24. Arabs can gain control only over flat territory.
This138a is because, on account of their savage nature, (the Arabs) are people who plunder and cause damage. They plunder whatever they are able to lay their hands on without having to fight or to expose themselves to danger. They then retreat to their pastures in the desert. They do not attack or fight except in self-defense. Every stronghold or (locality) that seems difficult (to attack), they bypass in favor of some less difficult (enterprise). They do not attack it. Tribes that are protected against (the Arabs) by inaccessible mountains are safe from their mischief and destructiveness. The Arabs would not cross hills or undergo hardship and danger in order to get to them.
Flat territory, on the other hand, falls victim to their looting and prey to their appetite whenever they (have the opportunity of) gaining power over it, when there is no militia, or when the dynasty is weak. Then they raid, plunder, and attack that territory repeatedly, because it is easily (accessible) to them. Eventually, its inhabitants succumb utterly to the Arabs and then they are pushed around by them in accordance with changes of control and shifts in leadership. Eventually, their civilization is wiped out. God has power over His creatures.