Part 1

Royal Authority Comes Only from Group Feeling


This is because aggressive and defensive strength is obtained only through group feeling which means (mutual) affection and willingness to fight and die for each other.

Royal authority is a noble and enjoyable position. It comprises all the good things of the world, the pleasures of the body, and the joys of the soul.

Therefore, there is, as a rule, great competition for it. It rarely is handed over (voluntarily), but it may be taken away. Thus, discord ensues. It leads to war and fighting, and to attempts to gain superiority.

Nothing of all this comes about except through group feeling, as we have also mentioned.

This situation is not at all understood by the great mass. They forget it, because they have forgotten the time when the dynasty first became established.

They have grown up in settled areas for a long time. They have lived there for successive generations. Thus, they know nothing about what took place with God’s help at the beginning of the dynasty.

They merely notice that the coloring of the men of the dynasty is determined, that people have submitted to them, and that group feeling is no longer needed to establish their power. They do not know how it was at the beginning and what difficulties had to be overcome by the founder of (the dynasty).

The inhabitants of Spain especially have forgotten group feeling and its influence, because so long a time has passed, and because as a rule they have no need of the power of group feeling, since their country has been annihilated and is depleted of tribal groups.

2. When a dynasty is firmly established, it can dispense with group feeling

This is because people find it difficult to submit to large dynastic power at the beginning, unless they are forced into submission by strong superiority.

The new government is something strange. People are not familiar with it But once leadership is firmly vested in the members of the family qualified to exercise royal authority in the dynasty, and once (royal authority) has been passed on by inheritance over many generations and through successive dynasties, the beginnings are forgotten, and the members of that family are clearly marked as leaders.

It has become a firmly established article of faith that one must be subservient and submissive to them. People will fight with them in their behalf, as they would fight for the articles of faith. By this time, the rulers will not need much group (feeling to maintain) their power.

It is as if obedience to the government were a divinely revealed book that cannot be changed or opposed. It is for some (good reason) that the discussion of the imamate is placed at the end of works dealing with the articles of faith, as if it were one of them.

The rulers maintain their hold over the government and their own dynasty with the help, then, either of clients and followers who grew up in the shadow and power 5 of group feeling, or (with that) of tribal groups of a different descent who have become their clients.

Something of the sort happened to the ‘Abbasids. The group feeling of the Arabs had been destroyed by the time of the reign of al-Mu’tasim and his son, al-Wathiq. They tried to maintain their hold over the government thereafter with the help of Persian, Turkish, Daylam, Saljuq, and other clients. Then, the Persians (non-Arabs) and clients gained power over the provinces (of the realm).

The influence of the dynasty grew smaller, and no longer extended beyond the environs of Baghdad. Eventually, the Daylam closed in upon (that area) and took possession of it. The caliphs were ruled by them. Then (the Daylam), in turn, lost control. The Saljugs seized power after the Daylam, and the (caliphs) were ruled by them. Then (the Saljugs), in turn, lost control.

Finally, the Mongols closed in, killed the caliph, and wiped out every vestige of the dynasty.

The same happened to the Sinhajah in the Maghrib.

Their group feeling was destroyed in the 11th century. Dynastic power, but of decreasing importance, was maintained by them in al-Mahdiyah, in Bougie, in al-Qal’ah, 6 and in the other frontier cities of Ifriqiyah.

Frequently, some rival aspirant to royal authority would attack these frontier cities and entrench himself in them.

Yet, they retained government and royal authority until God permitted their dynasty to be wiped out. Then the Almohads came, fortified by the strong group feeling among the Masmudah, and obliterated all traces of the (Sinhajah dynasty).

The same happened to the Umayyad dynasty in Spain. When its Arab group feeling was destroyed, the reyes de taifas (small princes) seized power and divided the territory among themselves. In competition with each other, they distributed among themselves the realm of the (Umayyad) dynasty.

Each one of them seized the territory under his control and aggrandized himself. (These rulers) learned of the relations that existed between the non-Arabs (in the East) and the ‘Abbasids.(Imitating them,) they adopted royal surnames and used royal trappings.

There was no danger that anyone would take (the prerogatives they claimed) away from them or alter (the situation in this respect), because Spain was no (longer the) home of groups and tribes, as we shall mention. They went on in this way, (and it was) as Ibn Sharaf 7 described it:

What makes me feel humble in Spain Is the use of the names Mu’tasim and Mu’tadid there. Royal surnames not in their proper place:

Like a cat that by blowing itself up imitates the lion.

They tried to maintain their power with the help of clients and followers and with that of the Zanatah and other Berber tribes which infiltrated Spain from the (African) shore. They imitated the way the (Umayyad) dynasty in its last stages had tried to maintain its power with their help, when the Arab group feeling weakened and Ibn Abi ‘Amir 8 obtained control of the dynasty.

These newcomers founded large states. Each one of them had control over a section of Spain. They also had a large share of royal authority, corresponding to (that of) the dynasty they had divided up.

They thus remained in power until the Almoravids, who shared in the strong Lamtunah group feeling, crossed the sea. The latter came and replaced and dislodged them from their centers. They obliterated all traces of the reyes de taifas who were unable to defend themselves because they had no longer any group feeling.

Such group feeling makes it possible for a dynasty to become established and protected from the beginning. AtTurtnshi thought that the military (strength) of a dynasty as such is identical with (the size of its) army that receives a fixed pay every month. He mentioned this in his Siraj almuluk. 9

His statement does not take into consideration the (conditions obtaining at the) original foundation of large dynasties. It applies only to the later stages, after the dynasty has been established and after royal authority has become firmly anchored in a given family and its people have adopted (their) definite coloring.

At-Turtushi had personal contact only with a senile dynasty whose energy was exhausted and which had reverted to maintaining power with the help of clients and followers, then hired servants for (its) defense. He had contact only with the small dynasties (the reyes de ta’ifas), at a time when the Umayyad dynasty was already in the state of (complete) dissolution, when its Arab group feeling was wiped out, and when each amir had (independent) control over his particular region. He lived under the administration of the Saragossans al-Musta’in b.

Hud and his son, al-Muzaffar. They had no longer any group feeling left, because, for three hundred years, the Arabs had been dominated by luxury and had perished. At-Turtushi thus saw only the kind of ruler who had (independent) control of royal authority to the exclusion of the families to which it belonged, and in whom the coloring of autocratic rule had been firmly established since the time of the dynasty(’s power) and when a remnant of group feeling still existed.

Therefore, his (royal authority) was not contested, and he could rely for maintenance of his power upon a soldiery with fixed pay. AtTurtushi generalized the condition (observed by him) when he made the statement mentioned. He did not realize how a dynasty originally comes to power, nor that only those who share in a group feeling are able to accomplish (the formation of a dynasty). But this should be realized. It should be understood how God intended these things to be.


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