Al-Farabi's Doctrine of Education: Between Philosophy and Sociological Theory
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By Professor 'Ammar al-Talbi 1
Note of the editor
The following text was originally published as: "Al-Farabi (259-339 AH/872-950 AD)" by Professor 'Ammar al-Talbi in the series "Thinkers on Education" published by Prospects: the quarterly review of comparative education (Paris, UNESCO: International Bureau of Education), vol. 23, no. 1/2, 1993, pp. 353-372; ©UNESCO, 2000. Our republishing of the article relies on the authorisation embedded by the publisher according to which the document may be reproduced free of charge as long as acknowledgement is made of the source. The version we republish hereafter was edited and revised; we publish it with a slightly different title, new images and captions. Click here for the original version (in PDF format).
Table of contents
1. Al-Farabi: A Biographical outline
2. The aims of education
3. What is education?
4. Teaching methods
5. The teacher and the learner
6. The curriculum
7. Philosophy, the queen of disciplines
8. Ways and means of elucidation in teaching
10. The influence of Al-Farabi
11.1. Works by Al-Farabi
11.2. Works about Al-Farabi
* * *
Throughout the ages thinkers have raised the question of what the human being ought to learn in order to be in tune with his own epoch, to live intelligently in society, and to be a citizen bringing benefit both to himself and to the community; hence the importance of education. It is the aim of education which takes precedence, only then come the means to realize these aims.
For the most part, it is philosophy which is concerned with defining these aims, and here it may come into direct conflict with religion; the Islamic civilization has experienced numerous controversies between religious lawyers (fuqaha) and philosophers in this respect, each with his own opinion about gnoseology.
The aim of this paper is to present the attitudes to education of Abu Nasr al-Farabi within the framework of his philosophical system, an aspect of his work about which little was known, since researchers have been more interested in the logical, metaphysical and political aspects, to the neglect of his educational concepts. However, scholars do know that al-Farabi studied Plato's Republic and this work, by which he was most certainly influenced, deals mainly with education, as is now accepted by historians of philosophy . It is even more unlikely that al-Farabi could have been unaware of this dimension of Plato's philosophy since he made a summary of Plato's Laws, a work which we know expresses his final thoughts on education.
1. Al-Farabi: A Biographical outlineSo who is al-Farabi, and what is his contribution to education?
Al-Farabi was born in Wasij, in the province of Farab in Turkestan, in 872 AD (259 AH) of a noble family. His father, of Persian origin, was an army commander at the Turkish court. Al-Farabi moved to Baghdad, where he studied grammar, logic, philosophy, music, mathematics and sciences; he was a pupil of the great translator and interpreter of Greek philosophy, Abu Bishr Matta b. Yunus (d. 942/329) in Baghdad; he then studied under Yuhanna b. Haylan, the Nestorian (d. 941/328), in Harran. Thereby he is affiliated to the Alexandrian school of philosophy which had been located at Harran, Antakya and Merv, before definitively settling in Baghdad. As a result of these years of study, he accumulated such knowledge of philosophy that he earned the name of the ‘Second Teacher', by reference to Aristotle, the ‘First Teacher'.
He moved to Aleppo in the year 943 (330) and became part of the literary circle in the court of Sayf al-Dawla Hamdani (d. 968/356). Al-Farabi was given to wandering on his own in the countryside to reflect and to write, and it was probably his despair at reforming his society that inclined him towards Sufism. His travels brought him to Egypt and it was in Damascus in 950 (339) that he died at the age of 80 .
Al-Farabi had a great desire to understand the universe and humankind, and to know the latter's place within the former, so as to reach a comprehensive intellectual picture of the world and of society. He undertook the meticulous study of ancient philosophy, particularly of Plato and Aristotle, absorbing the components of Platonic and neo-Platonic philosophy, which he integrated into his own Islamic-Arabic civilization, whose chief source is, as we all know, the Qur'an and the various sciences derived from it.
Al-Farabi represents a turning-point in the history of Islamic philosophical thought, since he was the true first founder of epistemology which relies upon ‘universal reason' and the demonstrations he gave. The intellectual, political and social circumstances prevailing in his day no doubt explain his approach since, in fact, he lived in a historical period of great turmoil, during which the central Islamic caliphate was torn apart into independent states and principalities in both the east and west; and sects and schools of thought (madhahib) sprang up undermining the nation's intellectual and political unity (oumma). Thus al-Farabi's concern was to restore unity to Islamic thought by confirming the gnoseology based on demonstration.
He established logic within Islamic culture, and this is why he is known as the ‘Second Teacher', as already mentioned. He was also engaged in restoring unity in politics , making political science the core of his philosophy, basing himself on the system of rules which governs nature and on the Qur'an which emphasized the relationship between gnoseology and values (axiology). He believed the first aim of knowledge was knowledge of God and his attributes, a knowledge which has a profound effect on the human being's moral conduct and helps him to find the way to the ultimate aim of his existence, while indirectly arousing the intellect so that it should achieve wisdom, which al-Farabi held to be the highest level of intellectual attainment permitted to human beings in this life . Thus the core of his philosophy came to be the unity of society and of the State to be achieved by unity of thought, wisdom and religion, each of these being the foundations of the community's government, which should be the same as the unity and order found in the universe. Indeed, al-Farabi often compares the order and unity of the city to that of the universe. Philosophy and religion were for him simply two expressions of a single truth, the variance between them being only in the form of expression: philosophy explains religion and provides proof of it; it is neither in conflict nor in contradiction with it. Therefore we find him also bringing together the philosophy of Plato and of Aristotle to explain the unity of intellect; for, in his opinion, there is a general unity of thought between Plato and Aristotle, the disparities being mere details.
It is especially important to note here that al-Farabi described something that was taboo in the Hellenistic era: namely, the logical category called ‘demonstration' whose social and educational function he illustrated in the formation of the mind and of political awareness.
2. The aims of education
In fact, education is one of the most important social phenomena in al-Farabi's philosophical system. It is concerned with the human soul and makes sure that the individual is prepared from an early age to become a member of society, to achieve his own level of perfection, and thus to reach the goal for which he was created. However, while it is true that there are no writings specifically devoted to education in al-Farabi's books, anyone who follows his writings with care will come upon various texts scattered here and there containing clear educational elements corresponding to his overall philosophical views, which incline to integrate separate concepts and thoughts into a ‘unified world view'.
Figure 2: Abu Nasr al-Farabi depicted on 1 Kazakhstani Tenge (issued in 1993) (Source).
Indeed, the whole activity of education, in al-Farabi's view, can be summed up as the acquisition of values, knowledge and practical skills by the individual, within a particular period and a particular culture. The goal of education is to lead the individual to perfection since the human being was created for this purpose, and the goal of humanity's existence in this world is to attain happiness, which is the highest perfection—the absolute good .
The perfect human being (al-insan al-kamil), thought al-Farabi, is the one who has obtained theoretical virtue—thus completing his intellectual knowledge—and has acquired practical moral virtues—thus becoming perfect in his moral behaviour. Then, crowning these theoretical and moral virtues with effective power, they are anchored in the souls of individual members of the community  when they assume the responsibility of political leadership, thus becoming role models for other people. Al-Farabi unites moral and aesthetic values: good is beautiful, and beauty is good; the beautiful is that which is valued by the intelligentsia . So this perfection which he expects from education combines knowledge and virtuous behavior; it is happiness and goodness at one and the same time.
Theoretical and practical perfection can only be obtained within society, for it is society that nurtures the individual and prepares him to be free. If he were to live outside society, he might only learn to be a wild animal . Then, one of the goals of education is the creation of the ideal community, ‘the one whose cities all work together in order to attain happiness' .
One of the aims of education is the formation of political leaders, because ‘ignorance is more harmful in monarchs than it is in the common people' . So, in al-Farabi's view, just as the body needs food and the ship must have a captain, moral conduct must proceed from the soul and the citizens have a real need for a leader who conducts an acceptable policy, directing their affairs in a praiseworthy manner and improving their situation. There is integration between the individual, the family and the city in social life: ‘What we say about all cities is also true of the single household, and of each person' . The political leader, al-Farabi considers, has the function of a doctor who treats souls and his political skill is to the wellbeing of the city what the physician's skill is to bodily health. The work of the politician should not be restricted to the organization and management of cities, inasmuch as he encourages people to help one another in achieving good things and overcoming evil; he must use his political skills to protect the virtues and praiseworthy activities that he has been encouraging in the citizens  so that they are free of failings. Among the other characteristics of the political leader is the ‘consultative faculty', in other words ‘an intellectual capacity by which he can draw out what is most beneficial and most fair in the search for the good among others' .
The soundness of the city is a reflection of ‘the good balance of morals among its people' , and achieving this balance is one of the most important aims of education. When moral behavior declines and there is doubt over behavior and opinions, the absence of these common values governing people's conduct disturbs the city. Morality, then, is a fundamental objective of education. Al-Farabi defines virtues as ‘states of mind in which the human being carries out good and kind deeds. [...] They can be either ethical or rational; the latter are virtues of the rational element in the intelligent human being, such as wisdom, common sense, inventiveness and cleverness. The ethical virtues are, among others, temperance, courage, generosity and justice' . These virtues in the individual must be internalized in the soul so that a person is ready to act upon them ‘to earnestly desire them and, rather than being harmed by them, finds them attractive [...] so that he pursues always those ends which are truly good and makes them his goal' .
Among the other aims assigned to education, al-Farabi includes ‘proficiency in the arts', because, in his view, perfection in theoretical and practical arts is one of the expressions of wisdom; for the wise are ‘those who are very proficient in the arts, and reach perfection in them' .
Thus, in al-Farabi's view, one of the goals of education is to combine learning with practical action, for the purpose of knowledge is that it should be applied, and perfection lies in its being transformed into action: ‘Whatever by its nature should be known and practiced, its perfection lies in it actually being practiced' . The sciences have no meaning unless they can be applied in practical reality, otherwise they are void and useless. The real practical sciences ‘are those which are linked to readiness for action'  and absolute perfection is ‘what the human being achieves through knowledge and action applied together' . Moreover, if the speculative sciences are learned without having the opportunity to apply them, this wisdom is marred .
Concerning the realization of these aims and the supervision of education and teaching, al-Farabi agrees with Plato and the ‘Twelver Shi'a' that it is the priest, ruler or philosopher who should be responsible . And since the lawgiver is also the ruler, al-Farabi concludes that the law has an educational function: ‘The meaning of imam, in Arabic, indicates one whose example is followed, one who is well-regarded'  . Issuing laws for society does not simply mean ‘that citizens should be obedient and diligent, but also that they should have praiseworthy morals and acceptable behavior'  .
Therefore al-Farabi considers that the one who prescribes the laws must be bound by them himself before expecting others to conform to them: ‘The one who sets the laws must first follow them, and only then make them compulsory'  . For he would not be acceptable to those under his command, nor would they respect him, if they did not see him observing his own laws. In short, the law has an educational function since it leads to the inculcation of virtues when the leaders conform to it themselves and are seen as role models for the general public. For this purpose, the lawgiver must be trained from childhood in the affairs of State  , and the imam's or caliph's aim in legislation must be to please God. Only those whom God has prepared may make laws, including the Prophet, whom al-Farabi defines as: ‘He who lays down the practices and the holy laws, and admonishes the people by incitement and intimidation'  . The function of the caliph is to pursue the educational role previously undertaken by the Prophet.
Al-Farabi considers it a duty of the State to put aside a budget for education, taking a portion from the alms tax (zakat) and land tax (kharaj), as well as other State resources for this purpose: ‘Taxes and duties are of two kinds: one is taken to support mutual assistance and the other for the education of the young'  .
3. What is education?
Al-Farabi used a large number of technical terms to describe this concept: discipline (ta'dib) , correction/assessment (taqwim) , training (tahdhib) , guidance (tasdid) , instruction (ta'lim) , exercise or learning (irtiyad) , and upbringing or education (tarbiya) . Good manners or culture (adab), in his opinion, in their true educational meaning are the ‘combination of all the good qualities' , while discipline is the ‘way of creating the moral virtues, and the practical arts in the nations' . Instruction (ta'lim) is ‘creating the speculative virtues in nations and cities'. Al-Farabi distinguishes between instruction (ta'lim) and discipline (ta'dib). The former is the way of acquiring a theoretical culture, and is mainly verbal. The latter forms ethical conduct, and leads to technical or practical skills. They are therefore quite different.
Figure 3: Book cover of Al-Farabi, Founder of Islamic Neoplatonism: His Life, Works, and Influence by Majid Fakhry (Great Islamic Thinkers, Oneworld Publications, 2002).
But al-Farabi did not insist on this division, and on another occasion he defined instruction as including discipline . Al-Farabi divides instruction between ‘special' and ‘general'. The special is ‘that which is achieved exclusively by demonstration' . This kind of instruction is directed at the elite ‘who do not restrict themselves in their theoretical knowledge to what is expected by generally accepted opinions, because among nations, as among citizens, there is an elite and the general public. The general public designates those who are restricted in their theoretical knowledge -whether by obligation or not - to what is demanded by generally accepted opinions' .
It is the elite of the elite which exercises leadership . It is for this reason that the method of instruction is different: ‘Persuasive and descriptive methods are used in the instruction of common people and the masses in nations and cities; while demonstration methods [...] are used for instructing those who are destined to form part of the elite' , those who have been tested and found to have superior intelligence.
Al-Farabi believes that education is founded upon the basis of the human being having certain inborn aptitudes, which he calls ‘nature'; ‘in other words the power which the human being possesses at the moment of birth, and which he could not have acquired'. No normal human being lacks it, just as the whole is greater than the part . Al-Farabi also speaks about ‘primary science' and ‘primary principals' . He differs from Plato in that he gives a fundamental place to sensory perception. He describes the senses as ‘the paths whence the human soul gains knowledge' .
Knowledge thus begins with the senses, then becomes an intellectual conception by way of imagination, since whatever the soul understands contains an element of imagination. Knowledge originates with the senses . Al-Farabi drew attention to Aristotle's opinion in The Book of Demonstrations when he said: ‘Whosoever loses a sensory perception loses knowledge' . One function of the imagination is to preserve the sensory images  which, in the end, become intellectual possessions. Some of his views, dealing with what today we would call general psychology and educational psychology should be the subject of an interesting study . Although he deals with sensory knowledge, he considers that the senses are only instruments of the mind, for it is the mind which has the potential of understanding. He pointed to Plato's opinion that the nature of learning is based on ‘memory' and gives a metaphor of the concept of ‘equality' which, in his opinion, is fixed in the mind: confronted with a piece of wood which is equal to another piece of wood, we are aware of this equality, in other words the concept of ‘equality' is presented to the memory which compares it with the concept already in the mind. ‘Any learner proceeds in the same way by comparing it with what is already in his mind' . We find this too in al-Biruni (d. 1048/444): ‘Our learning is no more than remembering what we have learned in the past [...] forgetting is the passing away of knowledge, and learning is remembering what the soul knew before it came into the body' .
4. Teaching methods
As we have seen, al-Farabi considers that the method of instruction must be appropriate to the level of the learners, depending on whether people belong to the common people or the elite.
Figure 4: Page from the Latin translation by Gerard of Cremona of Al-Farabi's Kitab ihsa' al-'ulum. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds latin, MS 9335 (13th century). (Source).
Education, as he sees it, is necessary for every individual in the nation, since without it nobody would be able to reach perfection and happiness. So, if education must be available to all, the method of teaching should however be adapted according to the group it is intended for. There are two fundamental methods: the path of the common people, based on persuasion; the path of the elite, based on demonstration. Furthermore, the method of instruction may also vary according to the instructional material. Thus, teaching theoretical intellectual virtues is carried out by demonstration, while teaching practical arts and crafts is by way of persuasion.
The demonstrative path is achieved through speech. Aural instruction, according to al-Farabi's words, is therefore ‘that in which the teacher uses speech'  for matters which can be taught in this way. It leads to the acquisition of theoretical virtues. The persuasive method is conducted through speech and activity together, and is suitable for teaching the applied arts and moral virtues .
Following Plato's model, al-Farabi used the method of dialogue or debate , although he does not consider it as the only method to escape from the world of sensory perception to arrive at the world of intelligentsia—beginning with contradictory ideas to arrive at unity. He emphasized the importance of discussion and dialogue in instruction, and indicated two methods: the method of argument and the method of discourse; both of these ‘can be used orally or in writing' . When speaking to the common people, the methods used must be those closest to their powers of comprehension, enabling them to grasp what they are capable of understanding.
Al-Farabi defines the discourse of persuasion as: ‘persuading the listener with what will satisfy his mind, without reaching certainty' , as opposed to the demonstrative discourse ‘whereby it is sought to instruct the truth, and to explain it in such a way as to bring about precise knowledge' . Persuasion achieves its purpose when it leads to ‘the hearer doing things that he is convinced are true' . Similarly, the ability to produce an imaginative impression has an effect on poetry and other arts, such as music, so that: ‘the soul of the hearer will rise up to seek the thing imagined, or to flee from it; to be drawn to it or be repelled by it' . To sum up, the objective of the discourse method is simply to persuade without reaching certainty, which would require precise proof; while the objective of the demonstrative method is to gain precise knowledge based on reliable proof. As for the debating method, it is used to prevail over an adversary, to make a particular idea triumph, to take an opinion to its furthest point, so that even the opponent believes that it is true, without it necessarily being so. This method is used against stubborn people.
There is another kind of discourse used by al-Farabi which he calls ‘scientific discourse'; that ‘by which the knowledge of something is obtained'  either through asking questions about the thing, or from the replies obtained or, finally, by resolving a scientific problem .
Al-Farabi sums up all the foregoing in his book Al-Alfaz, saying that instruction has two aspects: the way of audition or learning based on speech; and the way of imitation which is based on observing other people's actions in order to imitate or apply them. Ibn Rushd agreed with him when he stated that ‘there are two sorts of learning: by speech and by imitation' , it being understood that the latter meant adopting a model and applying it.
Al-Farabi gives imagination a clear educational function, and makes ‘producing an imaginative impression' one way of instructing the common people in many of the concepts that are hard for them to grasp. So, the educator resorts to metaphors or appropriate illustrations . Indeed, it is natural for the common people to be restricted in their theoretical knowledge to what is required by generally accepted opinion. The teacher uses the methods of persuasion and suggestion . The power to represent things by their metaphors is useful in two fields: for instruction and guidance; and for confronting someone who stubbornly denies the way of truth .
In short, it can be said that for al-Farabi the elements of instruction can be summarized as: making something understood by establishing its meaning in the mind; and by creating acceptance of what has been understood. Understanding something implies that the essence of the thing has been comprehended by the intellect and that the thing can be represented by something that resembles it. Acceptance is also internalized in two ways: demonstration leading to certainty, which is the philosophical approach; or persuasion, which is the religious method .
One of the techniques that al-Farabi was concerned with is the one he called habituation, which he defined as: ‘a situation whereby the human being acquires a natural disposition or moves away from some haphazard disposition; by this I mean the frequent repetition of a particular action, at short intervals, over a long period of time' . Ethical virtues are acquired by habituation and repetition, until they form a deep-rooted pattern in the mind, whence issue excellent moral behaviours . An admirable character is attained by habituation, and the character is admirable when its actions are marked by moderation, with neither excess nor neglect . This, once again, is an Aristotelian view of the true nature of virtue and the way to acquire it, but al-Farabi demonstrates this theory by stating: ‘The fact that ethical morality is only attained by habit is shown by what we see in cities: the political leaders make the citizens good by making them used to good actions' . Habituation is not only a technique for teaching moral virtues, but can also be employed in teaching other things, such as writing: ‘Skill in writing is acquired only when the person copies the action of a skilful scribe, and so it is with all the arts' .
To sum up, the repetitive method is appropriate for teaching ethics and practical arts. This habituation takes place by persuasion and affective speech, which establishes them in the mind, so that the learners resolve to carry them out voluntarily themselves; and by way of coercion, which is used with ‘disobedient citizens who are not inclined to do what is right of their own accord, nor take any notice of what they are told; this method is used with any one of them who disobeys and continues until they grasp the theoretical sciences which are taught to them' .
Al-Farabi speaks of the way of freedom and the way of slavery and subjection. Obedience is freedom, while coercion is slavery and subjection . The ruler employs two types of virtuous people with technical competence to educate those, first, who accept to be disciplined voluntarily, or those, second, who need to be disciplined under duress. The same is true in families, for there are children who can be disciplined by gentleness and persuasion, and others with harshness. The total responsibility for this ‘education' lies with the ruler for ‘the monarch is the one who disciplines and teaches the nation' .
Al-Farabi mentions another method—‘learning by heart'—and divides it into two sections: learning words and expressions which the listener repeats until they are memorized, such as learning a language, the Qur'an and songs. The second goes further than simple rote learning and is designed to ‘inscribe the meanings of these expressions in the listener's soul' .
Al-Farabi was asked which was better, understanding or memorization and replied: ‘Understanding is better than memorization, because the action of memorization deals mainly with words and expressions, in other words with details [...], which could go on forever and are hardly useful, neither for individuals nor for classes. [...] But the action of understanding concerns meanings, universals and laws - defined matters, finite, and which are valid for all. To exert oneself in these matters is beneficial. This also applies to the actions peculiar to acquiring them, such as analogy, organization, policies and consideration of the consequences. If the human being learns only the details, he is not secure from going astray. [...] When he relies on principles and general concepts, and when some new matter is presented to him, he may refer to his understanding of the principles to compare one thing with another. So it is clear that understanding is better than memorization .'
The English translations of Arabic titles of al-Farabi's writings given in these ‘Notes' can be found in the ‘Works by al-Farabi' which follows.
 At the time of publication of this article Ammar al-Talbi (Algeria, retired now) was Head of the Department of Philosophy in the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences, University of Qatar. Formerly head of the Department of Philosophy in the Faculty of Human Sciences, dean of the Faculty of Islamic Sciences, both at the University of Algiers, and Director of the University Amir Abd al-Qadir at Constantine (Algeria). Author of numerous publications, such as: Ibn Badis: hayatuh wa-ara'uh [Ibn Badis: His Life and Opinions]; Ara' al-Khawarij al-kalamiya [The Theological Opinions of the Kharijites]; Ara Abu Bakr Ibn al-Arabi al-kalamiyya wa-naqduh lil-falsafa al-yunaniya [The Theological Opinions of Abu Bakr Ibn Arabi and His Appraisal of Greek Philosophy]; he was the editor of the publication A'azz ma yutlab [The Most Valuable Research] of Ibn Tumart, Mahdi of the Almohads.
 Edward Zeller, Outlines of the History of Greek Philosophy, New York, Dover Publications, 1980, p. 140.
 Tj. De Boer, Ta' rikh al-falsafa fi l-Islam [The History of Philosophy in Islam], translated by Mohammed ‘ Abd al-Hadi Abu Rida, Beirut, Dar al-nahda al-'arabiya, 1981, p. 191; Ibrahim Madkour, La place d'al-Farabi dans l' école philosophique musulmane [Al-Farabi's Place in the Muslim School of Philosophy], Paris, Maisonneuve, 1934; Henri Corbin, Ta'rikh al-falsafa alislamiya [The History of Islamic Philosophy], translated by Nasir Marwa and Hasan Qubaisi, Beirut, Manshurat ‘Awaidat, 1966, p. 241.
 Mohammed ‘Abid al-Jabiri, Takwin al-'aql al-'arabi, Beirut, Markaz dirasat al-wahda al-'arabiya, 1989, p. 241.
 Frederick Copleston, Philosophies and Cultures, London, Oxford University Press, 1980.
 Al-Farabi, Tahsil al-sa'ada, edited by Ja'afar Al Yasin, Beirut, Dar al-Andalus, 1983, p. 61.
 Ibid., p. 89.
 Al-Farabi, Talkhis nawamis Aflatun, edited by ‘Abd al-Rahman Badawi, in: Aflatan fi l-islam, Beirut, Dar al-Andalus, 1982, p. 54.
 Al-Farabi, Al-siyasa al-madaniya, edited by Fawzi al-Najjar, Beirut, Imprimerie catholique, 1964, p. 87; Al-Siyasa al-akhlaqiya, edited by Yuhanna Qamir, in: Al-Farabi, Beirut, Imprimerie catholique, 1954, p. 64.
 Al-Farabi, Mabadi' ahl al-madina al-fadila, edited by Albert Nusri Nadir, Beirut, Imprimerie catholique, 1959, p. 97.
 Al-Farabi, Talkhis nawamis Aflatan, in: Aflatan fa l-islam, op. cit. p. 55.
 Ibid., p. 57.
 Al-Farabi, Kitab al-milla, edited by Muhsin Mahdi, Beirut, Imprimerie catholique, 1968, p. 65.
 Al-Farabi, Tahsil, op. cit., p. 50.
 Al-Farabi, ‘Fusil mabadi' ahl al-madina al-fadila', in: Kitab al-milla, op. cit., p. 24.
 Ibid., p. 30; and Talkhis, op. cit., p. 40.
 Ibid., p. 34.
 Ibid., p. 54.
 Al-Farabi, Al-Tanbih ‘ala sabil al-sa'ada, edited by Ja'afar Al Yasin, Beirut, Dar al-manahil, 1987, p. 73.
 Al-Farabi, Al-Burhan, manuscript, Maktabat Michkat, Tehran University, No. 140/10, p. 174.
 Al-Farabi, Al-Da'awa al-qalbiya, Hyderabad, India, The Ottoman Encyclopedia, 1346 H, p. 11.
 Al-Farabi, Tahsil, op. cit., p. 89.
 Al-Farabi, Talkhis, op. cit., p. 62.
 Al-Farabi, Tahsil, op. cit., p. 93.
 Al-Farabi, Talkhis, op. cit., p. 57.
 Ibid., p. 42.
 Ibid., p. 43.
 Al-Farabi, Zaynun al-kabir, Hyderabad, India, The Ottoman Encyclopedia, 1346 H, p. 8.
 Al-Farabi, Talkhis, op. cit., p. 71.
 ‘Ta'dhab al-ahdath', in: Talkhas nawamas Aflatan, op. cit., p. 10.
 Talkhis, op. cit., pp. 10, 17, 45, 47; Tahsil, op. cit., pp. 84, 85.
 Ibid., p. 81.
 Ibid., pp. 17; tasdad al-anfus [the guidance of souls].
 Ibid., pp. 25-26; and Talkhis, op. cit., p. 64.
 Ibid., pp. 43, 45.
 Ibid., pp. 71, 82.
 Al-Farabi, ‘Al-As'ila al-lami'a wa-l-ajwiba al-jami'a', in: Kitab al-milla, op. cit., p. 96.
 Al-Farabi, Tahsil, op. cit., p. 78.
 Al-Farabi, Al-Burhan, op. cit., p. 175.
 Al-Farabi, Tahsil, op. cit., p. 78.
 42. Ibid., pp. 79, 86.
 Ibid., p. 87.
 Ibid., p. 88.
 Al-Farabi, Al-Tanbih ila sabal al-sa'ida, op. cit., p. 6.
 Ibid., p. 39.
 Tahsil, op. cit., p. 49.
 Al-Farabi, Al-Ta'liqat, Ed. Ja'afar al-Yasan, Beirut, Dar al-manahil, 1988, p. 39.
 Al-Farabi, Al-Thamra al-murdiyya fi al-rasa'il al-farabiya, edited by F. Dieterici, Leyden, Neudruck der. Ausgabe, 1890, p. 21.
 Al-Farabi, Ajwibat masa'il su'ila ‘anha, edited by F. Dieterici, Leyden, 1890, p. 97.
 According to Al-Farabi, in the psychological development of the child, the first to appear is the nutritional capacity, then the sensorial capacity, then the imagination, and finally the reasoning capacity or speech. Ara' ahl al-madana al-fadila, op. cit., p. 70.
 Al-Farabi, Al-Thamra, op. cit., p. 19; Al-Farabi is using Plato's Phaidon as a source.
 Al-Biruni, Ma li-'l-Hind min maqula maqbula fi 'l-'aql aw mardhula, edited by Edward Sachau, London, 1887, p. 28; here again Al-Farabi refers to Plato.
 Al-Farabi, Al-Alfaz al-musta'mala fi 'l-mantiq, edited by Muhsin Mahdi, Beirut, Dar al-Machriq, 1968, p. 86; Al-Burhan, op. cit., p. 178.
 Erwin I.J. Rosenthal, Studia Semitica, Islamic Themes, Vol. 11, London, Cambridge University Press, 1971, p. 97.
 Al-Farabi states: ‘the debate between the one asking the questions and the one replying', the purpose being to study and examine in order to ascertain the validity (of good things) and to make a choice, Talkhis, op. cit., pp. 40-41.
 Ibid., p. 19.
 Al-Farabi, in the Preface to his book on Logic, manuscript, Maktabat Michkat, Tehran University, No. 240/10, p. 121.
 Ibid., p. 121.
 Al-Farabi, Fusul tachtamil ala jami' ma yudhtarr ila ma'rifatihi man arada al-churu' fi sina'at almantiq, manuscript, Maktabat Michkat, Tehran University, No. 240/10, p. 63.
 Al-Farabi, Fusul, p. 63; Ihsa'al-'ulim, p. 67; ‘Qawanin al-chi'r' in: Kitab Aristutalis fa l-chi'r, edited by ‘Abd al-Rahman Badawi, Beirut, Dar al-thaqala, 1973, p. 151; Charh al-'ibara, Beirut, Imprimerie catholique, 1971, p. 52; Kitab al-musiqa al-kabir, edited by Ghattas ‘Abd-al-Malik Khashba and Mahmud Ahmad al-Hafni, Cairo, Dar al-kitab lil-tibi'a wa-l-nachr, 1967, p. 1184.
 Al-Farabi, Kitab al-huraf, edited by Muhsin Mahda, Beirut, Institut de lettres orientales, 1970, (Collection ‘Recherches'), p. 164.
 Ibid. On the whole, Al-Farabi considers that demonstrative discourses are entirely justified, as are most dialectic discourses and about half of rhetorical discourses; sophist discourses are based on truth to a lesser degree and poetic discourses are entirely false since they are drawn purely from the imagination (Al-Farabi, ‘Qawanin al-chi'r', edited by ‘Abd al-Rahman Badawa, in: Kitib Aristitalas fa l-chi'r, op. cit., p. 101).
 Averroës, Charh urjuzat Ibn Sina, manuscript, private collection, p. 5.
 Al-Farabi, Falsafat Aristutalis, edited by Muhsin Mahda, Beirut, Dar majallat al-chi'r, 1961, p. 85.
 Al-Farabi, Tahsil, op. cit., p. 86.
 Al-Farabi, Falsafat Aristutalis, op. cit., p. 85.
 Al-Farabi, Tahsil, op. cit., p. 90.
 Al-Farabi, Al-Tanbih ila sabil al-sa'ada, op. cit., p. 8; Talkhis nawamis Aflutan, op. cit., p. 63.
 Al-Farabi, Fusul, op. cit., p. 31.
 Al-Farabi, Tanbih, op. cit., p. 7.
 Ibid., p. 57.
 Al-Farabi, Talkhis, op. cit., p. 63.
 Al-Farabi, Tahsil, op. cit., p. 79.
 He puts forward this idea concerning the acceptance of laws by citizens in Talkhis nawamis Aflatun: it is good if they are accepted voluntarily but obviously very bad if they are tolerated under duress.
 Al-Farabi, Tahsil, op. cit., p. 80.
 Al-Farabi, Al-Burhan, op. cit., p. 175.
 Al-Farabi, Ajwibat masa'il su'ila ‘anha, edited by F. Dieterici, Leyden, 1890. p. 86.
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by: Professor Ammar al-Talbi , Sat 14 February, 2009