20. Those who gain power over the ruler do not share
with him in the special title that goes with
This is because the first men to achieve royal and governmental authority at the beginning of the dynasty do so with the help of the group feeling of their people and with the help of their own group feeling which causes their people to follow (them) until they and their people have definitely adopted the coloring of royal authority and superiority. (The coloring,) then, continues to exist. Through it, the identity and persistence of the dynasty are assured.
Now, the person who gains superiority (over the ruler) may have a share in the group feeling that belongs to the tribe which has obtained royal authority or to its clients and followers. However, his group feeling still is comprised by, and subordinate to, the group feeling of the family of the ruler. He cannot (take on) the coloring of royal authority. Thus, in gaining control, he does not plan to appropriate royal authority for himself openly, but only to appropriate its fruits, that is, the exercise of administrative, executive, and all other power.183 He gives the people of the dynasty the impression that he merely acts for the ruler and executes the latter's decisions from behind the curtain. He carefully refrains from using the attributes, emblems, or titles of royal authority. He avoids throwing any suspicion upon himself in this respect, even though he exercises full control. For, in his exercise of full control, he takes cover behind the curtain the ruler and his ancestors had set up to protect themselves from their own tribe when the dynasty came into being. He disguises his exercise of control under the form of acting as the ruler's representative.
Should he undertake to adopt (any of the royal prerogatives), the people who represent the group feeling and tribe of the ruler would resent it 184 and contrive to appropriate (the royal prerogatives) for themselves, to his exclusion. He has no definite coloring to (make him appear suited for the royal prerogatives) or cause others to submit to him and obey him. (Any attempt by him to appropriate the royal prerogatives) would, thus, instantly precipitate his doom.
Something of the sort happened to 'Abd-ar-Rahman b. al-Manslir b. Abi 'Amir.185 He aspired to share the title of caliph with Hisham and his house. He was not satisfied with control of the executive power and the resulting forms (of honor) with which his father and brother had been satisfied. He sought to be entrusted with the caliphate by his caliph, Hisham. The Marwanids (Umayyads) and the other Qurashites were furious to see him do that. They took the oath of allegiance to a cousin of the caliph Hisham, Muhammad (b. Hisham) b. 'Abd-al-Jabbir b. an-Nasir, and revolted against (the party of Ibn Abi 'Amir). That caused the ruin of the 'Amirid dynasty and the destruction of their caliph (Hisham) al-Mu'ayyad. In (al-Mu'ayyad's) place, someone else from among the leaders of the dynasty was chosen, (and his house remained in power) down to the end of the dynasty and the dissolution of their pattern of royal authority.
God is the best heir.