Ibn Khaldun: Scientific Instruction as Prolonging the Polity’s Life.
Shareef, Umar A.
- At a time when various forces threaten the continued life of democracy, Ibn Khaldun’s writings on education offer renewed importance to building longer lasting political regimes. In this paper, I argue that Ibn Khaldun views education as a crucial element for prolonging the polity and postponing the inevitable fall of dynasties. In the first chapter, I open with a discussion that situates his views ... read morewithin three broad debates in the literature: the first on Ibn Khaldun’s Muqaddima’s normative or descriptive nature; the second on its pessimistic or optimistic vision of human history; and the third on the role of statecraft. The second chapter identifies education as a crucial element for realizing the state’s ultimate objective: securing the context necessary for achieving human perfection. It also shows how scientific instruction strengthens the political well-being of the state by educating future leaders as well as perfecting the intellectual and moral character of the polity. In the third chapter, I conclude with a discussion of the ideal instructor and Ibn Khaldun’s proposed teaching pedagogy. My investigation has the potential to stimulate new dialogues between Islamic and Western political thought and contribute towards expanding the political options available to Muslims within their own heritage. Ultimately, I contribute to the de-parochialization of western-dominated political theory by seriously contextualizing Ibn Khaldun within the Islamic tradition.read less