Ibn Khaldun [1332-1406]: ‘Arabs are by their savage nature, people of pillage and corruption’

The Muslim Issue

Ibn KhaldÅ«n (1332–1406) was a famous arab historiographer and historian born in present-day Tunisia, and is sometimes viewed as one of the forerunners of modern historiography, sociology and economics. He is best known for his Muqaddimah “Prolegomena”.

Perhaps the most frequently cited observation drawn from Ibn KhaldÅ«n’s work is the notion that when a society becomes a great civilization (and, presumably, the dominant culture in its region), its high point is followed by a period of decay. This means that the next cohesive group that conquers the diminished civilization is, by comparison, a group of barbarians. Once the barbarians solidify their control over the conquered society, however, they become attracted to its more refined aspects, such as literacy and arts, and either assimilate into or appropriate such cultural practices.

Ibn Khaldun writes,

“The Arabs dominate only of the plains, because they are, by their savage nature, people of pillage and corruption. They pillage everything that they can take without fighting or taking risks, then flee to their refuge in the wilderness, and do not stand and do battle unless in self-defense. So when they encounter any difficulty or obstacle, they leave it alone and look for easier prey. And tribes well-fortified against them on the slopes of the hills escape their corruption and destruction, because they prefer not to climb hills, nor expend effort, nor take risks…

Whereas plains, when they can reach them due to lack of protection and weakness of the state, are spoils for them and morsels for them to eat, which they will keep despoiling and raiding and conquering with ease until their people are defeated, then imitate them with mutual conflict and political decline, until their civilization is destroyed. And Allah is capable of their creation, and He is the One, the Victorious, and there is no other lord than Him.

The reason for this is that because of their savagery, the Bedouins are the least willing of nations to subordinate themselves to each other, as they are rude, proud, ambitious, and eager to be the leaders.Their individuals aspirations rarely coincide.”

(Muqaddimah, Translated by Franz Rosenthal, Princeton University Press, 1981)

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Video: Gaza Lecturer: Suicide Bombers are Mature and Rational and Motivated by Islamic Faith

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TRANSCRIPT:

Gaza Lecturer Subhi Al-Yazji: Suicide Bombers Are Motivated by Islamic Faith, Not Financial Need or Brainwashing

In an interview on the Hamas-owned Al-Aqsa TV channel, Dr. Subhi Al-Yazji of the Islamic University in Gaza said that what motivates many martyrdom-seekers is the belief that “the Muslim faith requires us to make sacrifices.” “Contrary to how they are portrayed by the West and some biased media outlets, which claim that they are youths of 18-20 years who have been brainwashed, most of the people who sacrificed their lives for the sake of Allah were engineers and had office jobs,” he said.

Following are excerpts from the interview, which was broadcast on June 6, 2014.

Dr. Subhi Al-Yazji: We must realize that the Islamic concept of sacrifice motivates many of our youth to carry out martyrdom operations. Our youths who carry out martyrdom operations… Contrary to how they are portrayed by the West and some biased media outlets, which claim that they are youths of 18-20 years who have been brainwashed, most of the people who sacrificed their lives for the sake of Allah were engineers and had office jobs. They were all mature and rational.

Some people claim that they did this for the money. Take, for example, someone like brother Sa’d, who was an engineers, had an office job, owned a home and a car, and was married – what made him embark on Jihad? He believed that the Muslim faith requires us to make sacrifices.