Al-Farabi is a scientist whose name seems to be known by every school student. The scientific works of a great philosopher recognized by the entire international community have made an invaluable contribution to science, Professor Zhakypbek Altayev said. He added that the life, scientific legacy, and spiritual world of the philosopher still draw the attention of researchers from different parts of the world. All of Al-Farabi’s works have been supplemented since his death. To date, there is even such a direction in philosophy and science as ‘Farabitanu’ (Studying of Al-Farabi), which can be divided into five main groups.
“The first group includes the works of Arab and Persian scientists. The second group consists of the enormous contribution made in the 19th and 20th centuries by the scientists, who studied the works of Al-Farabi, from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and Afghanistan. The third group consists of Western scholars. Interest in the legacy of Al-Farabi arose there in 15th century. While the fourth group of scientists includes orientalists and tsarist Russia researchers, and later Soviet times researchers, then the fifth group includes scholars from a number of Turkic-speaking countries. The study of Al-Farabi’s legacy began there in the middle of the last century,” Altayev said.
Al-Farabi wrote more than 160 treatises and spoke 70 languages. His greatest contribution to science was the combination of ancient heritage and Islam, which paved the way for the development of a new culture in the 12th and 13th centuries. Al-Farabi’s philosophical treatises were translated into Hebrew and Latin. Altayev said that medieval European countries got acquainted with classical Greek philosophy mainly through the works of Al-Farabi.
“For example, in the 12th century his work ‘Classification of Sciences’ was twice translated into Latin. ‘Alpharabius’, ‘Treatise on the essence of the soul’, ‘Basis of questions’ and his commentaries on the works of Aristotle ‘Physics’, ‘Poetics’, ‘Pursuit of happiness’, treatises on logic and other works written in the 12th century were also translated into Latin several centuries later. Some of Al-Farabi’s treatises have survived to this day only due to Latin translations, whereas many Arabic manuscripts, unfortunately, have not survived,” said Doctor of Philosophy Altayev.
He also said that in the 19th century the works of Al-Farabi drew interest among German scientists. Moritz Steinschneider was one of the first to publish his research entitled ‘Al-Farabi’. Friedrich Dieterici presented the works of the philosopher to German readers, and later to the whole Europe.
“In 1890, he published eight treatises of Al-Farabi in Arabic based on the manuscripts stored in London, Leiden and Berlin. Two years later, he translated them into German and published them as a separate book with a long preface,” Altayev said.
Although the works of the great scientist are over a thousand years old, his works have withstood the passage of time. Speaking of the origins of Al-Farabi, let us not forget that it is not only about the East and West. The great scientist is a native of Otyrar, said Altayev. It has already been proven that the homeland of Al-Farabi, who was often referred to as the ‘Second Teacher’, is the Kazakh land.