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Friday , January 21 2022

From King of Egypt to Haroun Al-Rashid … state’s reverence lies on decision of an enlightened ruler

THE reverence of the State is the decision of a ruler who measures matters based on what serves his people. He neither relies on them completely nor gives them full authority to act, especially if they are the kind who put their own interests above the interests of the state.

In history, there is a lot of evidence of such people who have caused the destruction of great states. On the other hand, the countries where rulers seek to serve their people have always had the highest rating in everything. This is due to the fact that an enlightened ruler is the one who sees his stability in the stability, progress and development of his country. The one who imprisons himself in an ivory tower of advisors is isolated from his people, and follows his illusions.

Take Hitler as an example. His political shortsightedness caused not only the destruction of Germany, but also a world war in which about 50 million people were killed.

Perhaps the Abbasid Dynasty during the reign of Haroun Al-Rashid is the clearest example of the destruction caused by treacherous advisors.

The Barmakids (an influential Persian family from Balkh), who were powerful during the reign of Al-Rashid, paved the way for the seizure of power by intrigues between members of caliph’s family, and brought some of their followers to the palace.

At that stage, they had a great opportunity, which they seized cleverly. Zubaydah, Haroun’s wife, was late in childbearing, so Jafar Al-Barmaki’s wife advised him to marry one of her Persian maidservants. Her name was Marjel, and she gave birth to Al-Ma’moun. However, Zubaydah became pregnant in the meantime and gave birth to Al-Amin, who was six months younger than his brother.

Barmakids were basing their power on the fact that they were the ones who nurtured Haroun, and helped him take over after the death of his brother Al-Hadi. However, when he sensed their attempt to ignite strife between his two sons Al-Amin and Al-Mamoun, Yahya and Jaafar Al-Barmaki were arrested. Also, Al-Fadel bin Yahya – Haroun’s brother through lactation – was arrested.

Barmakids were of Magian origins. Their great-grandfather was the servant of the Magian temple. When they converted to Islam, they did not abandon their grudges, and they thus made everything in the caliphate in their interest.

At the end of the reign of Al-Rashid, a conflict erupted over the succession of the throne between his wife Zubaydah – who sought allegiance to her son Al-Amin and was supported by her cousins from Bani Hashim and Bani Al-Abbas, – and the Barmakids who were in support of the other son of Al-Rashid, Al-Ma’mun – who grew up under their upbringing and in their care – and attempted to exclude Al-Amin.

However, this late awakening of Al-Rashid did not help in establishing the Abbasid rule. Only a few years later, war broke out between the two brothers, which led to the start of the countdown to the demise of the Abbasid Caliphate.

On the contrary, the third Saudi state, founded by the late King Abdulaziz bin Saud, was the builder of this large kingdom. In the early stages of the establishment of the state, and due to the scarcity of personalities who gradually became responsible in modern countries, he used a number of Arab advisors, including Muhammad Maarouf Al-Dawalibi, Youssef Yassin, Rashad Pharaoh, and Hafez Wahba. Although he listened to their opinions, he took the decisions that served his country and people positively.

It is narrated that on one occasion he consulted with them about a matter, and they indicated to him the opposite of what serves the interest of the country. He then told them in words that mean the following: it is true that we listen to your opinion, but our decisions stem from our convictions.

There are advisors – if they are loyal to the ruler – who play a major role in the renaissance of the country, provided that the decision-maker has the insight to foresee the benefit to his country. This is the case of Prophet Yusuf (Peace Be Upon Him) with the King of Egypt, who falsely imprisoned him after the wife of Aziz of Egypt claimed that the Prime Minister at that time – Yusuf (Peace Be Upon Him) – had seduced her.

Nonetheless, Almighty Allah freed him from that accusation, after the King of Egypt saw a vision of seven fat cows being eaten by seven lean ones, seven green ears of grain and the last dry ones. His advisors and dream interpreters were unable to explain the dream.

It is at that time the water-man, who was released from prison, told the king about Yusuf with whom he had shared his dream. The king then asked him to go to prison to meet Yusuf in order for the latter to interpret his dream.

Yusuf explained the dream, and presented the correct solution. The water-man returned to his king and told the king what Yusuf said. The king then ordered, “Bring him to me”, and he honored Yusuf.

 The king of Egypt asked him what he wanted, and Yusuf said, “Put me in charge of the treasuries of the earth, for I am a knowledgeable guardian”.

It is customary in the United States of America, France, Germany and other developed countries that each new president brings with him a team of new staff and advisors, and does not seek the assistance of anyone who was in the era before him.

This is due to the fact that if those people had succeeded in their jobs, they would have succeeded in winning a new term for their president, or at least their party would have won the elections. Seeking help from those who have been outdated and expired, especially those who see nothing from such sensitive positions except the benefit of their families and themselves or their political currents, represents the beginning of the collapse of states.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

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