Physician and philosopher (B. 27 August 865, Rey/
There is no detailed information about his youth and education; but the resources indicate that he worked in jewellery during his youth and was interested in music. Working in jewellery gave him curiosity on chemistry and he was injured from his eyes due to gas and vapour generated in his chemistry laboratory, and he suffered from his eyes during his life.
Ebû Bekr Er-Razî was trained in medication, philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, language and literature at the scientific and cultural centres he travelled and the authorities of that his time recognized him with his high ability and hard work. In his autobiography, “es-Sîretu'l-Felsefîye” (Living like a Philosopher), he says:
"Those who know me are aware that my passion, love and studies on science have been going on uninterrupted. If I encounter a book that I have not read or a scientist whom I did not meet; I leave everything aside - even if means that I will be harmed- and I cannot stop myself of reading that book or meeting that scholar. As a result of my patient work, I have written more than twenty thousand pages as draft."
These words clearly indicate that Razi had all the important characteristics of a scholar; research, attention, observation and persistence. He also says that during his youth, he had visited fake health experts who have abused the people, and that he knows all their tricks and wrote a book named "Ahlâku't-Tabîb” in order to warn people about this.
Razi made effective studies on medication, music, mathematics and chemistry; then he focused on philosophy. He said that he had to learn the Islamic thought from its main sources and examined Anatolian-Greek philosophy, and ancient Indian and Persian civilizations. He conducted research on thinkers such as Hippocrates, Galleons, Pythagoras, Thales, Anaxagoras and Anaximenes. His studies confronted him with the problem of source of knowledge. According to Razi, the primary way to understand human is to examine him within his own life, but not only as a creature capable of thinking. This examination can be successful with experiment and observations. Because, the source of information is the senses; and senses are the focus of reception of external world; main subject of experiment and observation. External universe is material and it is real, soul and God are not within this universe. There are five principles that constitute the integrity of existence. These are God, space (absolute area), time (absolute time), soul (light) and material (darkness). Human mind is sufficient enough to comprehend these areas of existence and to order the life; and it is the most entrusted guide in his activities and attempts. Therefore it is unnecessary to believe in the existence of some others with supernatural powers and wait for their arrival in order to warn and enlighten the people. The ideas of prophets are not sufficient and they are not real as they do not comply with reason.
Universe was created with the free will of God; and the main principle in this creation is the wisdom of God and people cannot know this. The beginning of all creatures exposed by creation is the pure light; and article, individual self and natural light were all created by it; all the sources with spiritual quality stem from it. On the other hand, the spiritual material which established the spiritual existence of people and which is the source of soul have come from this light. The individual essences that make the creatures alive are different for people and for animals. Human spirit has a different characteristic; it is more competent and holy. For both souls, there is no material form. According to Razi; the source of four features - wetness, dryness, heat and cold- is the material creatures and these features are "shadow creatures". Both skies and the earth consist of these four features; so they are similar. This is the reason why the material creatures on earth are under the effect of skies. These features do not have an end and a beginning; and concept of time is irrelevant for them.
Razi believes that the first material that has the feature of basic material is established from scattered atoms. These atoms are suitable for a constant change and it consist the first founding principles of nature by combining with small sections of space in different proportions. These principles are five just like air, water, fire, soil and sky. The qualities and characteristics of these are defined according to the ratio of material and gap. The intense soil and water are directed to the focus of earth; air and fire move upwards with their loose structure. The circulation of sky element that provides the balanced distribution between material and space is like a circle. There are two different spaces where all the movements occur. One of them is plenary and the other one is particular. Plenary space indicates the quantity of universal existence whereas partial space indicates the space of each material creature.
Razi's opinion regarding morals was based upon the feeling that born from pleasure and pain. The distraction of pleasure is a type of feeling that causes unhappiness and gives birth to pain. Happiness of a man comes from getting pleasure from life and to establish a balanced life style.
Razi also has solutions about physics and chemistry. His research on simple objects and light fractions are very important for his age. Razi was a pioneer in Islamic world about the development and dissemination of observation and experiment.
He said "It is too late,
I have seen enough of the world" to a student who came to Tabaristan to
cure him and died at the age of sixty. Razi Institute establishes to his name in
"The works left by Razi are so numerous and several. Although the number of his works reached until today are limited, we have the full list of the names. Turkish scholar Biruni has written a book about Razi's life and work and separated the 184 works on the list into 11 sections according to the subjects. According to this He has 56 books on medication; 33 on natural sciences; 7 in logic; ten in mathematics and astronomy; ten on interpretations, summaries and annotations on philosophy or medical; seventeen on Philosophy; fourteen on Theology; six on metaphysics; twenty two on Chemistry and several books on different subjects. According to the list prepared by Ibn Ebi Usaybia in his book Uyunu'l-enbâ , Razi has 235 books." (Mahmut Kaya)
es-Sîretu'l-felsefîye (Filozofca Yaşama, Tahran, 1346), Ahlâku't-Tabîb (Kahire, 1981), El-İlmü’l İlahi (Tanrı Bilgisi), El-Havi (Kuşatan); Kitab fi’t-T’ıbbı’r-Ruhânî (Ruhsal Hekimlik Kitabı), Taksimü’l-İlel (Nedenlerin Bölümlenmesi), El-Taksim ve’l-Tascir (Hastalıkların Nedenleri ve Sağıltım Yolları), Menafiu’l-Edviyat ve Mazarr (İlaçların Yararları ve Zararları).
ABOUT HIM: İzmirli Hakkı İzmirli / Şeyhu’l-Etibba Ebubekir Muhammed bin Zekeriya el-Razi (1925, Hilmi Ziya Ülken / İslam Felsefesi - Kaynakları ve Temelleri (1957), İsmet Zeki Eyuboğlu / Alevilik-Sünnilik İslam Düşüncesi (1979), Türk ve Dünya Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi: Dönemler Akımlar Kişiler (v. 9, 1984), Mahmut Kaya / Ünlü Hekim-Filozof Ebu-Bekr Er-Râzî ve Hekimlik Ahlakı ile İlgili Bir Risalesi (Felsefe Arşivi, issue: 26, 1987), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Bilim Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüler Ansiklopedisi, v. 2, 2013).