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  JKAU: Islamic Econ., Vol. 21 No. 1, pp: 49-70 (2008 A.D./1429 A.H.) 49 A Critique of Ibn Khaldun’s Causality Concept Masudul Alam Choudhury and Bayu Silvia * Professor of Economics Department of Economics & Finance College of Commerce and Economics Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman and *Lecturer of Economics, Faculty of Economics Trisakti University Jakarta, Indonesia masudc60@yahoo.ca http://www.uccb.ns.ca/mchoudhu/ipe.htm bayusilvia@yahoo.com Abstract.
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   JKAU: Islamic Econ., Vol. 21 No. 1, pp: 49-70 (2008 A.D./1429 A.H.) 49 A Critique of Ibn Khaldun’s Causality Concept Masudul Alam Choudhury and Bayu Silvia *    Professor of Economics Department of Economics & FinanceCollege of Commerce and EconomicsSultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Omanand *Lecturer of Economics, Faculty of Economics   Trisakti University Jakarta, Indonesia masudc60@yahoo.cahttp://www.uccb.ns.ca/mchoudhu/ipe.htm bayusilvia@yahoo.com   Abstract  . The importance of circular causation in explaining thedynamics of learning systems that cover the entirety of humanexperience is pointed out. Yet despite claims, Ibn Khaldun is seen tohave failed in addressing the analytical nature of this central theme of historiography. Recent authors who have contributed to the sametheme in favor of Ibn Khaldun also could not comprehend theanalytical learning aspects of the systems worldview of circularcausation. Contrary to these developments both in Ibn Khaldun’scontribution and by recent authors on Khaldunian thought, this paperdevelops an analytical methodology of circular causation in the lightof the worldview of unity of knowledge, termed in the Qur’an as unityof the divine laws, Tawhid  . This analytical conceptualization is thenapplied to specific issues of historiography, political economy,modernity and socio-economic development in order to bring out thedynamic learning context of circular causation as a universalmethodology premised on the Qur’anic epistemological worldview.Comparative studies on causality as methodology in the philosophy of science in the prevalent literature are examined. Objective In this paper we first inquire the following question: How did IbnKhaldun address the problem of unification of knowledge in his  Masudul Alam Choudhury and Bayu Silvia 50dialectics of society and historiography? In the answer to this questionwe investigate the dialectics based on Ibn Khaldun’s concept of circular causation between socio-economic activities and events. After a critiqueof the Khaldunian concept of dialectics in the light of causality we go onto explain the missing link of circular causality in Ibn Khaldun and itsreplacement by the dynamic worldview of the Tawhidi (oneness of divinelaw in the Qur’an ) learning world-systems. We expound thisepistemological methodology in detail as a critique of Ibn Khaldun’smethodology to explain circular causality in the historiography model. Introducing Ibn Khaldun’s Concept of Causality in Historicism In his magnum opus, Muqaddimah (Introduction to the Study of History) Ibn Khaldun did not provide a functional understanding of the Qur’anic principle of historicism, the philosophy of history. He also didnot explain the following dialectical question: How after the early beginnings of solidarity and frugal life of the Muslim community fired bythe spirit of the Shari’ah as its law, and its subsequent decadence inethical life with the growth of nation, can the nation state, umran , onceagain spur a turn around to moral values? In other words, Ibn Khaldundid not explain the dynamics behind historical cycles that can re-capacitate the most advanced technological civilizations to return todivine roots and thus to the divine laws, even in the midst of materialworldly quests.Ibn Khaldun talked of the Shari’ah as a science of culture in terms of its universal moral worth but succumbed to the empirical sociologicalanalysis of social changes in North Africa during his time (Mahdi, 1964),where the Shari’ah was absent. Hence, Ibn Khaldun proved to be similar to Hume (1987) as an inductive reasoning social philosopher anddifferent from Kant (trans. Paton, 1964), who was a deductive reasoning philosopher of science. In so dichotomizing analytical reasoning, IbnKhaldun continued on treating logic as being partitioned between thedeductive and inductive parts. This was a pursuit contrary to the principleof unity of knowledge as spelled out in the knowledge-induced circular causation and continuity model of the Tawhidi worldview. We shallexpound this point below. Thus Ibn Khaldun could not invoke andarticulate the Qur’anic law of historicism to explain the cyclical motionof civilizations between their rise and fall.   A Critique of Ibn Khaldun’s Causality Concept  51 Recent Reconstruction of Ibn Khaldun’s Praxis Chapra on Ibn Khaldun’s Causality Chapra (2001) tries to uncritically praise Ibn Khaldun on the basis of the relations that he claims to be a circular causation diagram. He writes(p. 150), “If one were to express Ibn Khaldun’s analysis in the form of afunctional relationship, one could state that: G = f(S,N,W,g and j).” Inthis expression, G denotes the Government variables; N denotes population; W denotes wealth, S denotes Shari’ah ; g denotes a stage of development; j denotes social justice.The methodological incorrectness of Chapra’s analysis of circular causation in the above expression commences from his complete silenceon what mobilizes the endogenous   inter  relationships among the statedvariables. If S is a separate entity as shown, then note that if S influences{N,W,g and j} while all of these variables together influence S, thenthere must be a common factor that remains intrinsic in all thesevariables to affect the circular relations. Chapra is silent on what thatcentrally critical factor is. To resolve the issue, Chapra brings about the predominance of Government to chart the course of behavioral and socialchange.This approach ignores the centrally important topic of endogenoustransformation in a free market and society with an evolving endogenousdevelopmental venue formed under the impact of ethicizing forces (Sen,1985; North, 1981). The topic of creative behavioral change emanatingfrom knowledge-induced dynamic preferences in agents and systemsremains foreign to Ibn Khaldun. Chapra has not considered the same problem in his work.Without the central and critical role of the common factor of unity of knowledge it is impossible to explain sustainability in the system. Thereexist only enforced socio-economic interrelationships. Ibn Khaldun’smodel thus remains a top-down approach, not an endogenous grassrootsapproach in explaining socio-economic transformation.Enforcement of institutional laws, whether this is done by the Shari’ah or any other means enacted by powerful governments, hasindeed been the background of Ibn Khaldun’s theory of state and society.In such a state-society (G--N) relationship, Ibn Khaldun recommendslegislation of the Shari’ah (S), and thereby of institutional justice (j) andstate predominance in development and the economy (W,g).  Masudul Alam Choudhury and Bayu Silvia 52This kind of politico-economic imposition has indeed caused the backwardness and bondage of Muslim nations for a long time now inunderstanding the knowledge-induced role of freedom, liberty, participation and collective action through dynamic preference changes.Creative thinking, fresh ideas, novelty and freedom to think and act, haveall succumbed to the petrified nature of state predominance.Chapra’s delineation of Ibn Khaldun’s social dynamics is made tocharacterize a circular relationship (p.149). The impending question in itis this: If knowledge in both its primordial Tawhidi essence and in itsflow form is not substantively invoked in that model, then what bringsabout the outward evolution of the circles in the diagram used? Chapra’sexplanation is that the circular interrelationships among {G,S,N,W,g,j)cause the evolution to occur. Yet as noted earlier, S must have its core( Qur’an and Sunnah as epistemology and ontology, respectively) and periphery (the non-substantive urf  and adah ). The core of the Shari’ah  does not change. The core is the essence of the divine law combined withthe divinely inspired Prophetic sayings ( al-ahadith al-qudsiyah ). Hence,Chapra’s circular movement is possible only in terms of the peripheral part of the Shari’ah . The core remains exogenous and a regulatingimposition. Yet the periphery is not of substantive essence.  Baqir al-Sadr on Ibn Khaldun  In more contemporary times Ibn Khaldun’s idea of history had a profound influence on Baqir al-Sadr of Iraq (Aziz, 1994). Baqir al-Sadr’sidea of history was deeply premised on the precept of the pre-ordaineduniverse according to the divine laws. This was cast on the declaration of the Qur’an that the ways of Allah remain unchangeable over space andtime. Baqir al-Sadr’s historical process rested on three factors. These are,first the stages of mankind’s actualization of self within religiousexperience. Secondly, there is the stage of unity and solidarity betweenself and society as the essence of humanity, which is referred to as  fitra .Thirdly, there is the stage of dispersion of the human race throughconflict and self-centered egoism. Baqr al-Sadr argued that all of thesetake place within the domain of the divine laws as a flawless andcomplete entirety.The circular causation model of unified reality differs from Baqir al-Sadr as from Ibn Khaldun’s by invoking the Qur’anic precept of  pervasive unity. Within this the manifestation of conflict and disunity in
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