Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 11

T HMUSLIM ~ WORLD

Vol. LXXXV, NO. 3-4

Tulv-October, 1995

RASHID RIPA AND FAYSAL'S KINGDOM IN SYRIA*


The first encounter between the Muslim thinker Muhammad Rashid Rida (1865-1935)and the Hashimite family occurred in 1914. In that year, (Abdallah, the second son of the Sharif Husayn of Mecca, passed through Egypt and entered into discussions with the British which sowed the seed of the McMahon-Husayn Correspondence a year later. While still in Cairo, Rida made him a member of his pan-Arab "Society of the Arab Associaa/-hbi+ya)and presented him with the society's tion' flarn$&mtal-JZmi*& program for an alliance among the rulers of the Arabian Peninsula. According to it the rulers of the Hijaz, Najd, Yemen, a n d ' h i r were to form a union, based on internal independence for each of them and joint protection of the peninsula against any foreign aggression. Husayn was to be the president of the council of this alliance since its meetings would be held in Mecca. (Abdallah favored the program and promised to deliver it to his father. Husayn turned the plan down. Rashid Rid& second encounter with the Hashimites occurred during World War I, in 1916, this time with Husayn himself. At first, Rida supported the Arab Revolt of Sharif Husayn and even came to the Hijaz and offered Husayn his services. Husayn, who was not at all pleased with Rida's anti-European tendencies and was most certainly offended by Rida's opposition to the idea that he, Husayn, would be nominated Caliph, did not welcome Rid& willingness to assist him. However, their main discord occurred in regard to Rida's plan to reach an Arab union. Rida's main purpose for visiting the Hijaz was to convince Husayn to join the program of his 'Society of the Arab Association' to form an alliance among the rulers of the Arabian Peninsula. Although he once again offered Husayn the presidency of the alliance's council, Husayn refused the program. Rid2 returned to Egypt empty-handed, and from then onwards began to develop an enmity towards Husayn.2 In the first half of 1918 the particularistic tendencies among the Syrian emigres in Egypt began to get stronger. It turned out that the dwelling together of Syrians and Hijazis following the establishment of the Hashimite government in the Hijaz brought on an increasing dissociation on the part
This is a complementary article to the author's 'Rashid Rids as Pan-Arabistbefore World War I,' Tbe Mushh W d ' vol. 79 (19891, pp. 102-12, and 'Rashid Ri&t's Attitudes during World War I,' TbheMushm W o r f ' vol. 85 (1995).pp. 107-21. For this see Tauber, 'Rashld Rids as Pan-Arabist.' pp. 109-10. For this see Tauber. 'RashId Rids's Attitudes,' pp. 112-16,
'

235

236

THG MUSLIM WORLD

of the Syrians from the idea that after the war they would be ruled by Husayn. A group of Syrian activists began to form-Rid8 among themwhose basis for joint activity was the growing dissatisfaction with Husayn because of his being, in their opinion, a stubborn man inconsiderate of the views of others. There were those who also feared that Husayn would agree to the partition of Iraq and Syria between Britain and France in order to secure his personal position in the Hij8z. They came to the conclusion that they had to work for Syria independently of Husayn, to promote the separation of the Syrian problem from the general Arab one, and to strive for the establishment of an independent Syria which would fit its degree of development and the will of its inhabitants. The Anglo-French declaration of November 1918, concerning the need to set up local governments according to the wish of the inhabitants in the regions liberated from the Ottomans, was therefore the final incentive for the founding in Cairo of the "Syrian Union Party' (flizb a/fih&Fda/-Srrr/;/ in December 1918. Elected as president of the party was Amir Michel Lutf Allah, of a very wealthy family of Syrian 6migrks. Elected as vice-president was Rida, even though he was known for his pan-Arab views. Several (The Lighthouse) months later Rid3 explained in his periodical a/-Ma~@r why he was a partner in the founding of this particularistic Syrian party. According to him, this was the only way to bring about cooperation between Muslims and Christians for the independence of Syria. And at any rate, activity on behalf of the liberation of part of the Arab countries did not contradict the desire to liberate all of them. However, the fact that Rid8, who was the outstanding pan-Arabist of the early twentieth century, was also one of the prominent members of this particularistic party, is a good example of the dilemma the Arab activists had to face, being forced to choose between the pan-Arab Utopia and the more realistic application of the particularist ideas. Indeed, Rid8 admitted that not all the articles of the party platform pleased him. The platform of the party was drafted by its central activists, of whom there were several prominent men of letters such as Rafiq al-(Azm, the past president of the Decentralization Party, and Rida, himself a past

India Office Library and Records (London), LIPdrS1111146:letter, Michel Lutf Allah (Cairo) 18 January 1919.Archives du Ministhe des Affaires Etrang6res (Paris) [MAE], Levant 1918-1929, Syrie-Liban-Cilicie 8 and The Public Record Office (London-Kew). Foreign Office Records [FO] 141/710/3156: 'Liste des membres du ComitC Central d u Parti de I'Union Syrienne au Cake' n.d. uanuary? 1 9 1 9 1 . A/Man#.. 21:4 28 (June 1919):pp. 202-4.Amin Sa'id, Asr& ~J-Thawra 8 / h & j p 8/-xUbf# w8- M 8 ~ ~ 8 / - S ~ a . f ~ ~ u ~ y f f ( [1960]), Beiru pp. t . 241-2. Idem, A/-?hawra 8f-hfbf/j3.8 8/-xob/B (Cairo, [1934]), vol. 2, pt. 1, pp. 37. 41. Muhammad h a t Darwaza, H8W.b 81-&zk4 8/-5lrffb&y.9 af-Fad7h.4(Sidon, 1950-1953), vol. 1, pp. 89-90. Anis al-Nusuli. h h h W8-.%9h8d/U (Beirut, 1951), p . 25.

RASHfD RID& AND FAYSALS KINGDOM IN SYRIA

237

member of that party.4 Rida relates that prior to the formulation of the platform there was a prolonged debate between those advocating absolute independence and those interested in foreign aid, at least temporarily. In the end the former prevailed partially, although, Rida points out, not all of the articles of the platform were accepted unanimously, and some of them were approved only by majority vote. The second article of the platform stated that Syria should enjoy absolute independence. Yet apparently in order to appease those party members who demanded foreign aid, the third article stated that the Syrian government would be assisted by the League of Nations in selecting foreign advisers to help it at the outset. The last article of the platform was probably more to Rids's liking. It established that in the event that the general national unity (wabda qawm&ya $mma/ of the Arab nation would be realized, Syria would join this unity, on condition that this would not impair in any way its al-qawmiyyaal-kh<ssa), or the particularist national unity /warfidatii5a form of its government. The third encounter between Rida and a member of the Hashimite family occurred in 1920, this time with Faysal, Husayns third son. However, the conditions then were completely different from those that had existed in the former two occasions. At the end of World War I the whole Fertile Crescent was under the control of the British army of occupation. Yet, while in Iraq direct British rule was installed, the British army in Syria confined itself to its barracks and an independent Arab government was established, headed by Amir Faysal. This government held out for almost two years, until in July 1920 it was destroyed by the French in the battle of Maysaltin. Faysal himself was obliged to sail to Europe in November 1918 in order to take part in the Paris peace conference. He returned
The Decentralization Party was a prewar Syrian party which ostensibly worked for administrative decentralization in the whole Ottoman Empire but in fact strived for the decentralized independence of Syria Apparently the fact that several of the leaders of the Syrian Union Party and the drafters of its platform were former members of the Decentralization Party considerably influenced the principles of the platform. The party platform may be found in FO 882124: Lajnat Hizb al-Ittihiid al-Stiri al-Markaziyya bi-hlbr, Al-QawHid al-Asasiyya li-Hizb al-Ittihild al-SiirI, enclosed with letter. Osmond Warlond (Cairo) to C.A.G. Mackintosh (Cairo) 6 January 1919, and in MAE, Syrie-Liban 7: ComitC Central de 1Union Syrienne au Caire, Programme Constitutionnel du Parti de 1UnionSyrienne, enclosed with lettre, Michel Lutf Allah A Pierre-Antonin Lefevre-Pontalis (Le Caire) 10 janvier 1919. See also MAE, Syrie-Liban 7 note, AndrC Miranda Malzac (Le Cake), enclosed with dCpCche 5, Pontalis A Sttphen Pichon (Paris) 9 janvier 1919. AAMan8r 21:4 (28 June 1919): pp. 202-3; 2 2 6 (6 June 1921): p. 451. Darwaza, &wf8 8f--?yB/BkBfff-hffb&yff, vol. 1. p. 91. When the party platform was sent to Mecca for Husayns consideration, it met with an angry reaction. Husayn vehemently opposed the very idea of treating Syria as an independent unit that could determine its own fate. His reply to the party members was that they were son the wrong track altogether. and that despite his not having any personal ambitions, in his opinion all the Arabs should be under one supreme ruler and not divided. See FO 37114179: despatch 81, Milne Cheetham (Cairo) to Curzon (London) 19 February 1919.

238

THG MUSLIM WORLD

to Syria in April 1919, but in September was obliged to leave again in order to enter into negotiations with the French about Syrias fate. The fact that Faysal stayed in Europe for a considerable part of this period resulted in the actual rule of his short-lived state being in the hands of the secret nationalist society a/Bt& and several other political organizations, while Faysals influence in Syria was rather limited.7 In mid-1919, Rida decided to return from Egypt to Syria. He first visited his native village al-Qalamtin and Tripoli, then continued on to Beirut, and from there he went on to Damascus, arriving there in September. RiPa was about to visit Beirut several times during the next following months. On his visit of early October he came to Franqois Georges-Picot, the French high commissioner there (and one of the signatories of the Sykes-Picot agreement), and while not hesitating to express his anti-French attitudes he also condemned the British, stressing that they were not capable of administering Muslim countries. Yet the interesting point of this conversation was that Rida claimed before the French representative that Faysals government in Syria was a deception for everybody and that many Muslims were already interested in the return of the Turks8 This attitude of Rid3 did not bode well for his future relations with Faysal. When he arrived in Damascus, Rida was elected to be one of the representatives of Tripoli in the Syrian C o n g r e ~ s There .~ were two parliamentary parties in the Congress: the Progress Party /&zb af-Tagaddum), which represented a / B t Z and the Independence Party (see below), and in this capacity actually represented the government circles in the Congress; and the Democratic Party (al-flizb af-Dihugrdt!, which was considered the opposition party. Rida was among the founders of the Progress Party and was also elected its president. From the very nature of its position the Democratic Party was more extreme and vociferous in its opposiAl-f+ftd/was founded in 1909 in Paris by several Arab students as a reaction to the Turkification policy of the Young Turks In 1915 it contacted Sharif Husayn and started the process which eventually led to the Arab Revolt. The society survived the war and became the most influential political body in postwar Syria. On Faysals kingdom in Syria in general and af--rc8/8rinparticular, see Darwaza, 4%rvh 814%8r8.48 8f-$rab&ya, vol. 1; Said, af-TbBwfa dhrab1yy8, vol. 2. pt. 1; Ahmad Qadri, MUdh&5khkf/1-b 8f-TbBWr8 8/-h8bib8 8f-KUbfd (Damascus, 1375/1956); YiiSuf al-Hakim, Surf- a Wd-hhd af-Faysah(Beirut, 1966). See also Khayriyya Qiisimiyya, A/-&ukUma af-kab19yaflD1hadq h p a /9J&V92O(Cairo, 1971); Zeine N. Zeine, The Sfrumfe /b/Arab Independence: Western D@fomacy and the Rise and Falf of Fay+ds Kingdom i n Syria (Beirut, 1960). MAE, Syrie-Liban 18: telkgramme 1316, Francois Georges-Picot (Beyrouth) B Minist2re des Affaires E t r a n g h s (Paris) 8 octobre 1919. Shakib Arslan, Al-S-yyidRashfb Rig! aw fkhd A f h h &n8 (Damascus. 1356/1937), p. 156. Ahmad al-Sharbasi. f?8shi%jfi$a 5 2 4 1 8 a/Mand.. .Asruhu wu-~ay~/uhu W O - M ~ H ~ >~ ~ w q a h t i ~ v ( ~1389/1970), airo, p. 155. The Syrian Congress was established in June 1919. before the arrival of the King-Crane commission, in order to create a unified Syrian front in the demand for absolute independence. Its members were not elected in orderly general elections-some were elected by the surviving electors from the Ottoman period, while others were appointed to the position.

RASHfD RIDA AND FAYSALS KINGDOM IN SYRIA

239

tion to any foreign intervention. It seems that there was a shift of Congress members from the former party to the latter, and according to Rida it was done intentionally in order to influence the conduct of the opposition party from within. lo During his whole stay in Syria, Rida was a staunch adherent of absolute independence. In his periodical aLMn2r he called for a complete absolute total independence (aLhtiq&Y aLf2mm al-muflaq a/-na;.ji/together with the establishment of a representative democratic government built on the fundaments of justice and equality and the preservation of the rights of minorities. Indeed, Ri@ joined the most influential political body in Syria in this period, the veteran aLAf2fsociety, which led the Syrian campaign for absolute independence. Since aLBt2t kept its secrecy also in this period, its influence was mainly behind the scenes. However, since its prominent activists held most of the senior positions in the new state, the society actually ruled Syria in this period. Rida assessed this situation accurately when he wrote in a/-MaHrthat the power of the society over Faysal was stronger than Faysals power over the society, and that it was the society which did everything for Faysal. For conducting its public activities aLBaf3ffounded the Arab Independence Party (mzb a/-h!!q12la/hrab#, which was no more than its overt mouthpiece. Rida also joined the party, presided over some of its conferences, and soon was considered one of its prominent members. In this period Rida was also participating in the demonstrations held by the Committee for National Defence, the most extremist political body in Syria in that time, which was not content even with the nationalist activity of al-FatZfand was the most anti-French organization in the country. l2 When Rid2 arrived in Syria, Fay$al was already on his second visit to Europe. Therefore, Rida met Faysal for the first time only in mid-January 1920, in Beirut, when the latter returned from Europe. For the next few weeks they met several times for private conversations and Rida tried to convince him to accept his plan to form an alliance between the rulers of the Arabian Peninsula. He explained to him the damage ensuing from the hostility existing between the Hijaz and Ibn Sa%d of Najd, and pointed
lo Af-Mun&23:5 (27 May 1922):pp. 395-6. Darwaza, flawfa af-Harak8af-hab&yz, vol. 1. pp. 97,115-16. Al-Hakim, SiZfl-8 wa/-%da/Faph;p. 93. Qiisimiyya, a/.?F/ukgma a/-hb4yz, p. 170. A/-ManJr 21:6 (24 October 1919): pp. 303-4 (an article on the subject What is Independence?). I* h i d , 22:6 (6 June 1921):pp. 464-5; 23:4 (27 April 1922): p. 316; 33:9 (28 February 1934): p. 712 (excerpt from Rashid Ri(lasdiary 9 February 1920);33:lO (15 April 1934):p. 796 (excerpt from RiqHs diary 21 February 1920). Darwaza, flarvla a/flaraka a/-(rrab&yz,vol. 1, p. 77. It is noteworthy that RidHs Society of the Arab Association continued to exist during this period. but as inactive body. Ripe relates that in July 1920 he swore IBdn al-Jabiri,then Fay$alschief secretary, in as n member of the society. See 8/Man&34:5 (7 October 1934):p. 398.

240

THG MUSLIM WORLD

out that if his plan for such a union would be realized then it would place the amirs of the Hij& at the head of the Arabs, since the general council of this alliance /h@i a/-&Ya/-hm) would naturally be in Mecca. This council would convene once a year under the presidency of the Amir of Mecca to discuss the common interests of the Arabs. Faysal related to him that Abdallah had never told him about his meeting with Rida in Cairo in 1914 in this regards but he approved of the plan and promised Rida that he would do his best to convince his father to agree to it too. Faysal even showed optimism that a n understanding could be reached with Ibn Saad, if the latter would be satisfied with reasonable borders to be determined by a neutral commission. Rida then told him that while he himself had been to the Hijaz, he had talked about his plan with Husayn, and that when he had left Husayn had told his retinue: There is a thing today called the Imam of Yemen and another thing called Ibn Sacad. Tomorrow, nothing will be left of these names. All the Arab countries will constitute one single kingdom, submitting to one king. About this, Ridii told FaySal, that Unity can be achieved only by complying with the law, not by submitting to a ruler. The nation would not be prepared to be ruled by a n autocrat. l 3 Another subject in these conversations was Faysals grudge against Damascus politics. He complained to Rid2 that The sheikhs and the conservative notables are completely ignored, while most of the youth are conceited and disunited. Rida, for his part, tried to mediate between FaySal and the nationalists and to persuade him that they were trustworthy in their work for the sake of the fatherland. He especially tried to improve relations between Faysal and K2mil al-Qassab, the leader of the Committee for National Defence, and several other leading nationalists, like (Abd al-R*m?in al-Shahbandar of the Syrian Union Party. His success in this was rather limited. l4 In March 1920 the Syrian nationalists obliged Faysal to convene the Syrian Congress in order to discuss the declaration of Syrias independence and Faysals enthronement. On the eve of the declaration the members of the Independence Party were meeting constantly every night to discuss the subject of independence and the form of the state after the declaration. They discussed the status of the future Syrian government and the status of the Congress, and decided that the Congress would conIs fbh!, 3 3 3 (31 December 1933): pp. 633-4; 33:9 (28 February 1934): p. 712 (excerpt from Rashid RiQiisdiary 9 February 1920). RiQP also suggested to Faysal to send a messenger to Ibn Saiid, with letters from each of them to Ibn Sakid about the need to accomplish Arab unity. Fay$al approved of the idea, though it was carried out in practice only in June. See /aid, p. 713 (excerpt from Ridas diary 10 February 1920); 34:s (7 October 1934): p. 397. I /bid, 33:9 (28 February 1934): pp. 711, 713-14 (excerpt from RashId RidBs diary 10 February 1920); 33:lO (15 April 1934): p. 792 (excerpt from Rids's diary 13 February 1920).

RASHfD RIDA AND FAYSAL'S KINGDOM IN SYRIA

24 1

tinue to exist after the declaration. The party also saw to summoning the Congress delegates for the debate on the declaration of independence, and when it found out that the representatives from Beirut abstained from coming to Damascus, party member Rida was sent there to persuade them to come. Rida left for Beirut on 1 March and it took him a whole week to persuade them. They arrived in Damascus only on 7 March, in the middle of the Congress session in which it was decided to declare the independence ofSyria. l5 Fay$al believed that after the declaration of independence the Congress would be dispersed and a committee would be formed to draw up a constitution for the state. But, as mentioned above, the members of the Independence Party thought otherwise. They decided that the Congress would continue to function until a permanent parliament would be established to replace it, and that it would be the Congress which would write the constitution. At this stage a sharp controversy between the Congress and Faysal developed. According to the declaration of independence, the government that would be formed in Syria was to be subordinate to the Congress until a parliament should be established. Consequently the Congress decided that the government had to present its political program before the Congress for approval and a vote of confidence. The designated prime minister, 'Ali Rida al-Rikabi, reported this to Fay$al, who got angry and announced that the Congress had exceeded its authority and that he would not agree that the government would be subordinate to the Congress, "most of whose members are inexperienced youngsters, mindless, and of no importance.' The Congress persisted in its opinion and Faysal persisted in his. Congress member Rida was sent to mediate between the two sides. Faysal told him that since the Congress was not a parliament it was not entitled to the authority to require the government to request its confidence. Rida answered him that this congress stood at a higher level than a parliament. Faysal replied that he had created the Congress and that he was not prepared to grant it such authority. Rids answered: "No! The Congress created you. Before that, you were only a commander on behalf of Allenby, the supreme commander of the British army, and it was the Congress that made you King of Syria." And in addition to this, the Congress met in the name of the nation, which had the supreme authority according to the Islamic shar&, and at the same time that the Congress decided to make Faysal king it also decided on subordinating the government to it.
[bid,91:8 (17June 1920): p. 435; 33:9 (28 February 1934):p. 714 (excerpt from Rashid Rida's diary 1 0 February 1920);3310 (15April 1934):p. 798;34:l (14May 1934):pp. 68-9; 342 (13June 1934): p. 152. Rid& claims that he was the first to suggest to declare the independence of Syria in order to present Europe with a h i ?accompk

242

THG MUSLIM WORLD

Rida also explained to him that if already in the first moment after the declaration of independence there was dissension between the Congress and the government, they would become a byword, and it would be proof that the Syrians were not qualified for independence. And for conclusion, he calmed Faysal that in any case "most of the members of the Congress are of our party [meaning the Independence Party], and the members of the government are also of our party', so there was nothing to worry about. The argument ended with FaySal consenting to permit al-Rikabi to present the government program before the Congress. In this argument, and also in his former conversations with FaySal, Ri@ expressed his firm conviction that the rule over the nation, according to Islamic law, should be in the hands of the nation itself. Rida opposed any form of tyranny or autocracy, and by this he followed his two spiritual teachers JamBl al-Din al-Afghani and Muhammad (Abduh who had 'urwa a/Wuthg2(The hdssohble said in an article in their newspaper adEe-1884) that if an evil tyrannical ruler arose over a nation, then it was the nation's duty to depose him and to put a new, better ruler in his place. Also in his book on 'Islam and Christianity' (Abduh wrote that it was necessary to depose a ruler if he was not worthy and harmed the public interest. Being a civilian ruler, the ruler was under the supremacy of the nation and it had the right to remove him.17 As a matter of fact, three years later Rid3 himself explicitly wrote in his book M-KhiYih awa/Im&m a/bzm2 [The Cah>hate or the Great 1mJmate)that according to Islam "the rule over the nation is in its own hands . . . and its government is a sort of a republic.' And he added: 'The nation has the right to depose the ImBm-Caliph, if it finds a reason for doing so.'18 Al-Rikabi's government formed after the declaration of Syria's independence did not last long. Accusations cast on it that it was too moderate and did not prepare the country to fight the French brought about its downfall. On 3 May the task of forming a new government was assigned to the president of the Syrian Congress, HBshim al-Atasi. Two days later Rida was elected president of the Congress in his place. l9
IhZ, 2 3 5 (27 May 1922): pp. 392-3: 3 4 2 (13 June 1934):pp. 152-4. 'The Nation and the Rule of the Tyrant', a/-bhv8~/-@'h!hq#(Beirut ed., 1970), pp. 145-6. 1367[11948]), Muhammad 'Abduh, A/-///Bm W 8 / - & r & ? l ~ 8 m 8 s 8 / - h l W8/-M888nlhdCairo, p. 84. I' Muhammad Rashid Rid& A l - f i f B h8w af-fmZm8 a/-Vzma(Cairo, 1341[11923]),pp. 5,15. CL a/-M88nB/,10:5 (11 July 1907): p. 342: 'Was not it the secret political societies which cleansed Europe of the tyranny of kings and popes, eliminated the governments of the nobility, and replaced them with republican and monarchic governments limited by laws and the supremacy of the members of the nation council?' l9 Archives du Ministere de la Guerre, Service Historique de 1'Armee de Terre (Vincennes), a i [1920])'. FO 37115035: telegram 555G. 6N189: 'Rapport hebdomadaire (Semaine du 4 au 10 M GHQ Egypt to War Office (London) 13 May 1920. L e Temps 13 mai 1920. A/-Man#r34:2 (13 June 1934): pp. 156-7. A-Hakim, s & l w 8W8/-53hdd f 8 9 h ; pp. 157, 160. Darwaza, ? y B d 8
I'

RASHID RIPA AND FAYSALS KINGDOM IN SYRIA

243

All the members of the new government, except two, were members of a / A t Z 2o However, during this period, the peak of a/AtWspower, in which it in effect dictated the course of the Syrian state, there began also its disintegration. The first and foremost cause was the political differences of opinion that became apparent concerning the path that the state should take, with the society divided in effect into two main streams: those identified with the aggressive nationalist line and those considered more moderate, of the type of al-Rikabi. (Izzat Darwaza, one of the prominent members of a/At#t during this period, relates that the disputes were caused also by the very strength of the society and the desire of government officials to weaken it and thereby remove its yoke from their shoulders. The internal confrontations sometimes took on a personal tone, and the society could no longer impose its view on government officials who were members of it but did not obey its decisions. There were even those who openly withdrew from the society. The deteriorating condition of a/-Fat% found clear expression in mid-June, when 40 of its members convened for a meeting, and in a discussion headed by Rida dealt with means to repair the situation. It was agreed among those present that the special status of the founders /a/-mu$ss%V..-those who entered the society before or during the war; the central committee of the society could be elected only from them) should be abolished and that an administrative council of 30 or more members should be elected from among the whole society. This council would then elect from within a new central committee for the society. In another meeting presided over by Rid% it was decided that the members who agree to this proposal should sign a petition to be delivered to the present central committee of the society, and in which they would demand that it convene all the members within a week for a comprehensive discussion on this question. Should the committee not do this then the signers, being the majority, would themselves convene the meeting. This crisis had no end because of the rapid events that began to unfold in Syria during the following days, events which brought to an end both the state and a/-Fafa% On 14 July General Gouraud, the French high comd f l n k a 8/19rabfhv, vol. 1, p. 122. Said, af-?%?wm d - h a b f M , vol. 2, pt. 1, pp. 144-5. Qadri, Mudhdki>#tJ pp. 205, 207. Ri#i did not think highly of the new war minister, YUsuf al-Azma He blamed him for behaving in his office like a dictator and not reporting to anyone, except perhaps for Faygal, on what he was doing. A year later, after the defeat of Maysaltin, RiQa wrote of him that his death in that battle atoned for his sin of negligence that had originated from overconfidence and conceit. See d-Mn&22:6 (6 June 1921):p. 471. /bid,34:4 (7 August 1934): pp. 318-9 (excerpts from Rashid RiQHs diary 13 and 14 June 1920). Damaza, ?F/sW/B d-flkcaka aL%abf&z, vol. 1, pp. 79-82, 86. a m a d b a t al-Azami, Af-Qu&va af-habi&z: AstrBbuhe Muqaddm#tuhd TBawwur#tah# wa Nata $uhABaghdiid, 1350-1353 11931-1934),V O ~ .4, pp. 103-4.

244

THE MUSLIM WORLD

missioner in Beirut, sent his famous ultimatum to Faysal, to the effect that his forces would take over Syria by force unless the Arab government accepted the French mandate without any reservations. When Gourauds ultimatum arrived, a delegation from the Independence Party, headed by Rida, came to Faysal, and demanded that he replace the al-Atasi government with one more suited to the new situation, preferably one headed by YBsin al-Hashimi, the former chief of the general staff. Faysal answered them rudely that he would not act according to the opinion of any society or party and not even according to the opinion of the Congress. Relates Riga: I gave him an answer harder and ruder than his answer.22 Faygal decided to accept the ultimatum, but his acceptance reached the French too late; they in any case were determined to bring the independence of the Syrian state to an end On 24 July the French forces crushed the Syrian army in Khan Maysalfin, and the next day they entered Damascus. On 28 July Faysal left Syria. Rid& for his part, decided to leave Syria after its occupation by the French, and return to Egypt. However, he was considered by the British high commissioner there a p e r s m a non gra& and it took Rids quite a while until he managed to return to Egypt.23 It is interesting to note, however, that it was precisely after the battle of Maysaliin and the collapse of the Faygal regime in Syria that the activity and importance of the Syrian Union Party increased. This party decided then to be the coordinating body among the various Syrian and Palestinian nationalist organizations, which were suddenly left without backing. The president and vice-president of the party, Michel Lutf Allah and Rashid Rida, were also the president and vice-president of the Syrian-Palestinian Congress held by the party in 1921 in Geneva for a discussion of the new situation created in Syria and Palestine. But this story already exceeds the scope of this article. 24

Conclusion
In 1920 the Muslim thinker Rashid Rida met with a member of the Hashimite family for the third time, this time with Amir, later King, Faysal. This third encounter was also to be ended in tense relations. The situation this time was entirely different from that which had been in the past. It was within the framework of the Syrian state which existed from October 1918 until July 1920, and which at least for all practical purposes was
A/-Mm&23:4 (27 April 1922): p. 316. Al-SharbaI, J?8.5hfd&y#, p. 156. A d a n , 8/-&9fl12fl85h/vfi#4 p. 157. On the Syrian-Palestinian Congress of Geneva see Marie-RenCe Mouton, Le Congres Syrio-palestinicn de Genthe (1921), Rehhons fn/ernahonafeo/es, 19 (1979), pp. 313-28. See also dM8n&23:2 (27 February 1922): pp. 114-20 (an article by Rashid RidH on this subject).
23

RASHID RIDA AND FAYSALS KINGDOM IN SYRIA

245

independent. While in the past Rips strived to promote the idea of the Arabs seceding from the Ottoman Empire and establishing a new pan-Arab empire, now he had to cope with the existence of an already independent separate Syrian state. He did not abandon his Utopia of establishing the single great Arab state, or at least achieving union between the rulers of the Arabian Peninsula, yet in the current situation the more important task for him was to contribute to the formation of the new regime. Rida became one of the leading personalities among the nationalist circles in postwar Syria, eventually being appointed president of the Syrian Congress. However, Ri$fs perceptions of what was the proper regime according to Islamic law, brought him to vigorously oppose any attempt by FayGal to rule autocratically, exchanging harsh words with him even on the eve of the final battle against the French. By doing this, Rids in effect followed what had been said in this regard by his two spiritual teachers, Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Muhammad (Abduh. And as he himself put it in his later book on the issue of Caliphate: The rule over the nation is in its own hands. . . and its government is a sort of a republic.

Department of General Hiitocy Bar-flan Unikersi?y Ramat-Gan, firael

ELIEZER TAUBER