Cairo- The Egyptian-Lebanese House recently published the book “Urban, Philosophy of Life in Islamic Civilization”, written by Dr. Khaled Azab, former project manager at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt and one of the prominent researchers in the field of Islamic civilization, in which he tried to present a different vision of the famous scientist, the late Ibn Khaldun, and concepts of science Urbanism in Islamic Civilization.
Khaled Azab reconstructs and re-establishes the science of urbanization, as he defines it as the science of the worldly life in the Islamic civilization. God Almighty has subjugated to man the earth and what is on it for the construction of the earth, and God Almighty has prepared the earth with all the requirements of this life “and placed in it the pillars above it and blessed it and estimated its sustenance.” (Fussilat: 10), “And We made for you livelihoods therein” (Al-A’raf: 10).
Khaled Azab believes that the purpose of the science of urbanization is: the happiness of man on earth, its tools: science and work, and its frameworks: the jurisprudence of urbanization and legal politics, and its fields: agriculture, industry and trade through the public sphere, since the first century AH / seventh century AD.
The genius of Ibn Khaldun
Azab tries to research what he called Ibn Khaldun’s “genius” again, but he disagreed with some of what was stated in his most prominent book, “The Introduction”.
Ibn Khaldun is considered the founder of sociology and the first to put it on its modern foundations. He came up with theories about the laws of urbanism, the theory of nervousness, the building of the state and the stages of its construction and its downfall.
Azab argues that Ibn Khaldun’s introduction included, in addition to the science of urbanism, the philosophy of history, the pillars of sociology, the seeds of political economy, and a glimpse into religions, stressing that Ibn Khaldun was beyond his time, as he was the founder of inter-human studies, and therefore all of the above came into the introduction, including his exposure The science of urbanism from a limited perspective is human sociology, and his genius was in his realization – with the maturity of sciences in his time – that there is something that brings together these sciences, and when more than one science meets and converges, new results are produced for us that lead to scientific progress.
Khaled Azab disagrees with Ibn Khaldun in his opinion about the Bedouins, so we find in him the contrast between the desert and the urban for the Arabs, the basis of which is movement and stillness or wandering and stability (settlement), or migration and permanent residence, and then what may result from this matter in the face of earnings, livelihoods, and the standard of living On the return of the craft, and the type of housing (in terms of whether it is permanent or temporary, as well as the housing, its external shape and size).
Azab believes that the nomadic Bedouins are not nomadic with time, as migration in this concept means moving to and from on a continuous basis, and the degrees of stability characterized these tribes and became stable within limited geographical borders, but rather became stable urban centers such as palaces, oases or speculators, their life Shepherds, cultivates, or guards caravans, and may combine more than one profession.
He explains that the urban settlement, whatever it is, is the place of man, from which life begins with its interactions.
Azab believes that the most obvious manifestation of urban thought is the clarity of the urban hierarchy according to needs, which leads to a clear urban pattern, indicating that this is what the author read from Al-Qazwini’s text in “Athar Al-Bilad and Akhbar Al-Abbad”, where his phrases flow to tell us about this hierarchy.
Justice is the basis of urbanization
The author builds through 5 chapters his vision of the science of urbanism. The first chapter deals with the nature of urbanization, defining urbanization in Islamic civilization as a science that has crystallized since the second century AH, following the evolution of the meaning of the word urbanization in linguistic dictionaries, stressing that justice is the basis of urbanization on Earth.
In the second chapter, the author talks about the resulting philosophy, which was based on: perfection, creativity and beauty, to move in the third chapter to the tools of urbanization in Islamic civilization that was based on science and work.
In the fourth chapter, the author talks about the frameworks of urbanization, that is, the means of its work in societies, or what he calls the rules that regulate the areas and space of urbanization, namely: Sharia policy and urban jurisprudence, to move in the fifth chapter to the applications of urbanization as a science in trade, industry, agriculture and others.
Khaled Azab confirms that the book is full of details that are difficult to summarize, but it provides a vision worthy of discussion and consideration, as he – for example – does not see that there is a rivalry between scientific progress and Islam, but rather sees that Islam was a catalyst through the rules of urbanization on scientific production and innovation.
The author Khaled Azab holds a PhD in Islamic Archeology from Cairo University in “Political Transformations and Their Impact on Architecture in the City of Cairo from the Ayyubid Era to the Era of Khedive Ismail,” and has won many awards.
Previously, he held the position of Head of the Central Projects and Services Sector at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and he is a member of a number of scientific institutions and societies, including the Association of Islamic Antiquities and Arts, the Egyptian Writers Union, and the Society for Reviving the Scientific Heritage of Islamic Civilization.
In 2014, the author received the award for the most important Arab book from the Arab Thought Foundation, for his book “The Jurisprudence of Urbanism: Architecture, Society and the State in Islamic Civilization.”
In 2016, he was awarded the State Prize for Excellence in the Social Sciences Branch by the Supreme Council of Culture in Egypt, for all his research work.