Al Farabi

Biography by Craig Harris

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The intuitive vision of al-Farabi (born: Abu Nasr Mohammad Ibn al-Farakh al-Farabi) left its mark in philosophy, sociology, political science and metaphysics. In addition to writing several books on music,…
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Artist Biography by Craig Harris

The intuitive vision of al-Farabi (born: Abu Nasr Mohammad Ibn al-Farakh al-Farabi) left its mark in philosophy, sociology, political science and metaphysics. In addition to writing several books on music, including the influential Kita al-Musiqa, al-Farabi invented several musical instruments and helped to develop musical notation.

The son of a general, al-Farabi traveled to Baghdad for his higher education. While there, he gained a mastery of several languages. Although he spent extended periods in Damascus and Egypt and became a companion of Syrian prince Saif al-Daula, Baghdad remained his prime base for the remainder of his life. Working initially as a judge, al-Farabi left law to become a teacher. He is often referred to as "the second great teacher after Aristotle".

A prolific writer, al-Farabi wrote on a wide range of subjects. Although many of his books have been lost, one hundred and seventeen tomes are known including his most influential book, Ara Ahl al-Madina al-Fadila (The Model City).