Ibn Tufayl

Pages: 160
Subject: Biography, Religion
Series: Makers of the Muslim World
Imprint: Oneworld

Ibn Tufayl

Living the Life of Reason

Taneli Kukkonen

A timely biography of Ibn Tufayl that sets one of the most famous Arabic philosophical works - Hayy ibn Yaqdhan - in its historical and philosophical context
9781780745640 (6 Nov 2014)
RRP £30.00 / US$40.00

The Book

The latest in the acclaimed Makers of the Muslim World series (Series Editor: Patricia Crone).  Makers of the Muslim World is the first series devoted to the men and women throughout history who have made a significant contribution to the political, intellectual and religious landscape of the Muslim world. Each title combines first-rate scholarship with a strong emphasis on readability, and will serve as a perfect introduction for academic and lay readers alike. 

Ibn Tufayl (d. 1185) was an Andalusian courtier, philosopher, Sufi master, and royal physician to the Almohad Caliphs. He inspired the twelfth-century Andalusian revolt against Ptolemaic astronomy and sponsored the career of the most renowned Aristotelian of medieval times, Abu al-Walid Ibn Rushd (the Latin Averroes). Ibn Tufayl was an exemplar of the kind of versatile scholar early Almohad culture wanted to cultivate.

In this thought provoking and concise account, Taneli Kukkonen explores the life and thought of Ibn Tufayl and assesses the influence and legacy of Hayy Ibn Yaqzan, Ibn Tufayl's famous philosophical romance. Hayy Ibn Yaqzan became a popular and often-copied work in early modern Europe; it has since secured a place as one of the best read pieces in all Arabic literature, partly due to its outstanding literary qualities, in part because it provides an ideal introduction to the themes and preoccupations of classical Arabic philosophy. The study sets Hayy in its historical and philosophical context and paints a vivid portrait of the world as Ibn Tufayl saw it and as he wished for it to be seen.


Additional Information

Subject Biography, Religion
Series Makers of the Muslim World
Pages 160
Imprint Oneworld

About the Author

Taneli Kukkonen has held appointments at the universities of Victoria, Jyväskylä, and Otago. He is currently Visiting Associate Professor in Philosophy at New York University Abu Dhabi. He has published widely on topics in Arabic philosophy and the Aristotelian tradition.


‘Taneli Kukkonen's study is not only a superb introduction to Ibn Tufayl and his work, but it also provides a succinct overview of Islamic philosophical thought at large…his exposition [is] admirably lucid and, indeed, entertaining.'

- LA Review of Books

Scholars and students of Ibn Ṭufayl will enjoy Kukkonen's introduction. Indeed his observation that Ibn Ṭufayl's "casual asides and narrative detours can be just as fascinating to us as what he is ultimately driving at" may equally be made of his own book.

- Journal of the History of Philosophy