May 23, 2024


Al-Kindi was a famous scientist and philosopher of the golden days of the Muslim world. His full name is ‘Abu Yusuf Yaqub Ibn Ishaq al-Sabbah Al-Kindi’ but he is known as ‘Al Kindi’ most. This famous Arab thinker is known as ‘Alkindus’ in the western world.

He was a philosopher, scientist, astronomer, cosmologist, chemist, logician, mathematician, musician, physicist, psychologist and meteorologist. Although he excelled in various branches of knowledge, he was more famous for his expertise in philosophy. Besides, he played the role of pioneer in many branches of science.


Al-Kindi was born in 801 AD in the Kindah tribe of southern Arabia. This Kindah clan was famous in the Arab world at that time for its status, culture and education. Born in the Kindah tribe, Kindi is added to his name.

He spent his childhood and primary education in the city of Kufa.


Al Kindi’s grandfather “Al-Ash’ath Ibn Qays” and father “Ishaq Ibn Al-Sabbah” were both important figures of the time.

‘Al-Ash’ath Ibn Qays’ accepted Islam and was one of the Companions of the Prophet. Al-Kindi’s father “Ishaq ibn al-Sabbah” was the governor of Kufa during the Caliphate of the Abbasid Caliph-Al-Rashid. Kufa and Basra were then two rival centers of Islamic culture. Kufa was the practice of intellectual or rational thought. Basra was the greatest center of theological thought.

Educational Life

Al Kindi’s primary education began in the city of Kufa, but he later moved to Baghdad for higher education. Al-Kindi memorized the Al-Quran according to the syllabus during his childhood. Besides this he studied Arabic grammar, literature and elementary mathematics.

He then studied Fiqh Shastra. Instead of studying to become a military officer or ruler, he turned to learning. The environment of Kufa inspired him in this regard. He completed his education in Kufa and went to Basra to acquire further knowledge.

Basra was a highly developed center of knowledge at this time. From here the Mu’tazila and Ash’ari sects originated. No information is available about his location, activities and education in Basra. However, it is known that after receiving education in Basra, he moved to Baghdad.

His educational career in Baghdad was very significant. Here he mastered Greek and Egyptian and came in contact with many Syrian and Persian scholars. He is said to have learned the mysticism of Greek philosophy and science in Baghdad.

Al-Kindi is perhaps one of the few prominent Arab thinkers who correctly trace their etymology to Greek and Egyptian. His profound knowledge of Greek, Persian and Indian literature brought him wide fame in Baghdad.

Baitul Hikma Al-Kindi’

This library named ‘Baytul Hikma’ was built by ‘Khalifa Harun al Rashid’ in Baghdad, Iraq for the purpose of learning during the Abbasid Caliphate.

Baitul Hikma is considered a major intellectual center of the Islamic Golden Age. which reached its highest peak during the reign of Caliph ‘Al-Mamun’.

Al-Kindi’s importance in Baitul Hikma was due to the caliphs commissioning him to translate Greek science and philosophy texts into Arabic. And he did his duty well.

Al Kindi in Science

Al-Kindi was the first to work on the Indian numeral system and introduced it to the Muslim worlds. With a particular interest in cryptology and cryptanalysis, Gupta also discovered several new mathematical methods for deciphering cryptic signals, including frequency analysis.

Al-Kindi in Medical Sciences

Al Kindi’s contribution to medical science is unique. He used his medical knowledge to set a scale for doctors. With this scale doctors can measure the effectiveness of their prescribed drugs. He was the first to experiment with music therapy.

Al Kindi in philosophy

Al-Kindi’s best philosophical work is On First Philosophy, which many call the ‘Study of God’. Al-Kindi tried to study the Creator. He believed that the Creator was the cause of all earthly existence. And so all worldly philosophy is rooted in contemplation of the Creator.

Original copy of this book was handwritten by Kindi. Its manuscript is preserved in Istanbul, Turkey. Also 270 books written by Al-Kindi have been found so far. Al-Kindi’s ideas about the method of philosophical application are quite fundamental.

He did not suggest arriving at philosophical conclusions through mere meditation or meditation. He believed that accurate and reliable knowledge must be resorted to in order to arrive at sound philosophical conclusions. That is why he favored the use of mathematical methods in philosophy.

In this respect, he resembles René Descartes, the father of modern philosophy. In his explanation of knowledge, Kindi introduced three separate entities: sense, intellect, and imagination. According to him, it is through the senses that man acquires experience and the intellect gives rise to wisdom. But imagination brings harmony between the two.

Immanuel Kant’s synthetic judgments is similar to this doctrine. His philosophy and scientific practice were heavily influenced by the Greeks. Notable among his many achievements was the introduction of Greek and Hellenistic philosophy to the Arab world.

Kindi is considered one of the greatest philosophers in Arab history. Many directly call him the ‘Philosopher of the Arabs’. Al-Kindi was also the first to state that not all laws of physics apply to all cases. Which was proved much later by the great scientist Albert Einstein.

Plato’s influence can also be seen in Kindy’s thinking about the soul. He believed that soul and body are two completely separate entities. Atman is the best of these. All work originates from the soul, the work of the body is simply to obey the soul’s instructions. He called God a self-conscious soul.

The concept of al-Kindi’s philosophical application is quite basic. He did not advocate arriving at philosophical conclusions by mere meditation or analogy. He believed that accurate and reliable knowledge must be resorted to in order to arrive at sound philosophical conclusions.

In addition to al-Kindi’s reputation for depth of knowledge, some writers of the time also speak of his notoriety for his philanthropy. Some try to identify him as a Jew, some as a Christian. These were mere insults because his father’s identity was proof of that. Although Al-Kindi was a man of personable, dignified and devoted knowledge, the hatred of those who envied him could not dim his great contribution.

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