Tunisia has called on UNESCO to include its Prolegomena of Arab thinker and historian, Abderrahmane Ibn Khaldoun to the Memory of the World Register.
Hosting a conference yesterday at the National Heritage on “Ibn Khaldoun and its contemporary readings”, presented by French historian Gabriel Martinez-Gros.
The initiative of the Tunisian Ministry of Cultural Affairs was adopted by the Permanent Commission for Arab Culture of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) which met on 30 November in Casablanca, Morocco.
The Prolegomena (Al-Muqaddima in Arabic) is a work of Ibn Khaldun written in 1377 which deals with Islamic theology, political science, natural sciences and biology inspired by the thinker’s own experience. In it, he analyses the causes of the rise and decline of Arab dynasties.
According to some modern thinkers, it is a pioneering work in the social sciences or in the modern economy in ancient times. The first Al-Muqaddima translation was made in 1749 in the Ottoman Empire, in Turkish, by Sheikh El Islam Pirizade.
The discovery of Ibn Khaldoun and his work in the West was made in the seventeenth century thanks to the work of orientalist writer Barthelemy Herbelot de Molainville. The “Book of Examples” and the “Book of Considerations on the History of the Arabs, Persians and Berbers”, written between 1375 and 1379, constitute, with Al-Muqaddima, the major works of Ibn Khaldun.
Ibn Khaldoun was born in 1332 in Tunis, and was a philosopher, diplomat, politician, sociologist and writer. He came from a noble family, the Beni Khaldoun, who lived in the Spanish region of Seville, Andalusia, for several generations.
At the time, his family was one of three most powerful families residing in Seville.
In an autobiography, he mentioned that his family hailed from a Bedouin tribe, originally from the Hadramout region of Yemen, who later migrated to Spain at the beginning of the Muslim conquest in the 8th century.
At the dawn of the re-conquest in Spain, around the middle of the thirteenth century, the Beni Khaldoun family migrated to Sebta, north of the Maghreb and then settled in 1228 in Tunis.
He died in Egypt on 19 March 1406.