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A personal perspective on individual and group: Comparative cultural observations with a focus on Ibn Khaldun



As the Islamic world declined in the 14th century, Ibn Khaldun wrote the Muqaddimah, a massive philosophical work in which he sought scientific grounds for a universal analysis of human beings. By seeking a global history of humanity, one that was not derived from the particular history of any one group, he was able to offer insight into the importance of group solidarity, assabiyeh. In this essay, I discuss the dynamics between autonomous individuality and group identity and offer some cultural comparisons to illustrate more general insights.
A personal perspective on individual and group: Comparative
cultural observations with a focus on Ibn Khaldun
Wentworth Institute of Technology, 550 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA
As the Islamic world declined in the 14th century, Ibn Khaldun wrote the Muqaddimah, a massive philosophical work
in which he sought scientific grounds for a universal analysis of human beings. By seeking a global history of
humanity, one that was not derived from the particular history of any one group, he was able to offer insight into the
importance of group solidarity, assabiyeh. In this essay, I discuss dynamics between autonomous individuality and
group identity and offer some cultural comparisons to illustrate more general insights.
[Katsiaficas G 2013 A personal perspective on individual and group: Comparative cultural observations with a focus on Ibn Khaldun. J. Biosci.
39 16] DOI 10.1007/s12038-013-9393-9
1. Introduction
In the contemporary world, groups have achieved prepon-
derant power over the lives of all of us, enmeshing us in
webs of nation, race, and gender and stimulating an expand-
ing range of investigations into collective behaviour. In our
historical epoch, scientists examine afresh individual ontog-
eny amid the role of groups. No less than contemporary
social research, new natural science investigations pose the
question: Is genuine individual autonomy possible?
Beginning in the 17th century and more so in the 18th
century, European autonomous individualism began to flow-
er. Men and women
made unique contributions as they
penned masterpieces of art, music and philosophy, wrote
magnificent novels, and dared to espouse political tracts
declaring freedom of the individual. In the 18th century,
European and American revolutions won new freedoms
and rights. Today, past accomplishments are systematically
eroded as governments claim for themselves new powers,
including even the right to decide without due process mat-
ters of life and death.
Such vast historical changes compel
us to consider the categories of individual and group viewed
over time. Their relationships are not fixed but vary with the
rise (and decline) of socially created forces.
Before we assume the parallel character of natural and
social phenomena, questions need to be posed about the
validity of positivism (the idea that the rules and methods
of natural science can be applied to society). Can we rely
upon scientific methodology that explicitly extends relation-
ships and laws observed in the natural world to human
phenomena? Humans have made history. We have over-
thrown the rule of kings and queens (or accepted it), but
we are not blindly compelled simply to accept royal rule as
our only option. Can the same be said of bees? Going
further, water boils at 100°C at sea level everywhere in the
world. Can any similar constant be uncovered with regard to
human relationships? Are any two human beings exactly
alike? Are there constant patterns to human interaction that J. Biosci. 39(1), March 2014, 16, *Indian Academy of Sciences 1
Although generally unknown, female artists in 17th Century Europe
made significant contributions. Judith Leyster (16091670) apprenticed
to Frans Hals, was a member of the prestigious PaintersGuild, and
taught male students. Most of her work was attributed to men. Anna
Maria Sybilla Merian (16471717) produced volumes of flower engrav-
ings as well as drawings of insects, which became significant resources
for the subsequent classification of species. After moving to Surinam,
she produced Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium, considered
one of the worlds best books of biological illustration. Rachel Ruysch
(16641750) received more for her art than Rembrandt did for his work.
See The Guerrilla GirlsBedside Companion to the History of Western
Art 1998 (New York: Penguin Books) pp 4043.
Cf. speech delivered by Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, on April 4, 1967,
at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New
York City. See
Keywords. Assabiyeh; Ibn Khaldun; individual and group; Islamic philosophy; Muqaddimah
can be compared with the rate of acceleration at which an
object falls to earth or to the precise combination of atoms
that form specific molecules?
Despite the best efforts of sociologists to postulate iron
lawsand of philosophers to assert that history repeats
itself,in certain respects society is characterised by change
rather than by stasis.
When change occurs, its character is
sporadic and uneven. It is not like the precise repetitive
patterns exhibited by some natural phenomena.
ments, religions, and even languages change over time,
leading many thinkers to conclude that a sharp distinction
must be drawn between Geisteswissenschaft and Naturwis-
senschaft between the humanities and natural sciences.
In the following pages, I discuss the views of Ibn Khaldun
(13321406 AD), a 14th century Islamic philosopher for
whom group identity or assabiyeh (translated as group
feelingby Franz Rosenthal) was the critical element in his
understanding of society. Because he was convinced of both
the need for investigation and for faith, Ibn Khaldun differ-
entiated between the physical world and the divine world,
insisting that philosophy could comprehend history but not
Man is composed of two parts. One is corporeal. The
other is spiritual, and mixed with the former. Each one
of these parts has its own perceptions, though the (part)
that perceives is the same in both cases, namely the
spiritual part. At times, it perceives spiritual percep-
tions. At other times, it perceives corporeal percep-
tions. However, it perceives the spiritual perceptions
through its own essence without any intermediary,
while it perceives the corporeal perceptions through
the intermediary of organs of the body, such as the
brain and the senses (Ibn Khaldun 1986,3: 253).
Each of these different parts of human beings was inte-
grated into a whole. Yet for him, change constituted a
dividing line between divinity (which lasts and persists)
and the ephemeral fate of the corporeal dimension: Time
wears us out…’. Ibn Khaldun understood the realm of spirit
as prior to and influencing the world of the body:
there is something that exercises an influence and is
different than bodily substances. This is something
spiritual. It is connected with the created things, be-
cause the various worlds must be connected in their
existence. This spiritual thing is the soul, which has
perception and causes motion. Above the soulis the
world of angels (Ibn Kahldun 1986,1:195).
For Ibn Khaldun, the soul had form and substance since
its existence materialized in the exchange of potentiality for
actuality with the help of the body and (bodily) conditions
(Ibn Khaldun 1986,1:214). A central issue in Ibn Khaldun's
philosophy of history was the possibility for human beings
to understand forces beyond their control. He sketched an
historical process, which in the final analysis, was not simply
a history of external events but rather that of human beings
becoming who they in essence are. As such, he offers valu-
able insights into the character and conduct of our species.
Across and even within cultures, changing meanings of
group and individual will be noted. I will observe variable
valuations and formulations of group and individuals in
Islamic, East Asian, and European cultures. The broad sweep
of my cultural comparisons is necessarily philosophical rath-
er than based upon a numerical sampling of behaviour.
2. Ibn Khalduns perspective
Despite his decidedly disinterested attitude to his own life,
Abu Zayd Abdel Rahman Ibn Khaldun was a veritable
fountain of original thought. In 1377, in the short period of
five months, he wrote the Muqaddimah (or Prolegomena)
while secluded at a palace of a sultan in what is today
western Algeria (Enan 1975,5152). Five centuries before
Darwin uncovered evolution, Ibn Khaldun wrote that
humans descended from the world of the monkeysthrough
an ever-wider process in which species become more nu-
merous(Ibn Khaldun 1986,1:195).
He attributed human
racial characteristics to climate, thereby implying that all
humans are related to each other.
By grounding his analysis
in the universal relation of spirit and body, he also provided a
basis for the history of our species, not simply for any
particular sub-group a universal history that is only today
again emerging as national and ethnic ones prove insuffi-
cient in our globalized reality. Nearly half a millennium
Robert MichelsThe Iron of Oligarchy is the classic example here,
and Karl Marx followed in his teacher GWF Hegelsfootstepsby
declaring, history repeats itself.Depending on the level one deals
with, of course, for in other respects, the more things change, the more
they stay the same, and we can look at the issue of individuality vs.
groups across history. To that extent, we deal with the same questions,
which is among the reasons for studying history.
And not necessarily unlike the long periods of stasis punctuated by
change claimed for biological evolution. See
Such critics of positivism also oppose the notion that history has
precise and repetitive cycles. They understand every event in history
as unique, an insight noted long ago by Heraclitus of Ephesus and
reinvigorated more than a millennium later by GWF Hegel.
To be sure, his theory had no precise notion of natural selection or
branching evolution. Ibn Khaldunsevolutionwas just the Great
Chain of Being, not a unique notion at the time and derived from
In contrast, the polygenist Lucilio Vanini (15851619) asserted that
negroesdescended from apes because of their skin color while other
races did not.
2George Katsiaficas
J. Biosci. 39(1), March 2014
before Karl Marx wrote Das Kapital, Ibn Khaldun stated that
labour is the real basis of profit(Ibn Khaldun 1986,1:303).
Four-hundred years before Auguste Comte named his new
science of society as sociology, Ibn Khaldun unveiled a
science of culture(Mahdi 1957).
For Ibn Khaldun, group solidarity, or assabiyeh, played a
critical role in the formation of kingdoms and societies. The
root of the word is nerve, the bond by which a group is
connected. For him that was as much a gift of god as a
historically conditioned phenomenon (Goodman 1972,
The family is the first and most significant domain
in which assabiyeh operates most naturally Compassion and
affection for ones blood relations and relatives exist in
human nature as something god put into the hearts of men.
It makes for mutual support and aid…’ (Rosenthal 1969,
For Ibn Khaldun, urban life explains why Arabs lost
their group solidarity, Later on, sedentary Arabs mixed with
Persians and other non-Arabs. Purity of lineage was com-
pletely lost, and its fruit, group feeling, was lost and rejected
(Ibn Kahldun 1986,1:267). Extending his analysis, he main-
tained that the laws of assabiyeh would run parallel to those
of history. He sought to explain if and, if so, how
assabiyeh could be reconstituted at a new level beyond its
original emergence.
While Ibn Khaldun emphasized group solidarity, a con-
trasting perspective on Islamic cultures can be found by
examining the work of another Islamic philosopher, Aver-
roes (also known as Ibn Rushd), who lived from 1126 to
1198 two centuries before Ibn Khaldun. Known as the
Commentatorfor his extensive notations on Aristotle (the
Philosopher), Averroes emphasized the individual rather
than groups. For stressing the role of scientific and philo-
sophical investigation of the supremacy of individual rea-
son over faith he faced continual threats from his own
fellow citizens in Cordoba. Approaching the end of his life, a
ban on his work was issued, and his books were burned in
public. He was insulted by a mob. Although reinstated as an
esteemed scholar shortly before his death, his writings were
prohibited at the University of Paris in 1210 and 1215. In
1231, a Papal edict was issued prohibiting uncorrected read-
ing of his books, and in 1277 the bishop of Paris, concerned
about Ibn Rushds popularity among Parisian intellectuals,
condemned his work (Wahba and Abousenna 1996,3047).
One result of such continual assaults on intellectual freedom
was that during the same century that Ibn Khaldun lived,
there was not one Christian Arabic scholar in Europe
(Southern 1962, 88). Despite the repression of Averroes
thought, his lifes accomplishments especially the creation
of a stratum of Latin Averroists, intellectuals who believed
in reason over faith helped stimulate the European Enlight-
enment (Wahba and Abousenna 1996, 48).
Like Ibn Khaldun, Ibn Rushd owed his status in large part
to his service as a jurist and interpretation of judicial doc-
trines (Uvroy 1993, 109). Both men believed that individuals
are corruptible while intellectual knowledge is eternally
true an illuminating product of human thought that each
honoured in ways their anti-intellectual contemporaries did
not. Each also understood the corruptibility of ruling elites as
lasting through three generations. Ibn Rushd described the
internal corruption of the Almoravids as beginning with rule
by law, to the next generations rule for love of money, and
finally to the third generations hedonism, during which the
regime perished.
Before and during Ibn Khalduns life, various rulers rose
and fell in the Maghreb (the land of the sunset across North-
west Africa). In the heartland of Arab/Islamic culture and
learning far to the east, Baghdad had fallen to the Mongols in
1258. The Fourth Crusade had overrun Constantinople, an-
other great centre of medieval learning, in 1204. Wholesale
Venetian looting of the Second Rome not only included the
most salient artifacts adorning contemporary St. Marks
Square but also libraries of books and hundreds of scholars
and architects all of which contributed to the Italian Re-
naissance generally dated to more than a century later.
Following Galen, Ibn Sina (Avicenna; 9801037) had identified
nerves as the consolidators of perceived pain in the muscles, as unifying
agents as it were, analogous to group solidarity.
The work of Peter Kropotkin on mutual aid should be considered in
this regard.
From a longer perspective, we understand today that the decline of
Islamic world was due in no small reason to European discovery of sea
route around Africa and establishment of direct trade with China and the
East. The excision of merchant profit in the Middle East led to its
precipitous decline, one which, intellectually at least, has yet to be
reversed by the creation of a handful of oil-rich oligarchic states in
the 20th century. Evidently, the variegation of social life produced by
robust forms of economic activity creates intellectual and artistic pos-
sibilities that the mere acquisition of wealth cannot. Thus, hopes to
stimulate a revival of the golden age of Islamic intellectual civilization
through the translation, publication and discussion of classical philo-
sophical texts appears to be of less value than hoped for.
There is debate as to the beginnings of the Renaissance. Some
scholars refer to the Renaissance of the late Medieval period beginning
about 1100 a period of the early Crusades, the building of monumen-
tal cathedrals, the founding of the Hanseatic League, the rise of towns
and the development of Gothic art. Kenneth Clark called this period
Western Europe's first great age of civilizationand traced its begin-
ning to around the year 1000. See Kenneth ClarksThe Gothic Revival
(1928). A major contribution to the rise of Italian power and its Renais-
sance was the Venetian-sponsored Fourth Crusades sacking of Con-
stantinople in 1204. Others date the beginning of the Renaissance to
Florence in 1401 or to when Greek scholars fled Constantinople in 1452
following the Ottoman conquest of the city. One can also argue that the
period from 962, the crowing of Otto as Holy Roman Emperor, to 1452
(i.e. the High Middle Ages), was qualitatively a different world from the
Renaissance. It included the Crusades, the Lateran Council and the
heyday of Scholasticism. Even in the time of Bracciolini (who discov-
ered the Lucretius manuscript that helped inaugurate Christian human-
ism in 1417), the Churchs control over life made the notion of an
individual almost incomprehensible. Curiosity was sin then.
Personal perspective on individual and group 3
J. Biosci. 39(1), March 2014
Mongols slaughtered 800,000 citizens of Baghdad, nearly
extinguishing the magnificent intellectual legacy Baghdads
scholars could have passed to new generations.
Ibn Khaldun is likely to have known of the European
cultural revival (the Renaissance) underway during his life-
time. Although he had faith that one day Constantinople
would be an Islamic city (which it became in 1452), his
own experiences convinced him of the need to ground sci-
entifically his analysis of human beings in order to transcend
the particular histories of any one group. His Prolegomena is
an attempt to produce a history at a universal level, one that
would not be situated in the narrative history of any partic-
ular ethnic group. In the fourteenth century, the Islamic
world particularly in North Africa was in decline from
its glorious past, and Ibn Khaldun attempted to understand
the causes of the changes around him.
He sketched an historical process that, in the final analy-
sis, was not simply a history of external events but rather that
of human beings in the process of becoming their future. He
comprehended specific actions as occurring within an inter-
nal and invisible rational structure through which external
facts could be understood. For him, narrative history, i.e. the
recounting of specific events, was inferior to philosophical
history through which the inner causes and remote origins of
events could be comprehended.
His view of human beings was unambiguously negative.
Man is ignorant by nature…’ (Ibn Khaldun 1986,1: 215,
266). Royal authority, a naturalquality of humans, was
necessary to insure proper behaviour (Ibn Khaldun 1986,
1:92). What of a transforming process through which
humans might elevate themselves? For him, the unchanged
individual might ascend to glimpse the realm of angels but
could never be transformed into an angel. While history
might have a direction, a perpetual cycle of growth and
decay operated, a natural transition of three generations for
dynasties. At best, Ibn Khaldun hoped governments would
rule as uncorrupted representatives of divine laws, a belief
that earned him a reputation as a harsh purist while he served
as a judge in Cairo. He believed authority was one of the four
attributes that distinguish humans from animals (the others
being thought, labour and civilization), a view that flows
from his perspective that individuals were savageand the
mass stupid.
Before we judge his authoritarianism too harshly, we
should consider similar contemporaneous cultural prejudices
in Western Europe that were subsequently challenged with
the emergence of the ascendancy of the individual notably
during the Renaissance and Reformation. During these peri-
ods, individual entrepreneurs, no less than self-motivated
artists and freethinking Protestants, embodied a new psy-
chology that of the individual bent on conquering the
world. As Alfred van Martin characterized the enormity of
the shift beginning with the Italian Renaissance, Blood,
tradition and group feeling had been the basis of community
relationships as well as of the old domination. The demo-
cratic and urban spirit was destroying the old social forms
and the naturaland accepted divine order. It thus became
necessary to order the world starting from the individual and
to shape it, as it were, like a work of art(Von Martin 1963,
2). Aesthetic principles of Renaissance art such as scientific
perspective and realistic portrayal of light from the view-
point of a solitary artist prefigured the preponderant future
role of individual religious perspective in the Reformation,
solitary scientific speculation in the Enlightenment, and
principles of individual liberty in the American and French
The Renaissance replaced previously dominant commu-
nal ideologies according to a perspective on the world indi-
vidually visualized and organized on rationally calculable
principles. The crowdbecame a derogatory word. Even in
the declining period we call Romanticism, people escaped to
the tranquility of a private existence(Von Martin 1963,
58). In a phrase, with the ascendance of western capitalism,
assabiyeh was shattered. Capital as a self-expanding value
permeated all membranes and distorted all relationships
including that most primal one to Ibn Khaldun blood ties.
Despite Europes claim to being modern, we can see the
revival of blood ties and group identity in the first half of the
20th century, when fascism reinforced ancient bonds: Mus-
solini sought to restore the glory of the Roman Empire and
Italians, while Hitlersmaster racereshaped Germans
group identity. In both cases, an individual leader became
all-powerful only because he represented the nation. The
changing relationship of group and individual in both the
East and West provide insight into the possibility of different
formations of these universal dimensions. If indeed, East and
West offer us different cultural productions of these same
essential categories, what does this tell us about the character
of human phenomena? At this juncture, comparing the be-
haviour of human beings to that of other life forms becomes
again a vital question.
3. Individual and group in the work of Ibn Khaldun
For Ibn Khaldun, those groups with a strong sense of assa-
biyeh were destined to be strong and to rule at least as long
as they were able to maintain their sense of identity and
solidarity. Thus, groups composed of blood relatives (as in
the case of many Bedouin communities) have the strongest
possible ties since they are based on kinship, while urban
settings (in which settlers from many locales congregate and
group homogeneity decreases) predispose urban dwellers to
an eventual weakening of group feelings. Having committed
himself to an understanding of political power as resting
upon group strength, Ibn Khaldun went on to portray groups
4George Katsiaficas
J. Biosci. 39(1), March 2014
in stereotypical fashion. Not only did he formulate his notion
of the individual and the specific nature of groups in rigid
categories, but his philosophical framework precluded the
self-conscious transformation of individual and group iden-
tity. Individuals and groups were tragically stuck in prede-
termined fates.
Although his own life was intricately interwoven with the
great political and military dramas of his times, his autobi-
ography (al-Tarif), supposed to be the most elaborate au-
tobiography penned by a Moslem intellectual,islacking in
human interest(Hitti 1971, 242). He failed to mention his
marriage to the daughter of a Hafsid general in 1345, even
though she remained his primary wife until her death nearly
four decades later in 1384 (Hitti 1971, 241). His only men-
tion of his mother is when she died from the plague along
with his father.
It was not only Ibn Khalduns autobiography that failed to
touch upon his most intimate relations. The paramount sig-
nificance of the group in both Arab and Islamic civilization
appears to have blocked the emergence of the autonomous
individual. The very word Islammeans submission of the
individual to god. Franz Rosenthal informs us that autobi-
ography in general is not highly developedamong Arabs
(Lawrence 1984, 19). Even the name by which Ibn Khaldun
has become known in history is not his own, but his father's.
Arab patriarchy militates against the construction of autono-
mous individual identity today as much as it did 600 years
ago, at least if we judge by the many names derived from
Abu (father) and Ibn (Bin, or son). Further to the east and
centuries later, a similar denigration of individuality can be
seen in Stalinist communitarianism.
In evaluating the status of the individual in Islamic civi-
lization, we might ask: While the group feeling of Muslims
is surely one of Islam's noteworthy dimensions, what is the
status of the individual? Is there a relation between the
Arabic-Muslim prohibition of the human figure in art and
Ibn Khaldun's understanding of the individual? Is assabiyeh
a mechanical negation of the savage individualism of which
Ibn Khaldun was so critical? Was his unwillingness to the-
matise rigorously the individual simply a reflection of the
prevailing cultural values of his historical context?
Within an elaborate web of familial identities, strict social
conventions, and cultural obligations, individuals in Islamic
societies remain bound by collective forms whose power has
long since been diminished in the West. Social community
and cooperation exist within the Ummah (the community of
Moslems) in ways that simply do not occur in everyday in
much of the West. To be sure, individuals emerged in the
Arab world, but he/she was dependent upon family ties and
confined in life-options and social possibilities. Pedagogy in
the Arabic world leans largely on memorization and recita-
tion. Ibn Khaldun himself recommended memorization as
the first step toward understanding poetry and for acquiring
literary taste. Even in love-poetry, the realm of private
sentiment, etiquette and courtesy reigned, and the poet's
aim was to handle public images with grace and splendor
(Hodgson 1974,2:303; Hourani 1991, 75). Of course, one
consequence of poetry designed for public recitation not
private reading is the forging of group solidarity and
shared experience. According to Bernard Lewis, other cul-
tural links can be found: impersonality and collectivism are
recurring features of Arab prose literature (Lewis 1966, 142).
In a contemporary example of what might be considered
savage individualism individuals who sacrifice themselves
through actions like the revolutionary suicideof car bomb-
ers we find group feeling as a primary motivation. As with
kamikaze pilots, one result of such actions is the destruction
of the individuals who undertake them. Such actions embody
subordination of the individual to the group in this case, in
the struggle to kill an externally defined enemy. The tragic
effects of plundering the planet for individual greed and the
imperialist conquest of peoples defined as othershould be
included at this juncture, as should the oft-neglected capacity
of colonizers to unite their group identities at the same time
as they divide their subjects and pit them against each other.
4. Discussion
In exploring the future potential of human freedom, it is
important to distinguish between individuality and individu-
alism. The former refers to a harmonious relation between
the single human beings inward life and group relationships
with others while the latter denotes the individual as an
isolated monad held in check by repressive groups (in which
he/she may or may not claim membership). The determinate
negation of individualism is the metamorphosis of individu-
alism into individuality. Similarly, collectivism can be sub-
lated into self-conscious collectivity. The transformation of
groups who deem themselves superior to the rest of human-
ity requires an immanent self-consciousness that they are
part of the human family, not simply an identity defined in
opposition to external Others.
Ironically, the very scourge of the West its savage
individualism may also contain a contribution to global
civilization. Finding the good in the bad, we might simulta-
neously locate the seeds of autonomous individuality in the
West (understanding the role of the individual in history as
forging rights and imagination) alongside the pursuit of
wealth and power. Similarly, a contribution of Islamic civi-
lization is the potential of a universal group feeling and
cooperation among human beings that transcends racial,
ethnic and even gender divisions a force so strong that it
overnight transformed Malcolm X (Malcolm and Haley
2001). A dialectical sublation of Islamic group feelings
synthesized with the determinate negation of Western indi-
vidualism might result in an individuality that is
Personal perspective on individual and group 5
J. Biosci. 39(1), March 2014
simultaneously that of an autonomous thinking person who
is part of a species-cognizant group.
Enan MA 1975 Ibn Khaldun: His life and work (Lahore, India: NP)
Goodman LE 1972 Ibn Khaldun and Thucydides. J. Am. Orient.
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Hodgson M 1974 The venture of Islam (Chicago: University of
Chicago Press)
Hourani A 1991 Islam in European thought (Cambridge: Cam-
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Lawrence BB 1984 Ibn Khaldun and Islamic ideology (Leiden: E.J.
Lewis B 1966 The Arabs in history (New York: Harper and
Mahdi M 1957 Ibn Khaldun's philosophy of history (London: Allen
and Unwin)
Malcolm X and Haley A 2001 The Autobiography of Malcolm X
(New York: Penguin Books)
Rosenthal F 1969 Ibn Khaldun: the Muqaddimah, in Bollinger
series (ed) NJ Davord (Princeton University Press, 1969)
Southern RW 1962 Western views of Islam in the Middle Ages
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Von Martin A 1963 Sociology of the Renaissance (New York:
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Wahba M and Abousenna M 1996 Averroes and the Enlightenment
(Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books)
6George Katsiaficas
J. Biosci. 39(1), March 2014
... A statement by Ibn Khaldun, a North African historian and scholar from the 14 th century truly captured this ideology by stating that "compassion and affection for one's blood relations and relatives exist in human nature as a divine gift put into hearts of men. It makes for mutual support and aid" (Katsiaficas, 2014). Keeping this in mind, an Islamically-integrated peer support group might be more beneficial than traditional therapy or counselling, as it utilizes natural social support already available at Mosques and Islamic classes for children, especially for Muslim refugee families. ...
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Islam is a monotheistic religion and is considered a way of life offering guidance and healing both within the public and private spheres of Muslims. Culturally sensitive counseling for Muslims requires integrating culturally grounded beliefs, faith-based values, and social norms into counseling practices. The goals of this chapter are to understand the role of religion and faith-based coping in the Western framework of mental health and recovery. More specifically, we will describe the ways in which traditional Islamic teachings are being applied within informal mental health support systems, including the role of Imams, and how Islamic principles from the Qur’an can be used to develop formal models of therapy. Finally, we will be exploring an Islamically integrated peer support model for Muslim refugees, in the Canadian context and making recommendations drawing from the five pillars of Islam.
... As a matter of history, in the ancient Ibn Khaldun's writing, the world is a story of social relations where the profitability of the world exists (Khaldun, 1377). As the Islamic world failed in the 14 th century, Ibn Khaldun reproduced the Muqaddimah, which arcane as 'Introduction', a massive philosophical practice in which he sought clear grounds for a universal analysis of human beings and settlements (Katsiaficas, 2014). The civilized settlements, which is known as civilization/human growth, converges with a term identified as 'Umran'. ...
... As a fact of history, in the ancient Ibn Khaldun's manuscript, the world is a story of social relations where the profitability of the world exists [1]. As the Islamic world declined in the 14th century, Ibn Khaldun wrote the Muqaddimah, which literary as 'Introduction', a massive philosophical work in which he sought scientific grounds for a universal analysis of human beings and settlements [3]. The human settlements, which is known as civilization/human development, converges with a term known as 'Umran'. ...
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Implicitly, Arabic literatures address the notions of ‘Umran’ and urban design. In Egypt, there are two terms used to describe the art of cities. This paper aims to disengage and delineate the terminologies in the field of building human settlements. The research starts with a thoroughly inductive analysis of the concept of urban design theories and discourse. The exploratory-descriptive approach follows some development projects that use urban design for several types of settlements neither a city nor town. Finally, the paper proves that ‘Umran Design’ is not opposite to ‘urban design’. This gets a recommendation to make urban design works in cities/town as well as provides experts who are aware of the national context with opportunities to follow the design process other types of human settlements. The disengagement can give a room in applicable research projects for the Arabic expression to work on communities hold a variety of types.
Comparative study of the Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldun and Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War reveals striking similarities not only in the methods and assumptions of the two historical thinkers, but also in the conclusions to which each was driven by his experience of history. Both men are naturalists, both empircists, both exponents of a critical approach to historiography. Yet neither is a reductionist. Both seek a lesson in history, and and both believe that the message of history is to be discovered in the careful study of historical laws revealed in the play of forces which are the expression of man's political and social nature. But beyond similarities of approach, there is a deep congruity of thought between the two authors, for both believe themselves to have glimpsed the pattern, learned the lesson of history. Both Ibn Khaldun and Thucydides have been led by their study of history to a cyclical, rather than linear view of historical process; both have been led, in developing their concepts of human and political reality, to a qualified relativism, which affords them, as I endeavor to show, a cautious but by no means pessimistic historical theodicy.
Mutual Aid; a factor of evolution / Petr Kropotkin; translated from the German by Mr. Medley Note: The University of Adelaide Library eBooks @ Adelaide.
6th Ed. lst Issued as Paperback Bibliogr. s. 219-223