Abu Nasr al-Farabi is considered the greatest scientist who ever existed on earth. His works on philosophy, mathematics, music theory, astronomy, as well as socio-ethical treatises played a huge role in the development of medieval eastern philosophical thought. But the main legacy of this man is the commentaries on the writings of Euclid and Ptolemy, thanks to which the modern world was able to study the philosophical heritage of the ancient world even more deeply and pass it on to subsequent generations.

In the 1960s of the last century, it was Alma-Ata that in a short time turned into a genuine scientific center for the study of the heritage of al-Farabi. In 1975, by the decision of UNESCO, Kazakhstan was recognized as the official homeland of the brilliant native of Otrar. Today, a lot of attention is paid to the legacy of al-Farabi in Kazakhstan. The central streets of many cities and one of the leading universities of the republic are named after him.

One of the leading experts in the field of the history of Kazakh national philosophy, studying current problems of farabi studies, reading special courses "history of philosophy and science", "philosophy and law" to undergraduates and students of the faculty of law, scientific adviser of the al-Farabi center, doctor of philosophy, professor of al-Farabi kazakh national university Zhakypbek Altaev, told us about the priceless legacy of the great teacher al-Farabi.

Жакыпбек Алтаев фото для ФемидыZhakypbek ALTAEV– Zhakypbek Altayevich, tell us about the al-Farabi center, what is its work?

– The al-Farabi center was established on the basis of the republican research and educational center "al-Farabi and the spiritual culture of the kazakh people", the grand opening of which took place at the al-Farabi kazakh national university on january 1, 1993.

The center has been carrying out scientific activities for more than 25 years. Since the beginning of its existence, the al-Farabi center has made a significant contribution to the development of Farabi studies and kazakh science in general. The study of al-Farabi's legacy in the context of understanding the development of kazakhstan's spiritual culture is extremely relevant today.

As you know, in january 2020, Kazakhstan officially launched the celebration of the 1150th anniversary of al-Farabi. Our university had the honor to hold a number of events on this day, which began with the presentation of the renovated al-Farabi center. To spread al-Farabi's scientific and philosophical heritage at the international level, a network of al-Farabi centers has been created in 12 leading universities of the world, al-Farabi house museums have been opened in Istanbul and Delhi. Additionally, it is planned to open the same centers in the UAE, Bulgaria, Japan, Lithuania and Egypt.

I would like to note that the main mission of the al-Farabi center is the formation of integral ideological values based on the study and popularization of the heritage of the great scientist of the east, the formation of a national scientific, educational and innovative cluster on the basis of our university.

– What are the main tasks of this center?

– This includes several areas, however, the most significant ones are conducting research activities in the field of Farabi studies, kazakh and turkic philosophy; translation and publishing of al-Farabi's treatises; international cooperation and coordination of efforts of specialists from near and far abroad to preserve, recreate and disseminate al-Farabi's heritage.

– And who was the main initiator of the creation of the center?

– The ideological inspirer of the creation of the al-Farabi center and its first head was an outstanding kazakh scientist, whose works on the history of kazakh philosophy, philosophy of the east, studies of al-Farabi's creativity are widely known all over the world – doctor of philosophy, professor, corresponding member of hah PK Agyn Khairullovich Kasymzhanov. And we, scientists, his students, are the successors of his work.

– Could you tell us a little about this person?

– Just recently, we organized an international scientific and practical conference dedicated to the 90th anniversary of this remarkable man. The creative path of a. Kasymzhanov began back in 1954, after graduating from the faculty of philosophy of the Kirov state university. It cannot be said that the first steps in studying the legacy of Abu Nasr al-Farabi, deciphering and translating his texts were successful. For Kazakhstan in the 60-s, this was an extremely difficult task, because there were no departments at the Kirov KAZGU university where languages, as well as the way of life and culture of the ancient east were studied. As for the faculty of philosophy, there was also no direction specializing in aspects of eastern and medieval philosophy.

To fill this gap, a pragmatic approach was needed with access to scholars of arabists, orientalists, iranists, linguists and researchers of medieval philosophy. But,I must say that in that difficult period, in addition to A. Kasymzhanov, another scientist, academician Akzhan Mashanov, made a great contribution to the development of the study of al-Farabi's works (who, back in 1960, would write to the then president of the academy of sciences of the Kazakh SSR, academician Kanysh Satpayev, with a request to support an unusual project for that time and will receive full approval and support).

Scientists from neighboring republics – Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan – will also contribute to the development of Kazakh Farabi studies. It is thanks to their research on the study of the philosophical cultural heritage of great thinkers of the east, such as Ibn Sina, Ibn Battuta, Jami, Abu Kamil Shuja, al-Kindi, Ar-Razi, Yusuf  Balasaguni and others, the domestic school of Farabi studies has become a phenomenon on a global scale.

After gaining independence in 1993, A. Kasymzhanov will become the head of the department of philosophy and methodology of social cognition of KAZGU, on the basis of which he will create a research center "al-Farabi and the spiritual heritage of the kazakh people". Thanks to his initiative, courses on the spiritual heritage of the kazakh people will be taught in almost all faculties of the advanced university of the republic. In 1996-1997, A. Kasymzhanov will be invited to Oklahoma state university (USA) to give lectures on central Asia. Before going to the USA, the scientist will study English intensively for three months and soon without any problems will give lectures on the contribution of the Turks to world civilization on the topic: "steppe civilization", "introduction to the culture of central Asia", "unity of the Turkic peoples and Turkestan", "interweaving of ancient central Asian political traditions", "The moral principle in the works of al-Farabi and Yusuf Balasaguni".

The works of this outstanding scientist were included in the golden fund of russian science. During his professional scientific and creative activity, A. Kasymzhanov will write 4 monographs dedicated to Abu Nasr al-Farabi, 10 brochures and 50 scientific articles. The scientist's lectures will be listened to with great interest, he will be constantly invited to other countries. He will have time to speak with them at Boston university, the university of Tehran, not to mention the nearby neighboring republics. He will establish contacts with many scientific centers and institutes of the countries of the near and far abroad.

– I know that there is a museum in the center that reconstructs the life of the era of Abu Nasr al-Farabi…

– That's right. After all, the activities of the center itself are closely connected with the work of the al-Farabi museum in the building of the new scientific library of the al-Farabi kazakh national university. The activities of the al-Farabi museum are dedicated to the cultural heritage of the great thinker, whose name has been worthily borne by our university since 1991. The museum opened its doors on April 13, 2013 in the new building of the al-Farabi library. He closely cooperates with the al-Farabi research center at KAZNU. The museum's exposition is divided into the following thematic sections: "ancient Otrar is a treasury of memory. The early years of al-Farabi", "Along the great silk road. Years of comprehension of wisdom, knowledge of the world. Education in the middle east", "Al-farabi. The dialogue of east and west", "the works of al-Farabi are the golden heritage of mankind. Al-Farabi and thinkers of the turkic world", "spiritual heritage of al-Farabi and modern Kazakhstan".

The concept of the museum is based on the system of values of the scientist and philosopher al-Farabi, who devoted his whole life to the search for harmony of peace and human happiness. At the end of 2019, the museum was re-equipped with modern interactive technologies, led displays, projection systems. So, each diorama has an infokiosk, which gives visitors the opportunity to listen to or read the description of the diorama in one of the selected languages: kazakh, russian or english. Films and videos on a given topic are shown on a large led display in the center of the exhibition hall. Thanks to the innovations, museum visitors have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with al-Farabi's legacy in a bright and accessible form, to learn about his life and work.

I would like to note that at the beginning of April, at the initiative of the rector of al-Farabi kazakh national university, Zhanseit Tuimebayev, the first international Farabi forum was held at our university, which was attended by the consul general of the republic of Uzbekistan in Almaty, Abror Fathullayev, well-known Farabi scholars, as well as representatives of ethno-cultural centers. The participants visited the exhibition of books by kazakh Farabi scholars in the al-Farabi library, got acquainted with the exposition of the art exhibition "Traditional values of the turkic peoples". A specially prepared documentary film "Orkeniyet shyrakshysy" supplemented valuable information about the great teacher.

– Now there is a lot of debate about the nationality of the second teacher of humanity. Representatives of many central asian peoples, not only scientists and researchers, believe that al-Farabi belongs to them by origin. And what opinion do you hold?

– I believe that the great minds of mankind have no nationality, they never live within certain racial, national prejudices or material values. Al-Farabi was fluent in several languages. He knew the culture and way of life of many peoples from those countries where he went in search of true knowledge. Did that stop him from becoming a great man? His knowledge and works are used by all peoples without exception. The teaching of the great thinker has long been appreciated both in the east and the west. Suffice it to say that translations of his works into latin and hebrew in medieval europe have been known since the XII–XIII centuries. Al-farabi left behind a rich scientific and spiritual legacy – about 200 treatises. Abu Nasr al-Farabi is, first of all, the pride of the entire turkic world. We should be proud of him and learn from his great legacy. I am deeply convinced that truly great discoveries or discoverers have no nationality, because they shine their light on the whole planet, whose name is earth…

– Thanks for the conversation!



Altaev Zhakypbek Altaevich – doctor of philosophy, professor, academician of the National academy of higher education of the Republic of Kazakhstan. He was born on April 21, 1948 in the village of Kazygurt, Kazygurt district, south Kazakhstan region. In 1967-1972 he studied at the philosophical department of the faculty of philosophy and economics of the Tashkent state university named after V. I. Lenin. In 1976-1979 he studied as a post-graduate student at the department of "History of philosophy and logic" of the faculty of philosophy and economics of S. M. Kirov Kazakh state university. In 1982 he successfully defended his candidate's thesis, and then in 1997 his doctoral dissertation on the specialty "History of philosophy". Since 1985, he has been an associate professor and then professor of the department of philosophy and methodology of social cognition of the faculty of philosophy and political science of the al-Farabi Kazakh national university. In 1998, Zhakypbek Altaev headed the Philosophy Department of the Faculty of Philosophy and Political Science of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University. At the same time, since 2008, he has headed the al-Farabi Research Center.

Professor Altaev is known in Kazakhstan as one of the leading experts on the history of Kazakh and Turkic philosophy, as well as in the field of Farabi studies. His great merit is that he introduced the academic world to the achievements of Kazakh science and spirituality. So, in 2010, he acted as a keynote speaker at the international round table "Al-Farabi and the European Renaissance", dedicated to the World Philosophy Day, held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. In 2012 at the invitation of Ohio University (Ohio University, USA), the professor gave a course of lectures on the philosophy of al-Farabi, the history of Kazakh thought and classical Islamic philosophy.

Zhakypbek Altaev is the author of more than 15 monographs, textbooks, textbooks and more than 300 scientific papers. From his pen came such well-known works in Kazakh science as "Introduction to the history of Kazakh philosophy" (1994), "Kazakh Philosophy" (1996), "Kazakh khalkynn rukhani muralary" ("Spiritual heritage of the Kazakh people", 1998), "Islamic philosophy: a new look" (2011), "Al-Farabi zhane zamanaui Kazakhstan philosophies" (2012), "Islamic philosophy" (2013), "Al-Farabi. The Great Thinker of the East" (2018), monograph "Al-Farabi. Philosophyofthe Second Master" (2019, Amsterdam, the Netherlands), "Farabi Studies" (2019), etc.

As a scientific supervisor, Professor Altaev graduated 32 candidates of sciences, 4 doctors of sciences and 4 PhD doctors.

To date, Zh. A. Altaev is an honorary professor of the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University. He actively participates in the scientific and academic life of our country. He is a regular guest of honor at various scientific events dedicated to the history of Turkic thought, the work of prominent Kazakh and Islamic philosophers, figures of modern Kazakh science.

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