kazakhstan 1993 1 back (6)
HomeKazakhstan – The Great Al-Farabi, The Second Master

Kazakhstan – The Great Al-Farabi, The Second Master

Kazakhstan 1 Tenge Banknote, Year 1993 – Face and Back
Kazakhstan 1 Tenge Banknote, Year 1993 front, featuring portrait of Al-Farabi
1 tenge banknote, Kazakhstan (1993), featuring Al-Farabi

Al-Farabi shines in world history as one of the brightest stars in the firmament. He commands unqualified respect across religions and political cultures worldwide.

His contributions illuminate our world to this day in Music and Mathematics, Geometry and Logic, Psychology, Politics and Philosophy.

closeup detail of Kazakhstan 1 Tenge Banknote, Year 1993 front, featuring portrait of Al-Farabi
Al-Farabi. detail from front of 1 tenge banknote, Kazakhstan (1993)

Writing in the early 10th century, Al-Farabi found philosophy dead. He revived the Greek philosophers through extensive translation, commentaries and contributions. Considering Reason to be superior to Revelation, he solved many challenges of the day advancing Islam to a sounder polity.

A worthy summation of his career might be that given by Maimonides, perhaps the greatest of all Jewish philosophers. Writing two hundred years later, Maimonides said of Al-Farabi: “If Aristotle is the first master, the second one is undoubtedly Farabi”. As an indicator of the world-wide respect Maimonides as well as for Al-Farabi, the moniker stuck. Al-Farabi is widely known today as “The Second Master”.

closeup detail of Kazakhstan 1 Tenge Banknote, Year 1993 front, featuring architectural detail
Architectural detail by Al-Farabi. 1 tenge banknote, Kazakhstan (1993)

His massive tome, The Book of Music, Kitâb al-musiqâ al-kabîr, is considered the single most important medieval manuscript in the Islamic world.

While classifying music under mathematics, he asserts that music must be performed and that the ear is the final judge. The hearing may usurp some fine mathematical principles. He wrote extensively on the therapeutic effects of music upon the soul.

Kazakhstan 1 Tenge Banknote, Year 1993 back
Geometric constructions by Al-Farabi. Back of 1 tenge banknote, Kazakhstan (1993).

Islamic architecture and craftsmanship has long been characterized by elaborate geometric patterns.

The artisans of that era had design tools consisting of little more than a straight edge and a compass. The craftsman’s task was to construct, with these simple tools, architectures and patterns and designs that surprise the mind and uplift the spirit.

closeup detail of Kazakhstan 1 Tenge Banknote, Year 1993 back, featuring mathmatical formulae
mathematical formulae. detail from back of 1 tenge banknote, Kazakhstan (1993)
closeup detail of Kazakhstan 1 Tenge Banknote, Year 1993 back, featuring geometrical construct
Geometric construct by Al-Farabi. Detail from back of 1 tenge banknote, Kazakhstan

Al-Farabi’s text book entitled, “A Book of Spiritual Crafts and Natural Secrets in the Details of Geometrical Figures” advanced the craft considerably.  In it are numerous original geometrical constructs with designs and proofs.

closeup detail of Kazakhstan 1 Tenge Banknote, Year 1993 back, featuring geometrical constructs
Geometric construct by Al-Farabi. Detail from back of 1 tenge banknote, Kazakhstan,