Ibn Khaldun's Concept of Education in the ‘Muqaddima’

Ibn Khaldun's Concept of Education in the ‘Muqaddima’

At first sight, the place held by education in Ibn Khaldun's sociology appears uncertain to say the least. What today we understand by the term ‘education'—the replication of individuals and groups, firstly at the level of values and secondly at that of knowledge and know-how—is found in the Muqaddima only in a scattered and incomplete fashion. More important, Ibn Khaldun makes no use of a general concept of education. This is all the more surprising as he accustoms us elsewhere to a systematic approach to the main phenomena of life in society. However, upon closer view we discover that this ambiguity and these lacunae in fact reflect the state of the Muslim system of education, and we are forced to admit that, in this field as in many others connected with the knowledge of Muslim society, Khaldun's contribution is the most complete at our disposal.

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