IBN KHALDUN. LIFE AND WORKS. ABD AR-RAHMAN IBN KHALDUN AL-HADRAMI, SA VIE ET SON OEUVRE.

'IBN KHALDUN LIFE AND WORKS. A VIDA E AS OBRAS DE IBN KHALDUN. PROF. DR. DARCY CARVALHO. FEA-USP. SÃO PAULO. BRAZIL. 2019. STUDIES IN THE HISTORY OF WESTERN ECONOMIC THOUGHT

Toynbee on Ibn Khaldun.  The last member of our Pleiad of historians is Abd-ar-Rahman ibn Muhammad ibn Khaldun al-Hadrami of Tunis (1332-1406) - an Arabic genius who achieved in a single 'acquiescence' of less than four years length, out of a fifty-four years span of adult working life, a life-work in the shape of a piece of literature which can bear comparison with the work of a Thucydides or the work of a Machiavelli for both breadth and profundity of vision as well as for sheer intellectual power. Ibn Khaldun's star shines the more brightly by contrast with the foil of darkness against which it flashes out; for while Thucydides and Machiavelli and Clarendon are all brilliant representatives of brilliant times and places, Ibn Khaldun is the sole point of light in his quarter of the firmament. He is indeed the one outstanding personality in the history of a civilization whose social life on the whole was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.[1] In his chosen field of intellectual activity he appears to have been inspired by no predecessors[2] and to have found no kindred souls among his contemporaries and to have kindled no answering spark of inspiration in any successors; and yet, in the Prolegomena (Muqaddimat) to his Universal History he has conceived and formulated 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. It was his single brief 'acquiescence' from a life of practical activity that gave Ibn Khaldun his opportunity to cast his creative thought into literary shape.

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 "Mehmet Devrim Topses. Culture and social structure , History and theory of sociology, Methodology and research technology, Social Theory, 13th to 14th Centuries Published by: Uluslararası Kıbrıs Üniversitesi. Keywords: Materialist method; Determinism; State; Social Structure. Abstract: The primary reason why Ibn Khaldun is regarded as “the pioneer of the 14th Century Sociology”, is the scientific methodology he adopted so as to examine and describe social events. This methodological approach can be summarized as a combination of induction and the attempt to understand the causal relationship between social events and phenomena. For the purpose of the present study, the asabiyyah concept was chosen as the focal concern out of numerous social variables that Ibn Khaldun examined, and his sociological findings on social determiners, and results of this particular concept were discussed. The researcher used two translations of Muqaddimah as the primary sources. To conclude, the asabiyyah serves three basic social functions, namely founding a state, protecting the country, and ruling over other tribes. Moreover, Ibn Khaldun also investigates the socio-economic reality which underlies the asabiyyah".
rchical political structures. [...]
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THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF IBN KHALDUN’S PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY IN THE MUQADDIMAH. AN ABSTRACT OF SOME MAJOR IDEAS IN IBN KHALDUN’S PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY BY  EDDIE J. GIRDNER

Ibn Khaldun was born on May 27, 1332 in Tunis. His ancestors had come from Spain after the fall of Seville to the Christians in l248. His aristocratic family had been prominent in the leadership of Moorish Spain. His family was then attached to the court of the Hafsid Rulers in Tunis. In 1352, he began a government career in Tunis. In 1354, he left for Fez to serve the Merinid Sultan Abu Inan. Here he studied with eminent scholars, but was briefly thrown into prison when his loyalty was suspected. When Abu Inan suddenly died, he was released and served his successor Abu Salim. He finished his Introduction to History 1377 and became a professor of Malikite Jurisprudence in Cairo.

This is an abstract of some major ideas in Ibn Khaldun’s philosophy of history. It is from the volume: The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History. It was translated by Franz Rosenthal and edited and abridged by N.J. Dawood. Published by Princeton University Press, 1967. As it takes some effort to read, it is perhaps worth highlighting the major ideas in a short form which might be of use to students.

Ibn Khaldun wrote mostly about North Africa, Spain and the Middle East, but meant the principles of his work to apply more generally. There are several insights in his dialectical approach that were to become important principles in later political thinkers, such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Karl Marx. In a nutshell, Ibn Khaldun was concerned with the rise and fall of political dynasties and provided a theory of this historical process, from the sparse desert existence of Bedouins and Berbers to royal dynasties and their eventual decay and collapse. History evolves in cycles of some 120 years. Desert nomads bent on rape and pillage use savagery to ride out of the desert and come to power. Once they have established royal rule, they settle down in urban civilization, enjoy luxury, and become fat and lazy. They lose the virtues of the desert and the dynasty sinks into sloth. The youth forget their heritage in subsequent generations and eventually decay sets in. Conspicuous and wasteful consumption leads to bankruptcy of the regime. The people are over taxed to supply the conspicuous consumption of the ruling class. Unable to defend themselves against a new wave of savage invaders, the dynasty collapses. The seeds of destruction are contained in the rise of the dynasty. Therefore, the process is a historical dialectic that repeats itself. This is Ibn Khaldun’s theory in a nutshell, embellished by an encyclopedia of information about the world that he knew in the fourteenth century.

If dynasties have a natural life cycle, then this may also be true of empires, as studied by scholars such as Johan Galtung. Consequently, the model might usefully be adapted to explain the rise and fall of modern empires, such as the American Empire. Galtung has written about this recently. One can see many of the elements of decline in Ibn Khaldun in modern-day America. The Muqaddimah is a prolegomena or introduction to his four-volume universal history. Ibn Khaldun’s work is a radical departure from the historiography of the time. Rather than just chronicle events, he tries to discover a pattern in social and political change. He tries to explain history with a theory or philosophy. He attempts a rational, analytical, and scientific method, looking at events critically. As such, he is engaging in social science. His concerns include the physical environment, an analysis of primitive social organization, the character of early leadership, the relationship of primitive human societies to each other, the relationship of primitive societies to urban forms of society, governments of dynasties in which the state is the highest form of human social organization, the government of the Caliphate, change in ruling dynasties, the character of urban life in relation to desert life, and an examination of urban life, including commerce, crafts, arts, sciences, languages and literature.

Ibn Khaldun uses a human centered approach. Man is dependent upon the physical environment and so the temperate zones of the earth are best suited for civilization. The environment shapes human character, appearance and customs. For human society to develop, human cooperation is necessary. This is made possible, since man can think and full cooperation results in urbanization or the polis. Following Aristotle’s assertion that “man is political by nature,” this is a natural development. There is a need for justice in society, but for this, restraint is required, by force if necessary. Social organization results in civilization and a sedentary culture. This is the highest form of social organization, but it contains the seeds of its destruction. The process begins with “group feeling,” group consciousness or solidarity. This is a sort of primitive type of nationalism, as in a clan or tribe where people have common descent. This type of consciousness is necessary to achieve predominance. The group with the strongest “group feeling” or asabiyah will be able to become a ruling dynasty, which is equivalent to a “state” in modern terms. If the dynasty collapses, the state collapses.

A dynasty or state occurs only where there is civilization, marked by towns and cities. Luxury develops. Social surplus is produced. There are services, crafts, arts, sciences, and trade, but in a dialectical fashion, this luxury leads to the eventual decay and disintegration of the dynasty. When the ruling group grabs power and begins to monopolize resources and wealth, a contradiction emerges between the ruling class and the people, who have group feeling. The ruling group relies upon royal authority and the military, imposing taxes, and pushing aside the interests of the people. The group feeling, or perhaps the cementing ideology, gets weaker and the dynasty loses its grip on power. An outside group with a new group feeling is able to supersede the dynasty and found a new dynasty. This process results in dynastic cycles. Dynasties decay, disintegrate, shrink inward and collapse and then a new dynasty comes and the process repeats itself. The less civilized groups on the periphery tend to imitate those within civilization and want to be in the seat of power. Ibn Khaldun uses mostly Arab historical examples. While he relies upon empirical evidence and mostly material factors, he does not question religious belief. It is not clear if he really believes in God and religion or if he is only using it to cover himself from critics, similar to Thomas Hobbes later on.

Ibn Khaldun makes the assertion that history must be rooted in philosophy. This is because the objective is to get to the bottom of things, to the truth and the deep knowledge of the how and why of events. Like Karl Marx, later on, he wants to go the root of things, and he generally grounds this in material facts. He scoffs at contemporary histories that merely record events and are full of gossip, invented tales, and false stories, and do not look for the real material causes. These writers are not critical and they put blind trust in tradition. The write in a dull way, copying their predecessors and lack critical insight. Sometimes, however, he is hoisted on his own petard by attributing things to “God.”   Another problem is that historians do not take account of the change in society. They give no explanation of what brought a dynasty to power and why it collapsed. What are the principles of organization? Why do dynasties clash and succeed each other? What leads to their separation or contact with each other? Ibn Khaldun promises to “lift the veil” on these questions, beginning with the Arabs and the Berbers with his original historical method.

The work includes four books. The first covers civilization, royal authority, government, gainful occupations, crafts and sciences, and reasons and causes in history. One can see that Ibn Khaldun is writing a sort of early political economy of the world. Book Two covers races, the dynasties of the Arabs, the Nabataeans, the Syrians, the Persians, the Israelities, the Copts, the Byzantines, and the Turks.Book Three covers the history of the Berbers, the history of the Zanatah (a branch of the Berbers), the royal houses and dynasties of the Maghrib. Finally, he added the histories of the Persian and Turkish Dynasties. In the introduction to Book One, Ibn Khaldun stresses that a historian must have sources and knowledge and a speculative mind to avoid errors. He needs to know customs, the fundamental facts of politics, the nature of civilization, conditions governing human social organization, how to compare ancient material with the contemporary world, how to check sources using these principles, how to use the yardstick of philosophy based on the nature of things, he must use speculation, and have historical insight. Most historians have strayed from the truth. For example amounts of money and numbers of soldiers in battle are often exaggerated. He gives the example of al-Masudi’s account of the army of Moses. He says the number of six-hundred thousand soldiers in battle is absurd because an army of such a size would not be able to march or fight. Moreover, the territory of Israel is not big enough to raise such an army. So sensationalism can easily cause errors.

In writing the history of the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties of the Arabs, historians generally follow the traditions, without trying to understand the dynamics and include many pointless things. They just imitate others, such as listing the elements of the dynasty such as the rulers sons, wives, the engraving on the seal ring, surnames, judges, the vizier (minister) and the doorkeeper. This does not explain anything.He also criticizes the practice of historians to memorize facts without understanding them. The stress on memorization is a weakness, which still exists today, for example in Turkish Universities. Students are expected to memorize facts, but not necessarily understand them. History has to conform to the particular age. Things change radically. In the Maghrib, for example, the situation changed radically when the Berbers were replaced by the Arab influx in the eleventh century. Then there was a plague in the fourteenth century that wiped out much of civilization. Dynasties were weakened and wiped out entirely. His work will provide a new model.

The beginning of Book One reminds one of George Plekhenov’s statement that “Man makes history in striving to satisfy his needs.” He gives importance to how people go about making a living in civilization. What does history deal with?

1.The conditions affecting the nature of civilization.

2.The factors of savagery and sociability.

3.Group feelings.

4.How one group achieves superiority over another.

5.Royal authority.

6.The dynasties and ranks within the regime.

7.Gainful occupations.

8.Ways of making a living.

9.Sciences and crafts.

10.Institutions that arise within civilization.

Errors are frequently introduced by the following. First, prejudice and partisanship leads to transmitting falsehoods. The critical faculty is obscured. Secondly, the transmitters of information are sometimes not reliable. They distort information. Thirdly, is the practice of giving praise to high-ranking persons which can be false. Fourthly, is ignorance about the nature of conditions which arise in society. Fifthly, the transmitting of absurd information. Ibn Khaldun is establishing a social science which is “new, extraordinary, and highly useful.” (p. 39) Other writers have attempted this, he says, but failed. Ibn Khaldun gives the example of the story about the sea monsters that prevented Alexander from building Alexandria. Another tall tale is the story about the “copper city” which is implausible. What distinguishes man from other living things? First, man has the ability to think, which leads to the development of sciences and crafts. Secondly, man needs strong authority or restraint. This is similar to the views of Thomas Hobbes. Thirdly, the needs of man leads to ways of making a living. Fourthly, civilization arises from the “negation of civilization” in desert life and can develop once social surplus is produced in towns and cities.

The first chapter deals with human civilization in general. Ibn Khaldun begins with the famous observation from Aristotle’s Politics. “Man is political by nature.” (p. 45) Man cannot do without a polis or social organization. This is civilization and enables man to obtain food and other needs. Much cooperation is required to supply the manifold needs of man in civilization. Unlike the animals, man also needs cooperation for security because he is weaker than the animals. He uses his thoughts to develop swords and other weapons for defense. But man also needs “royal authority” or political authority. This requires obedience to a leader, as later stressed by Thomas Hobbes.

Ibn Khaldun proceeds to a section describing the earth and its characteristics. He certainly did not think that the earth was flat. He describes the spherical nature of the earth and the zones from the equator to the north and south poles. Due to climate, there are cultivated and uncultivated regions. He describes the seas and major cities such as Constantinople, Venice, Rome, and Tangiers. He describes the major rivers such as the Nile and the Euphrates. The temperate zones, with moderate heat, lead to greater civilization. The geography of the zones influence the color of skin of the inhabitants. Temperate zones are conducive to a better life in terms of health of bodies, color, character and general living conditions, such as houses, clothing, food and crafts.

Having black skin is not a curse of Noah, as was commonly said, but simply results from geography, the hot climate. He believes that the climate also influences human character. As a result, he says Negroes demonstrate levity. They are excitable, emotional and prone to dance. He says this is because the heat expands the animal spirit producing joy. It is like taking a hot bath. Also near the sea, people are more joyful because of the brighter sunlight and warmth. People who live in cold and mountains tend to be sad and gloomy. In Cairo, the people exercise no concern for the future, but in Fez, they worry about the future.

Also people are affected by the food supply. In some places, the soil is good and there is an abundance of grain and fruits. Cultivation is abundant. In other rocky places, like the Hijaz and Yemen, few plants grow. Where there are few plants, people substitute milk for wheat. But in these sparse areas, people are actually more healthy. Their minds are keener, as seen in the Berbers and Arabs of the desert. He says great amounts of food is not good because it produces too much flesh, It make people ugly and it is difficult to think. The result is stupidity. On the other hand, hunger improves the physique. One can see the same with animals. Desert people are also more religious and ready for worship and practice abstinence from pleasure. But people in towns and cities tend to be less religious. They eat a lot of meat, seasonings, fine wheat, and live in luxury. But they die more quickly when there is a drought or a famine. On the other hand, the Arabs in the desert can live on dates and survive. They can live on barley and olive oil. Food is a matter of custom. In general, hunger has a favorable effect on health and the intellect. These are generalizations which are obviously not always true.

He believes that if one eats camel meat, they will become patient, persevering, and able to carry heavy loads. They will have a healthy stomach. I suppose that by the same token, if one eats a lot of chicken, one should go around flapping their wings and cackling. This is silly, but he seems to seriously believe that eating camel meat makes one act like a camel. This could be good news for the Department of Homeland Security in the US, but I doubt that they would put much credence in it.

Also Ibn Khaldun is not a materialist, if he believes what he says. He believes in God and supernatural perception. He believes that God chose certain people to be prophets and “to keep their fellow men out of the fire of hell.” (p. 70) He believes certain people are capable of working miracles and the revelation of the Quran is one such miracle. So the world is made up of the material and the spiritual realms and the soul can become part of the “angelic species” On the other hand, soothsayers are inspired by the devil. He also believes in the visions in dreams. Some come from the angels, but the confused dreams come from the devil. Or maybe just eating too many beans?

In Chapter Two, Ibn Khaldun introduces a sort of cycle of history. He is describing Bedouin Civilization, and other savage nations and tribes. He says that society begins with the simple life style of the desert and moves to luxury and the sedentary life of the city. Desert life involves an agricultural existence, dealing with plants and animals. One lives at a subsistence level in the desert. But when a surplus can be produced, urban life begins and a life of luxury and civilization is possible. Urban life is marked by splendid clothes, crafts, castles, mansions, high towers, and other large edifices. Life becomes sedentary and people live by crafts and commerce. Both Bedouins and those in urban sedentary life styles  are “natural groups.” But Bedouins are more like “dumb beasts of prey.” They are “the most savage of beings.” In this category, he also includes Kurds, Turkomans and Turks. They have come a long way since the fourteenth century.

When Bedouins become rich, they settle in the city and adopt a life of luxury. But Bedouins in the desert are closer to being “good.” In the case of sedentary people, their souls are blameworthy and often evil. This is because luxury and success, along with worldly desires, makes them “lose all restraint.” (p. 94) They then become lazy and live in ease. They are “sunk in well being and luxury.” (p. 94) They become secure inside the city walls and depend upon the ruler for protection. They lose the courage which the Bedouins have in the desert. In the city, sedentary people rely upon the brute force of the laws and this breaks their power of resistance.

When people are punished by the laws of the dynasty, this creates humiliation in them and then they grow up in “fear and docility.” (p. 96) Bedouins in the desert, on the other hand, are not subject to laws and have greater fortitude. Sedentary people cannot defend themselves. This is the effect of laws of the government. Their souls are weakened. They are restrained by force in government authority. This is true, except for religious laws, he says.

Among Bedouins in the desert, it is the group feeling coming from blood relations which makes them ready to fight. Purity of lineage is typical of desert society. In this descent from a common ancestor, they are given prestige. “Nobility is the secret of group feeling.” (p. 102) This group feeling is lost in the cities. It is talked about, but is only metaphorical. When there are clients that are ruled, nobility is derived from the nobility of the masters. Nobility arises from outside the leadership, such as in a desert group that seizes power, but then it generally lasts for four generations or less in the lineage.

First, the builder of a dynasty has the family’s glory. He knows the cost of the struggle and keeps these noble qualities. Then in the second generation, the son learns from the father. He shares the glory, but the strength is inferior to that of the father. In the third generation, the ruler relies upon imitation and tradition, and cannot exercise independent judgment. Things begin to go quickly downhill. By the fourth generation, the ruler has lost the noble qualities and despises them. He does not know how respect for the ruling family originated. He just takes it for granted. He separates out from those who share the same group feeling and lacks humility and respect for their feelings. People begin a revolt against the ruler as the original family decays. The ruling dynasty collapses and power is transferred to a new group with a strong group feeling. The process starts all over again.

So it can be said that the four generations of a dynasty are (1) the age of the builder, (2) the age of those who had contact with the builder, (3) the age of those who rely on tradition, and (4) the age of the destroyer. The dynasty could last less than four generations, or up to six generations. But in the last case, the dynasty will be in decay after the fourth generation. Savage groups in the desert are better able to become superior. But when they settle in cities and have luxuries, their bravery fades away. They should be rooted in desert habits and have a strong group feeling. The goal of group feeling is royal authority, the power to rule by force.

One group feeling establishes its superiority over those with other group feelings, such as tribes. One group feeling will dominate the nation. Then a dynasty will be established. When it grows senile, another dynasty will take over. When royal authority is achieved, wealth and prosperity is established, but the toughness of desert life is lost. The group feeling weakens. Children grow up proud without the group feeling. They invite destruction. As luxury increases, they will be swallowed up by other nations.

“As long as a nation retains its group feeling, royal authority that disappears in one branch of society will, of necessity, pass to some other branch of the same nation.” (p. 114) Power could pass from one ruling family of the nation to another ruling family, for example. Those supporting the dynasty indulge in a life of ease. They sink into luxury and plenty. They have many servants and use them for their own interests. Many others are kept in the shadows of society. Eventually, the upper group falls into senility. The duties of the dynasty saps and exhausts their energy. Also luxury drains their vigor. A limit is reached that is set by human urbanization and political superiority.

As the ruling group loses its group feeling, another group with strong group feeling can claim royal authority and seize power. This continues until the group feeling of the whole nation is broken. “Luxury wears out royal authority and overthrows it.” This could also happen due to a change in religion or the disappearance of civilization. Defeated nations are taken over by apathy and lose hope. They disintegrate. Ibn Khaldun gives Persia as an example. The dynasty was taken over by the Arabs. He says that man is a natural leader and “a representative of God on earth.” When deprived of rule, he becomes apathetic.     

One can only say that his attitude toward “negro nations” is what we would call racist today. He says that Negroes are submissive to slavery. They “have little that is (essentially) human and possess attributes that are quite similar to those of dumb animals…” The Bedouins plunder and destroy. It is easy for them to gain control of settlements in flat land, in raid, plunder and attack in the desert. However, they are of no use in the mountains. They are “the negation and antithesis of civilization.” They are a savage nation and ruin civilization. When they grab power, they force others who know craftsmanship to do the work for them. This reminds one somewhat of the way the Arab Gulf states work today.

Ibn Khaldun writes that “…labour is the real basis of profit.” (p. 119) This can be seen as a labor theory of value, as seen in Adam Smith and John Locke. Karl Marx too, used the concept in his analysis of capitalism. In the case of the Bedouins, they care only for profits and not for law, so they gain property through looting. They turn society into anarchy and ruin civilization. They cannot establish peace easily since there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians. They all want to be leaders. He says this is seen in the conditions of Yemen, Sudan, and Arab Iraq, which are in ruins. This observation seems to still have relevance today.

Bedouins, being rude, proud, ambitious and eager to be leaders can only be restrained by religion or sometimes by royal authority. They are the farthest from royal authority and tend to anarchy. But since desert life is inferior to royal leadership they can sometimes be dominated and forced to obey. At least for a while, it seems. Here, Ibn Khaldun is fighting a sort of early “war on terrorism.”

Ibn Khaldun’s theory of history is spelled out more clearly in Chapter Three which deals with dynasties, royal authority, the Caliphate and such topics. Ibn Khaldun starts with a discussion of “group feeling.” This enables a dynasty to be established with “royal authority.” We can say the establishment of a state. Once a state is established, war and fighting necessarily follows. Once power is consolidated in the dynasty, group feeling is less important. Of use is propaganda, as a basis for royal authority, particularly religious propaganda. This is the importance of ideology to rule. Little has changed here. He says that revolutionaries, bent on overthrowing the dynasty, will succeed only of God wills it. However, he has given a material explanation for the overthrow of a dynasty, which has become weak and alienated the people. So he might just be bent on protecting himself from criticism.

When the dynasty is established, there is a tendency toward luxury, quiet, and tranquility. Those who enjoy the benefits become lazy and the regime approaches senility. In the next generation, the group feeling declines. This could also be the ruling ideology in modern times. Many people become weak and lose their virtuous qualities. Incomes cannot keep up with the demand for more luxuries, one might call it the revolution in rising expectations. Allowances, today called entitlements in America, must be increased. This leads to new taxes. Military expenses become burdensome and the army is reduced. As the defense weakens, a new generation grows up in luxury and peace. The old desert savagery is lost. They forget desert life and their habit of rapacity. People get ever softer, losing their brave virtues. The regime may resort to mercenaries or slaves, such as the Turkish Mamelukes.

There is a natural life of the dynasty, and this is about 120 years, more or less, for Ibn Khaldun. About three generations. A life takes some forty years to maturity. It goes like this:

1.The first generation is desert tough, savage, brave, rapacious and full of group feeling. They are greatly feared.

2.The second generation changes to a sedentary culture. They are too lazy to strive for glory. They obey the law and hope that the old virtues will return or they pretend that they still have them.

3.The third generation completely forgets the desert. They are controlled by force. Luxury has reached a peak and there is much prosperity and ease. They are like women and children and become cowardly. The dynasty is worn out and senile.

4.The fourth generation lacks prestige, which has been destroyed. Conspicuous consumption wastes mighty resources. If challenged, the weakened dynasty will collapse. Is this modern-day America? Johan Galtung thinks so.

The dynasty goes through five stages:

1.The first stage is the success of taking power. The opposition is overthrown. The ruler becomes a model basking in the glory.

2.In the second stage, the ruler gains complete control and claims all authority. He consolidates all the power into the family and keeps people at a distance. There is a small inner circle of supporters.

3.The third stage is marked by leisure and tranquility. People acquire property. Monuments are built, taxes collected, large buildings constructed, spacious cities expanded, and his followers gain money and powerful positions. There is a liberality in the spending of the state resources.

4.The fourth stage is one of contentment with past achievements. There is peace, but the ruler just follows in the footsteps of his fathers and follows tradition.

5.The fifth stage is marked by waste and squandering and spending on pleasure and amusements. The bread and circuses of Rome. There is generosity toward some. Affairs of the state come to be run by low-class followers who lack competence. Does this remind one of George W. Bush and the neocons? Clients of the regime are destroyed and come to hate the ruler and regime. Soldiers’ pay suffers while money is squandered on pleasures. This ruins the foundations of the dynasty and finally it is destroyed by senility. 

There is much more in the book, but this is the heart of the historical theory of cycles of dynasties. This approach is perhaps more modern than it would seem at first glance. Take China, for example, since the Revolution in l949. The established state has gone through roughly half of its life, in Ibn Khaldun’s terms. The first, the Maoist period, was marked by strong revolutionary values from the struggle for power. The second generation, under Deng Xiaoping opened up to foreign capital and exports and some considerable capitalist elements in producing for the global market. A new generation of middle class are fairly affluent today and rather comfortable and think little about the revolution. A few have become very wealthy. To a considerable extent, some are just pretending to be socialists. Whether the regime will grow senile and disintegrate is a historical question.

One might also usefully apply the model to Turkey, in the Republican period. Now, it is roughly ninety years since the establishment of the Turkish Republic. Two thirds of the life of the state, in Ibn Khaldun’s terms. The first phase was strongly Kemalist, up to the l950s. People shared in the glory of Ataturk. The second generation was marked by an opening to outside capital, somewhat, led by Adnan Menderes in the l950s and later Suleyman Demirel. Considerable force under the military was used to guard the Kemalist Revolution. The third generation, beginning with the era of the Justice and Development Party has been marked by a challenge to the original group feeling, or enforced secular ideology of the Revolution. One may see a dialectic taking place here somewhat characteristic of that which Ibn Khaldun was addressing.  April 23, 2013. End of Quote. Eddie J. Girdner lives in Seferihisar Turkey. He is the author of Socialism, Sarvodaya and Democracy (Gyan Publishing House, 2013). He has taught for more than twenty years in Turkish Universities.

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Toynbee on Ibn Khaldun.  The last member of our Pleiad of historians is Abd-ar-Rahman ibn Muhammad ibn Khaldun al-Hadrami of Tunis (1332-1406) - an Arabic genius who achieved in a single 'acquiescence' of less than four years length, out of a fifty-four years span of adult working life, a life-work in the shape of a piece of literature which can bear comparison with the work of a Thucydides or the work of a Machiavelli for both breadth and profundity of vision as well as for sheer intellectual power. Ibn Khaldun's star shines the more brightly by contrast with the foil of darkness against which it flashes out; for while Thucydides and Machiavelli and Clarendon are all brilliant representatives of brilliant times and places, Ibn Khaldun is the sole point of light in his quarter of the firmament. He is indeed the one outstanding personality in the history of a civilization whose social life on the whole was “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.[1] In his chosen field of intellectual activity he appears to have been inspired by no predecessors[2] and to have found no kindred souls among his contemporaries and to have kindled no answering spark of inspiration in any successors; and yet, in the Prolegomena (Muqaddimat) to his Universal History he has conceived and formulated 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. It was his single brief 'acquiescence' from a life of practical activity that gave Ibn Khaldun his opportunity to cast his creative thought into literary shape.

Ibn Khaldun was born into the Arabic World in an age when the infant Arabic Civilization was struggling (as it proved, in vain) to bring order out of the chaos which was its legacy from a recent social interregnum. This interregnum (circa A.D. 975-1275) had been the sequel to the break-up of the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates, which had been the final embodiments of the Syriac universal state; and at the western extremity of the derelict Syriac World - in North-West Africa and in the Iberian Peninsula - the last vestiges of the old order had been swept away by a conflux of barbarians from three continents: European Asturians and Franks from the Pyrenees; African Nomads from the Sahara[3] and highlanders from the Atlas[4] who made themselves a name as the 'Berbers' par excellence;[5] and Asiatic Arab Badu from the North Arabian Steppe who were perhaps the most barbarous and destructive of them all.

The destruction which these barbarians had worked was brought home to Ibn Khaldun by his family history as well as by his personal experience. The Khalduns were a prominent house of the aristocracy of Seville[6] who had emigrated from Andalusia to Africa, about a century before Abd-ar-Rahman ibn Khaldun's birth, in anticipation of the conquest of Seville by the Castilians;[7] and in the family's new home in Ifriqiyah Abd-ar-Rahman, comparing the local conditions in his own generation, as he saw them, with the descriptions of Ifriqiyah in earlier ages which he read in historical works, was evidently impressed by the greatness of the contrast between present and past and was convinced that the immense change for the worse which had taken place within the last three centuries was the handiwork of the Arab Badawi tribes - the Banu Hilal and the Banu Sulaym - who had been unleashed in A.D. 1051 upon a rebellious Maghrib by the Fatimid rulers of Syria and Egypt.

lfriqiyah and the Maghrib',[8] he writes, care suffering still from their devastation by the Arabs. The Banu Hilal and the Sulaym broke their way in during the fifth century of the Hijrah [the 11Ith century of the Christian Era]; and they have continued to wreak their fury on these countries for three centuries and a half, Hence devastation and solitude still reign there. Before this invasion, the whole region extending from the [Western] Sudan to the Mediterranean was thickly populated: the traces of an ancient civilization, the debris of monuments and buildings, the ruins of towns and villages, are there to testify to the fact.'[9]

Ibn Khaldun was conscious of the difference between this purely destructive Arab invasion during the post-Syriac interregnum and the movement which, some three or four centuries earlier, had brought his own ancestors westward from the Hadramawt to AndaIusia. For these Arab emissaries of the Umayyads had come to the Maghrib not to destroy but to fulfil. They had come to step into the shoes of the previous Roman garrisons and Roman officials and to retrieve for the ancient Syriac Society, in its latter days, the former colonial domain of which it had been deprived during eight or nine centuries of alien rule, [10]

“After the preaching of Islam,” Ibn Khaldun observes, “the Arab armies penetrated into the Maghrib and captured all the cities of the country; but they did not establish themselves there as tent-dwellers or as Nomads, since their need to make sure of their dominion in the Maghrib compelled them to keep to the towns. So in the Maghrib at this stage the Arabs did not occupy the open country. It was not until the fifth century of the Hijrah that they came to take up their abode there and to spread tribe-wise in order to camp allover this immense region.”[11]

The first of the two passages here quoted from the Universal History of Ibn Khaldun occurs in a chapter[12] which is perhaps the most crushing indictment of Nomad rule over sedentary populations that has ever been delivered from the mouth of a first-hand witness.[13] But the thought which had been set in motion in Ibn Khaldun's mind by his apprehension of the ruin which the Nomads had brought upon the Maghrib did not come to a standstill here. It moved on, with a gathering momentum, to contemplate the contrast between the Nomadic and the sedentary way of life and to analyze the nature of each; to ponder over the group-feeling or sense of social solidarity or esprit de corps (asabiyah) which is the Nomad's psychological response to the challenge of life in the desert; to trace out a connexion of cause and effect between esprit de corps and empire-building and between empire-building and religious propaganda; and thence to broaden out until at last it embraced, in a panoramic vision, the rises and falls of empires and the geneses and growths and breakdowns and disintegrations of civilizations.[14]

This mighty tree of thought, with its towering stem and symmetrically branching boughs and delicate tracery of twigs was the eventual outcome of the seedling that germinated in the young Abd-ar-Rahman's mind under the early impression of the contrast between present and past in his native Ifriqiyah. But Ibn Khaldun did not begin his career by sitting down to put these burgeoning thoughts into order. It seemed a more pressing task to be putting some rudiments of order into the struggling, chaotic social life of contemporary Ifriqiyah; and this was the task to which the young man found himself called both by family tradition and by personal need of a livelihood. The Macrocosm called him; the Microcosm could wait. And so, at the age of twenty, Abd al-Rahman ibn Khaldun followed in his forbears' footsteps by plunging into local politics as a courtier and a minister of state.


The Arabic adventurer's own account, in his Autobiography, of his life during the next twenty-two years reminds a modern Western student of history, who re-reads the story in A.D. 1935, of nothing so much as the life of some latter-day Western-style Chinese politician during the equal span of time which has elapsed since the outbreak of the Chinese Revolution. It was, indeed, a life of meeting at night and parting at morning; for, within this span of twenty-two years, Ibn Khaldun saw service with no less than seven different princelings; and from almost every one of these successive royal masters his parting was abrupt and violent. In his native principality of Tunis, where he made his debut, he remained no longer than a few weeks; and thereafter we find him making a series of brief appearances now in Fez and now in Granada (whence his momentary employer sends him, in A.D. 1363, on an embassy to the court of Peter the Cruel in Seville)[15] and now again in this or that city of Ifriqiyah. In all these peregrinations, his only tranquil 'getaway' was the last; and this, too, was effected more sinico.

In the spring of A.D. 1375 Ibn Khaldun had just settled down at Tilimsan (Tlemcen), under the patronage of the local prince, to give public instruction as a change from practical politics, when it pleased the prince to send his accomplished guest on a political mission to a Nomad Arab tribe in the interior.

“As I had renounced public affairs, Ibn Khaldun proceeds, in order to live in retreat, the prospect of this mission filled me with repugnance; but I affected to accept it with pleasure. [On my road], I fell in with the 'Awlad' Arif [who appear to have been a branch of the Duwawidah tribe which Ibn Khaldun had been instructed to visit]; and they welcomed me with gifts and honours. I took up my abode with them; and they sent to Tilimsan to fetch my family and my children. They promised at the same time to represent to the Sultan that it was positively impossible for me to fulfil the mission with which he had charged me; and in fact they induced him to accept my excuses. Thereupon I established myself with my family at Qal'at ibn Salamah, a castle situated in the country of the Banu Tujin which was held from the Sultan by during his creative 'acquiescence' at Qal'at ibn Salamah.” The task of committing to writing the Universal History which was in his mind was not at an end until the Prolegomena had been followed by six further volumes; and we may conjecture that these last six- sevenths of the work might never have seen the light if the successful composition of the prelude, during those four exceptional years of tranquility, had not inspired the philosopher with an impetus to write which persisted through the subsequent years of recurrent turmoil. We must add that the relative value of the different parts of the work as 'everlasting possessions' is not to be measured by any quantitative standard; and that if Posterity were confronted with the cruel choice between losing the first volume alone of Ibn Khaldun's Universal History or saving the Muqaddamat at the price of losing all the other six, we should unhesitatingly sacrifice the six volumes which the author contrived to compose after his re- emergence from Qal'at ibn Salamah in order to preserve the single volume which came to birth in that tranquil retreat. In fact, Ibn Khaldun's life-work is the work which he accomplished in the four years devoted to creation out of half a century spent in a whirl of public activity. And the great philosopher's true return from his brief withdrawal was not the second chapter of practical life in which he emulated the vagaries of the first. In one aspect, the Ibn Khaldun who bade farewell to Qal'at ibn Salamah in the autumn of A.D. 1378 reassumed, at Tunis and in Cairo, the role of the restless politician who had whimsically taken his conge from the Court of Tilimsan in the spring of A.D. 1375. In another aspect, the ephemeral man of affairs re-emerged from his retreat transfigured, once for all, into the immortal philosopher whose thought still lives in the mind of every reader of the Muqaddamat.

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[1] The famous description of the life of Primitive Man in the State of Nature which is given by Thomas Hobbes. in Leviathan, part i, ch. 13. For the history of the Arabic Civilization into which Ibn Khaldun happened to be born, see I. C (i) (6), vol. i, pp. 70-2, with Annex I, above.

[2] The education which he received from his masters of whom he gives an account in his Autobiography seems to have been exceedingly thorough but entirely scholastic. (see Ibn Khaldun: Muqaddimah, translated by de Slane, McG. (Paris. 1863-8, Imprimerie Imperiale, 3 vol..), vol. i, Introduction, pp. xix-xxvi.)

[3] The Muribits.

[4] The Muwahhids.

[5] See II. D (v), vol. ii, p. 204, above.

[6] By origin, the family were Yamania from the Hadramawt who had migrated to Andalusia, after the Umayyad conquest, in one of the military colonies which were then drafted out to the Iberian Peninsula from the live garrison of Arab troops in Syria (de Slane, op. cit., vol. i, pp. ix-x).

[7] Ibn Khaldun, in his Autobiography (translation in de Slane, op. cit., vol. i, p. xv), mentions that his ancestors migrated from Seville to Ceuta some twenty year. before the fall of Cordova (A.D. 1236), Carmona (A.D. 1243), Seville (A.D. 1244), and Jaen (A.D. 1246).

[8] In Ihe language of Arabic political geography, the Maghrib (i.e., 'the West') means in a general way the whole of the Arabic World west of Egypt, though the term is apt to be confined to the Arabic domain in North-West Africa to the exclusion of the Arabic domain in the Iberian Peninsula (Andalus). Maghrib aI-Aqsa (i.e., 'the Far West') means Morocco. Ifriqiyah (an Arabization of the Latin name' Africa') means a region of rather wider extent than the modern Tunisia in which urban and agricultural life had the ascendancy over nomadism The successive capitals of Ifriqiyah have been Carthage, Qayrawan, Mahdiyah, and Tunis.

[9] Ibn Khaldun: Muqaddimah, translation by de Slane, vol, i, p. 312. Cp. pp. 66-7.

[10] The Syriac culture had been planted on the coasts of North-West Africa and Spain by Phoenician colonists from about the ninth century B.C. onwards. The interval of alien rule between the end of the Carthaginian regime and the beginning of the Umayyad regime had lasted in Spain from the close of the third century B.C. to the beginning of the eighth century of the Christian Era, and in Africa from the middle of the second century B.C. to the middle of the seventh century of the Christian Era.

[11] Ibn Khaldun: A History of the Berbers = A Universal History, vols. vi and vii, French translation by de Slane (Algiers 1852-6, 4 vols.), vol. i, p. 28. The passage here quoted is taken for the text of his tenth chapter by Gautier, E. F. : Les Siècles Obscurs du Maghreb (Paris 1927, Payot). See further Marçais, G.: Les Arabes en Berberie du XI au XIV. Siècle (Paris 1913, Leroux)

[12] Ibn Khaldun: Muqaddimah, Bk. I, section ii, ad fin. The chapter-headings speak for themselves: 'Every country that is conquered by Arabs rapidly goes to ruin'; 'In general, Arabs are incapable of founding an empire unless they have received a tincture of religion of a certain strength from some prophet or saint' ; 'Of all peoples, Arabs are the least capable of governing an empire.'

[13] The indictment is the more remarkable when we consider that the particular Nomads at whose expense Ibn Khaldun makes his argumentum ad hominem shared the name of Arab with the author himself; but perhaps it is actually this ostensible kinship which inspires Ibn Khaldun with his animus against the Banu Hilal; for the House of Khaldun had not only been bourgeois for centuries; there was no Nomadic chapter at all in their past; for the peasantry of the Hadramawt is just as sedentary as the bourgeoisie of Mecca or Medina or San'a. The very accent and argot of the Banu Hilal set Ibn Khaldun's teeth on edge. (For this, see the passages quoted by Gautier in op. cit., p. 387.)

[14] See, further, Annex III, below.

[15] This was how' Abd-ar-Rahman ibn Khaldun visited, for the first and 1st time, the home of his ancestors. 'When I arrived at Seville', he writes, 'I remarked a number of monuments of my ancestors' greatness'. Peter received' Abd-ar-Rahman with honour, and actually offered to reinstate him in his ancestral property if he would consent to enter his service-an offer which' Abd-ar-Rahman politely declined. (See the relevant passage from the Autobiopaphy in de Slane a translation of the Muqaddamat, vol. i, p. xliv.)

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The MuqaddimahAn Introduction to History . Translated and introduced by Franz Rosenthal 

The Muqaddimah, often translated as "Introduction" or "Prolegomenon," is the most important Islamic history of the premodern world. Written by the great fourteenth-century Arab scholar Ibn Khaldûn (d. 1406), this monumental work established the foundations of several fields of knowledge, including the philosophy of history, sociology, ethnography, and economics. The first complete English translation, by the eminent Islamicist and interpreter of Arabic literature Franz Rosenthal, was published in three volumes in 1958 as part of the Bollingen Series and received immediate acclaim in the United States and abroad. A one-volume abridged version of Rosenthal's masterful translation first appeared in 1969. The Princeton Classics edition of the abridged version, Edited and abridged by N.J. Dawood. With a new introduction by Bruce B. Lawrence 2015,  includes Rosenthal's original introduction as well as a contemporary introduction by Bruce B. Lawrence. 

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TURKISH STUDIES ON IBN KHALDUN

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İbn Haldun ve Montesquieu’da toplum ve devlet anlayışı

A compreensão da sociedade e do estado em Ibn Khaldun e Montesquieu

RESUMO Ibn Haldun, historiador que lançou os fundamentos da sociologia, XIV. século, e apresentou idéias em muitas áreas, da política à economia, da história à sociologia. Suas idéias estão muito à frente de seu tempo; portanto, suas idéias e idéias foram aceitas com o tempo. Ibn Khaldun apresentou o ile de Umran Science com uma nova compreensão da história. Isso é descrito em detalhes em seu trabalho Mukaddime. Com esse entendimento da ciência, ele analisou a sociedade e examinou o processo de formação dos estados. Ibn Khaldun examinou o nascimento, o desenvolvimento e o colapso da sociedade e suas razões com o método científico. O assunto da ciência de Umran tem sido a vida social do homem e ele afirmou que a razão é o fenômeno social. Através dessa ciência, Ibn Khaldun formou a teoria do estado. Segundo ele, todos os estágios, desde o estabelecimento do estado até a queda do vínculo causal, estão conectados um ao outro. Ibn Khaldun enfatizou o conceito de frustração ao estudar a sociedade. O conceito de frustração e Umran estão entre os conceitos mais importantes de Ibn Khaldun. Montesquieu é um dos pensadores da iluminação do século XVIII. Seus pensamentos no Espírito das Leis mostram seu espírito de iluminação. Montesquieu, que também é advogado, examinou as leis em geral e tentou revelar as leis criadas por cada sociedade individualmente a partir dessas leis gerais. Em seu trabalho, ele declarou que examinava o espírito das leis. Segundo Montesquieu, todos os valores materiais e espirituais de uma sociedade afetavam as leis dessa sociedade. Estes são o clima, geografia, estilo de gestão, religião, moralidade, etc. de um país. valores. Como resultado, todas essas razões determinaram a ordem geral dessa sociedade. Essa ordem geral formou o espírito das leis. Ele basicamente dividiu as formas de governo em três categorias: República, Monarquia e Despotismo. Ele desenvolveu a ideia de que os poderes legislativo, executivo e judicial existentes nessas administrações deveriam ser separados de seus campos de trabalho. Essa distinção entre clima, geografia, religião etc. suportado por esses casos. Ele explicou o que é mais favorável para todas as sociedades. Em seu trabalho, Montesquieu finalizou a teoria da separação dos poderes de Ayr ”e afetou as democracias de hoje. Consequentemente, as opiniões de Montesquieu sobre as formas de governo e a separação de poderes foram inseparáveis. Ambos os pensadores têm métodos e perspectivas diferentes, embora tenham alcançado lugares diferentes, chegaram a um consenso em pontos semelhantes. Nesse ponto, é o ponto mais enfatizado que constitui a base de suas obras: Sociedade e Estado. Neste estudo, Ibn Haldun e Montesquieu, que lançaram luz sobre a compreensão da “sociedade e o estado da nossa era, conseguiram analisar melhor as realidades de hoje e, ao mesmo tempo, foram examinados em termos de sua compreensão da sociedade e do estado. Por esse motivo, a bibliografia da vida e do período para especificar as condições e, em seguida, o conceito de sociedade e o estado que se engajaram em ambas as visões dos dois trabalhos em que as visões da Bíblia e as leis do espírito, em termos da sociedade e do estado dos dois pensadores, foram comparadas dessa maneira. Nesse ponto, é o ponto mais enfatizado que constitui a base de suas obras: Sociedade e Estado. Neste estudo, Ibn Haldun e Montesquieu, que lançaram luz sobre a compreensão da “sociedade e o estado da nossa era, conseguiram analisar melhor as realidades de hoje e, ao mesmo tempo, foram examinados em termos de sua compreensão da sociedade e do estado. Por esse motivo, a bibliografia da vida e do período para especificar as condições e, em seguida, o conceito de sociedade e o estado que se engajaram em ambas as visões dos dois trabalhos em que as visões da Bíblia e as leis do espírito, em termos da sociedade e do estado dos dois pensadores, foram comparadas dessa maneira. Nesse ponto, é o ponto mais enfatizado que constitui a base de suas obras: Sociedade e Estado. Neste estudo, Ibn Haldun e Montesquieu, que lançaram luz sobre a compreensão da “sociedade e o estado da nossa era, conseguiram analisar melhor as realidades de hoje e, ao mesmo tempo, foram examinados em termos de sua compreensão da sociedade e do estado. Por esse motivo, a bibliografia da vida e do período para especificar as condições e, em seguida, o conceito de sociedade e o estado que se engajaram em ambas as visões dos dois trabalhos em que as visões da Bíblia e as leis do espírito, em termos da sociedade e do estado dos dois pensadores, foram comparadas dessa maneira. Ibn Khaldun e Montesquieu, que lançaram luz sobre a compreensão da “sociedade e estado da nossa época e estudaram essas questões, conseguiram analisar melhor as realidades de hoje e, ao mesmo tempo, foram examinadas em termos de compreensão da sociedade e do estado. Por esse motivo, a bibliografia da vida e do período para especificar as condições e, em seguida, o conceito de sociedade e o estado que se engajaram em ambas as visões dos dois trabalhos em que as visões da Bíblia e as leis do espírito, em termos da sociedade e do estado dos dois pensadores, foram comparadas dessa maneira. Ibn Khaldun e Montesquieu, que lançaram luz sobre a compreensão da “sociedade e estado da nossa época e estudaram essas questões, conseguiram analisar melhor as realidades de hoje e, ao mesmo tempo, foram examinadas em termos de compreensão da sociedade e do estado. Por esse motivo, a bibliografia da vida e do período para especificar as condições e, em seguida, o conceito de sociedade e o estado que se engajaram em ambas as visões dos dois trabalhos em que as visões da Bíblia e as leis do espírito, em termos da sociedade e do estado dos dois pensadores, foram comparadas dessa maneira.

http://earsiv.ebyu.edu.tr/xmlui/handle/20.500.12432/3283#sthash.khWr8U9W.dpbs

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Mukaddime’ye Giriş: Kahır ve Şiddete Dayalı Siyasetin Yükseliş ve Düşüşü
Introdução ao Mukaddime: a ascensão e queda da política baseada em Kahir e violência

"Bu çalışma, İbn Haldun’un sosyal-siyasal olguların ardında yatan nedenselliklerin keşfine yönelik olarak geliştirdiği yöntemin başlıca özelliklerini göstermeyi amaçlamaktadır. Düşünürün bu yöntemi döneminin sosyal-siyasal ortamına nasıl uyguladığını iyice anlayabilmek için, yöntemin üzerinde yükseldiği dörtlü kavram setinin kavranması gerekir: Dünyanın meskûn yerlerinin insan toplulukları tarafından fiziksel, siyasal ve ekonomik açılardan inşasına gönderme yapan ‘Umran’ (1), basitçe bireylerle topluluk arasındaki kabile ve/veya akrabalık bağlarına gönderme yapan ‘Asabiyet’ (2), ‘bedevi ve hazari’ siyasal örgütlenmelerin karşıtlığı (3) ve merkezi-evrensel bir siyasal yapı olarak devlete gönderme yapan ‘Mülk’ (4). Bu kavramlar, ‘Giriş’ anlamına gelen Mukaddime’de ekonomik belirlenimcilik üzerinden geçim sistemlerine yapılan göndermelerle detaylandırılır ve analiz edilir.Çalışma, söz konusu kavramların özellikle insan toplumlarının adem-i merkezi siyasal yapılardan merkezi-hiyerarşik siyasal yapılara geçişleri bağlamında açıklanmasında modern antropolojik kanıtları Mukaddime’dekilerle birleştirmeyi de denemektedir."

---- This study aims to show the main features of the method developed by Ibn Khaldun for the discovery of the causalities behind the social-political phenomena. In order to fully understand how the thinker applies this method to the social-political environment of the period, it is necessary to comprehend the set of four concepts on which the world is built: 'Umran' (1), which refers to the physical, political and economic construction of places by human communities, 'Asabiyat' (2), which refers simply to tribal and / or kinship ties between individuals and the community, (2), opposing 'bedouin' and 'ready' political organizations (3). and 'Property', which refers to the state as a central-universal political structure. (4) These concepts are elaborated and analyzed with reference to the livelihood systems through economic determinism in Muqaddimah, which means 'Introduction'. He also tries to combine modern anthropological evidence with those of Muqaddimah in explaining these concepts in the context of human societies' transition from decentralized political structures to central-hiera


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