Daily Prompt: Say our name/Tracing Muslim Heritage

The adventures of Robinson Crusoe and Friday fascinated and intrigued many of us.

However long before Daniel Defoe, a novel of self discovery and “improvement of the human reason” was written by Ibn Tufail (c. 1105 – 1185), named Hayy ibn Yaqdhan, also known as Philosophus Autodidactus in the Western world.

Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech, Mihrab

Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakech, Mihrab

Ibn Tufail’s full name was Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Abd al-Malik ibn Muhammad ibn Tufail al-Qaisi al-Andalusi. Let’s stick to Ibn Tufail!

He was an Andalusian Muslim writer, novelist, philosopher, theologian, physician, vizier, and court official. As a physician, he was an early supporter of dissection and autopsy, which was expressed in his novel.

His novel tells the story of an autodidactic feral child, raised by a gazelle and living alone on a desert island, who, without contact with other human beings, discovers ultimate truth through a systematic process of reasoned inquiry. Hayy ultimately comes into contact with civilization and religion when he meets a castaway named Absal…

A Latin translation of the work, entitled Philosophus Autodidactus, first appeared in 1671, the first English translation was published in 1708. These translations later inspired Daniel Defoe to write Robinson Crusoe. – Reference: Wikipedia

Andalusia, Alhambra Embassador Hall

Andalusia, Alhambra Embassador Hall

What does all of this have to do with me and my name?

My first surname is Tufail or as the Arabic tradition goes, I am “Bint Tufail”, the daughter of (a) Tufail :)! A name to be proud of and humbling! No, for obvious reasons, I would not rename myself 🙂

And: one of my engagement presents was the English translation of the novel Hayy ibn Yaqdhan. And if someone was wondering: Hanel is my husband’s surname, acquired by me as second surname.

Me and my husband, Switzerland

Me and my husband, Switzerland

This is my contribution to the “Say your name” challenge


One response to “Daily Prompt: Say our name/Tracing Muslim Heritage

  1. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis.
    It’s aways exciting to read articles from other authors and practice
    a little something from other web sites.

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