İsmail Hakkı İzmirli (1932), Philosophical Currents in Islam: Ibn Khaldun (732-808)

Nurullah Ardıç*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A leading intellectual of the late-Ottoman and early-Turkish Republican period, İsmail Hakkı İzmirli taught philosophy, theology, and law in İstanbul, and was a prolific writer, with more than forty-five published and unpublished books, and many articles. The article reproduced here in translation, which was part of a series of articles on leading Muslim thinkers, is on the life and work of Ibn Khaldun, in which the author both briefly introduces his major books (al-‘Ibar, al-Muqaddima, and al-Ta'rif in particular) and outlines his methodological principles and main arguments in the Muqaddima. İzmirli treats Ibn Khaldun as a philosopher and historian, admiring his philosophical views and methodological perspective as quite original and in many ways trailblazing, though he also criticizes him for unnecessarily “delving into useless issues such as Sufism.” Finally, he frequently compares him with both Muslim and Western intellectuals, e.g. Ibn Rushd, Ibn Miskawayh, al-Farabi, Ibn Bâjja, Niẓām al-Mulk, and Edward Gibbon, Marx, Spencer, and Comte, often finding Ibn Khaldun as a pioneer anticipating the ideas of later thinkers. He devotes a separate section to compare him with Machiavelli, emphasizing differences as well as similarities between the two, and likening the latter to a “disciple” of Ibn Khaldun's, claiming that “Machiavelli followed his mentor's path in his The Prince.”.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-359
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Historical Sociology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

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