17. The ruler seeks the help of clients and followers
against the men of his own people and
It 167 should be known that, as we have stated, a ruler can achieve power only with the help of his own people. They are his group and his helpers in his enterprise. He uses them to fight against those who revolt against his dynasty. It is they with whom he fills the administrative offices, whom he appoints as wazirs and tax collectors. They help him to achieve superiority. They participate in the government. They share in all his other important affairs.
This applies as long as the first stage of a dynasty lasts, as we have stated.168 With the approach of the second stage, the ruler shows himself independent of his people,169 claims all the glory for himself, and pushes his people away from it with the palms (of his hands). As a result, his own people become, in fact, his enemies. In order to prevent them from seizing power, and in order to keep them away from participation (in power), the ruler needs other friends, not of his own skin, whom he can use against (his own people) and who will be his friends in their place. These (new friends) become closer to him than anyone else. They deserve better than anyone else to be close to him and to be his followers, as well as to be preferred and to be given high positions, because they are willing to give their lives for him, preventing his own people from regaining the power that had been theirs and from occupying with him the rank to which they had been used.
In this (situation), the ruler cares only for his new followers. He singles them out for preference and many honors. He distributes among them as much (property) as (he does among) most of his own people. He confers upon them the most important administrative positions, such as the offices of wazir, general, and tax collector, as well as royal titles which are his own prerogative, and which he does not share (even) with his own people. (He does this) because they are now his closest friends and most sincere advisers. This, then, announces the destruction of the dynasty and indicates that chronic disease has befallen it, the result of the loss of the group feeling on which the (dynasty's) superiority had been built. The feelings of the people of the dynasty become diseased as a result of the contempt in which they are held and the hostility the ruler (shows against them). They hate him and await the opportunity of a change in his fortune. The great danger inherent in this situation reverts upon the dynasty. There can be no hope it will recover from that illness. The (mistakes of the) past grow stronger with each successive generation and lead eventually to loss of the (dynasty's) identity.
This is exemplified by the Umayyad dynasty. For their wars and for administrative purposes, they had recourse to the support of Arabs such as `Amr b. Sa'd b. Abi Waggas, 'Ubaydallah b. Ziyad b. Abi Sufyan, al-Hajjaj b. Yusuf, al-Muhallab b. Abi Sufrah, Khalid b. `Abdallah al-Qasri, Ibn Hubayrah, Musa b. Nusayr, Bilal b. Abi Burdah b. Abi Musa al-Ash'ari, Nasr b. Sayyir, and other Arab personalities. For a while 170 the 'Abbasid dynasty, too, used the support of Arab personalities. But when the dynasty came to claim all the glory for itself and kept the Arabs from aspiring to administrative positions, the wazirate fell to non-Arabs and followers such as the Barmecides, the Banu Sahl b. Nawbakht,171 and, later, the Buyids, and Turkish clients such as Bughi, Wasif, Utamish, Bakiyik (Bayakbak), Ibn Tulun, and their descendants, among other non-Arab clients. Thus, the dynasty came to belong to people other than those who had established it. The power went to people other than those who had first won it.
This is how God proceeds with His servants.