Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 May 2006
From the first incursion of Islam into Spain in 710 until the eventual success of the Christian reconquest in 1492, the Iberian peninsula was partially or wholly under Muslim rule, the westernmost outpost of a sprawling Muslim empire. For many decades the intellectual and cultural climate of “al-Andalus” was thus subsidiary to that of the East. Philosophy was no exception: it came first from the East, but in time acquired an autonomous life. This is reflected in the history of Andalusian philosophy, which at first followed in the footsteps of al-Fārābī and Avicenna, but soon developed along two very different paths. On the one hand, the Andalusians took up al-Fārābī’s project of reconstructing and further developing the thought of Aristotle, a process that would culminate in the commentaries of Averroes. On the other hand, Andalusian philosophers were attracted by Sūfism. Most prominently, the mystic Ibn ‘Arabī hailed from al-Andalus. But as will be indicated below, even authors who worked within the falsafa tradition were not immune to the appeal of the Sūfīs. This chapter will illustrate these competing traditions in the thought and writings of the two most significant Muslim philosophers of al-Andalus prior to Averroes: Ibn Bājja (known as Avempace to the Latins) and Ibn Tufayl.