Part 27

The Arabs are most remote from royal leadership Icon

January 20, 2020

This is because they are more rooted in desert life than any other nation. They have less need of the products and grain of the hills, because they are used to a tough and hard life.

Therefore, they can dispense with other people. It is difficult for them to subordinate themselves to each other because they are used to no control and because they are in a state of savagery.

Their leader needs them mostly for the group spirit for defense. He is, therefore, forced to rule them kindly and to avoid antagonizing them.

Otherwise, he would have trouble with the group spirit, and such trouble would be his undoing and theirs. Royal leadership and government, on the other hand, require the leader to exercise a restraining influence by force. If not, his leadership would not last.

It is the nature of the Arabs to appropriate the possessions of other people but, beyond that, to refrain from exercising any (power of) arbitration among them and to fail to keep them from (fighting) each other.

When they conquer a nation, their goal is to profit from their position by taking away the property of its citizens. Beyond that, they do not care to exercise any (power of) arbitration among them.

They often punish crimes by fines on property, in their desire to increase the tax revenues and to obtain some (pecuniary) advantage. That is no deterrent (to crime).

Rather, it is often an incentive (to crime), in view of the fact that incentives to commit misdeeds (may be very strong) and that, in the opinion of (the criminal), payment of a fine is insignificant, weighed against getting what he wants.

Thus, misdeeds increase, and civilization is ruined. A nation dominated by the Arabs is in a state no different from anarchy, where everybody is set against the others. Such a civilization cannot last and goes quickly to ruins, as would be the case in a state of anarchy, as we have mentioned before.

This is why the Arabs are by nature remote from royal leadership. They attain it (only) once their nature has undergone a complete transformation under the influence of some religious coloring that wipes out all such (qualities) and causes the Arabs to have a restraining influence on themselves and to keep people apart from each other, as we have mentioned.148

This is illustrated by the Arab dynasty in Islam.

Religion cemented their leadership with the religious law and its ordinances, which, explicitly and implicitly, are concerned with what is good for civilization. The caliphs followed one after another.

As a result, the royal authority and government of the Arabs became great and strong. When Rustum saw the Muslims assemble for prayer, he said= " ‘Umar eats my liver. He teaches the dogs how to behave." 149

Later on, the Arabs were cut off from the dynasty for generations. They neglected the religion.

Thus, they forgot political leadership and returned to their desert. They were ignorant of the connection of their group feeling with the people of the ruling dynasty, because subservience and lawful (government) had (now) become strange to them.

They became once again as savage as they had been before.

The epithet “royal” was no longer applicable to them, except in so far as it(continued to) apply to the caliphs who were (Arabs) by race. When the caliphate disappeared and was wiped out, governmental power passed altogether out of their hands.

Non-Arabs took over the power in their stead. They remained as Bedouins in the desert, ignorant of royal authority and political leadership. Most Arabs do not even know that they possessed royal authority in the past, or that no nation had ever exercised such (sweeping) royal authority as had their race. The dynasties of ‘Ad and Thamild, the Amalekites, the Himyar, and the Tubba’s testify to that statement, and then, there was the Mudar dynasty in Islam, the Umayyads and the ‘Abbasids.

But when the Arabs forgot the religion, they no longer had any connection with political leadership, and they returned to their desert origins. At times, they achieve superiority over weak dynasties, as is the case in the contemporary Maghrib.

But their domination leads only to the ruin of the civilization they conquer, as we have stated before.

Desert tribes and groups are dominated by the urban population.

Desert civilization is inferior to urban civilization, because not all the necessities of civilization can be found among the people of the desert.

  • They do possess some agriculture at home, (but)
  • they do not possess (all) the materials that belong to it, most of which (depend on) crafts.
  • They do not have any carpenters, tailors, blacksmiths, or other (craftsmen whose crafts) would provide them with the necessities required for making a living in agriculture and other things.

Likewise, they do not have (coined) money (dinars and dirhams). They have the equivalent of it in harvested grain, in animals, and in animal products such as milk, wool (of animals), (camel’s) hair, and hides, which the urban population needs and pays the Arabs money for.

However, while the Bedouins need the cities for their necessities of life, the urban population needs the Bedouins for conveniences and luxuries.

Thus, the Bedouins need the cities for the necessities of life by the very nature of their (mode of) existence. As long as they live in the desert and have not obtained royal authority and control of the cities, they need the inhabitants (of the latter).

They must be active in behalf of their interests and obey them whenever (the latter) ask and demand obedience from them.

When there is a ruler in the city, the submissiveness and obedience of (the Bedouins) is the result of the superiority of the ruler. When there is no ruler in the city, some political leadership and control by some of the inhabitants over the remainder must, of necessity, exist in it.

If not, the civilization of the city would be wiped out. Such a leader makes (the Bedouins) obey him and exert themselves in behalf of his interests. He does so either by persuasion, in that he distributes money among them and lets them have the necessities they need from his city, which enables their civilization to subsist; or, if he has the power to do so, he forces them to obey him, even if he has to cause discord among them so as to get the support of one party, with the help of which he will then be able to overcome the remainder and thus force the others to obey him, since they fear the decay of their civilization as the result of (the unstable situation).

These Bedouins often cannot leave their districts to go to other regions because all of them are already inhabited by other Bedouins who took them away from someone and kept others out. They have, therefore, no hope of survival except by being obedient to the city. Thus, they are of necessity dominated by the urban population.

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