Farabi, al- (äl-färäˈbē) [key], d. 950, Islamic philosopher. He studied in Baghdad and later flourished in Aleppo as a sufi mystic (see Sufism). He died in Damascus. Al-Farabi was the author of an encyclopedic work drawn largely from Aristotle; he was one of the earliest Islamic thinkers to develop a philosophical method reconciling Aristotle and Islam, though he believed human reason to be superior to revelation. Political theory was one of his major concerns; he believed that the philosopher was the proper ruler of the state. In his own philosophy he is clearly influenced by Neoplatonism, especially that of the Greek school of Alexandria. A renowned musician, he is considered the greatest Islamic music theorist. He is known in the West by the name Alfarabius.
See bibliography by N. Rescher (1962).
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