The Improvement of Human Reason
Ibn Tufail
Islam
4:17 h
Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān (Arabic: حي بن يقظان‎, lit. 'Alive, son of Awake') is an Arabic philosophical novel and an allegorical tale written by Ibn Tufail in the early 12th century. The name by which the book is also known include the Latin: Philosophus Autodidactus ('The Self-Taught Philosopher'); and English: The Improvement of Human Reason: Exhibited in the Life of Hai Ebn Yokdhan. The novel greatly inspired Islamic philosophy as well as major Enlightenment thinkers. It briefly considers the possibility of man's attaining of the true knowledge of God, and things necessary to salvation, without instruction.

The Improvement of Human Reason

Exhibited in the Life of Hai Ebn Yokdhan

Ibn Tufail

Translated by Simon Ockley


To the Reverend

Mr. Edward Pococke,

Rector of

MINAL, in Wiltshire.

Reverend SIR,

Hai Ebn Yokdhan returns to you again, in a Dress different from that which you sent him out in. Wherever he comes, he acknowledges you for his first and best Master; and confesses, that his being put in a Capacity to travel thro’ Europe, is owing to your Hand. I could not in Equity send him to any other Person, you being the sole Proprietor. And as your Learning enables you to do him Justice, so your Candor will incline you to pardon what is by me done amiss. Both which Qualifications you enjoy, as a Paternal Inheritance, descending from the Reverend and Learned Dr. Pococke, the Glory and Ornament of our Age and Nation. Whose Memory I much reverence, and how much I acknowledge my self indebted to him for his Learned Works, I thought I could no way express better, than by taking some Opportunity to pay my Respects to you, Sir, the worthy Son of so great a Father. And no fitter Bearer than Hai Ebn Yokdhan, with whose Character and Language you are so well acquainted, and to whom you have long ago shown so great a Respect, that I have no reason to fear but he will be welcome.

I am,

SIR,

Your most humble Servant,

Simon Ockley,


The Preface.