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Notes on the political career of Ibn Khaldun

Notes on the political career of Ibn Khaldun

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Notes on the political career of Ibn Khaldun

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  1. Notes on the political career of Ibn Khaldun Carl Ernst Introduction to Islamic Civilization

  2. In Fez, round one 1352: appointed secretary (age 20) in the government of Abu `Inan, Marinid prince, wrote royal proclamations Diplomatic contacts with North Africa and Spain Imprisoned for nearly 2 years for intrigues

  3. Fez, Morocco

  4. The basic problem • “the region was ruled by tyrants whose personal qualities were decisive in determining the character of the communities they ruled. To be active in politics under such conditions meant establishing some kind of relation with one of these tyrants, and one’s political rule depended largely on how this relation stood.” --Muhsin Mahdi, Ibn Khaldun’s Philosophy of History, 38

  5. Fez, continued After murder of Abu `Inan, supports brother Abu Salim, becomes chief of Chancery and high court “Abu Salim did not become the wise and strong sovereign he had expected him to become, but a weak, shortsighted, and illiberal tyrant who had no other interest beyond preserving his power” (Mahdi, 39) 1362: he leaves for Granada

  6. Granada Becomes close friend of wazir Ibn al-Khatib, who says, “he commands respect, is able,… unruly, strong-willed, and full of ambitions for climbing to the highest position of leadership” Ibn Khaldun tries to train the ruler, Muhammad V, in logic and philosophy Ibn al-Khatib considers this a serious error of judgment and makes him leave

  7. Grenada [Gharnata]

  8. Unfortunate events Muhammad V becomes a tyrant Ibn al-Khatib is imprisoned, condemned, and executed Ibn Khaldun suppresses all reference to this episode in his autobiography

  9. A new venture in North Africa • 1364: Hafsid ruler, Abu `Abd Allah, makes Ibn Khaldun chamberlain in Bijaya (modern Bougie; see Ibn Battuta, pp. 33-34, 40 years earlier) • He attempts “to be an advisor to a tyrant and create an efficient state based on moderation” (Mahdi, 45), much like Aristotle with Alexander, or Plato with the tyrant of Syracuse, Dionysius; failure results.

  10. Retreat from politics 10 years research and teaching Although he obtained the allegiance of Hilali tribes for local rulers After a bad experience in Granada, retires to Castle of Ibn Salama for 4 years to write the Introduction to history, seeking the causes of historical events First draft of book one complete in 1377 flees political chaos for Egypt 1382

  11. Abandoning the political project “he abandoned his early hopes of reshaping society through political action and ceased to consider it necessary to continue his attempts to realize the city of his hopes through a reformed ruler who through his own seizure of political power” (Mahdi, 26)

  12. Meeting with Timur, 1402 Timur’s objective: to find the weaknesses of Egypt and the West, with a view to conquest – a purpose resisted by Ibn Khaldun Ibn Khaldun’s description of North Africa probably betrayed no weaknesses, thus making its conquest less desirable Ibn Khaldun is permitted to leave for Cairo

  13. Timur’s tomb (Samarqand)

  14. Timur

  15. The role of the philosopher A solitary figure in an imperfect society Study and teaching in the hope of finding qualified students Acting like a physician to the body politic A “secret king” (Mahdi, 131)