Philosophy of Happiness according to Al Farabi

There are many great Muslim figures recorded in history. One of them is a Muslim philosopher named Abu Nasr Al Farabi or known as Al Farabi.

Many historians suspect he was born somewhere in Central Asia around 878 AD and is likely of Persian origin. He was also known as Al-farabius by Latin scholars in the middle ages.

Al Farabi was a Muslim polymatic figure at the beginning of The Golden Age of Islam, which began in the late 9th century and lasted until about the middle of the 13th century. At that time, many Muslim scholars made great progress in the fields of science, philosophy, mathematics, and other fields.

Like other Muslim intellectuals of the time, Farabi’s influence lies not only in his original ideas but also because he helped preserve the ancient Greek scholarship available to the Muslim world after the Islamic conquest of the Levant in the 7th century. In particular, Al Farabi and his colleagues made the works of greek philosophers more accessible with their explanations.

Who is Al Farabi ?

Al Farabi grew up in Damascus and lived during the rule of the Abbasid Dynasty. Since he did not write an autobiography, his figure is more widely known from his ideas.

Many historians suspect his father was a military officer of Persian origin and he was probably born in what is now Afghanistan. While others believe he was born in Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan.

Farabi is portrayed as an introverted character who spends most of his time studying in the Abbasid capital, Baghdad. Some sources state he was influenced by Islamic sufi traditions and he spent time in the city of Bukhara now called Uzbekistan.

During his lifetime, Al Farabi worked as a jurist and academician. He produced many works on logic, metaphysics, ethics, politics, music, and medicine, and other fields.

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Al Farabi is best known for his commentary on Aristotle and the works of Plato that he published in his book entitled Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle.

The book includes summaries and interpretations of their works and deals with topics such as the origin of modern philosophy.

In his book The Attainment of Happiness,AlĀ  Farabi writes that the end point of logic is to achieve happiness because that is the purpose of life and the main reason for human existence. Therefore, everything that prevents a person from achieving happiness is evil.

The pursuit of happiness consists of four virtues, including theoretical (knowledge of what is right and good), deliberative (knowledge of how to achieve what is good), moral (desire for good), and practical action (behavior) to achieve what is good.

Al Farabi’s work was also influenced by Islamic theology and he distinguished between the worldly happiness and the happiness of the afterlife that Muslims fought for.

When describing the soul, Al Farabi combines religion with science. He adhered to Plato’s idea that the human psyche has three main parts, including appetite (our desires), spirit (our emotions), and rational (our reasoning) all of which must work together harmoniously.

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