Ibn-e-Khaldun’s major contribution is in the philosophy of history and sociology. He was one of evolutionary social thinkers. His is also known as father of science of history and modern sociology. He was philosopher of history and first social scientist. He attempted to found a science of society and civilization. He was the first to see history as science.
Contributions of Ibn-e-Khaldun
Contributions of Ibn-e-Khaldun can be explained in the following words:
- (i) Kitab al-Ibar (Book of Examples)
- (ii) Concept of Abasiyah
- (iii) Theory of Al-Asabiyah
- (iv) Theory of social change
- (v) Theory of urban & rural society
(1) Kitab al-Ibar (Book Of Examples)
He wrote “Kitab al- Ibar” to narrate world history. It began as a history of Berbers and expanded to universal history. It consists of seven books. “Muqaddimah” (Introduction) is the most famous book among these seven books. Muqaddimah provides material on the following topics:
Part of earth that is civilized
Desert civilization among tribes and savage nations
Dynasties, caliphate and royal authority
Sedentary civilization, countries & cities
Crafts and ways of making a living
Science, their acquisition and study
(2) Concept of Asabiyah
Ibn-e-Khaldun gave three theories, and these theories are based on the concept of Asabiyah:
- (a) Meaning
- (b) How does Asabiyah emerge?
- (c) How does Asabiyah work?
(a-i) Force Of Unity
Asabiyah is a force that unites people with one another.
(a-ii) Sharing Of Similar Feeling
Asabiyah is sharing of similar feeling, which is present among the people on the basis of their common blood ties. alliances or other similarities.
(a-iii) Social Solidarity, Social Integration & Social Cohesion
Asabiyah is social solidarity, social integration and social cohesion.
(b) How Does Asabiyah Emerge?
Blood ties or other similarities lead towards alliances, and these alliances cause Asabiyah.
(c) How Does Asabiyah Work?
Al-Asabiyah works as a force of unity to push people towards one another. In this way, it bonds and units them together as a group.
(iii) Theory Of Al-Asabiyah
His theory of Al-Asabiyah is about social solidarity:
- (a) Social solidarity
- (b) Sense of unity
- (c) Creation of state
- (d) Benefit of unity
- (e) Emile Durkheim
- (f) Role of state
Social solidarity is based on Asabiyah.
(b) Sense Of Unity
Asabiyah creates a sense of unity among the people.
(c) Creation Of State
Asabiyah results in the creation of state.
(d) Benefit Of Unity
Unity among the people helps them to defend their state against external aggression and domination.
(e) Emile Durkheim
Emile Durkheim presented the same thought that Ibn-e-Khaldun presented in his theory of Al-Asabiyah: according to Emile Durkheim, sharing similar feelings and motives among individuals lead towards the creation of society where the individuals live collectively.
(f) Role Of State
Conflict is inevitable when individuals start living together. And this conflict leads to violation of state laws. Here state is to play an important role:
- (f-i) Law & order
- (f-ii) Solidarity
(f-i) Law & Order
In cases of violation of laws, state is to maintain law and order.
State is to sustain solidarity among the people.
(iv) Theory Of Social
Change Ibn-e-Khaldun’s theory of social change presents his, interest in gradual social change in society:
- (a) Social change
- (b) How does social change happen?
- (c) Change of society
- (d) Rise & fall of nation
(a) Social Change
Social change is due to Asabiyah.
(b) How Does Social Change Happen?
It is through evolutionary process that social change happens:
- (b-i) Groups, clans & tribes & societies
- (b-ii) Force of solidarity
(b-i) Groups, Clans & Tribes & Societies
Asabiyah unites the people, who start living together as group. With the passage of time, groups evolve into clans and tribes and finally transform into societies.
(b-ii) Force Of Solidarity
Solidarity plays an important role in the existence and survival of clans tribe and state:
- (x) With force of solidarity
- (y) Without force of solidarity
(x) With Force Of Solidarity
With force of solidarity, clan, tribe and state successfully exist and survive against external threats and aggression.
(y) Without Force Of Solidarity
Without force of solidarity, clan, tribe and state successfully cannot exist and survive against external threats and aggression, and are usually conquered and ruled by the outsiders. And if it happens, the entire structure of their societies also changes.
(c) Change Of Society
A rural society with less Asabiyah becomes an urban society, and it usually happens in a period of forty years: a society develops during forty years, and Asabiyah decreases during the next forty years and, consequently, society declines. In this way, society changes, and it will continue till end.
(d) Rise & Fall Of Nation
Physical age of every state is one hundred and twenty years: every nation rises and then falls after a passage of time and is replaced by other nation.
(v) Theory Of Urban & Rural Society
Ibn-e-Khaldun believed in differences between human society and animal society, and described two types of human society:
- (a) Differences between human society & animal society
- (b) Types of human society
(a) Differences Between Human Society & Animal Society
Human society is different from animal society due to following reasons:
- (a-i) Wisdom
- (a-ii) Leader
- (a-iii) Means of livelihood
- (a-iv) Creation of state
Human beings have wisdom while animals do not have it.
Human beings need a leader to look after their wellbeing and welfare. They also need a leader to guide them through difficulties, Contrary to this, animals do not need the leader.
(a-iii) Means Of Livelihood
Human beings always search the means of livelihood, but animals do not do it.
(a-iv) Creation Of State
Human beings live together, coordinate and cooperate, and all of them lead them towards creation of state. On the other hand, animals do not do all these.
(b) Types Of Human Society
Ibn-e-Khaldun described two types of society:
- (b-i) Badvi society
- (b-ii) Hazri society
(b-i) Badvi Society
Badvi society is rural society:
- (x) Strong force of Asabiyah
- (y) Strong physical structure
- (z) Physically strong
(x) Strong Force of Asabiyah
There is strong force of Asabiyah among the members of Badvi society because interaction is more among them and they are more dependent upon one another.
(y) Strong Physical Structure
They have strong physical structure.
(z) Physically Strong
They are physically strong because they are to struggle hard to satisfy their basic needs of life and to survive.
(b-ii) Hazri Society
- (w) Hazri society is urban society:
- (x) Weak force of Asabiyah
- (y) External aggression
- (z) Physically weak
(x) Weak Force Of Asabiyah
There is weak force of Asabiyah among the members of Hazri society because interaction is less among them and they are less dependent upon one another.
(y) External Aggression
They cannot defend themselves against external aggression. Rather they have to depend upon state security.
(z) Physically Weak
They are physically weak because basic needs of life are easily available to them and they do not work hard for their survival.
It can be finally stated that Ibn-e-Khaldun was the first major Islamic thinker, who emphasized empirical thought over normative theory. He made three important contributions to social sciences: he emphasized the importance of empirical facts, developed a theory of change and identified tribal solidarity as driver of change.