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An Intellectual Biography-Ibn Khaldun

An Intellectual Biography-Ibn Khaldun
  • Book Title:
 An Intellectual Biography Ibn Khaldun
  • Book Author:
Ibn Khaldun, Robert Irwin
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Islam, Orientalism and Intellectual History



  • 1332 May 27 Ibn Khaldun is born.
  • 1347 Merinid Abu’l Hasan occupies Tunis. Ibn Khaldun’s teacher, the scholar al-Abili, is part of the intellectual entourage.
  • 1348–49 The Black Death spreads throughout North Africa. 1353 Ibn Khaldun first meets the Merinid Abu ‘Inan in Tlemcen. 1354 Ibn Khaldun is invited by Abu ‘Inan to Fez.
  • 1355 Ibn Khaldun is appointed secretary to Abu ‘Inan.
  • 1359 Ibn Khaldun is active in support of the succession of Merinid Abu Salim and is appointed katib al-sirr (head of the chancellery).
  • 1359–62 Muhammad V, the Nasirid ruler of Granada, and his vizier Ibn al- Khatib are in exile in Morocco, where Ibn Khaldun first encounters them.
  • 1361 Ibn Khaldun is made a kind of appeal judge, in charge of mazalim (the investigation of misdemeanors by officials). Later in the year Abu Salim is killed and Ibn Khaldun falls under a cloud.
  • 1362 He is given permission to leave Morocco for Andalusia. In December he is received in Granada by Muhammad V.
  • 1364 Ibn Khaldun is sent by Muhammad V on a successful mission to Pedro of Castille in Seville.
  • 1365 Ibn Khaldun leaves Andalusia to become chief minister (hajib) of Abu ‘Abdallah, the Hafsid amir of Bijaya (Bougie) in Algeria. He is
  • dispatched to collect taxes from the Berbers in the mountains.
  • 1366 After death of Abu ‘Abdallah, Ibn Khaldun transfers to the service of the Hafsid ruler of Constantine, Abu al-‘Abbas, who makes him hajib, but Ibn Khaldun soon falls out of favor. He takes refuge first with the Dawawida Arabs and then in Biskra.
  • 1368 He is employed by the ‘Abd al-Wadid ruler of Tlemcen, Abu Hammu, as intermediary with Riyah Arab tribes.
  • 1370 Ibn Khaldun is captured by Merinid ‘Abd al-‘Aziz while trying to reach Granada.
  • 1370–74 Ibn Khaldun is employed by the Merinid rulers as intermediary with the Riyah Arab tribes and subsequently kicks his heels as an attendant courtier in Merinid Fez.
  • 1374 He flees to Granada.
  • 1375 He is extradited. He is again employed by Abu Hammu to deal with Arab tribesmen. Then he takes refuge at Qal’at Banu Salama, a remote castle in western Algeria where he begins to write the Muqaddima and the ‘!bar.
  • 1377 In November the first draft of the Muqaddima is completed at Qal’at Banu Salama.
  • 1378 Ibn Khaldun returns to Tunis and is reconciled with the Hafsid Abu al-‘Abbas and made a confidante, but he is subjected to attacks by the chief qadi of Tunis, Ibn ‘Arafa al-Warghani. The first version of the Muqaddima is dedicated to the Hafsid ruler.
  • 1382 Ibn Khaldun secures permission to go on the hajj. He arrives in Alexandria.
  • 1383 He settles in Cairo and secures the patronage of the Mamluk sultan al- Zahir Barquq.
  • 1384 Ibn Khaldun is made professor of Maliki fiqh (jurisprudence) at the Qamhiyya Madrasa (college). Then in August he is appointed Maliki chief qadi in Egypt. The ship bringing his wife, daughters, and library sinks off the coast of Alexandria.
  • 1385 He is dismissed as chief qadi.
  • 1387 He is appointed to teach at the Zahiriyya Madrasa. He goes on the
  • hajj.
  • 1389 He is appointed to teach hadith at the Sarghitmishiyya Madrasa. He is also made head of the Khanqa (Sufi convent) of Baybars. Barquq is temporarily deposed by rebel emirs. Ibn Khaldun is one of those who agree to a fatwa against Barquq. On Barquq’s return to power Ibn Khaldun is stripped of his professorship at the Zahiriyya Madrasa and his position at the Khanqa of Baybars.
  • 1399 He is again appointed Maliki chief qadi. Barquq dies and is succeeded by his son, al-Nasir Faraj.
  • 1400 Ibn Khaldun visits Damascus with Faraj. Later, after his return to Egypt, he is deposed from the qadiship. Timur invades Syria and Faraj leads an army out of Egypt to defend Damascus. Ibn Khaldun travels with him.
  • 1401 In the first week of January Faraj decides to retreat back to Egypt. But Ibn Khaldun decides to stay and he has regular meetings with Timur. In March 1401 he returns to Cairo. He is appointed Maliki chief qadi.
  • 1402 He is deposed from the qadiship. He is reappointed later in the year.
  • 1403 He is deposed from the qadiship.
  • 1405 He is appointed Maliki chief qadi, but deposed a few months later.
  • 1406 He is reappointed Maliki chief qadi and dies in office on March 17.

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