14. Luxury will at first give additional strength to a dynasty.



The 93 reason for this is that a tribe that has obtained royal authority and luxury is prolific and produces many children, and the community grows. Thus, the group grows. Furthermore, a greater number of clients and followers is acquired. The (new) generations grow up in a climate of prosperity and luxury. Through them, (the dynasty) gains in numbers and in strength, because a great number of groups form at that time as the result of the numerical increase. When the first and second generations are gone and the dynasty starts to become senile, its followers and clients cannot do anything on their own to put the dynasty and its royal authority on a firmer basis, because they never had authority of their own but were dependent on the men of (the dynasty) and (merely) supported it. When the roots are gone, the branches cannot be strong on their own, but dis­appear completely, and the dynasty no longer retains its former strength.

This is exemplified by what happened to the Arab dynasty in Islam. As we have stated, 94 the Arabs at the time of the Prophet and the early caliphs numbered approximately 150,000 Mudar and Qahtan (tribesmen). The life of luxury reached its climax in the dynasty. The (population) grew rapidly with the growth of prosperity. The caliphs acquired many clients and followers. Thus, the (original) number increased many times. It is said that during the conquest of Amorium, al-Mu'tasim laid siege to the city with 900,000 men.95 This number can hardly fail being correct, if one thinks of (the large size of) the Muslim militia of the border regions both far and near, in both the East and the West, and adds the soldiers directly in the service of the ruler, together with all the clients and followers.

Al-Mas'udi said: 96 "The descendants of al-'Abbas b. 'Abd-al-Muttalib were counted in the days of al-Ma'mun, in order to give them pensions. They were found to number 30,000 men and women." It should be noted how great the number had become in less than two hundred years. It should be known that the increase was caused by the luxury and prosperity which the ('Abbasid) dynasty had achieved and in which the new generations had grown up. Otherwise, the number of Arabs, as it had been in the beginning of the con­quest, would not even remotely have (permitted) such an increase.

God is "the Creator, the Knowing One." 97