Ibn Rushd


Famous in the medieval West under the name of Averroes, Abu Walid Muhammad Ibn Rushd came from a distinguished line of jurists and theologians who served as public officials. He was the chief judge (Qadi) in his hometown of Cordoba for many years and royal physician, enjoying the patronage of the Almohad sultan. Due to political turmoil in al-Andalus, he was called to the court in Marrakesh and fell out of favour, only to be reinstated in his final years. He died in Marrakesh and his body was brought back for burial to Cordoba.

A great scholar of the Quran and the natural sciences, including physics, medicine, biology and astronomy, he is chiefly remembered as a theologian and philosopher. He examined the tension between reason and faith, and countered the anti-philosophical sentiments sparked by the work of al-Ghazzali. He attempted to synthesise Islamic teaching and Aristotelian philosophy, emphasising that philosophy and religion are not incompatible when properly understood. His great commentary on Aristotle was a major influence on Christian theologians such as Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas. Many of his works have been preserved only in Latin and Hebrew translations.