Paper Example on Ibn Khaldun

Published: 2021-08-17
702 words
3 pages
6 min to read
George Washington University
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Motivations behind Ibn Khaldun's science of society are derived from the conventional history of his time given the crisis in Arab- Muslim civilization. Additionally, the paradigm crisis evident from historiography acted as another motivation. From these crises, Ibn Khaldun saw how the society was in high demand for the inherent characteristics of truth as opposed to false. The fact that Arabs- Muslims crisis had developed from negative aspects of the society such as tyranny, injustices, and despotism, Ibn recognized these factors as signs that will cause the downfall of the state and thus the need for revelation (Rosenthal, 1958). He thinks that his new science will help in the writing of history through summarizing as well as memorizing knowledge left for the people by the ancestors. He believes that understanding philosophy from ancient times help create correct and reliable history by providing adequate facts.

Furthermore, Ibn Khalid argues that his new science will shape history writing in the sense that all the information from writings can be confirmed and scrutinized given the reported information that is not only limited to the history of rulers, politics, and state but extends to peoples' biases. Many people judge history depending on the conventional knowledge on religion, but Ibn believes that these thoughts through his approach of the new science the people's mind should be replaced with rational philosophy achieved through observation and thinking. However, despite the teachings from Quaran on the creation of heaven and earth and how God reveals his works to humankind, Khaldun realized how the society was wrongly misinterpreting the instructions (Rosenthal, 1958). The society had embarked on unhealthy practices that had created stagnation in development, and thus Ibn Khaldun hopes to transform history by developing a transparent civilized society that had in most cases been misunderstood in the study of historical events by historians. Ibn Khaldun, in this case, aims to transform history by eliminating ignorance in the nature of civilization and people as well do away with prejudice and bias in writing history.

Ibn Khaldun argues that a dynasty arises only where there is justice. As the highest form of social development in the society, this seed leads to civilization as well as sedentary culture. Furthermore, a dynasty rises from asabiyah or "group feelings" that creates consciousness in achieving predominance. The idea is so given the fact that a dynasty only occurs where there is an existence of civilization that is marked by luxury services such as arts, trade crafts, and sciences. However, the services also lead to disintegration and decay of the dynasty in all generations in cases where the ruling groups begin to grab power and monopolize resources as well as wealth (Rosenthal,1958). Ibn further argues that when the ruling power takes control on resources, contradiction emerges between this group and the people with group feelings despite the fact that the ruling group only relies on the royal authority, imposing of taxes, military and ignoring peoples' interests. In this case, the cementing ideology or rather the group feeling tends to get weaker causing the dynasty to lose its hold on power.

However, when an outside group which has new group feeling supersede the existing dynasty, a new one is found and thus creation of dynastic cycles. In most cases, dynasties disintegrate, decay and shrink and then collapse to pave the way for the establishment of a new regime; hence the process keeps repeating itself in all the four generations. A good example is where Ibn Khaldun explains this fact through the Bedouins who becomes rich and adopts a luxurious life. However, Ibn argues that sedentary people are always evil given their wealthy and luxury status that makes them to lack restraint (94). In return, the people become lazy as they sit comfortably inside the city walls depending on their ruler to protect them. The sedentary people further lose courage unlike the Bedouins in the desert and thus rely on the brute laws that at the end break their ability of resistance. Ibn also says that when individuals get punished by the dynasty laws, humiliation tends to develop in their souls and thus existence of "fear and docility." (pg96)


Rosenthal, F. (1958). Ibn Khaldun: The muqaddimah, an introduction to history. Pantheon, New York.

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