Hayy ibn Yaqdhan

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Hayy ibn Yaqdhan
AuthorIbn Tufail
Original titleحي بن يقظان

Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān (ar. حي بن يقظان Alive, son of Awake) is an Arabic philosophical novel and an allegorical tale written by Ibn Tufail in the early 12th century.[1]

It is also known as (lat.) Philosophus Autodidactus The Self-Taught Philosopher and as (en.) The Improvement of Human Reason: Exhibited in the Life of Hai Ebn Yokdhan.


The story revolves around Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān, a little boy who grew up on an island in the Indies under the equator, isolated from the people, in the bosom of an antelope that raised him feeding him with her milk. Ḥayy has just learned to walk: imitating the sounds of antelopes, birds and other animals in his surrounding, he learns the languages of the animals around him; and he learns to guide himself to the actions of animals by imitating their instinct. He makes his own shoes and clothes from the skins of the animal, studies the stars, till he reaches a higher level of knowledge of the finest of astrologist. His continuous explorations and observation of creatures and environment led him to gain great knowledge in natural science, philosophy and religion. He will conclude that, at the basis of the creation of the universe, a great creator must exist. Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān lived a humble modest life as Sufi and forbade himself from eating meat.

Once thirty years old, he met the first human, landed on his isolated Island. By the age of forty-nine years, he will be ready to teach other people about the knowledge he gained throughout his life.

See also[edit]


  • Arabic text of Hayy bin Yaqzan from Wikisource
  • English translations of Hayy bin Yaqzan (in chronological order)
    • The improvement of human reason, exhibited in the life of Hai ebn Yokdhan, written in Arabic above 500 years ago, by Abu Jaafar ebn Tophail, newly translated from the original Arabic, by Simon Ockley. With an appendix, in which the possibility of man's attaining the true knowledge of God, and things necessary to salvation, without instruction, is briefly considered. London: Printed and sold by E. Powell, 1708.
    • Abu Bakr Ibn Tufail, The history of Hayy Ibn Yaqzan, translated from the Arabic by Simon Ockley, revised, with an introduction by A.S. Fulton. London: Chapman and Hall, 1929. available online
    • Ibn Tufayl's Hayy ibn Yaqzān: a philosophical tale, translated with introduction and notes by Lenn Evan Goodman. New York: Twayne, 1972.
    • The journey of the soul: the story of Hai bin Yaqzan, as told by Abu Bakr Muhammad bin Tufail, a new translation by Riad Kocache. London: Octagon, 1982.
    • Two Andalusian philosophers, translated from the Arabic with an introduction and notes by Jim Colville. London: Kegan Paul, 1999.
    • Medieval Islamic Philosophical Writings, ed. Muhammad Ali Khalidi. Cambridge University Press, 2005. (omits the introductory section; omits the conclusion beginning with the protagonist's acquaintance with Asal; includes §§1-98 of 121 as numbered in the Ockley-Fulton version)
  • Dutch translations of Hayy bin Yaqzan
    • De natuurlijke wijsgeer, translated by Adriaan Reelant, printed by Willem Lamsveld, 1701
  • German Translations:
    • Ibn Tufail: Hayy Ibn Yaqdhan. Ein muslimischer Inselroman[1]. Edited by Jameleddine Ben Abdeljelil and Viktoria Frysak. Edition Viktoria [2], Vienna 2007. ISBN 978-3-902591-01-2
    • Ibn Tufail, Abū Bakr: Der Philosoph als Autodidakt. Übers. u. hrsg. v. Patric O. Schaerer. Meiner, Hamburg 2004. ISBN 978-3-7873-1797-4
  • Modern Greek translation:
    • Αμπού Μπακρ Ιμπν Τουφάυλ, Ο δρόμος του λόγου: Χάυυ Ιμπν Γιακζάν ή Τα μυστικά της φιλοσοφίας της Ανατολής, εισ.-μτφρ.-σχ. Παύλος Καλλιγάς, εκδ. Εκκρεμές, Αθήνα 2018, σελ. 264. ISBN 978-618-5076-22-1


  1. ^ Kukkonen, Taneli (November 2016). "Ibn Ṭufayl's (d. 1185) Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓan". In El-Rouayheb, Khaled; Schmidtke, Sabine (eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Philosophy. Retrieved 2 January 2018.