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Ibn Khaldun

Statue of Ibn Khaldun in Tunis
Full name Ibn Khaldun
Born 27 May, 1332 AD / 732 AH
Died 19 March 1406 AD / 808 AH
Era Medieval era
Region Muslim scholar
School Maliki madhab,
Islamic economic jurisprudence
Main interests Social Sciences, Sociology, History, Historiography, Cultural History, Philosophy of History, Demography, Diplomacy, Economics, Islamic Studies, Military Theory, Philosophy, Politics, Statecraft, Theology
Notable ideas Forerunner of demography, historiography, cultural history, philosophy of history, sociology, social sciences, and modern economics. Developed theories of Asabiyyah and the rise and fall of civilizations.

Ibn Khaldūn or Ibn Khaldoun (full name, Arabic: أبو زيد عبد الرحمن بن محمد بن خلدون الحضرمي ‎, Abū Zayd ‘Abdu r-Raḥman bin Muḥammad bin Khaldūn Al-Hadrami, (May 27, 1332 AD/732 AH – March 19, 1406 AD/808 AH) was a North African polymath[1][2] — an astronomer, economist, historian, Islamic scholar, Islamic theologian, hafiz, jurist, lawyer, mathematician, military strategist, nutritionist, philosopher, social scientist and statesman—born in North Africa in present-day Tunisia. He was of Arab or Berber descent.[3] He is considered a forerunner of several social scientific disciplines: demography,[4] cultural history,[5] historiography,[6][7] the philosophy of history,[8] and sociology.[4][7][8][9][10] He is also considered one of the forerunners of modern economics,[7][11][12] although according to recent academic findings, the Indian scholar-philosopher Chanakya predates Ibn Khaldun by a millennium in laying down the theories of economics.[13][14][15][16] Ibn Khaldun is considered by many to be the father of a number of these disciplines, and of social sciences in general,[17][18] for anticipating many elements of these disciplines centuries before they were founded in the West. He is best known for his Muqaddimah (known as Prolegomenon in the West), the first volume of his book on universal history, Kitab al-Ibar.

Contents

Biography

Ibn Khaldun's life is relatively well-documented, as he wrote an autobiography (التعريف بابن خلدون ورحلته غربا وشرقا; Al-Taʕrīf bi Ibn-Khaldūn wa Riħlatuhu Gharbān wa Sharqān[19]) in which numerous documents regarding his life are quoted word-for-word. However, the autobiography has little to say about his private life, so little is known about his family background. Generally known as "Ibn Khaldūn" after a remote ancestor, he was born in Tunis in AD 1332 (732 A.H.) into an upper-class Andalusian family, the Banū Khaldūn. His family, which held many high offices in Andalusia, had emigrated to Tunisia after the fall of Seville to Reconquista forces around the middle of the 13th century. Under the Tunisian Hafsid dynasty some of his family held political office; Ibn Khaldūn's father and grandfather however withdrew from political life and joined a mystical order . His brother, Yahya Ibn Khaldun, was also a historian who wrote a book on the Abdalwadid dynasty, and who was assassinated by a rival for being the official historiographer of the court.[20]

In his autobiography, Ibn Khaldun traces his descent back to the time of Muhammad through an Arab tribe from Yemen, specifically Hadhramaut, which came to Spain in the eighth century at the beginning of the Islamic conquest. In his own words: "And our ancestry is from Hadhramaut, from the Arabs of Yemen, via Wa'il ibn Hajar, from the best of the Arabs, well-known and respected." (p. 2429, Al-Waraq's edition). However, the biographer Mohammad Enan questions his claim, suggesting that his family may have been Berbers who pretended to be of Arab origin in order to gain social status.[21] According to Muhammad Hozien, "The false [Berber] identity would be valid however at the time that Ibn Khaldun’s ancestors left Andalusia and moved to Tunisia they did not change their claim to Arab ancestry. Even in the times when Berbers were ruling, the reigns of Al-Marabats and al-Mowahids, et al. the Ibn Khalduns did not reclaim their Berber heritage."[22] This lends credence to Ibn Khaldun's being of Arab origin.

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Education

His family's high rank enabled Ibn Khaldun to study with the best North African teachers of the time. He received a classical Islamic education, studying the Qur'an which he memorized by heart, Arabic linguistics, the basis for an understanding of the Qur'an, hadith, sharia (law) and fiqh (jurisprudence). He received certification (ijazah) for all these subjects.[23] The mystic, mathematician and philosopher, Al-Abili, introduced him to mathematics, logic and philosophy, where he above all studied the works of Averroes, Avicenna, Razi and Tusi. At the age of 17, Ibn Khaldūn lost both his parents to an epidemic of the plague which hit Tunis.

Following family tradition, Ibn Khaldūn strove for a political career. In the face of a tumultuous political situation in North Africa, this required a high degree of skill developing and dropping alliances prudently, to avoid falling with the short-lived regimes of the time. Ibn Khaldūn's autobiography is the story of an adventure, in which he spends time in prison, reaches the highest offices and falls again into exile.

Early years in Tunis and Granada

At the age of 20, he began his political career at the Chancellery of the Tunisian ruler Ibn Tafrakin with the position of Kātib al-'Alāmah, which consisted of writing in fine calligraphy the typical introductory notes of official documents. In 1352, Abū Ziad, the Sultan of Constantine, marched on Tunis and defeated it. Ibn Khaldūn, in any case unhappy with his respected but politically meaningless position, followed his teacher Abili to Fez. Here the Marinid sultan Abū Inan Fares I appointed him as a writer of royal proclamations, which didn't prevent Ibn Khaldūn from scheming against his employer. In 1357 this brought the 25-year-old a 22-month prison sentence. Upon the death of Abū Inan in 1358, the vizier al-Hasān ibn-Umar granted him freedom and reinstated him in his rank and offices. Ibn Khaldūn then schemed against Abū Inan's successor, Abū Salem Ibrahim III, with Abū Salem's exiled uncle, Abū Salem. When Abū Salem came to power, he gave Ibn Khaldūn a ministerial position, the first position which corresponded with Ibn Khaldūn's ambitions.

The treatment Ibn Khaldun received after the fall of Abū Salem through Ibn-Amar ʕAbdullah, a friend of Ibn Khaldūn's, was not to his liking, he received no significant official position. At the same time, Amar successfully prevented Ibn Khaldūn - whose political skills he was well aware of - from allying with the Abd al-Wadids in Tlemcen. Ibn Khaldūn therefore decided to move to Granada. He could be sure of a positive welcome there, since at Fez he had helped the Sultan of Granada, the Nasrid Muhammad V, regain power from his temporary exile. In 1364 Muhammad entrusted him with a diplomatic mission to the King of Castile, Pedro the Cruel, to endorse a peace treaty. Ibn Khaldūn successfully carried out this mission, and politely declined Pedro's offer to remain at his court and have his family's Spanish possessions returned to him.

Statue of Ibn Khaldoun in Tunis.

In Granada, Ibn Khaldūn quickly came into competition with Muhammad's vizier, Ibn al-Khatib, who saw the close relationship between Muhammad and Ibn Khaldūn with increasing mistrust. Ibn Khaldūn tried to shape the young Muhammad into his ideal of a wise ruler, an enterprise which Ibn al-Khatib thought foolish and a danger to peace in the country - and history proved him right. At al-Khatib's instigation, Ibn Khaldūn was eventually sent back to North Africa. Al-Khatib himself was later accused by Muhammad of having unorthodox philosophical views, and murdered, despite an attempt by Ibn Khaldūn to intercede on behalf of his old rival.

In his autobiography, Ibn Khaldūn tells us little about his conflict with Ibn al-Khatib and the reasons for his departure. The orientalist Muhsin Mahdi interprets this as showing that Ibn Khaldūn later realised that he had completely misjudged Muhammad V.

Back in Africa, the Hafsid sultan of Bougie, Abū ʕAbdallāh, (who had been his companion in prison) received him with great enthusiasm, and made Ibn Khaldūn his prime minister. During this period, Ibn Khaldūn carried out a daring mission to collect taxes among the local Berber tribes. After the death of Abū ʕAbdallāh in 1366, Ibn Khaldūn changed sides once again and allied himself with the ruler of Tlemcen, Abū l-Abbas. A few years later he was taken prisoner by ʕAbdu l-Azīz, who had defeated the sultan of Tlemcen and seized the throne. He then entered a monastic establishment, and occupied himself with scholastic duties, until in 1370 he was sent for to Tlemcen by the new sultan. After the death of ʕAbdu l-Azīz, he resided at Fez, enjoying the patronage and confidence of the regent.

Ibn Khaldūn's political skills, above all his good relationship with the wild Berber tribes, were in high demand among the North African rulers, whereas he himself began to tire of politics and constant switching of allegiances. In 1375, sent by Abū Hammu, the ʕAbdu l Wadid Sultan of Tlemcen, on a mission to the Dawadida Arabs tribes of Biskra. Thereafter Ibn Khaldūn returns to the West sought refuge with one of the Berber tribes, in the west of Algeria, in the town of Qalat Ibn Salama. He lived there for over three years under their protection, taking advantage of his seclusion to write the Muqaddimah "Prolegomena", the introduction to his planned history of the world. In Ibn Salama, however, he lacked the necessary texts to complete the work. As a result, in 1378, he returned to his native Tunis, which in the mean time had been conquered by Abū l-Abbas, who took Ibn Khaldūn back into his service. There he devoted himself almost exclusively to his studies and completed his history of the world. His relationship with Abū l-Abbas remained strained, as the latter questioned his loyalty. This was brought into sharp contrast after Ibn Khaldūn presented him with a copy of the completed history omitting the usual panegyric to the ruler. Under pretence of going on the Hajj to Makkah - something a Muslim ruler could not simply refuse permission for - Ibn Khaldūn was able to leave Tunis and sail to Alexandria.

Last years in Egypt

Ibn Khaldun has said of Egypt, "He who has not seen it does not know the power of Islam." While other Islamic regions had to cope with border wars and inner strife, under the Mamluks Egypt experienced a period of economic prosperity and high culture. However, even in Egypt, where Ibn Khaldūn lived out his days, he could not stay out of politics completely. In 1384 the Egyptian Sultan, al-Malik udh-Dhahir Barquq, made him Professor of the Qamhiyyah Madrasah, and grand Qadi of the Maliki school of fiqh (one of four schools, the Maliki school was widespread primarily in West Africa). His efforts at reform encountered resistance, however, and within a year he had to resign his judgeship. A contributory factor to his decision to resign may have been the heavy personal blow that struck him in 1384, when a ship carrying his wife and children sank off the coast of Alexandria. Ibn Khaldun now decided to complete the pilgrimage to Makkah after all.

After his return in May 1388, Ibn Khaldūn concentrated more strongly on a purely educational function at various Cairo madrasas. At court he fell out of favor for a time, as during revolts against Barquq he had - apparently under duress - together with other Cairo jurists issued a Fatwa against Barquq. Later relations with Barquq returned to normal, and he was once again named the Maliki qadi. Altogether he was called six times to this high office, which for various reasons he never held long.

In 1401, under Barquq's successor, his son Faraj, Ibn Khaldūn took part in a military campaign against the Mongol conqueror Timur, who besieged Damascus. Ibn Khaldūn cast doubt upon the viability of the venture and didn't really want to leave Egypt. His doubts were vindicated, as the young and inexperienced Faraj, concerned about a revolt in Egypt, left his army to its own devices in Syria and hurried home. Ibn Khaldūn remained at the besieged city for seven weeks, being lowered over the city wall by ropes in order to negotiate with Timur, in a historic series of meetings which he reports extensively in his autobiography. Timur questioned him in detail about conditions in the lands of the Maghreb; at his request, Ibn Khaldūn even wrote a long report about it. As he recognized the intentions behind this, he did not hesitate, on his return to Egypt, to compose an equally extensive report on the history of the Tartars, together with a character study of Timur, sending these to the Merinid rulers in Fez.

Ibn Khaldūn spent the following five years in Cairo completing his autobiography and his history of the world and acting as teacher and judge. During this time he also formed an all male club named Rijal Hawa Rijal. Their activities attracted the attention of local religious authorities and he was placed under arrest. He died on 19 March 1406, one month after his sixth selection for the office of the Maliki qadi.

Works

Ibn Khaldūn has left behind few works other than his history of the world, al-Kitābu l-ʕibār. Significantly, such writings are not alluded to in his autobiography, suggesting perhaps that Ibn Khaldūn saw himself first and foremost as a historian and wanted to be known above all as the author of al-Kitābu l-ʕibār. From other sources we know of several other works, primarily composed during the time he spent in North Africa and Al-Andalus. His first book, Lubābu l-Muhassal, a commentary on the theology of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, was written at the age of 19 under the supervision of his teacher al-Ābilī in Tunis. A work on Sufism, Sifā'u l-Sā'il, was composed around 1373 in Fes, Morocco. Whilst at the court of Muhammed V, Sultan of Granada, Ibn Khaldūn composed a work on logic, ʕallaqa li-l-Sultān.

The Kitābu l-ʕibār (full title: Kitābu l-ʕibār wa Diwānu l-Mubtada' wa l-Ħabar fī Ayyāmu l-ʕarab wa l-Ājam wa l-Barbar wa man ʕĀsarahum min ĐawIu s-Sultānu l-Akbār "Book of Evidence, Record of Beginnings and Events from the Days of the Arabs, Persians and Berbers and their Powerful Contemporaries"), Ibn Khaldūn's main work, was originally conceived as a history of the Berbers. Later, the focus was widened so that in its final form (including its own methodology and anthropology), to represent a so-called "universal history". It is divided into seven books, the first of which, the Muqaddimah, can be considered a separate work. Books two to five cover the history of mankind up to the time of Ibn Khaldūn. Books six and seven cover the history of the Berber peoples and the Maghreb, which remain invaluable to present-day historians, as they are based on Ibn Khaldūn's personal knowledge of the Berbers.[24]

Concerning the discipline of sociology, he conceived a theory of social conflict. He developed the dichotomy of "town" versus "desert," as well as the concept of a "generation," and the inevitable loss of power that occurs when desert warriors conquer a city. Following a contemporary Arab scholar, Sati' al-Husri, the Muqaddimah may be read as a sociological work: six books of general sociology. Topics dealt with in this work include politics, urban life, economics, and knowledge. The work is based around Ibn Khaldun's central concept of 'asabiyyah, which has been translated as "social cohesion", "group solidarity", or "tribalism." This social cohesion arises spontaneously in tribes and other small kinship groups; it can be intensified and enlarged by a religious ideology. Ibn Khaldun's analysis looks at how this cohesion carries groups to power but contains within itself the seeds - psychological, sociological, economic, political - of the group's downfall, to be replaced by a new group, dynasty or empire bound by a stronger (or at least younger and more vigorous) cohesion. Ibn Khaldun has been cited as a racist, but his theories on the rise and fall of empires had no racial component, and this reading of his work has been claimed to be the result of mistranslations.[25]

Perhaps the most frequently cited observation drawn from Ibn Khaldūn's work is the notion that when a society becomes a great civilization (and, presumably, the dominant culture in its region), its high point is followed by a period of decay. This means that the next cohesive group that conquers the diminished civilization is, by comparison, a group of barbarians. Once the barbarians solidify their control over the conquered society, however, they become attracted to its more refined aspects, such as literacy and arts, and either assimilate into or appropriate such cultural practices. Then, eventually, the former barbarians will be conquered by a new set of barbarians, who will repeat the process. Some contemporary readers of Khaldun have read this as an early business cycle theory, though set in the historical circumstances of the mature Islamic empire.

Some readings posit an anticipation of Marx's labour theory of value in Ibn Khaldun's work. Ibn Khaldun asserts that all value (profit) comes from labour, as Marx was later to write. He outlines an early (possibly even the earliest) example of political economy. He describes the economy as being composed of value-adding processes; that is, labour is added to techniques and crafts and the product is sold at a higher value. He also made the distinction between "profit" and "sustenance", in modern political economy terms, surplus and that required for the reproduction of classes respectively. He also calls for the creation of a science to explain society and goes on to outline these ideas in his major work the Muqaddimah.

Legacy

Ibn Khaldun was first brought to the attention of the Western world in 1697, when a biography of him appeared in Barthélemy d'Herbelot de Molainville's Bibliothèque Orientale. Ibn Khaldun began gaining more attention from 1806, when Silvestre de Sacy's Chrestomathie Arabe included his biography together with a translation of parts of the Muqaddimah as the Prolegomena.[26] In 1816, de Sacy again published a biography with a more detailed description on the Prolegomena.[27] More details on and partial translations of the Prolegomena emerged over the years until the complete Arabic edition was published in 1858, followed by a complete French translation a few years later by de Sacy.[28] Since then, the work of Ibn Khaldun has been extensively studied in the Western world with special interest.[29]

  • British historian Arnold J. Toynbee called the Muqaddimah "a philosophy of history which is undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever yet been created by any mind in any time or place."[30] Much of his own work on world history was inspired by Ibn Khaldun.
  • Abderrahmane Lakhsassi writes: "No historian of the Maghreb since and particularly of the Berbers can do without his historical contribution."[31]
  • The British philosopher-anthropologist Ernest Gellner considered Ibn Khaldun's definition of government, "an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself", the best in the history of political theory.[32]
  • Egon Orowan, who termed the concept of socionomy, developed the writings of Ibn Khaldun to forecast an eventual failure of market demand.
  • Arthur Laffer, whom the Laffer curve is named after, noted that, among others, some of Ibn Khaldun's comments could be construed as a nascent version of the Laffer curve.[33]
  • In 2006, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation launched an annual essay contest [1] for Muslim students named in Ibn Khaldun's honor. The theme of the contest is "how individuals, think tanks, universities and entrepreneurs can influence government policies to allow the free market to flourish and improve the lives of its citizens based on Islamic teachings and traditions."
  • In 2006, Spain commemorated the 600th anniversary of the death of Ibn Khaldun. [2]

See also

Sources

  • Fuad Baali. 2005 The science of human social organization : Conflicting views on Ibn Khaldun's (1332-1406) Ilm al-umran. Mellen studies in sociology. Lewiston/NY: Edwin Mellen Press.
  • J. D. C. Boulakia, (1971). Ibn Khaldoun: A fourteenth-century economist, J. Politic. Econ., 79, pp. 105–18.
  • Walter Fischel. 1967 Ibn Khaldun in Egypt : His public functions and his historical research, 1382-1406; a study in Islamic historiography. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Ibn Khaldun. 1951 التعريف بإبن خلدون ورحلته غربا وشرقا Al-Taʕrīf bi Ibn-Khaldūn wa Riħlatuhu Gharbān wa Sharqān. Published by Muħammad ibn-Tāwīt at-Tanjī. Cairo (Autobiography in Arabic).
  • Ibn Khaldūn. 1958 The Muqaddimah : An introduction to history. Translated from the Arabic by Franz Rosenthal. 3 vols. New York: Princeton.
  • Ibn Khaldūn. 1967 The Muqaddimah : An introduction to history. Trans. Franz Rosenthal, ed. N.J. Dawood. (Abridged).
  • Mahmoud Rabi'. 1967 The political theory of Ibn Khaldun. Leiden: E.J. Brill.
  • Róbert Simon. 2002 Ibn Khaldūn : History as science and the patrimonial empire. Translated by Klára Pogátsa. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. Original edition, 1999.

References

  1. ^ Liat Radcliffe, Newsweek (cf. The Polymath by Bensalem Himmich, The Complete Review).
  2. ^ Marvin E. Gettleman and Stuart Schaar (2003), The Middle East and Islamic World Reader, p. 54, Grove Press, ISBN 0802139361.
  3. ^ Adem, Seifudein (2004). "Decolonizing Modernity Ibn-Khaldun and Modern Historiography". International Seminar on Islamic Thought. pp. 570–587 [580–1]. http://alambuku.tripod.com/pdf/ISoITCD%20XP.pdf#page=590. Retrieved 2008-09-19.  ."Some contemporary writers claimed that Ibn-Khaldun descended from the oldest Arab Yemenite tribes, while Ibn- Khaldun’s own writing indicates that he was genealogically linked to the Berbers of North Africa. (Enan 1975: 3-4)"
  4. ^ a b H. Mowlana (2001). "Information in the Arab World", Cooperation South Journal 1.
  5. ^ Mohamad Abdalla (Summer 2007). "Ibn Khaldun on the Fate of Islamic Science after the 11th Century", Islam & Science 5 (1), p. 61-70.
  6. ^ Salahuddin Ahmed (1999). A Dictionary of Muslim Names. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. ISBN 1850653569.
  7. ^ a b c Enan, Muhammed Abdullah (2007). Ibn Khaldun: His Life and Works. The Other Press. p. v. ISBN 9839541536.  
  8. ^ a b Dr. S. W. Akhtar (1997). "The Islamic Concept of Knowledge", Al-Tawhid: A Quarterly Journal of Islamic Thought & Culture 12 (3).
  9. ^ Haque, Amber (2004). "Psychology from Islamic Perspective: Contributions of Early Muslim Scholars and Challenges to Contemporary Muslim Psychologists". Journal of Religion and Health 43 (4): 357–377 [375]. doi:10.1007/s10943-004-4302-z.  
  10. ^ Alatas, S. H. (2006). "The Autonomous, the Universal and the Future of Sociology". Current Sociology 54: 7–23 [15]. doi:10.1177/0011392106058831.  
  11. ^ I. M. Oweiss (1988), "Ibn Khaldun, the Father of Economics", Arab Civilization: Challenges and Responses, New York University Press, ISBN 0887066984.
  12. ^ Jean David C. Boulakia (1971), "Ibn Khaldun: A Fourteenth-Century Economist", The Journal of Political Economy 79 (5): 1105-1118.
  13. ^ L. K. Jha, K. N. Jha (1998). "Chanakya: the pioneer economist of the world", International Journal of Social Economics 25 (2-4), p. 267-282.
  14. ^ Waldauer, C., Zahka, W.J. and Pal, S. 1996. Kautilya's Arthashastra: A neglected precursor to classical economics. Indian Economic Review, Vol. XXXI, No. 1, pp. 101-108.
  15. ^ Tisdell, C. 2003. A Western perspective of Kautilya's Arthasastra: does it provide a basis for economic science? Economic Theory, Applications and Issues Working Paper No. 18. Brisbane: School of Economics, The University of Queensland.
  16. ^ Sihag, B.S. 2007. Kautilya on institutions, governance, knowledge, ethics and prosperity. Humanomics 23 (1): 5-28.
  17. ^ Smith, Jean Reeder; Smith, J.; Smith, Lacey Baldwin (1980). Essentials of World History. Barron's Educational Series. p. 20. ISBN 0812006372.  
  18. ^ Akbar Ahmed (2002). "Ibn Khaldun’s Understanding of Civilizations and the Dilemmas of Islam and the West Today", Middle East Journal 56 (1), p. 25.
  19. ^ Published by Muħammad ibn-Tāwīt at-Tanjī, Cairo 1951
  20. ^ (French) « Lettre à Monsieur Garcin de Tassy », Journal asiatique, troisième série, tome XII, éd. Société asiatique, Paris, 1841, p. 491
  21. ^ A., Ibn Khaldun: His life and Works for Mohammad Enan
  22. ^ IBN KHALDUN: His Life and Work by Muhammad Hozien
  23. ^ Muhammad Hozien. "Ibn Khaldun: His Life and Work". Islamic Philosophy Online. http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ik/klf.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-19.  
  24. ^ It should be noted that recently there has been a tendency to modify this view. Ibn Khaldun relied not just on his own research, but for the history of the Berber tribes utilized a large number of written sources including many of poor quality (e.g. the Rawd al-Qirtas). He has been criticised for often presenting only a synthesis of multiple (sometimes contradictory) sources where a more careful historian such as ar-Raqiq or al-Maliki would always give the original texts before pronouncing an opinion. See articles by Modéran and Benabbès in Identités et Cultures dans l'Algérie Antique, University of Rouen, 2005 (ISBN 2-87775-391-3). This criticism applies only to his factual work, not to the theoretical parts like the Muqaddimah
  25. ^ http://www.jstor.org/pss/3590803 Translation and the Colonial Imaginary: Ibn Khaldun Orientalist, by Abdelmajid Hannoum © 2003 Wesleyan University.
  26. ^ Enan, Muhammed Abdullah (2007), Ibn Khaldun: His Life and Works, The Other Press, p. 118, ISBN 9839541536  
  27. ^ Enan, Muhammed Abdullah (2007), Ibn Khaldun: His Life and Works, The Other Press, pp. 118–9, ISBN 9839541536  
  28. ^ Enan, Muhammed Abdullah (2007), Ibn Khaldun: His Life and Works, The Other Press, p. 119, ISBN 9839541536  
  29. ^ Enan, Muhammed Abdullah (2007), Ibn Khaldun: His Life and Works, The Other Press, pp. 119–20, ISBN 9839541536  
  30. ^ a b Encyclopædia Britannica, 15th ed., vol. 9, p. 148.
  31. ^ Lakhsassi, A. (1996) 'Ibn Khaldun', in S.H. Nasr and O. Leaman (eds) History of Islamic Philosophy, London: Routledge, ch. 25, 350-64. ... http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ip/rep/H024.htm
  32. ^ Ernest Gellner, Plough, Sword and Book (1988), p. 239
  33. ^ Arthur Laffer (June 1, 2004). "The Laffer Cruve, Past, Present and Future". Heritage Foundation. http://www.heritage.org/Research/Taxes/bg1765.cfm. Retrieved 2007-12-11.  

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English

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Ibn Khaldun
Full name Ibn Khaldun
Born 27 May 1332 AD / 732 AH
Died 19 March 1406 AD / 808 AH
Era Medieval era
Region Muslim scholar
School Maliki madhab,
Islamic economic jurisprudence
Main interests Social Sciences, Sociology, History, Historiography, Cultural History, Philosophy of History, Demography, Diplomacy, Economics, Islamic Studies, Military Theory, Philosophy, Politics, Statecraft, Theology
Notable ideas Forerunner of demography, historiography, cultural history, philosophy of history, sociology, social sciences, and modern economics. Developed theories of Asabiyyah and the rise and fall of civilizations.

Ibn Khaldūn or Ibn Khaldoun (full name, Arabic: أبو زيد عبد الرحمن بن محمد بن خلدون الحضرمي ‎, Abū Zayd ‘Abdu r-Raḥman bin Muḥammad bin Khaldūn Al-Hadrami, Berber name: Ben Xeldun; May 27, 1332 AD/732 AH – March 19, 1406 AD/808 AH) was a North African polymath[1][2]an astronomer, economist, historian, Islamic jurist, Islamic lawyer, Islamic scholar, Islamic theologian, hafiz, mathematician, military strategist, nutritionist, philosopher, social scientist and statesman—born in North Africa in present-day Tunisia.[3] He is considered a forerunner of several social scientific disciplines: demography,[4] cultural history,[5][6] historiography,[7][8][9] the philosophy of history,[10] and sociology.[4][8][9][10][11][12] He is also considered one of the forerunners of modern economics,[8][13][14] alongside the earlier Indian scholar Chanakya.[15][16][17][18] Ibn Khaldun is considered by many to be the father of a number of these disciplines, and of social sciences in general,[19][20] for anticipating many elements of these disciplines centuries before they were founded in the West. He is best known for his Muqaddimah (known as Prolegomenon in English), the first volume of his book on universal history, Kitab al-Ibar. Ibn Khaldun's ideas were not absorbed by his society, nor were they carried forward by its future generations.[21]

Ibn Khaldun's life is relatively well-documented, as he wrote an autobiography (التعريف بابن خلدون ورحلته غربا وشرقا; Al-Taʻrīf bi Ibn-Khaldūn wa Riħlatuhu Gharbān wa Sharqān[22]) in which numerous documents regarding his life are quoted word-for-word. However, the autobiography has little to say about his private life, so little is known about his family background. Generally known as "Ibn Khaldūn" after a remote ancestor, he was born in Tunis in AD 1332 (732 A.H.) into an upper-class Andalusian family, the Banū Khaldūn. His family, which held many high offices in Andalusia, had emigrated to Tunisia after the fall of Seville to Reconquista forces around the middle of the 13th century. Under the Tunisian Hafsid dynasty some of his family held political office; Ibn Khaldūn's father and grandfather however withdrew from political life and joined a mystical order. His brother, Yahya Ibn Khaldun, was also a historian who wrote a book on the Abdalwadid dynasty, and who was assassinated by a rival for being the official historiographer of the court.[23]

In his autobiography, Ibn Khaldun traces his descent back to the time of Muhammad through an Arab tribe from Yemen, specifically Hadhramaut, which came to Spain in the eighth century at the beginning of the Islamic conquest. In his own words: "And our ancestry is from Hadhramaut, from the Arabs of Yemen, via Wa'il ibn Hajar, from the best of the Arabs, well-known and respected." (p. 2429, Al-Waraq's edition). However, the biographer Mohammad Enan questions his claim, suggesting that his family may have been Berbers who pretended to be of Arab origin in order to gain social status.[24] According to Muhammad Hozien, "The false [Berber] identity would be valid however at the time that Ibn Khaldun’s ancestors left Andalusia and moved to Tunisia they did not change their claim to Arab ancestry. Even in the times when Berbers were ruling, the reigns of Al-Marabats and al-Mowahids, et al. the Ibn Khalduns did not reclaim their Berber heritage."[25] This, for some, lends credence to Ibn Khaldun's being of Arab origin. The only certainty: Ibn Khaldun was by nature and nurture a product of the Maghreb.

Contents

=Education

= His family's high rank enabled Ibn Khaldun to study with the best North African teachers of the time. He received a classical Islamic education, studying the Qur'an which he memorized by heart, Arabic linguistics, the basis for an understanding of the Qur'an, hadith, sharia (law) and fiqh (jurisprudence). He received certification (ijazah) for all these subjects.[26] The mystic, mathematician and philosopher, Al-Abili, introduced him to mathematics, logic and philosophy, where he above all studied the works of Averroes, Avicenna, Razi and Tusi. At the age of 17, Ibn Khaldūn lost both his parents to the Black Death, an intercontinental epidemic of the plague that hit Tunis in 1348–1349.

Following family tradition, Ibn Khaldūn strove for a political career. In the face of a tumultuous political situation in North Africa, this required a high degree of skill developing and dropping alliances prudently, to avoid falling with the short-lived regimes of the time. Ibn Khaldūn's autobiography is the story of an adventure, in which he spends time in prison, reaches the highest offices and falls again into exile.

Early years in Tunis and Granada

At the age of 20, he began his political career at the Chancellery of the Tunisian ruler Ibn Tafrakin with the position of Kātib al-'Alāmah, which consisted of writing in fine calligraphy the typical introductory notes of official documents. In 1352, Abū Ziad, the Sultan of Constantine, marched on Tunis and defeated it. Ibn Khaldūn, in any case unhappy with his respected but politically meaningless position, followed his teacher Abili to Fez. Here the Marinid sultan Abū Inan Fares I appointed him as a writer of royal proclamations, which didn't prevent Ibn Khaldūn from scheming against his employer. In 1357 this brought the 25-year-old a 22-month prison sentence. Upon the death of Abū Inan in 1358, the vizier al-Hasān ibn-Umar granted him freedom and reinstated him in his rank and offices. Ibn Khaldūn then schemed against Abū Inan's successor, Abū Salem Ibrahim III, with Abū Salem's exiled uncle, Abū Salem. When Abū Salem came to power, he gave Ibn Khaldūn a ministerial position, the first position which corresponded with Ibn Khaldūn's ambitions.

The treatment Ibn Khaldun received after the fall of Abū Salem through Ibn-Amar ʻAbdullah, a friend of Ibn Khaldūn's, was not to his liking, he received no significant official position. At the same time, Amar successfully prevented Ibn Khaldūn – whose political skills he was well aware of – from allying with the Abd al-Wadids in Tlemcen. Ibn Khaldūn therefore decided to move to Granada. He could be sure of a positive welcome there, since at Fez he had helped the Sultan of Granada, the Nasrid Muhammad V, regain power from his temporary exile. In 1364 Muhammad entrusted him with a diplomatic mission to the King of Castile, Pedro the Cruel, to endorse a peace treaty. Ibn Khaldūn successfully carried out this mission, and politely declined Pedro's offer to remain at his court and have his family's Spanish possessions returned to him.

.]]

In Granada, Ibn Khaldūn quickly came into competition with Muhammad's vizier, Ibn al-Khatib, who saw the close relationship between Muhammad and Ibn Khaldūn with increasing mistrust. Ibn Khaldūn tried to shape the young Muhammad into his ideal of a wise ruler, an enterprise which Ibn al-Khatib thought foolish and a danger to peace in the country – and history proved him right. At al-Khatib's instigation, Ibn Khaldūn was eventually sent back to North Africa. Al-Khatib himself was later accused by Muhammad of having unorthodox philosophical views, and murdered, despite an attempt by Ibn Khaldūn to intercede on behalf of his old rival.

In his autobiography, Ibn Khaldūn tells us little about his conflict with Ibn al-Khatib and the reasons for his departure. The orientalist Muhsin Mahdi interprets this as showing that Ibn Khaldūn later realised that he had completely misjudged Muhammad V.

Back in Africa, the Hafsid sultan of Bougie, Abū ʻAbdallāh, (who had been his companion in prison) received him with great enthusiasm, and made Ibn Khaldūn his prime minister. During this period, Ibn Khaldūn carried out a daring mission to collect taxes among the local Berber tribes. After the death of Abū ʻAbdallāh in 1366, Ibn Khaldūn changed sides once again and allied himself with the ruler of Tlemcen, Abū l-Abbas. A few years later he was taken prisoner by ʻAbdu l-Azīz, who had defeated the sultan of Tlemcen and seized the throne. He then entered a monastic establishment, and occupied himself with scholastic duties, until in 1370 he was sent for to Tlemcen by the new sultan. After the death of ʻAbdu l-Azīz, he resided at Fez, enjoying the patronage and confidence of the regent.

Ibn Khaldūn's political skills, above all his good relationship with the wild Berber tribes, were in high demand among the North African rulers, whereas he himself began to tire of politics and constant switching of allegiances. In 1375, sent by Abū Hammu, the ʻAbdu l Wadid Sultan of Tlemcen, on a mission to the Dawadida Arabs tribes of Biskra. Thereafter Ibn Khaldūn returns to the West sought refuge with one of the Berber tribes, in the west of Algeria, in the town of Qalat Ibn Salama. He lived there for over three years under their protection, taking advantage of his seclusion to write the Muqaddimah "Prolegomena", the introduction to his planned history of the world. In Ibn Salama, however, he lacked the necessary texts to complete the work. As a result, in 1378, he returned to his native Tunis, which in the mean time had been conquered by Abū l-Abbas, who took Ibn Khaldūn back into his service. There he devoted himself almost exclusively to his studies and completed his history of the world. His relationship with Abū l-Abbas remained strained, as the latter questioned his loyalty. This was brought into sharp contrast after Ibn Khaldūn presented him with a copy of the completed history omitting the usual panegyric to the ruler. Under pretence of going on the Hajj to Mecca – something a Muslim ruler could not simply refuse permission for – Ibn Khaldūn was able to leave Tunis and sail to Alexandria.

Last years in Egypt

Ibn Khaldun said of Egypt, "He who has not seen it does not know the power of Islam." While other Islamic regions had to cope with border wars and inner strife, under the Mamluks Egypt experienced a period of economic prosperity and high culture. However, even in Egypt, where Ibn Khaldūn lived out his days, he could not stay out of politics completely. In 1384 the Egyptian Sultan, al-Malik udh-Dhahir Barquq, made him Professor of the Qamhiyyah Madrasah, and grand Qadi of the Maliki school of fiqh (one of four schools, the Maliki school was widespread primarily in West Africa). His efforts at reform encountered resistance, however, and within a year he had to resign his judgeship. A contributory factor to his decision to resign may have been the heavy personal blow that struck him in 1384, when a ship carrying his wife and children sank off the coast of Alexandria. Ibn Khaldun now decided to complete the pilgrimage to Makkah after all.

After his return in May 1388, Ibn Khaldūn concentrated more strongly on a purely educational function at various Cairo madrasas. At court he fell out of favor for a time, as during revolts against Barquq he had – apparently under duress – together with other Cairo jurists issued a Fatwa against Barquq. Later relations with Barquq returned to normal, and he was once again named the Maliki qadi. Altogether he was called six times to this high office, which for various reasons he never held long.

In 1401, under Barquq's successor, his son Faraj, Ibn Khaldūn took part in a military campaign against the Mongol conqueror Timur, who besieged Damascus. Ibn Khaldūn cast doubt upon the viability of the venture and didn't really want to leave Egypt. His doubts were vindicated, as the young and inexperienced Faraj, concerned about a revolt in Egypt, left his army to its own devices in Syria and hurried home. Ibn Khaldūn remained at the besieged city for seven weeks, being lowered over the city wall by ropes in order to negotiate with Timur, in a historic series of meetings which he reports extensively in his autobiography. Timur questioned him in detail about conditions in the lands of the Maghreb; at his request, Ibn Khaldūn even wrote a long report about it. As he recognized the intentions behind this, he did not hesitate, on his return to Egypt, to compose an equally extensive report on the history of the Tartars, together with a character study of Timur, sending these to the Merinid rulers in Fez (Maghreb).

Ibn Khaldūn spent the following five years in Cairo completing his autobiography and his history of the world and acting as teacher and judge. During this time he also formed an all male club named Rijal Hawa Rijal. Their activities attracted the attention of local religious authorities and he was placed under arrest. He died on 19 March 1406, one month after his sixth selection for the office of the Maliki qadi.

Works

When civilization [population] increases, the available labor again increases. In turn, luxury again increases in correspondence with the increasing profit, and the customs and needs of luxury increase. Crafts are created to obtain luxury products. The value realized from them increases, and, as a result, profits are again multiplied in the town. Production there is thriving even more than before. And so it goes with the second and third increase. All the additional labor serves luxury and wealth, in contrast to the original labor that served the necessity of life.[27]
Ibn Khaldun on economic growth
Businesses owned by responsible and organized merchants shall eventually surpass those owned by wealthy rulers.[27]
Ibn Khaldun on economic growth and the ideals of Plato

Ibn Khaldūn has left behind few works other than his history of the world, al-Kitābu l-ʻibār. Significantly, such writings are not alluded to in his autobiography, suggesting perhaps that Ibn Khaldūn saw himself first and foremost as a historian and wanted to be known above all as the author of al-Kitābu l-ʻibār. From other sources we know of several other works, primarily composed during the time he spent in North Africa and Al-Andalus. His first book, Lubābu l-Muhassal, a commentary on the Islamic theology of Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, was written at the age of 19 under the supervision of his teacher al-Ābilī in Tunis. A work on Sufism, Sifā'u l-Sā'il, was composed around 1373 in Fes, Morocco. Whilst at the court of Muhammed V, Sultan of Granada, Ibn Khaldūn composed a work on logic, ʻallaqa li-l-Sultān.

The Kitābu l-ʻibār (full title: Kitābu l-ʻibār wa Diwānu l-Mubtada' wa l-Ħabar fī Ayyāmu l-ʻarab wa l-Ājam wa l-Barbar wa man ʻĀsarahum min ĐawIu s-Sultānu l-Akbār "Book of Evidence, Record of Beginnings and Events from the Days of the Arabs, Persians and Berbers and their Powerful Contemporaries"), Ibn Khaldūn's main work, was originally conceived as a history of the Berbers. Later, the focus was widened so that in its final form (including its own methodology and anthropology), to represent a so-called "universal history". It is divided into seven books, the first of which, the Muqaddimah, can be considered a separate work. Books two to five cover the history of mankind up to the time of Ibn Khaldūn. Books six and seven cover the history of the Berber peoples and the Maghreb, which remain invaluable to present-day historians, as they are based on Ibn Khaldūn's personal knowledge of the Berbers.[28]

Concerning the discipline of sociology, he conceived a theory of social conflict. He developed the dichotomy of sedentary life versus nomadic life as well as the concept of a "generation," and the inevitable loss of power that occurs when desert warriors conquer a city. Following a contemporary Arab scholar, Sati' al-Husri, the Muqaddimah may be read as a sociological work: six books of general sociology. Topics dealt with in this work include politics, urban life, economics, and knowledge. The work is based around Ibn Khaldun's central concept of 'asabiyyah, which has been translated as "social cohesion", "group solidarity", or "tribalism". This social cohesion arises spontaneously in tribes and other small kinship groups; it can be intensified and enlarged by a religious ideology. Ibn Khaldun's analysis looks at how this cohesion carries groups to power but contains within itself the seeds – psychological, sociological, economic, political – of the group's downfall, to be replaced by a new group, dynasty or empire bound by a stronger (or at least younger and more vigorous) cohesion. Ibn Khaldun has been cited as a racist, but his theories on the rise and fall of empires had no racial component, and this reading of his work has been claimed to be the result of mistranslations.[29]

Perhaps the most frequently cited observation drawn from Ibn Khaldūn's work is the notion that when a society becomes a great civilization (and, presumably, the dominant culture in its region), its high point is followed by a period of decay. This means that the next cohesive group that conquers the diminished civilization is, by comparison, a group of barbarians. Once the barbarians solidify their control over the conquered society, however, they become attracted to its more refined aspects, such as literacy and arts, and either assimilate into or appropriate such cultural practices. Then, eventually, the former barbarians will be conquered by a new set of barbarians, who will repeat the process. Some contemporary readers of Khaldun have read this as an early business cycle theory, though set in the historical circumstances of the mature Islamic empire.

Ibn Khaldun's outlines an early (possibly even the earliest) example of political economy. He describes the economy as being composed of value-adding processes; that is, labour and skill is added to techniques and crafts and the product is sold at a higher value. He also made the distinction between "profit" and "sustenance", in modern political economy terms, surplus and that required for the reproduction of classes respectively. He also calls for the creation of a science to explain society and goes on to outline these ideas in his major work the Muqaddimah.

Legacy

Ibn Khaldun was first brought to the attention of the Western world in 1697, when a biography of him appeared in Barthélemy d'Herbelot de Molainville's Bibliothèque Orientale. Ibn Khaldun began gaining more attention from 1806, when Silvestre de Sacy's Chrestomathie Arabe included his biography together with a translation of parts of the Muqaddimah as the Prolegomena.[30] In 1816, de Sacy again published a biography with a more detailed description on the Prolegomena.[31] More details on and partial translations of the Prolegomena emerged over the years until the complete Arabic edition was published in 1858, followed by a complete French translation a few years later by de Sacy.[32] Since then, the work of Ibn Khaldun has been extensively studied in the Western world with special interest.[33]

  • British historian Arnold J. Toynbee called the Muqaddimah "a philosophy of history which is undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever yet been created by any mind in any time or place."[34] Much of his own work on world history was inspired by Ibn Khaldun.
  • Abderrahmane Lakhsassi writes: "No historian of the Maghreb since and particularly of the Berbers can do without his historical contribution."[35]
  • The British philosopher-anthropologist Ernest Gellner considered Ibn Khaldun's definition of government, "an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself", the best in the history of political theory.[36]
  • Egon Orowan, who termed the concept of socionomy, developed the writings of Ibn Khaldun to forecast an eventual failure of market demand.
  • In 2006, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation launched an annual essay contest [1] for Muslim students named in Ibn Khaldun's honor. The theme of the contest is "how individuals, think tanks, universities and entrepreneurs can influence government policies to allow the free market to flourish and improve the lives of its citizens based on Islamic teachings and traditions."
  • In 2006, Spain commemorated the 600th anniversary of the death of Ibn Khaldun. [2]

See also

Sources

  • Fuad Baali. 2005 The science of human social organization : Conflicting views on Ibn Khaldun's (1332–1406) Ilm al-umran. Mellen studies in sociology. Lewiston/NY: Edwin Mellen Press.
  • J. D. C. Boulakia, (1971). Ibn Khaldoun: A fourteenth-century economist, J. Politic. Econ., 79, pp. 105–18.
  • Walter Fischel. 1967 Ibn Khaldun in Egypt : His public functions and his historical research, 1382–1406; a study in Islamic historiography. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Ibn Khaldun. 1951 التعريف بإبن خلدون ورحلته غربا وشرقا Al-Taʻrīf bi Ibn-Khaldūn wa Riħlatuhu Gharbān wa Sharqān. Published by Muħammad ibn-Tāwīt at-Tanjī. Cairo (Autobiography in Arabic).
  • Ibn Khaldūn. 1958 The Muqaddimah : An introduction to history. Translated from the Arabic by Franz Rosenthal. 3 vols. New York: Princeton.
  • Ibn Khaldūn. 1967 The Muqaddimah : An introduction to history. Trans. Franz Rosenthal, ed. N.J. Dawood. (Abridged).
  • Mahmoud Rabi'. 1967 The political theory of Ibn Khaldun. Leiden: E.J. Brill.
  • Róbert Simon. 2002 Ibn Khaldūn : History as science and the patrimonial empire. Translated by Klára Pogátsa. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó. Original edition, 1999.
  • Allen Fromherz. 2010 "Ibn Khaldun : Life and Times". Edinburgh University Press, 2010.

References

  1. ^ Liat Radcliffe, Newsweek (cf. The Polymath by Bensalem Himmich, The Complete Review).
  2. ^ Marvin E. Gettleman and Stuart Schaar (2003), The Middle East and Islamic World Reader, p. 54, Grove Press, ISBN 0-8021-3936-1.
  3. ^ Adem, Seifudein (2004). "Decolonizing Modernity Ibn-Khaldun and Modern Historiography". International Seminar on Islamic Thought. pp. 570–587 [580–1]. http://alambuku.tripod.com/pdf/ISoITCD%20XP.pdf#page=590. Retrieved 2008-09-19. ."Some contemporary writers claimed that Ibn-Khaldun descended from the oldest Arab Yemenite tribes, while Ibn- Khaldun’s own writing indicates that he was genealogically linked to the Berbers of North Africa. (Enan 1975: 3–4)"
  4. ^ a b H. Mowlana (2001). "Information in the Arab World", Cooperation South Journal 1.
  5. ^ Mohamad Abdalla (Summer 2007). "Ibn Khaldun on the Fate of Islamic Science after the 11th Century", Islam & Science 5 (1), pp. 61–70.
  6. ^ Warren E. Gates (July–September 1967). "The Spread of Ibn Khaldun's Ideas on Climate and Culture". Journal of the History of Ideas (University of Pennsylvania Press) 28 (3): 415–422 [416]. doi:10.2307/2708627. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2708627. Retrieved 2010-03-25 
  7. ^ Salahuddin Ahmed (1999). A Dictionary of Muslim Names. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. ISBN 1-85065-356-9.
  8. ^ a b c Enan, Muhammed Abdullah (2007). Ibn Khaldun: His Life and Works. The Other Press. p. v. ISBN 9839541536. 
  9. ^ a b Warren E. Gates (July–September 1967). "The Spread of Ibn Khaldun's Ideas on Climate and Culture". Journal of the History of Ideas (University of Pennsylvania Press) 28 (3): 415–422 [415]. doi:10.2307/2708627. http://www.jstor.org/stable/2708627. Retrieved 2010-03-25 
  10. ^ a b Dr. S. W. Akhtar (1997). "The Islamic Concept of Knowledge", Al-Tawhid: A Quarterly Journal of Islamic Thought & Culture 12 (3).
  11. ^ Haque, Amber (2004). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "Psychology from Islamic Perspective: Contributions of Early Muslim Scholars and Challenges to Contemporary Muslim Psychologists"]. Journal of Religion and Health 43 (4): 357–377 [375]. doi:10.1007/s10943-004-4302-z. 
  12. ^ Alatas, S. H. (2006). [Expression error: Unexpected < operator "The Autonomous, the Universal and the Future of Sociology"]. Current Sociology 54: 7–23 [15]. doi:10.1177/0011392106058831. 
  13. ^ G. N. Atiyeh, I. M. Oweiss (1988), "Ibn Khaldun, the Father of Economics", in Arab Civilization: Challenges and Responses, essays in honor of Constantine K. Zurayk, State University of New York Press, ISBN 0-88706-698-4.
  14. ^ Jean David C. Boulakia (1971), "Ibn Khaldun: A Fourteenth-Century Economist", The Journal of Political Economy 79 (5): 1105–1118.
  15. ^ L. K. Jha, K. N. Jha (1998). "Chanakya: the pioneer economist of the world", International Journal of Social Economics 25 (2–4), pp. 267–282.
  16. ^ Waldauer, C., Zahka, W.J. and Pal, S. 1996. Kautilya's Arthashastra: A neglected precursor to classical economics. Indian Economic Review, Vol. XXXI, No. 1, pp. 101–108.
  17. ^ Tisdell, C. 2003. A Western perspective of Kautilya's Arthasastra: does it provide a basis for economic science? Economic Theory, Applications and Issues Working Paper No. 18. Brisbane: School of Economics, The University of Queensland.
  18. ^ Sihag, B.S. 2007. Kautilya on institutions, governance, knowledge, ethics and prosperity. Humanomics 23 (1): 5–28.
  19. ^ Smith, Jean Reeder; Smith, J.; Smith, Lacey Baldwin (1980). Essentials of World History. Barron's Educational Series. p. 20. ISBN 0812006372. 
  20. ^ Akbar Ahmed (2002). "Ibn Khaldun’s Understanding of Civilizations and the Dilemmas of Islam and the West Today", Middle East Journal 56 (1), p. 25.
  21. ^ S. M. Deen (2007) "Science under Islam: rise, decline and revival". p.157. ISBN 1-84799-942-5
  22. ^ Published by Muħammad ibn-Tāwīt at-Tanjī, Cairo 1951
  23. ^ (French) « Lettre à Monsieur Garcin de Tassy », Journal asiatique, troisième série, tome XII, éd. Société asiatique, Paris, 1841, p. 491
  24. ^ A., Ibn Khaldun: His life and Works for Mohammad Enan
  25. ^ IBN KHALDUN: His Life and Work by Muhammad Hozien
  26. ^ Muhammad Hozien. "Ibn Khaldun: His Life and Work". Islamic Philosophy Online. http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ik/klf.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-19. 
  27. ^ a b Muqaddimah 2:272–73 quoted in Weiss (1995) p 30
  28. ^ Recently there has been a tendency to modify this view. Ibn Khaldun relied not just on his own research, but for the history of the Berber tribes utilized a large number of written sources including many of poor quality (e.g. the Rawd al-Qirtas). He has been criticised for often presenting only a synthesis of multiple (sometimes contradictory) sources where a more careful historian such as ar-Raqiq or al-Maliki would always give the original texts before pronouncing an opinion. See articles by Modéran and Benabbès in Identités et Cultures dans l'Algérie Antique, University of Rouen, 2005 (ISBN 2-87775-391-3). This criticism applies only to his factual work, not to the theoretical parts like the Muqaddimah
  29. ^ http://www.jstor.org/pss/3590803 Translation and the Colonial Imaginary: Ibn Khaldun Orientalist, by Abdelmajid Hannoum © 2003 Wesleyan University.
  30. ^ Enan, Muhammed Abdullah (2007). Ibn Khaldun: His Life and Works. The Other Press. p. 118. ISBN 9839541536 
  31. ^ Enan, Muhammed Abdullah (2007). Ibn Khaldun: His Life and Works. The Other Press. pp. 118–9. ISBN 9839541536 
  32. ^ Enan, Muhammed Abdullah (2007). Ibn Khaldun: His Life and Works. The Other Press. p. 119. ISBN 9839541536 
  33. ^ Enan, Muhammed Abdullah (2007). Ibn Khaldun: His Life and Works. The Other Press. pp. 119–20. ISBN 9839541536 
  34. ^ a b Encyclopædia Britannica, 15th ed., vol. 9, p. 148.
  35. ^ Lakhsassi, A. (1996) 'Ibn Khaldun', in S.H. Nasr and O. Leaman (eds) History of Islamic Philosophy, London: Routledge, ch. 25, 350–64. ... http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ip/rep/H024.htm
  36. ^ Ernest Gellner, Plough, Sword and Book (1988), p. 239
  37. ^ Arthur Laffer (June 1, 2004). "The Laffer Cruve, Past, Present and Future". Heritage Foundation. http://www.heritage.org/Research/Taxes/bg1765.cfm. Retrieved 2007-12-11. 

External links

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Ibn Khaldūn (13321406) was a famous Arab historiographer and historian born in present-day Tunisia, and is sometimes viewed as one of the forerunners of modern historiography, sociology and economics. He is best known for his Muqaddimah "Prolegomena".

Contents

Sourced

On the Arabic language

  • All the sciences came to exist in Arabic. The systematic works on them were written in Arabic writing.
    • Muqaddimah, Translated by Franz Rosenthal, p.432, Princeton University Press, 1981.

On the bedouin Arabs

  • Arabs dominate only of the plains, because they are, by their savage nature, people of pillage and corruption. They pillage everything that they can take without fighting or taking risks, then flee to their refuge in the wilderness, and do not stand and do battle unless in self-defense. So when they encounter any difficulty or obstacle, they leave it alone and look for easier prey. And tribes well-fortified against them on the slopes of the hills escape their corruption and destruction, because they prefer not to climb hills, nor expend effort, nor take risks. Whereas plains, when they can reach them due to lack of protection and weakness of the state, are spoils for them and morsels for them to eat, which they will keep despoiling and raiding and conquering with ease until their people are defeated, then imitate them with mutual conflict and political decline, until their civilization is destroyed. And Allah is capable of their creation, and He is the One, the Victorious, and there is no other lord than Him.

On the Greeks

  • The sciences of only one nation, the Greeks, have come down to us, because they were translated through Al-Ma'mun's efforts. He was successful in this direction because he had many translators at his disposal and spent much money in this connection.
  • Eventually, Aristotle appeared among the Greeks. He improved the methods of logic and systematized its problems and details. He assigned to logic its proper place as the first philosophical discipline and the introduction to philosophy. Therefore he is called the First Teacher.
    • Muqaddimah, Translated by Franz Rosenthal, p.39 and p.383, Princeton University Press, 1981.

On the Jews

  • (Unlike Muslims), the other religious groups did not have a universal mission, and the holy war was not a religious duty to them, save only for purposes of defence... They are merely required to establish their religion among their own people. This is why the Israelites after Moses and Joshua remained unconcerned with royal authority for about four hundred years. Their only concern was to establish their religion... The Israelites dispossessed the Canaanites of the land that God had given them as their heritage in Jerusalem and the surrounding region, as it had been explained to them through Moses. The nations of the Philistines, the Canaanites, the Armenians, the Edomites, the Ammonites, and the Moabites fought against them. During that time political leadership was entrusted to the elders among them. The Israelites remained in that condition for about four hundred years. They did not have any royal power and were harassed by attacks from foreign nations. Therefore, they asked God through Samuel, one of their prophets, that he permit them to make someone king over them. Thus, Saul became their king. He defeated the foreign nations and killed Goliath, the ruler of Philistines. After Saul, w:David became king, and then Solomon. His kingdom flourished and extended to the borders of the land of the Hijaz and further to the borders of Yemen and to the borders of the land of the Byzantines. After Solomon, the tribes split into two dynasties. One of the dysnaties was that of the ten tribes in the region of Nablus, the capital of which is Samaria(Sabastiyah), and the other that of the children of Judah and Benjamin in Jerusalem. Their royal authority had had an uninterrupted duration of a thousand years.
    • Muqaddimah, Translated by Franz Rosenthal, pp.183-184, Princeton University Press, 1981.

On the Persians

  • As Ibn Khaldun suggests, it is a remarkable fact that with few exceptions, most Muslim scholars…in the intellectual sciences have been non-Arabs:
"Thus the founders of grammar were Sibawaih and after him, al-Farisi and Az-Zajjaj. All of them were of Persian descent…they invented rules of (Arabic) grammar…great jurists were Persians… only the Persians engaged in the task of preserving knowledge and writing systematic scholarly works. Thus the truth of the statement of the prophet becomes apparent, 'If learning were suspended in the highest parts of heaven the Persians would attain it"…The intellectual sciences were also the preserve of the Persians, left alone by the Arabs, who did not cultivate them…as was the case with all crafts…This situation continued in the cities as long as the Persians and Persian countries, Iraq, Khorasan and Transoxiana (modern Central Asia), retained their sedentary culture.
    • Muqaddimah, Translated by Franz Rosenthal (III, pp. 311-15, 271-4 [Arabic]; R.N. Frye (p.91). He translated the Arabic word "Ajam" into "Persions" although it means "non-Arabs"

On black people

  • The only people who accept slavery are the Negroes, owing to their low degree of humanity and proximity to the animal stage. Other persons who accept the status of slave do so as a means of attaining high rank, or power, or wealth, as is the case with the Mameluke Turks in the East and with those Franks and Galicians who enter the service of the state [in Spain].
    • Ibn Khaldun as quoted in Bernard Lewis, Race and Color in Islam, Harper and Row, 1970, quote on page 38. The brackets are displayed by Lewis.

On the Qu'ran

  • Arabic writing at the beginning of Islam was, therefore, not of the best quality nor of the greatest accuracy and excellence. It was not (even) of medium quality, because the Arabs possessed the savage desert attitude and were not familiar with crafts. One may compare what happened to the orthography of the Qur’an on account of this situation. The men around Muhammad wrote the Qur’an in their own script which, was not of a firmly established, good quality. Most of the letters were in contradiction to the orthography required by persons versed in the craft of writing.... Consequently, (the Qur’anic orthography of the men around Muhammad was followed and became established, and the scholars acquainted with it have called attention to passages where (this is noticeable). No attention should be paid in this connection with those incompetent (scholars) that (the men around Muhammad) knew well the art of writing and that the alleged discrepancies between their writing and the principles of orthography are not discrepancies, as has been alleged, but have a reason. For instance, they explain the addition of the alif in la ‘adhbahannahU "I shall indeed slaughter him" as indication that the slaughtering did not take place ( lA ‘adhbahannahU ). The addition of the ya in bi-ayydin "with hands (power)," they explain as an indication that the divine power is perfect. There are similar things based on nothing but purely arbitrary assumptions. The only reason that caused them to (assume such things) is their belief that (their explanations) would free the men around Muhammad from the suspicion of deficiency, in the sense that they were not able to write well. They think that good writing is perfection. Thus, they do not admit the fact that the men around Muhammad were deficient in writing.
    • Muqqadimah, ibn Khaldun, vol. 2, p.382

On Religious propaganda

  • Religious propaganda gives a dynasty at its beginning another power in addition to that of the group feeling it possessed as the result of the number of its supporters... This happened to the Arabs at the beginning of Islam during the Muslim conquests. The armies of the Muslims at al-Qadisiyah and at the Yarmuk numbered some 30,000 in each case, while the Persian troops at al-Qadisiyah numbered 120,000, and the troops of Heraclius, according to al-Waqidi, 400,000. Neither of the two parties was able to withstand the Arabs, who routed them and seized what they possessed.
    • Muqaddimah, Translated by Franz Rosenthal, p.126, Princeton University Press, 1981.

On The Black Plague

  • Civilization both in the East and the West was visited by a destructive plague which devastated nations and caused populations to vanish. It swallowed up many of the good things of civilization and wiped them out. It overtook the dynasties at the time of their senility, when they had reached the limit of their duration. It lessened their power and curtailed their influence. It weakened their authority. Their situation approached the point of annihilation and dissolution. Civilization decreased with the decrease of mankind. Cities and buildings were laid waste, roads and way signs were obliterated, settlements and mansions became empty, dynasties and tribes grew weak. The entire inhabited world changed. The East, it seems, was similarly visited, though in accordance with and in proportion to [the East's more affluent] civilization. It was as if the voice of existence in the world had called out for oblivion and restriction, and the world responded to its call. God inherits the earth and whomever is upon it.
    • Michael W. Dols, The Black Death in the Middle East, Princeton University Press, 1977, p. 67.

Unsourced

On economics

  • In the early stages of the state, taxes are light in their incidence, but fetch in a large revenue...As time passes and kings succeed each other, they lose their tribal habits in favor of more civilized ones. Their needs and exigencies grow...owing to the luxury in which they have been brought up. Hence they impose fresh taxes on their subjects...[and] sharply raise the rate of old taxes to increase their yield...But the effects on business of this rise in taxation make themselves felt. For business men are soon discouraged by the comparison of their profits with the burden of their taxes...Consequently production falls off, and with it the yield of taxation.
    • This sociological theory includes the concept known in economics as the Khaldun-Laffer Curve (the relationship between tax rates and tax revenue follows an inverted U shape).

About Ibn Khaldun

  • While it is true that many Muslim scholars who composed their works in Arabic, both in the religious and in the intellectual sciences, have been of non-Arab descent, Ibn Khaldūn's use of the term Arab in his history seems to indicate a class of people and not a group. Most scholars believe that, in many instances, Ibn Khaldūn uses the name Arab to mean bedouin. Other scholars, such as Mohamed Chafik, deny this.
  • From late 'Abbasid times onwards the word Arab reverts to its earlier meaning of Bedouin or nomad, becoming in effect a social rather than an ethnic term. In many of the Western chronicles of the Crusades it is used only for Bedouin, while the mass of the Muslim population of the Near East are called Saracens. It is certainly in this sense that in the sixteenth century Tasso speaks of 'Altri Arabi poi, che di soggiorno, / certo non sono stabili abitanti;'
    • Gerusalemme Liberata, XVII 21.
  • The fourteenth-century Arabic historian Ibn Khaldūn, himself a townsman of Arab descent, uses the word commonly in this sense.

Some text from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

IBN KHALDUN [Abu Zaid ibn Mahommed ibn Mahommed ibn Khaldun] (1332-1406), Arabic historian, was born at Tunis. He studied the various branches of Arabic learning with great success. In 1352 he obtained employment under the Marinid sultan Abu Inan (Faris I.) at Fez. In the beginning of 1356, his integrity having been suspected, he was thrown into prison until the death of Abu Inan in 1358, when the vizier al-Hasan ibn Omar set him at liberty and reinstated him in his rank and offices. He here continued to render great service to Abu Salem (Ibrahim III.), Abu Inan's successor, but, having offended the prime minister, he obtained permission to emigrate to Spain, where, at Granada, he was received with great cordiality by Ibn al Ahmar, who had been greatly indebted to his good offices when an exile at the court of Abu Salem. The favours he received from the sovereign excited the jealousy of the vizier, and he was driven back to Africa (1364), where he was received with great cordiality by the sultan of Bougie, Abu Abdallah, who had been formerly his companion in prison. On the fall of Abu Abdallah Ibn Khaldun raised a large force amongst the desert Arabs, and entered the service of the sultan of Tlemcen. A few years later he was taken prisoner by Abdalaziz (`Abd ul `Aziz), who had defeated the sultan of Tlemcen and seized the throne. He then entered a monastic establishment, and occupied himself with scholastic duties, until in 1370 he was sent for to Tlemcen by the new sultan. After the death of `Abd ul `Aziz he resided at Fez, enjoying the patronage and confidence of the regent. After some further vicissitudes in 1378 he entered the service of the sultan of his native town of Tunis, where he devoted himself almost exclusively to his studies and wrote his history of the Berbers. Having received permission to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, he reached Cairo, where he was presented to the sultan, al-Malik udh-Dhahir Barkuk, who insisted on his remaining there, and in the year 1384 made him grand cadi of the Malikite rite for Cairo. This office he filled with great prudence and probity, removing many abuses in the administration of justice in Egypt. At this time the ship in which his wife and family, with all his property, were coming to join him, was wrecked, and every one on board lost. He endeavoured to find consolation in the completion of his history of the Arabs of Spain. At the same time he was removed from his office of cadi, which gave him more leisure for his work. Three years later he made the pilgrimage to Mecca, and on his return lived in retirement in the Fayum until 1399, when he was again called upon to resume his functions as cadi. He was removed and reinstated in the office no fewer than five times.

In 1400 he was sent to Damascus, in connexion with the expedition intended to oppose Timur or Tamerlane. When Timur had become master of the situation, Ibn Khaldun let himself down from the walls of the city by a rope, and presented himself before the conqueror, who permitted him to return to Egypt. Ibn Khaldun died on the 16th of March 1406, at the age of sixty-four.

The great work by which he is known is a "Universal History," but it deals more particularly with the history of the Arabs of Spain and Africa. Its Arabic title is Kitab ul'Ibar, wa diwan el Mubtada wa'l Khabar, fi ayyamul`Arab wa'l`Ajam wa'l Berber; that is, "The Book of Examples and the Collection of Origins and Information respecting the History of the Arabs, Foreigners and Berbers." It consists of three books, an introduction and an autobiography. Book i. treats of the influence of civilization upon man; book ii. of the history of the Arabs and other peoples from the remotest antiquity until the author's own times; book iii. of the history of the Berber tribes and of the kingdoms founded by that race in North Africa. The introduction is an elaborate treatise on the science of history and the development of society, and the autobiography contains the history, not only of the author himself, but of his family and of the dynasties which ruled in Fez, Tunis and Tlemcen during his lifetime. An edition of the Arabic text has been printed at Bulaq, (7 vols., 1867) and a part of the work has been translated by the late Baron McG. de Slane under the title of Histoire des Berberes (Algiers, 1852-1856); it contains an admirable account of the author and analysis of his work. Vol. i., the Muqaddama (preface), was published by M. Quatremere (3 vols., Paris, 1858), often republished in the East, and a French translation was made by McG. de Slane (3 vols., Paris, 1862-1868). The parts of the history referring to the expeditions of the Franks into Moslem lands were edited by C. J. Tornberg (Upsala, 1840), and the parts treating of the Banu-1 Ahmar kings of Granada were translated into French by M. Gaudefroy-Demombynes in the Journal asiatique, ser. 9, vol. xiii. The Autobiography of Ibn Khaldun was translated into French by de Slane in the Journal asiatique, ser. 4, vol. iii. For an English appreciation of the philosophical spirit of Ibn Khaldun see R. Flint's History of the Philosophy of History (Edinburgh, 18 93), pp. 157-170.

(E. H. P.; G. W. T.)


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Simple English

Abdul Rahman Ibn Khaldun was an influential North African thinker of the 14th century. Born in Tunis in 1332, Khaldun served the government of the day in many ways. He lived in Marrakesh in Morocco for a time. Then he moved to Cairo and died there as a judge in 1406.

Two of the books Khaldun wrote are Muqaddimah (Proglemena) and Autobiography.

Khaldun is the founder of sociology. Ibn Khaldun was one of the greatest writers of Islam in the Middle Ages.

Ibn Khaldun is the most important figure in the field of History and Sociology in Muslim History. He is one of those shining stars that contributed so richly to the understanding of Civilization. In order for one to understand and appreciate his work, one must understand his life. He lived a life in search of stability and influence. He came from a family of scholars and politicians and he intended to live up to both expectations. He would succeed in the field of Scholarship much more so than in any other field.

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