Title of Thesis
Ibn Khaldon’s Philosophy of History (A
Comparative and Analytical Study)
ul Hassan Khan
Department of Philosophy / University of the
|Number of Pages|
|Keywords (Extracted from title, table of contents and
abstract of thesis)|
Ibn Khaldon’s, Philosophy, History,
Comparative, Analytical, Study, learning, books, historiography
The thesis is divided in six chapters.
Chapter I shows that Ibn Khaldun is unique from general line of historians. Upto
14th century, the subject of history passed through various stages and it was 14th century when history became a science. Many historians of 14th and 15th century discussed 'history' as an independent science, however, credit goes to Ibn Khaldun who laid down the principles of scientific historiography and of the evolution of civilization.
Chapter 2 deals with the intellectual development of Ibn Khaldun. It is an established fact that Ibn Khaldun's own personal experience and his observations are basic and major source of his philosophy of history. The rationality in his philosophy comes from his practical life. That is why he prefers 'practical application' upon 'learning from books.' Other sources includes religious books and secular studies.
Chapter 3 discusses the principles of historiography. It is proved that the first principle of historiography is to confirm 'the information' from general condition of the period under discussion This is the major factor that makes history a science otherwise it is just a repetition of events. The information must be relevant to the topic under writing and the historian must be careful in history writing, as fame and renown depends upon him. The foundation of history is human civilization.
Chapter 4 inquires into the development of civilization. Ibn Khaldun supports the idea of the evolution of man that resembles with the ideas presented by Charles Darwin To him, both Bedouins and Sedentary people are natural groups. Each of them have particular qualities. However, Bedouins are superior to sedentary in moral values. All the sedentary groups are product of Bedouin civilization and its groups.
Reversion towards bedouinism means to adopt simple way of life and to part off from luxuries In this sense, all the modern nations, that are less-developed arc Bedouin. The most active force in the history is 'Asabiyah' i.e. 'group feeling'. It is a psychological factor that unites a group and leads it towards a goal that is royal authority After achieving royal authority, the conditions change and group feeling ceases to exist in ruling group. The group weakens and is replaced by some other powerful group having group feeling. Same is tile case of civilization. The sciences and crafts are the product of the civilization that depends upon the increasement in population. When a group conquers a civilization it is affected by its sedentary germs and soon it becomes sedentary. When some civilization comes into contacts or elastics with some other civilization, a new civilization is bom out that is the synthesis of two civilizations. No civilization perish completely but the new civilization adopts the components of the old one. A great empire divides into regional states and at a good time, these regional states are again unified in a central power. The urban civilization is the peak of development but it differs into its size and qualities that correspond to population. Ibn Khaldun rejects the ideas of 'ideal state' and 'racial superiority.' To him, class-system is natural.
Chapter 5 gives us a chance to compare Ibn Khaldun with five western philosophers. Like Marx, Ibn Khaldun seems more rational than remaining four i.e. Machievelli, Vico, Voltaire and Toynbee.
Chapter 6 is an attempt to apply some of Ibn Khaldun's ideas on contemporary world issues. The most important is fundamentalism Suprisingly, Ibn Khaldun's theory comes true of all modern fundamentalist movements. The end of all such movements is, according to Ibn Khaldun, 'failure'. The next point of discussion is 'terrorism' which never exists. To whom we call terrorism is no more than group fighting. Sex free society, especially, homosexuality causes destruction of human beings and it may be disastrous to West. Dictatorship makes the subjects cowardice and discourages creative activities. Some other contemporary world issues are also discussed in this chapter briefly. The thesis shows that a large part of Ibn Khaldun's ideas is applicable in all times.