Friday, August 12, 2022

Ibnu Khaldun - sociologist, philosopher, and historian

Ibnu Khaldun was born on May 27, 1332 in Tunis (Tunisia) and died on March 17, 1406, in Cairo, Egypt. He was the greatest Arab historian, who developed one of the earliest nonreligious philosophies of history, contained in his masterpiece, the Muqaddimah (“Introduction”). His full name Abd al-Rahman ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr Muhammad ibn al-Hasan Ibn Khaldun.

He is generally considered the greatest Arab historian as well as the father of sociology and the science of history. His contributions are much known for his monumental work on history of mankind, known as Kitab-al-Ibar. Ibnu Khaldun was a renaissance man and he defined the foundations of sociology more than four centuries before Auguste Comte 'discovered' them

Ibn Khaldun came from an illustrious family and enjoyed an excellent education in his youth. Both his parents died when the Black Death struck Tunis in 1349. The environment Ibn Khaldun lived in, as a child, allowed him to grow concerned with political and educational issues as both of his grandfathers were great politicians who held high positions in political office for long terms.

At the age of 20, he was given a post at the court of Tunis and later became secretary to the sultan of Morocco in Fez. He would teach at the Great Mosque of Granada, at the Qarawiyeen mosque and university in Fes, at the Qasaba mosque in Bijayah, at the Zaytouna mosque in Tunisia and at Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo. He also interacted with scholars in the Adeleya School in Damascus.

In 1375, Ibn Khaldun sought refuge from the tumultuous political sphere with the tribe of Awlad 'Arif. They lodged him and his family in a castle in Algeria, where he spent four years writing the Muqaddimah. Ibn Khaldun’s theory divided history into two main parts: the historical manifest and the historical gist. According to him, history should not limit itself to recording events, but should examine environments, social mores and political bases.

The Muqaddimah is considered one of the most phenomenal works on the philosophy of history ever written. Ibn-Khaldun wrote Al-Muquddimah at a very young age (early 40’s) on the basis of his tours, travels, reading of books, official documents and records. His official positions and political association helped him in gathering facts for Al-Muqaddimah.

Ibn Khaldun also wrote a definitive history of Muslim North Africa, as well as an account of his eventful life in an autobiography entitled Al-ta'rif bi Ibn Khaldun.
Ibnu Khaldun - sociologist, philosopher, and historian

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