43. The division of one dynasty into two.



It should be known that the first (perceptible) consequence of a dynasty's senility is that it splits. This is because, when royal authority comes into its own and achieves the utmost luxury and prosperity and when the ruler controls all the glory and has it all for himself, he is too proud to let anyone share in it. As far as possible, he eliminates all claims in this direction by destroying those of his relatives who are possible candidates for his position and whom he suspects.

Those who participate with the ruler in this (activity) often have fears for their own (safety) and take refuge in remote parts of the realm. People who are in the same situation as they of running a risk 691 and becoming suspect, join them there and gather around them. (At that time,) the authority of the dynasty has already begun to shrink and to withdraw from the remote parts of the realm. Thus, the refugee who is related (to the dynasty) gains control there. His power grows continually, while the authority of the dynasty shrinks. Eventually he becomes, or almost becomes, an equal partner in the dynasty.

This may be observed in the Arab Muslim dynasty. Its power was great and concentrated, its authority far-flung, and the group feeling of the Banu 'Abd-Manaf was one and supreme over all the Mudar. Therefore, no dissension made itself felt over the whole period of (the Arab Muslim dynasty), except for the disturbances caused by the Kharijites, who were willing to die for their heresy. That (however) had nothing to do with royal authority and (political) leadership, and they were not successful, because they were up against a strong group feeling. Then, the Umayyads lost control, and the 'Abbasids took over. The Arab dynasty had, by then, achieved the utmost superiority and luxury, and was beginning to shrink. (At that time,) 'Abd-ar-Rahman I ad-Dakhil took refuge in Spain, the most remote region of the Muslim dynasty. He founded a realm there and severed it from the 'Abbasid cause. Thus, he made two dynasties out of one. Then, Idris took refuge in the Maghrib and seceded and seized power there. His son and successor commanded the Awrabah, the Maghilah, and the Zanitah Berbers, and took possession of both the Maghribs (Morocco and Algeria).

Later on, the 'Abbasid dynasty shrank more and more. The Aghlabids were stirred up to resist (the 'Abbasids). Then, the Shi'ah (the 'Ubaydid-Fatimids) seceded. The Kutimah and the Sinhajah supported them, and they took possession of Ifriqiyah and the Maghrib, and then conquered Egypt, Syria, and the Hijaz. They defeated the Idrisids and divided the ('Abbasid) dynasty into two more, so that the Arab ('Abbasid) dynasty now consisted of three (independent) dynasties: the 'Abbasids at the center and base of the Arab world and at the source of Islam; the Umayyads, who had renewed their old royal authority and caliphate of the East in Spain; and the 'Ubaydid(-Fatimids) in Ifriqiyah, Egypt, Syria, and the Hijaz. These dynasties continued to exist until their destruction was imminent or complete.

In the same way, the 'Abbasid dynasty also split into other dynasties. There were the Hamdinids and their successors, the Banu 'Uqayl, in the Jazirah and Mosul. There were the Tulunids and their successors, the Banu Tughsh (Ikhshidids), in Egypt and Syria. In the remote (East), there were the Siminids in Transoxania and Khurisin, and the 'Alawids (Zaydis) among the Daylam and in Tabaristan. This, finally, led to Daylam domination of Firs and the two 'Iraqs, including Baghdad and the caliphs. Then, there came the Saljuqs. They took possession of all that (area). Later on, their dynasty, too, split after having flourished, as is known from their history.

The same thing may also be observed of the Sinhajah dynasty in the Maghrib and Ifriqiyah. When it reached its zenith in the days of Badis b. al-Mansur,692 Badis' uncle Hammad revolted against him and cut off the Maghrib provinces between Mount Awras and Tlemcen and the Moulouya (Malwiyah River) and took them for himself. He founded al-Qal'ah 693 in the Mountain of the Kutamah near Msila (al-Masilah). He settled there and took possession of their center Ashir on Mount Titteri. He thus founded another realm split off from that of the family of Badis. The family of Badis remained in al-Qayrawan and environs. This remained this way, until the power of both of them was completely destroyed.

The same was the case with the Almohad dynasty. When the shadow it cast began to shrink, the Hafsids revolted in Ifrigiyah. They made themselves independent there and founded their own realm for their descendants in that region. Their power flourished and reached the limit, but then, one of their descendants, the amir Abu Zakariya' Yahya, the son of Sultan Abu Ishaq Ibrahim, the fourth Hafsid caliph, seceded in the western provinces and founded a new realm in Bougie and Constantine and environs. He passed it on to his children. (Abu Zakariya' and his children) thus split the dynasty in two. Then (his children) took possession of the capital in Tunis. Later on the realm was again divided, among their descendants, and then they regained full power.

The process of splitting may lead to the formation of more than two or three dynasties that are not controlled by members of the (original) ruling family. This was the case with the reyes de taifas in Spain and with the non-Arab rulers in the East. It also was the case in the Sinhajah (Zirid) realm in Ifriqiyah. In the later (years) of the Sinhajah dynasty, every castle in Ifrigiyah was in the possession of an independent rebel, as we shall mention.694 The same was the case with the Jarid and the Zab in Ifriqiyah shortly before the present time, as we shall also mention.695

This is the case with every dynasty. Inevitably, luxury, ease, and a decrease in the extent of its power cause it to be affected by the symptoms of senility. Then, members of the ruling family or people of the dynasty who have gained control divide it among themselves, and numerous dynasties come into existence where (there had been one).

God inherits the earth and whomever is upon it.