8. The greatness of a dynasty, the extent of its
territory, and the length of its duration depend
upon the numerical strength of its supporters.
The reason for this is that royal authority exists only through group feeling. Representatives of group feeling are the militiamen who settle in the provinces and territories of the dynasty and are spread over them. The more numerous the tribes and groups of a large dynasty are, the stronger and larger are its provinces and lands. Their royal authority, therefore, is wider.
An example of this was the Muslim dynasty when God united the power of the Arabs in Islam. The number of Muslims who participated in the raid against Tabuk, the Prophet's last raid, was 110,000,45 (consisting of) Mudar and Qahtin horsemen and foot soldiers. That number was augmented by those who became Muslims after the (raid) and down to the time of the Prophet's death. When (all these people) then set out to seek for themselves the royal authority held by (other) nations, there was no protection against them or refuge. They were allowed (to take possession of) the realms of the Persians and the Byzantines who were the greatest dynasties in the world at that time, (as well as the realms) of the Turks in the East, of the European Christians and Berbers in the West (Maghrib), and of the Goths in Spain. They went from the Hijiz to as-Sus in the far west,46 and from the Yemen to the Turks in the farthest north. They gained possession of all seven zones.
One may also look at the Sinhajah and Almohad dynasties and their relationship to the 'Ubaydid (-Fitimids) before them. The Kutimah, supporters of the 'Ubaydid(-Fatimid) dynasty, were more numerous than the Sinhajah and the Masmudah. Consequently, their dynasty was larger. They took possession of Ifriqiyah and the Maghrib, as well as of Syria, Egypt, and the Hijaz. One may also look at the later Zanatah dynasty. Since the number of the Zanatah was smaller than that of the Masmt dah, their royal authority fell short of that of the Almohads, because (the Zanatah) were numerically inferior to the MasmGdah from the very start. One may also consider the situation of the two Zanatah dynasties at this time, the Merinids and the 'Abd-al-Wadids. The Merinids were numerically stronger than the 'Abd-alWadids when they first seized power. Therefore, their dynasty was stronger and larger than that of the 'Abd-alWadids. Time after time, (the Merinids) defeated (the 'Abdal-Wadids). It is said that the number of the Merinids at the beginning of their rule was three thousand and that of the 'Abd-al-Wadids one thousand. However, (possession of) dynastic power with (its) life of ease and the (great) number of (its) followers increased their numbers.
Thus, the expansion and power of a dynasty correspond to the numerical strength of those who obtain superiority at the beginning of the rule. The length of its duration also depends upon it. The life of anything that comes into being depends upon the strength of its temper. The temper of dynasties is based upon group feeling. If the group feeling is strong, the (dynasty's) temper likewise is strong, and its life of long duration. Group feeling, in turn, depends on numerical strength, as we have stated. 47
The real reason why (large dynasties last longer) is that when collapse comes it begins in the outlying regions, and the large dynasty has many such provinces far from its center. Each defection that occurs necessarily requires a certain time. The time required (for collapse of the dynasty) will be long in such cases, because there are many provinces, each of which collapses in its own good time. The duration of a large dynasty, therefore, is long.
This (fact) may be observed in the Arab Muslim dynasty. It lasted the longest of (all Muslim) dynasties, counting both the 'Abbasids in the center and the Umayyads far away in Spain. Their rule collapsed only after the fourth [tenth] century. 48 The 'Ubaydid(-Fatimids) lasted about 280 years. The Sinhajah dynasty did not last as long as that of the 'Ubaydid(-Fatimids), namely, from the time when Ma'add al-Mu'izz entrusted Ifrigiyah to Buluggin b. Zirt in the year 358 , up to the time when the Almohads took possession of al-Qal'ah 49 and Bougie in the year 557 . The contemporary Almohad (Hafsid) dynasty has lasted nearly 270 years.
Thus, the life of a dynasty depends upon (the number of) its supporters. "This is how God formerly proceeded with His servants." 50