Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) (Historian, Legal Scholar, Philosopher, Sociologist, Ethnographer, Diplomat)

Ibn Khaldun writes a History of the World

Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) was a Tunisian scholar who traveled widely across the Muslim world and wrote one of the most famous of all historical works, the Kitab al-Ibar, of which the Introduction has been translated into English as The Muqaddimah.   Khaldun received an excellent education but was orphaned at the age of 16 when his parents and much of his family succumbed to the Black Death.  He worked as an administrator and consultant in government at courts in Fez in Morocco and Granada in Spain.  After a series of political intrigues that landed him into prison he withdrew from political life and began to study the social conditions of Berber and semi-nomadic peoples in the neighboring regions of the Sahara. He compiled regional histories and set out to develop a type of comparative history that also drew upon his own personal experience. Ibn Khaldun developed a theory about the rise and fall of dynasties and the importance of asabiya or group feeling or solidarity as a factor in sociology and history of power dynamics. Like Ibn Battuta he worked as a judge (qadi) in Cairo and famously met the conqueror Tamurlane as part of negotiations with the Mongol ruler and the Mamluks.  Exhibition website on Ibn Khaldun http://www.ibnjaldun.com/index.php?L=7 The BBC has an audio podcast on Ibn Khaldun’s importance at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00qckbw An electronic version of Al-Muqaddimah  or the Introduction to the Kitab Al-Ibar is at http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ik/Muqaddimah/

Ibn Khaldun’s Life and works. (1332-1406). a third version now on the Muslim Hertiage website