19 ] A sign of (the qualification of an individual for)
royal authority is his eager desire to acquire
praiseworthy qualities, and vice versa.
Royal authority is something natural to human beings, because of its social implications, as we have stated.115 In view of his natural disposition and his power of logical reasoning, man is more inclined toward good qualities than toward bad qualities, because the evil in him is the result of the animal powers in him, and in as much as he is a human being, he is more inclined toward goodness and good qualities. Now, royal and political authority come to man qua man, because it is something peculiar to man and is not found among animals. Thus, the good qualities in man are appropriate to political and royal authority, since goodness is appropriate to political authority.
We have already mentioned 116 that glory has a basis upon which it is built and through which it achieves its reality. (That basis) is group feeling and the tribal group (to which an individual belongs).
Glory also depends upon a detail that completes and perfects its existence. (That detail) is (an individual's personal) qualities. Royal authority is a goal of group feeling. Thus, it is likewise a goal of the perfecting details, namely, the (personal) qualities. The existence of (royal authority) without the (simultaneous existence of) the perfecting details would be like the existence of a person with his limbs cut off, or it would be like appearing naked before people.
The existence of group feeling without the practice of praiseworthy qualities would be a defect among people who possess a "house" and prestige. All the more so would it be a defect in men who are invested with royal authority, the greatest possible kind of glory and prestige. Furthermore, political and royal authority are (God's) guarantee to mankind and serve as a representation of God among men with respect to His laws. Now, divine laws affecting men are all for their good and envisage the interests (of men). This is attested by the religious law. Bad laws,117 on the other hand, all result from stupidity and from Satan, in opposition to the predestination and power of God. He makes both good and evil and predetermines them, for there is no maker except Him.
He who thus obtained group feeling guaranteeing power, and who is known to have good qualities appropriate for the execution of God's laws concerning His creatures, is ready to act as (God's) substitute and guarantor among mankind. He has the qualifications for that. This proof is more reliable and solid than the first one.
It has thus become clear that good qualities attest the (potential) existence of royal authority in a person who (in addition to his good qualities) possesses group feeling. Whenever we observe people who possess group feeling and who have gained control over many lands and nations, we find in them an eager desire for goodness and good qualities, such as generosity, the forgiveness of error, tolerance toward the weak, hospitality toward guests, the support of dependents, maintenance of the indigent, patience in adverse circumstances, faithful fulfillment of obligations, liberality with money for the preservation of honor, respect for the religious law and for the scholars who are learned in it, observation of the things to be done or not to be done that (those scholars) prescribe for them, thinking highly of (religious scholars), belief in and veneration for men of religion and a desire to receive their prayers, great respect for old men and teachers, acceptance of the truth in response to those who call to it, fairness to and care for those who are too weak to take care of themselves, humility toward the poor, attentiveness to the complaints of supplicants, fulfillment of the duties of the religious law and divine worship in all details, avoidance of fraud, cunning, deceit, and of not fulfilling obligations, and similar things. Thus, we know that these are the qualities of leadership, which (persons qualified for royal authority) have obtained and which have made them deserving of being the leaders of the people under their control, or to be leaders in general. It is something good that God has given them, corresponding to their group feeling and superiority. It is not something superfluous to them, or something that exists as a joke 118 in connection with them. Royal authority is the good and the rank that most closely correspond to the group feeling they have. We thus know that God granted them royal authority and gave it to them.
Vice versa, when God wants a nation to be deprived of royal authority, He causes (its members) to commit blameworthy deeds and to practice all sorts of vices. This will lead to complete loss of the political virtues among them. (These virtues) continue to be destroyed, until they will no longer exercise royal authority. Someone else will exercise it in their stead. This is to constitute (in addition) an insult to them, in that the royal authority God has given them and the good things He has placed at their disposal are taken away from them. "When we want to destroy a village, we order those of its inhabitants who live in luxury to act wickedly therein. Thus, the word becomes true for it, and we do destroy it."119
Upon close investigation, many instances of what we have said and outlined will be found among the nations of the past. God "creates whatever He wishes, and His is the choice." 120
It should be known that a quality belonging to perfection, that tribes possessing group feeling are eager to cultivate and which attests to their (right to) royal authority, is respect for (religious) scholars, pious men, noble (relatives of the Prophet), well-born persons, and the different kinds of merchants and foreigners, as well as the ability to assign everybody to his proper station. The respect shown by tribes and persons (in control) of group feelings and families, for men of comparable nobility, tribal position, group feeling, and rank, is something natural. It mostly results from the (human) desire for rank, or from fear of the people of the person to whom respect is paid, or from a wish for reciprocal treatment. However, in the case of people who have no group feeling to make themselves feared, and who have no rank (to bestow) for which one might hope, there can be no doubt as to why they are respected, and it is quite clear what one wants (to find) through them, namely, glory, perfection in personal qualities, and total progress toward (a position of) political leadership. Respect for one's rivals and equals must exist in connection with the special 121 political leadership that concerns one's tribe and its competitors (and equals). Respect for excellent and particularly qualified strangers means perfection in general political leadership. The pious are thus respected for their religion; scholars, because they are needed for establishing the statutes of the religious law; merchants, in order to give encouragement (to their profession), so that (their) usefulness may be as widespread as possible. Strangers are respected out of generosity and in order to encourage (them) to undertake certain kinds (of activity). Assigning everybody to his proper station is done out of fairness, and fairness means justice. When people who possess group feeling have that, one knows that they are ready for general political leadership, which means (they are ready for) royal authority. God permits (political leadership) to exist among them, because the (characteristic) sign of (political leadership) exists among them. Therefore, the first thing to disappear in a tribe that exercises royal authority, when God wants to deprive the members of that tribe of their royal and governmental authority, is respect for these kinds of people. When a nation is observed to have lost (that respect), it should be realized that (all) the virtues have begun to go, and it can be expected that the royal authority will cease to exist in it. "If God wants evil to happen to certain people, nothing can turn it back." 122