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(Critical Survey of Ethics and Literature)

0111200120-Avicenna.jpg Avicenna (Library of Congress) Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Avicenna happily acknowledged his debt to Aristotle and al-Fârâbî, but he was also an original thinker. His distinctive ethical concern with the relation between individual beings and Pure Being (which was to become important for Saint Thomas Aquinas, John Duns Scotus, and others) focused on the fate of the soul after bodily death. The being of individual things is utterly dependent on Pure Being, from which one came and to which, if one is to attain bliss, one returns. That return is ensured only by rigorous study, which overcomes attachment to this world of change and purifies the soul so that it can be immersed in the Light of Being.

Although he was sometimes a commentator on Aristotle (frequently, in al-Shifâ’), Avicenna also wrote mystical allegories and poetry that suggest a strong affinity with his Sufi contemporaries.