His full name is Muhammad bin Uthman Ibn al-Khatib. He was born in 713 AH / 1313 CE in Loja near Granada and died in 776 AH in Andalusia. He is known as a doctor, historian, politician, Andalusian writer and poet. Since childhood, he has been familiar with science and received education from his family environment. His fame as a medical expert has been closely linked to the plague that once hit Europe in the fourteenth century.
At that time, in Europe was an outbreak of “Black Fever” (Black Fever) which has claimed thousands of lives. Christian monks say that this plague is a curse passed down by God. However, al-Khatib traced and examined the outbreak carefully in accordance with medical procedures. He finally concluded that those who were victims were people whose bodies were covered with dirt, which was because they never used soap when bathing. Then, Muslim physicians also spread body cleansers (soap) which at that time was not yet known in Europe. Europeans call it the name ‘soap’ which actually comes from the Arabic ‘suf’ which means cleaning.
The most important book he wrote deals with the field of medicine, especially about pestilence. This book has advantages because of his courage to provide satisfying arguments as a defense of thoughts that are contrary to his theory. The medical theory he put forward is a little at odds with the hadith of the Prophet. In his writings, he said that we must have principles if proven if what was conveyed by the hadith is indeed contrary to the evidence that we can see with our senses. Through this idea, Ibn al-Khatib has provided evidence of freedom of speech.
Another courage is when he wrote a medical treatise entitled Amal man Thahha Liman Habba. In the treatise he aborted various khilafiyah issues to a very far extent, for example the actions determined by Ibn al-Khatib when the people faced danger. Some of his decisions are often contrary to religious teachings and recommendations, such as giving memory boosters for social reasons and using khamr or liquor for medicinal purposes.
His other works are in the fields of history, geography, poetry, literature, Sufism, and philosophy. His most important work in history is al-Ihalah fi Akhhar Gharnalah, an encyclopaedia of the life history of Andalusian scientists in general. This book is the most important Islamic reference about the kingdom of Granada in terms of the history of its characters and about and its civilization. Ibn al-Khatib also wrote his own full resume in the book.