The Achievements of Ibn Khaldun

Ibn Khaldun
ID 29432681 © Georgios Kollidas |

The history of Islam is full of some of the greatest scholars that humanity has ever seen. One of the greatest Muslim scholars is none other than Ibn Khaldun. Born as Abu Zayd Abd ar-Rahman ibn Muhammad ibn Khaldun al-Hadrami in modern-day Tunisia on the 27th of May, 1332, Ibn Khaldun is one of the greatest scholars in Islam.

An all-rounder, he was an Islamic scholar, historian, economist, and social scientist. He is so revered in the realm of knowledge that he is recognised as the father of demography, sociology, historiography, and economics. Scholars from all over the world have agreed that Ibn Khaldun is one of the greatest minds to have ever walked this earth.

A man of profuse intellectual pursuits, Ibn Khaldun wrote several books but one of the most brilliant of his works is the one named Muqaddimah. Also called Introduction, Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldun, or Ibn Khaldun’s Prolegomena, the Muqaddimah is a book that took him half a year to write. He wrote the book in 1337 in Arabic and it is a book that focuses on the early perspective of universal history.

Muqaddimah is so sophisticated that scholars of today consider it to be a pioneering work that focused on demography, social sciences of sociology, and cultural history but that was not all. The book also touched on economics, historiography, ecology, Islamic theology, philosophy of history, and political theory. The influence of the book was so far-reaching that it laid the foundation for what is now Darwinism and social Darwinism.

He also wrote other books like World History, Kitab al-Ibar (Book of Lessons), and Historiography of the Berbers and the Maghreb. His books remain relevant to date and are used in various institutions globally.

We are fortunate to know a lot about Ibn Khaldun today because of his very detailed autobiography. In his book Muqaddimah, Ibn Khaldun posited that it is our ability to think that influences the way we behave and he related this to the development and patterns of society. Today, his works keep receiving generous praise and admiration. Famous British historian, philosopher of history, and researcher Arnold Toynbee stated that the Muqaddimah is the greatest work in its class.

His contributions to modern economics are so fundamental that he is still quoted by modern economists till this very day. Ibn Khaldun worked on different parts of economics like taxation, production, incentives, the theory of value, and foreign trade.

For an intellectual giant of Ibn Khaldun’s stature, it is not a surprise that he keeps getting recognition even in the 21st century. For example, Ibn Haldun Universitesi was opened in his honour in Turkey in 2007 and understandably, the institution focuses on the social sciences. In his home country of Tunisia, the ten dinar bill has his image on it. Ibn Khaldun is another shining example of what Islam admonishes the believers to do in the pursuit and application of knowledge for the promotion of Islam, the praise of Allah (SWT), and for the benefit of humanity. May Allah ease all our affairs, aameen.