Thursday, August 17, 2017

Are we allowed to rejoice at the death of evil people?

Every so often the Muslim ummah witnesses the death of tyrants and people of evil. Whether the death of Gaddafi a few years ago, or the recent death of Islam Karimov, the butcher of Uzbekistan, or the death of a number of soldiers of invading or oppressive forces in the Muslim lands, these pieces of news often bring relief and joy, especially to those who have experienced directly their evil and oppression. Some Muslims, however, ask “is this allowed?” or “should we really celebrate the death of anyone”? This brief piece looks at some interesting historical, scholarly and jurisprudential points on this issue, clarifying that not only is this permissible, but that many learned people made a point of thanking Allah and being joyful at the progenitors of evil.

It is a given that the death of sincere Muslims, martyrs, scholars and callers to Islām (Du’aat) is a cause for sadness and loss. This is recognised in the Prophetic (ﷺ) tradition and in Qur’anic verses, though Islam encourages us not to “grieve” or prolong sadness by being cognisant of the Divine Decree of Allah and the ultimate purpose of life.
On the other hand are the deaths of people who are engaged in or encourage evil. Some people think – given the seriousness of death and the gravity of the punishment of the grave and of hellfire – that rejoicing at even the death of oppressors and evil people is problematic given the magnitude of what potentially awaits them. They contend that “Allah will take care of them; why should we rejoice?” At times, people conflate multiple issues and argue that to be joyous at the death of such people implies that we know about their final destination (hell or heaven) whereas this is a matter that is purely in Allah’s knowledge.
This conflation is misplaced and leads to problematic conclusions which run contrary to how many scholars and the early Muslims treated the death of the agents of evil.
It may indeed be impermissible for us to definitively assert the final abode of any one – save for those regarding whom there is textual evidence (those who die upon kufr without having attested imaan, for instance) – but this does not mean we cannot rejoice at what is apparent of the end of their evil. One can (and should) affirm that the final judgement is for Allah while being relieved and happy at Allah’s removal of the evil of their ideas, deeds and person.
It was in this vein that early Muslims would feel relief and happiness, to the point of celebrating and offering shukr, at the death of such people. We mention below some interesting examples and anecdotes in this regard.
A saying from the Prophet ﷺ
Abu Qatāda b. Rib’i reported that the Messenger ﷺ said (as recorded in both Muslim and Bukhari):
…(the death of) a wicked person relieves the people, the land, the trees, (and) the animals from him.
How could it be conceivable that this is not a cause for joy, giving of shukrand even celebration?
It is in light of this narration, and the more general understanding Islam gives us about the people of evil, that the companions and those who came after them would give shukr at the passing of the oppressive and transgressors.
Incidents from the great Companions’ lives
Sa’id Ibn Mansur reported in his Sunan that Abu Bakr (رضي الله عنه) prostrated out of joy and thankfulness when he heard the news that Musaylimah the Imposter had been killed.
Imam Ahmed records in his Musnad that ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (رضي الله عنه) prostrated when he found out that Dhu’l Thadiyah, one of the prominent figures among the Khawarij, had been killed.
The death of tyrants is a cause for giving shukr to Allah 
While the prostration of shukr (thankfulness) (as opposed to the 2 raka’at of shukr) is not agreed upon between the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, the writings in reference to either the prostration or the 2 raka’at for gratitude are instructive. The famous Shafi’i fiqh manual Umdaatul Salik (Reliance of the Traveler) states:
Whenever a manifest blessing appears in one’s life, such as the birth of a child, wealth, or prestige, it is recommended to prostrate out of thanks to Allah. Likewise when an affliction is averted such as being saved from drowning, regaining health, or the reappearance of someone lost or the death of a tyrant, or when one sees someone Allah has afflicted with disobedience or illness, although in the latter case one should prostrate in private so as not to sadden the person.”
There is probably no lesser form of expression of one’s relief and happiness than prostrating out of thanks to the Creator. The expression of happiness verbally is surely of a lesser form of expression, and one that was frequently engaged in by the pious and scholars, as we turn to now.
The Shafi’i Fiqh Manual “The Reliance of the Traveler”

Scholars’ responses to the death of oppressive Muslims (tyrants and others)
While the discussion on this issue in our community usually happens in reference to the death of non-Muslims or outright tyrants, it is interesting to consider reported incidents even in regards to Muslims who were oppressive. That is, they were believers while engaging in evil.
One of the teachers of Imam Abu Hanifah, Hammād ibn Sulayman, is reported to have said in Imam Al Dhahabi’s Siyar a’lam al Nubalaa’ (The Lives of Noble People) (4/542) and by Ibn Sa’d in his Tabaqat (6/280):
I delivered the good news to Ibrāhīm Al-Nakha’i (the well known scholar and tabi’i who met many companions of the Prophet ﷺ including Anas ibn Malik and A’ishah) surrounding the death of al Hajjaj  ibn Yusuf (the Umayyad general who killed ʿAbdullāh b. Az Zubair), who then prostrated in thanks to Allāh, weeping out of joy.”
Hammād ibn Sulayman is also reported to have said:
When Tawus Ibn Kaysan (another prominent tabi’i who is said to have met dozens of companions) became sure of al Hajjaj’s death, he recited the verse: “so the roots of the people who did wrong were cut off. And all the praises and thanks be to Allāh, the Lord of all that exists” [Al-Qur’ān, 6:45].
Al Ḥasan al Basri (one of the most prominent tabi’een) further fell into thankful prostration whilst hiding, as did ʿUmar b. ʿAbd al ʿAzīz, the “5th rightly guided Caliph“.
How scholars and the pious responded to death of innovators
Bishr Ibn al-Harith was a student of the famous tabi’i and ascetic Fudayl ibn Iyad. When Bishr al Muraysi (d. 218AH) – a famous follower of the Mu’tazilī doctrine and a strong supporter of its heretical teachings – passed away, Bishr (who was in the markets at the time) exclaimed joyfully:
were it not to draw attention it would be an occasion of gratitude and prostration (to Allāh). All praise is due to Allāh, the One who caused him to die!
This incident is reported in both Tareekh Baghdad (7/66) and Lisaan al Mizaab (2/308).
In Al Sunnah of Al Khalal it is recorded that Imām Aḥmad ibn Hanbal was once asked:
If one feels happy at what is happening (of calamity and death) to the friends of Ibn Abī Du’ād (an ardent Mu’tazili), is this feeling sinful?
Imam Ahmed replied:
And who does not rejoice at this?!
SubhanAllah! One of the foremost figures of Islamic scholarship and history replied that to not rejoice at the calamity and death experienced by people of innovation was odd.
In Imam Al Dhahabi’s Siyar a’lam al Nubalaa’, it is also reported that Salamah b. Shabīb said:
I was with Imam ‘Abdul Razzaq when we received the news that ʿAbdul Majīd (a divisive innovator from the Murji’i sect and the son of Abū ‘Azīz b. Abī Ruwād, the leader from the Murji’ah) had died so the Imam said: “all praise is due to Allāh that he had relieved the Ummah of Muḥammad from ‘Abdul Majīd!”
In the famous Shafi’i scholar Imam Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani’s Lisaan al Mizaab it states that when the news of the demise of Wahb al Qurashy – a misguided individual who would misguide others – came to Abdulraḥmān ibn Mahdy, he said:
All praise is due to Allāh for having rid the Muslims from him.
In ‘Al Bidayah wal Nihaya’, Imam Ibn Kathīr comments regarding one of the head innovators after his death:
Allāh relieved the Muslims from him, in this year during the month of Dhul Hijjah. He was buried in his own home, then transferred to the burial ground of Quraish, so to Allāh belongs praise. When he died, all of Ahlul Sunnah rejoiced, every single one of them showed their gratitude to Allāh!
It is worth pondering over the fact that these were people of innovation, not kufr. They were neither disbelievers, nor tyrants who oppressed people by hand or authority. Rather, they were those who spread false teaching.
What does that tell us about those who disbelieve and oppress Muslims (the armies, heads and other figures from among the ranks of the kuffar today), or the nominally “Muslim” rulers today who are such ardent agents of evil?

Is the “Science” of Sociology Really Universal?

Sociology’s claim to objective scientific inquiry was once assumed to be a given. In more recent times, it has come to be thoroughly questioned even within academia itself. With reference to the writing of Sheikh Taqiuddin Nabhani, br Shafiul Haq explores this turn in the questioning of sociology’s universal applicability.

In his book “The Islamic State”, Shaykh Taqiuddin An Nabhani discusses the problem of:
“lending culturally based subjects, such as sociology… unnecessary respect and erroneously classifying them as universal sciences.”
He mentions the error of letting these disciplines affect our reading of the primary Islamic texts, whereas we should be referring to the Islamic sciences to gain a sound understanding of the religion.
So, Shaykh Nabhani  problematises sociology’s claim to being a scientific discipline of universal applicability. He rather describes it as a cultural discipline. By ‘cultural’ what is meant is that sociology, far from being objective, is actually a discipline that emerges from a specific worldview.
While Shaykh Nabhani was writing at a time when sociology as a discipline was perhaps widely believed to be of a scientific nature, in recent times (especially since the ‘linguistic turn’ in the humanities and social sciences), sociology’s claim to objective scientific inquiry has come to be thoroughly questioned even within academia itself. Certain theories that used to enjoy great popularity have now either been thoroughly revised or completely discarded.
In order to understand the ‘cultural’ nature of sociology we need to appreciate that just as the natural sciences grew out of the intellectual developments of the Enlightenment period, so did the search for a true “science of man”. According to Professor Kenneth Allan (University of North Carolina):
“While conceiving of the physical world as subject to natural laws rather than God’s direction was significant, the idea that human beings are best understood through science rather than religion was earth shattering.”
The aspiration to arrive at a truly scientific understanding of humankind was, according to Allan, based on a belief in “the reasoning individual, a clear object of study, and a specific epistemological method”. We will briefly look at each of these assumptions below.
The reasoning individual
“Modernism” (the culture of the modern world) is based on a belief in the capacity of the individual to reason and self-development. Modernism’s view of rationality and human perfectibility is constructed in opposition to tradition. While traditional knowledge is embedded in long periods of time and resists change, modern knowledge is based on a belief in progress. In fact, the progressive ideal is one of the most central tenets of modernism, which Charles Lemert (Wesleyan University) expresses in these words:
“From the vantage of the most modern of men it seemed that each progressive move across the seas, into the jungles and mountains, across the plains made the world as we know it and, in the process, confirmed the most moral fact of all: that the reality of things is that things can and will get better.”
Therefore, instead of God, revelation or tradition, modernism puts the rational individual at the centre of social and political thinking. The individual is believed to be able to make the world a better place by scientifically studying the natural and social worlds and reorganising them through the use of reason. As Allan says:
“The idea of progress, on the other hand, brings to the centre human agency and human-defined goals. Generally speaking, these goals are orientated toward explaining, predicting and controlling our environments, specifically nature and society.”
A clear object of study
Given modernism believes both the natural and social worlds can be scientifically studied and controlled, the underlying assumption here is that these worlds have an objective reality that operate according to some invariable laws. While the physical universe as an object of study of the natural sciences is less controversial, the social world as an independent object of study of the social sciences with unchanging laws is a bit more questionable.
Is society really like the natural world? Does it really operate based on invariant laws that can be discovered through scientific enquiry?
Sociological findings are often not conclusive and their “meta-narratives” hardly represent any unchanging or underlying laws that can explain social phenomena.
Therefore, Shaykh Nabhani says that these findings are merely based on “observations and inferences” and are thus “always doubtful with some considerable margin of error.”
A specific epistemological method
Modernism’s epistemological method is positivism, or the scientific method. Allan provides a concise, yet effective, explanation of positivism as below:
“The most important tenet of this method is that the universe is empirical. Something is empirical if it is based on direct sense experience or observation. In its time, this assumption was radically critical and formulated in opposition to religion. Religion assumes that the true reality of the universe is spiritual. The physical world is perceived as temporary or illusionary, something that will fade away and has no real substance. Positivism assumes just the opposite: The only reality that we can know with any certainty is physical, and knowledge about that universe is acquired through observation.”
Furthermore, as mentioned previously, positivism assumes both the universe and our social worlds to be operating on the basis of invariable natural laws. Citing Auguste Comte, who is considered to be the founder of sociology, Allan writes:
“The purpose of the positive method is to discover these laws and use them to improve the human condition… Comte saw society… ‘as subjected to invariable natural laws’, and sociology’s purpose as improving the social world in which we live: ‘The positive philosophy offers the only solid basis for… social reorganisation.'”
As discussed above, a belief in the rational individual, society as an objective area of enquiry and the scientific method have been the bedrock of sociological theory until recently. However, these premises have been so thoroughly challenged of late that it is now valid to question if recent developments in the humanities and social sciences such as post-modernism spell an end to sociology as it was long known, i.e. as a scientific discipline.
The discussion in the book “The Islamic State” is brief and it was brought up only to highlight how some of these disciplines are given more credibility than they deserve – to the point that some of us start reinterpreting our religion based on the underlying assumptions of these disciplines. The point is not that these disciplines are completely useless. Perhaps they ask valid questions and raise important points. But it is important not to lose sight of their cultural specificity, for if this is not taken into consideration the risk is that their views and ideas are erroneously universalised.

Shafiul Huq is a Melbourne-based activist and member of Hizb ut-Tahrir. He is also a student of Classical Arabic and Cultural Studies.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Rise and Fall of Civilisations: Ibn Khaldun’s Historiography

Ibn Khaldun is one of the most well-known historians of Muslim heritage who propounded a new historiographical method whereby he analysed the factors contributing to the rise and fall of civilisations: the immutable cycle which governs the lifespan and nature of an empire or polity. This article is a brief but interesting introduction into his work.

Ibn Khaldun is best known for his formulation of the notion of ‘Asabiyyah, broadly translated as “group-feeling/solidarity” which is the fundamental building block which provides strength to the successful origins and development of a fledgling empire or polity. His broad interactions with a range of peoples from multiple continents contributed to his theory and model of human social organisation. His Islamic learning and scholarship also contributed to his view of history’s divine coordination by Allah.
2‘Abdur-Rahman Ibn Khaldun is considered as one of the greatest thinkers in the annals of human history. He lived in the middle-late fourteenth century and is known as the father of the disciplines of history and sociology, also making an indelible imprint in the fields of philosophy and economy.[1] He crafted an independent theory of history – an amalgam of history proper and culture, whereby he probed the “origins, rise, decline and fall of civilisations”[2] and took into consideration the complex intersection of social, economic, environmental political and moral factors in the development of civilisations.[3][4] His ideas were a product of his extensive experience in observing matters of statecraft, the scholarly Islamic education he received and various peoples he encountered across the expanse of the existing Islamic dynasties. He has influenced a broad spectrum of historians and intellectuals, from the historians of the Ottoman Empire to the Orientalists of the nineteenth century who brought his works to prominence in Europe and the West. His ideas continue to hold prominence today, having an impact on a number of modern theories and intellectual currents.

The Social & Cultural Background of Ibn Khaldun
Ibn Khaldun was born of an Arab Hadrami family and his intellect found the environment to flourish through constant interaction and exposure to elite scholarly circles. His ancestors migrated to Iberia with the Ummayads and then moved to North Africa in the twelfth century. He was educated in the traditional Islamic sciences including the Qur’an, the Hadith, jurisprudence, Arabic poetry and grammar. Through his learning he was qualified for judgeship, counsellorships and received the patronage of rulers wherever he travelled.[5] He was often in the midst of political turmoil and controversy and the warring dynastic struggles of the North African states. He was put in prison at one point for alleged subversive activities, then freed and raised desert armies in support of another ruler.[6] This extensive practical experience in partaking in and observing the affairs of statecraft and engaging with people of a variety of backgrounds, both sedentary, elite and nomadic, no doubt helped shape Ibn Khaldun’s philosophy of dynasty and civilisation.
Map of the Muslim World around 1400, a few years before Ibn Khaldun’s death.
His epistemology was shaped distinctly by Islam, evidenced throughout his works. He combines both what in Muslim terminology is the ‘Aql-Naql mind’ – revealed knowledge with human reasoning to explain the phenomenon of human social organisation.[7] This is discerned through his frequent mention of Allah being the ultimate source and cause of all events and cyclical behaviour of civilisations he describes:
“This is how God formerly proceeded with His servants. And verily you will not be able to change God’s way”[8], “God inherits the earth and whoever is upon it”[9].    
Islam, to him, was the historical articulation of a divine plan that was rational. The shortcomings and disintegration of Muslim dynasts, such as the late Umayyads and Abbasids, was not due to the deficiencies of Islam,[10] but rather the proponents and rulers of the dynasties who fell into the cycle of luxury and complacency, failing to live by proper Islamic principles. The Islamic Weltanschauung of Ibn Khaldun is thus evident through his explanation of the fall of civilisations. He makes the point repeatedly that it is due to mankind’s infractions towards the Shar’iah – through the sins of pride, luxury, ostentation and oppression – that he is led to downfall in the earthly kingdom.[11]

Methodological Approaches, Subject Matter and the Purposes and Objectives of Ibn Khaldun’s Works
Ibn Khaldun completely reconceptualised the art of presenting history by introducing a new historiographical method. He crafted an independent theory of history, where he reviewed historical experience on a universal scale and presented a general set of laws governing the evolution of civilisations.[12] He was critical of previous and contemporary Muslim historians and their method of presenting history and therefore established his new “science of civilisation” – ‘Ilm al-‘Umran.[13] His magnus opus the “Muqaddimah” translated as the “Prolegomena to History” in English is the introduction to his “Kitab al-Ibar”, his history of the world which was a history of the Berbers and a general covering of human history including the Arabs, Nabataeans, Syrians, Persians, Israelites, Copts, Greeks, Romans, Turks and Franks.[14]
It took him four years to write it and he related after its completion that “words and ideas (were) pouring into my head like cream into a churn”.[15]  Arnold Toynbee, a prolific British historian and philosopher of history of the first half of the twentieth century, described it as,
undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever yet been created by any mind in any time or place.[16]
The Muqaddimah: His magnum opus
The Muqaddimah is regarded as the first time a historian has attempted to uncover the structure in the changes and developments affecting human societies. It offers a rational and analytical method, encyclopaedic in detail,[17] differing from the vast majority of both medieval and modern historical works of a simple presentation of a chronology of factual events,[18] being rather an investigation as Ibn Khaldun himself articulates, of “the subtle explanation of the causes and origins of existing things, and deep knowledge of the how and why of events”.[19]
Ibn Khaldun begins the book by critiquing common historiographical errors which he had seen Muslim authors committing. This includes “accepting reports in their plain transmitted form, without checking the principles underlying such historical situations”[20] and narrating implausible events and passing them off as ‘history’. He provides the template the historian must follow in conveying deep and meaningful history:
the scholar in this field needs to know the principles of politics, the (true) nature of existent things, and the differences among nations, places, and periods with regard to ways of life, character qualities, customs, sects, schools, and everything else.[21]
Ibn Khaldun begins with a discussion of human civilisation in general, proving through deductive reasoning why human co-operation and social organisation is an inescapable necessity for survival, followed by why authority is an essential element to provide a “restraining influence”[22] to prevent injustice.
This is followed by information about the geography of the earth, the oceans, rivers, zones and where different civilisations are found. Following this, he discusses the temperate zones of the earth, the various climates and environmental conditions and their influence in the physical characteristics and behaviours of humans.
This leads to his main thesis which he is most renowned for: he posits that the environmental conditions the Bedouins in the desert are exposed to foster the values of fortitude, independence, self-reliance, courage, and above all “‘Asabiyyah”.
The harsh conditions of desert life, with the limited access to material goods, luxuries and amenities combined with strong leadership are the root basis and origins of most civilisations and empires – and especially the Islamic polities.[23]
This is when ‘Asabiyyah is at its strongest, which he claims is the fundamental block which keeps a civilisation running. The weaker the ‘Asabiyyah, the closer an empire is to collapse. “‘Asabiyyah” is a rich term which encompasses a range of meanings – authors have generally translated it through particular expressions of universal sociological notions such as “public spirit”, “social solidarity”, “group cohesion”, “espirit de corps’”.[24]
Erwin Rosenthal describes it as “the motor development of the state”[25], whilst Toynbee posits ‘Asabiyyah as the “basic protoplasm all bodies politic and bodies social are built up”.[26] ‘Asabiyyah was often based upon blood-ties or a tribal basis, and later on based on religious unity with the advent of Islam. The core of the idea is loyalty to a common leader, united under the same ideological idea and defence against external attack.[27]
A summary of the interdependent variables involved in the development of ‘Asabiyyah
A summary of the interdependent variables involved in the development of ‘Asabiyyah [28]
The central thesis of Ibn Khaldun then is that a ruler unites his virile Bedouin people with a common feeling of ‘Asabiyyah and often comes to power by overturning an existing established civilisation which has reached the end of its life-cycle, revelling in decadence and luxury. The whole conception of historical development is based upon these two dichotomous groups: the nomadic and sedentary.[29] This was witnessed with the rise of the first Islamic Caliphate, from its humble desert origins, defeating the Roman and Persian Empires.
In this first stage the leader rules over his people equitably and shares power with them[30]. This is then followed by a period of conquest and consolidation of territory, where the first stages of despotism appear. The leader picks a few of his favourite men and checks the authority of his original followers, hence establishing his dynasty.[31]
The third stage is the epoch of civilisation and decay, where an impressive civilisation is established, where the ruler and populace fall prey to the refined elements of life and luxury and focus on the acquisition of wealth in their sedentary mentality, becoming weak and cowardly, losing their former military prowess[32][33]. These factors lead to a weakening of ‘Asabiyah and the original qualities which helped establish their initial power, hence making them vulnerable to outside attacks from a fresh nomadic race who are at stage one of the cycle.
Maladministration and the abuse of power is widespread, the expenses of the ruler and state build-up leading to increased taxation. These are the symptoms of the disintegration of the empire and are an inevitability which cannot be circumvented in the Khaldunian thesis. The victors then undergo this same process, and thus this cycle keeps on repeating itself.
This, then, is the story of human history Ibn Khaldun asserts.[34] This entire cycle of the rise and fall of civilisations is calculated to last for three generations, which is about 120 years according to Ibn Khaldun.[35]
A "graph"ical summary of Ibn Khaldun's cycle of civilisations
A “graph”ical summary of Ibn Khaldun’s cycle of civilisations

The Impact of Ibn Khaldun on Ottoman Historians
It has been claimed by Orientalist scholars that Ibn Khaldun was not overly prominent prior to being discovered by them in the nineteenth century and that he “was not a famous Muslim scholar before he achieved fame among non-Muslims of expansionist Europe”[36].
Recent research, however, has proven this not to be the case: many manuscripts, and later published copies of the Muqaddimah, existed in the libraries of Istanbul and other Ottoman cities, with many commentaries written on the illustrious work by Ottoman scholars[37].
The first confirmed date of Ottoman adoption of Ibn Khaldun can be traced to 1598 when the scholar and poet Veysi acquired a manuscript of the Muqaddimah in Cairo. However, Ottoman scholars did not till the mid-seventeenth century make explicit references to Ibn Khaldun. The polymath Kâtip Çelebi appropriated Ibn Khaldun’s stages of civilisation analogous to the human body, of growth, maturity and decline[38].
The polymath Kâtip Çelebi
Muṣtafa Na’īmā had an immense enthusiasm for Ibn Khaldun. He explored the decline of the Ottoman Caliphate in describing that it was entering into its “penultimate phase”[39] and made recourse to Ibn Khaldun’s formulations on the cyclical pattern of societies and the tension between nomadic and sedentary polities[40]. It was in the early eighteenth century that Ibn Khaldun’s popularity was firmly established amongst Ottoman historians. Müneccimbaşi, the author of a universal history in Arabic, adopted Ibn Khaldun’s methods of historical inquiry and in 1725, chief Islamic scholar Pîrîzâde Mehmed Sâhib Efendi produced the first ever translation of the Muqadimmah to Turkish. Henceforth Ibn Khaldun became a celebrated intellectual in the pantheon of Ottoman intellectuals and statesmen.[41][42]
The Muqaddimah existed in the libraries of Istanbul and other Ottoman cities
The Muqaddimah existed in the libraries of Istanbul and other Ottoman cities

Concluding Observation and Thoughts
Ibn Khaldun has carved out an immutable arena for himself in the historical and sociological spheres in both the Orient and Occident. He has conveyed a unique formulation of the cyclical nature of history with regards to the rise and fall of civilisations. However, some of his ideas seem relevant only to the medieval period of history, beginning to lose relevance with the phenomenon of modernity.
With the rapid urbanisation and modernisation of society and the virtual non-existence of nomadic societies with military clout, his established theory of the virile nomadic peoples overturning the decadent sedentary population is no longer witnessed in modern history. Rather the power and economic structures and variables of military warfare are now vastly different with shifts in state power occurring in varied ways.
Some of his other theories however, have universal appeal, such as his assertion of ‘Asabiyyah being the building block of cohesion for a state to function efficiently. The modern global landscape and its arrangement is incredibly intertwined on the notion of ‘Asabiyyah. The Westphalian separation of nations in the form of the nation-state is based upon the cultural homogeneity of each specific nation, who build a sense of ‘solidary’, ‘group-feeling and cohesion’; in other words ‘Asabiyyah, to function more productively. Governments strive to ensure that the ‘Asabiyyah of the population do not wane, with various measures in place to ensure loyalty to the home nation’s values and ideals.  It may thus be said that Ibn Khaldun’s notion of ‘Asabiyyah has only increased in its relevance and actuality in the social organisation of human societies than the time he proposed his ideas.
The reason why Ibn Khaldun is held in high regard is due to his efforts in seeking to answer the fundamental ontological operations of the earth, its relationship with human beings, and the laws which govern the panorama of human history. He was a thinker who has relevance in all ages and a universal appeal which resonates with the curious and intelligent mind irrespective of his or her era.

Author: Tarek ‘Abdur Rahman who is in his 4th year at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, studying Arts/Education, majoring in History & minoring in English.

[1] Ronald A. Messier, “The Worlds of Ibn Khaldun: Introduction.” The Journal of North African Studies 13, no. 3 (2008): 275, accessed October 1, 2015, 10.1080/13629380701844482.
[2] Yolanda Gamarra, “Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406): A Precursor of Intercivilizational Discourse.” 28, no. 3 (2015): 455, accessed October 1, 2015, doi: 10.1017/S0922156515000217.
[3] Gamarra, “Precursor of Intercivilizational Discourse,” 455.
[4] Qadir, “Social and Political Ideas,” 118.
[5] McCorriston, “Pastoralism and Pilgrimage,” 615.
[6] McCorriston, “Pastoralism and Pilgrimage,” 615.
[7] Mahmoud Dhaouadi, “The Ibar: Lessons of Ibn Khaldun’s Umran Mind.” Contemporary Sociology 34, no. 6 (2005): 586.
[8] Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah (Unabridged), 77.
[9] Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah (Unabridged), 80.
[10] Bruce B. Lawrence, “Introduction: Ibn Khaldun and Islamic Ideology,” in Ibn Khaldun and Islamic Ideology, ed. Bruce B. Lawrence (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1984), 8.
[11] H. A. R. Gibb, “The Islamic Background of Ibn Khaldūn’s Political Theory.” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 7, no. 1 (1933):  31, accessed October 1, 2015, doi: 10.1017/S0041977X00105361.
[12] M. Abdul Qadir, “The Social and Political Ideas of Ibn Khaldun.” The Indian Journal of Political Science 3, no. 2 (1941): 118.
[13] Ali Çaksu, “Ibn Khaldun and Hegel on Causality in History: Aristotelian Legacy Reconsidered.” Asian Journal of Social Science 35, no. 1 (2007): 79.
[14] Qadir, “Social and Political Ideas,” 118.
[15] Dawood, “Introduction,” in The Muqaddimah, viii-ix.
[16] Hayden V. White, “Ibn Khaldûn in World Philosophy of History.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 2, no. 1 (1959): 112.
[17] Dawood, “Introduction,” in The Muqaddimah, ix.
[18] Yusuf M. Sidani. “Ibn Khaldun of North Africa: An AD 1377 Theory of Leadership.” Journal of Management History 14, no. 1 (2008): 76.
[19] Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah (Unabridged), trans. Franz Rosenthal, 55, accessed October 1, 2015,
[20] Ibn Khaldun, An Introduction to History The Muqaddimah, trans. Franz Rosenthal (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1967), 11.
[21] Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah, 24.
[22] Ibn Khaldun, The Muqaddimah, 47.
[23] McCorriston, “Pastoralism and Pilgrimage,” 616.
[24] Yves Lacoste, Ibn KhaldunThe Birth of History and The Past of the Third World (London: Verso, 1984), 101.
[25] Lacoste, Ibn Khaldun, 100.
[26] Lacoste, Ibn Khaldun, 101.
[27] Qadir, “Social and Political Ideas,” 121.
[28] Çaksu, “Ibn Khaldun and Hegel,” 75.
[29] Lacoste, Ibn Khaldun, 92.
[30] Qadir, “Social and Political Ideas,” 125.
[31] Qadir, “Social and Political Ideas,” 125.
[32] Lacoste, Ibn Khaldun, 92.
[33] Qadir, “Social and Political Ideas,” 121.
[34] Qadir, “Social and Political Ideas,” 121.
[35] Qadir, “Social and Political Ideas,” 125.
[36] Nurullah Ardiç, “Genealogy or Asabiyya? Ibn Khaldun between Arab Nationalism and the Ottoman Caliphate,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 71, no. 2 (2012): 317.
[37] Ardiç, “Genealogy or Asabiyya?,” 317.
[38] Cornell Fleischer, “Royal Authority, Dynastic Cyclism, and ‘‘Ibn Khaldunism’’ in Sixteenth-Century Ottoman Letters,” in Ibn Khaldun and Islamic Ideology, ed. Bruce B. Lawrence (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1984), 47.
[39] Fleischer, “Royal Authority,” 47.
[40] Fleischer, “Royal Authority,” 47.
[41] Ardiç, “Genealogy or Asabiyya?,” 318.
[42] Fleischer, “Royal Authority,” 48.