Ibn Khaldum in 13th century appearance and in our 20th life time
Written for the Celebration of Ibn Khaldum
Written for the Celebration of Ibn Khaldum Day, 27th May 1332 by
SAMEEN Y SAEED (DR SYS)
Ibn Khaldum was one of the most remarkable Muslim scholars of the pre-modern period. He founded an entirely new science that he called “the science of human society “(ilim Al ijtima’al-insan). His works had little impact on the development of Muslim thought for several centuries but greatly impressed European thinkers from nineteenth century (19th century) whom regarded Ibn Khaldum as a progenitor of sociology and other modern social sciences. Ibn Khaldum was one of the outstanding Jurist, politician, and indeed a Scholar per excellence. He contributed indisputably in the field of sociology(both classical and modern thoughts). He also contributed in the field of history and other humanities. he held many appointments locally in the Tunis, and Internationally such as Spain and Cairo, Egypt.
WHO IS IBN KHALDUM
Muhammad Bin Muhammad Abu Zayd Ibn Khaldum was born in the holy month of Ramadan in the year 732 equivalent to 1332, at Tunis a capital Tunisia in the Northern Africa. He learned to recite the holy Qur’an by heart and study the various styles of recitation (Qira’at) and Orthography( spelling, sign and symbols ), he also studied Maliki Jurisprudence (Fiqhul Malik) and the hadith or tradition of the holy prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
IBN KHALDUM’S WORKS
Ibn Khaldum has contributed significantly and tirelessly to the ivory towers of Knowledge like other theorists, his work has been largely focused on the society and it way of development. That is why, most of his commentators regarded and described him as alfa founder of sociology, due to the fact that he had been existed prior centuries to classical sociologists like Comte, Weber, Marx, Spencer, etc.
Ibn Khaldum’s monumental works was the book tittled ‘Kitab al-ibar’ (the book on the history of Arabs and Berbers). The Muqaddima or Prolegomenon which most of people, students and researchers (including myself) regarded Muqaddima as the yardstick of Ibn Khaldum Legacies.The Muqaddima or Prolegomenon is in fact an introduction to the ‘ibar’. The Muqaddima discussed the underlying causes and inner meaning of that history.
The Prolegomenon (Muqaddima), it deals with society and its essential characteristics. It covers topics such as authority, government, mode of making a living, craft and sciences.
Another book however, under Kitab al-ibar (Thani) was the history of Arab dynasties from pre-Islamic to Islamic times and also discusses non-arab peoples and dynasties such as Persians, Copts, Syrians, Israelis, Greaks, Turks etc.
Another Major Work of Ibn Khaldum was includes, the summary of Fahral Al dinal Razi(606/1209), and ‘The Healing of the seekers’ (Shifa’al Sa’il).
Ibn Khaldum on Al’umran (Social Organisation)
The Muqaddimat of the science of human society Ibn Khaldum has interestingly conceptualised the meaning of social organisations that the philosophers called _’Polis’_ (Madina). This is the meaning of social organisation (Umran).
According to Ibn Khaldum “God created humans in a way that requires them to obtain food for sustenance. Although they were given power to obtain this subsistence, they are unable to satisfy their needs on an individual basis, they are compelled to cooperate with human beings, for it is through the cooperation of few that the need of many more can be satisfied ” Muqaddima. i . 67(i.89).
Therefore Al ‘Umran or Social organisation of Ibn Khaldum momentum, it is similar with Durkheimian accertion of community or mechanical bond. There is also group feeling which Ibn Khaldum refered to ‘Assabiyya’, that it’s similar ‘collective consciousness’ or ‘Solidarity’ as described by Durkheim.
Lastly, the theory of the rise and decline of state. This theory its overall concern is on the rise of state as a result of the conflict and interaction between nomadic and sedentary societies. Their rising level precisely, was resulted from their Assabiya; that’s the highest degree of Mutual support and courage. However, Assabiyya tend to diminish over time due to certain governmental policies as well as the nature of settled in urban life. the reduction of Assabiyya is divided the rich from the poor.
Conclusively, Khaldum is unforgettable Scholar with highest reception of reputations, with vast number of adherents, he also have a practical knowledge of the world entirely more especially in his theory on the rise and fall of dynasties, the cyclical theory has broadly has higher reserve in social theories.
“you will never be forgotten, you will only forgotten when entirely knowledge was disappeared” Sameen.
Sameen Y Saeed (DR SYS)
Bayero University Kano
Email : [email protected]