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 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.
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’.”
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.
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.
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.