Ibn Khaldun on the Persians (Sunnah Muslims)

November 12, 2011 Comments Off on Ibn Khaldun on the Persians (Sunnah Muslims)

Abu Zayd ‘Abdurrahman bin Mohammad bin Khaldun

(May 27, 1332 AD/732 AH – March 19, 1406 AD/808 AH) was a Tunisian Arab of Hadhrami/Yemenite descent. He is a major muslim scholar (among his students: Ibn Hajar!) historiographer and historian and the following are his records on the Persians (Persia back in Ibn Khaldun’s time was nearly completely Sunni, as it was until 500 years ago):

It is a remarkable fact that, with few exceptions, most Muslim scholars both in the religious and in the intellectual sciences have been non-Arabs [ajams/Persians]. Even if a scholar is of Arab origin, he is Persian in language and upbringing and has Persian teachers […]

[…]  the founders of grammar were Sibawayh [Persian from Shiraz] and, after him, al-Farsi and az-Zajjaj. All of them were of ajam (Persian) descent. They were brought up in the Arabic language and acquired the knowledge of it through their upbringing and through contact with Arabs. They invented the rules of (grammar) and made (grammar) into a discipline (in its own right) for later (generations to use).

Most of the hadith scholars who preserved traditions for the Muslims also were ajams (Persians), or Persian in language and upbringing, because the discipline was widely cultivated in the ‘Iraq and the regions beyond. (Furthermore,) all the scholars who worked in the science of the principles of jurisprudence were ajams (Persians), as is well known. The same applies to speculative theologians and to most Qur’an commentators. Only the ajams (Persians) engaged in the task of preserving knowledge and writing systematic scholarly works. Thus, the truth of the following statement by the Prophet [in Sahih Muslim] becomes apparent: “If scholarship hung suspended at the highest parts of heaven, the Persians would (reach it and) take it.”

English source & Arabic source
NOTE: Ibn Khaldun uses the word ‘ajam for Persians. It is accurate to translate ‘ajam as Persian (plural of ‘ajam is a`aajim in Arabic) this because:
a.) Ibn Khaldun is clealy talking about Persians, he even cites a number of Persian scholars and scientists as evidence
b.) Most non-Arab Islamic scholars throughout Islamic history were Persians.
c.) Although ‘ajam  refers to all non-Arabs (hence it is no insult at all, as some suggest, even if the word in it’s original meaning stands for someone who is mute. For there are even some Arab-Yemenite tribes that are called ‘ajams! Like in the Emirate, the famous ‘ajmis of the ‘ajmaan district. It is said they are called as such since one of their ancestors had a speech defect), yet – again- throughout Islamic history it was primarily used for Persians even to this very day, like in Bahrain were Sunni Persians and Shia Persians are called ‘ajams (i.e. Persians). It is barely used for non-Persians throughout Islamic history, although according to the Arabic language every non-Arab or at least everyone who can’t speak Arabic is an ‘ajami.
* To have a glimpse of the great Islamic Persian scientists and scholars, then visit:
The Giants of Persia – The carriers of knowledge (language, Tafsir, Hadith etc)  
Note: Abdurrahman bin Khaldun was praised throughout Islamic history by major scholars (like Ibn Hajar), yet recently (since the emerge of a disease called NATIONALISM) Arab nationalists (just like Persian Nationalists who attack Salman the Persian/Al-Farsi …) attacked Ibn Khaldun (!!!) for his ‘Anti-Arab statements’ that can be found in his Muqaddima (he really lashes out against bedion Arabs which are known as A’raab in Arabic). Indeed, Ibn Khaldun (just like the Qur’an Al-Kareem) did not put the A’raabis (desert-dwelling Arabs) in a good light. However what Arab Nationalists (just like the Persian Nationalists and extremist Shi’ites who love to misquote verses from the Qur’an about the condemntion of the A’raab) missed is that Ibn Khaldun (AND the Qur’an) are not talking about the ARABS (العرب), rather  about the A’raab (الأعراب) i.e. the desert-dwelling-Arabs, and it is known that the main figures of Islam, including the PROPHET (peace be upon him) and his companions  were NOT Beduins/A’raab/desert-dwellers neither are the majority of the Arabs today. Shaykh Bakr bin Abdillah Abi Zayd (may Allah have mercy upon him) refuted those who badmouthed Ibn Khaldun and accused him of being a racist (some Arab nationalist claim that Ibn Khaldun was actually a berberian bigot (although he is more Arab than most Arabs of our time could ever be!) and clarified that according to the language of the Arabs itself, Ibn Khaldun was not racist towards Arabs, but harsh towards the Beduins (Al-A’raab).

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