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HADARAH. The classical Arabic word haddrah, which connotes a sedentary lifestyle in either city or countryside, is used as a technical term for “civilization” in modern Middle Eastern societies. It is used in the sense of “sedentary life” by Ibn Manzur (d. AH 711/1312 CE) in his Lisan al-‘Arab and by Ibn Khaldun (d. 8o8/ 14o6) in his Muqaddimah. Haddrah is synonymous with `umran (“civilization”) in Al-muqaddimah li-Kitdb al`ibar; it is comparable to madaniyah in Muhammad `Abduh’s (d. 1905) Risalat al-tawhid (Epistle on Monotheism), and identical with the usage of the Arabic term tamaddun (“civilization”) in the title of jurji Zaydan’s (d. 1914) Tarikh al-tamaddun al-Islami (History of Islamic Civilization). In South Arabian usage, according to R. B. Serjeant, hadar are the artisans, laborers, and merchants of the towns and villages, as opposed to tribesmen who bear arms.

In Ibn Khaldun’s usage, the term haddrah and baddwah (nomadism) are contrasted as distinct lifestyles, often hostile to each other. The nomadic hordes constitute a closely knit society led by a chief (shaykh) who unites the clans of the tribe on the basis of `asabiyah (esprit de corps, solidarity), which issues from kinship. In his analysis of North African history, Ibn Khaldun formulates the theory of `asabiyah as a cohesive force that transforms a tribe into a political power founding a dynasty or state (dawlah). Thus `asabiyah leads to the formation of an institution that in its turn contributes to the development of haddrah.

During the course of the twentieth century hadarah as a term has acquired various shades of meaning. For instance, Adam Metz’s Die Renaissance des Islams was translated into Arabic under the title Al-haddrah alIsldmiyah ft al-qarn al-rabi` al-hijri (Islamic Civilization during the Fourth Century Hijrah), where hadarah is used in the sense of “renaissance”; similarly, V. V.

Barthold’s treatise Mussulman Culture was translated into Arabic by Hamzah Tahir as Al-haddrah alIslamiyah, thus identifying haddrah with culture. A survey of half a dozen Arabic books on haddrah reveals the following common topics: the rise and fall of states, the founding of capitals and garrison towns (amsdr), the aesthetic values of art and architecture, economic life, the development of education and science, and spirituality. Islamic scholarship recognizes religion as the foundation and creative force in the civilization of the ummah (community). Modernist Arab scholars-such as Taha Husayn (d. 1973) in his discussion of the future of culture in Egypt-view freedom (hurriyah) and independence (istiqlal) as desirable values but not as the goals of civilization. The future haddrah, Husayn argues, should be based on science (`ilm) and Arab culture (thaqafah) in order to create a civilization matching the glorious past. [See also `Asabiyah.]


Beg, M. A. J. Islamic and Western Concepts of Civilization. 3d ed. Kuala Lumpur, 1982.

Bustani, Butrus al-, ed. Dd’irat al-ma’arif, vol. 7, pp. 96-97. Beirut, 1883.

Ibn Khaldun. The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History. 3 vols. Translated by Franz Rosenthal. New York, 1958.

Ibn Manzur, Muhammad ibn Mukarram. Lisan al-‘Arab. 15 vols. Beirut, 1955-1956 See volume 7, pages 196-202.

Von Grunebaum, G. E. “Islam: Essays in the Nature and Growth of a Cultural Tradition.” American Anthropologist, Memoir 81 (1955).

M. A. J. BEG

Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/hadarah/

  • writerPosted On: June 10, 2013
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