Al-Kindi is widely considered as the foremost Arabic thinker who lived between 801 AD and 873 AD in Baghdad and Kufa (in modern day Iraq). He was chosen by the Abbasid Caliphs to help translate Greek philosophical and scientific works into Arabic. This was when he came up with a number of original treatises that included a wide range of topics including pharmacology and mathematics. The interesting aspect of his works is that a vast majority of his philosophical outputs dealt with theological subjects like prophetic knowledge, the soul, the nature of God, etc.
A lot of credit has to go to Al Kindi for making his own philosophies available to several Muslim intellectuals. However, the saddest part is that most of his philosophies were overshadowed by Al-Farabi’s philosophies and that his works have remained unavailable for modern day scholars to read and understand. According to many Muslim intellectuals, the great Arab philosopher is believed to have written more than 260 books on a variety of niches including physics, logic, philosophy, medicine and geometry. The best part is that his teachings have had an ever lasting influence on several people for many centuries.
Most popular quotes from Al-Kindi:
1. “The most sublime and noble of human acts is the art of philosophy, which is defined as the knowledge of things in their realities to the limit of human power. The purpose of the philosopher in his knowledge is to arrive at the truth and in his action to act in accordance with the truth.”
Meaning: The quote highlights the importance of truth. It also indicates how a philosopher can use his vast knowledge to seek truth and use it for the betterment of mankind.
2. “We should not be ashamed of recognizing truth and assimilating it from whatever source it may reach us, even though it might come from earlier generations and foreign peoples. For him who seeks truth there is nothing of more value than truth itself. It never cheapens or abases him who searches for it, but ennobles and honors him.”
Meaning: There is absolutely no harm is trying to find out truth and its origin. There is a lot of value in truth and in person who seeks it. It does not matter from where the truth originates, it will always succeed. Even the person who embraces truth will be honored.
3. “He who minds his tongue will have many a supporter.”
Meaning: Just as it is important to seek knowledge, it is important to use right words to express it. If you are able to speak correctly, without hurting anyone else’s sentiments then you will have many admirers. The knack of putting across your knowledge to others without hurting them is a wonderful ability to have, irrespective of who you are.
4. “He, who is driven by greed, is always accompanied by need.”
Meaning: It is only when you have a need; you will feel the necessity to fulfill it. This is when the greed develops in you.