Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Esprit de Corps a.k.a Assabiyyah

Asabiyyah originated from Arabic word (Asab) which means to bind. For example, to bind individual into a group. It is also derived from the word Asaba, which designates the concept that is etymologically abstracted from the concrete form. It is too difficult to decide what actually the meaning of Asabiyyah based on Ibn Khaldun perspective. Overall, asabiyyah is a social solidarity. Ibn Khaldun belief that social organization is necessary and inherent in human nature. People must cooperate with each other to satisfy their need for food, clothing, housing, security and defense. This close association generates a feeling of solidarity and mutual responsibility and this is called by Ibn Khaldun as Asabiyyah (the bond between members of the same tribe based on the ties of blood, family tradition and religion). There are also some interpretation given by other scholar in defining the term Asabiyyah. Some might say that asabiyyah is the reflection of concrete group cohesion and so for. Ibn Khaldun view on scope of Asabiyyah is different aspect. Firstly, Asabiyyah is a core of historical explaination of social life in the nomadic and urban societies. Secondly, Asabiyyah is not necessarily based on blood relation.. It doesn’t matter if they have blood relation or not, the matter is the social consideration. Ibn Khaldun recognize social solidarity in group other than family or tribe. Next, Asabiyyah is natural and universal. It is not confined to Arab people only because Ibn Khaldun identified the asabiyahs of several non-Arab peoples such as Persian, Jews and others too. Fourthly, asabiyyah related to the economic structure of society. Better economy can be achieved if one society working together completed their need with one another. Next, Asabiyyah also could help to strengthen relationship toward religion as social institution and lastly, Asabiyyah also exercises a profound influence upon polity. It means that state cannot be established except with strong Asabiyyah.


The contribution of asabiyyah to the development of sedentary life setting are asabiyyah is a social bond that can be used to measure the strength and stability of social grouping. If the group have strong asabiyyah, therefore, they manage to systemize their lifestyle moreover, lead to better life and develop. Other than that, asabiyyah also indicate good character and high qualification of leadership. By asabiyyah, a good leader can be emerged and it could lead and rule the state democraticly. For Ibn Khaldun, state foundation is a goal of Asabiyyah and urbanism is the goal of the nomadic people. People who possess strong asabiyyah want to achieved this goal and have a comfort life. There is the contribution of asabiyyah toward the development of sedentary life setting.


Asabiyyah related to political entities in terms of political power. Power is an ability of someone in order to change people behaviour. It means that power only can be apply if there is more than one people. It has to apply to someone and power could not be existed for an individual only. Someone get their power because they may have certain skill in leadership and leadership only can get through superiority. Superiority only can be achieved through Asabiyyah. State also come into existence because of Asabiyyah. A state of sovereignty is established by conquest of cities by a primitive people welded together by Asabiyyah. Power is the basis of the stages and the necessary instrument of the restraining authority without which man cannot exist. The power state is an end in itself with a life of its own, and is the political and social unit which alone makes human civilization possible. Ibn Khaldun anticipated Marx, Tonybee and many other Western writers when he proposes the natural and necessary law of growth, maturing and decline of the state. This process is spread into five stages. Firstly, establishment of the ruler with the backing of asabiyyah. Secondly, consolidation during which the ruler establishes a state with army and organized administrative bureaucracy. Thirdly, luxury during which the ruler and the follower start living a life of luxury and the state characterized by economic prosperity. Next, contentment during which the ruler and the ruled becomecomplacent, enjoying the pleasure of life. Next, extravagance, comforts and luxury, and moral vice that lead to disintegration and collapse. Finally, power is snatched from the ruling dynasty by a new dynasty aided by new asabiyyah. Ibn Khaldun limits the natural life of a state generally to three generation. Ibn Khaldun, however, thought that moral law plays no role in the rise and fall of nations.

In my opinion, the concept of Asabiyyah is really beneficial and it should be practice in our life. More or less, actually, we already follow this concept. It is human nature to life with interaction between others, shared our need, value and so for. Human being cannot life alone. Therefore, the concept of Asabiyyah is needed in our daily life. It cover almost every aspect that we needed for example living in development country. How we can achieved the aim without asabiyyah? We need a group of people that shared same goal with us to help us achieved it and get benefit together. That is why social solidarity is crucial for us. Ibn Khaldun come out with this theory based on scenario that he sees during his time and interprete it so that other generation could follow and use this theory for a better lifestyle. With asabiyyah, we can get benefits in various field, economy, politic, religion and etcetra. For example, in economic field, if we doing business together and know our mission of working without discriminate anyone, maybe our government become healthy there is no usury in our economic sector. Same like religious matter, with asabiyyah, it could strengthen ukuwwah among society by perform prayer together and perform religious duty moreover make someone become a godly person and later built a strong unity of ummah. Religion itself also requires asabiyyah and religious movements without asabiyyah are ineffective.

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