The arrangement of the content, the presentation and division, the clarity and accuracy of the agenda, the simple yet appropriate exceptional word-choice style give Ibn Khaldun a distinct status from his predecessors. It is true that the structure of Al-Muqaddimah and its scholarly narratives give the author and the author a dignified position. But the most fundamental aspect of this is the contribution to human thought. It provides a detailed account of Ibn Khaldun's political, sociological, economic and philosophical ideology. According to Frank Rajenthal,
Although Ibn Khaldun cannot be considered as a claimant of adequate originality in the overall consideration, al-Muqaddimah is clearly a fundamental text, a new dimension in scholarly research. It re-evaluates virtually all the common, yet distinct subjects of the larger well-known civilization in unprecedented ways. He does this by giving a comprehensive and detailed description of every subject as a functional element of human and human social organization in a fundamental and profound way. In this writing, for the first time, he presented the doctrine of development of history. This doctrine recognizes the active role of climate and geophysical regulators and the active moral and spiritual elements. Ibn Khaldun can be regarded as the discoverer of the true scope and nature of history, or at least the true founder of the social sciences, in formulating policies for national progress and decline.
Frank Rajenthal; Image Source: Encyclopedia Iranica
According to Ibn Khaldun, history is the study of human society, world civilization and the nature and change of society, as well as wildlife, socialization, factionalism, etc. History also deals with revolutions or coups carried out by one class of people, which gave birth to different types of states or countries. It studies the functions of different professions and the changes and expansion of all classes of society for the sake of human livelihood or knowledge. According to him, the rise and evolution of civilizations, cultures, states and societies in the history are controlled by geographical features, such as climate, food, landforms, etc., and by group consciousness (asabiyah).
Ibn Khaldun has noticed the clear influence of the climate and environment of a place on the character, mood, taste and culture of the individual and the nation. By quoting from history, he has reinforced the doctrine of the influence of nature on human life. He said
People living in cold regions like Siberia or people living in warm regions near Ecuador cannot achieve much success in life or contribute to human thinking.
According to him, the inhabitants of temperate regions, such as the Romans, Greeks, Persians, Arabs, etc., have contributed more to the civilization and culture than others. So extreme climatic zones are relatively underdeveloped in civilization and culture. He also remarked that the general knowledge and wisdom of man and his habits and behavior are influenced by the latitude and longitude of a place.
Ibn Khaldun explained the development of political life, that is, its origin, growth, perfection, decay and decline through two regulators - the natural sciences and the biology.
The soul and its mood are the effective regulators in the dynamics or development of biology. The functional force of the dynamics of natural science or culture is a special quality or feature of the human soul called social unity (asabiyah), which gives natural sympathy to human mutual kinship or friendship for the general defense and existence of man. According to Ibn Khaldun, one of the elements in the formation of the state and society is the organized party consciousness inspired by religious ideology. This is what he called Asabiyah. Note, however, that he did not regard religion as the primary element of civilization. In this case he is the first representative of the intellectual practice of religion, as this ideological school appeared in the West five hundred years after him.
It is true that religious consciousness and the advent of prophets can accelerate and accelerate political movements, but without any clear political support they (i.e. religion-philosophy) do not succeed in this world. Numerous examples for this doctrine are found in history. The most notable example of this is the supernatural success of Islam. However, in the modern world, party consciousness or homogenous goals and objectives are more effective in building society and state than any other element. In societies like Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, the United States, etc., it is clearly noticeable.
ৃতিকScenario in Switzerland; Source: Planet Ware
Ibn Khaldun also spoke about the evolution of human civilization. According to him, human civilization gradually evolved from the rural and nomadic level to urban and urban life. Of course, the final stage is to reach the empire. The simple and natural way of life of the nomadic life of the desert was gradually replaced by the rich and luxurious culture. This change in quality of life has brought the previous working life to a standstill. Gradually it brought human heroic masculinity to the level of flexible femininity. In such a situation, those people or rulers cannot protect their country and society from the attack of external enemies. They then recruited mercenaries to defend the state.
Over time, the state can no longer survive and its demise occurs. The rise, development, decline and decline of the Arab nation supports the above doctrine of Ibn Khaldun. Of course, the opposite can also happen. When the apathy of the people makes the ruler arbitrary, the people start a movement. And this movement makes the state and society fast and dynamic again. Ibn Khaldun is one of the proponents of the sociological trend of the modern age. The state has a biological structure, he said. Like human life, it has birth, youth, old age, decay and death.
The scope of Ibn Khaldun's study of history is very wide. He has provided valuable information on the historical literature of the hierarchical system, the development of jurisprudence, various religious political communities, etc. It is true that his world history does not discuss the history of northern Spain or the east of Persia, but within that limited geographical scope he has given a detailed history of both Muslim and non-Muslim communities. To compose a non-Muslim history, he made extensive use of the writings of European writers, such as the Roman historian Orosius and the Jewish historian Josephine.
According to some scholars, Ibn Khaldun had no precedent for fundamental thought and doctrine, and no successor has appeared in the Islamic world. However, the Egyptian scholar and historian al-Maqrizi (1384-1442 AD), who attended Ibn Khaldun's lectures in Cairo, is thought to have been greatly influenced by his ideology. On the other hand, the medieval modern European historians Machiavelli, Vico, Gibbon, etc., are clearly the intellectual successors of Ibn Khaldun.
In fact, Ibn Khaldun, endowed with world-experience and immense genius, has profoundly influenced later European writers with his foresight and analytical powers. It is true that the Muslim world has not developed the necessary talent and environment to accept him. In this case, Charles Isabi rightly said,
Ibn Khaldun's originality has been more praised and recognized in the West than in the East.
D.S. Margoliath's commentary,
For most Arab historians, it is true that their writings were either reproductions of the writings of their predecessors, or only abbreviations or sometimes translations. But the writings of Abdur Rahman Khaldun or Ibn Khaldun are notable exceptions.