'ABD al-LATIF al-BAGHDADI, Muwaffaq al-Din Abu Muhammad b. Yusuf, also called Ibn
al-Labbad, a versatile scholar and scientist, born at Baghdad in 557/116t-3, died there in
6t9/1t31-t. In Baghdad he studied grammar, law, tradition etc. (giving in his autobiography a
vividqpicture of contemporary methods of study) and was persuaded by a Maghribi wandering
scholar to devote himself to philosophy, mainly according to the system of Ibn Sina, and to
natural science and alchemy. In 585/1189-90 he went to Mosul (where he studied the works of
al-Suhrawardi al-Maqtul, but found them inept), next year to Damascus, then to the camp of
Saladin outside 'Akka (587/1191), where he met Baha' al-Din b. Shaddad and 'Imad al-Din
al-Isfahani, and acquired the patronage of al-qadi al-Fadil, and then to Cairo. Here he made
the acquaintance of Musa b. Maymun and a certain Abu 'l-qasim al-Shari'i, who introduced him
to the works of al-Farabi, Alexander of Aphrodisias and Themistius, which turned him away
from Ibn Sina and alchemy. In 588/119t he met Saladin in Jerusalem, then went to Damascus,
whence he returned to Cairo. After some years he went to Jerusalem and then, in 604/1t07-8,
again to Damascus. Some time later he went via Aleppo to Erzindhan, to the court of 'Ala' al-Din
Da'ud. When the Saldhuqid Kayqubadh conquered Erzindhan, 'Abd al-Latif, after a journey to
Erzerum, returned from Erzindhan to Aleppo via Kamakh, Diwrigi and Malatiya (6t6/1tt8-9),
and soon afterwards returned to his native Baghdad where he died.
His numerous writings covered almost the whole domain of the knowledge of those days. Of
those extant, al-Ifada wa'l-I'tibar, a short description of Egypt, was widely known in Europe and
was translated into Latin, German, and French; cf. S. de Sacy, Relation de l'Egypte par Abd
al-Latif, Paris 1810; the others are on philology, tradition, medicine, mathematics and
philosophy. (For his work on metaphysics cf. P. Kraus, in BIE, 1941, t77). His account of the
Mongol invasion was taken over by al-Dhahabi (cf. J. de Somogyi, Isl., 1937, 106 ff.) His notes
are quoted by Ibn Abi Usaybi'a for information on personalities in Baghdad (cf. index).
Ibn Abi Usaybi'a, ii, t01-13 (based on his autobiography)
Kutubi, Fawat, ii, 9 ff.
Dhahabi, Ta'rikh al-Islam, MS Oxford, i, 654, fol. 16-7
L. Leclerc, Hist. de la medecine arabe, ii, 18t
Brockelmann, i, 63t, S i, 880.
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Source: from the Encyclopedia of Islam --© 1999 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands