15. Savage nations are better able to achieve
superiority than others.
It should be known that since, as we have stated in the Third Prefatory Discussion,93 desert life no doubt is the reason for bravery, savage groups are braver than others. They are, therefore, better able to achieve superiority and to take away the things that are in the hands of other nations. The situation of one and the same group changes, in this respect, with the change of time. Whenever people settle in the fertile plains and amass 94 luxuries and become accustomed to a life of abundance and luxury, their bravery decreases to the degree that their wildness and desert habits decrease.
This is exemplified by dumb animals, such as gazelles, wild buffaloes (cows), and donkeys, that are domesticated. When they cease to be wild as the result of contact with human beings, and when they have a life of abundance, their vigor and violence undergo change. This affects even their movements and the beauty of their coat.95 The same applies to savage human beings who become sociable and friendly.
The reason is that familiar customs determine human nature and character. Superiority comes to nations through enterprise and courage. The more firmly rooted in desert habits and the wilder a group is, the closer does it come to achieving superiority over others, if both (parties are otherwise) approximately equal in number, strength, and group (feeling) .
In this connection, one may compare the Mudar with the Ijimyar and the Kahlan before them, who preceded them in royal authority and in the life of luxury, and also with the Rabi'ah who settled in the fertile fields of the 'Iraq. The Mudar retained their desert habits, and the others embarked upon a life of abundance and great luxury before they did. Desert life prepared the Mudar most effectively for achieving superiority. They took away and appropriated what the other groups had in their hands.
The same was the case also with the Banu Tayy, the Banu 'Amir b. Sa'sa'ah, and the Banu Sulaym b. Mansur 96 later on. They remained longer in the desert than the other Mudar and Yemenite tribes, and did not have any of their wealth. The desert habits thus preserved the power of their group feeling, and the habits of luxury did not wear it out. They thus eventually became the most powerful (group) among (the Arabs). Thus, wherever an Arab tribe leads a life of luxury and abundance, while another does not, the one holding fast to desert life the longer will be superior to and more powerful than the other, if both parties are (otherwise) equal in strength and number.
This is how God proceeds with His creatures.