I'm doing research about Averroes, especially his interest in medical sciences. And I want to know his interest motivation, indication, and his age when he started to study medicine.

I looked at what we call in Arabic literature Al-Tabaqat, specifically Ibn Abi Usaybi'a Book, and all what he mentioned is: He studied it with Abu Jafar Jarim al-Tajail and Avempace, no further helpful information related to what I'm seeking for.

So, I decided to track the history of his book al-Kulliyyāt, in the introduction of the modern arabic edition AlJabri said the book was written on 557 Hijri which equivalent to 1162 AD, that means he was 36/37 years old. This is a good indication about his early interest in medicine.

In conclusion, I want to know if there any reference mentioned why and when Averroes started to be interested in medicine?


1 Answer 1


Averroes, aka Ibn Rushd, came from a distinguished family of scholars, including his grandfather (same name) who was a famous judge. His interest in medicine seems to have developed from his interest in knowledge in general. Since he came from a wealthy family, he had access to books, and is said to have had a fascination with Aristotle and his teachings.

Ibn Rushd loved books. It is said that he never missed reading or writing except the day he got married and the day his father died. Therefore, it is not surprising that he was prolific and encyclopedic author. Ibn Rushd’s writings spread more than 20,000 pages, the most famous of which deal with philosophy, medicine, logic and jurisprudence. 1

He is better known for his non-medical (philosophical, religious, and legal) works, but wrote 20 books on medicine. Here is a passage that shows how he believed anatomical study strengthened the faith through revelation of the handiwork of God.

[T]he “practice of dissection strengthens the faith” due to his view of the human body as “the remarkable handiwork of God in his creation.” 1

Another source, states that his major medical work (as mentioned in the question), al-Kulliyyat ("Generalities"), was written between 1153 and 1169 and was influenced by Hippocrates and Galen.

Its subject matter leans heavily on Galen, and occasionally Hippocrates' name is mentioned. It is subdivided into seven books: Tashrih al-a'lda' ("Anatomy of Qrgans"), al-Sihha ("Health"), al-Marad ("Sickness"), al-'Alamat ("Symptoms"), al-Adwiya wa 'l-aghdhiya ("Drugs and Foods"), Hifz al-sihha ("Hygiene"), and Shifa al-amrad ("Therapy")


National Library of Medicine Article

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