Finished Summary Islamic Trust Studies Workshop “Islamic Economy in Comparisons” (Feb. 22)


Category: Workshop

Research Group: A01 Islamic EconomyC01 Digital Humanities

The workshop “Islamic Economy in Comparisons” will be jointly held by A01 “Mobility and Universality in the Islamic Economy” and C01 “Analyses of Connectivities by Digital Humanities Methods.”

Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2023, 14:00-16:00

Speaker: Yuta Arai (Kyoto University, A01 Researcher)

Title “Historiography, Kingship, and Economy; Ibn Khaldun’s Perspective on Human Society in the Kitab al-‘Ibar”

Discussant; ITO Takao(Kobe University, C01 Co-investigator)

Language: Japanese
Participation conditions:open to public, admission free, pre-registration is required 



    The Muqaddima of Ibn Khaldun has attracted interest from an early on, even from theperspective of Islamic economic history. However, in the Muqaddima, he didn’t bestow anyoriginal considerations on the principal issues also for contemporary Islamic finance such as interest(riba), but acquired different interest from the jurists who wrote books on economic activities and systems based on Islamic law. In other words, Ibn Khaldun has been watched from the perspective of Islamic economic history because the economic factors such as livelihood, market, labor, luxury permeated throughout the cyclical processes of rise and decline of human society and dynastical authorities, shown in the Muqaddima. In the opinion of the speaker, in the Kitab al-‘ibar, he grasps human society considering the long-term changes of situations(ahwal) in history, based on not only his own experiences during the tribal dynasties in the 14th century but also his knowledge overlooking history of ethnic groups and dynasties from the age of legendary ancient tribes to the 14th century. However, there have been few previous studies that have discussed historical narratives in the Kitab al-‘ibar in relation to anapproach of economic history. This presentation will discuss how the viewpoint of Ibn Khaldun on human society and authority which includes various economic factors, is connected with his historical narratives.


Grant-in-Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A),“Mobility and Universality of Islamic Economy” (Principal Investigator: Shinsuke Nagaoka (Kyoto University), 20H05824) ; Grant-in-Aid for Transformative Research Areas (A) “Connectivity Analyses by Digital Humanities Method” (Principal Investigator: Wakako Kumakura (ILCAA), 20H05830)

Contact: Yuta Arai: arai.yuta.7e(at)


The purpose of this presentation is to understand the economic concepts of Ibn Khaldun in relation to his view of human society and history presented in his Muqaddima. Through this analysis, the speaker not only considered Ibn Khaldun’s view of human society as a market (suq) based on the circulation system of goods between dynasties and society which consisted of rural communities and cities but also described that the historian regarded the rise and decline of human society as phenomena which are correlatively linked to those of dynastic power.
In this presentation, first, the speaker took up the status of Ibn Khaldun in Islamic economic history for discussion and pointed out the problems of the previous studies that had discussed Ibn Khaldun’s economic theory separately from his political thought. Second, he showed Ibn Khaldun’s theory in which “market” was inseparable from political power and that human society experienced their prosperity and decline following the rise and fall of the dynasties. Finally, the presentation discussed that this view of human society was deeply rooted in Ibn Khaldun’s own historical view and the social situation of 14th-century North Africa, that was qualitatively different from that of modern Western market theory, which premises the independence of the market.
The Discussant, Prof. Takao Ito (C01) provided a wide range of comments on the trustworthiness of the original text of the Kitab al-‘Ibar used, the origin of the word “economy (iqtisad),” and the speaker’s understanding of previous research. Comments and questions are also addressed from the floor: a comment on “political economy,” and a question of if the discussion can be associated with the studies of medieval social history.

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