Part 22

The vanquished always want to imitate the victor

January 23, 2020

22. The vanquished always want to imitate the victor in his distinctive marks, dress, occupation, and all his other conditions and customs

This is because the soul always sees perfection in the person who is superior to it and to whom it is subservient. It considers him perfect, either because:

  • its respect for him impresses it, or
  • it erroneously assumes that its subservience was due to the victor’s perfection and not to the nature of the defeat
    • If that erroneous assumption fixes itself in the soul, then it becomes a firm belief.

The soul then adopts the victor’s manners and assimilates itself to him. It imitates him.

Or, the soul might think that the victor’s superiority is not the result of his group feeling or great fortitude, but of his customs and manners.

  • This also would be an erroneous concept of superiority.
  • Its consequence would also be imitation

This is similar to how children constantly imitate their father.

  • They do that only because they see perfection in him.
  • One may also compare how almost everywhere people are dominated (in the matter of fashion) by the dress of the militia and the government forces, because they are ruled by them.

This goes so far that a nation dominated by another, neighboring nation will show a great deal of assimilation and imitation. At this time, this is the case in Spain. The Spaniards are found to assimilate themselves to the Galician nations in their dress, their emblems, and most of their customs and conditions.

This goes so far that they even draw pictures on the walls and (have them) in buildings and houses. The intelligent observer will draw from this the conclusion that it is a sign of domination (by others). God has the power to command. 134

In this light, one should understand the secret of the saying, “The common people follow the religion of the ruler.” 135 (This saying) belongs to the subject under discussion. The ruler dominates those under him. His subjects imitate him, because they see perfection in him, exactly as children imitate their parents, or students their teachers.

23. A nation that has been defeated and come under the rule of another nation will quickly perish.

This is because the apathy that comes over people when they lose control of their own affairs and, through enslavement, become the instrument of others and dependent upon them.

Hope diminishes and weakens.

Now, propagation and an increase in civilization (population) take place only as the result of strong hope and of the energy that hope creates in the animal powers (of man).

When hope and the things it stimulates are gone through apathy, and when group feeling has disappeared under the impact of defeat, civilization decreases and business and other activities stop. With their strength dwindling under the impact of defeat, people become unable to defend themselves.

They become the victims of anyone who tries to dominate them, and a prey to anyone who has the appetite. It makes no difference whether they have already reached the limit of their royal authority or not.

Here, we possibly learn another secret, namely, that man is a natural leader by virtue of the fact that he has been made a representative (of God on earth). When a leader is deprived of his leadership and prevented from exercising all his powers, he becomes apathetic, even down to such matters as food and drink. This is in the human character. A similar observation may be made with regard to beasts of prey.

They do not cohabit when they are in human captivity. The group that has lost control of its own affairs thus continues to weaken and to disintegrate until it perishes. Duration be longs to God alone.

This may be illustrated by the Persian nation. In the past, the Persians filled the world with their great numbers. When their military force was annihilated in the days of the Arabs, they were still very numerous.

It is said that Sa’d (b. Abi Waqqas) counted (the population) beyond Ctesiphon. It numbered 137,000 (individuals), with 37,000 heads of families.

But when the Persians came under the rule of the Arabs and were made subject to (oppression by) force, they lasted only a short while and were wiped out as if they had never been. One should not think that this was the result of some (specific) persecution or aggression perpetrated against them.

Islam is known for its justice.

Such (disintegration as befell the Persians) is in human nature. It happens when people lose control of their own affairs and become the instrument of someone else.

Therefore, the Negro nations are submissive to slavery because they have little human attributes. Instead, they are quite similar to those of dumb animals. 137

Or,138 there are those who by accepting slavery hope to obtain high rank or to get money or power. This was the case with the Turks in the East, and with the Galician infidels and European Christians in Spain. Such people are customarily claimed by the dynasty for itself.

Thus, they are not ashamed to be slaves, because they hope to be chosen for high position by the dynasty. And God knows better.

24. Arabs can gain control only over flat territory

This is because of their savage nature. They are people who plunder and cause damage. They then retreat to their pastures in the desert. They do not attack or fight except in self-defense.

They bypass every stronghold or locality that is difficult to attack, in favor of an easier enterprise. Tribes that are protected against (the Arabs) by inaccessible mountains are safe from their mischief and destructiveness.

The Arabs would not cross hills or undergo hardship and danger in order to get to them.

Flat territory, on the other hand, falls victim to their looting and prey to their appetite whenever they (have the opportunity of) gaining power over it, when there is no militia, or when the dynasty is weak.

Then they raid, plunder, and attack that territory repeatedly, because it is easily (accessible) to them. Eventually, its inhabitants succumb utterly to the Arabs and then they are pushed around by them in accordance with changes of control and shifts in leadership. Eventually, their civilization is wiped out. God has power over His creatures.