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Abu Zayd 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Khaldun al-Hadrami (May 27, 1332/ah732 to March 19, 1406/ah808) was a famous Arab historiographer, historian and proto-sociologist.
Born at Tunis, Ibn Khaldun studied the various branches of Arabic learning with great success. In 1352 he obtained employment under the Marlnid sultan Abu ban (Fans I) at Fez. In the beginning of 1356, his integrity having been suspected, he was thrown into prison until the death of Abu man in 1358, when the vizier al-Hasan ibn Omar set him at liberty and reinstated him in his rank and offices. He here continued to render great service to Abu Salem (Ibrahim III), Abu man's successor, but, having offended the prime minister, he obtained permission to emigrate to Spain. Ibn al Ahmar, who had been greatly indebted to his good offices when an exile at the court of Abu Salem, received Ibn Khaldun with great cordiality at Granada. The favours he received from the sovereign excited the jealousy of the vizier, and he was driven back to Africa (1364), where the sultan of Bougie, Abu Abdallafi, who had been formerly his companion in prison, received him with great cordiality.
On the fall of Abu Abdallah, Ibn Khaldun raised a large force amongst the desert Arabs, and entered the service of the sultan of Tlemcen. A few years later he was taken prisoner by Abdalaziz (Abd ul Aziz), who had defeated the sultan of Tlemcen and seized the throne. He then entered a monastic establishment, and occupied himself with scholastic duties, until in 1370 he was sent for to Tlemcen by the new sultan.
After the death of Abd ul Aziz he resided at Fez, enjoying the patronage and confidence of the regent. After some further vicissitudes in 1378 he entered the service of the sultan of his native town of Tunis, where he devoted himself almost exclusively to his studies and wrote his history of the Berbers.
Having received permission to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, he reached Cairo, where he was presented to the sultan al-Malik udh-DhahirBarkuk, who insisted on his remaining there, and in the year 1384 made him grand cadi of the Malikite rite for Cairo. This office he filled with great prudence and probity, removing many abuses in the administration of justice in Egypt.
At this time the ship in which his wife and family, with all his property, were coming to join him, was wrecked, and every one on board lost. He endeavoured to find consolation in the completion of his history of the Arabs of Spain. At the same time he was removed from his office of cadi, which gave him more leisure for his work.
Three years later he made the pilgrimage to Mecca, and on his return lived in retirement in the Fayum until 1399, when he was again called upon to resume his functions as cadi. He was removed and reinstated in the office no fewer than five times.
He also wrote historical narratives based on the accounts of Timur, a Mongol leader.
Some Quotes from Works by Ibn Khaldun
" In the early stages of the state, taxes are light in their incidence, but fetch in a large revenue...As time passes and kings succeed each other, they lose their tribal habits in favor of more civilized ones. Their needs and exigencies grow...owing to the luxury in which they have been brought up. Hence they impose fresh taxes on their subjects...[and] sharply raise the rate of old taxes to increase their yield...But the effects on business of this rise in taxation make themselves felt. For business men are soon discouraged by the comparison of their profits with the burden of their taxes...Consequently production falls off, and with it the yield of taxation."
Some text from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica