Ibn Rushd (Averroes) complete Biography, Life Story & Other Details

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Flipping the pages of history, we find Ibn Rushd, also known as Averroes in Latin. Ibn Rushd is famous in both the Islamic and western worlds for his philosophical and scientific contributions.

He is mainly known as a Philosopher and is considered the last greatest Muslim philosopher of the 13th century.

Quick Information

Source: Wikipedia

Personal Info

Display NameIbn Rushd (in Arabic)
Averroes (in Latin)
Full NameAbul Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Rushd
Date of Birth14, April, 1126
Age72 years
Marital StatusN/A
Date of Death10, December, 1198

Educational info

QualificationIslamic Jurisprudence, Scientific and Philosophical Sciences
SpecializationMaliki school of Jurisprudence, Medicine, Astronomy, Mathematics, Philosophy, Logic, History
LanguagesArabic, Hebrew and Greek
Interestsin a wide range of subjects of Islam, Science and Philosophy

Professional info

Profession/CareerJudge (qadi), Physician, Theologian and Philosopher
Most Noticeable WorkIn Islamic Jurisprudence: Bidayat al Mujtahid Wa Nihayat al Muqtasid (An Opening for those Who Exert and an End for the Contented)

In Medicine: Kitab al Kulliyyat fi al Tibb (The Book of Universal Rules of Medicine)

In Philosophy and Theology: Fasl al Maqal (The Decisive Chapter)
Kashf an Manahij al Adilla fi Aqa’id al Milla ( The Exposition of the Methods of Proof Concerning the Beliefs of the Community )
Tahafut al Tahafut ( Incoherence of the Incoherence )

In Astronomy: Mukhtasar al‐Majisti (Summary of the Almagest)
AwardsHe got the title of ‘The Commentator’ due to making short, medium and extensive commentaries on Aristotle works.
Contributions1. He translated Aristotle’s works into Arabic and made summaries and commentaries

2. Ibn Rushd proved that Reason and Religion are related. He redefined Islamic Philosophy and wrote many books in its defence

3. He wrote the largest medical encyclopedia of his time that became the medical textbook of Europe

4. He discovered a new disease (today known as Parkinson disease)

5. Ibn Rushd gave the theory of stroke

6. He declared that light enters retina instead of lens to form image.

7. He translated the works of Greek and Arab authors, i.,e Plato, Ptolemy, Euclid, Galen, Al-Farabi, Ibn Sina, Al-Gazali, Ibn Bajjah.

Cultural info

EthnicityBerber/ Imazighen
RaceNorth African

Religious info

School of ThoughtSunni Maliki

Life Story:

Abul Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Rushd also known as ‘ibn Rushd’ (in Arabic) and ‘Averroes’ (in Latin), was born on 17 April 1026 in Cordoba – the city of Spain which was a great source of learning and education in the middle ages.

Personal Life:

He was born into a religious and scholarly family. His grandfather was the Imam of Cordoba’s Grand Mosque, while his father was a reputed Islamic scholar and judge. He learnt Islamic religion & law from his home.

Ibn Rushd lived in a politically unstable era of Islamic Spain’s history. In 1146, when al-Mohads took over Spain, he was just 20 years old. He remained neutral and away from political involvement to focus entirely on working in the Muslims’ interest.

He was exceptional in Islamic law, so the new ruler ‘Abu Yaqub Yusuf’ appointed him as a local judge, from where he gradually got promoted to the chief judge of Cordoba.

In his spare time being a local judge, he thoroughly studied Islamic theology, philosophy and other scientific subjects from different teachers. And it was the period when he wrote a lot of books.

To his best knowledge, he inferred that Islam does not abandon philosophy.

And for many decades, Ibn Rushd researched and investigated medicine and became the physician of the ruler.

Despite doing so much for the intellectual development of people, Ibn Rushd was disgraced and exiled from his city due to his views on Islamic Philosophy.

Family Life:

We know very little about Ibn Rushd’s family life as he wrote no autobiography, unlike other Islamic philosophers. Therefore, many aspects of his life got lost in history.

Work Life:

Ibn Rushd worked for the court administration as a judge, physician, theologian, translator and commentator.

He held his position as a judge in two cities in Spain; Seville (1169) and Cordoba (1171). He became the chief judge of Cordoba and the ruler’s doctor in the same year 1182.

Student Life:

He began his education at a very young age and used to memorize Quran. His father was his first teacher who taught him the Arabic language, Quran, Hadith, Hadith sciences and Islamic law and jurisprudence.

He specialized in Maliki law and jurisprudence, one of the four Islamic schools of thought.

Ibn Rushd learnt philosophy and mathematical sciences from Abu Jafar ibn Harun al Tarjali,i.e., mathematics, astronomy, and cosmology. And medicine from Ibn Jurrayul.

He was a polymath, and an avid reader, who used to study sixteen hours a day and knew three languages other than his native tongue, i.e., Arabic, Greek and Hebrew.

Works & Contributions in Islamic Golden Age:

Islamic Law:

Ibn Rushd wrote many books on Islamic law, but his one book known as ‘Bidyat al Mujtahid‘ was exceptional.

What’s special about it?

In this work, he analytically described all four Islamic schools of thought, i.e., Hanbali, Hanafi, Maliki, and Shafie. And explained their pertaining issues, methodologies used to derive those laws, and reasoning behind the founder’s difference of opinion.

Find the book in English translation with the title The Distinguished Jurist’s Primer, if you want to understand Islamic law from a philosophical perspective.

Islamic Theology:

His contributions to Islamic theology are unparalleled. He wrote two unmatchable books named; Fasl al Maqal (The Decisive Chapter) and Al-Kashf an Manahij fi al-Adilla fi Aqaid al Milla (Exposition of the methods of proof concerning the beliefs of the community).

⚡What’s special about it?

In Fasl al Maqal, he declared that Reason and Faith are not two opposite things; instead, Islam highly recommends reasoning. While in Al-Kashf an Manahij, Ibn Rushd explained that any ruling on Islam without reason is unjustified; Islamic theologians should not impose those rulings on ordinary people by force.


Ibn e Rushd contributed to both Islamic and Western Philosophy. He translated all the works of Aristotle (except politics), of whom it’s known that he’s the most excellent and genuine philosopher of all times. He reintroduced Aristotle to the European world.

For Islamic philosophy, he changed its outlook with his impeccable book ‘Tahafut al Tahafut (Refutation of the Refutation).

⚡What’s special about it?

During his time, most scholars thought philosophy was a form of heresy. And Islamic philosophy was criticized and discouraged. Especially the 11th-century famous theologian Abu Hamid al Gazali wrote Tahafut al Falsafah to declare issues in philosophy that contradict faith. In response to his book, Ibn Rushd wrote Tahafut al Tahafut; he explained point-by-point how his accusations were false, and philosophy perfectly goes with faith.


Ibn Rushd wrote the biggest medical encyclopedia of that time termed ‘Kitab al Kulliyyat fi al Tibb’ (The Book of Universal Rules of Medicine), parts of which were included in the syllabus of Spain’s distinguished universities til 1600.

What’s special about it?

In this manuscript, he described all the medicinal terms and concepts gathered from the works of pre-eminent Greek and Arab authorities and his research and observation. It was so elaborate to have divided into seven heavy books, i.e., Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Symptoms, Therapeutics, Hygiene and Medications.

Original Contributions in Medicine:

  1. Ibn Rushd was the first physician to confirm that light enters the retina and enables us to see.
  2. He discovered Parkinson’s disease and explained its signs and symptoms to the world without naming it.
  3. He gave the perfect theory of stroke; that it’s produced by the brain and caused by blockage of arteries from the heart to the brain.


He wrote his most prominent work in astronomy called ‘Mukhtasar al Majisti’ (Summary of the Almagest).

What’s special about it?

Almagest is the most important ancient text on astronomy written by Claudius Ptolemy. Where Ptolemy studied 500 years of works on astronomy to create his model of the universe, which predicted the positions of planets, stars, sun, moon, and eclipses in the night sky. Ibn Rushd summarized Almagest into Arabic and introduced it to the Muslim world. However, he had several disagreements with that model too.

Original Contributions in Astronomy:

  1. When Ibn Rushd was 25 years, he observed several stars in Marrakech, Morocco.
  2. He rediscovered the brightest star Canopus from the Moroccan night-sky.
  3. He measured the positions of Mercury and Venus concerning the sun sighted by his companion.

Books on Ibn e Rushd:

Ibn Rushd wrote over one hundred books, of which sixty-seven got identified, i.e., twenty-eight on philosophy, twenty on medicine, eight on law, five on theology and four on grammar. His original books in Arabic got burnt, but their translation in Latin and Hebrew survived.

Islamic Law & JurisprudenceThe Distinguished Jurist’s Primer 1-Volume Set: Bidayat Al-Mujtahid Wa Nihayat Al-Muqtasid

The Distinguished Jurist’s Primer 2-Volume Set: Bidayat Al-Mujtahid Wa Nihayat Al-Muqtasid
Islamic PhilosophyTahafut al Tahafut ( Incoherence of the Incoherence )
Islamic TheologyFasl al Maqal (The Decisive Chapter)

Kashf an Manahij al Adilla fi Aqa’id al Milla ( The Exposition of the Methods of Proof Concerning the Beliefs of the Community )
MedicineKitab al Kulliyyat fi al Tibb (The Book of Universal Rules of Medicine)
AstronomyMukhtasar al‐Majisti (Summary of the Almagest)
Aristotle’s WorkLong Commentary on the De anima of Aristotle

Middle Commentary on Aristotle’s De anima (Brigham Young University – Islamic Translation Series)

Averroes’ Middle Commentary on Aristotle’s Poetics

Averroës’ Three Short Commentaries on Aristotle’s “Topics,” “Rhetoric,” and “Poetics”

On Aristotle’s “Metaphysics”: An Annotated Translation of the So-called “Epitome”

Ibn Rushd’s Metaphysics

Averroes’ Middle Commentaries on Aristotle’s Categories and De Interpretatione

Averrois Cordvbensis: Commentarivm Magnvm in Aristotelis De Anima Libros

The Philosophy and Theology of Averroes

Faith and Reason in Islam: Averroes’ Exposition of Religious Arguments

Decisive Treatise and Epistle Dedicatory

Plato’s WorksAverroes on Plato’s Republic

Commentary on Plato’s Republic
Al-Gazali WorksDie Hauptlehre des Averroes : Nach Seiner Schrift: Die Widerlegung des Gazali [German]

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are basic Questions about Ibn Rushd.

1. Why Ibn e Rushd is the greatest Muslim Philosopher?

Ibn Rushd was the first prominent scholar of the 12th century and probably the last Muslim philosopher who seriously defended the co-existence of Islam and philosophy through in-depth research work.

According to his beliefs, Reason and faith have no conflict, and the Holy Quran encourages people to ponder and use their rational abilities to understand the creation and other physical phenomena. Therefore, despite his many contributions in distinguished fields, he’s best known for his philosophical and theological work.

What were Ibn Rushd’s contributions in the Islamic golden age?

Ibn Rushd highly contributed to the theological, philosophical, medical, astronomical and cosmological fields in the Islamic golden age. His books brought fresh insights into Islamic theology, Islamic philosophy, medicine, astronomy and cosmology. But his works couldn’t get deserved recognition until the 15th century due to the dispute between religious scholars and Islamic philosophers.

What impact Ibn Rushd made outside the Islamic world?

The huge impact that Ibn Rushd made outside the Islamic world was through his translation and commentaries of Aristotle’s works. He made short, medium and extensive commentaries of all Aristotle’s books except politics; and reintroduced him to the Europeans. His translations and commentaries were so fantastic that they incredibaly influenced the knowledge, literature and thought of the European civilisation during the renaissance period.

Some of Ibn Rushd’s contributions shaped today’s medical field such as the discovery of the retina sensing the light, the theory of stroke and the disclosure of Parkinson disease.