Applying Ibn Khaldūn: The Recovery of a Lost Tradition in by Syed Farid Alatas

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By Syed Farid Alatas

The writings of Ibn Khaldūn, fairly the Muqaddimah (Prolegomenon) have rightly been considered as being sociological in nature. consequently, Ibn Khaldūn has been extensively considered as the founding father of sociology, or no less than a precursor of contemporary sociology. whereas he used to be given this acceptance, although, few works went past proclaiming him as a founder or precursor to the systematic program of his theoretical viewpoint to precise ancient and modern features of Muslim societies in North Africa and the center East. the ongoing presence of Eurocentrism within the social sciences has now not helped during this regard: it frequently stands within the method of the respect of non-Western resources of theories and ideas.

This publication offers an summary of Ibn Khaldūn and his sociology, discusses purposes for his marginality, and indicates how you can deliver Ibn Khaldūn into the mainstream in the course of the systematic program of his concept. It strikes past works that easily kingdom that Ibn Khaldūn was once a founding father of sociology or offer descriptive money owed of his works. as a substitute it systematically applies Khaldūn’s theoretical standpoint to express historic points of Muslim societies in North Africa and the center East, effectively integrating options and frameworks from Khaldūnian sociology into smooth social technological know-how theories. Applying Ibn Khaldūn will be of curiosity to scholars and students of sociology and social theory.

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It was also claimed in many accounts that Afrīqus left some Ḥimyar tribes in the Maghrib which intermarried with the indigenous population and gave rise to the Ṣinhājah and Kutāmah tribes. It thus became widely believed that these two tribes were descendants of the Ḥimyar. It was also said of the Tubba‘s that their last ruler, As‘ad abū Karib, and his sons raided, routed and slaughtered the Byzantines, Persians and Chinese. Ibn Khaldūn says that these claims about the Tubba‘ are baseless. In fact, their realm was restricted to the Arabian Peninsula.

While it would be possible to refer to countless numbers of social scientists who have adopted the theoretical perspectives of Marx, Weber or Durkheim and developed schools of thought and traditions after these founding fathers, the same cannot be said in reference to Ibn Khaldūn. I finally came to the conclusion that it was necessary to go beyond claiming that Ibn Khaldūn was a precursor of the modern social sciences, a founder of sociology, or an Orientalist tool used to justify colonialism. There were sufficient empirical materials from West Asian and North African history that could be used to test Ibn Khaldūn’s theory of the rise and decline of states.

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