was born c. 980 in Afšana, a village near Bukhara (in present-day Uzbekistan),
the capital of the Samanids,
a Persian dynasty in Central Asia and Greater
Khorasan. His mother,
named Setareh, was from Bukhara; his father, Abdullah, was a respected Ismaili scholar from Balkh, an important town of the Samanid
Empire, in what is today Balkh
His father worked at the government ofSamanid in the village Kharmasain. After five
years, his younger brother, Mahmoud, was born. Avicenna first began to learn
the Quran and literature in such a way that when
he was ten years old he had essentially learned all of them.
of theories have been proposed regarding Avicenna's madhab.
Medieval historian Ẓahīr al-dīn al-Bayhaqī (d. 1169) considered Avicenna to be
a follower of the Brethren of Purity. On the other hand,Dimitri Gutas along with Aisha Khan and Jules J.
Janssens demonstrated that Avicenna was a Sunni Hanafi. However, Shia faqih Nurullah Shushtari and Seyyed Hossein Nasr, in addition to Henry Corbin,
have maintained that he was most likely a Twelver Shia. Also Sharaf Khorasani,
According to rejecting invitation of Sunni Governor Sultan Mahmoud Ghazanavi by
Avicenna, believes that Avicenna was a Shiite besides that His Family were
Ismaili Shiite. Similar disagreements exist on the
background of Avicenna's family, whereas some writers considered them Sunni,
more recent writers thought they were Shia.
to his autobiography, Avicenna had memorised the entire Quran by the age of 10. He learned Indian arithmetic from an Indian greengrocer,ءMahmoud
Massahi and he began to learn more from a
wandering scholar who gained a livelihood by curing the sick and teaching the
young. He also studied Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) under the Sunni Hanafi scholar Ismail al-Zahid. Avicenna taught some extent of
philosophy books such as Introduction (Isagoge)'s Porphyry (philosopher), Euclid's Elements, Ptolemy's Almagest by an unpopular philosopher, Abu
Abdullah Nateli, who claimed philosophizing.
teenager, he was greatly troubled by the Metaphysics of Aristotle,
which he could not understand until he read al-Farabi's
commentary on the work. For the next year and a half, he
in which he encountered greater obstacles. In such moments of baffled inquiry,
he would leave his books, perform the requisite ablutions, then go to the
mosque, and continue in prayer till light broke on his difficulties.
Deep into the night, he would continue his studies, and even in his dreams
problems would pursue him and work out their solution. Forty times, it is said,
he read through the Metaphysics of Aristotle, till the words were
imprinted on his memory; but their meaning was hopelessly obscure, until one
day they found illumination, from the little commentary by Farabi,
which he bought at a bookstall for the small sum of three dirhams. So great was
his joy at the discovery, made with the help of a work from which he had
expected only mystery, that he hastened to return thanks to God, and bestowed
alms upon the poor.
to medicine at 16, and not only learned medical theory, but also by gratuitous
attendance of the sick had, according to his own account, discovered new
methods of treatment. The teenager achieved full status as a qualified
physician at age 18, and found that "Medicine is no
hard and thorny science, like mathematics and metaphysics,
so I soon made great progress; I became an excellent doctor and began to treat
patients, using approved remedies." The youthful physician's fame spread
quickly, and he treated many patients without asking for payment.
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