Avicenna was the most influential and renowned philosopher and scientist of the Islamic world. Popularly known as the father of modern medicine, he researched and came out with pioneering works in aromatherapy. He is known till date for his Aristotelian philosophy and medicine. He worked on various subjects including philosophy, astronomy, alchemy, geology, psychology, Islamic theology, logic, mathematics, physics, as well as poetry. He came up with more than 450 works in his lifetime of which only 240 survive. His most famous works include the ‘Kitāb al-shifā(Book of Healing), which is a vast philosophical and scientific encyclopaedia. His other work‘Al-Qanun fi al-Tibb’ (The Canon of Medicine), falls amongst the most famous books in the history of medicine. The latter was employed as a text book in many medieval universities of Montpellier and Leuven.
Not much is known about Avicenna’s early life except for the limited information mentioned in his autobiography written by his student Juzjani. Since there are no other proofs about his life, this autobiography becomes the only point of reference. According to the autobiography, Avicenna was born in c. 980 in Afsana, a village near Bukhara to Setareg and Abdullah. While his mother was from Bukhara his father was a respected Ismaili scholar from Balkh, Afghanistan. At the time of birth of Avicenna, his father was a governor in one of the Samanid Nuh ibn Mansur’s estates. Academically proficient, he was blessed with extraordinary intelligence and learning power. By the age of ten, he had memorized the complete Quran and by fourteen, surpassed his teacher in elementary logic. He absorbed knowledge everywhere he went and from every person he met. He learned Indian arithmetic from an Indian grocer, and later enhanced his knowledge of the same with the help of a wandering scholar. Subsequently, he took to self studying, reading the works of Hellenistic authors. He also studied Islamic jurisprudence under Hanafi scholars.
At the age of sixteen, he turned his attention and focus towards medicine. He mastered the discipline not just in theory but in practicality as well. He discovered new methods of treatment for attending the sick. According to him, unlike metaphysics and mathematics, medicine was easy. Interestingly, he treated the Sultan of Bukhara at a time when the trained court physicians were unable to master the feat. He cured the sultan from an unknown but dangerous ailment