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    Al-Farabi, the Second Master

    / 9th and 10th
    Iran - Al-Farabi, the Second Master

    Overview:

    • Works: The Necessity of the Art of the Elixir, The Book of Music
    • Birthplace: Transoxiana (ancient Persia, now Uzbekistan)

    Al-Farabi (/ˌælfəˈrɑːbi/; Persian: ابو نصر محمد بن محمد فارابي‎ Abū Naṣr Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad Al Fārābī, (873-950),  known in the West as Alpharabius was a renowned philosopher and jurist who wrote in the fields of political philosophy, metaphysics, ethics and logic. He was also a scientist, cosmologist, mathematician and music scholar.

    Born Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Tarkhan ibn Uzalagh al-Farabi in Fārāb, Transoxiana (ancient Persia, now Uzbekistan), of Turkish parentage, his Latin name is Alfarabius. He studied in Khorāsān (now in Iran) and then in Baghdād, where his teachers were Christian Syrians expert in Greek philosophy. Eventually he came to live at the court of Sayf al-Dawlah, the ruler of Ḩalab (Aleppo) (now in Syria). Al-Farabi was one of the earliest Islamic thinkers to transmit to the Arab world the doctrines of Plato and Aristotle (which he considered essentially identical), thereby greatly influencing such later Islamic philosophers as Avicenna and Averroës.

    In Arabic philosophical tradition, he is known with the honorific "the Second Master", after Aristotle. He is credited with preserving the original Greek texts during the Middle Ages because of his commentaries and treatises, and influencing many prominent philosophers, like Avicenna and Maimonides. Through his works, he became well-known in the East as well as the West.

    Al-Farabi, the first Islamic philosopher to uphold the primacy of philosophical truth over revelation, claiming that, contrary to the beliefs of various other religions, philosophical truth is the same throughout the world.

    Influenced in his metaphysical views by both Aristotle and the Neoplatonist Roman philosopher Plotinus, al-Farabi posited a Supreme Being who had created the world through the exercise of rational intelligence. He believed this same rational faculty to be the sole part of the human being that is immortal, and thus he set as the paramount human goal the development of that rational faculty. Al-Farabi gave considerably more attention to political theory than did any other Islamic philosopher, adapting the Platonic system (as developed in Plato's Republic and Laws) to the contemporary Muslim political situation in The Perfect City.

    Al-Farabi formulated as an ideal a universal religion in which all other existing religions are considered symbolic expressions of the universal religion. Of about 100 works by al-Farabi, many have been lost, including his commentaries on Aristotle. Many others have been preserved in medieval Latin translations only. In addition to his philosophical writings, al-Farabi compiled a Catalogue of Sciences, the first Muslim work to attempt a systematization of human knowledge. He also made a contribution to musical theory in his Great Book of Music.

    Farabi made contributions to the fields of logic, mathematics, music, philosophy, psychology, and education.

    Alchemy

    Al-Farabi wrote: The Necessity of the Art of the Elixir  

    Logic

    Though he was mainly an Aristotelian logician, he included a number of non-Aristotelian elements in his works. He discussed the topics of future contingents, the number and relation of the categories, the relation between logic and grammar, and non-Aristotelian forms of inference.  He is also credited with categorizing logic into two separate groups, the first being "idea" and the second being "proof".

    Al-Farabi also considered the theories of conditional syllogisms and analogical inference, which were part of the Stoic tradition of logic rather than the Aristotelian. Another addition al-Farabi made to the Aristotelian tradition was his introduction of the concept of poetic syllogism in a commentary on Aristotle's Poetics.

    Music

    Drawing of a musical instrument, a shahrud, from al-Farabi's Kitāb al-mūsīqā al-kabīr

    Al-Farabi wrote a book on music titled Kitab al-Musiqa (The Book of Music). In it, he presents philosophical principles about music, its cosmic qualities, and its influences.

    He also wrote a treatise on the Meanings of the Intellect, which dealt with music therapy and discussed the therapeutic effects of music on the soul.

    Philosophy

    Gerard of Cremona's Latin translation of Kitab ihsa' al-'ulum ("Encyclopedia of the Sciences")

    As a philosopher, Al-Farabi was a founder of his own school of early Islamic philosophy known as "Farabism" or "Alfarabism", though it was later overshadowed by Avicennism. Al-Farabi's school of philosophy "breaks with the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle [... and ...] moves from metaphysics to methodology, a move that anticipates modernity", and "at the level of philosophy, Alfarabi unites theory and practice [... and] in the sphere of the political he liberates practice from theory". His Neoplatonic theology is also more than just metaphysics as rhetoric. In his attempt to think through the nature of a First Cause, Alfarabi discovers the limits of human knowledge".

    Al-Farabi had great influence on science and philosophy for several centuries, and was widely considered second only to Aristotle in knowledge (alluded to by his title of "the Second Teacher") in his time. His work, aimed at synthesis of philosophy and Sufism, paved the way for the work of Ibn Sina (Avicenna).

    Al-Farabi also wrote a commentary on Aristotle's work, and one of his most notable works is Al-Madina al-Fadila where he theorized an ideal state as in Plato's The Republic.

    Physics

    Al-Farabi wrote a short treatise "On Vacuum", where he thought about the nature of the existence of void.He also may have carried out the first experiments concerning the existence of vacuum, in which he investigated handheld plungers in water. His final conclusion was that air's volume can expand to fill available space, and he suggested that the concept of perfect vacuum was incoherent.

    Psychology

    Wrote Social Psychology and Principles of the Opinions of the Citizens of the Virtuous City, which were the first treatises to deal with social psychology.

    In his treatise On the Cause of Dreams, which appeared as chapter 24 of his Principles of the Opinions of the Citizens of the Ideal City, he distinguished between dream interpretation and the nature and causes of dreams.


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    Patrimonito

    This workshop is designed according to the UNESCO World Heritage Education Programme in order to give young people a chance to voice their concerns and to become involved in the protection of our common cultural and natural heritage. It seeks to encourage and enable tomorrow’s decision-makers to participate in heritage conservation and to respond to the continuing threats facing our World Heritage. The idea of involving young people in World Heritage preservation and promotion came as a response to Article 27 of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention). Furthermore, Patrimonito means 'small heritage' in Spanish and the character represents a young heritage guardian. Patrimonito has been widely adopted as the international mascot of the World Heritage Education Programme.
    Date: 29th December
    Number of trainees: 7
    Duration: 3 hours

    The workshop of "Patrimonito" was held on 29th of December. Participants arrived around 10:30 and they were welcomed by hot chocolate and Persian cup cakes. After a little introduction by trainers and trainees, the process started by making two groups and letting them choose a name for their group, each group was accompanied by a mentor then each group was given some images of world heritage sites in Iran and some descriptions, each group was asked to match images and descriptions, the mentor was guiding them throughout the activity. All trainees were participating actively and trying to remember their experiences about their travels to these places. When they were done with the activity, the mentors started giving the answers and a brief explanation about each site; mentors were using trainees’ ideas and experiences to complete their tasks.

    Shortly after that, the second part started which was a presentation done by two of mentors. The aim of this presentation was to define the value of these world heritage sites and duties of each person as a "Patrimonito", and what happens if there is no "Patrimonito" and nobody cares about our tangible or intangible heritage. In this part trainees started questioning and understanding the whole concept of being a "Patrimonito", they also added their own suggestions on how to protect our heritage and by the end of this part, they were completely aware about their role as a "Patrimonito".
    Now it was a best time to have a short break, during the break trainees were introduced to some of intangible heritages as they were served by traditional food and snacks and even they way of serving was according to traditions and everyone had this opportunity to discuss about intangible heritage while enjoying some traditional food and snacks.
    When the break was done, everyone was asked to choose a heritage either tangible or intangible and they had to introduce their chosen heritage to a tourist by making a postcard using what they have learnt. They were given all of necessary tools such as color papers, color pencils, glue, scissors, images of heritage and a mentor was with them in order to help them completing the task.

    When they were done, they handed out their postcards and with the mentors they sat together and spent a few minutes asking and answering about what they have learnt. Then they were told to say their vows for protecting their heritage and caring about it, the mentor said the vow and the trainees repeated after her and they officially became a "Patrimonito".

    The last but the best part was when they were given the certificates, and they were told that since they are aware of the value of the heritage and they know how to protect it, they are chosen as "Patrimonito" and they should continue their mission by introducing the value of heritage to others. They were granted certificates and labels and the workshop of "Patrimonito" was finished by taking some memorial photos.