Moses Maimonides


Born in Cordoba, Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (Arabic: Musa b. Maymun) is commonly known as Maimonides or named through the acronym Rambam. He studied Torah under his father, and was thoroughly versed in the science and philosophy of his day, including Greek philosophy available only in Arabic translations. With the arrival of the Almohad dynasty, Jews were forced to convert to Islam, go into exile or be executed. Like many Jews, Maiminoides left Andalusia with his family in 1148 as a result of the persecution. After 18 years in Fez and the Holy Land he moved to Egypt, becoming court physician to Saladin as well as head (nagid) of the Jewish community at Fustat. His writings include an Arabic commentary on the Mishnah, a highly authoritative codification of Jewish law and ethics written in Hebrew (Mishneh Torah), and the Guide to the Perplexed (1190), which attempted to synthesise Aristoelian thought with Jewish theology, as well as severla important medical works. His writings demonstrate a familiarity with Muslim writers such as Ibn Rushd. His son, Abraham, cultivated contacts with the Sufi community in Egypt, a dialogue which led to a kind of Jewish Sufism. This interest in Islamic mysticism manifested in several manuscripts being copied into Hebrew letters, including Ibn ‘Arabi’s Kitab al-Tajalliyat.