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Despite the vast scholarship on Ibn Khaldun, little attention has been devoted to his views on war - views of considerable contemporary significance because he remains one of the few authoritative figures across a broad swath of the Islamic political spectrum. The first part of this article identifies jihad as a crucial element of a broader imperative for Ibn Khaldun: establishing empires of sufficient size, diversity and cosmopolitanism to sustain the kind of civilization he views as necessary for human excellence. The second part of the article demonstrates that for Ibn Khaldun the good military commander, like the good religious guide, is a model for the good or artful statesman in general. In the process, Ibn Khaldun’s study of war and empire emerges as one of the most innovative articulations of Realpolitik in Islamic political thought.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept. of Political Science, Tufts University, Medford MA 02155, USA., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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