Abu Bakr – Political, Social, Economic and Military Organization

Political Organization

Government of Abu Bakr. As Caliph, Abu Bakr was the Head of the Government of the Islamic State. Abu Bakr held Government to be a sacred trust, and he ran Government as if he were administering the affairs of a trust. To Abu Bakr, the office of the Caliph was not a means of earthly glory; he regarded it as a burden that he had to discharge in the interest of Islam. About the nature of his office, and his responsibilities he declared in unequivocal terms: “O ye men, now do I long that some one else may take the burden of the State on his shoulders. If you expect from me that I should come up to the standard set by the Holy Prophet, then you must know that I cannot fulfil your expectations because he was immune from all sins and had the assistance of divine revelations while I am an ordinary man subject to human fallibility.”

Character of Polity. Abu Bakr took pains to impress upon the people that he was only the first among the equals. For him, all men, rich or poor, high or low were equal. His rule was the rule of the law, but the law that he had to administer was not man made law: it was divine law. There is no priesthood in Islam, and as such the caliphate was not a theocracy. As all power lay with the people, the political order was democratic in character, but the democracy was not like the democracy we know today. In the polity that Abu Bakr administered the will of the people was paramount, but it was subject to divine will. As such the polity was neither theocracy nor democracy in the sense in which the West understands these terms. It was democracy under the umbrella of divinity, the vicegerency of the people organized to carry into effect the will of God as embodied in Islam.

Constitutional ruler. Abu Bakr was a constitutional ruler as his rule was subject to constitution. But the constitution in this case was not man made; it was divine. As a ruler; Abu Bakr had to discharge a three-fold responsibility. He was responsible to God, and it was his responsibility to enforce the commandments of God as contained in the Holy Quran. He was responsible to the Holy Prophet, and it was his endeavor to follow in the footsteps of the Holy Prophet, and prove himself to be a true representative of the Holy Prophet. In this respect he had to seek guidance from the Sunnah. He was also responsible to the people. It was his endeavor to ensure that all that he did commanded the approval of the people. As Caliph, Abu Bakr was the Head of the State as well as the Government. As representative of the Holy Prophet he was also the religious head. He wielded power, but the polity was organized in such a way that power did not lead to corruption; it served as an instrument of service. As Caliph, Abu Bakr was more of a father to the people than as the ruler.

Advisory Council. The Caliph was aided by an Advisory Council. It comprised all companions. There was, however, nothing hard and fast about the Advisory Council. Its constitution, its conduct of business were all informal. All decisions were arrived at through the process of consensus. There was no monopoly about the Advisory Council. Even an ordinary Muslim could express his views and render advice. It was open to the Caliph to accept or not to accept the advice offered to him, but whenever Abu Bakr did not accept the advice tendered to him, he advanced reason therefore.

Secretariat. The Government of Abu Bakr carried correspondence. Ali, Usman, and Zaid b Thabit acted as Secretaries. There was, however, no elaborate Secretariat. No remuneration was paid to the Secretaries. There were no palatial buildings to house the Government offices. All Government business was conducted in the main mosque at Madina. There were no elaborate departments for the conduct of Government business. There was however division of functions among the Companions, and each Companion was responsible for specified functions. Umar acted as a Minister to the Caliph, and was in charge of judicial administration. Abu Ubaida Jarrah was in charge of the financial administration.

Caliphal duties. As Caliph, Abu Bakr did not live in any palace. He lived in an ordinary house as a commoner. He was accessible to every person. If any person had any grievance, he could place it before the Caliph without any difficulty or formality. Abu Bakr always took prompt steps to redress the grievances of the people. Abu Bakr personally led the prayers. He reviewed the problems every week in the Friday Khutba and took the people in confidence in formulating his policies.

Local administration. For the purpose of local administration, the country was divided into provinces each under a Governor. Arabia proper was divided into ten provinces, namely, Madina, Makkah, Taif, San’a, Hadramawt, Khaulan, Zubaid, Jund, Bahrain, and Najran. Iraq was divided into three provinces, namely: Hirah, Dumatul Jandal, and Muzainah. Syria was divided into four provinces: Hims, Damascus, Jordan and Palestine. The Governor was required to lead prayers. He superintended the army; collected taxes; administered justice; maintained law and order; supervised public morals; and provided social services. He was aided by an Amil who collected revenues, and a Qadi who administered justice. Subject to the payment of ‘Jizya’, the minorities enjoyed cultural autonomy and managed their affairs themselves.

Social Organization

Social values of Islam. Islam revolutionized social life in Arabia. The Holy Prophet set the pattern for Islamic society, and it was the endeavor of Abu Bakr to follow in the footsteps of the Master, and promote the social values of Islam. Abu Bakr was the embodiment of all the social values for which Islam stood, Islam stood for piety, and by all accounts, Abu Bakr led a pious life. He led the prayers in the mosque. All the Muslims in Madina gathered for prayer in the mosque five times a day. On Fridays there were special congregations. Abu Bakr addressed such congregations and delivered eloquent addresses. Abu Bakr took steps to ensure that there was no lapse in the matter of the observance of the injunctions of Islam. When his son Abdullah lost in the love of his wife Atika failed to fulfil his religious obligations, Abu Bakr asked him to divorce his wife. When some tribes suggested that they would offer prayers, but would not pay Zakat, Abu Bakr declared that if they withheld even a moiety of what was payable in Zakat he would fight against them. As a result of this strictness on the part of Abu Bakr, the society came to be fully impregnated with the values of Islam.

Egalitarian society. Abu Bakr took pains to build an egalitarian society in which there was no distinction between the high and the low. He said, “None should look down upon any Muslim for in the eyes of Allah even an inferior Muslim is great”. It was suggested to him that the spoils of war should be distributed according to the status of the people. He did not accept the suggestion, and insisted on equal distribution regardless of the rank or status of the people. It was the endeavor of Abu Bakr that all those who were destitute were provided maintenance at state expense. A story is told of a blind woman who lived in a suburb of Madina who had no one to support her. Abu Bakr visited her every day and looked after her needs. Wherever there was any person in distress, Abu Bakr was always there to relieve the distress. As a result of this policy of Abu Bakr, a society emerged which was free from social distress.

Social justice. Abu Bakr was very particular that due justice should be done to all the members of the community without fear or favor according to the injunctions of Islam. At the time of the assumption of office as Caliph he declared: “The weak among you shall be strong with me till God willing his rights have been vindicated and the strong among you shall be weak with me till, if the Lord wills, I have taken what is due from him”. Abu Bakr strictly followed this policy and administered evenhanded justice. As a result of this policy, a society came to be established in Madina, which was practically litigation free.

Simplicity. Abu Bakr took pains to ensure that the people led simple lives free from ostentation. Abu Bakr himself set the pattern for simple living. He slept on the floor. His meals were abstemious. He attended to his jobs himself. He lived in an ordinary house. There were no guards to attend to him. According to Gibbon, “The pride of his simplicity insulted the vain magnificence of the kings of the earth”. It is related that one of the wives of Abu Bakr once wished for a sweet dish. The Caliph said that he had no money for such luxury. She said, “Then permit me to save something daily, and then have a sweet dish when sufficient amount has been collected”. He gave the permission, and in a few days she saved some amount. Abu Bakr deposited this amount in the public treasury, and got his daily allowance reduced by such amount as had been saved by his wife. When some members of the ruling family of Yemen arrived in Madina they wore rich attire. When they saw that the Caliph wore simple coarse clothes they felt ashamed and discarded their finery. All the companions of Abu Bakr followed his example, and vied with one another in simple and unostentatious living. In this way the social life in Madina came to be marked by simple living devoid of all show and ostentation.

Society of action. The pre-Islamic society was tribal in concept and complexion; the new Islamic society was universal in character. There was thus a broadening of social horizons. The society impregnated with Islamic values came to be characterized by social refinement, social decorum, social justice, and social health. That led to social solidarity and happiness. The people living in such social environments came to feel that they had a destiny to fulfil. That motivated them to play their part in the fulfillment of their destiny. The society thus came to have a creative outlook and the Arabian Desert heretofore known for the ignorance and backwardness of its people became the nursery of heroes. The static society thus came to be transformed into a society of action.

Moral values. The moral values of Islam provided the guidelines for the social life. The people became accustomed to a disciplined life in which there was no place for any frivolity. Care was taken to ensure that in business matters there were no unfair deals. Great emphasis was laid on above board transactions. In Islam there was no place for fraud or deception. Islam called a spade a spade. The society over which Abu Bakr presided was accordingly an elevated and purified society conspicuous for its high social and moral values.

Women. In the new society women played a creative role. They rocked the cradles in which heroes were bred. Women wrote poetry. Some women like Ayesha were eminent scholars. Women fought in battles, e.g. Umm ‘Amara, Khaula, and Jawariya. The age produced beautiful women like ‘Atika, Umm Hakim, Laila the wife of Khalid and princess Kirama.


Economic Organization

Character of the State. In the Islamic State under Abu Bakr, the emphasis was on moral values, and the people were not motivated by material considerations. There was no race among the people to get rich overnight. Islamic laws operated to discourage the amassing of wealth. Islam favored trade, but the faithful were enjoined not to indulge in any unfair practices. In the Muslim society there was no economic exploitation of one class by another, although there were slaves, they were not exploited, and in the families the slaves were treated like other members of the families.

The economic levies. The economic levies were few. These were limited to Zakat, Ushr, Kharaj, Jizya, and Fay. When the Muslims embarked on their career of conquest “Ghanimah” i.e. the spoils of war became a major source of revenue.

Zakat. Zakat had some characteristics of a tax, but it was basically a religious obligation. It was levied on the basis of capital assets, and the idea was that one who was endowed with assets should pay a part in the way of Allah for distribution to the poor. It was in theory an instrument for the equalization of wealth. A scale for the levy of Zakat was prescribed. Usually the criterion was that for every forty rupees of capital, one rupee should be paid as Zakat.

Ushr. Ushr was a tax on land produce. It was levied at one-tenth of the produce, and hence the name ‘Ushr’-one-tenth.

Kharaj. In the case of land in conquered territories, the landowners had to pay a levy called “Kharaj”. The rate of Kharaj was slightly higher than the rate of Ushr in Arab lands.

Jizya. In conquered territories where the people did not become Muslims they had to pay Jizya in lieu of protection to be afforded by the State. It was a poll tax payable at a certain rate per able-bodied adult male. The poor, the disabled, and the monks as well as the women and children were exempt from the levy.

Fay. Fay was the income accruing from State land.

Ghanimah. In the days of Abu Bakr much wealth came to the state on account of the spoils of war. The movable property won as booty on the battlefield was known as “Ghanimah”. Four-fifth of the spoils of war was immediately distributed among the soldiers who had taken part in the battle. The remaining one-fifth went to the State. The State’s one-fifth share was further divided into three parts. One part went to the family of the Holy Prophet, one part went to the Caliph, and one part was spent for welfare purposes.

Annuities. When Abu Bakr assumed office as Caliph there was no money in the treasury. After the end of the apostasy campaigns, Zakat came to be paid by all the tribes and that eased the situation. With the conquest of Iraq and Syria untold wealth poured into State treasury. The economic condition of the people improved to such an extent that there was no one to get Zakat. Abu Bakr, therefore, distributed annuities to the entire Muslim community, every one receiving an equal share.

Economic prosperity of the people. The economic organization of the Islamic State under the Holy Prophet and thereafter under Abu Bakr was unique in the annals of mankind. The State had no salaries bill to foot. All State functionaries at the higher level worked honorably. Military service was performed on voluntary basis. Nominal taxes were levied on the people, and these were returned to the people as annuities. In most cases what the State paid to the people was more than what it had realized from them as taxes. Under Abu Bakr the Muslim community was thus the most prosperous community ever known to history.

Military Organization Under Abu Bakr

Army. In the time of Abu Bakr, no standing army or mercenary force was kept by the State. In the case of any emergency, recruiting parties were sent to the various tribes to recruit volunteers. Inspired by religious fervor for ‘Jihad’ and for patriotic and economic considerations, volunteers willingly enrolled themselves in large numbers whenever there was a call to arms. On this basis for every military expedition, a new militia was raised, and when the expedition was over, the militia was disbanded.

Military service. Military service constituted the noblest of professions in the eyes of the Arabs. “Jihad” was according to the tenets of Islam incumbent on every adult male Muslim, and the entire community was regarded as the army of Islam. No salary was paid to the soldiers. They were allowed a share in the spoils of war. During the caliphate of Abu Bakr, so great were the spoils of war, particularly in the campaigns in Iraq and Syria that every soldier amassed so much wealth as sufficed for his lifetime.

The Caliph. As the Caliph, Abu Bakr was the Generalissimo or the Supreme Commander. A commander was appointed for each column by the Caliph. The Caliph personally awarded the standard to each commander. The commander was responsible to the Caliph, and the Caliph issued directions from time to time to direct military operations. The commander as the representative of the Caliph presided at daily prayers, and all soldiers in the column were required to attend the congregation.

Composition of the army. The army was composed of cavalry and infantry. The cavalry was armed with shields, swords and long lances. The infantry was armed with shields, and bows. The formation of the infantry was generally in line three deep with lancers in front and the archers in the rear. The cavalry was usually posted on the flanks. The cavalrymen wore chain armor with steel helmets. The infantrymen were clad in tight fitting tunics. The armies were always well provisioned. Long marches were made on camels.

March to the battlefield. The army marched to the battlefield chanting verses from the Holy Quran. Orators were attached to every column who exhorted the soldiers to do their duty to Islam, and to live up to the standards of the Arab ideals of chivalry. The Muslims marched to the battlefield with the beat of drums. They delivered the attacks with the shouts of “Allah-o-Akbar”.

Offer to the enemy. Before attack, the enemy was always offered three alternatives, namely acceptance of Islam, payment of Jizya or decision by sword. Where a people accepted Islam, they were treated as part and parcel of the Muslim community and no conditions were imposed. Where a people wished to stick to their faith, and pay Jizya they were allowed cultural autonomy and were guaranteed full protection. Where a people chose to fight, the Muslim attacks were always violent, and in many cases the entire force of the enemy was exterminated. Those who were taken captive were either released on ransom or kept as slaves.

On the battlefield. All battles began with personal duels between chosen warriors from both sides. In such duels the Muslim champions always won. After such duels the battle developed into a general hand to hand fight in which all the troops took part. On the battlefield the army divided itself in five units called “Khamis”. These were the center, the right wing, the left wing, the vanguard and the rear guard. The flanks were covered by the cavalry. The archers were so disposed as to cover both cavalry and infantry. The organization of the army was based on tribal units. Each tribe had its own distinct contingent with its own leader and banner. Many tribes marched to the battlefield with their families in their train. There were special contingents of women. They were employed as nurses, cooks, store guards, and water carriers.

Code of conduct. The soldiers were required to follow strict code of conduct. They were required to observe strict discipline and scrupulously obey the command of their superiors. Persons found guilty of breach of discipline were punished. Where a soldier displayed any cowardice on the battlefield he was subjected to the humiliation of his turban being taken off his head. The soldiers had strict orders not to kill monks, priests, women, children, the slaves, the sick and the aged. They were not to sack any town or village, or destroy or ravage any arable land. There was to be no wanton pillaging, no trees were to be cut, and no crops were to be burnt or destroyed. No corpses of the enemy were to be burnt or mutilated. The dead of the enemy were to be buried with due respect, and where requests were made for particular corpses by the enemy, these were to be freely handed over.

Victories of the Muslims. During the caliphate of Abu Bakr all the military campaigns undertaken by the Muslims ended in their victory. The Muslims fought against forces superior to them in strength and numbers, but victory always lay with the Muslims. The Muslims won reputation for their invincibility. Even the biased western writers have been forced to admit that during the period of the caliphate of Abu Bakr, the desert of Arabia became the nursery of heroes. The story of the Muslim conquest of Iraq and Syria, the miraculous exploits of the Muslim heroes, and the manner in which they dealt blows after blows on the armies of Persia and Byzantium read like some fiction from the Arabian Nights. And if truth were to be ever stranger than fiction, that is so in the case of Muslim conquests under Abu Bakr.

Causes of Muslim victories. The main causes of the victories of the Muslims during the caliphate of Abu Bakr were the high morale of the Muslim soldiers, their religious enthusiasm, their endurance, their mobility, and the superb directions of Abu Bakr. To these basic causes may be added the unique generalship of Khalid, heroism of Muslim soldiers and the blessings of Allah and His Prophet.



Abu Bakr – Campaigns in Syria

Campaigns in Syria

The garrison at Tayma. When active operations were being undertaken in Iraq, Abu Bakr stationed a garrison at Tayma to the east of Tabuk to protect the border against any attack by the Byzantines from Syria. The garrison at Tayma was commanded by Khalid bin Saeed.

Discomfiture of Khalid bin Saeed. The Muslims won spectacular success on the Iraq front. This created in Khalid bin Saeed the urge to score some victory on the Syrian front as well. Early in 634 C.E., Khalid bin Saeed sought the permission of Abu Bakr to advance into Syria. Abu Bakr permitted Khalid bin Saeed to enter into Syria, but he was directed that the operations should be undertaken as a reconnaissance measure only, and no attempt should be made to get involved in any serious hostilities with the Byzantines.

Khalid bin Saeed advanced into Syria, and the Byzantine forces retreated before him. That gave Khalid bin Saeed the impression that the victory of Syria would be a walk over, and that he could win laurels on the Syrian front as his namesake had won on the Iraq front. Khalid bin Saeed accordingly penetrated deep into Syria fin pursuit of the Byzantine forces. When Khalid bin Saeed was cut off from his base, the Byzantines enveloped the Muslim forces and launched a vigorous counter attack. In this encounter, the Muslims suffered a serious defeat. Khalid bin Saeed lost his son in action and that unnerved him. In a state of desperateness, he escaped from the battlefield. The command was thereafter assumed by Ikrama bin Abu Jahl, who retrieved the position by evacuating the Muslim forces. Abu Bakr felt annoyed at the discomfiture of Khalid bin Saeed, and directed him not to come to Madina. Khalid bin Saeed accordingly retired to the interior of the desert at some distance from Madina.

Jihad on the Syrian front. On return from the pilgrimage in February 634 C.E., Abu Bakr issued a call to arms for Jihad on the Syrian front. In response to the call, tribal contingents came over to Madina from all parts of Arabia. By March 634 C.E., a large force assembled at Madina ready to march to Syria. Abu Bakr organized all these warriors into four corps, each comprising of 7,000 men.

The first corps was placed under the command of ‘Amr bin Al Aas. It was required to advance to Palestine via Eila and the valley of Araba.

The second corps was placed under the command of Yazeed bin Abi Sufyan. It was directed to proceed to Damascus via Tabuk.

The third corps under Shurahbil bin Hasana was required to proceed to Jordan.

The fourth corps under Abu Ubaida bin Al Jarrah was required to advance to Emessa. All the columns were required to act independently, if the forces were to integrate, Abu Ubaida was to be the Commander-in-Chief.

Abu Bakr’s address to the Muslim forces. The Muslim forces marched from Madina in the first week of April 634 C.E. The corps led by Yazeed bin Abi Sufyan was the first to leave. Thereafter, other corps left according to program. Abu Bakr addressed the forces at the time of their departure in the following terms: “In your march be not hard on yourself or your army. Be not harsh with your men or your officers whom you should consult in all matters. Be just and abjure evil and tyranny, for no people, who are unjust, can prosper or achieve victory over their enemy. When you meet the enemy turn not your backs except to maneuver for the battle or to re-group, for he, who does so, earns, the wrath of Allah. His abode will be hell, and what a terrible place it is! And when you have won a victory over your enemies, kill not women or children or the aged. Do not slaughter any beasts except for eating. And break not the pacts that you make with other people. You will come upon persons who live like hermits in monasteries, believing that they have given up all for God. Let them be as they are, and do not harm their monasteries. You will meet other persons who are partisans of Satan and worshippers of the Cross who shave the center of their heads so that you can see the scalp. Assail them with your swords, until they submit to Islam or pay the Jizya. In all transactions fear God, and when in difficulty invoke His aid. Now depart in the name of God. May He protect you.”

Yazeed and his corps sped on the road to Tabuk. The corps of Amr bin Al Aas took the route to Eila. Then followed the corps of Shurahbil, and next came the corps of Abu Ubaida, each a day’s march from the other.

Encounter with the Byzantines. At the border, the corps of Yazeed struck against a force of the Christian Arabs sent forward by the Byzantines as a reconnaissance force. The Christian Armies withdrew and Yazeed marched to the valley of Araba. The corps of ‘Amr bin Al Aas reached Eila. Both the corps fought against Byzantine detachments sent to intercept their advance. The Byzantine detachments suffered defeat, and had to retreat after suffering considerable loss. In the meantime, the corps of Shurahbil and Abu Ubaida reached the region Basra and Jabiya.

Plan of the Byzantines. The Byzantine emperor, Heraclius now planned ac ion on a large scale. He mustered forces at Ajnadeen numbering over one hundred thousand. The position became critical for the Muslims for the four small corps that had penetrated into Syria were no match for such a large concentration of the Byzantines. Abu Ubaida wrote to Abu Bakr asking for reinforcement, and Abu Bakr decided to send Khalid bin Walid from Iraq to Syria.

Khalid’s March to Syria

Khalid’s transfer to Syria. In May 634 C.E. while Khalid bin Walid was at Al Hirah, he received orders from Abu Bakr that he should proceed with all possible haste to Syria to take over the command of the Muslim forces in Syria and lead the operations there. With the departure of Khalid from Iraq, Al Muthanna was to be the Commander of the Muslim forces in Iraq. On receiving these orders, Khalid divided the Muslim forces in Iraq in two corps. One corps he left with Al Muthanna in Iraq and with the other corps he proceeded to Syria.

Route to Syria. The main point that Khalid had to decide was as to the route by which he should march to Syria. The southern route led via Daumatul Jandal. It was the easiest and the simplest route. It was, however, a long route, and the march was likely to take a considerable time. The other route in the north lay along the Euphrates. It was not the proper route to be followed for it was studded with numerous cantonments garrisoned by the Byzantine soldiers.

Khalid was keen to know of some other shorter route to Syria. One of the soldiers of the army of Khalid, Rafe’ bin Umeira declared that there was another route through the land of Samawa. Through this route, the entire journey was to take five days only. The difficulty, however, was the region was a barren and waterless desert, and because of the want of water, considerable difficulties had to be faced by the travelers. Rafe’ was of the view that the Samawa route was not a proper route for the army, as it involved extreme hardships, absence of water, and the risk of losing the way.

Urged by the spirit of adventure, Khalid decided that he would follow the Samawa route, whatever the risks. This dangerous decision alarmed them, but he addressed them “Let not your resolve be weakened. Allah will help you and why should you fear anything when you have the help of Allah? “

March to Syria. In early June 634 C.E., Khalid marched from Al Hirah with his corps of 9,000 men. From Al Hirah they proceeded to ‘Ein at Tamr, Sandauda, Mazayyah and Qaraqir. At Qaraqir, the army filled the water skins and other containers with water that could last for five days. Old camels were made to drink water to their full, so that they could serve as reservoirs of water in case of emergency.

Plunge into the desert. On the following morning, taking the name of Allah, the army plunged into the trackless desert. The journey through the desert proved to be very hard and oppressive. Things became difficult when the water supply expected to last for five days was exhausted in three days. On the fourth day, in the absence of water, things became very difficult for the army. Some of the camels were slaughtered, and the water stored in their stomachs was utilized for the watering of horses. By the end of the fourth day, the men of Khalid reached the limits of human endurance. On the fifth day, the army reached the site where according to the guide; there should have been a spring of water. The spring of water was, however, nowhere to be found. This led to a feeling of great disappointment and frustration among the army. On further search and some trial diggings, a spring of water was after all found. That was the end of all trouble and anxiety. Men and animals drank their fill, and praised God for His mercy.

Suwa. The rest of the march through the desert was no longer oppressive. After a day’s march, the Muslim army reached Suwa. That was the first settlement in Syria. It was an oasis surrounded by a pastureland where there were large flocks of sheep and herds of cattle. The Muslims captured all the flocks and herds to serve for the army’s food during the campaigns to follow.

Arak. The following day, the Muslim army reached Arak, which was a fortified town. The Byzantine garrison found resistance futile. They laid down arms, and the people of the town agreed to pay Jizya. The pact of peace was signed and the Muslims occupied the fort.

Tadmur. From Arak, the Muslim army advanced to Tadmur, where was a Christian Arab garrison, who shut themselves in the fort at the arrival of the Muslim army. The Muslims besieged the fort, and finding resistance useless, the Christian Arabs asked for terms. They surrendered and agreed to pay Jizya.

Qaryatein. From Tadmur, the Muslim army marched to Qaryatein. The Byzantine garrison here decided to resist. In the fight that followed, the Byzantine garrison was annihilated to a man. The people of the town sued for terms, and agreed to pay Jizya.

Huwareen. From Qaryatein, the Muslims marched to Huwareen, some ten miles away. Here the Muslims had to fight against the local inhabitants reinforced by a contingent of the Ghassans who had come to the relief of the local inhabitants. The Byzantines and the Ghassans were cut to pieces. The survivors laid down arms, and a peace pact was signed whereunder people agreed to pay Jizya.

Pass of the eagle. From Huwareen the Muslim army took the road to Damascus. They halted at a pass twenty miles from Damascus. At this pass in the Jabal-us-Sharq range, Khalid fluttered his standard bearing the ‘eagle’, and because of such standard, the pass came to be known as “Saniyyat-ul-Uqab”, i.e. the pass of the eagle.

Marj Rahit. From the pass, the Muslim army advanced to Marj Rahit. A garrison here offered some resistance, but was soon overpowered. The garrison surrendered and the Muslims amassed considerable booty. From Marj Rahit, the Muslim army under Khalid marched to Busra.

Battle of Busra

Campaign against Busra. Over running the southern frontier posts, Abu Ubaida and Shurahbil occupied the Hauran district lying east of the river Yermuk, with a view to guarding against a surprise attack from Busra, Abu Ubaida dispatched a detachment of four thousand warriors under Shurahbil to capture Busra.

Khalid’s march to Busra. At Marj Rahit, Khalid came to know that a Muslim detachment was fighting at Busra. Bypassing Damascus, Khalid and his army set off for Busra. Khalid sent a message to Abu Ubaida, the Commander-in-Chief of the Muslim forces in Syria that he should meet him at Busra.

Khalid’s arrival at Busra. At Busra the Muslim forces were heavily outnumbered. Taking advantage of their numerical strength, the Byzantines launched a vigorous attack, and under the intensity of the attack, the Muslim forces began to reel back. The position for the Muslims became critical, and Shurahbil prayed to God for help. Miraculously the army of Khalid arrived at the scene at the nick of time. That turned the tide of the battle. Seeing that the Muslims had received reinforcement, the Byzantine garrison withdrew to the city and shut its gates.

Commencement of the battle. The following day, the two armies faced each other in battle array. The battle was preceded by a call for personal combat between the Commanders of the armies. Khalid stepped forward from the Muslim ranks and out of the Byzantine ranks their commander Romanus stepped forward. Before dueling, Khalid offered Islam to Romanus, and surprisingly enough, Romanus after asking a few questions about Islam, declared the article of faith and became a Muslim. He crossed over to the Muslim camp.

Romanus. From the Muslim camp, Romanus addressed the Byzantines in the following terms: “O ye, enemies of God and His prophet. You must not forget that I have accepted the true faith of Islam to please God. Now no common ties exist between you and me, either in this world, or in the world hereinafter. I deny him who was crucified, and sever any connections with his followers. I choose Allah for my Lord, and Muhammad (peace be on him) as my Prophet, the Ka’aba as my sanctuary, and the Muslims as my brethren. In sooth, I bear witness that there is no God but Allah. He has no partner, and Muhammad (peace be on him) is His prophet, whom He selected to direct mankind to the right way. I am fully convinced that God would exalt the true religion of Islam over the religion of those who join partners with His Divinity.”

Muslim occupation of Busra. The conversion of Romanus to Islam unnerved the Byzantine forces, and instead of giving the fight, they withdrew to the city and shut the gates against the Muslims. That night, Romanus led a Muslim detachment to a subterranean passage under the ramparts of the city. This contingent was led by Abdur Rahman, the son of Abu Bakr. This contingent entered the city through the underground passage and then dashing towards the city gates opened them for the main Muslim army to enter. The Muslim forces attacked right and left raising the cries of “Allah-o-Akbar.” The Byzantines were slaughtered in thousands and the survivors laid down arms. The citizens of Busra agreed to pay Jizya, and thereupon a peace pact was drawn up.

Consequences of the conquest of Busra. The conquest of Busra in the second week of July 634 C.E. was the first important victory gained by the Muslims in Syria. The Muslims lost 130 men in the battle, while the Byzantines lost several thousand persons. Khalid informed Abu Bakr of the viceroy and dispatched the usual one fifth of the spoils of war. The conquest of Busra opened for the Muslims the gate for the conquest of Syria.

Abu Ubaida. At Busra, Abu Ubaida came to meet Khalid. Khalid had replaced him in the over all command of the Muslim forces in Syria, but Abu Ubaida had no grudge on that score. Addressing Khalid, he said, “O father of Sulaiman, I have received with gladness the letter of Abu Bakr appointing you as the Commander-in-Chief. There is no resentment in my heart over this, for I know of your skill in matters of war”. Addressing Abu Ubaida, Khalid in reply said, “By Allah, but for the necessity of obeying the orders of the Caliph I would never have accepted the command over you. You are much higher than me in Islam. I am a companion of the Holy Prophet, while you are one whom the Messenger of Allah called the ‘trusted one of the nation’.”

Siege of Damascus

Khalid’s march to Damascus. From Busra, Khalid marched northward to Damascus. The Muslim forces occupied the outskirts of Damascus. Damascus was heavily guarded, and the Muslim force was too small to press the siege of a city like Damascus. After the defeat of Busra, the Byzantine emperor was much upset. He vowed vengeance and undertook preparations on a large scale to drive away the Muslims from the soil of Syria. Heraclius garrisoned all forts in Syria. He ordered a huge concentration of forces in the south at Ajnadein, west of Jerusalem.

Lifting the siege of Damascus. The Muslim scouts brought the intelligence that a Byzantine force over one hundred thousand strong had assembled at Ajnadein. That set Khalid thinking. If he pressed the siege against Damascus the danger was that the Byzantine army from Ajnadein might attack the Muslim army from the rear, and in that case the position for the Muslims would become very critical. Khalid accordingly changed his strategy, and decided to deal with the Ajnadein Byzantine forces in the first instance. In pursuance of this decision, the siege of Damascus was lifted and the Muslim forces were ordered to march to Ajnadein. Up to this time, the various Muslim forces in Syria were operating in different sectors. Khalid directed the integration of all the Muslim forces and required the entire Muslim army to assemble at Ajnadein.

Byzantine attack on the Muslims. When the siege of Damascus was lifted by the Muslims that emboldened the Byzantines. A Byzantine contingent with a force of six thousand horses and ten thousand-foot soldiers fell upon the Muslim rearguard as they were retreating from Damascus. So fierce and unexpected was the Byzantine attack that the Muslims had to give way. The Byzantines were able to capture a number of women who were in the Muslim camp.

Khaula. The Muslim women captured by the Byzantines were kept in a separate camp. The Byzantines intended to carry these women to Damascus after they had collected other booty. Among the women prisoners was a beautiful lady, Khaula, the sister of the Muslim commander Zarrar. Peter the commander of the Byzantine contingent was struck by her beauty and chose her for himself. Khaula was a firebrand lady of extraordinary courage. She exhorted her companions to muster courage and defy their capture. Her companions asked as to how they were to resist their captors when they were unarmed. Khaula asked them to get hold of the tent poles. They were required to keep close to one another, and to fall upon the Byzantine soldiers who came near them.

Some Byzantine soldiers tried to get hold of the Muslim women. The women struck them with tent poles, and smashed their skulls. Then Peter addressed Khaula from a safe distance “Surrender and I will see that you are not only safe, but that I make you the queen of my heart.” Khaula retorted “You Byzantine dog, how can you dare marry a Muslim virgin. I will kill myself in the case of any such exigency.” Peter ordered his men to surround the women and disarm them. The women were in a defiant mood, and would not allow any one approach them. Thereupon Peter ordered his soldiers to step forward with drawn swords.

Khalid’s vengeance. When Khalid bin Walid who was leading the vanguard came to know of the disaster that had befallen his rearguard, he turned back and rushed to the relief of his men. Khalid struck with vengeance. The Byzantines were not only routed; they were massacred. Out of six thousand Byzantine horsemen, only one hundred escaped back to Damascus to tell the story of the disaster that had fallen them. When Peter and his men were stepping forward to overpower the Muslim women, Khalid, Zarrar, and other Muslim warriors arrived at the spot to the aid of the Muslim women. Peter thereupon turned to flee but was intercepted by Zarrar the brother of Khaula. Addressing Zarrar, Peter said, “She is your sister; I make you a present of her.” Zarrar said that he accepted the present, and then in return he had to give him the point of his spear. Thereupon Zarrar struck off the head of Peter and impaled it on his lance.

Battle of Ajnadein

March to Ajnadein. From Damascus and other parts of Syria, the Muslim forces marched to Ajnadein, and there camped at some distance from gigantic camp of the Byzantines.

Khalid’s address. The total strength of the Muslim army was 40,000, while the strength of the Byzantine army was over one hundred thousand. The odds appeared to be against the Muslims, but Khalid had firm faith in God. He inspected the ranks, and addressed the Muslim warriors thus: “O Comrades-in-arms, you are to face the biggest army that the Byzantines could muster. Should you come out of the battle victorious all is yours. Fight in good earnest and remain steadfast to the teachings of Islam. See that you do not turn back for God sees you. Close your ranks, keep your heads, and do not lose heart.”

Khalid’s address to women contingent. Halting before the women’s contingent in the Muslim army, Khalid said: “Sisters-in-faith, make sure that your actions be acceptable to Allah and His prophet. Your participation in this war will go down in history, and I know that you will acquit yourself honorably. Should the Byzantines attack you, show your mettle and the heroic stuff you are made of. Should you find any Muslim fleeing from the field, reproach him until he turns again to face the enemy. It is by these means that you will infuse the menfolk with a spirit that can stand up against the heaviest odds.”

Zarrar. Khalid sent Zarrar on a reconnaissance mission. He stripped himself to the waist and rode up to the center of the Byzantine camp. Here he was seen by the Byzantines, and a body of thirty Byzantine soldiers rode out to catch him. Zarrar killed nineteen of the Byzantine soldiers before the survivors turned and galloped back to their camp. In the Byzantine camp, Zarrar became a legend for daredevilry.

The Byzantine spy. The Byzantines sent a Christian Arab to the Muslim camp to get information about the strength and quality of the Muslim forces. The spy then went back in the Byzantine camp reported about the Muslims in the following terms: “By night they are like monks; by day they are like warriors. If the son of the ruler were to commit theft, they would cut off his hand, and if he were to commit adultery, they would stone him to death.”

On getting this report, Qubuqlar the Deputy Commander of the Byzantine forces declared: “If whet you say is true, it would be better to be in the belly of the earth than to meet such people upon its surface. “

Commencement of the battle of Ajnadein. The battle of Ajnadein began on 30th July 634 C.E. The Muslim army was deployed on a front of about five miles. Thc center was placed under M`uadh bin Jabal; the right wing was placed under Saeed bin ‘Amir; while, the left wing was placed under Abdur Rahman the son of the Caliph Abu Bakr. Khalid commanded the force as a whole, and he kept a reserve with him who could be commissioned for special jobs. This reserve included among others: ‘Amr bin Al Aas; Zarrar; Rafe’ and Abdullah the son of Umar.

Peace offer of the Byzantines. The Byzantines took the battle position about half a mile away from the Muslim front line. Before the battle began, a venerable old man dressed in black emerged from the Byzantine ranks and walked up half way towards the Muslim army. Khalid stepped forward to meet him. Addressing Khalid, the Byzantine bishop said: “Lo’, we have an army numerous as the atoms, and it is not like the armies you have met before. With this army, Caesar has sent his mightiest Generals. My master is nevertheless inclined to be generous with you. Withdraw and we will give each of you a dinar, a robe, and a turban, and for you there will be a hundred diners, hundred robes, and hundred turbans.”

Khalid repudiating the peace offer said: “We have not come here to accept alms. Your choice is either to accept Islam or pay Jizya. The third alternative is sword. We are not afraid of the strength of your army, our one man may fight against ten of your men.”

The first day of the battle. The battle began with personal combats. From the Muslim camp, Zarrar stepped forward, and he gave the battle cry: “I am the death of the pale ones; I am the killer of the Byzantines; I am a scourge sent for you; I am Zarrar bin Al Azwar.”

All the Byzantine champions who came forward to meet the challenge of Zarrar were killed by him. These included three Byzantine Generals. Thereafter, Khalid ordered a charge, and the entire Muslim front dashed forward hurling itself at the Byzantine army. The battle raged furiously for several hours. By the evening, both sides broke contact, and fell back to their original lines.

Werdan’s conspiracy. Werdan, the Commander-in-Chief of Byzantines, was distressed that on the first day of the battle, thousands of Byzantines had been killed, while the casualties on the Muslim side were very few. Werdan was overawed by Khalid, and he felt that as long as Khalid was there to command the Muslim forces, there was little chance for the Byzantines to win a victory. He accordingly hatched a plot to ambush Khalid.

A Christian Arab was sent to Muslim camp with a message from Werdan that Khalid should meet him for peace parleys. So great was the awe of Khalid that the emissary disclosed the details of the plot Werdan had hatched, and indicated the spot where under the instructions of Werdan, the Byzantines were to lie concealed to fall upon Khalid unawares.

Death of Werdan. The next day as the two armies again took the field; Khalid and Werdan stepped forward to negotiate peace parleys. Werdan desired that the Muslim force should withdraw, and they could have some money. Khalid ridiculed the offer and said that in case the Byzantines did not accept Islam or pay Jizya, the sword alone would decide the issue. Thereupon, Werdan gave the signal, and from behind the hillock emerged ten warriors dressed in Byzantine uniforms. As they came forward, Khalid saw that they were Zarrar and his companions. They had killed the Byzantine soldiers sent by Werdan and had donned their uniforms. Zarrar, at once, fell on Werdan and severed his head with his sword.

The Muslim victory. With the death of Werdan, the Muslims launched the attack. The Muslims struck violently, and the Byzantines struggled desperately to hold the assault. Then Khalid brought in his reserves. That turned the tide of the battle. The Muslims drove deep wedges into the Byzantine army. Some Muslim soldiers advanced and killed Qaubuqlar who commanded the Byzantine forces after the death of Werdan. With the death of Qubuqlar, the Byzantine lost heart and fled from the battlefield. The Muslim cavalry pursued the fugitives and the Byzantines were slaughtered in thousands. The Muslims won a complete victory. The large Byzantine army at Ajnadein was practically annihilated.

Report of the battle. Khalid sent a detailed report of the Muslim victory to Abu Bakr along with the state share of the booty. At the battle of Ajnadein over 50,000 Byzantine soldiers died against 450 Muslims only. At Madina the news of the victory was received with great joy. Abu Bakr lay ill, and this good news cheered him up.

Siege of Damascus

Yaqusa. After the battle of Ajnadein, the Muslims broke the camp at Ajnadein in the first week of August 634 C.E. and set out for Damascus. The advance of the Muslims was resisted by a Byzantine force at Yaqusa on the bank of the Yermuk. The Byzantine force was defeated with considerable loss and Muslims pushed on towards their objective Damascus.

Marj-us-Saffar. After three days march from Yaqusa, the Muslim forces arrived at Marj-us-Saffar, twelve miles from Damascus, and here their way was barred by a Byzantine force. The battle began on the 19th August with personal duels. In these duels the Muslim cavaliers won and their Byzantine counterparts lost their lives. When after the personal combats, the battle began, the Byzantines stood firm for a few hours, but as the Muslims increased their pressure, the Byzantine forces withdrew. Two Byzantine Generals, Kulus and Azazeer were captured alive. Many Byzantine soldiers were killed. The survivors withdrew post haste to Damascus.

Gibbon. In his well-known work Decline and Fall of the Romau Empire, Gibbon has a passage giving a graphic description of the arrival of the Muslim forces at Damascus. He writes; “The sad tidings of the fall of Ajnadein were carried to Damascus by the speed of grief and terror, and the inhabitants beheld from the walls of the city the return of the Muslim heroes of Ajnadein Amr bin Al ‘Aas led the van at the head of nine thousand horse, the bands of the Muslims followed each other in formidable review; and the rear was closed by Khalid in person, with the standard of the black eagle. To the activity of Zarrar, he entrusted the commission of patrolling round the city with two thousand horses, of scouring the plain and of intercepting all succor or intelligence. The rest of the Arabian chiefs were fixed in their respective stations before the seven gates of Damascus and the siege was renewed with vigor and confidence.”

Byzantine garrison. The Byzantine garrison in Damascus was commanded by Thomas, a son-in-law of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius. At the principal gate of the city, the Byzantines erected a lofty crucifix before which prayers were offered that the Son of God would defend his servants and vindicate his truth.

The siege. The siege of Damascus began on the 21st of August, and on the 23rd of August 634 C.E., Abu Bakr was dead. Damascus fell in the hands of the Muslims in September 634 C.E. during the caliphate of Umar.


Abu Bakr – Campaigns in Western Iraq

Battle of Anbar

After Hirah, what? With the conquest of Hirah, Khalid had achieved the objective that Abu Bakr had set for him. Having succeeded in his objective, a man like Khalid could not be expected to rest on oars. The question before Khalid was: after Hirah, what next? After taking stock of the situation around him, Khalid decided to advance further afield.

Anbar. Khalid chose Anbar as his next objective. It was an important town and commercial center to which caravans came from Syria and Persia. It was towards the end of June 633 C E. that Khalid marched with his army from Hirah to Anbar. The Muslim force marched along the west bank of the Euphrates, and crossed the river somewhere below Anbar.

Anbar was the headquarter town of the district of Sabat. The Governor of the district was Sheerzad, and he decided to defend the town with the help of his Persian garrison and the Arab auxiliaries. The town was protected by walls, and a large deep moat.

The battle. The town of Anbar was situated at a height, and the Muslim army had to camp at the low plain below the town. As the Persians saw the height that intervened between them and the Muslim army, they felt that their position was invulnerable. The Persians stood on the top of the walls of the citadel carelessly in groups looking at the Muslim army as if they were watching a tournament.

Khalid collected the best of his archers, and commanded them to shoot at the eyes of the Persians. The Muslim archers shot several rounds, and as a result thousands of Persians lost their eyes. Because of this action the battle of Anbar came to be called ‘the battle of the eyes’.

The fall of Anbar. As a result of the efforts of the Muslim archers, a panic was created in the ranks of the Persians, and Sheerzad sent an offer to negotiate terms. Khalid rejected the offer and demanded that the surrender should be unconditional. Under the circumstances, Sheerzad decided to continue resistance.

The moat stood between the Persians and the Muslims, and the problem before Khalid was to cross the moat. Khalid selected a point where the moat was the narrowest. Here he placed his archers in position to shoot at the enemy ruthlessly. Under the cover of these archers Khalid pushed his army. The old and weak camels of the army were slaughtered and dumped into the moat. As the pile of carcasses rose, it formed a bridge over which the Muslim army crossed the moat and assaulted the fort.

Finding his position insecure, Sheerzad made another offer to surrender provided the Persian army was allowed to withdraw in safety. Khalid agreed to the offer provided the Persians did not carry any arms or other property with them.

Withdrawal of Sheerzad. Sheerzad accepted the terms given by Khalid. The Persian soldiers and their families evacuated the fort at Anbar, and left for Al Madain. Thereafter the Muslims occupied the town of Anbar. The Christian Arabs, the auxiliaries of the Persians had no option but to lay down arms after the withdrawal of the Persian forces. They agreed to pay Jizya. Khalid stayed at Anbar for a few days, and received the submission of the clans living in the neighborhood.

When Sheerzad reached Al Madain, he was severely rebuked by the Persian military authorities at his failure to defend Anbar. He attributed his failure to the betrayal of the Christian Arabs. He said, “I was among a people whose roots were among the Arabs, and their resistance to the invading Muslim Arabs was half hearted.”

Battle of ‘Ein-at-Tamr

‘Ein-at-Tamr. Khalid left a garrison at Anbar under the command of Zabarqan bin Badr, and himself marched further afield with the main Muslim army. In early August 633 C.E., the Muslim army recrossed the Euphrates, and marched southward. This time his objective was ‘Ein-at-Tamr. ‘Ein-at-Tamr was a large fortified town surrounded by date palms. ‘Ein-at-Tamr in fact meant ‘Spring of dates’. It was a place of strategical importance, and was garrisoned by Persian forces and the Arab auxiliaries.

Christian Arabs. The Persian forces at ‘Ein-at-Tamr were commanded by Mehran bin Bahram Jabeen who was a skillful military commander. The Christian Arabs belonged to the tribe of Namr, and were led by their chief Aqqa bin Abi Aqqa. Aqqa was a man of formidable dimensions and enjoyed great reputation for his prowess. He was a devout Christian and was very hostile to Islam.

Aqqa was proud of his bodily strength and Arab lineage. In a war council with Mehran, Aqqa volunteered to fight against the Muslims with his men. He argued “Diamond cuts diamond, and we Christian Arabs know best as to how to fight against the Muslim Arabs. Let us fight against the Muslims in the first instance”. Mehran accepted the offer and said, “You are right; you are the best men to fight against the Muslims. Go ahead, and give the Muslims a tough fight. We will remain close to you, and will come to your assistance, when you need reinforcement.”

Battle of ‘Ein-at-Tamr. The Persian forces remained at ‘Ein-at-Tamr, but the Christian Arab auxiliaries under the command of Aqqa marched on the road to Anbar to intercept the advance of the Muslim force under Khalid. The two forces met at a distance of some ten miles from Ein-at-Tamr. As soon as the two forces came in sight, they went in for action immediately. Khalid deployed the Muslim forces in the usual way, the center and the wings. Khalid had heard of the boastings and vaunts of Aqqa, and the plan of Khalid was to take Aqqa captive alive. Aqqa led the center of his force, and with his heavy body he looked very defiant. When the battle began, the wings of the Muslim army charged with considerable vehemence, but the center under the direct command of Khalid charged in a luke-warm way. That gave Aqqa the impression that the center of the Muslim army was showing signs of exhaustion. He decided to avail of this advantage. He launched an attack at the central wing of the Muslim force with considerable vehemence. Before this attack, the Muslim center withdrew. That made the central wing of Aqqa’s force rush forward. Such impetuous advance cut off the central wing of Aqqa’s force off from the other wings of the army of the Christian Arabs. At this stage the Muslim force turned a somersault, and launched a furious charge enveloping the forces of Aqqa. In the hand to hand fighting that followed, the men surrounding Aqqa were cut to pieces, and Aqqa was captured alive according to plan.

Occupation of ‘Ein-at-Tamr. With the capture of Aqqa, the Christian Arabs lost nerve, and fled to ‘Ein-at-Tamr, hoping to be reinforced by the Persian forces. When the Arab fugitives reached ‘Ein-at-Tamr, they found that the Persian forces under Mehran had already evacuated the town, and left for Al-Madain. Finding themselves abandoned and betrayed the Christian Arabs rushed into the fort, closed the gates and prepared for a siege.

The Muslims soon arrived at ‘Ein-at-Tamr, and laid siege to the fort. Aqqa and other prisoners in the Muslim camp were paraded outside the fort, and that had an unnerving effect on the defenders. The Christian Arabs soon asked for terms, but Khalid said that there would be no terms and that the surrender must be unconditional. After a few days the resistance of the Christian Arabs broke down, and they surrendered unconditionally. Aqqa and the leaders of the Christian Arabs were beheaded. The people agreed to pay Jizya. A huge booty was collected and distributed according to the usual formula.

Monastery at ‘Ein-at-Tamr. At ‘Ein-at-Tamr was a monastery where boys were trained for priesthood. These boys were converted to Islam. Among these boys was one Naseir whose son Musa later became the Governor of Africa, and the Conqueror of Spain.

Battle of Daumatul Jandal

Daumatul Jandal. Daumatul Jandal, the present day Al-Jauf, was in the time of Abu Bakr, a place of great strategic importance. It lay at the border of Iraq and Syria, and was the meeting place of the routes from Central Arabia, Iraq and Syria. In the strategy for the defenses of Arabia, Daumatul Jandal was a key point, and even the Holy Prophet was conscious of the importance of Daumatul Jandal.

Akeider. When in 630 C.E., the Holy Prophet undertook a campaign to Tabuk, Khalid was directed to lead a campaign to Daumatul Jandal. Khalid succeeded in his mission, and Akeider the Christian Arab ruler of Daumatul Jandal was taken captive. Akeider paid a heavy ransom, and on agreeing to pay an annual tribute, he was restored to his principality.

‘Ayad bin Ghanam. After the death of the Holy Prophet, Akeider broke the pact with the Muslims, and defaulted in the payment of the tribute. Abu Bakr sent a column under ‘Ayad bin Ghanam to capture Daumatul Jandal. ‘Ayad laid a siege to Daumatul Jandal, but failed to capture it. The siege lasted for over a year, but still the resistance of the defenders was not broken. Many Christian Arabs driven from Iraq as a result of the operations of Khalid found refuge at Daumatul Jandal, and that created further difficulties for ‘Ayad.

March of Khalid to Daumatul Jandal. At this critical juncture, ‘Ayad wrote to Khalid to come to his help. Abu Bakr also asked Khalid to go to the help of ‘Ayad. Khalid received the call for help when he was at ‘Ein-at-Tamr. Khalid decided to go in for the help of ‘Ayad forthwith. Leaving a garrison at ‘Ein-at-Tamr, Khalid marched on with his main force to the relief of Daumatul Jandal. Khalid covered the journey of three hundred miles to Daumatual Jandal in ten days.

The battle of Daumatul Jandal. The Christian Arab forces at Daumatul Jandal were led by two chiefs, namely Akeider and Judi bin Rabee’a. Akeider, who had personal experience of the prowess of Khalid, was unnerved when he came to know that Khalid had arrived for the help of ‘Ayad. He advised the Christian Arabs to make peace with Khalid. His advice was, however, not accepted by his people, who decided to fight. Thereupon ‘Akeider withdrew from Daumatul Jandal, and set off on the road to Jordan. He was soon overtaken by a detachment of Khalid’s cavalry. Accounts differ as to the fade of Ukeider. According to one account, when Ukeider was presented before Khalid, he ordered his execution, as he had broken his oath of allegiance. According to another account, Ukeider was sent to Madina, where he repented and was granted amnesty by Abu Bakr.

Thereafter, Khalid pressed the siege of Daumatul Jandal. The Christian Arabs under Judi bin Rabee’a offered resistance, but they could not hold on for long. Daumatui Jandal fell in the last week of August 633 C E. Over two thousand Christian Arabs were killed in the battle of Daumatul Jandal. Judi bin Rabaceia was captured alive. The people of Daumatul Jandal were offered amnesty on their agreeing to pay Jizya. Immense booty fell to the share of the Muslims. Judi bin Rabee’a had a beautiful daughter who was among the captives. She was a typical beauty. When Khalid saw her, he felt attracted and married.

Reaction of Yadrat Abu Bakr. When the news of the fall of Daumatul Jandal were communicated to Abu Bakr at Madina, he felt very happy. He felt proud of the exploits of Khalid, who had succeeded where others had failed. When the Caliph was told that Khalid had married Bint Judi, he merely smiled and said: “Great men have their eccentricities and Khalid, a great General, has a soft corner in his heart for beautiful women. He is the victor of Daumatul Jandal, and he may very well have Bint Judi as his prize, if that is his pleasure.”

Campaigns in Western Iraq

Persian forces. After the victory of Daumatul Jandal, Khalid returned to the Iraq front in September 633 C.E. By this time, the Persians had raised more forces and they were once again on the war path. One force of the Persians commanded by Ruzbeh was quartered at Huseid, northeast of ‘Ein-at-Tarur. Another Persian force under Zarmahr was cantoned at Khanafis northwest of Huseid.

Plan of the campaign of Khalid. Khalid had his headquarters at ‘Ein-at-Tarur. From there he sent one column under Qa’qa’ to Huseid, and another column under Abu Leila to Khanafis. The instructions of Khalid were that the operations at Huseid and Khanafis should take place simultaneously.

The battle of Huseid. Qa’qa’ reached Huseid before Abu Leila could reach Khanafis, and thus the original plan of simultaneous action could not be followed. The battle at Huseid began with a personal duel between Qa’qa’ and Ruzbeh. In the duel, Ruzbeh was overpowered and killed. Then Zarmahr, the Commander of the forces at Khanafis, who was also at Huseid, stepped to give the challenge. Qa’qa’ accepted the challenge and in the duel that followed, Zarmahr was also killed. Thereafter the Muslims charged. After some resistance, the Persians lost nerve, and withdrew from the battlefield leaving a large number of the dead at the site of the battle.

Confrontation at Khanafis. The survivors of the Persian army from Huseid fled to Khanafis. When the Persian garrison at Khanafis came to know of the Persian defeat at Huseid and of the death of their own Commander Zarmahr, they felt that any stand at Khanafis against the superior Muslim forces would be futile. Mabhuzab the new Commander considered discretion to be the better part of valor. He abandoned Khanafis and with his forces moved to Muzayyah further north where more forces were available and defenses were stronger. When the Muslim forces under Abu Leila arrived at Khanafis, they found that there were no Persian forces to meet them. The Muslims accordingly occupied Khanafis without firing any shot. Khalid, however, was not happy with the operations for the entire Persian garrison at Khanafis had escaped slaughter at the hands of the Muslims.

March to Muzayyah. When Khalid came to know that the Persian garrison from Khanafis had escaped to Muzayyah, he directed that the Persians should be pursued to Muzayyah. Three Muslim columns started separately for Muzayyah from ‘Ein-at-Tamr, Huseid and Khanafis. They had to follow different routes, but they were required to reach a point close to Muzayyah at the same time.

The battle of Muzayyah. The movements of the Muslim forces were carried out according to plan, and the three corps mustered at the appointed place according to schedule. In the Persian camp there was a large concentration of the Persian forces and the Christian Arab auxiliaries at Muzayyah. Muzayyah was at considerable distance from Huseid and Khanafis, and the Persians were under the impression that the Muslim forces would take considerable time to reach Muzayyah.

When the Muslim forces reached unexpectedly at Muzayyah, it was night and the Persians and the Christian Arabs slept peacefully. Roaring masses of Muslim warriors hurled themselves on the Persian camp. So sudden was the Muslim attack that Persian army was unable to take any firm stand. There was confusion and panic in the ranks of the Persian army, and the Persians were slaughtered in thousands. The disaster that met the Persians at Muzayyah was more or less of the same order as they had suffered at Walaja. Helped by the darkness of the night many Persians and their auxiliaries found safety in withdrawing from the battlefield.

When the sun rose the following day, not a single Persian soldier could be seen at Muzayyah. Most of them lay dead at the battlefield, and the rest had found safety in flight. Among the Arabs who had lost their lives at Muzayyah were two persons, Abdullah and Labid who were Muslims and had certificates to that effect from Abu Bakr himself. Some of the critics of Khalid held him guilty of killing Muslims. Abu Bakr held that such things were likely to occur when Muslims chose to live in the midst of non-Muslims, against whom military operations were undertaken. Abu Bakr, however, paid blood money to the heirs of the two persons from the Muslim Baitul Mall.

Battle of Saniyy. The victory of the Muslims at Muzayyah exposed the Christian Arab pockets of Saniyy, Zumeil, and Ruzab to Muslim attack. Saniyy being close to Muzayyah become the first objective of the attack of the Muslim forces. From Muzayyah three Muslim columns marched through separate routes and arrived at Saniyy according to plan on pre-determined time and date. A three pronged attack was launched on the Christian Arab camp at Saniyy. The Christian Arabs were no match for the trained forces of Khalid and were slaughtered in thousands. The Christian Arab Commander Rabee a bin Bujeir was slain on the battlefield. Among the captives was the beautiful daughter of Rabee’a. She was sent to Madina, where Ali married her.

Battle of Zumeil. From Saniyy the Muslim forces marched to Zumeil. Here again a three pronged attack was launched by three columns according to a pre-determined plan. The Christian Arab forces at Zumeil met with disaster and were annihilated. The Muslims won considerable booty both at Saniyy and Zumeil.

Battle of Ruzeb. From Zumeil, the Muslim forces proceeded to Ruzab. Here Hilal the son of the Christian Arab chief Aqqa who had fallen at ‘Ein-at-Tamr had collected a large force of the Christian Arabs to give a fight to the Muslims and avenge his father’s death. When Hilal came to know of the fate of the Christian Arabs at Saniyy and Zumeil, he lost heart. When the Muslim forces arrived at Ruzab, there was no enemy to oppose them, and they occupied Ruzab without any resistance. Hilal and his forces withdrew before the arrival of the Muslims.

Muslim domination. With the completion of these operations, the entire region to the west of the Euphrates from Uballa to Anbar came under the complete domination of the Muslims; all pockets of the Persians of the Christian Arabs in this region were completely liquidated.

Battle of Firaz

Firaz. By the end of 633 C.E., the Muslims were the masters of the Euphrates valley. In this valley, Firaz at the outermost edge of the Persian Empire still had a Persian garrison. Khalid decided to drive away the Persians from this outpost as well. Khalid marched to Firaz with a Muslim force and arrived there in the first week of December 633 C.E. Firaz was the frontier between the empires of Persia and Byzantium, and the garrisons of the Persians as well as the Byzantines were cantoned there. In the face of the Muslims, the Byzantine garrison decided to come to the aid of the Persian garrison. The united forces of the Persians, the Byzantines, and the Christian Arab auxiliary, were ten times the number of the Muslim force. Impressed by the imposing array of the coalition, the Byzantine General sent a haughty message to Khalid, demanding an unconditional surrender. Khalid replied that he would give reply on the battlefield.

The battle of Firaz. Khalid gave the enemy the option to cross the Euphrates. As soon as the enemy had crossed the Euphrates, Khalid commanded the Muslim force to go into action. The united forces of the Persians and the Byzantines had the river at their back, and the position was similar to that at the battle of Mazar. At Firaz, Khalid adopted the same tactics as he had adopted at Mazar. As the front ranks of both the forces committed themselves in the fighting, Khalid fixed his enemy on either flank with the help of his rear wings. Making a swift lighting movement, the Muslims dashed for the bridge on the river, and succeeded in occupying it. The enemy was thus held in a pincer movement. The Muslims intensified the attack and closed the noose round the neck of the enemy. In the mortal conflict that ensued, the enemy soon lost the ground. The withdrawing forces of the Persians and the Byzantines either jumped into the river in a state of horror or confusion or allowed themselves to be squeezed to death. It was a bloody battle, and over fifty thousand men of the enemy fell on the battleground. The battle was soon over and Firaz, the last stronghold of the Persians, fell to the Muslims. The battle of Firaz added further luster to the Muslim arms.

Khalid’s pilgrimage to Makkah. In the beginning of the battle of Firaz when the odds appeared to be against the Muslims, Khalid undertook an oath that if he was victorious, he would undertake pilgrimage to Makkah, the House of God. After the victory of Firaz, Khalid stayed at Firaz for some days and made the necessary arrangements for the administration of the territory. In January 634 C.E., while a garrison was kept at Firaz, orders were issued to the main Muslim army to return to Al Hirah. Khalid stayed behind with the rear of the army. As the army moved forward on the road to Al Hirah, Khalid separated himself from the army, and took an unfrequented route to Makkah with a small escort. Khalid reached Makkah in time to perform the ‘Hajj’. After performing the pilgrimage secretly and fulfilling his vow, Khalid and his party rode back to Al Hirah. Before the last contingent of the main army from Firaz had entered Hirah, Khalid was also there, as if he had been ail the time with the rear guard. Although Khalid had taken pains to ensure that he was not recognized at Makkah, news was nevertheless carried to Abu Bakr that leaving his charge in Iraq, Khalid had visited Makkah incognito. When Khalid reached Al Hirah, he got a letter from Abu Bakr asking him not to indulge in such adventure again.


Battle of Babylon

Muthanna’s command of the Iraq front. After the transfer of Khalid bin Walid to the Syrian front, Muthanna became the commander of the Muslim forces in Iraq. Khalid had taken one half of the troops with him to Syria, and left the other half with Muthanna in Iraq. With the reduction in the strength of the troops in Iraq, Muthanna was not in a position to take the offensive. He accordingly withdrew from the advanced posts, and cantoned the troops at Hirah.

Shahr Iran. For long the affairs in Persia had been in a state of disarray because of succession disputes. With the accession of Shahr Iran, stability was restored to Persia. The new king was ambitious and on assuming authority, he decided to take action against the Muslims and drive them from the soil of Iraq. Khalid who was a terror for the Persians was no longer in Iraq. The Muslim forces on the Iraq front had been considerably reduced. The Persian Kisra, therefore, felt that it was the ideal time to take action against the Muslims. A large Persian force was mustered, and placed under the command of a veteran General Hormuz.

Letter to Muthanna. Shahr Iran sent an insulting letter to Muthanna demanding immediate withdrawal of the Muslim forces from Iraq. The Kisra observed that the Muslims were so despicable before him that he was not sending the main Persian army against them. He was sending an army of “fowl men and swine herdmen.” Muthanna replied that the Muslim forces were not there to withdraw, they were there to fight and they would give a good account of themselves. Commenting on the Kisra’s letter, Muthanna said that it appeared that he was either a braggart or a liar, and in any case unless he chose to see the light of reason, his army of “fowlmen and swine herdmen”, God willing, would be destroyed.

Battle of Babylon. In spite of the heavy odds against him, Muthanna did not lose nerve. He decided to give the battle away from Hirah. He accordingly marched with his troops from Hirah, crossed the Euphrates, and arrived at the site of Babylon where the Persian forces under Hormuz were already camped. When the battle began, the Persians had all the advantages in their favor. The Persians had a fierce war elephant in front of their ranks, and the beast threw the Muslim ranks in confusion and paralyzed their action. At this stage, Muthanna directed his archers to aim every arrow at the beast. Soon the beast was pierced with innumerable wounds. It groaned, staggered and fell. With the fall of the beast, the offensive of the Persians lagged Muthanna ordered his men to fall at the Persians. In the hand to hand fight that followed the Persians were routed. Hormuz fell on the battlefield. With his death the Persian resistance was over, and the Persians retreated post haste leaving thousands of their soldiers on the battlefield.

Muthanna’s visit to Madina. Muthanna felt that the battle of Babylon was not the end of the matter. The Persians had considerable resources at their disposal, and they were likely to raise a still larger army against the Muslims. Muthanna wrote to Abu Bakr for reinforcement. There was some delay in reply from Madina and Muthanna dashed to Madina to apprise the Caliph personally of the situation in Iraq. When Muthanna arrived in Madina, Abu Bakr lay on deathbed. He, however, saw Muthanna, and listened to his account attentively. Thereafter Abu Bakr summoned Umar, and directed him to command levy for Muthanna. He said: “If I die this day wait not till the evening; if I linger till night wait not till the morning. Let not sorrow for me divert you from the service of Allah”. This direction was the last official act of Abu Bakr as the Caliph.


Abu Bakr – Apostacy Campaigns in East and South Arabia

Campaign in Bahrain

Bahrain. After the fall of Musailma and the overthrow of the Banu Hanifa, Abu Bakr decided that a campaign should be undertaken against the people of Bahrain who had supported Musailma in the fight against the Muslims. Bahrain comprised the coastal strip to the west of the Persian Gulf. During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet. Mundhir bin Sawa w as the ruler of Bahrain. The Holy Prophet sent a mission to Bahrain, and invited Mundhir to Islam. Mundhir accepted the call and was converted to Islam. Mundhir continued to be the ruler of Bahrain under the suzerainty of Madina. Under the influence of Mundhir most of the people of Bahrain accepted Islam. He deputed Jarud bin Mualia a scholar of Bahrain to study Islam at Madina. Jarud returned to his people after some time, and made dedicated efforts to promote Islam with his people The Holy Prophet appointed Al ‘Ala bin Al Hadrami as the Resident at the court of Bahrain.

After the death of the Holy Prophet. Mundhir died soon after the death of the Holy Prophet His death led to anarchy and chaos, and like the people of the other regions in Arabia, most of the people of Bahrain also apostatized. Jarud remained steadfast in his faith in Islam. His tribe, however, wavered in their allegiance to Islam. The argument of his tribe Abdul Qais was that if Muhammad (peace be on him) had been a Prophet, he would not have died. Jarud asked, “There were prophets before Muhammad (peace be on him); where have they gone?” They said that they had died. Thereupon Jarud said, “As other prophets before him died, so Muhammad (peace be on him) has also died. If the deaths of the other prophets could not affect their prophethood, how can the death of Muhammad(peace be on him) affect his prophethood? I testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad (peace be on him)whether dead or alive is His messenger.” The argument of Jarud carried weight with his tribe, and they continued their allegiance to Islam. The other people of Bahrain repudiated their allegiance to Islam, and revolted under the leadership of Al Hotam b Dubayah. The rebels captured power and installed al Gharur a Lakhmid prince as their ruler Al Gharur was a descendant of the Arab kings of Hirah, and was a bitter enemy of Islam. He was crowned as the king of Bahrain and he took the pledge to fight against Islam. He brought pressure on Jarud and his people to denounce Islam. but they remained steadfast in their faith Thereupon the Bahrain forces led an attack against the Muslims. The Muslims of the Banu Abdul Qais shut themselves in the fort of Jarasi, and the non-Muslims pressed the siege with considerable vehemence.

Action in Bahrain. Al-Hadrami returned to Madina to seek help and Abu Bakr sent a force under the command of Al-Hadrami to the relief of the besieged Muslims. In the meantime the battle of Yamama was over, and the Banu Hanifa had been won over to Islam. Many men of Banu Hanifa joined the ranks of al-Hadrami, as his forces passed through the Yamama valley on their way to Bahrain, In the meantime the non-Muslims of Bahrain received considerable help from the Persians, and they were fully prepared for a confrontation with the Muslims. Al-Hadrami called upon the Bahrain authorities to offer submission. They ridiculed the offer and declared that the sword would decide the issue. The Bahrain forces were sufficiently strong, and that made Al-Hadrami halt. He sent words to the besieged Muslims at Jarasi to persevere for he was coming to their relief. He had a ditch dug round his camp, and the Muslims waited for a suitable opportunity to overpower the enemy. This state of stalemate lasted for a month, and that made the Bahrain forces feel that the Muslims were no match for them. One night the Muslims heard a lot of noise from the non-Muslim camp. It was reported to Al-Hadrami that the non-Muslims were celebrating their national festival, were dead drunk and were giving themselves to fun and frolic. Al-Hadrami decided to avail of this opportunity. He ordered his troops to take up arms, cross the ditch and pounce upon the enemy. The surprise attack unnerved the Bahrain forces. They ran helter-skelter in all directions and were cut to pieces by the pursuing Muslim forces. Hotam the Commander of the Bahrain forces was killed, while Prince Gharur was captured alive. Over 10,000 non-Muslims died in the action. The Bahrain forces laid down arms and surrendered. Jarud and his Muslim forces came and joined the victorious Muslim army. The people of Bahrain were admitted to the fold of Islam. Those who refused to accept Islam escaped to the island of Darim in the Persian Gulf.

The battle of Darim. Al-Hadrami reorganized the administration and appointed his agents in various parts of Bahrain. After settling the affairs in Bahrain proper, Al hadrami decided to take action against the persons who had taken refuge in the island of Darim. There is a report that on the approach of the Muslim army the water in the channel dried, and they crossed it as if it were a shallow beach. This was interpreted as a sign from the Heaven that God favored the Muslims. Brought to bay the fugitives on the island capitulated and were admitted to the fold of Islam.

Consequences of the battle of Bahrain. The victory of the Muslims in Bahrain was significant in more than one way. Bahrain was at considerable distance from Madina, and the victory at Bahrain showed that the Muslim military arm was sufficiently long and powerful, and could reach far. The assistance that the Persians gave to the people of Bahrain was originally a cause of great concern to the Muslims, but in the long run this worked to the advantage of the Muslims. The Muslims had originally intended to confine their operations to Arabia proper, but the alliance of the people of Bahrain with the Persians provided the Muslims an opportunity for settling accounts with the Persians. The Banu Hanifa who had been at one time the greatest opponents of Islam now became the ardent supporters of the faith. Muthanna a chief of the Banu Hanifa organized a flying column, and undertook to protect the barriers against the Persians. The battle of Bahrain thus proved a prelude to the war with Persia. But for the interference of the Persians in the affairs of Bahrain, the Muslims might not have advanced in Persia, and history would have taken a different course.

Campaigns in Uman and Mahrah

Jayfar bin Al Julanda. During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, Uman bordering on the Persian Gulf was under Persian influence. lt. was ruled by Jayfar bin Al Julanda who owed allegiance to Persia. When the Holy Prophet sent letters inviting the various rulers to Islam, a letter was addressed to Jayfar as well. As the Persian power was on the decline, Jayfar stood in need of some outside support to bolster up his rule. He responded favorably to the invitation of the Holy Prophet. He said that he was inclined to accept Islam, but the difficulty was that his people were not likely to agree to the payment of Zakat to Madina. The Holy Prophet assured him that if he and his people became Muslims, the amount realized from Zakat could be distributed among the poor and the destitute in Uman itself. Thereupon Jayfar became a Muslim, and under his influence most of his people were also converted to Islam. The Holy Prophet appointed Amr bin Al Aas as the Muslim Resident in Uman.

Laquit bin Malik. After the death of the Holy Prophet, like other parts of Arabia Uman also fell a prey to chaos and anarchy. A false prophet Laquit bin Malik came into prominence. He belonged to the Azdi tribe, which was very numerous. The Azdi felt elated at having a prophet of their own. They apostatized from Islam, and accepted the new creed. Laquit exempted his followers from the disciplines of fasting, prayers, and Zakat. He sanctioned adultery as well as the use of wine. He claimed that he was the recipient of divine revelations. Jayfar remained faithful to Islam, but he lost his hold on the people of Uman most of whom accepted the new creed. Laquit gained in strength, overthrew Jayfar and captured political power. Jayfar and the few people who remained true to Islam had to seek refuge in the hill. Laquit declared himself as the king of Uman. He assumed the title of “Zul Taj”-the crowned head. He established his capital at Daba.

Muslim campaign against Uman and Mahrah. With the change in the affairs of Uman, the Muslim Resident Amr b Al Aas left Uman for Madina. Back in Madina, Amr gave a detailed report of the developments in Uman to the Caliph. Abu Bakr dispatched a force under Hudhaifah b Muhsan to undertake operations in Uman. The wave of apostasy overwhelmed the neighboring state of Mahrah as well. The Caliph sent another force under the command of ‘Urfajah to operate in Mahrah. Both the forces under Hudhaifah and ‘Urfajah were required to collaborate. The operations were required to be commenced from Uman. The instructions of Abu Bakr were that it there was a battle in Uman, Hudaifah was to lead the combined forces, and if the operations were undertaken in Mahrah, ‘Urfajah was to hold the Command. When ‘Ikramah met a reverse at Yamama, he was required not to return to Madina, but to proceed with his men to Uman and Mahrah. All the three forces of Hudhaifah, ‘Urfajah and ‘Ikramah were directed to act in concert.

Battle of Daba. ‘Ikramah and his force reached Uman first. The force of Hudhaifah soon joined him. Word was then sent to Jayfar and his followers to descend from the hills and join the Muslim forces. After descending from the hills, the forces of ayfar joined the relief forces from Madina at Sa’a. The combined forces thereafter marched to Daba. The battle between the forces of Laquit and the Muslims took place in the plain outside Daba. Laquit had a large force at his command and the Muslims were outnumbered. It was a hotly contested battle, and to start with, the forces of Laquit appeared to dominate the field. At the nick of time when the Muslim ranks were likely to disintegrate under the pressure of the forces of Laquit, the Muslims received unexpected reinforcement in the shape of contingents from Bahrain and the tribe of Abdul Qais. That turned the tide of the battle. The Muslims charged with great vehemence, and the forces of Laquit were unable to stand the charge. They found safety in retreat. As the enemy fled; the Muslims pursued them, and overtaking them cut them to pieces. As many as ten thousand followers of Laquit fell on the battlefield. Laquit himself was killed, and with his death all resistance broke down, and the forces of Uman laid down the arms. As a result of the battle of Daba, Jayfar was restored as the ruler of Uman, and the apostates were readmitted to the fold of Islam.

The campaign in Mahrah. After order was restored in Uman, and the Muslim rule was re-established, Ikramah crossed over with his force to attend to the affairs of Mahrah. Like the people of other parts of Arabia the people of Mahrah also apostatized after the death of the Holy Prophet. The people of Mahrah came to be divided into two sections. Shikrit led one section that was the majority section, while the other party that was in minority was led by Al-Musabbah. Taking stock of the affairs in Mahrah, ‘Ikramah felt that instead of fighting against the people of Mahrah as a whole, it would be expedient to take advantage of the rift between the two sections. ‘Ikramah accordingly opened negotiations with the minority party led by Shikrit. The negotiations succeeded. Shikrit and his men were converted to Islam, and ‘Ikramah offered them full Support to capture political power and overthrow their rival section. The majority section was asked by ‘Ikramah to return to Islam but they ridiculed the offer. The combined forces of Shikrit and ‘Ikramah accordingly marched to give battle to the people of Al-Musabbah. In the battle that followed the fighting was severer than the fighting at the battle of Daba. It was a hotly contested battle, and the apostates fought with a spirit of vengeance. The chances of victory were balanced but ultimately the faith and determination of the Muslims carried the day, and the forces of Al-Musabbah found safety in capitulation. Immense booty fell into the hands of the victor Muslims, including two thousand dromedaries and a large supply of arms. The defeated people accepted Islam, and they were granted amnesty. ‘Urfajah carried the booty to Madina while ‘Ikramah stayed in Mahrah to re-organize the administration. When order was fully restored, ‘Ikramah was asked by Abu Bakr to proceed to Yemen.

Campaign in Yemen

Khusro Parwez. During the time of the Holy Prophet of Islam, Yemen was under the suzerainty of Persia, and a Persian noble Badhan was the Governor. In 628 C.E. the Holy Prophet sent dispatches to the various contemporary rulers inviting them to embrace Islam. Among others the invitation was sent to Khusro Parwez as well, the ‘Kisra’ of Iran. When Khusro Parwez got the letter, he was infuriated. He tore the letter to pieces and instructed Badhan to send some agents to Madina to summon the Holy Prophet to his court.

Badhan complied with these orders, and sent some agents to Madina. These agents tried to prevail upon the Holy Prophet that it would be in his interest if he accompanied them to the court of the Kisra. The Holy Prophet suppressed his rage at the insolent message, and asked the agents of Badhan to see him the following day.

When the men from Yemen waited on the Holy Prophet the next day, he said: “The Kisra who had the audacity to summon me in his court has been summoned to the court of my Allah, and his abode is in hell. His son has murdered him. Go, tell your masters that the prophets of God do not attend the courts of temporal sovereigns and tell Badhan that his interest in this world as well as in the world hereafter lies in accepting Islam. If he accepts Islam, he can continue to be ruler of Yemen on behalf of the Muslims.”

Badhan. When the message of the Holy Prophet was communicated to Badhan in Yemen that set him, thinking. These were no ordinary words, and obviously the man who had sent the message could not be an ordinary person. In the mean time news was received from Iran that Khusro Parwez had in fact been murdered and his son had ascended the throne. The new ruler of Iran also sent a command to Badhan not to interfere in any way with the affairs of the Arabian Prophet, and that the order of his father summoning the prophet of lslam to the court of Kisra was not to be enforced. At this turn of events, Badhan was much impressed. He became a Muslim, and many people of Yemen accepted Islam likewise. Yemen threw of its allegiance to Persia. Badhan continued to be the ruler of Yemen on behalf of the Muslims. The Holy Prophet appointed a Resident at the court of Yemen.

Aswad ‘Ansi. A year later, Badhan died and was succeeded by his son Shahr. At this stage a false prophet rose in Yemen. He was one Aswad ‘Ansi, an ugly man who kept his face veiled to hide his ugliness and was nicknamed, “The Veiled Prophet.” By dubious methods, Aswad ‘Ansi succeeded in winning a considerable number of followers. Within a short time, he became powerful enough to challenge Shahr who remained faithful to Islam. In the confrontation that followed, Shahr was defeated and killed, and Aswad Ansi captured power. Aswad ‘Ansi now crowned himself as the king of Yemen, and repudiated allegiance to Madina. He forcefully married the beautiful widow of Shahr, Azad by name. Feroz a Minister under Shahr became a Minister under Aswad ‘Ansi although he remained a Muslim. Qais bin Abu Yaghus, commander-in-chief of the forces of Shahr, became the commander-in-chief of the forces of Aswad ‘Ansi. Aswad ‘Ansi was a man of suspicious nature. He felt that in order to strengthen his position he must overthrow Feroz and Qais. Feroz and Qais soon fell out with Aswad ‘Ansi. Azad bitterly hated Aswad ‘Ansi. In conspiracy spearheaded by Qais, Feroz and Azad, Aswad ‘Ansi was assassinated. Feroz who still professed Islam became the ruler of Yemen. He however, could not pull on with Qais for long. Feroz was of Persian descent while Qais belonged to the Arab tribe, of Bani Hamir. Qais made common with some other Arab tribes, and thought of capturing power. Feroz was no match for the combined strength of the Arab tribes. Lacking strength, Feroz fled to the hills. Thereupon Qais captured political power and became the ruler of Yemen.

Campaign in Yemen. On being ousted from power, Feroz who remained true to Islam sought help from Abu Bakr. Qais apostatized from Islam, and won the cooperation of all those who had previously supported Aswad’Ansi. Some tribes in Yemen, however, remained firm in their faith in Islam, and they rallied round Feroz. With the aid of these tribes, Feroz sallied down from the hills and advanced against Sana’a the capital of Yemen There was a confrontation in the plain outside Sana’a. In this confrontation, the forces of Qais were defeated, and he found safety in flight. Feroz once again became the ruler of Yemen. The restoration of Feroz did not bring peace to Yemen. Qais though defeated continued to be a source of trouble. He approached the Arab tribes and tried to win them to his cause in opposition to Feroz. Qais succeeded in winning Umr bin Maadi Kurb to his side. Umr was a poet and a firebrand fighter and his alliance with Qais made the position of Feroz difficult.

Feroz appealed to Abu Bakr for help. Abu Bakr ordered a two-pronged advance on Yemen. Muhajir b Umayya was directed to march from Makkah to Yemen. ‘Ikramah bin Abu Jahal was directed to march from Mahrah to Yemen. ‘Ikramah entered Yemen and camped at Abyan. Muhajir with his force advanced from Makkah and Taif. At the border of Yemen a tribe allied with Qais intercepted the advance of the force of Muhajir. The Muslims charged with great fury, and in the battle that ensued practically the whole of the tribe was exterminated. This victory of the Muslims unnerved the apostates. Instead of making common cause to give another battle to the Muslims, Qais and Umr fell out with each other. One day Umr surprised Qais and after taking him captive presented him before Muhajir, Umr had hoped that thereby he would win the favor of Muhajir. Muhajir, however, arrested Umr as well for his past misconduct. With the elimination of the two leaders, the apostate tribes had no will to fight. They laid down arms. and those who accepted Islam were granted amnesty, the rest were killed. That brought peace to Yemen. Qais and Umr were both sent in chains to Madina and there they were presented before Abu Bakr. At Madina, both Qais and Umr repented and were re-admitted to the fold of Islam.

Campaign in Hadramaut

The revolt of the Kinda. Early in 633 C.E. the Kinda in Hadramaut broke into revolt. The people of the Kinda tribe did not apostatize, but something went wrong with the way they were handled. The Muslim Governor of Hadramaut was Ziyad bin Lubeid, and his headquarter was at Zafar. On of the Kinda chiefs offered a camel as Zakat. Later he found that the animal that he had offered in Zakat belonged to his brother. He approached the Governor with the request that the animal that he had offered in Zakat should be returned to him, and he would offer another camel instead. Ziyad the Governor rejected the request, and that led to trouble. The chieftain thereupon sent some persons to steal the camel in question. Ziyad had the camel lifters arrested. A riotous assembly of the Kinda people demanded the return of the arrested persons. Ziyad refused, and on such refusal the situation exploded.

Large sections of the Kinda revolted. In protest they apostatized from Islam and refused to pay any taxes. In defiance of the Muslim authority they took up arms. Ziyad sent a column against the rebels. There was a confrontation at Riyad not far from Zafar. Here the apostates were defeated and many were captured. As the captives were being taken to Zafar, they passed through a settlement which belonged to Ash’as bin Qais, a Kinda chief. Ash’as was a typical Arab chief, a man of considerable charm and wit, and of a colorful personality. The captives appealed to Ash as for his help. They cried “O Ash’as, we are of your clan and we invoke your help.” Ash’as by that time had not apostatized, but his tribal loyalty proved stronger than his faith. With his men, Ash’as intercepted the Muslim column, and liberated the captives. When Ziyad took notice of this breach of faith on the part of Ash’as, Asha’s revolted and apostatized. The rebel Kinda flocked to the standard of Ash’as, and prepared for battle.

Campaign in Hadramaut. Ziyad wrote to the Caliph Abu Bakr for reinforcement. Abu Bakr directed Muhajir to march from Yemen to Hadramaut to the relief of the administration in Hadhramaut. Muhajir marched with his force to Hadramaut. There was a battle in late January 633 C E. in which Ash’as was defeated, though the defeat was not decisive. Ash’as withdrew his army from the battlefield and shut himself in the fort of Nujeir. Here other dissident tribes joined him. The Muslims besieged the fort of Nujeir. To strengthen the Muslims, ‘Ikramah also marched with a column from Yemen to Hadramaut. The Muslims thereafter pressed the siege, and some time in February 633 C.E., Ash’as opened negotiations with Muhajir and ‘Ikramah. Ash’as agreed to surrender if the lives of ten persons and their families were spared. The Muslims accepted the proposal and Ash’as was asked to write the names of the persons for whom he wanted amnesty. Ash’as went to his people, and prepared the document containing the names of the persons who were to be granted amnesty. It was his intention to write the names of other ten persons, and thereafter write his own name as the tenth. He did not notice that one man Jahdam stood over his head reading the names. As Ash’as was going to write his own name as the tenth person Jahdam drew his dagger saying “Write my name, or I will kill you.” Overawed, Ash’as wrote the name of Jahdam as the tenth person, and the list of ten persons having been completed was handed over to Muhajir who had it sealed. In pursuance of the pact, Ash’as laid down arms and opened the gates of the fort. The Muslim forces thereafter entered the fort. Ash’as had not taken the garrison with him into his confidence. The garrison, therefore, opposed the Muslims. The apostates suffered from terrible slaughter, and the few who were left laid down their arms. All the men were taken captive. The Kindas now realized that Ash’as had betrayed them. As the captive men and women of the Kinds were led past Ash’as, they looked at him reproachfully and said “You traitor.”

Ash’as bin Qais. When after the fall of the fort of Nujeir the sealed document with Muhajir was opened it was found that the name of Ash’as was not included in the list of ten persons who were to be granted amnesty. Muhajir felt delighted at this and said, “O enemy of Allah, your name is not included in the list, and thus prepare yourself for death.” ‘lkramah came to the rescue of Ash’as, and at his instance, it was decided that Ash’as should be sent to Madina, where Abu Bakr would decide his fate. Ash’as was accordingly put in chains, and taken to Madina along with other captives.

At Madina, Ash’as was presented before Abu Bakr. The Caliph reproached him for apostatizing from Islam. He also criticized his conduct in betraying his own people. Ash’as bore these reproaches without being ruffled in any way, and then pressing into service all the wit, eloquence, and charm of which he was master, made the Caliph believe that instead of having sinned, he had been sinned against. He tried to create the impression that he had been forced to take the stand that he had taken because the Muslim administration at Zafar had mishandled the affairs and acted tactlessly. He assured the Caliph that he was always a Muslim, and that even when forced to take up arms against the Muslim administration he had remained at heart a Muslim.

Abu Bakr felt that Ash’as was a man of great parts and that the proper course for the administration should have been to win his collaboration rather than drive him to the hostile camp. Abu Bakr granted him amnesty. Ash’as won the favor of the Caliph to such an extent that he was married to Umm Farwa a sister of Abu Bakr. It is related that in honor of the celebration of his marriage, Ash’as went to the camel market at Madina, and inflicted cuts with his sword on the hamstrings of every animal that came his way. In a few moments dozens of camels were thus disabled. When the owners protested he paid them the price that they demanded. A large crowd gathered, and he asked them to have the animals slaughtered and feast upon the meat to celebrate his marriage to the sister of the caliph. He said that if he had been in his hometown he would have celebrated the marriage on a grander scale. Ash’as settled at Madina. In later years of his life he fought with distinction in Syria, Iraq, and Persia. Under Usman be was made the Governor of Azarbaijan.

Treachery was, however, in the very blood of Ash’as. One of his daughters married Imam Hassan, and she poisoned her husband at the instance of Amir Muawiyiah. On his death bed Abu Bakr gave expression to some of the regrets of his life. One of his regrets was that he should not have pardoned Ash’as, but should have beheaded him.


Abu Bakr – Campaigns in Eastern Iraq

Muthanna’s Reconnaissance Campaign in Iraq

Muthanna. Muthanna was a chief of the tribe of Bani Bakr who inhabited the northeastern part of Arabia. In the apostasy campaign in Bahrain, Muthanna and his band fought on the side of the Muslims. Records are silent as to when Muthanna became a Muslim. Presumably he became a Muslim during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet. When the wave of apostasy engulfed the Arabian Peninsula, Muthanna remained firm in his faith in Islam.

Conflict with Persia. In the apostasy campaign in Bahrain, the Persians had aided the apostates. After the successful termination of the apostasy campaigns, the stage was set for taking action against the Persians across the barriers, from whom trouble could be expected any time for the Muslim State. There was considerable disarray in the affairs of Persia, and the Arab tribes in Persian territory were dissatisfied with the Persian rule. Muthanna felt that this position could be exploited to the advantage of the Muslims, and the Arab tribes could be liberated from the Persian yoke.

Reconnaissance campaigns of Muthanna. With a band of his followers, Muthanna began his raids in Iraq. In the first instance he stuck to the periphery of the desert, so that in the case of danger, he could withdraw to the safety of the desert. Most of his raids were conducted in the region of Uballa in the lower valleys of the Tigris and the Euphrates. From these raids, Muthanna was able to collect much booty. The Persians were unable to take any action against Muthanna because his ghost-like riders struck rapidly and then disappeared into the desert.

Muthanna’s visit to Abu Bakr. These reconnaissance campaigns which took the form of desultory raids brought home to Muthanna that Iraq was vulnerable, and that if active operations were undertaken there were prospects for success. Early in February 633 C.E., Muthanna went to Madina and saw Abu Bakr. He pointed out to the Caliph that the people who inhabited the border areas in Iraq were Arabs who legitimately belonged to Arabia, and that if the Muslims undertook campaigns to liberate such tribes from the irksome yoke of the Persians, that would be a step forward in history towards building a greater Arabia.

Decision of Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr listened patiently to all that Muthanna had to say. Abu Bakr was aware of the prophesies of the Holy Prophet that erelong Islam would spread to Iraq and Syria. Now that the apostasy campaigns had ended in victory for Islam, and the entire Arabia stood unified, Abu Bakr felt that if campaigns were undertaken beyond the borders of Arabia that would provide an outlet for the energies of the Muslims. Such campaigns, if successful, were also likely to bring considerable money. It would extend the sphere of the influence of Islam, and it would also lead to more people coming within the fold of Islam. Abu Bakr felt convinced that if Islam was to fulfil its destiny, it must necessarily expand. Abu Bakr held a council of war, and after due deliberation it was decided that in the name of God a campaign should be launched against Iraq. Muthanna was given the necessary aid and he was required to operate with his column on the Iraq front. He was assured that the main Muslim army under Khalid bin Walid would soon launch the attack against Iraq.

Battle of Kazima.

March to Iraq. In March 633 C.E. when Khalid bin Walid was quartered with his army at Yamama, he received orders from Abu Bakr that he should march to Iraq and start operations in the region of Uballa where the two rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, met. Four other columns each under the command of Muthanna, Mazar, Harmala, and Salma were also directed to proceed to Iraq to reinforce the main Muslim army under the command of Khalid bin Walid.

Hormuz. Uballa was the main port of Iraq and was the headquarter of the district then known as ‘Dasht Meisan’. Uballa being a junction of many land routes was the gateway of Iraq and commanded great strategical importance. The Governor of the district was Hormuz, a veteran General and a skilful administrator. In the Persian administrative hierarchy, he held ‘one hundred thousand dirham’ rank, and was entitled to wear a gem studded cap worth one hundred thousand dirhams. He was an imperialist, very haughty and arrogant. He held the Arabs in contempt. His harshness and high handedness became the subject of a saying among the local Arabs “More hateful than Hormuz”.

Khalid’s letter to Hormuz. As soon as Khalid received orders to march to Iraq, he addressed a letter to Hormuz calling upon him to accept Islam. The letter read: “Submit to Islam and be safe. In the alternative you may agree to the payment of ‘Jizya’, and you and your people will be under our protection. Otherwise you will have only yourself to blame for the consequences for I bring a people who desire death as ardently as you desire life.”

Preparations of Hormuz. Hormuz mustered his forces and set out from Uballa to meet the Muslim forces. On the direct route from Uballa to Yamama the first stage was Kazima, and Hormuz decided to give a battle to the Muslims at that place. His idea was that the Muslim forces should be kept away from Uballa. On arrival at Kazima, Hormuz deployed his army with a center and two wings, the right and the left. His men were linked together with chains, and in this state of affairs the Persians awaited the arrival of the Muslim forces.

Tactics of Khalid. Khalid gave a slip to the Persians, and instead of following the direct route to Uballa via Kazima, he followed the indirect route via Hufeir. Hufeir was much closer to Uballa than Kazima, and when Hormuz came to know that Khalid had already reached Hufeir, he was very much upset. He immediately ordered his forces to march to Hufeir. It was a weary two days march for the Persian forces, but when they reached Hufeir they found that the Muslim forces had left for Kazima. The Persians had no option but to march back to Kazima.

By the time the Persian forces reached Kazima, they were thoroughly exhausted. Khalid allowed them no time to rest. As the Muslim forces were already deployed for battle, the Persians were forced to go into action. The Persian forces were linked in chains, and it was the use of these chains, which gave the battle of Kazima, the name of the “Battle of Chains.”

Duel between Khalid and Hormuz. The battle started with a duel between the army commanders. Hormuz ,Commander of the Persian forces, stepped forward and invited Khalid, Commander of the Muslim forces, to a duel. Hormuz instructed some of his men to remain close to him, so that when he gave a signal they should fall on Khalid and kill him. Hormuz and Khalid began to fight with swords and shields. Both the Generals were expert swordsmen, and the fight with swords proved to be a drawn battle. Thereupon, Hormuz suggested that they should drop the swords and wrestle. When the wrestling match was in full force, Hormuz gave the signal to his men to step forward and kill Khalid. Khalid realized the gravity of the situation. He was without sword and shield, and was obviously at the mercy of the Persian soldiers. Khalid, however, did not lose nerve. He held Hormuz fait in his grip, for as long as he held Hormuz in his grasp the other Persian soldiers could not harm him. In the Muslim ranks, a warrior Qa’qa’a bin Amr saw through the Persian game and decided to take immediate action. He spurred his horse and rushed to the spot where Khalid and Hormuz were wrestling. Before the Persians could realize, Qa’qa’a had killed all the Persians who had treacherously conspired to kill Khalid. Having been freed from the threat of the Persian soldiers, Khalid tightened his grip on Hormuz. Within a few moments, Hormuz lay motionless on the ground. Khalid picked up his sword, and drove it into the body of Hormuz.

Battle of the Chains. After having killed Hormuz, Khalid ordered an immediate attack on the Persian forces. The death of Hormuz had demoralized the Persians, but nevertheless, they fought hard. The Muslims assailed vehemently, but the chain-linked Persian infantry withstood all attacks. The Muslims redoubled their attacks, and the Persians were forced to fall back. The Persians found their chains to be a death trap, and as they retreated held together in chains they were slaughtered in thousands. Before night set in, the Muslims had won the battle.

Consequences of the battle of Kazima. In the battle of Kazima, which was the first confrontation between the Muslims and the Persians, the Persians so proud of their power met a humiliating defeat. Thousands of Persians were killed, and thousands of them were taken captive. The war booty that fell into the hands of the Muslims comprised wagons, armor, stores, costly garments, horses and a good amount of money. Four-fifth of the booty was distributed among the Muslim soldiers and one-fifth was sent to the Caliph at Madina. So large was the booty that the share of each cavalryman came to a thousand dirhams. The booty included the one hundred-thousand dirham cap of Hormuz studded with diamonds and pearls. The Caliph offered this cap as a present to Khalid. The battle of the Chains at Kazima unchained for the Muslims the gate of Iraq. The so-called uncivilized Arabs had defeated the Persians so proud of their civilization extending over a thousand years.

Battle of Mazar

Occupation of Uballa. After winning the battle of Kazima, Khalid rested his men for a few days and then advanced further inland in Iraq. Khalid sent a contingent under Ma’qal bin Muqarrin to occupy Uballa. There were no Persian forces at Uballa, and the town was occupied without any resistance.

Hisn ul Mar’at. Muthanna with his column rode ahead of the main Muslim army. The task of this column was to reconnoiter and kill the strugglers left behind the retreating Persians.

North of Zubeir stood a fort known as “Hisn ul Mar’at” – the fort of the lady. A Persian princess Qamarzad who was related to the Persian emperor held it. Muthanna left a contingent under his brother Mu’anna to lay siege to the fort of the lady and himself proceeded with his column further north. Muthanna assaulted the fort and finding the resistance futile, Qamarzad surrendered. She was offered to accept Islam or to pay ‘Jizya’. She accepted the first alternative and became a Muslim. Thereupon Mu’anna proposed marriage, and she married him.

The Persian Force. In the meantime another Persian army assembled at al-Madsen. It was placed under the command of a top ranking Persian General, Qarin bin Quryana. Like Hormuz, Qarin was also a ‘one hundred thousand dirham’ man. The original mission of Qarin was to march with his army to Uballa to reinforce Hormuz.

From al-Madain, the Persian army marched along the left bank of the Tigris. They crossed the Tigris at Mazar, and here they came to know of the defeat of the Persians at Kazima. Qarin camped at Mazar, and soon the remnants of the army of Hormuz who had escaped from Kazima joined the camp. They included the Generals Qubad and Anushjan who had commanded the wings of the army at Hormuz at Kazima.

Qarin was shocked that the imperial army of Persia under such a General as Hormuz should have been defeated by the uncouth Arabs. He resolved that he would avenge the defeat of Kazima and drive the Arabs to the desert.

Khalid’s march to Mazar. The advance guard of Muthanna who scoured the countryside came to know of the Persian concentration at Mazar. Muthanna informed Khalid of such concentration. Qarin came to know that some Muslim forces were lurking in the neighborhood, and his plan was to fall on this Muslim force and destroy it, before it could get help from the main Muslim army. Khalid realized the danger that beset the column of Muthanna. Khalid was keen that he should destroy the Persian force under Qarin while the impact of the defeat at Kazima was still fresh in the Persian mind. By forced marches, Khalid reached Mazar in the third week of April 633 C.E. before Qarin could take any action against the column of Muthanna.

Battle of Mazar. Qarin concluded that one of the causes of the defeat of the Persians at Kazima had been that the Muslims had been able to carry flanking maneuvers, which had made the Persians lose their nerve. In order to avoid such a situation at Mazar, Qarin deployed his forces with the main river in the rear so that there may be no possibility of outflanking them.

As Khalid surveyed the situation, he felt that at Mazar, he would have to fight a frontal set piece battle. This was the usual Persian style, and in this respect the advantage lay with the Persians. Khalid, however, hoped that with the blessings of God, he would be able to defeat the Persians at their own game.

Khalid deployed the army with a center and wings. He commanded the center himself, while the wings were commanded by Asim bin Amr and Adi bin Hatim. The Persian army was similarly deployed with Qarin commanding the center, and Qabad and Anushjan commanding the wings.

The battle began with a call to a duel. Qarin stepped forward from the Persian side and gave the challenge. Before Khalid could step forward in response to the challenge, another Muslim commander, Ma’qal bin Al Ashi rode out of the Muslim front to grapple with Qarin. Khalid let Ma’qal have the chance. Ma’qal was an expert swordsman, and he killed Qarin.

As Qarin fell, Qabad and Anushjan stepped forward and gave the challenge for duel. Asim and Adi, commanders of the wings of the Muslim forces, accepted the challenge. In the personal combats that followed, Asim killed Anushjan and Adi killed Qabad.

After the fall of the three Persian Generals. Khalid gave the Muslim forces the order for a general attack. In spite of the demoralization that followed in the deaths of their three top most Generals, the Persian forces fought with great tenacity. Khalid intensified the pressure, and the Persian ranks began to give way. With the increased violence of the Muslim attacks, the Persian army broke up and made for the river.

The retreat of the Persian army soon became a rout. The lightly armed Muslim soldiers soon overtook the heavily equipped Persians and slaughtered them mercilessly. According to the Muslim historian Tabari, 30,000 soldiers were killed in the battle of Mazar. The Muslims won the second victory against the Persians as well.

Consequences of the battle of Mazar. In the battle of Mazar, heavy spoils were won by the Muslims. These exceeded the booty gained at Kazima. Four-fifths of the spoils were distributed among the soldiers and one-fifth share was sent to Madina.

After the victory of Mazar the local inhabitants offered submission and agreed to pay ‘Jizya’ to the Muslims. Khalid established his headquarters at Hufeir, and a team of Muslim officials was appointed to attend to the administration of the country and collect taxes.

Battle of Walaja

Preparation of the Persians. After the defeat of the Persians at Mazar, the Persian emperor Ardsheer ordered the assembling of two more Persian armies to fight against the Muslims. One army was placed under the command of Andarzaghar, a military Governor of considerable standing. He had grown up among the Arabs, and was familiar with the Arab way of war. He commanded considerable popularity among the Arab tribes allied with the Persians. In addition to the regular Persian army, Andarzaghar was commissioned to raise contingents from the Arab auxiliaries. The other force was placed under the direct command of Bahman, the Commander-in-Chief of the Persian forces.

Andarzaghar was required to move with his army to grapple with the Muslims. The other force under Bahman was to follow after some time. Andarzaghar set off from al-Madsen and moved along the east bank of the Tigris. He crossed the Tigris at Kaskar, the site where the city of Wasit was founded later. From there he moved southwest to the Euphrates, and after crossing it established his camp at Walaja.

At Walaja, Andarzaghar was joined by the Arab auxiliaries as well as the remnants of the army of Qarin who had escaped from the battlefield of Mazar. The strength of the army of Andarzarghar was very considerable, and if the army of Bahman reinforced it, the Persian army was likely to assume formidable dimensions. Khalid’s strategy therefore, was that he should tackle the army of Andarzaghar before the main army under Bahman could join it.

Battle of Walaja. By forced marches, Khalid reached Walaja. As Andarzaghar surveyed the field, the Muslim army did not consist of more than 10,000 persons and the Muslim cavalry was nowhere to be seen. The strength of the Persian army was thrice the strength of the Muslim army, and Andarzaghar thought that in no time he would be able to make mince meat of the Muslim force and thus avenge the defeats of Kazima and Mazar.

The battle at Walaja began as usual with a duel. Out of the Persian ranks stepped forward their champion ‘Hazer Mard’, the giant of a man supposed to have the strength of a thousand warriors. Khalid stepped forward from the Muslim front to grapple with the giant. Khalid appeared to be no match for the giant, but surprisingly enough after a few minutes of dueling, Khalid struck a heavy blow at his adversary who reeled under the weight of his own heavy body. Khalid repeated the strokes until the giant was dead.

After the death of ‘Hazer Mard’, the Muslim army advanced for a general attack. The two armies met with a clash of steel, and the battle raged with unabated fury. The Muslims struck at the heavily armed Persians, but the Persians stood their ground, and repulsed all attacks. Then Andarzaghar ordered a counter attack. The Muslims were able to hold the attack for some time, but as the Persians intensified their pressure, the Muslims began to lose ground and fell back. Andarzaghar exhorted his men to step up their pressure for victory was very much in sight.

At that critical juncture, Khalid gave a signal. The next moment over the crest of the ridge that stretched behind the Persian army appeared columns of mounted Muslim warriors. Raising shouts of ‘Allah-o-Akbar’, the Muslim cavalry charged at a gallop, and the plain of Walaja shook under the thundering hooves of the Arab horse.

The Persians who were pressing forward were now caught in a trap. When they turned their face to meet the charge of the Muslim cavalry, the main Muslim army delivered a furious charge. The ring of steel became tighter round the Persians and in whatever direction they turned they were struck down by sword and dagger.

The battlefield of Walaja became a slaughterhouse for the Persians. The very helplessness of the Persians excited the Muslims to greater violence. The bulk of the Persian army was annihilated. Andarzaghar fled from the battlefield and penetrated deep into the desert where he lost his way and died of thirst. The battle of Walaja ended in a victory for the Muslims. That was the third consecutive victory of the Muslims over the Persians.

Consequences of the battle of Walaja. The victory of Walaja established the superiority of the Muslim fighting forces. Once again a large booty fell into the hands of the Muslims. Four-fifth of the spoils were distributed among the Muslim warriors on the spot, and the remaining one-fifth were sent to Madina. As the news of the Muslim victory reached Madina, Abu Bakr offered special prayers of thanksgiving to Allah.

Battle of Ulleis

Christian Arabs. After their defeats in the battles of Kazima, Mazar and Walaja, the Persians felt that there should be a change in their strategy. They decided to settle Christian Arabs against the Muslim Arabs. In pursuance of this policy, after the battle of Walaja, the Christian Arabs mustered at Ulleis, ten miles from Walaja in another bid to drive the Muslims from Iraq. The Persian Commander-in-Chief decided to send another Persian force to Ulleis to reinforce the Christian Arabs. This force was commanded by Jaban.

Khalid’s march to Ulleis. The strategy of Khalid was to pounce upon the Christian Arabs before the arrival of the army of Jaban. Khalid, therefore, rushed to Ulleis to meet the Christian Arabs. When Khalid reached Ulleis with his force, he found that the Persian army under Jaban had already arrived there. Khalid, thereupon decided to surprise the enemy. The Persian soldiers were having their meals when Khalid ordered his force to launch the attack. Hurriedly, Jaban deployed his forces to face the Muslims. The Persian troops were massed in the center, while the Christian Arabs led by Abdul Aswad and Abjar formed the right and left wings.

The battle of Ulleis. The battleground lay between the river Euphrates and its tributary Kaseef. The battlefront extended to about two miles. The battle began with a personal duel between Abdul Aswad, Christian Arab commander, and Khalid. The combat was evenly matched, but Khalid succeeded in killing his adversary. Thereafter the Muslims launched the attack against the Persians. The Persians stood as a rock, and showed no signs of any weakening. The Muslims renewed the charge, and the Persians offered stiff resistance. The Muslim attack did not yield the desired result, and as the Muslim attacks appeared to lose force, a counter attack from the Persians was expected. In view of the limited space, there were no possibilities of a maneuver here, and Khalid was afraid that in frontal attack, the Persians in view of their superiority of strength had the advantage and were likely to carry the day.

Khalid prayed to Allah for victory. He pledged “O God, if you give us victory, I shall see that no enemy warrior is left alive until the river runs red with their blood.” It was typical soldier’s pledge, and it inspired Khalid and his men to greater violence and fury. That paid dividends, and against the Muslim pressure, the Persian resistance ultimately broke down. By the afternoon a greater part of the Persian and Christian Arab army had been shattered, and the battle was over. The Muslims had secured a brilliant victory against the Persians for the fourth time.

Consequences of the battle of Ulleis. As the Persian army fled from the battlefield, the Muslim cavalry galloped out in pursuit of the fugitives, who had crossed the river Kaseet, and were fleeing in the direction of Hirah. These fugitives were overtaken, disarmed, and driven back to Ulleis. As each group was brought back, it was herded to the river. They were beheaded on the riverbank, and their blood ran into the river. This process of slaughter went on for three days and so large were the killings that the river virtually became the river of blood. According to the historian Tabari, 70,000 Persian and Christian Arabs lost their lives as a result of the battle of Ulleis.

The Ulleis disaster unnerved the Persian and the Christian Arabs. The local inhabitants of the region of Ulleis entered into a pact with the Muslims whereunder they agreed to pay ‘Jizya’ in lieu of Muslim protection. They also undertook to act as spies and guides for the Muslims.

Of all the battles fought by Khalid, the battle of Ulleis was the toughest. At the battle of Mauta, which Khalid had fought during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, he had to face a grave situation, but the situation at Ulleis was graver still. Khalid is on record to have said: “At Mauta I broke nine swords in my hand. But I have never met an enemy like the Persians, and among the Persians I have never met an enemy like the Persian army at Ulleis.”

Conquest of Hirah

Amgheeshiya. When Khalid bin Walid was asked to undertake operations in Iraq, he was given by Abu Bakr, the target of Hirah. After the battle of Ulleis, the road to Hirah lay open. Khalid and his army immediately took the road to Hirah. After a day’s march from Ulleis, the Muslim army reached Amgheeshiya. It was a large city rivaling Hirah in importance and splendor. The city was deserted, and there was no one to oppose the Muslims. The flower of the manhood of Amgheeshiya had fallen at Ulleis, and the population of the city had found safety in flight. The Muslims occupied the deserted city. The wealth of Amgheeshiya in spite of the fact that residents had taken away their precious belongings with them, dazzled the Muslims. The booty amassed from the deserted city exceeded the spoils of war that the Muslims had won at the battles of Kazima, Mazar, Walaja, and Ulleis put together. When the state share of the booty from Amgheeshiya reached Madina, Abu Bakr addressing the faithful assembled in the Prophet’s mosque said, “O Muslims, rejoice that your lion has empowered the Persian lion. Verily, women can no longer bear sons like Khalid.”

Advance to Hirah. After the occupation of Amgheeshiya, Khalid decided to advance to Hirah. Hirah was under the nominal rule of an Arab chief Layth bin Qubeisa. The actual administration of the city was, however, the responsibility of the Persian Governor Azarbeh. When Azarbeh came to know of the advance of the Muslim force, he organized the defenses of the city. He sent forward a cavalry group commanded by his son to hold the advance of the Muslims. This cavalry group was commissioned to dam the Euphrates in order to hold the advance of the Muslim army.

In the advance to Hirah, while the main Muslim army marched by riding on camels and horses, the heavy military loads were carried by boats on the river. The Muslim forces had traversed a short distance only, when due to the damming of the river, the water level fell, and the boats carrying the military loads came to be grounded. Seeing this situation, Khalid dashed off at great speed on the road to Hirah at the head of a cavalry detachment. At Badqala, some twelve miles from Hirah, the son of Azarbeh and his column were surprised, and cut down to a man. Khalid thereafter opened the dam, and as the water level in the river rose, the Muslim army resumed their advance by land as well as the river.

Occupation of Hirah

Khalid was expecting that he would have to fight for Hirah. Therefore, instead of approaching Hirah from the front, Khalid made a detour and approached Hirah from the rear. When the Muslims reached the gates of the city, there was no Persian army to oppose them. When Azarbeh came to know of the death of his son, he was smitten with grief. In the meantime Ardsheer the emperor of Persia died and Persia came to be rocked by succession disputes. That unnerved Azarbeh. He abandoned Hirah, and fled with the Persian forces to Madain. Under the circumstances, the Muslims occupied the city of Hirah without any resistance.

The Christian Arabs

The Christian Arabs, however, locked themselves in four citadels and refused to surrender. These citadels were the white palace commanded by Iyaz bin Qubeis; the Al Adassiyeen palace commanded by Adi bin ‘Adi; the Bani Mazin palace commanded by Ibn Akal; and Ibn Bugela palace commanded by Abdul Maseeh. The Muslims pressed the siege of the four citadels, and it was not long before the Christian Arabs were forced to ask for terms. The Christian Arabs surrendered, and agreed to pay an annual tribute to the Muslims.

Dialogue between Khalid and Abdul Maseeh

On the occasion of the surrender of the Christian Arabs, the dialogue that took place between Khalid and Abdul Maseeh, one of the Christian Arab chief has been preserved in history. Abdul Maseeh reported to be two hundred years old, was known as the sage of Hirah. This dialogue is one of the most unusual dialogues recorded in history. Khalid “How many years have you come upon”. Abdul Maseeh. ‘Two hundred.” Khalid: “What is the most wonderful thing that you have seen?” Abdul Maseeh: “The most wonderful thing I have seen is a village between Hirah and Damascus to which a woman travels from Hirah with nothing more than a loaf of bread.” Khalid: “Have you gained nothing from your great age. You even do not know from where you come?” Abdul Maseeh: “Truly, I know from where I come”. Khalid “Where do you come from”. Abdul Maseeh: “From the spin of my lather”. Khalid: “Where are you going?” Abdul Maseeh: “To my front”. Khalid: “What is your front?” Abdul Maseeh: “The end”. Khalid: “Where do you stand”. Abdul blaseeh “On the earth”. Khalid: “In what are you?” Abdul Maseeh: “In my clothes.” Khalid: “Do you understand me?” Abdul Maseeh: “Yes”. Khalid: “The earth destroys its fools, but intelligent destroy the earth. I suppose your people know you better than I do.” Abdul Maseeh: “It is the ant, and not the camel that knows what is in the hole.” Khalid: “Tell me something that you remember”. Abdul Maseeh: “I remember the time when the ships of China sailed behind these citadels”. Khalid: “I call upon you to accept Islam or pay Jizya.” Abdul Maseeh: “We have no wish to fight you. We will pay you the Jizya, but we shall stick to our faith.” After the signing of the pact, when the old sage was to depart, Khalid noticed a pouch. Khalid asked, “What is in the pouch?” Abdul Masech; “It is the poison.” Khalid: “But why the poison?” Abdul Maseeh: “I feared that this meeting might turn out otherwise than it has. I would prefer death to seeing more horrors befall my people.”

Princess Kirama. One interesting but rather strange clause in the peace pact pertained to the Christian Arab princess Kirama, the daughter of Abdul Maseeh. At one time Kirama was known for her extraordinary breath-taking beauty. A story goes that one day when the Holy Prophet of Islam was sitting in the mosque at Madina surrounded by his followers he prophesied that erelong Hirah would fall to the Muslims. Among the Muslims who listened to this prophesy was a simple unlettered Muslim warrior Shuweil, by name. Addressing the Holy Prophet, Shuweil said, “O Prophet of God, it the Muslims conquer Hirah, may I have Kirama?” The Holy Prophet laughed and said, “Yes, you shall have her.”

Now, when Hirah fell, Shuweil was in the Muslim army. He waited on Khalid and told him of the promise that the Holy Prophet had made with him regarding the princess Kirama. The statement of Shuweil was corroborated by some other Muslims. Thereupon Khalid had a clause inserted in the peace pact to effect that the princess Kirama was to be awarded to Shuweil.

Abdul Maseeh protested, but as Khalid insisted on the stipulation, Abdul Maseeh wanted some time so that he might consult Kirama. When Kirama was consulted, she said to her father, “You may agree to the condition. I will myself find a way out of the difficulty. The fool Shuweil would have heard of my beauty when I was young, and has forgotten that youth is not eternal.”

When in pursuance of the agreement, the princess Kirama came to Shuweil the rough soldier was shocked that the princess was an old hag of eighty years. At one time Kirama enjoyed the reputation of being the most beautiful woman of Arabia, but age had withered her, and she was now nothing but wrinkles and old bones.

Shuweil did not know what to make of the old woman. Seeing his predicament the princess suggested to him “Of what use can an old woman be to you? You may let me go, and have some money instead.” The suggestion appealed to Shuweil and he wanted to be paid a sum of three thousand dirhams. The princess paid the amount and secured her release. It was a good riddance for both.

Mass victory prayer. After signing the pact, Khalid led a mass victory prayer at Hirah. When the news of the conquest of Hirah reached Madina, along with the amount of the tribute realized from the people of Hirah, Abu Bakr led a thanksgiving prayer at Madina. Central Iraq was now under the complete occupation of the Muslims.


Abu Bakr – Apostacy Campaign Against Musailma

Sajjah, the False Prophetess

Sajjah. Among the false prophets who rose in Arabia as a result of the apostasy movement, a lady named Sajjah claimed to be a prophetess. She was the daughter of Al-Haris who belonged to the Bani Yarbu section of the Bani Tamim. On her mother’s side she belonged to the Banu Taghlib tribe who inhabited Iraq. Sajjah and her father lived with Banu Taghlib in Iraq, the tribe of her mother. Sajjah and her tribe were Christians.

Sajjah was beautiful and endowed with an attractive personality. She dabbled in clairvoyance, and professed to predict future. She was a poetess, and mostly talked in verse. She had qualities of leadership, and was popular with her people. When she came to know that after the death of the Holy Prophet, Taleaha and Musailma had declared themselves as prophets, she also declared herself as a prophetess. Soon she succeeded in mustering a good following from among the Banu Taghlib, the clan of her mother.

Malik bin Nuwera. In her attempt to gather some followers from her father’s clan as well, Sajjah contacted Malik bin Nuwera the chief of the Bani Yarbu section of the Bani Tamim the clan of her father. At the invitation of Malik bin Nuwera Sajjah came to Bataha, the headquarters of the clan and entered into a pact with him. Malik was a very handsome man, and Sajjah was physically attracted to him. Malik felt that with the help of Sajjah and her people he could overpower such of the sections of the tribe who were opposed to him. The terms of the pact between Sajjah and Malik are not known. Presumably Malik acknowledged Sajjah as a prophetess, and she undertook to help him in asserting his authority over the section of the Bani Yarbu who were opposed to him. The combined forces of Malik and Sajjah received some initial success. They, however, received a set back at a confrontation that took place at Nibhaj. Peace was won on the condition that Sajjah left the region at once. Sajjah accordingly decided to proceed to Yamama, the stronghold of the false prophet Musailma.

Musailma. Musailma a cunning man did not go to war against Sajjah. Instead he invited Sajjah to visit Yamama as his honored guest. Sajjah accepted the invitation and proceeded to Yamama in Central Arabia. Musailma held a royal reception in her honor. Musailma was a handsome man of attractive personality. Sajjah was beautiful and passionate. Both were mutually attracted. Musailma pattered the vanity of Sajjah. He argued that as the Muslims were their common enemy, it would be to their mutual interest to join forces, and overpower the Muslims by united action. The idea appealed to Sajjah, and she said that she was prepared to make common cause with him. Musailma recited the verses that he claimed to have been revealed to him. Sajjah also recited her verses. Musailma applauded the verses and said, “Sajjah, you are verily a prophetess.” Sajjah complimented him by saying, “I have no doubt that you are indeed a prophet.” Then Musailma took another step forward and suggested that in order to strengthen their alliance it was but meet that they should be physically united as well and become husband and wife. Sajjah fell in line with his way of thinking, and agreed to become his wife. Musailma said that in view of their mutual concurrence, it was necessary that such holy alliance should take place at once without losing any time. Under the spell of the magnetic personality of Musailma, Sajjah agreed that the marriage should take place at once. Musailma took Sajjah to his camp where she remained with him for three days and three nights as his wife.

As a wedding gift, Musailma declared that for their common followers the prayers in the morning and in the evening were no longer obligatory and that henceforward the number of prayers per day was to be reduced from five to three. He also agreed to pay Sajjah a share out of the revenues of Yamama.

The end of the adventure. What happened next is not exactly known, for Sajjah instead of remaining with Musailma at Yamama as his wedded wife decided to return to her people in Iraq. The followers of Sajjah felt frustrated at this turn of events, and they did not like their prophetess becoming mistress of Musailma. Presumably Sajjah also realized that in marrying Musailma she had lost the battle. From some accounts it appears that Sajjah was already married, and she surrendered to Musailma under some hypnotic influence. When this spell was over, and she realized the depth to which she had degraded herself she found safety in returning to Iraq. That presumably explains her strange conduct, for if she had been lawfully wedded to Musailma she would have stayed with him in Yamama. When she returned to her people in Iraq that was the end of the adventure of prophethood. She lived in obscurity for the rest of her life. When the Muslims conquered Iraq she became a Muslim along with the other members of her tribe. During the caliphate of Muawiyiah she resided at Kufa, where she died at a sufficiently advanced age.

Campaign against Bani Tamim

The Bani Tamim. Having reduced the Bani Asad and Bani Fazara, Khalid bin Walid decided to march against the Bani Tamim who lived on a plateau to the east. The Bani Tamim had accepted Islam during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet. After the death of the Holy Prophet when the waves of apostasy spread over Arabia, the Bani Tamim were also affected. The tribe came to be divided into two sections. One section remained faithful to Islam, while the other section repudiated their allegiance to Islam. There was however some confusion as to who among the tribe favored Islam and who were against it. When Khalid gave order to march to Bataha the headquarters of the Bani Tamim, the Ansars in the army refused to march to Bataha. Their stand was that the Caliph had not sanctioned any operation against the Bani Tamim. Khalid said that being the Commander of the forces operating in the region, he was in the best position to know which operations should or should not be undertaken in the interests of the mission for re-establishing the supremacy of Islam. He, however, declared that if the Ansars were unwilling to follow him, it was open to them to withdraw. When the main army of Khalid marched forward the Ansars stayed behind. After some time on second thought, the Ansars also decided to accompany Khalid. They accordingly rejoined the main Muslim army at the next stage of their march.

Murder of Malik bin Nuweira. The orders of Abu Bakr were that if any tribe professed faith in Islam, no action should be taken against it. If a tribe did not profess faith in Islam, it was to be invited to repent and be reconverted to Islam. Operations were to be undertaken against a tribe only in the event of its refusal. It was laid down that if on reaching the settlement of a tribe, the Muslim army heard the tribe give Azan it was to be understood that the people of the tribe professed Islam. In the absence of such response it was to be presumed that the people had apostatized. Before the Muslim army reached Bataha, a delegation of Bani Tamim waited on Khalid. They brought with them the amount of the Zakat payable to the Muslims Khalid took the amount, but continued his advance to Bataha. When the Muslim army reached Bataha, there were no forces of the Bani Tamim to oppose the Muslims. The position was confused. Malik bin Nuweira the chief of the Bani Tamim neither came forward to offer his submission, nor did he come forward to oppose the Muslims. On the other hand he went into hiding. That made him the subject of suspicion. Khalid directed his soldiers to forage in the neighborhood. As a result of such operations, Malik and his wife Laila were taken captive and brought before Khalid. Malik’s wife Laila was known far and near for her breath taking beauty. Her long glossy hair flowed up to her knees. She had gorgeous legs, and she carried herself with peculiar grace and charm. What exactly transpired when Malik and his wife were presented before Khalid is not known. According to one account after his talk with Malik, Khalid was satisfied that Malik had repudiated Islam. According to another account, Malik is reported to have said that his wife was his undoing, and that after Khalid had seen her, his death was certain. The prisoners retired for the night. At the dead of night, Malik and his male companions were killed. Here again the accounts differ. According to one account, Khalid had merely ordered that the night being cold, the prisoners should be kept warm, and this order was misunderstood to be an order for murder. The other account is that Khalid in fact ordered the murder of Malik as he had apostatized.

After the Bataha Episode. After the death of Malik, the entire tribe of Bani Tamim surrendered and professed faith in Islam. Khalid immediately married Laila the beautiful widow of Malik b Nuweira. The campaign against the Bani Tamim was a masterstroke from the political point of view. It brought the entire tribe to the fold of Islam. From the military point of view the significance of the action at Bataha was that the rear of Sajjah the false prophetess was cut off and she could no longer count on the support of Bani Tamim. The episode, however, led to considerable scandal. In some quarters it was held that Malik was indeed a Muslim, and that he had been murdered merely because Khalid coveted his beautiful wife. Some of the Ansars in the army of Khalid led by Abu Qatadah refused to fight under the command of Khalid. Abu Qatadah along with Mutamim the brother of Malik set out for Madina to lodge a complaint against Khalid before the Caliph. Mutamim was a distinguished poet, and he composed an elegy mourning the death of his brother, and condemning Khalid as his murderer. These verses became popular in Madina and those who listened to them grieved at the murder of Malik.

Trial of Khalid. Khalid was summoned to Madina and put to explanation. There were two charges against Khalid, firstly, the murdering of a Muslim and secondly marrying his wife. Khalid’s explanation was that if according to the Holy Prophet he was the “Sword of God” such sword could not fall on the neck of a Muslim. Umar was of the view that Khalid was to be blamed, and he should be suitably punished. Abu Bakr felt that a military commander, Khalid was indispensable. His view was that even if it was held that Khalid was guilty of a lapse, such lapse could be passed over in the broader interests of Islam. Musailma in the Yamama valley was posing a great threat to the Muslims. Two Muslim Generals sent against Musailma had suffered defeat the position was critical, and at that stage a General of the caliber of Khalid alone could vindicate the honor of Islam. Abu Bakr decided to overlook the lapse of Khalid, and directed him to undertake operations against Musailma. As there were doubts whether Malik was or was not a Muslim, Abu Bakr decided that blood money should be paid out of the Baitul Mal to the heirs of Malik for his murder.

Umar did not feel happy at this decision of Abu Bakr. When Umar remonstrated, Abu Bakr observed: “Umar, I cannot sheathe the sword, which God has intended to be wielded against the non-Muslims.”

Campaign Against Musailma

Musailma. Of all the imposters and false prophets who rose in Arabia after the death of the Holy Prophet, the most notorious and dangerous was Musailma who belonged to the Banu Hanifa tribe of Central Arabia. Musailma visited Madina during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, and enjoyed the privilege of his company for some time. On return from Madina, Musailma, however, laid claim to a divine mission and founded a new creed. He relieved his followers from the obligations of fasting, and Zakat. He reduced the number of daily prayers. He legalized adultery and drinking. He forbade his followers to cohabit with their wives, once they had become mothers. In imitation of the Holy Quran he recited rhythmical sentences and bits of doggerel, which he had, himself composed, but gave out as having been revealed by God. He was endowed with a superb physique, and an attractive personality. He was a good speaker, and could sway the masses. He exploited these qualities and succeeded in winning over a considerable following. When asked by the Holy Prophet to abandon his pretensions, Musailma sent an impudent letter demanding the division of the Arabian peninsula into two halves, one part to be earmarked for the Muslims, and the other to be the exclusive reserve for Musailma and his followers. The Holy Prophet addressed him as Musailma, the Liar, and said that all land belonged to God, and He gave its control to such person as He willed. The Holy Prophet deputed Nahr-ar-Rajjal a Muslim convert from the tribe of Banu Hanifa to go back to his people and propagate Islam. On return to his tribe, Nahr-ar-Raijal fell a victim to the blandishments of Musalima. He declared falsely that he was witness to the fact that the Holy Prophet had acknowledged Musailma as co-sharer in the divine mission. That established the credentials of Musailma, and the number of his followers increased considerably,

Campaigns against Musailma. With the death of the Holy Prophet, Musailma gained in strength further. The general argument that prevailed with the people was that Muhammad (peace be on him) was dead while Musailma was alive, a living prophet was to be preferred to a dead prophet. Many tribes who were hostile to Islam joined his ranks. Abu Bakr originally entrusted the operations against Musailma to ‘Ikramah son of Abu Jahl. Shurabbil bin Hasnah was to advance with another column to the assistance of’ Ikramah. Abu Bakr issued strict orders that action against Musailma was to be taken only when the two columns joined together. ‘Ikramah was the first to reach the Yamama valley where Musailma was lodged. Without waiting for Shurabbil, ‘Ikramah launched an attack against Musailma. The Muslims were beaten back with considerable losses. When the news of the defeat reached Madina, Abu Bakr felt much distressed. He asked ‘Ikramah not to return to Madina, but to proceed to light in South Arabia.

Some time later, Shurahbil arrived in the yamama valley with his column. He also opened an attack against Musailma without waiting for help. He was also beaten with considerable loss. Two successive defeats created an embarrassing situation for the Muslims. That raised the morale of the followers of Musailma who proudly declared that Musailma was indeed a prophet and divine help was on their side.

Commission of Khalid bin Walid. It was at this critical juncture that Abu Bakr commissioned Khalid bin Walid to undertake operations against Musailma. Elaborate arrangements were made to reinforce the army of Khalid. Seasoned soldiers were included in the force under his command. Bar’a bin Malik and Thabit bin Qais led the contingents of the Ansar, while Abu Khadhifa bin Utba and Zaid bin Khattab led the contingent of the Muhajreen. Against his declared policy, Abu Bakr permitted the veterans of Badr to join the forces of Khalid. Among others, those who joined the force included: Abdur Rahman son of Abu Bakr; Abdullah son of Umar; Abu Dujana the renowned warrior of Uhud; and Manwiyiah who later founded the Umayyad rule.

From Madina the Muslim army proceeded to Butaha. Here contingents from the Muslim tribes joined the force. From there the Muslim army marched south to Yamama valley under the command of Khalid bin Walid. In the way the Muslim army came across some men of Banu Hanifa led by Maja’a bin Murrah. All of them except Maja’a were put to death under the orders of Khalid. Maja’a was kept in custody to serve as a hostage. He was put in chains, and entrusted to the custody of Laila, the new wife of Khalid who accompanied him to the battlefield.

The battle of Aqraba. Musailma intercepted the advance of the Muslim army at the plain of Aqraba. Here the two opposing armies arranged their ranks for the battle. The battle that followed was hotly contested. The forces of Musailma numbered over forty thousand, while the strength of the Muslim army did not exceed fifteen thousand. Besides being outnumbered the Muslim forces suffered from certain disabilities. There were differences between the tribes, the Ansar and the Muhajreen. A dust storm blew across the valley against the faces of the Muslims. Taking advantage of this the forces of Musailma increased their pressure, and the Muslims had to fall back. Some men of the Banu Hanifa even reached the tent of Khalid where Maja’a was in chains guarded by Laila. These men wanted to kill Laila, and rescue Maja’a. Maja’a called upon them to desist from raising their hands against a woman. He wanted them to go and kill some men. These men left the camp, and said that they would return after some time to rescue Maj a’a. In the confusion that followed the party could not come back, and in the meantime the Muslims were able to take precautionary measures.

When the battle for the first day ended there was jubilation in the camp of Musailma. Though Khalid had been forced to withdraw he refused to admit defeat. He regrouped his army in tribal commands and exhorted the various tribes to show their valor on the battlefield. From within the Makkah and Madinite horsemen he created a reserve force of a thousand cavalrymen and kept them under his personal command.

When the battle began on the next day, the forces of Musailma elated by the pride of victory on the first day made the bid to push forward. Bara’a was the commander of one of the Muslim wings. He was a brother of Anas, the personal attendant of the Holy Prophet. There was a strange peculiarity of Bara’a. Whenever he would go to fight his whole body would shake necessitating others to hold him. After some time his body would stop shaking, and he would feel electrified. He would then rush forward against the enemy and fight like a lion. At the battle of Aqraba he had his fit of shivering, and thereafter he plunged into the thick of the battle crying “O Muslims where do you go? Here am I, Bara’a bin Malik; come to me.” Bara’a and his men made a determined charge. Abdur Rahman the son of Abu Bakr shot an arrow from his bow that killed Muhkam bin Tufail who commanded the forces of Musailma. At this stage the two armies faced each other in a headlong combat. As the forces of Musailma were larger in number such state of affairs was advantageous to them. While the front ranks of the two armies grappled with each other in hand to hand fight, Khalid collected his cavalry reserves and carrying out a wide outflanking movement dashed for the mounds where the camp of Musailma was located. The boldness of the move of Khalid took Banu Hanifa completely by surprise. The bodyguard of Musailma fought valiantly, but they could not hold ground for long. As Khalid increased his pressure, Musailma lost his nerves, and retreated to a neighboring fortified garden.

Battle of the Garden. With the withdrawal of Musailma his army lost the will to fight, and they too found safety in seeking refuge in the garden. A huge wall surrounded the garden, and the fugitives closed the gate thus shutting access to the pursuing Muslims. Bara’a bin Malik asked his companions to lift him to the top of the garden wall and from there he jumped into the garden. Some other Muslims did likewise Thus, hazarding their lives, this group of Muslims rushed to the gate and opened it. With the opening of the gate, the Muslim army rushed into the garden, and let lose a reign of slaughter on the Banu Hanifa. The Banu Hanifa fought desperately for sheer survival, but theirs was a losing battle. All advantages now lay with the Muslims. The men of Banu Hanifa were cut to pieces in large numbers, and the garden was virtually drenched with blood. So bloody was the battle of the garden that in the Arab annals it came to be known as the “Battle of the Garden of Death.”

In the Muslim ranks there were some women as well. One of them was Umm ‘Ammarah. She had fought in the battle of Uhud, and when wave after wave of the enemy rushed to attack the Holy Prophet she shielded him in which task she received no less than a dozen wounds. After the death of the Holy Prophet her son Habib while returning from Uman fell into the hands of Musailma, the Liar. Habib was required to disown the Holy Prophet of Islam, and offer allegiance to the false prophet Musailma. Habib refused, and for his faith in Islam he was put to death. Umm ‘Ammarah thereupon vowed vengeance against Musailma. When Abu Bakr ordered operations against Musailma, Umm ‘Ammarah accompanied the Muslim force fired with the urge to take revenge. In the “Garden of Death” penetrating through the ranks of the enemy she reached close to Musailma. At that time Wahshi an Abyssinian fighting in the Muslim ranks threw in a javelin at Musailma. At the battle of Uhud Wahshi had fought on the side of the Quraish against the Muslims, and he had killed Hamza an uncle of the Holy Prophet with his javelin. Later he became a Muslim and he fought in the various battles during the caliphate of Abu Bakr. When Wahshi threw his javelin, Abdullah another son of Umm ‘Ammarah who was with her in the battle rushed forward and fell on Musailma with his sword. Musailma fell dead, and his severed head was hoisted for all to see. Thereupon the Banu Hanifa formally surrendered. With such surrender the valley of Yamama which had so long defied Islam lay prostrate at the feet of the Muslims.

Treaty of Yamama

Consequences of the Yamama. The battle of Yamama was the bloodiest battle so far fought by the Muslims. It was a decisive battle that established the supremacy of Islam in Central Arabia. It proved to be a great trial of strength, and though the Muslims won the victory, this was achieved at a heavy cost. The casualties of Banu Hanifa were staggering. As many as 7,000 followers of Musailma died in the battle of Aqraba, and equal number fell in the Garden of Death. Twelve hundred Muslims met their martyrdom in this action, and although the number was very much less than the number of the dead of Banu Hanifa, the loss was nevertheless colossal. Almost every family in Makkah and Madina suffered the loss of some dear one. Most of the Muslims who had memorized the Holy Quran died in this battle, and their loss was most acute. Among the martyrs were Abu Hudhaifa, Zaid bin Khattab, Abu Dujana, Yazid bin Aus,Yazid bin Thabit, Abu Hababa bin Ghazia: Zarara bin Qais; Saib bin Awwam; Salma bin Masud, and many other distinguished persons from among the Ansars and the Muhajreen.

Release of Maja’a. All the important leaders of the Banu Hanifa were killed, and there was no leader to negotiate terms of surrender. Maja’a who had won the confidence of Khalid by saving the wife of Khalid, Laila, undertook to make negotiations with the Banu Hanifa. Maja’a was released on parole, and he went to negotiate terms with the Banu Hanifa. He returned to say that the major portion of the army was still in the fort of Yamama, and that they were poised for another action Khalid decided that he would himself go to the city to assess the situation. Maja’a sent a secret message to the Banu Hanifa that all women, old men and children should mount the battlements and display their arms. When Khalid went to the city he saw that the battlements were crowded. That set Khalid thinking. After the disastrous war of Aqraba, the Muslim forces though victorious, were too exhausted to risk another action. Khalid was under the circumstances keen to avoid another war. Maja’a played upon the feelings Or Khalid and said that if lenient terms were offered he might be able to arrive at some settlement with the Banu Hanifa. Khalid allowed him to go to his people again. Maja’a returned to say that if the Muslims were to be content with taking only one fourth of the property of the Banu Hanifa, peace could be negotiated. Khalid agreed and the peace treaty was signed “hereunder the Banu Hanifa were to surrender one fourth of their property.

Khalid’s marriage with Bint Maja’a. After the treaty, Maja’a was allowed freedom and he returned to his people The gates of the city were thereafter thrown open. When Khalid rode into the city, the Banu Hanifa army was no where to be seen. “Where are your warriors” asked Khalid of Maja’a and Maja’a pointing to the women and children said, “These women and children were the warriors. I had them dressed as warriors, and made them parade on the battlements”. Khalid turned furiously to Maja’a and said, “This means that you deceived me”. Maja’a merely shrugged his shoulders and said, “You may kill me, if you like, but I had to resort to this ruse to save my people.” Khalid felt very bitter, but as he had given his promise to the people of Banu Hanifa, he was not in favor of withdrawing from the terms of the treaty. Khalid had heard of the beauty of the daughter of Maja’a, and he asked Maja’a to marry his daughter to him in case he wanted to escape his wrath. Ma a’a said, “I am at your disposal, but you know what happened when you married Laila. The Caliph did not approve of that marriage, and he will not approve of your marriage with my daughter.” Khalid retorted, “You need not bother about the approval of the Caliph. I wed your daughter tonight. You may go and make your arrangements accordingly.” That night Khalid married the beautiful daughter of Maja’a. Laila merely sulked in her tent.

Abu Bakr’s reactions. As the Muslims had suffered heavily at the hands of Banu Hanifa, Abu Bakr sent instructions to Khalid that no mercy should be shown to the Banu Hanifa and all the male adults should be killed. Before these instructions reached Khalid, he had given these people general amnesty and they had accepted Islam. Under the circumstances the instructions of Abu Bakr could not be complied with. Khalid sent a delegation of the people of Abu Hanifa along with the booty to Madina. The delegates expressed regrets and said that Musailma had deceived them. They assured Abu Bakr that they were sincere in their profession of Islam. Abu Bakr treated them with due courtesy and let things rest at that. He was, however, very bitter at Khalid’s marriage with Bint Maja’a. He addressed the following letter to Khalid: “O son of the mother of Khalid. What has gone wrong with you? You are out to wed women when the land around your camp is still drenched with blood of over a thousand martyrs.”

Apart from this mild censure, Abu Bakr chose to take no further action against the Victor of Aqraba.


Abu Bakr – Apostacy Campaign Against Taleah

Plan of Campaign against the Apostates

Plan against the apostates. After the battle of Abraq, Abu Bakr felt that a stage had been reached when campaigns against the apostates should be planned and organized on a large scale. Towards the close of August 632 C.E. all the Muslim forces were mustered at Zul Qissa.

At Zul Qissa, Abu Bakr formed the Muslim forces into eleven corps each under its own commander. Each commander was given a flag and assigned an objective. The commanders were further authorized to recruit other soldiers on the way in their march to their objectives.

The eleven corps. The first corps was placed under the command of Khalid bin Waleed. It was required to take action against Taleaha of the Banu Asad concentrated at Buzakha. Thereafter they were to proceed against the Bani Tamims at Butaha.

The second corps under ‘lkrama b Abu Jahl was required to take action against the false prophet Musailmah of the Banu Hanifa tribe at Yamama, but it was required not to engage the enemy till it received further reinforcement.

The third corps under Amr bin Al Aas was required to take action against the tribes of Quzaa’a, Wadee’a and Harith in the areas of Gaza, and Daumatul Jandal near the borders of Syria.

The fourth corp under Shurahbil bin Hasana was required to follow Ikrama and await further instructions.

The fifth corps under Khalid bin Saeed was required to operate on the Syrian border in the Hamqatan region.

The sixth corps under Tureifa bin Hajiz was required to take action against the apostate tribes of Hawazin and Bani Sulaim in the region east of Makkah and Madina.

The seventh corps under ‘Ala bin Hadrami was commissioned to operate against the tribes in Bahrain.

The eighth corps under Arafja bin Harsama was required to take action against the tribes in the coastal area of lower Yemen.

The ninth corps under Huzaifa bin Mihsan was required to take action against the apostates in Oman.

The tenth corps under Muhajir bin Abi Umayya was required to operate in Upper Yemen and Hadramaut.

The eleventh corps under Suweid bin Muqran was required to operate in the coastal areas north of Yemen.

Message to the tribes. Before the various corps left Zul Qissa for their objectives, Abu Bakr sent envoys to all apostate tribes calling upon them to return to Islam. The message read: “I have learnt with regret that under the misguidance of the Devil you have apostatized from Islam, the true faith of God. I am sending to you a Muslim force consisting of the Muhajreen and the Ansar. I have instructed them not to launch the attack against you, without offering you lslam in the first instance. He who repents, re-enters the fold of Islam, desists from hostile activities against Islam, and does good deeds will be forgiven and granted amnesty. He who refuses to accept Islam, and persists in hostilities will be given no quarter. Force will be used against him, and it will not be possible for him to avert that Allah has ordained for him. Such persons will be put to sword, slaughtered, or burnt to death. Their women and children will be taken captive. Nothing short of allegiance to Islam will be accepted. If after considering this warning, any person seeks his refuge in Islam, such faith will stand him in good stead. But he who persists in his apostasy will never be able to humble God. I have instructed my envoys that they should read this message of mine in public gatherings. Calling the Azan will be regarded as an indication of the acceptance of Islam. If there is no Azan this will be taken to mean that the tribe persists in its apostasy.”

Instructions to the Commanders. As the various corps left for their objectives, Abu Bakr instructed the commanders to fear God. They were to exert themselves to the utmost in the way of Allah, and to allow no sloth to retard their efforts. They were commanded that if any tribe responded with the Azan it was not to be molested or attacked. Those who did not make such response were to be dealt with by fire and sword. All apostates guilty of murdering Muslims were to be killed. Those who were guilty of burning Muslims alive were to be likewise burnt alive. Abu Bakr insisted that the only options for the apostate tribes were unconditional surrender or war until total destruction. The commanders were enjoined not to dishonor the word once pledged. They were also forbidden to depart from the targets assigned to them, with out further instructions.

Campaign against Taleaha

Taleaha. Taleaha belonged to the Banu Asad tribe. The tribe held the region to the north of Madina. Taleaha had laid claim to prophethood and divine revelation during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet. He ridiculed the Muslim way of prayer, and asked his followers to pray standing. He declared “God does not want us to invert our faces or bend our backs in ugly postures.” The Holy Prophet directed punitive action against the imposter. In his anxiety to have the benediction of killing a false prophet, a Muslim stole into the camp of Taleaha with a view to murdering him. The attempt was miscarried, and that made the followers of Taleaha proclaim that no sword could harm their prophet.

Before the Muslim army commissioned by the Holy Prophet could advance against Taleaha, the Holy Prophet was dead. Taleaha declared that the death of the Holy Prophet was a sign corroborative of his prophethood. Many other tribes acknowledged Taleaha as the prophet, and the argument that weighed with them was that while Muhammad (peace be on him) was dead, Taleaha was alive, and a living prophet was to be preferred to the Prophet who was dead. The Banu Fazara joined him under their leader ‘Uyaynah. The tribes of Abs, Ghatafan, Banu Bakr and Dhayiban who had been defeated by the Muslims in the battle of Abraq also made common cause with Taleaha. Parts of the Bani Taiy and Banu Jadilah also joined the ranks of Taleaha. That made Taleaha sufficiently strong and powerful, and he came to lead a confederacy of numerous tribes who held North East Arabia.

Movements of the parties. At the time of the battle of Zul Qissa, Taleaha was at Sumera. After the battle of Zul Qissa, Taleaha moved from tribe to tribe who offered their allegiance to him. Ultimately he came to Buzakha and here he mustered a strong force drawn from various tribes anxious to measure swords with the Muslims.

Abu Bakr commissioned Khalid bin Walid to undertake operations against Taleaha. In view of the strength of the army at the disposal of Taleaha an effort was made to enlist the flower of the Muslim warriors under the colors of Khalid. Moving northwards the contingent of Khalid penetrated into the mountain region of Aja and Salma, held by Banu Taiy. Here Khalid entered into negotiations with Addi, the chief of Bani Taiy. After the battle of Zul Qissa, Bani Taiy chief had visited Madina, paid Zakat and offered allegiance to Islam. In spite of that although Addi himself remained faithful to Islam, the bulk of his tribe supported Taleaha, and dispatched a contingent to Buzakha to fight against the Muslims. Khalid bin Walid carried a special message of Abu Bakr for Addi, in which he was asked to use his influence with his people to wean them from the support of Taleaha, and help the cause of Islam. After some difficulty, Addi succeeded in his efforts and his tribe offered allegiance to Islam. The Bani Taiy contingent was withdrawn from Buzakha, and it joined the ranks of the Muslim army. The contingent was commanded by Addi. Through the efforts of Addi, the allied tribe Banu Jadilah also detached itself from Taleaha and joined the fold of Islam. The addition of the contingents of Bani Taiy and Banu Jadilah considerably strengthened the Muslims.

Thus reinforced the Muslim army marched to Buzakha. On the way, the Muslim army was sorely distressed to find that two of the Muslim scouts Akkasha bin Mohsin, and Sapit b Akram had been slain by the men of Taleaha, and left to be trampled on the road. Khalid bin Walid arranged for the burial of these martyrs. Khalid vowed that he would take vengeance for the death of these scouts.

Battle of Buzakha. When the Muslim army reached Buzakha, they were confronted by the forces of the apostate tribes. In spite of some defections, the forces of the confederate tribes were considerable in strength, and outnumbered the Muslim force. Khalid called upon Taleaha to submit to Islam, but he ridiculed the offer. Thereupon the two armies clashed. The Muslim forces were commanded by Khalid, while the forces of Taleaha were commanded by ‘Uyaynah, the chief of Bani Fazara. The two armies were well matched, and the outcome of the battle seemed uncertain.

Taleaha retired to a place of safety, and pretended to await heavenly inspiration. Khalid increased his pressure and ‘Uyaynah hard pressed waited on Taleaha to inquire whether he had received any message from the heavens about the outcome of the battle. Taleaha replied that the request made by him was under consideration in the heaven, and a reply was expected any moment. ‘Uyaynah led a charge against the Muslim forces, but was beaten back with heavy losses. He again waited on Taleaha, and wanted to know whether any reply had come from the heavens. Taleaha said that God had spoken to him in the following terms: “Your hopes and that of Khalid shall remain at variance, and between you matters are so ordained that an event will take place which you will never forget.” At this ambiguous message carrying no sense, ‘Uyaynah realized that Taleaha was an imposter, and his cause was doomed to failure. He told Taleaha “Woe to you! I go.” ‘Uyaynah asked the men of his tribe to break camp and retreat to save themselves. With the withdrawal of ‘Uyaynah and his men the tide of the battle was turned in favor of the Muslims. Khalid intensified the attack, and the battlefield came to be strewn with the dead bodies of the men of Taleaha. Finding resistance useless, Taleaha escaped with his wife to Syria. With the withdrawal of Taleaha the battle was over. The Muslims had won a significant victory. Most of the tribes surrendered and accepted Islam. Those who still remained opposed to Islam retreated and sought refuge further inland.

Sequel to the battle of Buzakha. Khalid made Buzakha his headquarters and re-organized the administration. He appointed his agents for the various districts. General amnesty was granted to those who re-entered the fold of Islam and expressed regret for their past behavior. Those who had perpetrated atrocities on the Muslims were apprehended and subjected to likewise atrocities. The vacillating tribes in the region who had been sitting on the fence, and had preferred to watch the course of events submitted to the authority of Madina, paid Zakat and were re-admitted to the fold of Islam. The chiefs of the tribes who surrendered were sent to Madina for presentation before Abu Bakr. Considerable booty captured from the battlefield was also sent to Madina. Abu Bakr treated such chiefs with due courtesy and kindness. Khalid submitted a detailed report to Abu Bakr about the operations at Buzakha. Abu Bakr approved of the action taken, and appreciated the services of Khalid and his men in strong terms.

Taleaha on escape from Buzakha sought refuge in Syria. When Syria was occupied by the Muslims, Taleaha accepted Islam again and his career as a false prophet came to an end. Later he joined the Muslim army and took conspicuous part in the battles of Qadsiya and Nehavand, during the caliphate of Umar.

Campaign against Bani Fazara

‘Uyaynah. In the battle of Buzakha, the Bani Fazara had sided with Taleaha. ‘Uyaynah a chief of Bani Fazara commanded the forces with Taleaha. At the last moment, Uyaynah came to be disillusioned with Taleaha, and he withdrew from the battlefield along with his men of Bani Fazara.

As soon as the battle of Buzakha was over, Khalid sent out columns in pursuit of the renegades. One column caught up some apostates at Rumman, some thirty miles from Buzakba. They submitted without a fight. They repented and were readmitted to the fold of Islam.

Khalid himself led another fast column in pursuit of ‘Uyaynah. Khalid overtook him at Ghamra some sixty mires from Buzakha. Khalid asked ‘Uyaynah to surrender, but he remained defiant, and chose to fight. In the sharp clash which followed many of the followers of ‘Uyaynah were killed, and he himself was taken captive.

‘Uyaynah was sent to Madina in chains. As the procession passed through the streets of Madina, the children gathered round and said “O enemy of Allah; you disbelieved after having believed”. He said “No. I had never believed.”

‘Uyaynah had had a checkered career. In the battle of the Ditch, he had sided with the Quraish of Makkah, and had fought against the Muslims. Later he and his men had withdrawn from the siege of Madina. At the time of the conquest of Makkah, he was on the side of the Muslims. Accounts are not clear as to whether ‘Uyayilah had at any stage accepted Islam, Islam sat lightly on him, and when the wave of apostasy spread over the land, he saw adventure in siding with Taleaha.

At Madina,’Uyaynah realized that his defiance of Islam had cost him a good deal. He accordingly repented and accepted Islam Abu Bakr took a lenient view of his past conduct and granted him amnesty. After some time, ‘Uyaynah returned to his tribe, and lived in peace as a Muslim.

Umm Zummal. After the battle of Buzakha, some of the followers of Taleaha took refuge with Umm Zummal, a fire brand woman leader of the Bani Fazara. She was a cousin of ‘Uyaynah who had commanded the forces of Taleaha. Her name was Salma, who but for her dash and courage she was commonly known as Umm Zummal. Her father was Malik bin Huzaifa, a chief of the Bani Fazara. Her mother Umm Qarfa was a brave and courageous woman of Spartan character. During the lifetime of the Holy Prophet, Umm Qarfa and her followers ambushed and killed some Muslims in the Al Qara valley. In the counter action, Umm Qarfa along with Salma, and a number of followers were taken captive by the Muslims and led to Madina. At Madina, Umm Qarfa was put to death, and Salma became a maid servant of Ayesha. After some time, Ayesha freed Salma, and she returned to her tribe. Salma harbored malice against the Muslims and she burnt with the desire to avenge the death of her mother. When the wave of apostasy spread over Arabia she joined the movement and became one of its leaders.

Battle of Zafar

When after the defeat of Taleaha, many of his followers sought refuge with Umm Zummal, she decided to avail of the opportunity, and lead a coalition against the Muslims. She moved from tribe to tribe and exerted them to hostility against the Muslims. She mustered a considerable force which assembled at her headquarter Zafar at the western edge of the Salma range, a rugged mountain named after her When Khalid came to know of the hostile intentions of Umm Zummal, he led a Muslim force from Buzakha to Zafar. Immediately on arrival at Zafar, Khalid took the initiative and launched the attack. Umm Zummal and her forces offered stiff resistance, it was by all accounts a hard battle. Mounted on a camel, Umm Zummal personally led the charge, and her undaunted courage was a source of great inspiration for her followers. Failure of his first effort to dislodge the apostates made Khalid reassess the situation. He saw that the center of the apostates was led by Umm Zummal who rode on a magnificent camel which belonged to her mother. She exhorted her followers to fight bravely. She was surrounded by a ring of warriors who fought desperately, fired with a determination to win or die. For long the result of the confrontation remained uncertain. Khalid realized that the moral strength of the apostate force lay in the leadership of Umm Zummal, and unless she was eliminated somehow the chances of the Muslim victory were not very bright. Khalid directed his archers to aim at the camel on which Umm Zummal was riding. Every bow was bent and every spear of the Muslim was directed towards the camel. The camel was pierced with countless wounds, and it fell. Then Khalid with a picked group of warriors made a determined thrust towards the center, and as the litter carrying Salma alias Umm Zummal fell to the ground she was killed immediately. The Muslims made free use of their swords and spears. Umm Zummal lay dead on the battlefield, and around her lay the dead bodies of her bodyguards who had fought to the last in her defense. With the death of Umm Zummal all resistance of the apostates collapsed and the battle of Zafar was won by the Muslims. That was in October 632 C. E. The apostate bibles offered submission and were re-admitted to the fold of Islam. Considerable booty fell into the hands of the Muslims which was sent to Madina.

Campaign against Bani Sulaim

The Bani Sulaim. The Bani Sulaim occupied the region north of Madina. Their settlements extended Upto the Khyber. Their main concentration was at Naqra.

The tribe was converted to Islam in the time of the Holy Prophet. They participated on the side of the Muslims in the conquest of Makkah. They also fought along with the other Muslims in the battles of Hunain and Taif. A contingent of the Bani Sulaim fought under the command of Khalid and they were very much attached to him.

After the death of the Holy Prophet, the tribe apostatized. They made common cause With Taleaha, and fought against the Muslims in the battle of Buzakha.

The Bani Sulaim were led by a rash chieftain Anu bin Abdul Uzza commonly known as Abu Shadier. He was a poet, and he composed the following doggerel satirizing Islam: “My spear shall play havoc with the regiments of Khalid, and I trust thereafter to crush Abu Bakr and Umar.”

After the battle of Buzakha, the Bani Sulaim escaped to Naqra. Khalid pursued them to Naqra and launch the attack. The Bani Sulaim offered stiff resistance, but they could not bear the blows of Khalid for long. In the confrontations which followed many men of the tribe were killed. The aim of Khalid was to capture Abu Shajra alive. By a stratagem he succeeded in this object. With the capture of Abu Shajra all resistance on the part of Bani Sulaim collapsed.

Abu Shajra. Abu Shajra was put in chains and sent to Madina. When presented before Abu Bakr, Abu Shadier repented, asked for pardon and chose to be reconverted to Islam. Abu Bakr took a lenient way and granted him amnesty. During the caliphate of Umar, Abu Shajra came to Madina again. Seeing him Umar said, “May God curse you. Were you the man who wrote that doggerel?” Abu Shujra said, “I wrote that doggerel in my ignorance; my submission to Islam has cancelled all that.”

Al Faja’a. When Khalid undertook operations against Taleaha, another chief of Bani Sulaim, Ayas bin Abd Yaleel commonly known as Al Faja’a came to Abu Bakr at Madina. He declared that he was a Muslim, and was keen to assist the Muslims of Madina in their fight against the apostates. He wanted to be supplied with arms so that he and his people might fight against the infidels. Abu Bakr took him at his words, and he was supplied with arms to equip his people to fight against the apostates. Al Faja’a rode away from Madina with the blessings of Abu Bakr, but instead of fighting against the apostates, he formed a gang of bandits who waylaid unwary travelers and put them to death. The gangsters operated in the neighborhood of Madina and Makkah, and the Muslims and non Muslims suffered alike at their hands. When the activities of Al Faj a’a were brought to the notice of Abu Bakr, he deputed a column to get the man alive. The column succeeded in its mission and the brigand was brought to Madina in chains. Abu Bakr felt very bitter at the treachery of of Al Faja’a. The Caliph ordered a large pile of wood in front of the Prophet’s mosque. When the pile was set on fire and flames rose high, Al Faja’a still in chains was thrown into the fire and roasted to death. Later on his death bed, Abu Bakr expressed certain regrets, Abu Bakr regretfully said, “I wish I had Al Faia’a killed outright and not burnt alive.” This regret was because of a tradition of the Holy Prophet according to which if a person professed to be a Muslim he was not to be punished to death by fire.