rushd is the central figure. meaning “party” or “faction”). two of the three cities he loved best. and a Latin edition of Ibn Rushd’s commentaries on Aristotle. preserving many of them in the only form we have today. Insets: An Arabic edition of Ibn Rushd’s Talkhis Kitab Aristutalis fi al-Shi’r (Epitome of the Poetics of Aristotle). the 12th century was also a time when thoughtful men of different faiths. he would have witnessed. This attitude was very different from the confident intellectual curiosity of ninth-century Baghdad that had triggered the first wave of translations from the classics into Arabic. MARIA NOVELLA. Those efforts established the roots. In this detail (left) from Andrea di Bonaiuto’s 14th-century “Triumph of St. The Christian-Muslim rivalry also took peaceful forms. and their ultimate blossoming would be the time we call the Renaissance. The taifa kings urged two successive North African dynasties to support the Muslims of Spain against the resurgent Christians.A N DA L U S
Qurtuba (Córdoba) Qarmuna Labla Ishbiliyya (Seville) Shilb Gharnata ¯ Mawrur ¯ al-Mariyya Malaqa ¯ Jazirat al-Khadra ¯
M ED I T ER R AN EAN S EA
M O RO C C O
Boundary of Muslim and Christian control.
city’s most famous mosque. Thomas Aquinas. The resulting northward influx of people and puritanical ideas—secular learning. offer clues to the extent of Ibn Rushd’s fame in the West. or Booksellers’. and when Ibn Rushd was young. in which the location of figures is often symbolic.
A L . Hence the many translations that each
al-Sahla Tulaytula Balansiyya Batalyus ¯ . were building their greatest monuments. His family was one of those dynasties with a multigenerational tradition of learning and service to the state that were so much a part of the Arabic-speaking world. Al-Andalus—as Muslim Spain was called—was splintered into numerous petty principalities and local kingdoms. as each ruler tried to outdo the others in the magnificence and prestige of his court and the caliber of the scholars he could attract to it.
for the qadi held a three-fold responsibility: he was the religious authority. One of the most prestigious of the positions he held was that of qadi.
1154 Al-Idrisi’s planisphere and Roger’s Book. death of Gerard of Cremona. 1135 1143 Robert of Chester and Hermann the Dalmatian translate the
Qur’an into Latin. University of Bologna founded. scattered new ideas. Francis of Assisi born. 1141 Peter of Toledo translates al-Kindi’s Risalah.
Nizami finishes Persian epic Layla and Majnun.
1178 Ibn Rushd in Marrakech writes On the Nature of the Universe. with others translated more than 70 Greek and Arabic scientific works into Latin.The political disturbances of Ibn Rushd’s years would also lead to the dispersal across Europe of learned men from southern Spain who. Richard the Lionhearted defeats Saladin. Pécs 1153 1155
Ibn Rushd travels to Marrakech and begins work on astronomy. relatively secular institutions of learning called “universities” that had been founded at Bologna. and Stavanger begins. There students were taught the works of the great scholars—many of them Muslims—together with the Greek learning at their roots. That Ibn Rushd held the position in not one but two cities indicates the respect in which he was held and testifies to the soundness of his legal training. a city founded only some 80 years earlier and which the Almohad ruler was anxious to make a center of the arts and scholarship. and it is for this aspect of his learning and writing that he was most esteemed in the Islamic world. of Córdoba. Oxford and Salerno. Second Crusade ends. Ibn Rushd appointed qadi in Seville. the North African Almohad dynasty began its—initially welcomed— takeover of al-Andalus. Cymbeline. Ibn Rushd studied medicine. The Almohad capital was at Marrakech. Among those scholars.
1184 Ibn Rushd completes Incoherence of the Incoherent Philosophy 1185
Oxford University founded.
The Life and Times of Ibn Rushd
1125 1126 Ibn Rushd born in Córdoba. but very little about his own life or upbringing. as they moved. of al-Ghazali. The ultimate fruitfulness of the many individual hardships that must have informed this intellectual diaspora can perhaps be compared to the extraordinary flourishing of American science in the wake of the disruptions of World War II. or chief justice.
1189 1195 1190 Ibn Rushd completes his commentaries on Aristotle’s
Third Crusade proclaimed. Certainly this period of dissemination and cultural cross-fertilization definitively shifted the balance of intellectual initiative from south to north.
1195–1197 1205 1198
Ibn Rushd dies in Marrakech. St. written for Roger II of 1157 1162 1163 1168
Munich founded. Merlin. These would be nurtured especially in the new.
1187 Saladin conquers Jerusalem. etc. His grandfather was a well-known jurist of the Maliki school of Islamic law. Toltec Empire destroyed by Aztecs and others. Le Mans. Gotthard Pass opens as a commercial route through the Alps. he encouraged education. Sicily. who
1188 Portico de la Gloria completed at Santiago de Compostela. These were appointments of great importance. St. written in 850. 1179 1180 1181
Hildegarde of Bingen completes Physica. new techniques and new books like seeds.
1144 Robert of Chester translates Jabir ibn Hayyan’s ninth-century
work on alchemy.
1145 1146 1145 1147 1148
Construction of Friday Mosque in Isfahan begins. construction of Giralda begins in Seville. But he moved on: In addition to his service in law.
Ibn Rushd finishes Commentary on Plato’s Republic. Ibn Rushd was appointed to the same position in 1180 and earlier served as qadi of Seville in 1169. Bernard proclaims the Second Crusade.
1150 Construction of cathedrals in Angers. Ibn Rushd writes major works on Aristotle. Almohads enter al-Andalus. completed. an account of Islam.
a source for King Arthur. Ibn Rushd completes Compendium of Medical Knowledge. Adelard of Bath translates
al-Khwarizmi’s ninth-century Astronomical Tables.
1137 Geoffrey of Monmouth writes History of the Kings of Britain. Metaphysics and On the Soul.
. in today’s Morocco. To this end. Construction of Kutubiyyah Mosque in Marrakech begins. perceived by the West as a bridge between two faiths and between past and present. Construction of Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris begins.
Construction of Great Mosque begins in Seville. burn his books. Almohad authorities banish Ibn Rushd. Lear. the representative of the ruler and the upholder of civic order. Ibn Rushd was one of the most admired. the following year he translates al-Khwarizmi’s Algebra. In 1148. Ibn Rushd appointed qadi in Córdoba. A good deal is known of Ibn Rushd’s family background. Lisbon.
1140 St. Saladin conquers Damascus. Thomas à Becket murdered in Canterbury Cathedral.
Ibn Rushd appears. albeit one science and divine revelation need not be at odds. Rasis and Avicen. especially from The Islamic rejection of Ibn Rushd as a philosopher is no Plato and Aristotle. Place the meat in it and then add hot water. and it was Canterbury Tales—a measure of the extent to which he had in Marrakech that become a household word in England 200 years later: he began his first Well knew he the old Esculapius philosophical And Dioscorides and also Rusus.
12 Saudi Aramco World
CHESTER BEATTY LIBRARY. food and medigrapes the best of fruit. looking over the shoulder of a seated. bearded Pythagoras. he wrote the following. Ibn Rushd’s and Marrakech. of the everyday life of al-Andalus and perhaps even of his own personal (known in the West as health. for his commentaries official appointment on both Aristotle and Plato were philosophical works in their own as inspector of right. generation and It is to the Kulliyat and other medical works that Ibn corruption. and Ibn Rushd of original research. however.) In 1168. though not have not been tampered with artificially. and that ultimately its beginning with the vision of a perfect society. there in 1153. still goes on. were of relatively little work may have been inspired by the desire to prove that interest to the Muslim world outside Al-Andalus. which It has been suggested among scholars that Ibn Rushd’s fascinated and influenced the West. where the struggle to reconcile science and faith also leveled at him by the Catholic church in the West. was quickly followed by his substantial Compendium of Averrois. it is divided into life. preservation of In the section of the Kulliyat that deals with diet. given that were apparently happy the best physicians from the best way of preparing it is what we call braising. a at the request of the As is usual in the Muslim world. symptastes. healthy olives and its properties following year. and instrumental in the western rediscovery of Greek thought. provided the oil is fresh and not rancid. His philosophical works. introduced toms. its bookshops and Opposite: In his 1510–1512 fresco “The School of Athens. a little at a time. perhaps? Ibn Rushd to the new cines. was a great success for Ibn Rushd. Part of based on the shar’iah. its sections on physics. Latin and Hebrew. He At the center of the painting. however. He liked barley water and rice pudding. sometime Old Hippocras. As Averroës. This is how it is and productive. Ibn received his first Rushd’s placement may be an understatement. especially when fried in olive oil with mincemeat—a kind of moussaka. schools there. or holy law. Food seasoned with olive oil is of Seville. heaven and earth. numerous works on and the Islamic traditions. Almohad ruler. where he is rememmain interests that would occupy him the rest of his life. this philosophy is derived from the Greeks. Damascene and Constantine. meteorology and metaphysics—some of the Rushd owes his fame in the East today. The Kulliyat. a certain amount can be learned follower of Ibn Sina seven books: anatomy. whom Ibn Rushd admired and on whose doubt partly because of the criticism that he subordinated reliworks he wrote numerous commentaries and paraphrases— gion to philosophy. Generally speaking. fil-Tibb). work. bered as a great doctor. it can be assimilated appointed Ibn Rushd qadi on the whole the fruit perfectly by the human body. In a way man is rational and can learn. as revealed in the Qur’an. versions of it were still appearing on medical school years at Marrakech was the first draft of his Compendium reading lists around of Medical Knowledge Europe as recently as (Kitab al-Kulliyat The Philosopher at Table 100 years ago. This Serapion.Testament to the tri-cultural convivencia of al-Andalus. that nature is intelligible and this is surprising. Philosophy (Kitab al-Jawami’ al-Sighar fil-Falsafa) with Bernard and Gatesden and Gilbertine. Abu health and treatment Ya’qub Yusuf. and he had a fondness for eggplant. simmering it without letting it boil. The other major work which he produced during these (Indeed. OPPOSITE: VATICAN PALACE / SCALA / ART RESOURCE
. From his medical writings. The of illness. He considered figs and Avicenna). for Islam too has been concerned since its interpretation a legitimate task of man. He wrote both the classical Greek done: Take oil and pour it in a cooking pot. Written his teacher Ibn Tufayl. Ibn Rushd tells us nothing of his private scholar of Aristotle and sultan. was naskh manuscript (left) is a copy of Ibn Rushd’s commentary on a medalready famous for ical text written by the 11th-century physician and theologian Ibn Sina. in the list of authorities and treatises in his used by Chaucer’s doctor in the General Prologue to the lifetime. Excellently hen [oil] comes from ripe. Ibn Rushd was and became a standard text for generations of physicians to produce more in both East and West. works survive in Arabic. nutritious. Yusuf arranged. disease. DUBLIN. This 17th-century Arabic like Córdoba. suggesting that scientific research could books that to a large extent won him the respect he enjoyed teach people more than the revelations of faith—a criticism in the West. wearing a Rushd traveled turban. returned to al-Andalus.” Italian painter libraries when Ibn Raphael included Ibn Rushd at the lower left foreground. Hali and Galen before 1159. than 100 books along with many of his main sources. this compilation brought all olive oil is excellent for people and for that reason in our country His years in Seville together the work of [al-Andalus] it is the only medium needed for cooking meat. Aristotle and Plato walk together.
indeed. Arguing in favor of ijtihad and independent reason-
ing. or reports of the Prophet Muhammad’s words and deeds—in his works on natural science. It is obvious that even someone who has a large number of shoes will one day be visited by someone he cannot fit. Though they differ in other respects. which accepted only the most literal interpretation of the Qur’an and hadith. Ibn Rushd uses a simple analogy. Given his family history. In such cases the Hanafis uphold istihsan. or the preference for whatever solution is judged most appropriate to the situation. This person will then go to a cobbler who can make shoes that suit his feet. Ijtihad may involve the interpretation of the source materials. while echoes of his philosophical works can be found in his legal writings. or giving a legal verdict or decision on any issue on which there is no specific guidance in the Qur’an and the sunnah. arguing that Muslims who had observed the Prophet Muhammad first-hand would not deviate from his example. A mujtahid is one who undertakes ijtihad.” Despite his enemies’ charges to the contrary. jurisprudence was not just an academic matter. both served as qadi. The title Bidayat al-Mujtahid wa Nihayat al-Muqtasid holds a clue to Ibn Rushd’s ultimate purpose. but the school’s rigidity ultimately led to its extinction. even if this means relying on an isolated. Far from being irreconcilable opposites.
May/June 2003 13
. it was perhaps inevitable that much of Ibn Rushd’s life would be devoted to the law. and since Ibn Rushd himself heard cases in Seville and Cordoba. and their practical application in the daily lives of Muslims. Bidayat al-Mujtahid also makes frequent reference to the Dhahiri school. is a staff writer for Saudi Aramco. the movement of the stars. Ibn Rushd ranks among the most important Maliki scholars. independent reasoning.Ibn Rushd the Jurist
WRITTEN BY GREG NOAKES
or centuries. in Cordoba. and finally discussing the reasons for these differences.” the example of the Prophet. and the western part of the Muslim heartland was (and still is) dominated by the Maliki madhhab. A literal translation might be The Beginning of the Independent Jurist and the End of the Mere Adherent to Precedent.
Greg Noakes. in Sunni Islam. and the logic of the law were all suitable subjects of inquiry for a Muslim man of letters. By his own account. Ibn Rushd refers frequently to the Qur’an and the hadith— the traditions. he writes. Ibn Rushd has been known to Muslim scholars in northwestern Africa primarily for his writings on fiqh. Their view is like one who thinks a cobbler is he who possesses a large number of shoes. or systems of legal thought. defined by fiqh scholar Taha Jabir al-Alwani as “striving and self-exertion. a mujtahid must possess a thorough understanding of the principles of Islamic law and their application—which is exactly what Ibn Rushd seeks to provide in his text. an American Muslim. but for Ibn Rushd’s learned peers. Ibn Rushd took 20 years to produce Bidayat al-Mujtahid wa Nihayat al-Muqtasid. or judge. Eschewing partisan polemic. Ibn Rushd did not attempt to subvert religion using philosophy. uncorroborated report of the Prophet’s behavior. There are four “schools” of law. rather than one who has the ability to make shoes. Ibn Rushd demonstrates that legal differences result from each school’s distinctive intellectual process. Most jurists. Ibn Rushd’s father was also a judge. This madhhab had a
strong presence in al-Andalus. he tackles each issue by first describing the areas of agreement among the madhhabs. and one died the year the other was born. but a family métier. The Malikis refer to the consensus of the early Muslim community in Madinah. God-given gifts to mankind. or school. His grandfather is also a major figure in Maliki thought. The book is intended not for the layman. inference of rules from them. believe that “the one who has memorized the most opinions has the greatest legal acumen. but rather used analytical methods to better understand the message and tenets of Islam. Ibn Rushd goes beyond quoting the Maliki position on various legal questions. [or] analytical thought. Instead. as did many of his contemporaries: The workings of the human body. their use in each school of jurisprudence. or jurisprudence. then outlining the points disputed by the various scholars. Ibn Rushd devoted himself to a broad continuum of intellectual subjects. Ibn Rushd saw revelation and reason as complementary. What emerges is a detailed exposition of the principles of Islamic law. since both had the same names. the relationship of reason to religion. many a careless reader has confused the two. the Shafi‘i and Hanbali madhhabs both base their rulings squarely on the hadith. his primary work of fiqh. In addition to knowledge of the Qur’an and hadith and fluency in Arabic.
the impact of convinced of the truth. “updates” of some of the inspired reformers and I was not in Córdoba then. To the east of Córdoba it was more violent than in thought lies in his making In 1171. when Ibn Rushd was living in the city. were more relaxed than the earlier cal tensions caused by the Almohad conquest of Al-Andalus Almoravid dynasty. whereas in the west it was weaker. to produce their theories of utopia. at age 45. on one of the Liparian taries on classical texts— through human endeavor Islands. where he gians. These violent quakes continued in Córdoba for about a year we think about things a household word—is and did not die away completely until some three years had passed. He would rulers no less than the Muslim ‘ulama and the Catholic theolohave enjoyed its nearby Patio of the Oranges. matter of God’s grace the earthquake. surrounding area. particurest of his life. and in Córdoba. His work on
14 Saudi Aramco World
. but it was strongest in Córdoba and the importance to western remains immeasurable. I heard the noises which greatest thinkers of the socially conscious governpreceded the earthquake. paraphrases or commenthat it can be attained ristotle relates that in a certain country. the Great Mosque. The people noticed that the noise came from classical world. the city itself. The notion The Scientist Observes losophy there. They say today. or the the Nicomachaean Ethics (Kitab al-Akhlaq). all of whom were inclined to see the order of the would have meditated and debated with his friends. and they allowed discussion of these and the struggles with the Christians to the north seem not questions—up to the limit of challenging their authority. The and study them even barely known in the West first quake killed many people when their houses collapsed. designed to rival that of society can and should be changed. the west and the quake generated a strong wind. world as preordained and immutable. many of that this ideal is someIn one of his works on natural history.natural science and phiideal state. available many of the Ibn Rushd returned to —Kitab al-Atar al-‘Ulwiya. which took place about the year 566 [AD 1170–1171]. The Almohad rulers Those were productive years for him. Ibn Rushd describes an earthquake which—though they are thing definable. There. bringing a vast quantity of ash. he mainlarly those of Plato and Aristotle. there was a mountain which did not cease growing until need to be understood and wise leadership— a great wind came out of it. men who ments to the present day. which has not survived intact. from his paraphrase of Thomas More. as well as his Supplement to Seville’s Giralda tower stands out in this cityscape. and perhaps he was present when. He that saw it was sions with the originals. that worried some secular Córdoba in size and splendor. al-Qadim) and further medical treatises. page 64 philosophical works of Córdoba. They were perceptive or mere good luck—has was warned of what was happening by the great rumbling and thundering. and though his that near Córdoba the earth opened up at a place called Andújar and compare Ibn Rushd’s verworks are now largely gave forth something similar to ashes and sand. to his discussion of Aristotle’s Poetics (from the Talkhis Kitab al-Shi’r). its idea that society is perfectible and its discussion of how five years later. It was this book. The ongoing politiof al-Andalus. and all not as derivative but as rather than only as a the earth was burnt. engraved in 1572. and Ibn Rushd produced a stream of of the Renaissance. was inaugurated. such as Tomaso Campanella and Sir works on a wide range of subjects. but his most notable work tained his main residence and his library. but when I went. His visits to Seville is his commentary on Plato’s Republic. for the ancient Greece. The earthquake was generally felt all over the Ibn Rushd’s great this man’s thought western part of the peninsula. which also came from provide models for how Though his name—once the west. Anyone who was present in Córdoba at the time of truly original works. It is fascinating to today. with were frequent and long. however. It to have much affected the relative peace and prosperity of was thus largely Ibn Rushd’s texts that inspired the thinkers Seville and Córdoba. Questions on Ancient Science (Damima li-Mas’alat al-Ilm The Giralda was dedicated as the minaret of one of the world’s largest mosques in 1176. unread.
tell me. Ibn Rushd’s version courageously applied Plato’s theories to Ibn Rushd’s own times. the Almohad ruler raised the Kutubiyyah. Ralph Lerner. strictly speaking. THIS PAGE. citing chapter and verse of where the political system had failed. eds. CIVITATES ORBIS TERRARUM. She has recently returned from Uzbekistan and is also working with Paul Lunde on translations of the Arab sources about the Vikings and peoples of the North and of ‘Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi’s description of Egypt. He was briefly exiled.
May/June 2003 15
. they put his works on the opposite side to serve as a counterweight. It was a time of expansion and optimism in the Muslim world. in Spain. The following year. He pointed out. though his son began to publish about this time. his parry of al-Ghazali’s Incoherence of the Philosophers. It is probably fair to assume that the main reasons for his falling into disfavor were his defense of rationalism and the outspokenness of his social criticism. he wrote no
more. Four years later. that. Cornell University Press. LEFT: NIK WHEELER. 0-8014-9145-2. It rises over the walled Patio of the Oranges. Three months later his body was returned.50 pb. But. and it is the symbol of Seville to this day. to rest in his beloved Córdoba. Saladin retook Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187.fordham. ‘On one side the master and on the other his works. the mystic Ibn alArabi. were his desires at last fulfilled?’”
Caroline Stone divides her time between Cambridge and Seville.
Related articles have appeared in these past issues of Aramco World and Saudi Aramco World : Al-Andalus: S/O 92. Ibn Rushd’s fame was spreading into the eastern Islamic world. but as far as is known. 1198.edu/halsall/source/1190Averroës. politics or religion. and by 1190 his books were available and under discussion in Cairo. J / F 93 Taifa kingdoms: J / F 93 Giralda: J / F 93 Early Arab medicine: M / J 97
www. and the authorities burned his books. His rival. They forbade him to write on philosophy. however. remain largely unknown. o. titled Incoherence of the Incoherent Philosophy of al-Ghazali (Tahafut al-Tahafut al-Falasifa lil-Ghazali). complaints were made against Ibn Rushd on various counts.
Writing a commentary on a classical text allowed a medieval scholar to both present the classic anew and propound his own original ideas. as he had wished. After another visit to Marrakech. where Ibn Rushd wrote some of his most important books. 0-8014-9139-8. Ibn Rushd died at Marrakech on December 11. Cornell University Press. The ban against him was repealed.html
Averroës on Plato’s Republic. RIGHT: PAUL LUNDE
Ptolemy’s Almagest may also belong to this period. where Ibn Rushd likely spent hours in relaxation and conversation. Perhaps too many people agreed with him. Between the demands of these two appointments. 1974.
OPPOSITE: BRAUN AND HOGENBERG. ILLUSTRATION PROBABLY BY GEORG HOEFNAGEL (DETAIL). a Christian coalition was routed at Alarcos eight years later. the paraphrase of Plato’s Republic. Mosque during Ibn Rushd’s lifetime to promote the city’s reputation as a center of learning that might rival Córdoba. I was standing there…and I said to myself. whose head was his patron. did not last long. Medieval Political Philosophy: A Sourcebook. She is working on a Gulf-based project to map pre-modern cultural contacts and build a website to teach world history. Ibn Rushd was appointed qadi of Córdoba in 1180 and personal physician to Sultan Abu Ya’qub Yusuf at the Almohad’s new capital in Seville. 1972. $21. or Booksellers’.p. While the original implies criticism of the existing social order and studies ways to perfect it. Far right: The magnificent Giralda tower is all that remains of the city’s central mosque. since the end of Almoravid rule and the accession of the current Almohad dynasty. Ralph Lerner and Muhsin Mahdi. he found time to write one of his most famous works. for example. The questions of how he was inspired to begin his life’s work and where he found his texts. he wrote one of his most controversial works. This period of disfavor. the government of Córdoba should have been considered a tyranny from 1145 onward —that is. describes the funeral: “When the coffin with his body was laid upon the bier.Right: In Marrakech. 1572. as well as many of the most basic details of his personal world.