21. As long as a nation retains its group feeling,
royal authority that disappears in one branch
will, of necessity, pass to some other branch
of the same nation.
The reason for this is that (the members of a particular nation) obtain royal authority only after (proving their) forcefulness and finding other nations obedient to them. (Only a few) are then singled out to become the actual rulers and to be directly connected with the throne. It could not be all of them, because there is not enough room for all to compete (for leadership), and because the existence of jealousy cuts short the aspirations of many of those who aspire to high office.
Those who are singled out to support the dynasty indulge in a life of ease and sink into luxury and plenty. They make servants of their fellows and contemporaries and use them to further the various interests and enterprises of the dynasty. Those who are far away from the government and who are thus prevented from having a share in it, remain in the shadow of the dynastic power. They share in it by virtue of their descent, (but) they are not affected by senility, because they remain far from the life of luxury and the things that produce luxury.
The (passing) days get the upper hand over the original group (in power). Their prowess disappears as the result of senility. (The duties of) the dynasty make them soft.128 Time feasts on them, as their energy is exhausted by well-being and their vigor drained by the nature of luxury. They reach their limit, the limit that is set by the nature of human urbanization (tamaddun) and political superiority.
Like the silkworm that spins and then, in turn,
Finds its end amidst the threads itself has spun.128a
At that moment, the group feeling of other people (within the same nation) is strong. Their force cannot be broken. Their emblem is recognized to be victorious. As a result, their hopes of achieving royal authority, from which they had been kept until now by a superior power within their own group, are high. Their superiority is recognized, and, therefore, no one disputes (their claim to royal authority). They seize power. It becomes theirs. Then, they have the same experience (their predecessors had) at the hands of those other groups within the nation that remain away from (the government). Royal authority thus continues in a particular nation until the force of the group feeling of (that nation) is broken and gone, or until all its groups have ceased to exist. That is how God proceeds with regard to life in this world. "And the other world, according to your Lord, belongs to those who fear God." 129
This can be illustrated by what happened among the nations. When the royal authority of 'Ad was wiped out, their brethren, the Thamud, took over. They were succeeded, in turn, by their brethren, the Amalekites. The Amalekites were succeeded by their brethren, the Himyar. The Himyar were succeeded by their brethren, the Tubba's, who belonged to the Himyar. They, likewise, were succeeded, by the Adhwa'.130 Then, the Mudar came to power.
The same was the case with the Persians. When the Kayyanid 131 rule was wiped out, the Sassanians ruled after them. Eventually, God permitted them all to be destroyed by the Muslims.
The same was also the case with the Greeks. Their rule was wiped out and transferred to their brethren, the Rum (Romans).
The same was the case with the Berbers in the Maghrib. When the rule of their first rulers, the Maghrawah and the Kutimah, was wiped out, it went to the Sinhajah. Then it went to the Veiled (Sinhajah), then to the Masmudah, and then to the (still) remaining Zanatah groups.
This is how God proceeds with His servants and creatures.
All this has its origin in group feeling, which differs in the different groups. Luxury wears out the royal authority and overthrows it, as we shall mention later on. 132 When a dynasty is wiped out, the power is taken (away) from (the members of that dynasty) by those people whose group feeling has a share in the (established) group feeling, since it is recognized that submission and subservience (by others) belong to (the established group feeling) and since people are used to the fact that (the established group feeling) has superiority over all other group feelings. (The same group feeling,) now, exists only in those people who are closely related (to the outgoing dynasty), because group feeling is proportionate to the degree of relationship. (It goes on that way until,) eventually, a great change takes place in the world, such as the transformation of a religion, or the disappearance of a civilization, or something else willed by the power of God. Then, royal authority is transferred from one group to another-to the one that God permits to effect that change. This happened to the Mudar. They gained superiority over nations and dynasties, and took power away from all the people of the world, after having themselves been kept out of power for ages.