The History of Hayy Ibn Yaqzan
Abu Bakr Ibn Tufail
Simon Ockley, translation
Note: This translation dates from the 18th century so the language may be a little archaic for present-day readers.
Hayy ibn Yaqzan is the only extant work of Ibn Tufail (1105–1185). It is a short philosophical tale, but so great has been its influence in the West that it has come to be recognised as “one of the most remarkable books of the Middle Ages" and is know in Latin as Philosophus Autodidactus.
The story revolves around Hayy ibn Yaqzan, a boy who grows up on an island, isolated from humanity, and raised by a deer. Hayy learns to walk, he learns the languages of the animals around him; and he learns to guide himself to the actions of animals by imitation. He makes his own shoes and clothes from the skins of animals, studies the stars, and ultimately reaches higher levels of knowledge.
This work is essentially an exploration of the possibility of arriving at the knowledge of God's existence by observation and reason, and to the commitment to this knowledge by living an ethical and moral life.