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Not In Defense of Hulago

 

Not In Defense of Hulago

 

Was published in Arabic in September 07, 2006

Translated by Ahmed Fathy

 

1- Among the tens of tyrant murderers in history who committed massacres and razed down cities and mass-murdered entire populations with cool blood, Hulago enjoys a remarkable position in the history of Arabs and of the Muhamadans. The reason: he was the one who violently ended the Abbasid caliphate, and he killed in Baghdad in 656 A.H. about two million people. Such horrid bloodshed episodes were recurrent in his lifetime, making him deserve our curses on him, no doubt. Yet, we are about to say here that the responsibility and blame were not for Hulago alone!

 

2- Blame and responsibility were shared as well by the last Abbasid caliph, Al-Mustaasim, who failed to bear responsibility of his subjects, trusted unto him, instead of providing welfare and protection to his people. Yet, some current historians shed tears over the fate of the last caliph and the downfall of the Abbasid caliphate. The dream, or rather daydream, of some Arabs now remains to revive the regime of caliphate!  Ibn Tababa, the historian contemporary to this caliph, describes in his periodicals this last Abbasid caliph in Baghdad as a weak, low-profile, impressionable person with no experience in rule and in the affairs of the caliphate, and he was an easy prey for those greedy ones around him. This caliph used to spend his time listening to music and songs and watching dancers in court. His retinue consisted of ignorant, mean, and greedy men living off him. This caliph was responsible for losing Baghdad, the Abbasid Dynasty and caliphate, and for losing thousands of lives of those killed. Rumors at the time had it that Ibn Tababa was a Shiite who was bent on venting his anger at the last Abbasid caliph, Al-Mustaasim, due to this historian's tendency to his creed. Yet, another Sunnite historian trusted by other scholars at the time, namely, Ibn Katheer, mentions in his books the same pieces of information like Ibn Tababa and agreed with his opinions. Ibn Katheer asserts in his books that the last Abbasid caliph used to adore storing huge amounts of money, to the extent that he confiscated to himself the money (about 100.000 Dinars) given to him as a trust by Al-Nasser Dawood, of the Ayyubid Dynasty, and people rebuked him for that deed.  This type of ad avarice and insatiable greed for money was the main reason behind the defeat of this caliph by the Moghuls.Such avarice and greed of the last caliph, like his ancestors, led him to confiscate the annuities of the soldiers in this critical time when the Moghuls drew nearer to Baghdad. Ibn Katheer asserts that this last caliph disbanded the army soldiers and refused to give them their dues, and these soldiers had to beg in streets and markets and at gates of mosques. Poets composed verses to lament those soldiers and the decadent degenerated affairs of the caliphate and Islam.

 

3- The caliph who confiscated the money due to his soldiers was an extravagant person who used to lavish excessive sums of money over his subordinates, servants, henchmen, and slaves as well as men in his retinue who were used to confiscate other people's money and possessions unjustly. Such evil people were the ones who controlled and monopolized the wealth in Baghdad in such decadent and declining times by controlling the caliph, while scientists, scholars, and artists would die of hunger.  Let us cite some historical examples of the filthily rich servants and henchmen in the court of the last Abbasid caliph. Alaa-Eddine Al-Tibersi Al-Dhahiri used to receive the income of 300.000 Dinars as revenues from his assets and possessions, and he lived in the most magnificent palace in Baghdad. When he got married, he paid a dowry of the total sum of 20.000 Dinars, and the penultimate caliph, Al-Mustansir, gave him at the wedding ceremony a wedding gift of 100.000 Dinars, and promoted him to a higher post, and gave him a vast garden whose annual revenues were more than 200.000 Dinars. Another example was Mujahid Al-Dowidar, whose possessions and assets were beyond measure. He received wedding gifts worth more than 300.000 Dinars, and the last caliph gave him the gift of 300.000 Dinars. His annual revenues from his lands and assets were more than 500.000 Dinars. Another example was Ibn Fakhir, the senior steward responsible for the palace of the caliphate. His immense wealth was manifested in the fact that his palace included several bed chambers; each included a concubine, a slave-girl, a male servant, a female servant, a female servant for cooking his meals, another one for preparing and serving his meals, another for his clothes, another for his wine, another for his bed, and so on.

 

4- In contrast to this extravagance and palatial splendors and luxury, the most erudite scholars had nothing but the measly stipends of twelve Dinars per month. Such a sum was for each of the scholars in Al-Mustansir School, the most famous scientific institution at the time in the Arab world. Other scholars like Ibn Al-Qooti and Ibn Al-Saaei, two famous historians at the time, used to receive 10 Dinars per month! In such upside-down state of affairs, a declining empire about to end and witness its downfall (regardless of its banner: 'Islamic' caliphate, Byzantium, Persia, Rome, etc.), the horrid image was completed by the spread of bribery, wide-scale confiscations of properties and possessions of others unjustly, countless internal troubles and general unrest, as well as decadent demeanor of immorality while inhabitants of Baghdad immersed in trivial matters, ignoring the imminent danger of the Moghuls at the gates of the city. Al-Ghassani, the author of the book titled "Al-'Asjad Al-Masbuk", describes in his book the Abbasid caliphate in its last days as an eye-witness, writing that the Abbasid Dynasty cared only for feudalities and material gains and pecuniary affairs, ignoring the public interest of the masses. The Abbasids at the time were immersed in worldly matters and ignored injustices that were widespread within governors who were bent on raising taxes and squeezing money out of the poor subjects. Al-Ghassani was right when he writes that kingdoms might thrive with disbelief, unbelief, or total lack of faith, but they can never thrive and flourish with prevalent injustice. The Quranic verse that asserts this is as follows: "When We decide to destroy a town, We command its affluent ones, they transgress in it, so the word becomes justified against it, and We destroy it completely." (17:16). This means that when God, via His messengers or prophets, commands justice, the corrupt and filthily rich ignore the divine command and go on with their corruption, injustice, and immoralities, and hence, they deserve this self-induced or self-incurred destruction. "Your Lord would never destroy the towns wrongfully, while their inhabitants are righteous." (11:117). Hence, God has caused destruction to those who have been unjust and corrupt. The last Abbasid caliph never understood such a lesson; he never knew that the punishment for corruption goes on, even when it differs in its methods.

 

5- The last Abbasid caliph witnessed all sorts of humiliation before he was killed by the Moghuls who trampled over him with their horses and their feet until he died.The famous historian, Al-Hamathani, writes in his book, titled "Collector of Historical Accounts", that After razing Baghdad, Hulago entered with his forces the palace of the caliphate. The last caliph was brought to him, shivering in terror. Hulago shouted at him and said mockingly that he was the caliph's guest and demanded all worthy and valuable things in the palace to be brought before him. All coffers and huge boxes containing precious stones, jewelry, gold …etc. were brought to him. Hulago gave them away to his men and servants as gifts, and demanded to know all the secret chambers and hide-outs and hidden storehouses of treasures that the caliph knew about. Under duress, the terrified caliph told him all about that, and especially of the underground grand basin in the garden of the palace, which was filled with golden bars, each weighing about 100 pounds! Hulago's men excavated and extracted all gold from this basin. Hulago mocked and taunted the last caliph as he owned all such priceless treasures and was stingy enough not to pay the annuities of his soldiers! Hulago later on sent a message to urge the sultan of Damascus to surrender to him or fact destruction and death, and in this message, he described the last Abbasid caliph, as a warning, as the greedy man who gathered all sorts of treasures but was a stingy, avaricious idiot who never bothered to gather able soldiers and loyal men around him. The famous historian, Al-Makrizi, has included in one of his historical accounts the full letter of Hulago. Al-Hamathani tells us another scene between Hulago and the last caliph in the palace of the caliphate. Hulago ordered that the women of the seraglio of the caliph were to be brought to him. They were 700 concubines and 1000 slave-girls and female servants. The crying caliph tried to appeal and implore to Hulago to spare them, saying that they never went out of the palace, and that they had never seen moon and the sun. hence, his women were prisoners of the seraglio, just like the gold bars he buried! Needless to say, Hulago distributed all women as gifts on his soldiers, leaders, henchman, etc., and then, Hulago ordered his soldiers to kill the caliph by trampling over him with their feet, because he saw that the caliph was too mean and base to deserve to die by the sword like real men!

 

6- Ironically, the last Abbasid caliph, Al-Mustaasim, ten years before his death, protested vehemently against the fact that Egypt was ruled by the Sultana/Queen Shagaret Al-Dor. This queen had to hide the news of the death of her husband, the Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt Al-Salih Ayuob, and cooperated with the Mamelukes of her dead husband to defend Egypt against a crusade led by King Louis IX of France. Her husband he sultan died of his illness in a critical time; Louis IX captured the Egyptian North Delta city of Damietta and the crusaders began to march toward Cairo, the capital of Egypt. yet, at the delta city of Mansoura, the military armies formed and led by Shagaret Al-Dor and the Mamelukes Aqtay, Aybak, Beibars, and Qotoz managed to crush the crusaders forces and captured Louis IX as a prisoner of war to be ransomed later on. Shagaret Al-Dor sent for the late sultan's son, Turan Shah, to ascend to the throne of his father, but he denied all rights of his step-mother,Shagaret Al-Dor, and the Mamelukes, and he undermined their role in defending Egypt. when Turan Shah began to plot against the Mamelukes and his step-mother the Queen of Egypt, they conspired against him and eventually killed him. The Mamelukes agreed on allowing Queen Shagaret Al-Dor to rule Egypt alone, acknowledging her political shrewdness and the wisdom of her reasoning mind, after she divulged the news of the sultan's death after the defeat of the crusaders. All Mamelukes swore fealty and allegiance to the Queen of Egypt as the first and last Sultana, or female ruler, within the caliphate in history. She would have been left enthroned to rule alone in peace, if it had not been for the protest of Al-Mustaasim. This caliph used to have a say in matters of caliphate everywhere as a spiritual leader of the Abbasids; he sent a message to the Egyptians to protest against a female ruler, and said mockingly that if Egypt had no men left fit to rule, he would sent them a man to rule them. Such a despicable moronic stupid caliph never seen in his life except one type of women: concubines and slave-girls to be enjoyed in closed seraglios, and such women were destined never to see the sun or the moon! He even failed to protect such women of his harem against the Moghuls, as he failed miserably to defend his caliphate, kingdom, domain, subjects, and family; he died a terrible death and no one was sorry for him among the historians. Such ignoble stories of history continue to increase until our age now! In contrast, Shagaret Al-Dor succeeded in maintaining the kingdom of her husband the sultan and to save her subjects with her courage and wisdom. She brought glory to the Egyptians. The heroic Mamelukes who fought under her banner knew very well her position and stature, and they agreed unanimously on making her the Sultana or Queen of Egypt to rule over them, by her meritocracy, not her lineage or connections with the Ayyubid Dynasty. She proved her merit in battlefields as well as in negotiations with the crusaders and the captured King, Louis IX, who was ransomed with a larger sum of money, within conditions stipulated by the victorious Queen of the Egyptians. In contrast, the stupid caliph in Baghdad gathered and hoarded countless money, riches, and wealth to no avail.Al-Hamathani the historian writes that all treasures and precious stones and jewels gathered by the Abbasid caliphs for five centuries were accumulated on top of one another by Hulago and the Moghuls, and appeared like huge mountains seen from afar! That is to say, ill-gotten money confiscated and hoarded unjustly by the aggressive tyrannical Abbasid caliphs for centuries – under the pretext of preserving and defending the caliphate – was stolen in its entirety by the Moghuls, who gathered hills and hills of stacks of gold and jewels. Hulago melted down all gold bars and built with it a court castle in Azerbaijan.

 

7- Hulago, the savage barbarian murderer, used to think of himself as a sort of divine punishment for the Abbasid caliphate, the caliph, and all his corrupt unjust statesmen. Hulago took care to highlight this idea in his threatening letters to all rulers before conquering their kingdoms. He once said in a letter to the ruler of Damascus that he conquered Baghdad with the divine sword of God, and then he killed all its cavaliers, demolished all its palaces and houses, and killed and enslaved its inhabitants. Hulago said in his message to Qotoz, the sultan of Egypt who succeeded Shagaret Al-Dor after her death, that the sultan should know very well, like his Egyptian subjects, princes, and Mamelukes, that the Moghuls were the soldiers of God on His earth, created out of His divine wrath to destroy the ones who infuriated Him, and that rulers ate from ill-gotten money, never stopped chattering and blabbering their nonsense, breached all pacts and treaties, incited rebellion and revolt due to their wrongdoing, and caused prevalent disobedience. Hulago ended his letter by asserting that Arabs think of the Moghuls as pagans, whereas the Moghuls think of Arabs as corrupt unjust people. We may guess that Qotoz the sultan drew a useful lesson from such a message; the Mamelukes felt the imminent danger coming nearer to Egypt, and mostly stopped their injustices and adhered to pious actions while they faced and deterred the Moghuls in battlefield, in Palestine, especially in the famous Battle of Ain Jalut. When some Egyptian soldiers felt like fleeing the battlefield out of fear, Qotoz shouted at them to boost their morale: "Defend our Islam!", and threw away his helmet and hurled himself into the battlefield, followed by his soldiers who fought with him until victory.

 

8- The basic reasons behind the collapse of any given country or state lie within its internal affairs of corruption of every sort and injustices of every type; yet, an outer cause or invasion may accelerate such a downfall or collapse. The greater blame lies in internal decay, though. Corruption, immorality, and injustices of the filthily rich strata of a given society that monopolize wealth and power and authority cause the turning of the lives of the poor majority into a living hell, where one's life or death is of little matter or importance. The Quran gives us the remedy for that in its legislations concerning money; money of all sorts is NOT to be confiscated and monopolized by a certain category of people. Money should be send for God's sake in charity and for the sake of people and ameliorating their standard of living. God in the Quran warns us against doing otherwise by letting stinginess control us: "And spend in the cause of God, and do not throw yourselves with your own hands into ruin, and be charitable. God loves the charitable." (2:195). This means that if spending money is not for the best within good deeds and for the benefit of oneself, others, and societies at large, putting divine commands in the Quran into consideration, destruction and downfall is the expected fate. Such divine commands concerning money should eliminate economic monopoly by a certain group of elite within any given society, who turn riches and wealth into tools of providing luxuries to themselves that are maintained by oppression, injustices and corruption. The existence of such corrupt filthily rich persons within a society is the cause of ruin and destruction. Removing barriers between social classes and supporting the middle classes begin by spending in the manner ordained in the Quran. The poorer classes and the impoverished are just consumers by nature to satisfy their basic needs, and their little money return with profits to the rich producers. Such rich ones should give away some of their profits as charity/alms to the needy and the impoverished to move the cycle of capital money and production wheel; when the poor spend more, profits of the rich grow faster. The poor classes will thus benefit from more employment opportunities. They will turn from wretched hapless impoverished ones into employees who earn money to spend and buy more goods. They will move into the middle class that balances and safeguards any given society. All this is achieved when Quranic guidance concerning money is followed by all; we are to give to the poor their due rights. This is not a choice, but a duty. Hence, safety and security of any society will be achieved; that is why the classes of luxury ought to be controlled to prevent them from corruption induced by the feverish desire to maintaining their privileged status and standard of living. Otherwise, when such upper and high classes cause more injustices and corruption, money within given society will be among them only and exclusively, or as in the Quranic text: "…so that it may not circulate solely between the wealthy among you. …" (59:7). That is, money would then circulate among the rich whereas the impoverished are deprived of every right. This makes room for the few wealthy privileged ones to monopolize power, authority, extravagance, corruption, oppression, and more wealth, while ignoring the majority of the impoverished, impecunious, deprived, and hungry masses. Such a gap between classes will be an abyss with the passage of time. Hence, in such conditions, the collapse of a given society or a nation from within it is inevitable. Outer forces might be encouraged with sings of imminent collapse and decide to invade such a corrupt country to gain more benefits, and crises would escalate to all citizens, rich and poor. The Quran warns us against all that, but no one paid heed enough before, during, and after the Abbasid era and even until now in modern times!

 

9- All of us should heed the divine warning in the Quran: "Here you are, being called to spend in the cause of God. Among you are those who withhold; but whoever withholds is withholding against his own soul. God is the Rich, while you are the needy. And if you turn away, He will replace you with another people, and they will not be like you." (47:38). Such a warning was revealed to Muhammad in his lifetime; what about our modern times and our tyrant rulers in the Middle East? No one learned a lesson from the fate of the last Abbasid caliph, and thus, let us NOT curse Hulago alone!           


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