The City and the State; a theory of the Islamic Urbanism
Language: Arabic
Publishing Date: 1996
Available in a limited printed copy & digital copy
Tarek Waly

This book presents Ibn Khaldun and his intellect, through a new angle, as he states his theory, which had been put forward centuries ago and had remained locked out. When it was recently brought to the focus of attention, it was associated with the field of sociology. The author, in this book, poses a reading in the Khaldunic theory within the context of urbanism as is understood today, and as had been meant by Ibn Khaldun in his famous Introduction. The author here identifies a number of pillars or basic issues and concepts, which together form the spine of the theory and its framework.

History is a statement History about human sociology.

Man is civil by nature.

Bedouin urbanism is the origin of urbanity. Urbanization may not be achieved unless there is an economic base comprising the trades of, agriculture, industry, and commerce.

Science and education are essential factors for urbanization and have positive and negative impacts.

An organized rule is necessary for urbanism.

Solidarity leads to strength and triumph. Hence, solidarity aspires to preside, and the presidency instigates the ambition to lead. Therefore, leadership may not be achieved without solidarity.

States age, such as persons do. At its inception under the patronage of its founder, they commonly witness strength and prosperity. However, by the time of the third generation of their patriots, their demise and destruction could have had set in.

So, it was Ibn Khaldun's theory on urbanism which was subjected to the forces along two main parallel axes indispensable for each other, and even more, the existence of each may not continue in the absence of the other. They are namely:

The First: State, its evolution, and the mechanism of its social solidarity. Its purpose is leadership.

The Second: The process of achieving civilization and evolution from nomadic to urban as expressed by the city.

The author states that the city and state are two complementary and integrated entities. They are both subjected to the same laws as posed by Ibn Khaldun, especially those linked to the natural evolutionary movement which he labeled as the self - symptoms. The author concludes by striking a balance between the theory triggered by Ibn Khaldun, and the issue of contemporary urbanism as we experience it at present. An illustrative picture by the author presents a realistic simulation of the dialectical relationship between the state and its formal political institutions and civil entities. The entire historical experience has proved that the end result is the inevitable domination of the military state institutions and conduct of urban interests in absence of this cultural scheme. The result of the collapse of the state and destruction of the built-in relay is inevitable.


Tarek Waly

June 1996

You can purchase your copy at