The Life and Works of Al-Kindi (Al Kindi)June 26, 2021
Ebû Yûsuf Ya’kub b., who received the title of “first Islamic philosopher” because he started a philosophy movement in addition to the kalam movement in Islamic society. Isaac b. Sabbah al-Kindi was born into a noble family in Kufa, Iraq. Ya’kub in the name chain is the name of the philosopher, Ishak is his father, Sabbah is his grandfather, Abu Yusuf is his nickname, and al-Kindi is his nisbe.
Since the ancestors of the philosopher were originally from the Kinde region of South Arabia and ruled this region for a long time in the pre-Islamic period, they are referred to as Kindi. This family undertook important state duties in the Umayyad and Abbasid periods after Islam, as well as before Islam, and his father, Isaac, was the governor of Kufa for years. Although his exact date of birth is unknown, research shows that Kindi may have been born in the early ninth century.
Kindi lost his father at a young age and spent his childhood and early youth in Kufe and Basra. It is known that he was intensely interested in language and literature while continuing his traditional education. It is understood that Kindi, who lived in the period when the Kalam movement was shaped as an independent science in the hands of Mu’tazila, greatly benefited from the Basra branch of this school in the development of his mind and dialectical ability. The philosopher, who later settled in Baghdad, lived in this city until his death. In a short time, the caliph al-Ma’mun’s appreciation and acceptance to the palace gave him the opportunity to participate in religious, literary, scientific and philosophical meetings and discussions held in the palace, thus getting to know many distinguished people closely. As mentioned in the previous unit, the philosopher, who also had close relations with the Beytülhikme staff, established a private library in Baghdad, called the “Kindî Library”, where copyrighted and translated works are mostly in the field of mental sciences.
Kindi is a pioneer in the history of science as well as in the history of philosophy. For example; In a treatise he wrote, it is important that he revealed that alchemy, which aimed to turn metals such as iron and copper into gold and silver by means of potions, and led to abuses that lasted for centuries, was a deception and a so-called science. He also became a pioneer in the field of optics with his works on the production of mirrors that burn/burn by the propagation and reflection of light.
As a philosopher, astronomer and astrologer, who received close attention and support from the Abbasid caliphs, he also served as an astrologer in the palace. In addition, Kindi, who undertook the education of Ahmed, the son of Caliph Mu’tasim, wrote a significant part of his works at the request of this crown prince, who had a friendship-based relationship beyond the teacher-student relationship, and dedicated it to him.
Like Kindi’s date of birth, we do not have exact information about his death date. Although different dates such as 860, 869, 870 and 873 are given as the year of the philosopher’s death, Mustafa Abdurrâzık states that the philosopher may have died in 866 by showing some reasons; In addition, some sources say that chronic rheumatic diseases caused his death (Kaya, 2002: 3-6).
Medicine, mathematics, astronomy, metaphysics, politics, psychology, dialectics, astrology, divination etc. Kindi, who is interested in almost all branches of knowledge, both theoretical and practical, within the scope of pre-modern philosophy, has written up to 277 works in all fields. The address and prayer sentences in the introductory part of the works, most of which are a few-page booklet or article (risâle), show that the philosopher wrote some of his treatises at the request of his friends and students.
Kindi’s works have been subjected to various classifications in terms of their content, and accordingly, various lists have been created and the names of books and treatises varying between 224 and 281 have been included. In this context, Richard J. McCarthy carried out the most comprehensive study on Kindi’s books with his bibliographical work et-Tesânîfü’l-mensûbe ila feylesûfi’l-Arab (Baghdad 1382/1962); At the end of his work Al-Kindi: The Philosopher of the Arabs (Rawalpindi 1966) (pp. 148-207), George N. Atiyeh introduced the corpus, whose number he determined as 270, based on McCarthy, as well as classical sources.
According to McCarthy’s findings, 17 of Kindi’s works were translated into Latin, 4 into Hebrew, and in the modern period 5 were translated into German, 4 into Italian, and two into English and French. ; Thus, Kindi became well-known and influential in both medieval and modern Europe.
Abdülhâdî Ebû Rîde, fourteen of the works related to philosophy in a journal (Hagia Sophia, nr. 4832) in the Süleymaniye Library, as the first volume under the title of Resâilü’l-Kindî el-philsefiyye I (Cairo 1369/1950); Three years later, he published eleven treatises in the field of natural sciences as the second volume (Cairo 1372/1953). Mahmut Kaya translated the fourteen treatises in the first volume of this study into Turkish and published them under the title of Philosophical Treatises (Istanbul 1994); Later, two more treatises and three more parts containing the philosophy of the philosopher were added to Kindî-Philsef.