The definitive account of the life and thought of the medieval Arab genius who wrote the Muqaddima Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406) is generally regarded as the greatest intellectual ever to have appeared in the Arab world--a genius who ranks as one of the world's great minds. Yet the author of the Muqaddima, the most important study of history ever produced in the Islamic world, is not as well known as he should be, and his ideas are widely misunderstood. In this groundbreaking intellectual biography, Robert Irwin provides an engaging and authoritative account of Ibn Khaldun's extraordinary life, times, writings, and ideas. Irwin tells how Ibn Khaldun, who lived in a world decimated by the Black Death, held a long series of posts in the tumultuous Islamic courts of North Africa and Muslim Spain, becoming a major political player as well as a teacher and writer. Closely examining the Muqaddima, a startlingly original analysis of the laws of history, and drawing on many other contemporary sources, Irwin shows how Ibn Khaldun's life and thought fit into historical and intellectual context, including medieval Islamic theology, philosophy, politics, literature, economics, law, and tribal life. Because Ibn Khaldun's ideas often seem to anticipate by centuries developments in many fields, he has often been depicted as more of a modern man than a medieval one, and Irwin's account of such misreadings provides new insights about the history of Orientalism. In contrast, Irwin presents an Ibn Khaldun who was a creature of his time—a devout Sufi mystic who was obsessed with the occult and futurology and who lived in an often-strange world quite different from our own.
The Muqaddimah, often translated as "Introduction" or "Prolegomenon," is the most important Islamic history of the premodern world. Written by the great fourteenth-century Arab scholar Ibn Khaldûn (d. 1406), this monumental work laid down the foundations of several fields of knowledge, including philosophy of history, sociology, ethnography, and economics. The first complete English translation, by the eminent Islamicist and interpreter of Arabic literature Franz Rosenthal, was published in three volumes in 1958 as part of the Bollingen Series and received immediate acclaim in America and abroad. A one-volume abridged version of Rosenthal's masterful translation was first published in 1969. This new edition of the abridged version, with the addition of a key section of Rosenthal's own introduction to the three-volume edition, and with a new introduction by Bruce B. Lawrence, will reintroduce this seminal work to twenty-first-century students and scholars of Islam and of medieval and ancient history.
Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406) is one of the most influential and important Muslim thinkers in history. Ibn Khaldun has inspired at least as much interest among modern scholars as his immediate contemporaries. Legions of sociologists, anthropologists and historians have studied his philosophy of history, treating the Muqaddimah as a timeless piece of philosophy. Most studies of Ibn Khaldun ignore the fascinating story his own life and times. Rejecting portrayals of Ibn Khaldun as a modern mind lost in medieval obscurity, Ibn Khaldun: Life and Times - newly available in paperback - demonstrates how Ibn Khaldun's ideas were shaped by his historical context and personal motivations. Relying on original Arabic sources, most importantly Ibn Khaldun's unique autobiography, this is the first complete, scholarly biography of Ibn Khaldun in English. While previous studies dismissed Ibn Khaldun's autobiography as lacking in psychological depth, Ibn Khaldun: Life and Times challenges this view. Demonstrating the rich and complex nature of Ibn Khaldun's memoirs, Ibn Khaldun: Life and Times not only tells the life story of Ibn Khaldun in an accessible way, it also introduces readers to the fourteenth-century Mediterranean world. Seen in the context of a politically tumultuous and religiously contentious fourteenth century Mediterranean, Ibn Khaldun's ideas about tribalism, identity, religion and history are even more relevant to pressing, modern concerns.
This work deals with the history of North Africa in the Middle Ages. It examines the formation of a society increasingly influenced by Arabic, as well as Islamic, culture after the Arab conquests of the 7th and early 8th centuries which gradually brought the Roman Christian civilisation of the region to an end.
This is an analytical examination of Ibn Khaldun's epistemology, centred on Chapter Six of the Muqaddima. In this chapter, entitled The Book of Knowledge (Kitab al'Ilm), Ibn Khaldun sketched his general ideas about knowledge and science and its relationship with human social organisation and the establishment of a civilisation.