Modern Biography on Ibn Khaldun
By: Prof. Hasan A. Yahya,
In his “A Study of History : The Growths of Civilizations.” (1962) wrote:
“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”. In his chosen field of intellectual activity he appears to have been inspired by no predecessors 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.” (pp. 321-328).
In this series of articles on Ibn Khaldun (nineten episodes), we start with bibliography of works written in Arabic and English about Ibn Khaldun in the last fifty years. The Arabic resources are translated by the writer. The articles cover certain aspects of Ibn Khaldun’s work and his influence on modern social sciences.
In the 650th anniversary of the birth of Ibn Khaldun. The aspiration to honor the moment by convening a symposium at Duke University during the following academic year came from Professor Miriam Cooke, Assistant Professor of Arabic Language and Literature, in the Dept. of International Studies, Duke University since 1980. Professor H. Yahya wrote commenting on the symposium:
“My observation was in that time, none of the participants was was sociologist, they are historians, religious specialists, linguistics anthropologists, or philosophers. None of from the Middle East intellectuals on the field of Ibn Khaldun. For God’s Sake, I write, where are the Sociologists or specialists on the topic from the Arab Middle East? (1989)
In his diary, prof. Hasan Yahya wrote:
“January 29th, In 1989, I called Prof. Dr. Elias Bayunos, a well known Muslim sociologist, and was a leading Muslim Thinker, in the United States to convene a symposium on Ibn Khaldun. He accepted the idea, and promised to make it alive. I suggested to see a date for that in Spring, 1989, The date was set on May 26-27, 1989. Fortunately, the assigned day marked the 657 anniversary of the Birth of Ibn Khaldun (May 27, 1332). But the symposium did not take place. Later, I was told, that the IIIT president (Abdul-Hameed Abu Sulaiman ) in that time, did not accept the idea and force the late prof. Elias Bayunos to cancel it as he wrote me.”
al-Azmeh, Aziz, IK: An Essay in Reinterpretation (Three chapters)
Chapter I. The Primacy of the Historical (pp. 9-47)
Chapter II. The Problematization of History (pp.48-144)
Chapter III.The History of Kitab al-Ibar (pp. 145-166)
On Page 147, al-Azmeh says:
There are two great classes into which the scientific material of “Kitab al-Ibar” falls the paradigmatic and the topical. The later contains the thematic material utilized and the former designates the conceptual apparatus whereby the thematic components are utilized, and hence the conceptual physiognomy adopted by this thematic material.”
He ended his book with the following statement:
“The exigencies of the project executed by IK. is “Kitab al-Ibar” are internal to IK’s intentionality which sadly but inevitably, is totally inaccessible to us.” (p.163)
From several sources al-Azmeh collected the following:
“Like most works, the “Muqaddimah“ has its share of a certain inant largest of praise. (1) More to the point is the praise by his temporary in Fez, Ibn al-Ahmar, for IK,s
eminence in the rational sciences; (2) But much more usual was the statement by his rival in Cairo, Rakraki, that IK has a solid but mediocre knowledge of the rational sciences but no knowledge of jurisprudence; (3) Ibn Hajar a one-time pupil of IK’s; (4)contended that his erstwhile teacher was of such eloquence that he has lend himself to mystification and to being overp raised; (5) Ever as an historian he is not rated exceptionally by Ibn Hajar why considered his knowledge of eastern Muslim history be defective; (6)What is strange is that it is to Ibn Hajar that the tradition according to which IK’s text is certified and ratified goes even in parts of the Maghrib; (7) and it is equally odd that both the “Muqaddimah“ and the rest of Kitab al-Ibar“ were not directly known in Tunis iis that the 17th and first half of the 18th centuries” (pp159-160)
(1). For instance, by a certain Buqqini, the author of an
epitome of Ibn al-Khatib’s Ihata, quotes in Ahmad Baba¬ Nayl¬ P.169.
(2) Ibn al-Ahmar, Mustuda’ al-‘alama, p.64.
(3)Sakhawi, Dau’ , Vol. 4, p. 147.
(4)The text of IK’s ijaza to Ibn Hajaj is reproduced in
facsimile in H.Ritter¬ ‘Autography in Turkish Libraries, in
Oriens, 6(1953), p. 83).
(5)Ibî Hajar, Raf al-ism at qudaa Misr, vol. 2¬ p. 347¬ and
Cf. the praise of Ibn Ammar quoted in Sakhawi, Daud. Vol. 4. p. 149.
(6)Ibn Hajar, “Inba’ al-ghumr bi-abna’ al-umr, vol. 2, p. 340.
(7. Sheikè Abaä Eì Qadiò El- Fasi¬ iî Proceedingó oæ thå 14th Congress of Orientalists (Algiers-Paris, 1908), vol.3, p. 38.
Enan, M. Abdullah, Ibn Khaldun: His Life and Work
Translation from the Arabic Version, 1933.
Book I and II
Book I. Part I. In North Africa and Andalusin (five chapters, pp.1-45)
Part II. Ibn Khaldun in Egypt, (three chapters, pp.47-80)
Book II. The Intellectual and Social Legacy of Ibn Khaldun(five chapters, pp. 81-137)
Page 81, Enan says:
“IK is distinguished from the rest of Muslim historians, indeed from all his predecessors, by the fact that he considered history as a science worthy of study-not as narrative merely recorded. He wished to write history in the light of method of explanation and reasoning and his reflections and studied let him to establish a new kind of social philosophy.” (Enan 1933:81)
“IK described this new study which he discovered at an independent science with a special subject-sociology and human community and special problems, “which are to explain all the phenomena and conditions appertaining to it, one after the other. He also tells us that this science “is new with strange orientation and immense interest, to which he was led by private research not deals with by and previous writer except perhaps, the ancients whose works perished and are – therefore- unknown to u he is thus the FIRST to discover it, and lay down and explain its principles.” (PP81-2)
As the author put it, the book is an attempt to describe the situation of sociological theories and how it should work for building societies and solve it’s problems. He says (what can be ranslated as):
“Briefly¬ this work tried to show the theoreticaì directions of sociology from a critical point of view when is possible, and by the guiding assistant of Sociology of Knowledge directions to stand upon all FACTORS and variables which influence the beginning and development of these directions and to understand its CONTENTS and HOW it produced it.
For this purpose, it have been decided to proceed in logical steps¬ beginning by defining the subject, the theory, its meaning and functions, and the directions, its definition, and classification. And before standing on the contemporary directions, because its work roots are related to the pioneers’ work, it was necessary to describe the most important works of these pioneers, this was to read these works critically in order to assist understanding of the directions which came after them¬and tried to imitate them or pass them.” (p.7)
He then divided the book into introduction and six chapters detailed as follows:
I. Sociological Theory: its subject, and functions.
1. The meaning of the scientific theory.
2. The subject of sociological theory.
3. Social critique and normative functions of sociological theory.
II. Classification of contemporary theoretical directions of sociology.
1. Its importance and measures.
2. and Some notes of classification.
III. The most important pioneers of sociological theory. An attempt of new reading.
1. Ibn Khaldun (9 pages)
2. Auguste Comte (10 pages)
3. Karl Marx (16 pages)
4. E. Durkheim (15 pages)
5. Max Weber (20 pages)
IV. Conservative directions in contemporary sociology.
1. Functional-structural directions
2. The new positivism (?)
3. The empirical direction (?)
V. The new Directions AND contemporary sociology
1. Neo-Marxist and sociology
2. Critical current in American sociology
VI . Aspects of sociology in the Arab world-Empressional research.
1. Some efforts for the rise of sociology
2. Aspects of contemporary sociology
3. Towards a suggested approach to study the Arab society.
[the book is 298 pages:
ChI = 36 pages II = 26 pages
III = 73 pages IV = 55 pages
V = 37 pages VI = 55 pages
Fischel, Walter J. Ibn Khaldun In Egypt
Introduction, three parts.
Part I.. Ibn Khaldun’s Life and Public Functions in Mamun , Egypt. pp. 15-71
Part II. Ibn Khaldun’s Historical Research in Egypt. pp.71-157
Part III. Ibn Khaldun and his “Autobiography” pp.159-213
Geith, M. Atif
CONTENTS: Five Chapters (356 pages)
Introduction (22 pages)
ChI. Development of the Theory in Sociology (57 pages)
II. Contemporary Sociological Theory (53 pages)
III. Scoiological Theory: Views and directions (94 pages)
IV® Various developments of evaluation of sociological theory (70 pages)
V. The meeting of Sociology with the Marxist current. (32 pages)
CONTENTS: Nine chapters (from the lure to the contemporary)
1. Characteristics of primitive social thinking
2. Methodology of the study (may be sociology)
3. The beginning of sociological theory in the Eastern societies.
4. Social theory in the Hellenic civilization
5. Muslim social thinking
6. impressions of Islamic thought on the Western thought
7. Social thinking in the Enlightenment age
8. Proceedings of the modern social theory
9. Basic directions of the social theory:
The psychological Tarde le Bon, Martin Wistermark, Thomas, Psychanalytic, biological foundations.
Spencer socialist thinkers,
The Technocratic direction: Saint Simon, Kroeber,
The Socio-analytic direction, Semmils, Weber, Toennies,
The positivistic direction, Comte, and Durkheim,
The empirical direction, Becon, and J.S. Mill
The modern positivistic direction, Liezberg, Pareto, Thomas,
The Ecologicaì direction¬ American School, MacCergy and regional sociology,
The functional-Structural direction¬ Durkheim¬ Redcliff-Brown, T. Parsons,
AND The Accumulative direction of knowledge construction,
CONTENTS: Four Chapters:
The originality of Ibn Khaldun,
1. His life stages,
2. The Muqaddimah and other introductions of historians.
3. Acknowledgement of Kitab al-‘Ibar and its introduction,
4. Methodological Rules in the Khaldunian Sociology:
Doubt and investigation (as-Shak wat-Tamhis)
Reality and its material resources,
Judgment of norms and human life conditions
Measurement of the observed of the absent, (alqiyas bishahid walgha’ib)
Analysis and classification, (as-Sabr wat-Taqsim)
Precautions of generalizations (al-Haytah inda Ta’mim)
CONTENTS: Two Parts: Ten Chapters
Part One: Classical Sociology and the problem of Order,
Ch I. The concept of public order and its problem,
II. Sociology in the 19th century
Comte, Durkheim, Weber.
III. T. Parsons and the Normative solution
Hobbs and Parsons
IV. Empirical personification of order problem
V. Harmonious theories to go out the Order circle
Coser, Locod, Darndorf,
Part Two: Modern critical directions in sociology
VI. Structural thought of critical directions
Social movement, Capitalism, Science delimma
VII. Right Mills: Early critical direction
Sociological imagination, Left, objective,
Mills the pioneer of social critiques.
VIII. Innovative critical movement in sociology
Gouldner and Sociological critiques
The crisis of sociology
IX. Innovative critical movement in sociology
Right Mills, Thomas Bottomore,
John Rex from theory to society critiques.
X. Theoretical substitutes and phenomenology
Structural foundations, Phenomenology,
Ethnomethodology (Group method)
Contributors in the 650th symposium in 1989, at Duke University were:
Professor of Islamic Studies and the History of Religions, in the Dept. of Religion. Duke University. In his preface, Professor Lawrence wrote:
” May 27¬ 1982 MARKED the 650th anniversary of the birth of Ibn Khaldun. The aspiration to honor the moment by convening a symposium at Duke University during the following academic year came from Professor Miriam COOKE.”
B. Lawrence, Preface
B. Lawrence, Ibn Khaldun and Islamic Ideology
M. Cooke¬ Ibn Khaldun and Language From Linguistic Habit to Philological Craft.
K. Bland¬ An Islamic Theory of Jewish History. The case of Ibn Khaldun
C. Fleischer¬ Royal Authority¬ Dynasties Cycles and “Ibn Khaldunism” in Sixteenth Century Ottoman Letters
B. Lawrence, Ibn Khaldun and Islamic Reform
W. Fusfeld, Naqshbandi Sufism and Reformist Islam
J. W. Anderson¬ g witè Ibî Khaldun. From an Anthropological Point of view
G. D. Newby¬ Ibî Khaldun ¦ Frederich Jackson Turner. Islam and the Frontier Experience
Jon W. ANDERSON is assistant Professor of Anthropology at Catholic University of America, Washington¬ D.C® He received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in
1979, and subsequently spent a year in Heidelberg, Germany on Alexander von Hombolds Fellowship. Widely renowned for his ethnographic work on Afghan tribes, he has authored a forthcoming book, Doing Pakhtu, on Ghizai social organization.
Kalmal BLAND, a specialist of medieval Jewish intellectual history has been Chairman of the Dept. of Religion, Duke University, Durham. N.C. since 1980. He earned his Ph.D from Brandeit University in 1972 and taught at Indiana University before joining the Judaic Studies faculty at Duke University in 1973. In addition to nemerous articles, he has published a monograph entitled: The Epistle of the Possibility of Conjunction with the Active Intellect by Ibn Rushd¬ with the Commentary of Moses Narboni.
Miriam COOKS has been Assistant Professor of Arabic Language and Literature, in the Dept. of International Studies, Duke University since 1980, the same year when she was awarded her D. Phil. from St. Anthony’s College, Oxford. She has published articles of contemporary Arabic Literature as well as translations of major authors. Her book, Yahyá Haqqi. The Anatomy of an Egyptian Intellectuals, published in Spring 1984, A second book¬ on women’s literature inspired by the Lebanese Civil War, was the subject of a Fulbright Research Fellowship during 1982; it is due to appear in 1985.
Bruce B. LAWRENCÅ is a Professor of Islamic Studies and the History of Religions, in the Dept. of Religion. Duke University¬ where he has been teaching since 1971. He received his Ph.D from Yale University in 1972, and is the author of three books as well as several articles, principally on pre-modern South Asia, Sufism. He is presently engaged in á comparative study of fundamentalism¬Jewish, Christian and Islamic.
Gordon, D. NEWBY, a noted authority with numerous articles of early Islamic historiography, obtainedä his Ph.D from Brandeir Univ. where he also taught on the faculty for several years before joining the History Dept. at North Carolina State University in 1976. His forthcoming book concerns biographical assessment of the Prophet Muhammad and is entitled, Biblical Materials: Their Reception in Early Islam.
Frany Rosenthal is Sterling Professor of Near Eastern Languages and Literatures at Yale University. He is the preeminent scholar of all phases of Muslim civilization deriving from its Arab past especially the interaction with Hellenism. Among his several major contributions to our knowledge of medieval Islamic history in the sole unabridged English Translation of Ibn Khaldun’s Muqaddimah. www.arabamericanencyclopedia.com
** Composed by professor Hasan A. Yahya, Department of Sociology, Michigan State University, 1989.
Al-Azmeh, Aziz. Ibn Khaldun in Modern Scholarship: A Study in Orientalism. London: Third World Centre, 1981.
Badawi, A. Mu’allafat Ibn Khaldun. Cairo, 1962.
Enan, Mohammad A. Ibn Khaldun: His life and Works. New Delhi: Kitab Bhavan, 1979.
Al-Husri, S. Dirasat ‘an Muqaddimat Ibn Khaldun. Cairo, 1953.
Hussein, T. Etude analytique et critique de la philosophie sociale d’Ibn Khaldun. Paris, 1917G.
‘Inan, M. A. Ibn khaldun, hayatuh wa-turathuh al-fikri. Cairo, 1933.
Issawi, Charles. An Arab Philosophy of history: Selections from the prolegomena of Ibn Khaldun of Tunis (1332-1406). In the Wisdom of the East Series, London: John Murray, 1950.
Issawi and Leaman, “Ibn Khaldun, ‘Abd al-Rahman (1332-1406),” 623-627.
Issawi, Charles and Oliver Leaman. “Ibn Khaldun, ‘Abd al-Rahman (1332-1406),” in Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Vol. 4, 623-627. London: Routledge.
Al-Jawydi, Darweesh, ed. Mokaddimat Ibn Khaldoun, by Abdurahman M. Ibn Khaldun. Sidon-Beirut: al-Maktaba al-Asriyah, 1995.
Lacoste, Yves. Ibn Khaldun: The birth of history and the past of the third world. Tr. David Macy. London: Verso, 1984.
Lakhassi, Abderrahmane. “Ibn Khaldun,” in History of Islamic Philosophy. Ch. 25. Eds. S. H. Nasr and O. Leaman. London: Routledge.
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Peres, H. “Bibliographie sur la vie et l’oeuvre d’Ibn Kaldun.” Mel. Levi Della Vida vol. 2, 308-29.
Rabi’, Muh. Mahmoud. The political theory of Ibn Khaldun. Leiden, 1967.
Rosenthal, Franz., trans. The Muqaddimah, An Introduction to History., By Ibn Khaldun. Bollingen Series XLIII. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1958.
Schmidt, N. Ibn Khaldun, historian, sociologist, and philosopher. New York, 1930.
Simon, H. Ibn Khalduns Wissenschaft der menschlichen Kultur. Leipzig, 1959.
Talbi, M. “Ibn Kaldun et le sens de l’histoire.” SI xxvi (1967): 73-148.
Tamura, Jitsuzo. In Ajia kazai (September 1963).
He gives an economist’s view on Ibn Khaldun (in Japanese).
Toynbee, Arnold. A Study of History : The Growths of Civilizations.” New York, Oxford University Press, 1962, Vol. 3, pp. 321-328.
al-Wardi, A. Mantiq Ibn Khaldun. Cairo, 1962.
Walzer, R. “Aspects of Islamic political thought: al-Farabi and Ibn Xaldun.” Oriens xv (1963): 40-60.
Wolfson, H. A. “Ibn khaldun in connexion with attributes and with predestination in his religious philosophy.” 177-95. Harvard, 1961.
Yahya, H. A. Personalities I Admire, Islam Finds Its Way, 2009