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Arabic: ibni sīnā 'abū ¢alī

Artistic representation of Avicenna

(Afshana, near Bukhara in today's Uzbekistan 980- Hamadhan 1037) Iranian Islamic philosopher and physician.
Avicenna was born into a middle class family, and after studying in Bukhara, he entered a position as court physician with the Samanid ruler in Bukhara, who was overthrown one year thereafter. From 1023 to his death he served as scientific advisor to the local ruler of Esfahan.
Among his works, the Canon of Medicine is the preeminent, used as it was as in both the Middle East and in Europe (Latin translation in 12th century). His most renowned philosophical work was the Book of Healing (kitābu sh-shifā'), dealing with Aristotelian logic, metaphysics, psychology and natural sciences.
Avicenna, a philosopher combining Aristotle and Neoplationism, set out to reconcile philosophy and Islam. But he denied that there was any individual soul, that God had interest in individuals, and that there had been any creation of the world. Avicenna meant that there was a dualism of mind and matter, in which matter was passive, and creation an act of instilling existence into the passive substance. The only place where there was no such dualism, was in God.
Even if the thoughts of Avicenna were important for centuries, his position was weakened by attacks from other Sunni theologians, both in his own time, and thereafter.

By Tore Kjeilen