ONCE upon a time, a lion asked for the opinions of a wolf and a fox on how to change his kingdom into a republic, and he also offered them top positions.
Without hesitation, the wolf suggested that the presidency should go to the king of the jungle, the premiership should be his, and the speakership should go to the fox.
The lion got angry and smacked him fatally. He then turned to the fox and asked, “And what do you suggest?”
Trembling with fear, the fox answered, “The presidency belongs to the king of the jungle, the premiership to the noble little cub, and speakership to the older cub.”
The lion was pleased with this response, and asked, “But where did you come up with this wisdom, you cunning fox?”
The fox replied, “From the dialogue that took place between you and that rebellious rogue wolf who got clobbered by long arm of justice after being proven that he was involved in treason and terrorism.”
This story is an exact replica of what happened in the kingdoms of Andalusia and the Arab countries of Waq-Waq where the authority was divided according to what the absolute ruler deemed right.
Those kingdoms passed through stages that could solidify the rule to last forever if only their administrations had worked according to what the state governor Al-Mansur Muhammad ibn Abi Amer did.
This young man, who was born in 327 AH, inherited his father’s jurisprudence and the biography of his ancestors. He was overcome by his desire to rule Andalusia, so he traveled to Cordoba for seeking knowledge, and for striving to be the second man in the state .
His ambitious personality brought him the ridicule of his comrades during his trip to Cordoba when he expressed his aspiration to rule Andalusia and lead the army.
Ibn Abi Amer asked his colleagues, who continued to mock him, to make a wish. The first asked to be the governor of the state of Cordoba, the second wished to take charge of the markets, and the third wished to govern the district of the state of Koura. However, the fourth one downplayed the ambition of the young man, and went on to mock him and insult him with obscene words.
After a while, Ibn Abi Amer’s ambition materialized. He became the second man in the state and a military leader. He did not forget his comrades’ wishes, and he granted them except for the fourth one who was fined a huge sum of money.
Ibn Khaldun stated in his Prolegomena that, “Muhammad bin Abi Amer assumed power from the year 976 until 1002 AD. He spent it on a constant and uninterrupted struggle for good management and politics at the internal level until Andalusia reached the peak of its glory during his reign.”
This man did not act as if he owned the land and those on it; rather he sought to build a strong state that lasted about four centuries after him.
There is no doubt that the bright stages in Arab history are very few, while darkness prevails in most of them. The fate of most countries today is almost similar to that of yesteryears in terms of the inability to get rid of the absolute “I” that prevents seeing the conditions of people and correcting the errors in decisions before catastrophe strikes.
We have several examples in this regard, such as Iraq, which since 1958 has been drowning with failures and bloodbaths from time to time. There is Yemen, Libya, and Lebanon, which is currently the latest failed Arab country, as sectarian quotas made it a breeding ground for gangs and mafias, and semi-isolated, both Arab and international.
There is no doubt that the majority of Arab countries live in a miserable situation at all levels. This is a natural result of the time of unqualified people that prevails throughout the nation after the matter was assigned to non-competent people.
They made the countries chaotic because the ruler does not rule as the people desire, but works with the mentality of the king of the jungle. This was what led to administrative failure and deliberate impoverishment, causing popular anger. All of this leads to civil wars and the demise of the state.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times