His original intention, which he subsequently achieved, was to write a universal history of the Arabs and Berbers, but before doing so he judged it necessary to discuss historical method , with the aim of providing the criteria necessary for distinguishing historical truth from error. As a theorist on history he had no equal in any age or country until Vico appeared, more than three hundred years later. Plato , Aristotle and Augustine were not his peers. This science. The work is studded with brilliant observations on historiography , economics , politics, and education.
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His original intention, which he subsequently achieved, was to write a universal history of the Arabs and Berbers, but before doing so he judged it necessary to discuss historical method , with the aim of providing the criteria necessary for distinguishing historical truth from error. As a theorist on history he had no equal in any age or country until Vico appeared, more than three hundred years later. Plato , Aristotle and Augustine were not his peers.
This science. The work is studded with brilliant observations on historiography , economics , politics, and education. Muhsin Mahdi, a contemporary Iraqi-American scholar, has shown how much his approach and fundamental concepts owe to classical Islamic theology and philosophy, especially Averroism.
And, of course, he drew liberally on the historical information accumulated by his predecessors and was doubtless influenced by their judgments. But nothing in these sources or, indeed, in any known Greek or Latin author can explain his deep insight into social phenomena, his firm grasp of the links binding the innumerable and apparently unrelated events that constitute the process of historical and social change.
One last point should be made regarding his basic philosophy of history. Such a task, however, required frequent reference to other books and archives; this, together perhaps with nostalgia for the more active world of politics, drew him back to city life. But once more he aroused both the jealousy of a prominent scholar and the suspicion of the ruler, and in , at age 50, he received permission to sail to Egypt , ostensibly for the purpose of performing the pilgrimage to Mecca.
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The Muqaddimah: Ibn Khaldūn’s philosophy of history
He also wrote a definitive history of Muslim North Africa. The family subsequently moved to Sevilla Seville , played an important part in the civil wars of the 9th century, and was long reckoned among the three leading houses of that city. There the refugees from Spain were of a much higher level of socio-economic status than the local North Africans, and the family was soon called to occupy the leading administrative posts in Tunis. He was outstanding in his knowledge of Arabic and had an understanding of poetry in its different forms and I can well remember how the men of letters sought his opinion in matters of dispute and submitted their works to him. In , however, the Black Death struck Tunis and took away both his father and his mother. By then he was married. After two years of service, however, he was suspected of participation in a rebellion and was imprisoned.
Some modern thinkers view it as the first work dealing with the social sciences of sociology ,    demography ,  and cultural history. Ibn Khaldun starts the Muqaddimah with a thorough criticism of the mistakes regularly committed by his fellow historians and the difficulties which await the historian in his work. He notes seven critical issues:. Against the seventh point the ignorance of social laws Ibn Khaldun lays out his theory of human society in the Muqaddimah. Sati' al-Husri suggested that Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimah is essentially a sociological work, sketching over its six books a general sociology ; a sociology of politics ; a sociology of urban life ; a sociology of economics ; and a sociology of knowledge. Ibn Khaldun often criticized "idle superstition and uncritical acceptance of historical data".
The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History
His family, which held many high offices in Andalusia , had emigrated to Tunisia after the fall of Seville to the Reconquista in AD Under the Tunisian Hafsid dynasty , some of his family held political office; his father and grandfather, however, withdrew from political life and joined a mystical order. His brother, Yahya Khaldun, was also a historian who wrote a book on the Abdalwadid dynasty and was assassinated by a rival for being the official historiographer of the court. In his autobiography, Khaldun traces his descent back to the time of Muhammad through an Arab tribe from Yemen , specifically the Hadhramaut , which came to the Iberian Peninsula in the 8th century, at the beginning of the Islamic conquest: "And our ancestry is from Hadhramaut, from the Arabs of Yemen, via Wa'il ibn Hujr also known as Hujr ibn 'Adi , from the best of the Arabs, well-known and respected. However, the modern biographer Mohammad Enan questions Ibn Khaldun own words and autobiography, and claims that his family may have been Muladis who pretended to be of Arab origin to gain social status, even though it is well documented that Ibn Khaldun ancestors came from Yemen and then to Andalusia. Some speculate that of the Khaldun family and elaborate that Ibn Khaldun himself was the product of the same Berber ancestry, eventhough he never mentioned any connections to the Berbers. A point supporting that posits that his unusual focus on and admiration of Maharlika Muslim Berbers reveals a deference towards them that is born of a vested interest in preserving them in the realm of conscious history.