Avicenna was a 10th century Polymath who lived during the era of Islamic Golden Age. He made significant contribution to philosophy and medicine. He was a proponent of Aristotelian philosophy. His notable work is a philosophical scientific encyclopedia called The Book Of Healing. He is also remembered for his book The Canon of Medicine, which remained in use centuries after his death.
Here are some of the most important quotes from his works:
avicenna quotes about life and death
Avicenna believed in a theocentric (centred on God) world. Therefore for him the natural and supernatural were in unity. His interests ranged from logic, mathematics and metaphysics to medicine. He even addresses matters of the soul (dihn) and classifies psychology as the study of soul.
- “Time is merely a feature of our memories and expectations.”-Avicenna
2. “An ignorant doctor is the aide-de-camp of death.”-Avicenna
3. “Width of life is more important than length of life.”-Avicenna
4. “The more brilliant the lightning, the quicker it disappears.”-Avicenna
5. “Is it the fault of wine if a fool drinks it and goes stumbling into darkness?”-Avicenna
6. “As to the mental essence, we find it in infants devoid of every mental form.”-Avicenna
7. “A horse is simply a horse.”-Avicenna
8. “That whose existence is necessary must necessarily be one essence.”-Avicenna
19. “When a thing standeth long in salt, it is salt, and if anything stand in a stinking place, it is made stinking; and if anything standeth with a bold man, it is made bold, and if it stand with a fearful man, it is made fearful.”-Avicenna
avicenna quotes about world
Avicenna was deeply concerned about logic, ethics and the metaphysical; which is spiritual. He also inspired William of Auvergne’s psychological theory. He also had considerable influence on the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas.
- “The world is divided into men who have wit and no religion and men who have religion and no wit.”-Avicenna
2. “It is in the nature of water … to become transformed into earth through a predominating earthy virtue; … it is in the nature of earth to become transformed into water through a predominating aqueous virtue.”-Avicenna
3. “Mountains have been formed by one [or other] of the causes of the formation of stone, most probably from agglutinative clay which slowly dried and petrified during ages of which we have no record. It seems likely that this habitable world was in former days uninhabitable and, indeed, submerged beneath the ocean. Then, becoming exposed little by little, it petrified in the course of ages.”-Avicenna
4. “Pure earth does not petrify, because the predominance of dryness over [i.e. in] the earth endows it not with coherence but rather with crumbliness. In general, stone is formed in two ways only (a) through the hardening of clay, and (b) by the congelation [of waters].”-Avicenna
5. “I despised my arrival on this earth and I despise my departure; it is a tragedy.”-Avicenna
avicenna quotes about soul
He was a devout Muslim and tried to originate his philosophy in strict reason. His spiritual takes on Islamic ideas of afterlife were taught in schools for centuries after. He wrote treatises on subject as diverse as cosmology, theology and philosophy. h
Here are some of quotes about the soul and the nature of existence:
- “The first premise is that you should know that in the world as a whole and in its parts, both upper and earthly, there is nothing which forms an exception to the facts that God is the cause of its being and origination and that God has knowledge of it, controls it, and wills its existence; “-Avicenna
2. ”It is all subject to His control, determination, knowledge, and will. This is a general and superficial account, although in these assertions we intend to describe it truly, not as the theologians understand it; and it is possible to produce proofs and demonstrations of that.”-Avicenna
3. ”Thus, if it were not that this world is composed of elements which give rise to good and evil things in it and produce both righteousness and wickedness in its inhabitants , there would have been no completion of an order for the world.”-Avicenna
4. ”For if the world had contained nothing but pure righteousness, it would not have been this world, but another one, and it would necessarily have had a composition different from the present composition; and likewise if it had contained nothing but sheer wickedness, it would not have been this world but another one. But whatever is composed in the present fashion and order contains both righteousness and wickedness.”-Avicenna
5. “The second premise is that according to the ancients Rewards is the occurrence of pleasure in the soul corresponding to the extent of its perfection, while Punishment is the occurrence of pain in the soul corresponding to the extent of its deficiency. So the soul’s abiding in deficiency is it’s ‘alienation from God the exalted’, and this is the ‘curse’ ‘the penalty’, [God’s] ‘wrath’ and ‘anger’, and pain comes to it from that deficiency; while its perfection is what is meant by [God’s] ‘satisfaction’, with it, its ‘closeness’ and ‘nearness’ and ‘attachment’. This, then, and nothing else is the meaning of ‘Reward’ and ‘Punishment’ according to them.”-Avicenna
6. “The third premise is that the resurrection is just the return of human souls to their own world: this is why God the Exalted has said, ‘O tranquil soul, return to your Lord, satisfied and satisfactory.’These are summary statements that need to be supported by their proper demonstrations.”-Avicenna
7. “As for praise and blame, these have just two objects. One is to incite a doer of good to repeat the like act which is willed to proceed from him; the second is to scare the one from whom the act has occurred from repeating the like of it, and [ensure] that the one from whom that act has not occurred will abstain from doing what is not willed to proceed from him, though it is in his capacity to do it.”-Avicenna
avicenna quotes about knowledge
Avicenna had rigorous knowledge of medicine, astronomy, cosmology and theology and was one of the greatest writers of Islamic Golden Age. He has written hundreds of books on medicine and theology.
Here are some Avicenna quotes about knowledge:
- “Absence of understanding does not warrant absence of existence.”-Avicenna
2. “The knowledge of anything, since all things have causes, is not acquired or complete unless it is known by its causes.”-Avicenna
3. “There are no incurable diseases – only the lack of will. There are no worthless herbs – only the lack of knowledge.”-Avicenna
4. “The soul is like a glass lamp, and knowledge
Is light (-giving fire), and the wisdom of God is the oil.
If it is lit, you are alive,
And if it is darkened, you are dead.” -Avicenna
5. “At night I would return home, set out a lamp before me, and devote myself to reading and writing. Whenever sleep overcame me or I became conscious of weakening, I would turn aside to drink a cup of wine, so that my strength would return to me. Then I would return to reading. And whenever sleep seized me I would see those very problems in my dream; and many questions became clear to me in my sleep. I continued in this until all of the sciences were deeply rooted within me and I understood them as is humanly possible. Everything which I knew at the time is just as I know it now; I have not added anything to it to this day. Thus I mastered the logical, natural, and mathematical sciences, and I had now reached the science.”-Avicenna
5. ”Now it is established in the sciences that no knowledge is acquired save through the study of its causes and beginnings, if it has had causes and beginnings; nor completed except by knowledge of its accidents and accompanying essentials. Of these causes there are four kinds: material, efficient, formal, and final.”-Avicenna
avicenna quotes about medicine
He is remembered most significantly for his medicinal work: The Book Of Healing and The Cannon of Medicine. Avicenna’s father too was a physician and his books were used as a medical guidebook for the centuries to come.
Here are some quotes from Avicenna about medicine and the body.
- “Often the confidence of the patient in his physician does more for the cure of his disease than the physician with all his remedies.”-Avicenna
2. “The theory of medicine, therefore, presents what is useful in thought, but does not indicate how it is to be applied in practice-the mode of operation of these principles. The theory, when mastered, gives us a certain kind of knowledge. Thus we say, for example, there are three forms of fevers and nine constitutions. The practice of medicine is not the work which the physician carries out, but is that branch of medical knowledge which, when acquired, enables one to form an opinion upon which to base the proper plan of treatment.”-Avicenna
3. “Pain is a sensation produced by something contrary to the course of nature and this sensation is set up by one of two circumstances: either a very sudden change of the temperament (or the bad effect of a contrary temperament) or a solution of continuity.”-Avicenna
4. “Medicine is the science by which we learn the various states of the human body in health and when not in health, and the means by which health is likely to be lost and, when lost, is likely to be restored back to health. In other words, it is the art whereby health is conserved and the art whereby it is restored after being lost. While some divide medicine into a theoretical and a practical [applied] science, others may assume that it is only theoretical because they see it as a pure science. But, in truth, every science has both a theoretical and a practical side.”-Avicenna
5. “Medicine considers the human body as to the means by which it is cured and by which it is driven away from health.”-Avicenna
6. “But the fact is that when wine is taken in moderation, it gives rise to a large amount of breath, whose character is balanced, and whose luminosity is strong and brilliant. Hence wine disposes greatly to gladness, and the person is subject to quite trivial exciting agents. The breath now takes up the impression of agents belonging to the present time more easily than it does those which relate to the future; it responds to agents conducive to delight rather than those conducive to a sense of beauty.”-Avicenna
7. “Medicine deals with the states of health and disease in the human body. It is a truism of philosophy that a complete knowledge of a thing can only be obtained by elucidating its causes and antecedents, provided, of course, such causes exist. In medicine it is, therefore, necessary that causes of both health and disease should be determined.”-Avicenna
8. “Leeches should be kept a day before applying them. They should be squeezed to make them eject the contents of their stomachs.”-Avicenna
9. “Therefore in medicine we ought to know the causes of sickness and health. And because health and sickness and their causes are sometimes manifest, and sometimes hidden and not to be comprehended except by the study of symptoms, we must also study the symptoms of health and disease.”-Avicenna
10. “When you do not know the nature of the malady, leave it to nature; do not strive to hasten matters. For either nature will bring about the cure or it will itself reveal clearly what the malady really is.”-Avicenna
11. “The different sorts of madness are innumerable.”-Avicenna
12. “I devoted myself to studying the texts the original and commentaries in the natural sciences and metaphysics, and the gates of knowledge began opening for me. Next I sought to know medicine, and so read the books written on it. Medicine is not one of the difficult sciences, and therefore, I excelled in it in a very short time, to the point that distinguished physicians began to read the science of medicine under me. I cared for the sick and there opened to me some of the doors of medical treatment that are indescribable and can be learned only from practice. In addition I devoted myself to jurisprudence and used to engage in legal disputations, at that time being sixteen years old.”-Avicenna
13. “The physical signs of measles are nearly the same as those of smallpox, but nausea and inflammation is more severe, though the pains in the back are less.”-Avicenna
avicenna quotes about god
The people who he was working in the late 10th century were enthusiastic about Greek sciences. He therefore propelled an idea of god which is known as the “proof of truthful”. He found links between Greek philosophy and Islamic scriptures.
- “In God alone, essence (what He is) and existence (that he is) coincide.”-Avicenna
2. “God, the supreme being, is neither circumscribed by space, nor touched by time; he cannot be found in a particular direction, and his essence cannot change. The secret conversation is thus entirely spiritual; it is a direct encounter between God and the soul, abstracted from all material constraints.”-Avicenna
3. “Those who deny the first principle should be flogged or burned until they admit that it is not the same thing to be burned and not burned, or whipped and not whipped.”-Avicenna
4. “Prayer is that which enables the soul to realize its divinity. Through prayer human beings worship absolute truth, and seek an eternal reward. Prayer is the foundation-stone of religion; and religion is the means by which the soul is purified of all that pollutes it. Prayer is the worship of the first cause of all things, the supreme ruler of all the world, the source of all strength. Prayer is the adoration of the one whose being is necessary.”-Avicenna