Among the presents offered him, that of Gawhar was especially splendid, and its costliness illustrates the colossal wealth acquired by the Fatimites.
She survived her brother for about four years, but the actual ruler was the Vizier Ali el-Jar jar. Dhahir's reign offers many points of interest. Peace and contentment reigned in the interior, and Syria continued to be the chief point of interest to the Egyptian politics. Both Lulu and his son Mansur, who received princely titles from Hakim, recognised the suzerainty of the Fatimites.
At the time of the first crusade Palestine was the scene of a violent contest between the Turks, who had poured down from the North, conquering as they went, and the Fatimites of Egypt, who had possessed Syria for nearly a century. The Turks had at first been irresistible.
The people could not love them, for the Fatimites ruled tyrannically, and knew nothing of pity and love; and the religion of the prophet, which teaches that we should love and do good to our fellow-men, they practised with their tongues only, but not in reality. They thought it sufficient to be able to call themselves descendants of the great prophet, without imitating him in his good works.
Two Arab tribes from the desert of the Hedjaz, suddenly driven westward by the Fatimites, entered Morocco, not with a small military expedition, as the Arabs had hitherto done, but with a horde of emigrants reckoned as high as 200,000 families; and this first colonizing expedition was doubtless succeeded by others.
The Fatimites, however, had been able to recover Jerusalem from the hands of their enemies, and held it when besieged by the Christians. Interrupted in their conflict with each other for the sovereignty of Palestine, the Fatimites and Turks turned their arms with one accord against the invader. In the person of Noureddin the Turkish power was now increasing.
Later on a disagreement arose between Lulu's son and Dhahir. One of the former's slaves conspired against his master, and gave Aleppo into the hands of the Fatimites, whose governor maintained himself there till 1023. In this year, however, Aleppo fell into the power of the Benu Kilab, who defended the town with great success against Romanus in 1030.
To prudent statesmanship he added a large generosity, and his love of justice was among his noblest qualities. So far as outward acts could show, he was a strict Moslem of the Shiah sect, and the statement of his adversaries that he was really an atheist seems to rest merely upon the belief that all the Fatimites adopted the esoteric doctrines of the Ismailian missionaries.
The Fatimite caliph Obaid Allah and his son Abu'l Kasim cherished designs not only upon Egypt, but even aimed at the destruction of the Abbasid caliphate, these plans being so far successful as to leave the Fatimites in secure possession of Alexandria, and more or less in power in Fayum. The Fatimite caliphs had lofty and pretentious claims to the allegiance of the Moslem world.
New knowledge, brought from the West, is penetrating into the tabernacle of the Fatimites. Has not the Prophet said: "Go; seek knowledge far and wide, if needs be even into China"? What will come of it? Who can tell?
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