Abu Ali al Husain Ibn Abd Allah Ibn Hasan Ibn Ali Ibn Sina ( known to medieval scholars as Avicenna) was born in August 980 (Safar 370AH) in Kharmaithan near Bukhara.
His father was devoted to the Fatemi Imams. With the help of his teacher Nateli, at a very young age he mastered Greek philosophy. After mastering Greek philosophy, he started learning about medicine, and read all available books. He did not ﬁnd it a difﬁcult science and within a short time, he excelled in it, using methods of treatment often extremely practical.
At the same time he studied logic and Religious laws and Metaphysics. According to him, whenever, he found himself into difﬁculty in academic issues, he hastily went to Masjid, contemplated and prayed, and this gave him insight into solving the problem on hand.
He had a habit of studying late into the night.
The following episode from his life, is a cause for reﬂection.
One day a bookseller offered him a cheap volume, which he reluctantly bought. It turned out to be the work of Farabi, and it helped him in better understanding of the Metaphysics of Aristotle. He was so elated, that he immediately set out of the house to distribute alms to the poor. The thirst of knowledge made him one of the most inﬂuential scholars, for the coming generations.
He got an opportunity to treat the Prince who had taken severely ill, and in return, as a token of favour, he got permission to access the famous library of Samanid rulers.
At the age of 21 he authored his ﬁrst book titled Majmu ( Compendium) Next he wrote on Jurisprudence in about twenty volumes titled al- Hasil wa al - Mahsul ( the Import and Substance) followed by a work on ethics called al Birr wa al Ithm ( Good work and Evil) of which, he never made copies but presented it to his learned friend in original.
He is the author of the famous and one of his longest work Kitab al Shifa, and while he was writing this, he also wrote Qanun ( Cannon) Each night his disciples would gather late into the night and his closest disciple and biographer would read, portions from both the Books.
He suffered many tribulations and upheavals in his life, went into hiding, was imprisoned, had to move from one Principality to other, all on account of his political allegiances, but non the less he continued to write.
His book Kitab al Insaf ( The book of Equitable Judgement) was destroyed by the invading army of Sultan Masud, but certain fragments have survived.
He died at the age of ﬁfty eight on June or July 1037 AD at Hamadhan. He was indeed a man of rare gifts and scintillating mind. However, he had streak of violent temper, and merciless scorn for the mediocre.
He is said to have written more than a hundred books, fortunately many have survived. Nasir Khosrow his young contemporary and Ismaili poet and philosopher, was greatly inﬂuenced by him.
Bu Ali Sina wrote some poetry also. His Arabic poem including the Ode to the Human Soul, although not great in terms of literary value, is elevating in thought and theme.
Some excerpts from the Ode to the Human Soul by Ibn Sina
It descended upon thee from out of the regions above,
That exalted, ineffable, glorious, heavenly Dove
Midst the sign posts and ruined abodes of this desolate world
It weeps, when it thinks of its home and the peace it possesed
Thick nets detain it, and strong is the cage whereby
It is held from seeking the lofty spacious sky
Until, when the hour of of its homeward flight draws near,
And it is time for it to return to it ampler sphere,
It carols with joy, for the veil is raised, and it spies
Such things as cannot be witnessed by waking eyes.
On the lofty height doth it warble it's song of praise
And so it returneth aware of all hidden things
In the Universe, while no stain to its garment clings
Now why from its perch on high was it cast like this
To the lowest Nadir's gloomy and drear abyss ?
The benign saya of Muharram 1435 H is casting its radiance. We mumineen know that our souls have left their lofty perch and for ever yearn to return from this ruined abodes and desolate place. It wants to carol with joy, to witness the veil raised, and to spy on things that cannot be witnessed by waking eyes.
The nine days of Muharram when each day a mumin hears the recitation of shadaat, when he is lost in wailing and matam, at such times, when his waking eyes are closed, and tears ﬂows :
His soul carols with joy, for the veil is raised, and it spies
Such things as cannot be witnessed by waking eyes.
During Muharram the longing and the thirst of the soul is quenched to some extent.
It experiences bliss when a mumin pines and cries out loud for his MOULA HUSSAIN ! For these nine days of Muharram, the body becomes the khadim of the soul, matam and tears nourishes his soul.
On waqt e asr when mumin beholds his Moula on takht going down in sujood, the soul feels
quenched, the veil is lifted, it cries out in ecstasy, it senses its emancipation.
Now those who attend Vaaz with awareness and ma'refat know the answer to the question posed by Bu Ali Sina.
Now why from its perch on high, was it cast like this
To the lowest Nadir's gloomy and drear abyss
Aqa Moula ( TUS) and with his Raza Mubaraka his Mansoosehi A'li Qdr Muffadal Moula Saifuddin ( TUS) and all the vaezeen across the globe each year narrate the answer, lest we forget, that this world is not our everlasting abode, our perch is on high, where our Aqa
Moula (TUS) will surely take us.
Aza e Hussain (SA) is the journey of the soul, if one cares to reflect.
Book Ref : Avicenna - His life and works by Soheil M Afnan. Ph.D ( Cantab.)