Ibn Khaldoun seems to be living with us [Archives:2008/1176/Opinion]

July 28 2008

Abdullah Awbal
States undergo the same stages undergone by man. They undergo stages of youth, prosperity and bloom, and then progress toward senescence, according to the viewpoint of the great Arab sociologist Abdurrahman Ibn Khaldoun. His theory of the three stages and climate's effect on the performance of peoples, according to August, are merely a kind of substantial evidence in support of words said by the great Arab sociologist.

Despite the fact that the Theory of Fanaticism and the Khaldouni State were the product of observing development of the Arab Moroccan Society, having a thorough glance at Ibn Khaldoun's description and conclusions takes the Yemeni reader to a state of homogeneity between those facts and our current social situation.

Our society seems to be progressing according to the striking features and development of a society, which Ibn Khaldoun determined more than seven centuries ago. The Khaldouni Theory was not experimented on the ground although it was a condensed summary of the development of state and governance in the Arab Muslim society until the sociologist's era.

The Arab society hasn't witnessed fundamental developments in the sphere of governance and exercise of power since Ibn Khaldoun's era. Of course, the modern western state was imitated via institutionally formal matrixes, however, the mentality of emirate, Imamate and snappish monarch still is remarkable in our environments.

Even when the absolute majority is achieved, fanaticism remains stronger in the tribal climate. A powerful tribe usually has loyal sub-tribes and obtains good entitlements from the state's treasury. When the state prospers and people move from the nomadic life to urbanization, as well as excessively use unnecessary things, plus the necessary ones and live in luxury, the tribal fanaticism weakens and the tribe begins to lose its power. Demands of tribal allegiance increase the burden on the state, thereby resulting in high taxation rates, and the state's treasury becomes unable to cover expenses of tribal allegiances. Consequently, weakness and fragility grows and new fanatic entities come into existence, begin competing with the ruler and think about assuming power by any possible means.

A state is the primary tradesman and power generates money. This is an abnormal earning of livelihood. An Arab national doesn't favor productive work, nor does he contribute to production, and his subsistence is on the tip of his spear. In many times, governance stands against urban residents and levy heavy taxes on them. Consequently, this allows primitive and nomadic people to attack and loot cities.

Urban residents easy to control:

Urban residents are usually craftsmen and small tradesmen, which is why they are usually seen as weak people and easy to control. In fact they are not weak, but weakness is imposed on them because they are neither powerful nor qualified to engage in confrontations with their governments.

In addition to senescence, these states may fall through defeat by other powerful states.

As a result, this is due to weaken their status and sovereignty, and encourage other fanatic groups to revolt against the ruling regimes. They can fall as a result of economic crisis, as the states' treasuries may not be able to cover growing spending and expenses needed by loyal tribes, which are expected to organize rebellious movements against the government if it doesn't meet their demands.

It is unwise to hurry up in ignoring real changes, even if they were not fundamental, in the spheres of social and cultural structure, contemporary communication means and the roles of armies and wealth in defeating enemies and adapting with the contemporary forms of institutional organization. In fact, what happens is merely a reproduction of the traditional society. To have a glance at Ibn Khaldoun's Theory necessitates connecting it with contemporary developments while the main reason here requires absorbing the method via which one can influence the social structure and make fundamental changes in a way encouraging building a civil society coping with demands of the time and contributing to its development.

Source: Al-Masdar.com