Asabiyya

Bedouin cover

Pages 275-6

“At a certain stage the bedouin in their power of growth and expansion, and by a genetic vitalisation denied the passive urban community, begin to identify themselves as a new civic force. A natural need becomes wedded to a higher evaluation, an evaluation of themselves. There emerges among them the most powerful force that social man can experience. It is kinship, but not of blood. It transcends the tribal and the familial. This unification of the group takes them to the Second Stage. Stage Two is defined by Ibn Khaldun with the term ‘Asabiyya’. Asabiyya, normally ‘kinship’, is here used to mark as distinctive the bond, the life and death unifying bond of a brotherhood without blood ties. In the excellent Pléiade edition of ‘The Muqaddima’ its editor and translator calls it ‘esprit de corps’, but it is much more than that, for it has in it also a moral evaluation as in the term ‘Futuwwa’, chivalry or nobility of character. Asabiyya unites men to find the power to act and transform and command. If its motor power is high, its brotherhood is raised higher. If the binding factor (religio – to bind together) is there, that is Divine religion, it is, that being its highest possibility, assured a triumph.”

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