Ibnu Khaldun Biography

Accoring to Issawi , C. (2009) Ibn Khaldun is the greatest Arab historian, who develop one of the earliest nonreligous philosophy of history, contained in his masterpiece, the Muqaddimah (“Introduction”). He also wrote a definitive history of Muslim Norh Africa. Mahmoud Dhaouadi (1997) stated that Ibnu Khaldun’s full name is ‘Abdu-ar-Rahman Abu Zaid Wali-ad-Din Ibn Khaldun. He was born in Tunis (1332) and died in Cairo (1406). His family was of Arab Yemenite descent who had first settled in Muslim Spain and later moved to Tunisia.

When Ibn Khaldun reached the age of schooling, he began to learn and recite the Qur’an as did most pupils of that time. The education he received in Tunis in his youth was concentrated in three areas : (1) Islamic studies, which cover the sciences of the Qur’an, the Hadith (the prophet’s sayings and behaviour) as well as Islamic Fikh (jurisprudence) , particularly the Malikite School ; (2) the sciences of the Arabic language which deal with grammar , conjugation and the art of eloquent written and spoken language (al-Balagha) ; and (3) logic , philosophy, natural sciences and mathematics.

Muhsin Mahdi (1968) explain that the teacher he admired most during this period was the mathematician and philosopher Muhammad Ibn Ibrauhium al-Aubiliu (1282/3-1356), whom he considered the most proficient of his contemporaries in the philosophic disciplines. His studies with Aubiliu extended over five years, from 1347 to 1352. They began with mathematics and logic and then branched out to include various other philosophic disciplines. Aubiliu introduced him to the major works of Avicenna and Averroes and acquainted him with the more recent philosophic and theological writings of the heterodox Shruites in Eastern Islam.

Ibn Khaldun’s early work (1351) provides direct evidence for his philosophic interest and ideas during this period. His other early philosophic works, including treatises on logic and mathematics and a number of paraphrases of Averroes’ works, have not been recovered as yet. IBN KHALDUN ACHIEVEMENT. During his previous life, he has received many achievements in his life. He is known as Father of Modern Social Science and Cultural History. He is also the founder of sosiological sciences. . At the early age, he manage to cope with different type of knowledge such as Qur’anic science, Arabic, Poetry, Traditions, Classical Education (Qur’an, Science, Arabic Language and Fiqh) which he recive certification to these subject. Then, he has involved in political career as he held a post at the court of Tunisia at the age of 20. After three years later, he has worked as a secretaryship to the Sultan of Morocco for about two years. He once given a ministerial position by Abu Salem. After that, at the chancellery of the Tunisian ruler, Ibn Takrakin, he hold the position of Katib al-‘alamah which is consisted of writing in fine calligraphy or introductory notes of official documents.

After that, at Cairo, he became a noted professor, judge and sheikh or better known as manager of Baybars, the greatest sufi institution during that time. Then he become an ambassador of the Sultan of Granada to Pedro the Cruel, Cristian king of Castile in 1363. This showed how people trust him in everything. In addition, he used to be a teacher and magistrate at Ta’rif. Ibn khaldun has inspired many people. In studied, he is excelled in Arabic Literature, Phisiolophy, Mathematics and Astronomy. At the age of 19, he has wrote his first book, Lubabu I-Muhassal under the supervision of his teacher, al-abili in Tunis.

Next, he also manage to wrote Mukaddimah or known as Prolegomena in Europe. He wrote Prolegomena At the Castle of Ibn Salama when he receive inspiration to wrote it during his retirement. He only takes five month to finish writing Mukaddimah. Mukaddimah has been evaluate and fully appreciate by Europe scholarship. Unfortunedly, his work doesn’t get more attention at Asian. His work on the book, Mukaddimah has been appreciated by the whole world and his book has been translated into various language around the world. For example, English and malay.

His final work on autobiography, has been translated to English. His book also available at all nation. Ibn khaldun is a great thinker that gives inspired to many people in various way. (Faridah Hj Hassan, Universiti Teknologi Mara Malaysia) WHY HE IS A GREAT THINKER? Almost everybody agrees that Ibn Khaldun is a great thinker. There are many relevant reasons or factors that contribute to this statement. First, Ibn Khaldun starts his political career at the very young age, only at twenty years old. From this, it is obviously that this historian has a very high determination and self-confidence.

Apart from this, he can also be considered as a great thinker for his well-known book, Al-Muqaddimah. This is amazingly because Al-Muqaddimah was written by Ibn Khaldun for a really short period,that is 3 years only. He wrote the prominent book when he was staying in a small village, Qalat Ibn Salamah in Algeria. This actually proved that Ibn Khaldun is really a brilliant man who is never wasting his precious time. Besides that, the great thinker Ibn Khaldun has observed and and studied carefully the situations of every community that he has lived with.

According to Mahmoud Dhaouadi (1997), Ibn Khaldun has made a conclusion regarding types of people. He divided mankind into three groups. The first group belongs to the primitive good human nature (types I + II) of the Arab-Muslim Bedouins. The first group’s excessive materialism led to the weakness and disintegration of Al-Assabiya among the Arab-Muslim sedentaries. The second group belongs to the strong Assabiya among the Arab-Muslim Bedouins. Their excessive materialism led to the weakening of the religion of Islam among the sedentaries.

Last but not least, Ibn Khaldun state that the third group belongs to the strong commitment to the Islamic faith by the earlier Arab-Muslim Bedouins. He also mentioned that the excessive materialism led to the spread of human nature type III among all social categories of the Arab-Muslim sedentary culture. Mohammad Abdullah Enan (1941) suggests that Ibn Khaldun is an undoubtedly great Muslim thinker. “He was the first man to study the social phenomena, to understand and explain the events of history, and to deduce from them social laws,in such a wonderful scientific manner. Tonybee and Lacost,among the few Western scholars familiar with Ibn Khaldun’s thought, claimed that Ibn Khaldun was truly a unique phenomenon in humankind’s long history of idea. Yet, Ibn Khaldun’s legacy in the science of society continues to be ignored by both professionals and students of contemporary social sciences. This paragraph will stress more on his ideas of eastern sociology. Ibn Khaldun’s social thought may be considered to be the only authentic intellectual sociohistorical knowledge about human society which the Third World possesses. Yves Lacoste’s evaluation of the Muqaddimah makes this point very clear.

He affirms that Ibn Khaldun’s fluent and systematic approach to the study of history and human civilisations has no parallel in the history of social thought of other societies and civilisations pervious to his own time. This can be proof more by Arnold Toynbee’s laudatory assessment of the mature sociohistorical thought displayed in The Muqaddimah strongly concurs with that of Lacoste which mentioned Ibn Khaldun had conceived and ormulated a philosophy of history which is undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that had ever yet been created by any mind in any time and place.

In establishing his New Science of the social objective reality, principally through his positivist outlook of social phenomena, Ibn Khaldun appears to have remain strongly attached and influenced as well by his view of the internal “in there” human nature. Ibn Khaldun’s notion of human nature and its deterministic impact on his assumptions, conceptualizations and theories of societies and civilizations have been largely if not completely neglected by those who have studie Ibn Khaldun’s work. We hardly encountered a study which preoccupies itself seriously with the subject of human nature in Ibn Khaldun’s thinking.

This is due to the prevailing positivist spirit of the author’s works, especially in his Muqaddimah . His concept of human nature and its implications on the individual’s behaviour and civilization’s destiny ought not to be discarded or neglected in any rigorous analysis of Ibn Khaldun’s works. No doubt that there are a number of references to human nature in the Muqaddimah. But the difficult task lies in identifying with precision specific categories referred to by the author. In reading Ibn Khaldun’s statements on Man’s nature, three types seem to emerge. a)Human nature as reflected in Al –Fitrah

In Islamic thought, Al-Fitrah is either than human state devoid of bad traits and customs at birth or at worst it is that human state that predisposes human nature more toward virtues than vices. Ibn Khaldun’s use of Al-Fitrah concept is inspired by the Qur’an as well as by the Hadith. In these two basic Islamic sources, the notion of Al-Fitrah still appears to mean, also, a balanced human inclination that lives according to the laws of the natural divine order. As a conclude, the closer they remain to the primitive or innate state of human nature in terms of goodness the better they are. b)The dualistic human nature

Ibn Khaldun’s second type of huma nature resembles, in its dynamics very much that of Al-Assabiyya. The latter is a conflicting set of historical moving forces which often clash with each other, thus creating a chain of conflicts and antagonisms. Viewed that way, Al-‘Assabiyya’s dynamics offer a compelling explaination to human history as an endless chain of exhaustion, rotation and evolution. Likewise, the author’s second view of human nature shows the conflicting nature of the human being’s make up. The roots of the conflicts are the result of the dualistic constituting component of human nature itself.

Human nature has equal inclinations toward doing good and evil. With this even emphasis on the weight of good and evil elements ,the Qur’anic perspective appears to give human nature a fundamental dialectical characteristic. c)The aggresive human nature Ibn Khaldun had bluntly stated that the roots of human aggression as well as injustice are to be found in the animalistic side of human nature. Like some contemporary ethologists and psychologists studying Man and animal’s behaviour, the author of the Muqaddimah considers aggression as a fundamental inborn feature whose infrastructure is widely observed among all living beings including Man.

Ibn Khaldun’s observations and experiences enabled him to unveil other complex forms which human aggression could take. He had noticed injustice committed by humans, not because their physical survival was at stake, but rather it appeared to be the result of a sort of human readiness to do injustice to others in the Hobbesian sense of the term. On the contrary, Ibn Khaldun considers them to be fundamentally destructive and disruptive to Man’s advancement collectively as well as individually.

In looking at these three form of Man’s humannature, one can assert that there is unambiguous Qur’anic or Islamic influence on the author’s thinking concerning Man’s nature. The first type (Al-Fitrah state) and the second one the dualistic nature) are drawn from the Islamic outlook on the range of human nature as expressed especially in the Muslim Holy Book. These two categories depict Man’s nature at its very natural state either as good more and less or neutral towards good or bad doing. In both cases Man’s nature is overwhelmingly dialectical. However the third type of the Human Nature is strikingly an ugly one, Man falls nto this state when he becomes dominated by his animalistic or known as materialistic desires. I n the luxurious sedentary milieu, Man is transformed from a human being to an animal. With this taking place, the undermining of Islamic as well as natural values becomes a fait accompli. It is hardly an exaggeration to state that the studies which has dealt, both in the Arab world and outside of if ,bwith Ibn Khaldun’s remarkably distinct achievement in social thought have, in general, extended to explain the Khaldunian phenomenon by social variables and not by the personality traits of the author of the Muqaddimah.

In other words, creative and innovative thought is seen here as the result of the imperative of the laws of stringent social determinism. The consequences of this kind of perspective has ultimately led to a general disinterest in the study of the role of Ibn Khaldun’s personality traits that might have contributed to the unfolding of his pioneering social thought .

In light especially of modern psychology’s insights and finding about the role of human personality traits in triggering and promoting the spirit of creativity and innovation among certain individuals of the general population, it is hardly acceptable to seek an objective assessment of human creativity and innovation without seriously taking into account the entire profile of the creative person innovator’s personality in its own right.

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