Notes on Ibn Khaludn's Life
By Muhammad Hozien
- Enan, Mohammad A., Ibn Khaldun: His life and Work, P. 3. The author questions Ibn
Khalduns Arab origin. Although he does admit that he came from an influential
family, which was politically active in Andalusian affairs. He also admits that the Arabs
were the ones who held the authoritative positions while the Berbers were the ones who
bore the grunt of the battles. Thus admitting that he is of Arab origin. The author does
reluctantly admit to this but seems to leave it up to the reader to assume so. See: p.
4-5. Enan does raise two points to support his claim that Ibn Khaldun is not an Arab. One
in which some Berber tribes used false Arab Identity to gain political favor and
positions. The second point is the attacks of Ibn Khaldun against Arabs in his history.
The false identity would be valid however at the time that Ibn Khalduns ancestors
left Andulsia and moved to Tunisia they did not change their claim to Arab ancestry. Even
in the times when Berbers were ruling, the reigns of Al-Marabats and al-Mowahids, et. al.
The Ibn Khalduns did not reclaim their Berber heritage. The second point would be true if
Ibn Khaldun only attacked Arabs and Arabs in general. He however attacked the
destabilizing elements which in his case were Arab tribes that were used by the Fatimids
to destabilize the Maghrib. Even if one was to criticize his own people that would not
make him an outsider. Ibn Khaldun throughout his life had sought stability and power to
achieve that stability no matter what it cost him. His attacks on the Arab rabble rousers
is an attack on those who would cause instability.
- Ibid. P. 2.
- Ibid. P. 8. He would later write a detailed autobiography
(Tareef) while in Egypt which is part of his book of "Universal History"
Kitab al-Ibar wa-Diwan al-Mubtada wa-l-Khabar fi Ayyam al-Arab
wal-Ajam wal-Barbar wa man asarahum min dhawi as-Sultan al-Akbar. See:
Fischel, Walter J. Ibn Khaldun in Egypt, 1967.
- Ibid. P. 9.
- Ibid. P. 10.
- Ibid. P. 12.
- Ibid. P. 17.
- Ibid. P. 17.
- Ibid. P. 18. Here Ibn Khaldun would be promoted to the position of
Secretary and a member of his private council despite his youth. Even though he was well
treated that did not stop him from conspiring against the Sultan.
- Ibid. P. 19.
- Ibid. P. 20. He would write a poem that would finally convince the
Sultan to release him, however he would die before fulfilling the promise to do so.
- He is Mansur bin Sulaiman a decedent of Yaacoub ibn Abd al-Haq. Ibid.
- Ibid. P. 22.
- Ibid. P. 24.
- Ibid. P. 25-27. Wazir Omar bin Abdullah is the son-in-law of Sultan
Abu Salem, his father was the former Wazir in the court of Banu Mareen. Ibn Khaldun was
refused permission to go to Tunisia for fear that he might meet the enemies of Wazir Omar
- Ibid. P. 28-32. Sultan Muhammad remained in Fez for sometime and
developed quite close relationship with Ibn Khaldun. When Sultan Muhammad would attempt to
regain his throne he would leave Ibn Khaldun in charge of his family in Fez.
- Ibid. P. 33.
- Ibid. P. 34. He rightly declined the offer for who could trust Pedro.
- Ibid. P. 35. The gift was a magnificent Mule with saddle and bridle
adorned with gold.
- Ibid. P. 36 - 49.
- Ibid. P. 51.
- Ibid. P. 55 - 56.
- Ibid. P. 57.
- Ibid. P. 63 - 67.
- Ibid. P. 69 -72.
- Ibid. P. 72 - 74.
- Ibid. P. 75.
- Ibid. P. 78 - 79.
- Fischel, Walter J. Ibn Khaldun in Egypt. 1967 P. 42.
- Ibid. P. 44. Ibn Muflih is a Hanbalite Qadi of Damascus. Ibn Khaldun
mentions that Tamerlane had asked about him personally. Ibn Khaldun was advanced in age at
this time and was famous. It was also Tamerlanes style to seek scholars so his name
might have been mentioned as one of those scholars who are in Damascus. Fischal mentions
that Tamerlane made use of spies and agents working for him throughout the lands that he
would conquer. Fischal also merinos that Ibn Khaldun went in a personal capacity to meet
with Tamerlane. This could be so, it could also be that the Leaders of Damascus have
wanted it to be known to Tamerlane that Ibn Khaldun is acting upon his own will just in
case he fails in diplomacy. The gates of Damascus were not opened and he had to be lowered
by rope. (P.46)
- Ibid. P. 46 -48.
- Ibid. P. 49.
- Ibid. P. 65. Hajji Khalifah, the author of Kashf az-Zunun and Ibn
Arabshah do suggest that Ibn Khaldun promised to serve in Tamerlanes court
contingent on his return to Cairo to get his books which he spent his entire life
compiling them. Hajji Khalfiah goes so far as to suggest that Ibn Khaldun died in
Samarkand. P. 62 -64.
- Ibid. P. 65. Ibn Khaldun mentioned this statement in asking for his
return for his mule. Note that Ibn Khalduns mastery of courtly mannerism. This is a
result of years of experience with a variety of courts Muslims and Non-Muslims.
- Ibid P. 67-68. There were some who it was in their interest to have
the position of the chief Malikite Qadi, they conspired with their contacts close to the
Sultan Faraj to have Ibn Khaldun dismissed. It would seem that Ibn Khaldun also had some
influence in which he would be restored to the position.
- The author says at the end of his introduction: "I completed the
composition and draft of this first part, before revision and correction, in a period of
five months ending in the middle of the year 779 [November, 1377]. Rosenthal, The
Muqaddimah, P. 481, Vol. 3, also Mokaddimat Ibn Khaldoun P. 416.
- due to the fact that they believe that the conqueror is superior to
them in every way. Thus in order for them to succeeded where they failed they must emulate
them in every detail down to the dress and mode of behavior. See Rosenthal, The
Muqaddimah, P. 299-300, Vol. 1.