The Philosophy of ibn Tufail and His Treatise the Self-Taught Philosopher


Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Tufail (also known by a Latinized version of his name, Abubacer Aben Tofail, 1105–85 AD) was an Andalusian Muslim polymath who was born near Granada, Spain, and died in Morocco. Apart from fragments of poetry, Hayy ibn Yaqzan (Alive, son of awake), also called Philosophus Autodidactus (The self-taught philosopher), is his only surviving work. Considered the first philosophical novel, it is often seen as an earlier Arabic version of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. The book had much influence in the West. It takes place on an isolated and uninhabited island, where the orphaned Hayy is suckled by a deer and comes to manhood, reason, and an understanding of science and religious truth.

Last updated: April 3, 2018