Theories of Ibn Khaldun: A sociological perspective

Theories of Ibn Khaldun: A sociological perspective, Although sociology did not become a recognized subject until the 20th century, its numerous schools of thought, methodologies, and topics of research had been developed during centuries of effort by historians and philosophers.

Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) is regarded as the genuine founding Father of modern sociology. He was an Arab philosopher of history, statesman, judge, historian, and sociologist. Although Ibn Khaldun produced the first study that could be considered sociological in nature in the 14th century, the founders of sociology as we know it today only started to emerge in the late 18th century, when society in Western Europe underwent a sea change as Enlightenment ideas began to replace traditional beliefs and the Industrial Revolution took hold.

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Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) studied social ideas and the principles of asabiyah (social solidarity). Ibn Khaldun was an Arab philosopher and historian who was captivated by the social mechanisms that lead certain cultures to prosper and supplant others. He is most known for his ambitious multi-volume narrative of the world, the Kitab al-‘Ibar, particularly the first section known as the Muqaddimah. The Kitab’s assessments of Berber and Arabic societies are considered an ancestor of sociology.

The Arabic idea of asabiyyah, or social unity, is crucial to Ibn Khaldun’s analysis of what makes a society successful. As civilizations advanced, asabiyyah evolved to represent a sense of belonging, which is typically translated as “solidarity.” Originally, it pointed to the connection to family prevalent in clans and nomadic tribes. According to Ibn Khaldun, asabiyyah occurs in communities as small as clans and as vast as empires, but the feeling of a common goal and destiny fades as society expands, ages, and civilization collapses.

A smaller or younger civilization with a greater feeling of solidarity would eventually replace such a civilization. According to this theory, a nation’s collapse occurs when it “becomes the victim of a psychological defeat,” rather than when it suffers a physical loss.

Many conceptions of community and civic spirit in modern sociology, like Robert Putnam’s theory that current society is suffering from a collapse of engagement in the community, were predicted by this idea of the necessity of solidarity and social cohesiveness in society.

Khaldun’s Social Conflict theory

According to Khaldun, social solidarity (asabiyah) is a key factor in the development and decline of cultures and civilizations. Social solidarity can therefore be described as “constructive” or “destructive.” Conflict theory according to Khaldun was built on asabiyah, or group unity. One way that social solidarity has an impact on group dynamics is via increasing social group adaptability. Asabiyah, on the other hand, creates harmful dynamics that disintegrate social groupings.


Ibn Khaldun describes the collapse of a nation or dynasty as a common occurrence and claims that states, dynasties, countries, and civilizations are like persons in that they are born, develop, and die, and then others take their places and experience the same outcomes. This cycle repeats itself repeatedly.

  • To define and examine the history of people, Ibn Khaldun developed the science of civilization, society, or culture (‘Ilm al-‘Umran). He used asabiyya, which is regarded as a spirit of unity, a type of spirit that strengthens interpersonal ties, in order to make science practical. The Arabiya’s primary goal is to establish a state, and this togetherness makes the group stronger.
  • As a result, the rise and fall of sovereign powers is largely determined by asabiyya strength. History is a cyclical process in which sovereign states emerge, develop, decline, and are replaced by another state. The primary factor that governs every procedure is Arabiya’s state. Primitive people are the foundation of society and possess a powerful asabiyya. This uncivilized civilization only prioritizes its most basic necessities.
  • They must become stronger fighters and learn to endure even the worst conditions if they are to protect themselves from threats posed by the environment, animals, or other people. Additionally, they maintain tight ties with family members and acquaintances. The theory is that because humans are social animals, they depend on other people to exist. The strongest aspect of social cohesiveness is the blood connection, which is based on honesty and loyalty. As civilization advances, individuals begin to lose the characteristics that characterized their prehistoric existence.
  • The lifespan of a sovereign state is around 120 years, or three to four generations. The underlying cause of this is the gradual loss of the preceding generations’ motives and ideals as a result of time and generational transition. First generations develop the core values and ideals of independent states. Second generations just follow the first. Third generations are known for forgetting their forefathers’ morals. The sovereign powers disintegrate as a result of recent generations.

However, if the factors that destroy nations do not occur during their 120-year lifespans, the sovereign powers may continue to exist.

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