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.

 

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