42. How it happens that access to the ruler becomes

restricted 686 in the dynasty. (Such restriction)

becomes important when the dynasty grows




It should be known that at the beginning, as we have mentioned before,687 the dynasty is remote from royal aspirations. It needs group feeling through which its power and domination can materialize, and the desert attitude is characteristic of group feeling.

A dynasty based upon religion is remote from royal aspirations. In one based exclusively upon superior (political) power, the desert attitude, through which superiority is achieved, likewise is remote from royal aspirations and ways.

Now, if a dynasty at the beginning of its rule is a Bedouin one, the ruler possesses austerity and the desert attitude. He is close to the people and easily accessible. Then, when his power is firmly established, he comes to claim all the glory for himself. He needs to keep away from the people and to remain aloof with his friends, in order to be able to talk with them about his special (private) affairs, since his following has by then become large. Therefore, he seeks to keep away from the common people as much as possible. He employs someone at his door to admit (only) those of his friends and of the people of the dynasty whom he cannot avoid, and to prevent people (in general) from having access to him. (That person) is stationed at the (ruler's) door to exercise his function.

Then, when royal authority flourishes and royal ways and aspirations make their appearance, the ruler adopts royal character qualities. They are strange, peculiar qualities. They must be carefully handled in the proper way by those who are in contact with them. Persons in contact with (rulers) often do not know about these qualities and may do something that (rulers) do not like. He may become displeased with them and get into the mood of. punishing them. Thus, knowledge of manners to be used in intercourse with (rulers) became the sole property of their special friends. (The rulers) kept all except their intimates from meeting them at all times, so as to protect themselves against noticing anything that might displease them and in order to protect the people against exposing themselves to punishment. Thus, (rulers) introduced another entrance restriction even more selective than the first. (The first) concerns special friends of the ruler and prevents everyone else's admission. The second restric­tion concerns the meetings with those friends (of the rulers), and prevents admission of everyone else from among the common people.

The first entrance restriction is in existence at the be­ginning of a dynasty, as we have said. It originated in the days of Mu'awiyah and 'Abd-al-Malik and the Umayyad caliphs. The person in charge of entrance restrictions was called by them "doorkeeper" (hajib), a word properly derived from the same root (as the word "entrance restriction").

Then, the 'Abbasid dynasty made its appearance. Its famous luxury and power came into being, and the royal qualities reached their proper perfection in it. This called for the second entrance restriction. The name of "door­keeper" (hajib) was restricted to it. The court of the caliphs contained two buildings to house their retinue, one for the special group and another for the common people. This is stated in 'Abbasid history.

In the later dynasties, a third entrance restriction came into being. It was even more selective than the two previous ones. This occurred at the period when the attempt was made to seclude the ruler. It resulted from the fact that the first step taken by the men of the dynasty and intimates of the ruler who set up the young princes and attempted to gain control over them, was to keep the inner circle and the special friends of (the young ruler's) father away from him. The person who attempted to gain control over the young ruler suggested to him that it would diminish respect for him and would destroy the rules of etiquette if these men were to be in contact with him. His purpose was to keep the young ruler from meeting anybody else and see to it that he would become so used to him that he would not want to replace him with anybody else until he securely dominated him. An entrance restriction such as (the third) was obviously required under these circumstances. As a rule, it comes into existence only in the later (years) of a dynasty, as we have mentioned before in connection with the seclusion of the ruler.688 It indicates the senility and decline of the dynasty. It is one of the things that the members of dynasties are afraid of. Those who support the dynasty will naturally at­tempt such a thing when the dynasty reaches senility and later-born members of the ruling family lose control. Human beings love very much to gain control over royal authority, 689 especially when the soil is prepared and all the requirements and symptoms are there.

"God has the power to execute His commands." 690