Arabian physician of the twelfth century; born in Bassora. He went to Bagdad in order to study medicine under the physician Sa'id b. Hibat Allah; and as the latter did not admit Jews or Christians to his lectures, Abu al-Barakat bribed the doorkeeper and secured a room from which for about a year he heard Sa'id lecture. Later on he found an opportunity to show his medical knowledge before his teacher, and afterward became one of Sa'id's most distinguished disciples.

Abu al-Barakat served in the army, was consulted by the sultan of the Seljuks, and became physician in ordinary to the calif Al-Mustanjid (1160-70) in Bagdad. He became both blind and deaf, and died a Moslem when about eighty years old. His conversion, which took place when he was a man of mature age, was due to the insults to which he had been subjected as a Jew. Abu al-Barakat himself, however, after his conversion insulted his former coreligionists.

Among Abu al-Barakat's philosophical and medical writings are: "Al-Mu'tabir," on logic, physics, and metaphysics (Catalogue of Arabic MSS. in the Khedival Library, Cairo, vi. 41), which work he desired to be mentioned in his epitaph; "Ikhtiṣar al-Tashriḥ," a compendium of anatomy, extracted from Galen. He wrote also a translation of and commentary on Ecclesiastes, composed in 1143 (Neubauer, "Cat. Bodl. Hebr. MSS." No. 131), and containing a eulogy of Abu al-Barakat, composed by Abraham, the son of Ibn Ezra, who was likewise a convert to Islam; and a grammar of the Hebrew language.

  • Steinschneider, Die Arabische Literatur der Juden, § 148.
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