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Ibn Khaldun


[Ibn Khaldun (lived 1332-1406). The Muqaddimah: an introduction to history. translated from the Arabic by Franz Rosenthal. 2d ed., with corrections and augmented bibliography. Princeton, N.J., 1967, pp. 295-296. (Arabic original published in Vol. 2, p. 260 in Proloegomene d'Ebn-Khaldoun, publi* par M. Quatremere, Tome premiere, deuxieme partie, 1858).]

Chapter IV. Corruption, the Result of Sedentary Culture
Sections 18-19


Among the things that corrupt sedentary culture, there is the disposition twoard pleasure and indulgence in them, because of the great luxury (that prevails). It leads to diversification of the desires of the belly for pleasurable food and drink. This is followed by diversification of the pleasures of sex through various ways of sexual intercourse, such as adultery and sodomy (liwat). This leads to destruction of the species. It may come about indirectly. through the confusion concerning one's descent bcaused by adultery. Nobody knows his own son, since he is illegitimate and since the sperm (of different men) got mixed up in the womb. The natural compassion a man feels for his children and his feeling of responsibility for them is lost. Thus, they perish, and this leads to the end of the species. Or, the destruction of the species may come about directly, as is the case with sodomy (liwat), which leads directly to the non-existence of offspring. It contributes more to the destruction of the species, since it leads to (the result) that no human beings are brought into existence, while adultery only leads to the (social) non-existence of those who are in existence. therefore, the school of Malik is more explicit and correct with regard to sodomy (liwat) than the other schools. This shows that it understands the intentions of the religious law and their bearing upon the (public) interest better (than the other legal schools).

This should be understood. It shows that the goal of civilization is sedentary culture and luxury. When civilization reaches that goal, it turns toward corruption and starts being senile, as happens in the natural life of living beings. Indeed, we may say that the qualities of character resulting from sedentary culture and luxury are identical with corruption.