Multicultural the outcome of the two previous civilizations,

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into Asabiyyah and Umran concepts in Ibn Khaldun’s Muqaddimah



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            This study
reads into the Father of Sociology’s renowned book “Muqaddimah of Ibn
Khaldun.” Where Ibn Khaldun discusses his theories of culture and
civilization, setting forth his theory of Asabiyyah and Umran. Following the
guides of Ibn Khaldun’s theory, this study aims to study the physical formation
of a two civilization that has taken place in the medieval Constantinople and
the latter Istanbul of the Ottoman empire within the same geographical limits.

            Ibn Khaldun
wrote in his Muqaddimah about the social context of each land-dwelling
gatherings, formulating a cyclical pattern of civilizations. This pattern, as
stated in the first part of the study, explains the rise and fall of each
civilization and the effect of their physical environment of the repeated cycle
and the possibility of riding civilizations’ outcomes to proceed within the
same curve of prosperity.

            The first
part of this study focuses on Ibn Khaldun and his book, following an
examination of the theory of Asabiyyah and Umran. This part questions the
accuracy of this theory and its applicability on historical civilizations
extent. While the second part of the study reads into the history of the Greek
and Romans whom have taken the rule of that locus, followed by the Seljuks and
their background existence and their march towards the west. The last part of
this study will be shedding light upon the physical environment of the Ottomans
afterwards, reading into the Asabiyyah theory and its relation to the outcome
of the two previous civilizations, questioning the extent of relatability of
the theory and the physical environmental formation of that era.



Interdisciplinary Architecture studies:

theoretical with empirical sectors is something we, architects, can relate to
following the history of Architecture and the theories that were built upon
conceptual approaches that turned up to be empirically produced eventually. Yet,
integration between Sociology and Architecture didn’t seem to take place until
recently. The problem stated by Judith Blau was that “the theory that guides the research and that is
produced by research is pitched at too abstract a level to be of much use,”1
which doesn’t seem to fit with the empirical outcomes of Architecture. Until
the world started turning into a small village, with globalization trending
out, and the sources of knowledge becoming more wide-range and more
approachable and accessible, only then Architects started highly benefitting from
the Social studies into their sector. While psychiatrics can help architects
understand persons, sociologists have the ability to help architects understand
societies on a more complex level.


Ibn Khaldun:

Ibn Khaldun, a historian from North
Africa, a Tunisian-born, Andalusian-Hadrami origin. After graduating from the
University of Zaytouna he lived in various cities of North Africa, where he
went to Biskra and Granada and Bejaia and Tlemcen, he also went to Egypt, where
Sultan Zaher Barquq honored him by granting him the rule of Al-Malkiya district.
He died in 1406 at the age of seventy-six years and was buried near Bab Al-Nasr
in northern Cairo, leaving a legacy that still remains today. Ibn Khaldun is
the founder of modern sociology and a scholar of history and economics.

Khaldun have worked in the regime of many countries in the Northern West of
Africa, and witnessed so many coups through his life. It wasn’t until he moved
to Egypt that he started sparing more time for learning and writing.



            The introduction is a book written
by Ibn Khaldun in 1377 as a “preface” to his greater book “Book of lessons,
Record of Beginnings and Events in the history of the Arabs and Berbers and
their Powerful Contemporaries”. The Muqaddimah was subsequently regarded as a
separate encyclopaedic work, dealing with all fields of knowledge from the
Shari’a, history, geography, economics, architecture, sociology, politics and
medicine. In which he addressed the conditions of human beings and the differences
of their nature and environment and their impact on humans. He also discussed
the evolution of nations and peoples and the emergence of the state and the
reasons for its collapse, focusing on the interpretation of the concept of Asabiyyah.
In this book, Ibn Khaldun preceded other thinkers and theorists by many basics
and ideas to be considered the founder of sociology, preceding the French
philosopher Auguste Conte.

Muqaddimah can be summed up in a set of theories and foundations developed by
Ibn Khaldun to make him the true founder of sociology contrary to the claims of
Western scientists that the true founder is the French Auguste Conte, and by
reading the Muqaddimah, three basic concepts confirms that, that human
societies are thriving according to specific laws and these laws allow some
predictability of the future if studied and interpreted well, and that this
science (the science of Umran as he called) is not affected by individual
incidents, but affected communities as a whole, and finally Ibn Khaldun states
that these laws can be applied to communities living in different times,
provided that the structures are the same in all. Thus, Ibn Khaldun was
considered the founder of sociology and the first to put it on its modern basis
though the Muqaddimah. He has reached remarkable theories in this science about
the concepts of Umran and Asabiyyah, the building of the states, the phases of
its rise and its fall.


& Umran concepts:

            The law or concept of Asabiyyah and
Umran is the jewel that of which the book of Muqaddimah took its special care
in the field of Sociology. This concept is applied to different human societies,
reading between its prosperity and rise, and its fall and demise. This is the
law that Ibn Khaldun believed is the crux of rising communities and
civilizations. Unlike the “strata of society” that’s believed to be the centre of
historical philosophy according to the Marxism, or the “movement of life
between birth and death”
by Oswald Spengler, or the “conflict of ideas” by Friedrich Hegel, or “the
ability to respond to the natural or humanistic challenges” by Arnold Toynbee2.
The Asabiyyah concept states that the tribe or the nomadic society and its
Asabiyyah “bond” is the starter pack of a civilization, that leads towards Umran “prosperity”,
that in case of achieving, causes consequently a decline in the Asabiyyah in a
civilization, which leads to the downfall of it, and so it goes following a
certain pattern of rise and fall. Ibn Khaldun also states that the civilization
that risen from religions has thrived further more than those who have risen
upon Asabiyyah alone, claiming that when Asabiyyah is catalyzed by religions,
it gains more power and control.




paper aims to study the context of the rise of the Byzantine civilization and
their urban production in the far west of Asia, compared with the Seljuks
rising in middle Asia, according to the theory of Asabiyyah and Umran.
Furthermore, the paper then studies the outcomes of the urban production of the
Ottomans, the civilization that took place after the collision of the two



availability of the context of rising of each civilization within the research
scope and their urban productions.

possibility to address a sociological philosophical theory on physical



Ibn Khaldun. Al-Muqaddimah.

Described in the Introduction section.

Abu-Hantash, Tawfiq F. Ibn
Khaldun and the City: A Study of the Physical Formation of Medieval Cairo.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1989:

“This essay is an application of Ibn
Khaldun’s theories of culture and civilization to a study of the physical
formation of medieval Cairo. The study is based on the premise that the city is
an historical process governed by an underlying set of cultural conditions.
Those conditions manifest themselves in the physical form of the city.” Tawfiq Abu-Hantash.


Abu-Hantash’s study covers the same
focal points of this paper. The application of Ibn Khaldun’s theory on a
physical formation on a historical city and civilization are the common fields
that the two studies share. Abu-Hantash followed a citation of Ibn Khaldun in
his Muqaddimah book where he mentions Cairo city to be a concrete example of
his Asabiyyah and Umran theory. Abu-Hantash also benefited from the historian Al-Maqrizi
as a source of historical information to further apply his investigation on the
city of Cairo.

Jones, Paul. The
Sociology of Architecture: Constructing Identities. Liverpool University
Press; 2011.

“Focusing on the mobilization of
architecture in periods of social change, The Sociology of Architecture uses
critical sociological frameworks to assess the distinctive force added to
political projects by architects and their work.” Paul Jones.

The politically-led architecture
products of different nations, and their effect of constructing identities in
different social contexts.

Dietrich, Kurt. Sociology
and Architectural Design. RAIC SYLLABUS.

“The design of our environment,
with the exception of some current trends, has largely been essential in
defining our culture and sub-cultures, while providing a long-term replication
of cultural ideals in built form.” Kurt Dietrich.



research will be taking a Hermeneutic methodology, analyzing “Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldun” book and
interpreting its data to extract the needed information to apply on a Case
Study of Istanbul (Constantinople) as an Observational methodology.



Ibn Khaldun. Al-Muqaddimah.

El-Sayed, Walid Ahmed; Ibn
Khaldun. Philosopher of Social Architecture and Materialistic Architecture.
Alsharq Al-Awsat Journal, Arabic; 2001.

Bin Haj Tahir, Naji. Urbanization
and Civilization for Ibn Khaldun. Alrashad Magazine, Arabic.

Abu-Hantash, Tawfiq F. Ibn
Khaldun and the City: A Study of the Physical Formation of Medieval Cairo.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology; 1989.

Almamori, Hamza Salman. Architecture and Society. University of


Judith. The Context and Content of Collaboration: Architecture and
Sociology. Taylor & Francis, Ltd. on behalf of the Association of
Collegiate Schools of Architecture, Inc.; Journal of Architectural Education
(1984-), Vol. 45, No. 1 (Nov., 1991), pp. 36-40.

2 Emadduldin
Khalil – The Summary of Ibn Khaldun’s Idea About the State, a meeting in Hiwar
channel published on YouTube.

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