Tensions tearing at the basis of Islamic societies are never more acute than when stoked in the name of Islam. Idealists invoking Islam as a lever for change spark upheavals that time and again hand power to cynics. Looking for an explanation why Islamic societies wallow in paralysis, some suggest Islamic societies stagnate because Islam itself does not admit of contemplating change in society, that Islam, to put it simply, comes without a toolkit for handling social change. To think so is tempting – but wrong.
The very agenda of social sciences, why and how change occurs in society, was mapped by Ibn Khaldun, who produced a coherent body of analysis of why societies rise, peak and wane.