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Early Muslim sociology

Early Muslim sociology responded to the challenges of social organization of diverse peoples all under common religious organization in the Islamic caliphate, the Abbasid and later Mamluk period in Egypt. It was rooted in methods from early Islamic philosophy and Islamic science and it reflected the strong concern of Islam with social cohesion.

Contents

Early reforms under Islam

Further information: Early reforms under Islam

Sociologist Robert Bellah (Beyond belief) argues that Islam in its seventh-century origins was, for its time and place, "remarkably modern...in the high degree of commitment, involvement, and participation expected from the rank-and-file members of the community." This because, he argues, that Islam emphasized on the equality of all Muslims. Leadership positions were open to all men. However, there were restraints on the early Muslim community that kept it from exemplifying these principles, primarily from the "stagnant localisms" of tribe and kinship. Dale Eickelman writes that Bellah suggests "the early Islamic community placed a particular value on individuals, as opposed to collective or group responsibility."[1]

The Islamic idea of community (that of umma), established by Muhammad, is flexible in social, religious, and political terms and includes a diversity of Muslims who share a general sense of common cause and consensus concerning beliefs and individual and communal actions.[2]

Corporate social responsibility in commerce

Social responsibility and corporate social responsibility in commerce was stressed in early Islamic sociology during Muhammad's time. The development of Islamic banks and Islamic economics was a side effect of this sociology: usury was rather severely restrained, no interest rate was allowed, and investors were not permitted to escape the consequences of any failed venture - all financing was equity financing (Musharaka). In not letting borrowers bear all the risk/cost of a failure, an extreme disparity of outcomes between "partners" is thus avoided. Ultimately this serves a social harmony purpose. Muslims also could not and cannot (in shariah) finance any dealings in forbidden goods or activities, such as wine, pork, gambling, etc. Thus ethical investing is the only acceptable investing, and moral purchasing is encouraged.[3]

Ecological responsibility and environmentalism

Further information: Muslim Agricultural Revolution - Agricultural sciences

Perhaps due to resource scarcity in most Islamic nations, there was an emphasis on limited (and some claim also sustainable) use of natural capital, i.e. producing land. Traditions of haram and hima and early urban planning were expressions of strong social obligations to stay within carrying capacity and to preserve the natural environment as an obligation of khalifa or "stewardship".[4][5]

Muhammad is considered a pioneer of environmentalism for his teachings on environmental preservation. His hadiths on agriculture and environmental philosophy were compiled in the "Book of Agriculture" of the Sahih Bukhari, which included the following saying:[4][6]

"There is none amongst the believers who plants a tree, or sows a seed, and then a bird, or a person, or an animal eats thereof, but it is regarded as having given a charitable gift [for which there is great recompense]."[7]

Several such statements concerning the environment are also found in the Qur'an, such as the following:[8]

"And there is no animal in the earth nor bird that flies with its two wings, but that they are communities like yourselves."[9]

Ibn Khaldun

Further information: Ibn Khaldun and Muqaddimah
Tunisian statue of Ibn Khaldun, the father of demography, modern economics, cultural history, historiography, the philosophy of history, sociology, and the social sciences.

Without doubt the most important figure in early Muslim sociology was Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), who is regarded as the father of demography,[10] cultural history,[11] historiography,[12] the philosophy of history,[13] sociology,[10][13] and the social sciences,[14] and is viewed as a father of modern economics.[15][16] He is best known for his Muqaddimah "Prolegomenon".

Sati' al-Husri suggested that Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimah is essentially a sociological work, sketching over its six books a general sociology; a sociology of politics; a sociology of urban life; a sociology of economics; and a sociology of knowledge.

Conflict theory

Ibn Khaldun conceived both a central social conflict ("town" versus "desert") as well as a theory (using the concept of a "generation") of the necessary loss of power of city conquerors coming from the desert.

Asibiyah

Main article: Asabiyyah

Khaldun's central concept of asabiyah, or "social cohesion", seems to anticipate modern conceptions of social capital arising in social networks:

This cohesion arises spontaneously in tribes and other small kinship groups; and it can be intensified and enlarged by a religious ideology. Khaldun's analysis looks at how this cohesion carries groups to power but contains within itself the seeds - psychological, sociological, economic, political - of the group's downfall, to be replaced by a new group, dynasty or empire bound by a stronger (or at least younger and more vigorous) cohesion.

Interestingly, Khaldun's concept is instinctive and does not involve any social contract or explicit forms of constitution or other instructional capital that would provide a basis for appeals, in law or otherwise.

Histiography

Main article: Historiography of early Islam

The Muqaddimah emphasized the role of systemic bias in affecting the standard of evidence. Khaldun was quite concerned with the effect of raising standard of evidence when confronted with uncomfortable claims, and relaxing it when given claims that seemed reasonable or comfortable. He was a jurist, and sometimes participated reluctantly in rulings that he felt were coerced, based on arguments he didn't respect.

His Muqaddimah also laid the groundwork for the observation of the role of state, communication, propaganda and systematic bias in history,[10] and he discussed the rise and fall of civilizations in his theory of Asabiyyah. Ibn Khaldun had few successors in his thinking about history until Arnold J. Toynbee, a 20th century British historian.

Scientific method

Ibn Khaldun often criticized "idle superstition and uncritical acceptance of historical data." As a result, he introduced the scientific method to the social sciences, which was considered something "new to his age", and he often referred to it as his "new science" and developed his own new terminology for it.[17]

His historical method also laid the groundwork for the observation of the role of state, communication, propaganda and systematic bias in history,[10] leading to his development of historiography.

Similarity to modern sociology

Early Muslim sociology is more similar to the theories developed by Hegel or Marx in emphasizing dialectic or feedback loops, or systems theory as applied to fields such as corporate social responsibility, than to the theories of Durkheim and others who emphasized structures. There is a remarkable similarity between modern economic ideas and some ideas developed by the thinkers evoked here, especially Ibn Khaldun.

Abū Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, "the first anthropologist" and the father of Indology.

Anthropology

Abū al-Rayhān al-Bīrūnī (973-1048) has been described as "the first anthropologist".[18] He wrote detailed comparative studies on the anthropology of peoples, religions and cultures in the Middle East, Mediterranean and South Asia. Biruni's anthropology of religion was only possible for a scholar deeply immersed in the lore of other nations.[19] Biruni has also been praised by several scholars for his Islamic anthropology.[20] Biruni is also regarded as the father of Indology.[21]

Economic thought

Main article: Islamic economics in the world

To some degree, the early Muslims based their economic analyses on the Qu'ran (such as opposition to riba, meaning usury or interest), and from sunnah, the sayings and doings of Muhammad.

Perhaps the most well known Islamic scholar who wrote about economics was Ibn Khaldun of Tunisia (13321406),[22] who is considered a father of modern economics.[23][24] Ibn Khaldun wrote on economic and political theory in the introduction, or Muqaddimah (Prolegomena), of his History of the World (Kitab al-Ibar). In the book, he discussed what he called asabiyya (social cohesion), which he sourced as the cause of some civilizations becoming great and others not. Ibn Khaldun felt that many social forces are cyclic, although there can be sudden sharp turns that break the pattern.[25] His idea about the benefits of the division of labor also relate to asabiyya, the greater the social cohesion, the more complex the successful division may be, the greater the economic growth. He noted that growth and development positively stimulates both supply and demand, and that the forces of supply and demand are what determines the prices of goods.[26] He also noted macroeconomic forces of population growth, human capital development, and technological developments effects on development.[27] In fact, Ibn Khaldun thought that population growth was directly a function of wealth. [28]

Other important early Muslim scholars who wrote about economics include Abu Hanifa an-Nu‘man (699-767), Abu Yusuf (731-798), Ishaq bin Ali al-Rahwi (854–931), al-Farabi (873–950), Qabus (d. 1012), Ibn Sina (Avicenna) (980–1037), Ibn Miskawayh (b. 1030), al-Ghazali (1058–1111), al-Mawardi (1075–1158), Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī (1201-1274), Ibn Taymiyyah (1263–1328) and al-Maqrizi (1364-1442).

Neuroscience and Psychology

Main article: Islamic psychological thought

In neuroscience and psychology, Islamic medicine stressed the need for individual understanding of their mental health. The first psychiatric hospitals and insane asylums were built in the Islamic world as early as the 8th century. The first psychiatric hospitals were built by Arab Muslims in Baghdad in 705, Fes in the early 8th century, and Cairo in 800. Other famous psychiatric hospitals were built in Damascus and Aleppo in 1270.[29] Unlike medieval Christian physicians who relied on demonological explanations for mental illness, medieval Muslim physicians relied mostly on clinical psychiatry and clinical observations on mentally ill patients. They made significant advances to psychiatry and were the first to provide psychotherapy and moral treatment for mentally ill patients, in addition to other new forms of treatment such as baths, drug medication, music therapy and occupational therapy.[30]

The concepts of mental health and "mental hygiene" were introduced by the Muslim physician Ahmed ibn Sahl al-Balkhi (850-934). In his Masalih al-Abdan wa al-Anfus (Sustenance for Body and Soul), he was the first to successfully discuss diseases related to both the body and the mind, and argued that "if the nafs [psyche] gets sick, the body may also find no joy in life and may eventually develop a physical illness."[31]

Najab ud-din Muhammad (10th century) described a number of mental diseases in detail. He made many careful observations of mentally ill patients and compiled them in a book which "made up the most complete classification of mental diseases theretofore known." The mental illnesses first described by Najab include agitated depression, neurosis, priapism and sexual impotence (Nafkhae Malikholia), psychosis (Kutrib), and mania (Dual-Kulb).[30] Symptoms resembling schizophrenia were also reported in later Arabic medical literature.[32]

Ahmed ibn Sahl al-Balkhi was a pioneer of psychotherapy, psychophysiology and psychosomatic medicine. He recognized that the body and the soul can be healthy or sick, or "balanced or imbalanced", and that mental illness can have both psychological and/or physiological causes. He wrote that imbalance of the body can result in fever, headaches and other physical illnesses, while imbalance of the soul can result in anger, anxiety, sadness and other mental symptoms. He recognized two types of depression: one caused by known reasons such as loss or failure, which can be treated psychologically; and the other caused by unknown reasons possibly caused by physiological reasons, which can be treated through physical medicine.[31]

Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi (Rhazes) and al-Balkhi were the first known physicians to study psychotherapy. Razi in particular made significant advances in psychiatry in his landmark texts El-Mansuri and Al-Hawi in the 10th century, which presented definitions, symptoms and treatments for problems related to mental health and mental illness. He also ran the psychiatric ward of a Baghdad hospital. Such institutions could not exist in Europe at the time because of fear of demonic possessions.[30]

In al-Andalus, Abu al-Qasim (Abulcasis), the father of modern surgery, developed material and technical designs which are still used in neurosurgery. Ibn Zuhr (Avenzoar) gave the first accurate descriptions on neurological disorders, including meningitis, intracranial thrombophlebitis, and mediastinal germ cell tumors, and made contributions to modern neuropharmacology. Averroes suggested the existence of Parkinson's disease and attributed photoreceptor properties to the retina. Maimonides wrote about neuropsychiatric disorders and described rabies and belladonna intoxication.[33]

Ibn al-Haytham is considered by some to be the founder of experimental psychology and psychophysics,[34] for his pioneering work on the psychology of visual perception in the Book of Optics.[35] In Book III of the Book of Optics, Ibn al-Haytham was the first scientist to argue that vision occurs in the brain, rather than the eyes. He pointed out that personal experience has an effect on what people see and how they see, and that vision and perception are subjective.[35]

Along with al-Kindi and Ibn al-Haytham, al-Biruni was also a pioneer of experimental psychology, as he was the first to empirically describe the concept of reaction time:[36]

"Not only is every sensation attended by a corresponding change localized in the sense-organ, which demands a certain time, but also, between the stimulation of the organ and consciousness of the perception an interval of time must elapse, corresponding to the transmission of stimulus for some distance along the nerves."

Avicenna was a pioneer of psychophysiology and psychosomatic medicine. He recognized 'physiological psychology' in the treatment of illnesses involving emotions, and developed a system for associating changes in the pulse rate with inner feelings, which is seen as an anticipation of the word association test attributed to Carl Jung.[30] Avicenna was also a pioneer of neuropsychiatry. He first described numerous neuropsychiatric conditions, including hallucination, insomnia, mania, nightmare, melancholia, dementia, epilepsy, paralysis, stroke, vertigo and tremor.[37]

Social psychology

Al-Farabi (Alpharabius) was a pioneer of social psychology.

The earliest works on social psychology and animal psychology were written by al-Jahiz (766–868), an Afro-Arab scholar who wrote a number of works dealing with the social organization of ants and with animal communication and psychology.[38]

Al-Farabi's Social Psychology and Model City were also some of the first treatises to deal with social psychology. He stated that "an isolated individual could not achieve all the perfections by himself, without the aid of other individuals." He wrote that it is the "innate disposition of every man to join another human being or other men in the labor he ought to perform." He concluded that in order to "achieve what he can of that perfection, every man needs to stay in the neighborhood of others and associate with them." Al-Farabi's treatise Meanings of the Intellect dealt with music therapy, where he discussed the therapeutic effects of music on the soul.[39]

See also

References

  1. ^ “Social Sciences and the Qur’an,” in Encyclopedia of the Qur’an, vol. 5, ed. Jane Dammen McAuliffe. Leiden: Brill, pp. 66-76.
  2. ^ “Community and Society in the Qur'an,” in Encyclopedia of the Qur’an, vol. 1, ed. Jane Dammen McAuliffe. Leiden: Brill, pp. 385.
  3. ^ Jawed A. Mohammed PhD and Alfred Oehlers (2007), Corporate social responsibility in Islam, School of Business, Auckland University of Technology.
  4. ^ a b Francesca De Chatel (2003), Environmentalism & Islam, IslamOnline.
  5. ^ S. Nomanul Haq, "Islam", in Dale Jamieson (2001), A Companion to Environmental Philosophy, pp. 111-129, Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 140510659X.
  6. ^ S. Nomanul Haq, "Islam", in Dale Jamieson (2001), A Companion to Environmental Philosophy, pp. 111-129 [119-129], Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 140510659X.
  7. ^ Sahih Bukhari 3:513
  8. ^ S. Nomanul Haq, "Islam", in Dale Jamieson (2001), A Companion to Environmental Philosophy, pp. 111-129 [111-119], Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 140510659X.
  9. ^ [Qur'an 6:38]
  10. ^ a b c d H. Mowlana (2001). "Information in the Arab World", Cooperation South Journal 1.
  11. ^ Mohamad Abdalla (Summer 2007). "Ibn Khaldun on the Fate of Islamic Science after the 11th Century", Islam & Science 5 (1), p. 61-70.
  12. ^ Salahuddin Ahmed (1999). A Dictionary of Muslim Names. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. ISBN 1850653569.
  13. ^ a b Dr. S. W. Akhtar (1997). "The Islamic Concept of Knowledge", Al-Tawhid: A Quarterly Journal of Islamic Thought & Culture 12 (3).
  14. ^ Akbar Ahmed (2002). "Ibn Khaldun’s Understanding of Civilizations and the Dilemmas of Islam and the West Today", Middle East Journal 56 (1), p. 25.
  15. ^ I. M. Oweiss (1988), "Ibn Khaldun, the Father of Economics", Arab Civilization: Challenges and Responses, New York University Press, ISBN 0887066984.
  16. ^ Jean David C. Boulakia (1971), "Ibn Khaldun: A Fourteenth-Century Economist", The Journal of Political Economy 79 (5): 1105-1118.
  17. ^ Ibn Khaldun, Franz Rosenthal, N. J. Dawood (1967), The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History, p. x, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0691017549.
  18. ^ Akbar S. Ahmed (1984). "Al-Beruni: The First Anthropologist", RAIN 60, p. 9-10.
  19. ^ J. T. Walbridge (1998). "Explaining Away the Greek Gods in Islam", Journal of the History of Ideas 59 (3), p. 389-403.
  20. ^ Richard Tapper (1995). "Islamic Anthropology" and the "Anthropology of Islam", Anthropological Quarterly 68 (3), Anthropological Analysis and Islamic Texts, p. 185-193.
  21. ^ Zafarul-Islam Khan, At The Threshhold Of A New Millennium – II, The Milli Gazette.
  22. ^ Schumpeter (1954) p 136 mentions his his sociology, others, including Hosseini (2003) emphasize him as well
  23. ^ I. M. Oweiss (1988), "Ibn Khaldun, the Father of Economics", Arab Civilization: Challenges and Responses, New York University Press, ISBN 0887066984.
  24. ^ Jean David C. Boulakia (1971), "Ibn Khaldun: A Fourteenth-Century Economist", The Journal of Political Economy 79 (5): 1105-1118.
  25. ^ Weiss (1995) p29-30
  26. ^ Weiss (1995) p31 quotes Muqaddimah 2:276-278
  27. ^ Weiss (1995) p31 quotes Muqaddimah 2:272-273
  28. ^ Weiss (1995) p33
  29. ^ Ibrahim B. Syed PhD, "Islamic Medicine: 1000 years ahead of its times", Journal of the Islamic Medical Association, 2002 (2), p. 2-9 [7-8].
  30. ^ a b c d Ibrahim B. Syed PhD, "Islamic Medicine: 1000 years ahead of its times", Journal of the Islamic Medical Association, 2002 (2), p. 2-9 [7].
  31. ^ a b Nurdeen Deuraseh and Mansor Abu Talib (2005), "Mental health in Islamic medical tradition", The International Medical Journal 4 (2), p. 76-79.
  32. ^ Hanafy A. Youssef and Fatma A. Youssef (1996), "Evidence for the existence of schizophrenia in medieval Islamic society", History of Psychiatry 7 (25): 55-62.
  33. ^ Martin-Araguz, A.; Bustamante-Martinez, C.; Fernandez-Armayor, Ajo V.; Moreno-Martinez, J. M. (2002). "Neuroscience in al-Andalus and its influence on medieval scholastic medicine", Revista de neurología 34 (9), p. 877-892.
  34. ^ Omar Khaleefa (Summer 1999). "Who Is the Founder of Psychophysics and Experimental Psychology?", American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences 16 (2).
  35. ^ a b Bradley Steffens (2006). Ibn al-Haytham: First Scientist, Chapter 5. Morgan Reynolds Publishing. ISBN 1599350246.
  36. ^ Muhammad Iqbal, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, "The Spirit of Muslim Culture" (cf. [1] and [2])
  37. ^ S Safavi-Abbasi, LBC Brasiliense, RK Workman (2007), "The fate of medical knowledge and the neurosciences during the time of Genghis Khan and the Mongolian Empire", Neurosurgical Focus 23 (1), E13, p. 3.
  38. ^ Amber Haque (2004), "Psychology from Islamic Perspective: Contributions of Early Muslim Scholars and Challenges to Contemporary Muslim Psychologists", Journal of Religion and Health 43 (4): 357-377 [376].
  39. ^ Amber Haque (2004), "Psychology from Islamic Perspective: Contributions of Early Muslim Scholars and Challenges to Contemporary Muslim Psychologists", Journal of Religion and Health 43 (4): 357-377 [363].
Categories: Sociology | Islamic politics and Islamic world studies | Islamic medicine

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