Ibn Khaldoun, Today!

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Fri 16 June / Jun 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

The scriptures of renowned Arab scholar, Abdul Rahman Ibn Khaldoun, date back hundreds of years to the 14th and 15th centuries.

Despite being so old, his work remains absolutely, inarguably relevant to understanding Arab societies and culture in our modern-day reality.

Strangely, the Arabs’ discovery of Ibn Khaldun’s famous Introduction (Prolegomena or "al-Muqaddimah") is long due, preceded by many orientalists.

They began deliberating his ideas long before the rise of the reformist Arab generations, in the beginning of the 20th century.

Notably, his introduction offers fundamental explanations to the social and societal phenomenon of Arab communities.

Among the later Arab thinkers who addressed Ibn Khaldoun’s propositions on Arab Sociology, Mohammad Abed Jabiri wrote an important book on Ibn Khaldoun’s theorisation on Islamic History, and his views on state and fanaticism.

Later on, thinker Ali Wardi also wrote on Ibn Khaldoun’s logic and reasoning.

Wardi influenced many researchers, most prominently Dr Mohammad Jaber Ansari, who once said that had he been in charge, he would have taught Ibn Khaldoun’s Introduction to school and university students instead of the standard curricula.

Many universities and education institutions were named after Ibn Khaldun, in Arabic.

Just last month, Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan,  inaugurated a new university named after him in Turkey, during a scientific conference devoted to the study of his ideas.

Much can be put into the extraction of knowledge that is highly beneficial to the understanding of Arab societies today.

In Jordan, little real interest is given to incorporating his ideas and views into the curriculum.

The main, and perhaps only, exception to this general dismissal of Ibn Khaldoun was Al al-Bayt University, under the deanship of Dr Muhammad Adnan Bakhit.

Dr Bakhit, who founded and supervised the curricula and courses himself, integrated Ibn Khaldun’s work as a main reference for students of the Masters Programme.

Entitled "Research Methods of Muslim scientists," Bakhit’s initiative stirred a lot of interest in Ibn Khaldoun, by linking his works to aspects of our contemporary reality.

Unfortunately, this outstanding endeavour was put out after Dr Bakhit left!


Today, as we try to fathom the bewilderedness of social and cultural transformations underway in our society, it would do us well to revisit Ibn Khaldoun’s Introduction, thoroughly.

It provides an in-depth conceptual framework for understanding Arab societies, science, and knowledge, as well as socio-political constructs, modern and inherent.


Quotes from Ibn Khaldun:

-          Injustice omens destruction.

-          Chance and fortune in life usually favour the submissive andtoadyish.

-          Oppression overturns the scales of morality and makes virtues vice, and vices virtue.

-          The decline in the morality among individuals foreshadows the fall of societies.

-          When countries collapse, astrologers, frauds, and opportunists, fill the streets, rumour spreads, debates prolong, and visions are often shortened by confusion.

This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.