Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Ibn-e-Khaldun was a great thinker of the Middle age and Discuss it in the light of his sociological contribution


Biographical Sketch :
Abdur Rehman Ibne Khaldun was a renewed Muslim thinker of the fourteenth century and was born in Tunis on May 27, 1332. He did his teaching and administrative services in Tunis, Spain and Egypt and passed his last days in authorship of books. Hisfamous writing is ‘Almoqaddmah’ that has a high place in sociology and has been translated into more than one dozen languages, Franz Rosenthal, an English translator of the books, has paid homage to Ibne Khuldun in these words :

“The sociological thoughts of Ibne Khuldun, if had not reached West, she would have been living even now in the eighteenth century.” (Rosenthal-Princeton University Press)

He died at the age of 74 years in Qahira (Egypt) in 1406. George Ritzer in his sociological theory. University of Maryland states, “Ibne Khaldun was born in a knowledge-friendly family. In his childhood, he got the education of Quran. Afterwards, he got skill in history and mathematics. He worked with many rulers in his life including the rulers of Tunis, Marakish, Hisspania and Algeria. After two decade’s political activities, he went to (Egypt) where he taught in the University of Al-Azher and produced a valuable compendium of knowledge which became the cause of his fame.”

Sociological Thoughts of Ibne Khuldun

Ibn e Khuldun was the first Muslim thinker who presented sociological thoughts in the human philosophy in an organized manner.
The important sociological theories include ethnocentrism, rise and fall of nations social life and social change.
Jonathon H. Tusner says about Ibne Khuldun’s views as given below:
“By the time he died in 1406, Ibne Khuldun had produced a corpus of work that had many ideas in common With contemporary sociology. He was committed to scientific study of society, impartial research, and the search for causes of social phenomena. He devoted considered attention to various social institutions and their interrelationships. He was interested in comparing primitive and modern societies. His classical work on history and sociology may come to be seen as being of greater signification.”
(Jonathon H. Turner-University of California)

i. Ethnocentrism Theory :
Ibne Khaldun has the most important part of social philosophy as ethnocentrism. He writes starting with his theory, “God has said in the Holy Quran that we told good and bad ways to man and if a man does not take care of his habits and does not rectify these following Deen, he will definitely be entangled in a vice.”
In general conditions, a man feels joy in inflicting cruelty but avoid from cruelty has also been in the human nature. This element or quality is called ethnocentrism that apart“ from individual level, plays an important role on the family and collective life level.
He has defined it as :
“That collective desire of a group or those emotions that keep uniformity in the individual to keep them united and to Work as an effective force for an action, are called ethnocentrism.” Ibne Khaldun says that uniformity and ethnocentrism create a group life in individuals, tribes are formed and a state comes into existence.
Ibne Khaldun says, that “Nature has put this quality in every individual; that first he loves for blood relations, then family and tribe stage by stage and he a thinks the security of their benefit as his own duty. The survival of a society lies in the mutual help of each other’s benefits. They should save their family and themselves from any aggression. This passion is called ethnocentrism. It is a natural passion. Desert people make this quality as their guide to bear the hardships of the course and save each other and at the time of a calamity
stand against it collectively. This passion is at the top in the battlefield. Ibne Khaldun proves that ethnocentrism creates social unity and relations. Apart from national relations, material benefits harmony that gives rise to ethnocentrism so much so that, none of them can see cruelty being inflicted on any one and one
cannot bear this.
IbneKhaldun in his book ‘Kitab-ul-Abrar’ writes that, in a tribe, the family that is powerful in ethnocentrism, rules the state. Overpowering is a condition of ethnocentrism, the state and the rich will side with more power and strength. When individuals of a state abide by this rule, they become able to compete cruelty and aggression in the form of a nation. Ethnocentric nation can neither be ruled nor can be defeated. Ibne Khaldun concludes that the more the ethnocentrism, the more honourable the family will be. People leaving in their tribes or families have less ethnocentrism and they cannot claim the pure ethnocentrism. Ibne Khaldun says that passion of defense, support and right is created due to ethnocentrism. Man, in his physical life obliged to accept a justice or a ruler to remain safe from external aggression and internal cruelty. It is a force
in the collective life. The more ethnocentric, the more the success or conquests. He says further that a ethnocentrism nation conquers a nation, it keeps its pomp and show and takes many steps to over-power the conquered nation but with the passage of time there appears some laziness and lavishness and it lessens the
passion of ethnocentrism with the result the nation having more ethnocentrism conquers over that nation and becomes a ruler.

While discussing this quality, Ibne Khuldun writes that religion is the most effective source of creating ethnocentrism and safeguard and also an invitation to increases this, rather doubles it. Religious ethnocentrism creates a power in individual that is not achievable from any medicine or training. The base of state has two things-religion and ethnocentrism. The more the ethnocentrism in a nation, the more the stability in the society of‘that country. A weak nation is, that has weak ethnocentrism. A nation with more ethnocentric passion but less in member may conquer easily a nation with weak ethnocentrism but more in number; There are many examples of this in history. Small tribes because of strong ethnocentrism got control over big nations. In the beginning of Islam, when religious ethnocentrism was at its zenith, a very small army succeeded in defeating large armies of enemy's nation. Badar war, Qadisia and Yurmuk war are the examples of this.

Ibne Khuldun describes the stages of passion of ethnocentrism:

1. Only ethnocentric people can lead Baudouin life.

2. Ethnocentric is created by racial unity and other near relations.

3. The tribe more powerful in ethnocentrism, owns the state.

4. An ethnocentric nation cannot be ruled over.

5. The zenith of ethnocentrism is state and rule over it.

6. An ethnocentrism nation cannot leave from a kingdom.

7. National ethnocentric helps to gain kingdom.

8. A kingdom with strong roots makes the ethnocentrism careless.

9. An ethnocentric kingdom has complete stability but where there are tribes in abundance with more ethnocentrism the kingdom does not have Stability.

10. Nations with weak ethnocentrism fall a prey to other nations and become extinct.

ii. Rise and Fall of Nations :

Ibne Khuldun explains the rise and fall of nations as follow “The power of a king is based upon ethnocentrism instead of majority of people or sources of training because he can create passion in the individual of a nation and can fight the external aggression for ever, not to even think of making any other effort of aggression. But this passion is promoted in the individuals when the king himself has the same passion and his mind and heart should be full of this passion and there should be such a passion all around him but this passion ensures patriotism and safety of a country. When a king is infused with this passion, he will be able to lead his nation on the same path.”
In the opinion of Ibne Khuldun, ethnocentrism plays the same role in the stability and unity of a nation as physical forces do in human life. The kingdoms have periods just as those of human life. These can be divided in three periods. The first period may be forty years long. Thus total physical periods of a kingdom
have 120 years in all. Just like human life division of children, youth and old age, similarly physical life of a kingdom can be divided into three periods :

a. First Age :
In this period, Government administers run the government in such way as to be beneficial to its-self and to the public also. In this period, theory of ethnocentrism is operative practically since the government of this period comes into power by will ‘of public, therefore, there is will of people to promote collective stability.

b. Second Age :
Ethnocentrism becomes less because the administration of the state and government is as strong as having-no need of efforts on the part of the individuals more and they prefer laziness and comforts and this proves dangerous for them in the long run.

c. Third Age :
Destruction surrounds the nation because just old age weakens the physical organs of the body just as laziness and lavish living make a nation or government lazy. Sometimes one or at another time another part of society becomes troublesome. Nobody cares for national honour and there is no passion of construction, labour and work. In other words, ethnocentrism loses force. Ibne Khuldun says that this natural fact when ethnocentrism of a nation becomes weak, then another nation with strong ethnocentrism overpowers it and absorbs it into itself or devours it. Thus the end of third age of a nation is the beginning of first period of another nation.
            After that Ibne Khuldun has described five periods after these three ages:
First Period : 
In. this period, rulers are very hard-working. Public cooperates with government. Force and intensity of passions make the nation get victory everywhere and the government awe is over other neighboring governments.

Second Period :
In this period, ruler is authoritarian. Everyone is not allowed to interfere or to present opinion and personal rule starts. Being independent and a monarch he can use national treasury wrongly and has his own will in legislative with matters.

Third Period :
In this period, the ruler tries his best to keep his authority. In this regard, grand buildings and unprecedented rewards are included. He adopts specific policies to make the elite happy, keeping aside all collective benefits.

Fourth Period :
In this period, a ruler busies himself in merrymaking pursuits. He is not concerned with the continuity of the authority. His main effort is not to pass anytime without merrymaking and lavish-living.

Fifth Period :
This is downfall period. T he ruler is so much absorbed in lavish pursuits and not to care for other departments activities and their payment for the services. The result is that due to maladministration and weak defense, public becomes economically worse and their relations 'become straitened with. the government with no mutual regard. The end of this situation appears in the form of external power possession and sometimes internal rebellion of the people.

iii. Social Life :
According to Ibne Khaldun, man is a social insect who cannot live without the cooperation of others and he has to seek for help to meet his needs. In other words, man is a social animal and society is necessary thing. Ibne Khaldun. while throwing light on the geographical division of the world has written that world consists of seven regions and every region’s people have different characteristics because there is a difference of climate and weather.
He has divided society into two classes.
i. Bedouins society
ii. Sedentary society

i. Bedouins’ Social Life :
Arab is a desert, therefore, " many tribes adopt Bedouins life with the following characteristics:

l. A few people of bedouins adopt agricultural activities of ordinary type, including vegetables and grain whereas most of the individuals adopt animal husbandry including sheep, goats, breeding, bee-keeping because they cannot leave the desert.

2. They cooperate with'each other. They do not have much desire of food, residence and dress and also do not allow conditions in addition to this. Their food is raw and little prepared. Their residence consists of caves, covers, tents of hair and wool or earth houses or stone houses. Their dress is made by hair, wool or tan to cover body and to save from heat and cold. There is no element of embellishment.

3. Bedouin’s life is the first stage of sedentary life and is desirous of sedentary life which is full of struggle and additional resources are attempted to attain like wool, tan, meat and milk from animals.

4. It is near to nature life and has social good. Customs are included as a habit of goodness and aim is to save from evil acts. They are free from ugly and blame worthy customs and their‘hearts are full of love of God.

5. There is an element of bravery in Bedouin’s life because they live apart and they have to make themselves safe. They have no surrounding walls and doors of their houses. They have to believe in themselves. Their
forbearance produces courage and bravery in them. It is their mutual ability because this is the relation from which pure language, culture and deep social relations are promoted.

ii. Sedentary Social Life :
According to Ibne Khuldun, it has the following characteristics:

i. Necessities of life are available easily because in this type of people are living in villages and towns. Some people adopt handicraft and some make business as their profession.

ii. People are inclined to make their social condition better by getting more and more wealth and facilities. They use more dress and food and feel pride in it, make big houses, minars, cook delicious foods and have comfortable beds and their aim is to earn more and live more comfortably.

iii. This stage is after Bedouins life. Sedentary people try for luxury and comforts. BedouinS’ life size is small but that of sedentary is big. Bedouins desire for sedentary life but sedentary people cannot live in deserts without proper facilities of life.

iv. Sedentary people are much concerned with all kinds of pleasures. They have blameworthy customs and use improper. language in groups. There is no restriction on bad customs because when sedentary life reaches its last stage of civilization, it loses goodness and it is a beginning of its end.

v. Sedentary people are accustomed to easiness and have lavish life style. Government defends them and their properties. There is no disturbance in their houses. Depending upon others, cowardice and cunningness becomes part of their nature. The enforcement of law decreases the natural bravery also.

vi. Blood and other relations become mixed here. Government and other organizations are responsible for their safety and are defended by state army from external attacks. Blood relations and ethnocentrism become less. Instead of establishing relations, rest and lavishness is preferred. 


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