7. There are few cities and towns 92 in Ifriqiyah and the Maghrib.



The reason for this is that these regions belonged to the Berbers for thousands of years before Islam. All (their) civilization was a Bedouin (civilization). No sedentary culture existed among (the Berbers) long enough to reach any degree of perfection. The dynasties of European Christians and Arabs who ruled (the Berbers) did not rule long enough for their sedentary culture to take firm root (among them). The customs and ways of Bedouin life to which they were always closer, continued among them. Therefore, they did not have many buildings. Furthermore, crafts were unfamiliar to the Berbers, because they were firmly rooted in desert life, and the crafts result from sedentary culture. Now, buildings can materialize only with the help of (the crafts). One needs skill to learn them, and since the Berbers did not practice them, they had no interest in buildings, let alone towns.

Furthermore, (the Berbers) have (various) group feelings and (common) descent. No (Berber group) lacks these things. (Common) descent and group feeling are more attracted to desert (than to urban life). Only tranquility and quiet call for towns. The inhabitants of (towns) come to be dependent on their militia. Therefore, desert people dislike settling in a town or staying there. Only luxury and wealth could cause them to settle in a town, and these things are rare among men.

Thus, the whole civilization of Ifriqiyah and the Maghrib, or the largest part of it, was a Bedouin one. People lived in tents, (camel) litters, sleeping tents, and mountain fastnesses.

On the other hand, the whole civilization of the non-Arab countries, or the largest part of it, was one of villages, cities, and districts. This applies to Spain, Syria, Egypt, the non­Arab 'Iraq, and similar countries. Only in the rarest cases do non-Arabs have a (common) descent which they guard carefully and of which they are proud when it is pure and close. It is mostly people of (common) descent who settle in the desert, because close (common) descent constitutes closer and stronger (bonds than any other element). Thus, the group feeling that goes with (common descent) likewise is (stronger). It draws those who have it to desert life and the avoidance of cities, which do away with bravery and make people dependent upon others. This should be understood and the proper conclusions be drawn from it.