Who is Ibn Khaldun?June 25, 2021
Ibn Khaldun, full name Abu Zayd Abdurrahman bin Mohammed bin Khaldun al-Hadrami (Arabic: أبو زيد عبد الرحمن بن محمد بن خلدون الحضرمي) (b. 1332 Tunisia d. 17 March 1406 Cairo) (Historic 732/808) , 14th century thinker, statesman and historian, considered one of the pioneers of sociology and economics.
Coming from a well-established family, he received a good education. After holding government posts in Tunisia and Morocco, he worked in Granada and Egypt. The political life of North Africa, which was unstable and full of intrigue at that time, caused him to spend 2 years in prison.
He became a sought after statesman and advisor because he knew the Bedouin tribes very well. He served as a Maliki judge in Egypt 6 times. His meeting with the Mongol emperor Timur, who occupied Damascus, went down in history as an interesting meeting of a conqueror and a scholar.
He wrote the 7-volume world history Kitâbu’l-İber, which made his name in history when he retired from political life, and the Mukaddime, which he considered as his introductory book. Although his work did not make an impact in the Arab world, it deeply affected the Ottoman understanding of history. Ottoman historians, especially Katip Çelebi, Naima and Ahmet Cevdet Pasha, analyzed the rise and fall of the Ottoman state with his theories many times. It was rediscovered in the Arab world only when Arab nationalism began to develop.
From the 19th century onwards, it was discovered by European historians and its works were highly appreciated. So much so that Toynbee said of him after centuries: “He is the owner of the greatest philosophy of history ever created by any mind, in any country.”
Abu Zayd in his tag comes from his eldest son Zayd. He is also known by nicknames such as Veli al-Din because he was the head of Maliki in Egypt, Hadrami because his family was from Hadramut province in Yemen, Tunisian because he was born in Tunisia, Maliki to be distinguished from the kadis of other sects, and Moorish because he spent most of his life in the Maghreb. has been mentioned. Ibn Khaldun’s life is well documented. The most important source is his autobiography, Et-Tarif. In this work, various documents related to his life are given in detail. However, his autobiography contains little about his private life and family background. He is from a family known as Beni Khaldun, who lived in Andalusia, and was born in Tunisia in 1332 (732 AH).
His family, who held important state positions in Andalusia, was the king of Castile III of Andalusia in the mid-13th century. He emigrated to Tunisia after his capture by Ferdinand. His family held official services with the Hafsi dynasty in Tunisia. On the other hand, Ibn Khaldun’s father and grandfather had withdrawn from political life and devoted themselves to a mystical life. His brother Yahya Ibn Khaldun was also a historian and wrote a book on the Abdulvadi dynasty and was assassinated by a rival who wanted to become the official historian of the palace.
In his biography, Ibn Khaldun mentions that his origin goes back to Hadramout from the Yemeni Arab tribes of the time of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and that his family came to Spain at the beginning of the Islamic conquest. Vail bin Hacer, whose origin is based on, was a Companion who visited Muhammad, received his blessing and narrated 70 hadiths from him. Ibn Khaldun’s family, 8th century. He migrated from Yemen to Andalusia at the end of the year and migrated to Tunisia after the capture of Andalusia by the Spanish King Ferdinand in the 12th century. The origin of the Haldun family name comes from their predecessor Osman bin Halid. The name Khalid was transformed into Khaldun by adding vav and nun, as required by the custom of the Yemeni people. The Ben-i Haldun family has lived for several generations in the Carmona and Seville regions of Andalusia.
Ibn Khaldun, in his autobiography, “and our ancestors are descended from the Yemeni Arab of Hadramut, Vail bin Hacer, one of the most well-known and respected Arabs”. says. On the other hand, biographer Muhammed Abdullah Enan questions this claim and argues that Ibn Khaldun’s family may have belonged to Muladis who claimed to be from Arab tribes in order to gain social status at that time. Enan also documents in detail that some Berber groups also made a deceptive and exaggerated effort to base themselves on an Arab ancestry. He states that the underlying reason for this effort is the desire to gain political and social influence. According to another view, Ibn Khaldun is descended from the same Berber ancestors as the native majority in his birthplace. According to this view, his admiration and respect for the Berber tribes did not fit well with the traditional view of his time.
In addition, his use of sarcastic expressions in his comparisons with the Arabs and the place he reserved for the Berbers in his works, and his indifference to the events and states outside the Maghreb, led to the production of assumptions that he might be a Berber. Mohammed Hozien opposes this idea: “Ibn Khaldun’s family may have been Berber, however, if their ancestors had left Andalusia and came to Tunisia at the time, they would not need to claim that their ancestors were Arabs.