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The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History. (Abridged Edition) [Hardcover]

Ibn Khaldûn , N. J. Dawood , Bruce Lawrence , Franz Rosenthal
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

21 Jun 1981

The Muqaddimah, often translated as "Introduction" or "Prolegomenon," is the most important Islamic history of the premodern world. Written by the great fourteenth-century Arab scholar Ibn Khaldûn (d. 1406), this monumental work laid down the foundations of several fields of knowledge, including philosophy of history, sociology, ethnography, and economics. The first complete English translation, by the eminent Islamicist and interpreter of Arabic literature Franz Rosenthal, was published in three volumes in 1958 as part of the Bollingen Series and received immediate acclaim in America and abroad. A one-volume abridged version of Rosenthal's masterful translation was first published in 1969.

This new edition of the abridged version, with the addition of a key section of Rosenthal's own introduction to the three-volume edition, and with a new introduction by Bruce B. Lawrence, will reintroduce this seminal work to twenty-first-century students and scholars of Islam and of medieval and ancient history.


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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Abridged edition (21 Jun 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691099464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691099460
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,924,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

From review of Princeton's original edition: "Undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever been created by any mind in any time or place . . . the most comprehensive and illuminating analysis of how human affairs work that has been made anywhere."--Arnold J. Toynbee, Observer

From review of Princeton's original edition: "[N. J. Dawood] has, by skillful abridgement and deft but unobtrusive editing, produced an attractive and manageable volume, which should make the essential ideas of Ibn Khaldûn accessible to a wide circle of readers."--Times Literary Supplement

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It should be known that history, in matter of fact, is informan about human social organization, which itself is identical with world civilization. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful work that is good for all times 20 Jan 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Hello.
The English interpretation of Ibn Khaldun's historical works should be read by all those who wish to gain a better understanding into the currents that drive human civilization. The scholar's words, although they were written down over six hundred years ago, contain insights that are remarkable and wisdom that will provide the reader with a fresh outlook on the world around them.
The work deals with the various conditions that underly the rise, maintenence, maturity and decline of civilization and of the political entities that are created by people. The role of the "dynasty" (government) in the economy, the effect of taxation, the circulation of wealth, and other aspects of the political economy are set down in great detail.
Ibn Khaldun describes the stages that every civilization passes from the turmoil of the inception of political entities, through the stability of the "middle period," to the "senility" and decline. Where the pursuit of luxury and ease in a sociey dominates and results in the eventual death of the dynasty. His parallel of the life of a society and with the life of an individual is a thing that is thought provoking.
I hope more people will read this book and thereby experience the genius of Ibn Khaldun.
Peace,
Sharif M. Sazzad
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A monument in world literature 17 Jan 2012
Format:Paperback
This book is living proof that Arab intellectual thought has contributed towards the advancement of mankind.

Quite simply, this work displays such passionate enthusiasm in its quest for rational knowledge, and investigates such a broad spectrum of human behavior, that it has rarely been equaled in its scope. I wouldn't hesitate to say that it's one of the very few books that can change your outlook on life. Ibn Khaldun spent most of his lifetime writing the Muqaddimah, and it stands for all to see as the legacy of a genius.

Of particular importance in my opinion is his division of human society into urban and rural communities. This crucial distinction makes the book one of the founding documents of sociology. Moreover, its brilliant examination of political economy develops ideas that can be traced hundreds of years later in the works of Montesquieu, Smith, Marx, and Engels. I also found that even after 600 years, the description of Bedouin society was still very relevant.

I strongly encourage you to acquire a copy of this epic work. Don't be put off by its age. After reading a few pages, you will quickly realize that you've uncovered a rare jewel.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterful work that is good for all times 20 Jan 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Hello.
The English interpretation of Ibn Khaldun's historical works should be read by all those who wish to gain a better understanding into the currents that drive human civilization. The scholar's words, although they were written down over six hundred years ago, contain insights that are remarkable and wisdom that will provide the reader with a fresh outlook on the world around them.
The work deals with the various conditions that underly the rise, maintenence, maturity and decline of civilization and of the political entities that are created by people. The role of the "dynasty" (government) in the economy, the effect of taxation, the circulation of wealth, and other aspects of the political economy are set down in great detail.
Ibn Khaldun describes the stages that every civilization passes from the turmoil of the inception of political entities, through the stability of the "middle period," to the "senility" and decline. Where the pursuit of luxury and ease in a sociey dominates and results in the eventual death of the dynasty. His parallel of the life of a society and with the life of an individual is a thing that is thought provoking.
I hope more people will read this book and thereby experience the genius of Ibn Khaldun.
Peace,
Sharif M. Sazzad
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
Reviewed by Charles Mugisha - University of Birmingham

This is one book I recommend to any student of History and any university lecturers of history who have no knowledge of Ibn Khaldun(1332-1406). The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History - introduces us to Ibn Khaldun - one of the greatest Arab Muslim historians. He studied the structure of society in history and his insights are of trans-cultural significance. Ibn Khaldun had an influence in the intricate politics of North Africa and Spain, and he was also a distinguished jurist and practicing judge, however his fame rests on his achievement as a historian and, more particularly, on the introductory volume to his "History of the World".
In this introduction, Ibn Khaldun shows a certain familiarity with pre-Islamic and Biblical material and makes references to developments in the Western Christian world.

He argues that humanity is divided into two groups: "natural" and "necessary" groups. The `natural' group as the nomads and the `necessary' group as the settlers. Ibn Khaldun observed that the nomads possess the physical and mental advantages of relative closeness to the state of nature. He goes on to say that nomads will, under the impact of a religious message and with the aid of their intense feeling of solidarity, grow into a political force which the members of urban settlements, weakened by the complexity of their lives and the luxuries to which they have become accustomed, always prove unable to resist. The latter fall prey to the invader, who in turn becomes a willing victim to the developmental cycle that has corrupted his predecessors.

According to Ibn Khaldun, the average life span of a Bedouin power is four generations.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Thanks for the knowledge.
This book can open the reader's eyes, Ibn Khaldun showed that Arabs and berbers had Civilisation and knowledge. Thanks for this book.
Published 7 months ago by Youssef Riadi
1.0 out of 5 stars Problem
I didn't recevive this book that I bought on 20 dec 2013.
Best regards
Stefano Figuera

Prof. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Stefano Figuera
5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional book
This is a magnificent book, I highly recommend it to all.

Ibn Khaldun was an exceptionally bright man (he is considered the father of economics and sociology by some,... Read more
Published 14 months ago by A customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless Masterpiece, Excellent
This is one of the greatest book in history written at a time when barely a few people on the planet knew how to read or write. Read more
Published on 29 Mar 2010 by DMJ MIAH
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT BOOK
My title for this review says it all. This is a great book and will definitely make the reader of this book a more informed person in this world.
Published on 11 Aug 2009 by T. E. Samad
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This is an excellent piece of work, I thought that the christain NJ Dawood who is known for his inaccurate translation of the Quran, might ruin it but he didn't. Read more
Published on 30 Oct 2007 by gnostic
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless classic concerning theoretical history
Had I not read this book, I would be much less educated than I am today.
George Childs
Published on 2 July 1999
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