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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.

 

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