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The purpose of this paper is to present an investigation on the use of the term “civilization” in Muslim intellectual traditions; that is to look for the terms used in various languages used by Muslim peoples to mean civilization. It tries to find out some definition of what we mean by “civilization” as well as what we mean by “being civilized” in Islamic intellectual traditions.
Therefore, the methodology adopted to achieve the paper's objective is to analyze the various literal and terminological words and terms used to denote civilization in various Muslim languages.
The paper finds that in the Muslim scientific and cultural traditions, hadarah, tamaddun or tamadun are the various terms used. However, Ibn Khalduun’s term hadarah is the most appropriate one to express the concept of civilization in its modern sense.
It is also clear that the mentioned usages of term “civilization” agree on certain rudimentary elements of civilization, that is, the presence of the city, the order or organization and the sedentary life of its inhabitants.
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