The North African Muslim thinker, Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) was significantly influential for those who are studying on political philosophy, philosophy of history and certainly sociology etc. Because, Ibn Khaldun’s studying or discussions were considered inter-disciplinary. In his great work “Muqaddime” he tried to approach to politics, history, and society in a different and authentic way. Arguably, Ibn Khaldun’s ideas, concepts cannot constrained in a certain epoch or a certain culture/ society. For some, Ibn Khaldun works are universal and he is a modern figure.
For this paper, I will try to summarize his political theory which basically include concepts of “asabiyah”, “state” and “riyasah – mulk”. According to Ibn Khaldun, state is like an organic creature which has born, growth, decline, and ultimately die. Ibn Khaldun’s organic understanding of the state was quite influential and can be considered as an objection to prevailing understanding of that state is a mechanical notion. Regard with his challenge in his time to decline, he came up with the idea of state is organic. Accordingly, dynasty has basically five stages in its life: in the first generation uncivilized rural life (badawa) and its characteristics still preserved. The second generation has begun to gain characteristics of a strong state thank to mulk. The third stage, state under the control of the consolidated- powerful ruler/ mülk who often holds the power his hands alone (istibdat). Next generation who has forgotten their badawa and past hard conditions and engaged with the flourished, welfare and prosperity of the state organizations. Also asabiyah was weaken. In the following stage, ease, laxity reaches its peak and asabiyah completely collapsed, and they forget about defense, attack and pursuit of enemy (Rosenthal, 1962, 88). In fifth stage, state begun to close to a hard end. Administers, rulers waste the accumulated prosperity of previous one. Meritocracy and the military corrupt gradually.
Asabiya in ibn khalduns theory ıs based on the authority and power ibn khaldun do believe that the asabıya is the main power of every authority and mulk asabiya as a concept is translated in Arabic it means agressivism but ibn khaldun means with it the loyalty in a term and the aggressive loyalty ın the other term so every member of a tripe do have a loyalty which is aggressive and they are ready to fight for it. Asabiya can be classified into three parts blood and feelings and organizations which can make any one of the three parts be an essential level for moving and ruling and havıng a reis and protect him which can lead to an monarchy or a dynasty autocracy the asabiya of blood can be seen in the Arabic tribes asabiya before Islam and what makes quraish be the main Arab tribe that all arab was accepting due to its position in trade and religion which the prophet his one did accept and the society did accept for several decades due to the asabiya of the arabs until the demographic changes happens into the Islamic society and the asabiya has also changed.
Briefly, Ibn Khaldun used the term riyasah for referring the natural consequences which of any tribe asabiyah and tribe as politically and socially an organization which also brings necessity of a leader, ruler. In that sense, riyasah should be understood as primus inter pares. Therefore, mechanism of riyasah within asabiyah works on horizontal base whereas mulk (more suppressed and comprehensive ruling) works on vertical base.
Ahmet Enes BAŞKAYA