Part 25

The Arabs

January 22, 2020

25. Places that succumb to the Arabs are quickly ruined

This is because the Arabs are a savage nation. They enjoy savagery because it means freedom from authority. Such a natural disposition negates civilization.

All the customary activities of the Arabs lead to travel and movement. This negates the stationariness which produces civilization.

For instance, the Arabs need stones as supports for their cooking pots. They tear down buildings to get those stones.

They also need wood for props and poles for their tents. So they tear down roofs to get that wood.

The very nature of their existence negates building which is the basis of civilization.

Furthermore, it is their nature to plunder other people as the source of their sustenance. They recognize no limit in taking the possessions of other people. Whenever their eyes fall upon some property, furnishings, or utensils, they take it. When they acquire superiority and royal authority, they have complete power to plunder as they please.

This removes any political power to protect property, and so, civilization is ruined.

They force craftsmen and professional workers to work for them without pay.

Labor is the real basis of profit.

When labor is not appreciated and is done for nothing, the hope for profit vanishes, and no productive work is done. This causes the sedentary population to disperse and the civilization to decay.

Furthermore, the Arabs are not concerned with laws. They are not concerned to deter people from misdeeds or to protect some against the others.

They care only for the property that they can take away through looting and imposts. When they have obtained that, they have no interest in anything further, such as taking care of (people), looking after their interests, or forcing them not to commit misdeeds.

They often level fines on property because they want to get some advantage, some tax, or profit out of it. This is their custom.

It does not help to prevent misdeeds or to deter those who undertake to commit (misdeeds).

On the contrary, it increases (misdeeds), because as compared to getting what one wants, the (possible financial) loss (through fines) is insignificant.141

Under Arab rule, the subjects live as in a state of anarchy, without law. Anarchy destroys mankind and ruins civilization, since the existence of royal authority is a natural quality of man. It alone guarantees their existence and social organization. That was mentioned above at the beginning of the chapter. 142

Furthermore, (every Arab) is eager to be the leader. Scarcely a one of them would cede his power to another, even to his father, his brother, or the eldest (most important) member of his family.

That happens only in rare cases and underpressure of considerations of decency. There are numerous authorities and amirs among them. The subjects have to obey many masters in connection with the control of taxation and law. Civilization, thus, decays and is wiped out.

‘Abd-al-Malik asked one Arab who had come to him on an embassy about al-Hajjaj. He wanted him to praise alHajjaj for his good political leadership (for the benefit of) civilization. But the Arab said= “When I left him, he was acting unjustly all by himself.“142a

It is noteworthy how civilization always collapsed in places the Arabs took over and conquered, and how such settlements were depopulated and the (very) earth there turned into something that was no (longer) earth. The Yemen where (the Arabs) live is in ruins, except for a few cities. Persian civilization in the Arab ‘Iraq is likewise completely ruined. The same applies to contemporary Syria.

When the Banu Hilal and the Banu Sulaym pushed through (from their homeland) to Ifrigiyah and the Maghrib in (the beginning of) the fifth [eleventh] century and struggled there for three hundred and fifty years, they attached themselves to (the country), and the flat territory in (the Maghrib) was completely ruined. Formerly, the whole region between the Sudan and the Mediterranean had been settled.

This is attested by the relics of civilization there, such as monuments, architectural sculpture, and the visible remains of villages and hamlets.

God inherits the earth and whomever is upon it. He is the best heir.143

26. Arabs can obtain royal authority only using religious coloring, such as prophecy, sainthood, or some great religious event in general

This is because of their savagery. They are the least willing of nations to subordinate themselves to each other, as they are rude, proud, ambitious, and eager to be the leader. Their individual aspirations rarely coincide.

But when there is religion (among them) through prophecy or sainthood, then they have some restraining influence in themselves. The qualities of haughtiness and jealousy leave them. It is, then, easy for them to subordinate themselves and to unite (as a social organization).

This is achieved by the common religion they now have. It causes rudeness and pride to disappear and exercises a restraining influence on their mutual envy and jealousy. When there is a prophet or saint among them, who calls upon them to fulfill the commands of God and rids them of blameworthy qualities and causes them to adopt praiseworthy ones, and who has them concentrate all their strength in order to make the truth prevail, they become fully united (as a social organization) and obtain superiority and royal authority.

Besides, no people are as quick (as the Arabs) to accept (religious) truth and right guidance, because their natures have been preserved free from distorted habits and uncontaminated by base character qualities.

The only (difficulty) lies in the quality of savagery, which, however, is easily taken care of and which is ready to admit good (qualities), as it has remained in its first natural state and remote from the ugly customs and bad habits that leave their impress upon the soul. “Every infant is born in the natural state,” as is stated in the tradition that was quoted above. 145