He introduced the notion of cyclical history founded on secular factors generated by the natural tendency to weaken the generations sedentarizzate , heirs of the nomadic conquerors , drag , however, in a relentless cycle of decline at the hands of the rich and the urban way of life . Much appreciated in the West for its modern conceptions (but also for his work have been translated since the eighteenth century ) , on the other hand had a more modest impact on the culture and the Arab-Islamic thought .
The main activity of Ibn Khaldun was to politician , courtier and minister, to serve one after the other degliHafsidi Tunisians, the Merenides Lie and Fez, the Abdelwadidi of Tlemcen , the Sultan of Granada and that of Egypt . He was also ambassador to the king of Castile , Peter I of Castile, called Peter the Cruel , and the fearsome Timur Lang ( Tamerlane ) . He thus had the opportunity to get to know each other and to compare the different ways of exercising power , measuring the instability .
The various rulers , impressed by its large capacity and its great culture , forgave several times its versatility and its betrayals.
At the time of Ibn Khaldun , North Africa, after the end of the Almohads (1147-1269) , was ruled by three dynasties , in constant struggle with each other. In Morocco the Merinids lived ( 1196-1464 ) . The western part of Algeria was under the control of Abdelwadidi (1236-1556) , while the Hafsids (1228-1574) ruled the eastern part of Algeria , Tunisia and Cyrenaica . Under the constant threat of raids by Berber tribes surrounding these dynasties disputed the hegemony over North Africa .
Ibn Khaldun came from a family of notables originating in Andalusia, the Banu Khaldun . In his Autobiography claimed to be descended from a famigliayemenita dell'Hadramawt , who had converted to Islam in the year 10 of the Hegira , and had moved into al-Andalus at the beginning of the Islamic conquest . His family , which in al-Andalus had held a number of senior positions , he emigrated to North Africa at the beginning of the Reconquista (around the middle of the thirteenth century). Some family members were appointed political office in Tunisia under the Hafsids , but the father and grandfather of Ibn Khaldun were held aloof from political life and joined a mystical brotherhood .
Born in Tunis, Ibn Khaldun then spent a part of his life at the court Merinid , holding various political functions at the sultans of Tunis and Fez (the latter had as prime minister the writer Lisan al- Din Ibn al- Khatib , in which Ibn Khaldun entertain relations of friendly rivalry for a long time ) and then at the ruler of Granada.
The high rank of his family allowed him to perform his Ibn Khaldun studied with the best teachers of his time in North Africa . He had a classical Arabic education : the Koran , Arabic grammar , indispensable foundation for understanding the Qur'an and Islamic law , Hadith and jurisprudence ( fiqh ) . The mystic , mathematician and philosopher al- skilled introduced him to mathematics, logic and philosophy , in which he studied especially the works of Averroes , Avicenna , al- Razi and al- Tusi . At age 17, Ibn Khaldun lost both his parents to plague , the " Black Death " that touched three continents and raged in Tunis .
Following the family tradition , Ibn Khaldun himself to a political career. In light of continuing changes in the balance of power in North Africa and the rulers of the time, this required to act in a controlled and balanced in taking forward relationships and alliances , not to see themselves involved in the fall of lordships , often short-lived . The biography of Ibn Khaldun , who saw him now in jail , now in the highest positions , now in exile , sometimes reads like a real adventure novel .
At twenty he began his political career with the office of Katib al- ʿ Alama ( the charge of the Katib al- ʿ Alama consisted in the fixing , in beautiful calligraphy , the typical introductory conventional formulas to official documents ) at the Registry of the lord of Tunis . Dissatisfied with this task , a prestigious but politically worthless , he followed his master in Fez al- skilled . The sovereign Merinid that reigned there , Abū ʿ Inan , gave him a position as Editor of gifts proclamations , which did not prevent Ibn Khaldun of plotting against his employer. This cost him 22 months in prison in 1357 , when he was 25 years old. Only after the death of Abū ʿ Inan the son and successor of the latter set him free . But Ibn Khaldun was agreed , against him, with his uncle, Abu Salim , who lived in exile. Came to power, the latter granted to Ibn Khaldun, the office of Secretary of State ( Katib al- sirr wa l- tawqī ʿ wa ʾ l- Insha ), the first task to match its ambitions .
After the fall of Abū ʿ Sālim through the work of Ammar ibn ʿ Abd Allāh , a friend of Ibn Khaldun , his expectations were dashed. Under the new ruler did not manage to get any important task . At the same time , Amar successfully prevented Ibn Khaldun ( of which he knew all too well the political skills ) to ally with the Abdelwadidi of Tlemcen . Eager to play roles politically active , Ibn Khaldun was therefore decided to move to Granada. Here he could count on a warm welcome , since at Fez he had helped the sultan of Granada, the Nasrid Muhammad V, regain power after this his temporary exile . In 1364 Muhammad entrusted him with a diplomatic mission to the King of Castile , Pedro the Cruel , to conclude a peace treaty . Ibn Khaldun successfully accomplished this mission. But the offer that Peter gave him to recover the Spanish possessions of the family and stay at his court .
In Granada, Ibn Khaldun soon collided with the competition of the vizier of Muhammad , Ibn al- Khatib , who saw with growing distrust of the close relations between Ibn Khaldun and Muhammad . Ibn Khaldun was trying to train the young Muhammad according to his own ideal of wise ruler : a company that according to Ibn al- Khatib was misguided and threatened the freedom of the country ( and the History proved him right ) . In the end, at the instigation of Ibn al- Khatib , Ibn Khaldun was sent back to North Africa . However at the same Ibn al- Khatib , however , some time later, he was denounced by Muhammad V of having unorthodox philosophical views , and was put to death .
In his Autobiography Ibn Khaldun says little about his conflict with Ibn al- Khatib and the reasons for his return to Africa.
The orientalist Muhsin Mahdi interprets this as a late admission by Ibn Khaldun , that he had completely misjudged Muhammad V.
Ibn Khaldoun, 1332-1406.