The History of Hayy Ibn Yaqzan is the chief work of the Arab philosopher and physician, Abu Bakr Ibn Tufail, and is thought by some to have been the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s classic work Robinson Crusoe. Certainly it is one of the most important works to come out of the Muhammadan Spain the Middle Ages.
In essence the work is a philosophical romance which describes the story of how the child Hayy Ibn Yaqzan, ‘alive son of the awake’, is cast ashore upon a desert island where he survives without any form of human contact. it is through his own acute observations and reflections that the growing child gradually arrives at a union with the all-knowing Creator, the universal spiritual force.
The work was first translated form Arabic into English by the orientalist Simon Ockley (1678-1720) and this edition includes an Introduction by the eminent scholar A. S. Fulton, who reviews the life of its author and examines the significance of his work.