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Khalid bin al waleed the sword of allah - lieutenant-general a.i. akram Document Transcript

  • 1. IntroductionCompanionsNotesBiobliographyAuthorChapter 1: The Boy12Chapter 2: The New Faith1234
  • 2. 5Chapter 3: The Battle of Uhud123456789101112
  • 3. 131415Chapter 4: The Battle of theDitch123456789
  • 4. 101112Chapter 5: The Conversion ofKhalid1234Chapter 6: Mutah and theSword of Allah123
  • 5. Chapter 7: The Conquest ofMakkah123456Chapter 8: The Battle of Hunain12345
  • 6. Chapter 9: The Siege of Taif12Chapter 10: Adventure ofDaumat-ul-Jandal12Chapter 11: The GatheringStorm12345
  • 7. Chapter 12: Abu Bakr Strikes12345Chapter 13: Tulaiha TheImposter123456
  • 8. 78Chapter 14: False Lords andLadies123456Chapter 15: The End of Malikbin Nuwaira12
  • 9. 34Chapter 16: The Battle ofYamamah12345678910
  • 10. 1112Chapter 17: The Collapse of theApostasy12345Chapter 18: The Clash withPersia123
  • 11. 45Chapter 19: The Battle ofChains123456Chapter 20: The Battle of theRiver12
  • 12. Chapter 21: The Hell of Walaja12345Chapter 22: The River of Blood1234Chapter 23: The Conquest ofHira1
  • 13. 23456Chapter 24: Anbar and Ain-ut-Tamr123Chapter 25: Daumat-ul-JandalAgain12
  • 14. 3Chapter 26: The LastOpposition12345Chapter 27: The PerilousMarch1234
  • 15. 5678Chapter 28: Deeper into Syria12345Chapter 29: The Battle ofAjnadein12
  • 16. 345678Chapter 30: The Conquest ofDamascus123456
  • 17. 7891011121314151617Chapter 31: The Unkind Cut12
  • 18. 345Chapter 32: The Battle of Fahl123Chapter 33: The Conquest ofEmessa12345
  • 19. Chapter 34: The Eve ofYarmuk12345678Chapter 35: Al-Yarmuk123
  • 20. 4567891011121314151617
  • 21. Chapter 36: The Completion ofthe Conquest1234567Chapter 37: Farewell to Arms1234
  • 22. 5678
  • 23. The Sword of Allah: Khalid bin Al-Waleed Salaam, this EBook was compiled for readers to learn about the life of Khalid bin Waleed, the Sword of Allah. The source text is from, but I gathered everything into an easily to share EBook that you can navigate easily, bookmark, and do full text searches. Enough from me here is a quick intro from the authors of
  • 24. the site:This book contains perhapsone of the most brilliantbiographies written on theCompanion of the Prophet(SAWS), Khalid bin Al-Waleed, Sword of Allah.Khalid bin Al-Waleed wasone of the greatest generalsin history, and one of thegreatest heroes of Islam.Besides him, Genghis Khanwas the only other general toremain undefeated in hisentire military life. A measureof Khalids genius is that hewas the only person to inflicta (temporary) defeat on theProphet Muhammad, (mayAllah bless him and grant himpeace).The original title of the book,
  • 25. "The Sword of Allah:Khalid bin Al-Waleed, HisLife and Campaigns" waswritten by the lateLieutenant-General A.I.Akram of the Pakistan Army,in October 1969. The authorlearnt Arabic in order to drawon the earliest historicalsources and he visited everyone of Khalids battlefields inorder to draw analyses fromthe viewpoint of militarystrategy, including reconcilingconflicting historiansaccounts. The book wasoriginally published by theArmy Education Press,Rawalpindi, Pakistan andprinted by Feroze SonsPublishers in Lahore,Pakistan. The excellence ofthe book was such that it hasbeen translated from English
  • 26. into Arabic and is currentlysold in bookshops throughoutthe Arab World.You can download ourlatest releases, ebooks,and software athttp://www.imaanstar.comIf there are any errors, please
  • 27. The CompanionsContentsIntroduction Twelve Ranks of the CompanionsExcellence of the Companions of the Prophet (SAWS)Excellence of Abu Bakr (RA)Excellence of Umar bin Al-Khattab (RA)The Ten Promised ParadiseExcellence of Khalid bin Al-Waleed (RA)The Killing of Imam Hasan (RA)IntroductionScholars are agreed upon the definition ofCompanionship by Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani: ‘ACompanion is the believer who saw and heardAllah’s Messenger at least once and died as abeliever’. Even though some scholars have stipulated
  • 28. that, in order to be ranked as a Companion, a believershould have lived in the company of Allah’s Messengerfor one or even two years, the majority of the scholarsregarded it as enough to have been present in theradiant atmosphere of the Messenger long enough tohave derived some benefit from it.It goes without saying that the Companions are notequal to each other in rank or greatness. Some of thembelieved in Allah’s Messenger at the very outset of hismission, and conversions continued until his sayingfarewell to the world. The Quran grades themaccording to precedence in belief and according toconversion before the Conquest of Makka and after it(Quran 9:100 and 57:10). The same gradation was alsomade by Allah’s Messenger himself. For example, hereproached Khalid bin Al-Waleed (RA) for offendingAbdur-Rahman bin Awf (RA), saying: "Do not troublemy Companions!" In the same way, he frowned atUmar (RA), when he annoyed Abu Bakr (RA), andsaid: "Will you not leave my Companions alone? AbuBakr believed in me at a time when all of you deniedme." Abu Bakr knelt down and explained: ‘OMessenger of God! It was my fault!.
  • 29. As recorded by Tabarani and Ibn Al-Athir, Abdullah binMasud, who was among the first to embrace Islam inMakkah and sent to Kufa as a teacher by Umar, said:"Allah looked at the hearts of His true servants andchose Muhammad, upon him be Peace andBlessings, to send to His creatures as a Messenger.Then, He looked at the hearts of people and chosehis Companions as the helpers of His religion andthe ambassadors of His Prophet, upon him be Peaceand Blessings.The Prophet (SAWS) said:"When my Companions are mentioned thenwithhold." [Sahih At-Tabarani]"Whoever abuses my Companions, upon them is thecurse of Allah, the angels and all the people." [SahihAt-Tabarani]back to the top
  • 30. Twelve Ranks of the CompanionsThe Companions were divided into twelve ranks by thescholars. This division was made according to thechronological order and some groups are also includedin others. It was accepted by the majority of scholars:1. The four Rightly-Guided Caliphs, namely Abu Bakr,Umar, Uthman and Ali, and the rest of the ten to whomParadise was promised while alive. They are Zubair binAl-Awwam, Abu Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah, Abdur-Rahman bin Awf, Talha bin Ubaidullah, Sa‘d bin AbiWaqqas and Saeed bin Zad, may Allah be pleased withthem all.2. Those who believed prior to Umar’s conversion andfrequently gathered together secretly in the House ofArqam to listen to Allah’s Messenger, upon him bePeace and Blessings.3. Those who migrated to Abyssinia in the first hijrah(migration) for Allahs Sake.4. The Helpers (Ansar) who were present at the firstceremony of taking the Oath of Allegiance to Allah’s
  • 31. Messsenger at Al-Aqaba.5. The Helpers (Ansar) who took the Oath ofAllegiance to the Messenger at Al-Aqaba, the followingyear.6. The first Emigrants (Muhajireen) who joined Allah’sMessenger before his arrival in Madinah during theHijrah (Emigration).7. The Companions who participated in the Battle ofBadr.8. Those who emigrated to Madinah during the periodbetween the Battle of Badr and the Treaty ofHudaybiyah.9. The Companions who took the Oath of Allegiance toAllah’s Messenger under a tree during the expedition ofHudaybiyah.10. Those who converted and emigrated to Madinahafter the Treaty of Hudaybiyah.11. Those who became Muslims after the conquest of
  • 32. Makkah.12. The children who saw Allah’s Messenger eitherduring the Conquest of Makka or during the FarewellPilgrimage, or in any other place and on differentoccasions.According to this ranking, Khalid bin Al-Waleed wouldcome in Rank 10, since he accepted Islam after theTruce of Hudaybiyah.back to the topExcellence of the Companions of the Prophet(SAWS)Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:"Allahs Apostle said, " A time will come upon thepeople, when a group of people will wage a holy warand it will be said, Is there amongst you anyonewho has accompanied Allahs Apostle? They willsay, Yes. And so victory will be bestowed on them.
  • 33. Then a time will come upon the people when agroup of people will wage a holy war, and it will besaid, "Is there amongst you anyone who hasaccompanied the Companions of Allahs Apostle?They will say, Yes. And so victory will be bestowedon them. Then a time will come upon the peoplewhen a group of people will wage a holy war, and itwill be said, "Is there amongst you anyone who hasbeen in the company of the Companions of theCompanions of Allahs Apostle ? They will say,Yes. And victory will be bestowed on them."[Bukhari]Narrated Abdullah:The Prophet said, "The best of generations is mygeneration, then those that come after them, thenthose that come after them." [Bukhari]Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:The Prophet said, "Do not abuse my companions for
  • 34. if any one of you spent gold equal to Uhud (inAllahs Cause) it would not be equal to a Mud oreven a half Mud spent by one of them." [Bukhari]The Prophet(SAWS) said:"The Jews divided into seventy-one sects and theChristians divided into seventy-two sects. MyUmmah will divide into seventy-three different sects,all of which will be in the Fire except one: Thosewho are on the like of what I and my Companionsare on at this time." [Hasan At-Tirmidhi]back to the topExcellence of Abu Bakr (RA)Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:"The person who has favored me most of all bothwith his company and wealth, is Abu Bakr. If I wereto take a Khalil (close friend and protector) other
  • 35. than my Lord, I would have taken Abu Bakr assuch, but he is my brother and my companion. Allthe gates of the Mosque should be closed except thegate of Abu Bakr." [Bukhari]Narrated Ibn Umar:"We used to compare the people as to who wasbetter during the lifetime of Allahs Apostle . Weused to regard Abu Bakr as the best, then Umar,and then Uthman ." [Bukhari]Narrated Jubair bin Mutim:A woman came to the Prophet who ordered her toreturn to him again. She said, "What if I came and didnot find you?" as if she wanted to say, "If I found youdead?" The Prophet said, "If you should not find me,go to Abu Bakr." [Bukhari]Narrated Abu Darda:
  • 36. "While I was sitting with the Prophet, Abu Bakr came,lifting up one corner of h is garment uncovering h isknee. The Prophet said, "Your companion has had aquarrel." Abu Bakr greeted (the Prophet ) and said,"O Allahs Apostle! There was something (i.e.quarrel) between me and the Son of Al-Khattab. Italked to him harshly and then regretted that, andrequested him to forgive me, but he refused. This iswhy I have come to you." The Prophet said thrice, "OAbu Bakr! May Allah forgive you." In the meanwhile,Umar regretted (his refusal of Abu Bakrs excuse) andwent to Abu Bakrs house and asked if Abu Bakr wasthere. They replied in the negative. So he came to theProphet and greeted him, but signs of displeasureappeared on the face of the Prophet till Abu Bakr pitied(Umar), so he knelt and said twice, "O Allahs Apostle!By Allah! I was more unjust to him (than he to me)."The Prophet said, "Allah sent me (as a Prophet) toyou (people) but you said (to me), You are telling alie, while Abu Bakr said, He has said the truth,and consoled me with himself and his money." Hethen said twice, "Wont you then give up harming mycompanion?" After that nobody harmed Abu Bakr."[Bukhari]
  • 37. Narrated Amr bin Al-As:The Prophet deputed me to read the Army of Dhat-as-Salasil. I came to him and said, "Who is the mostbeloved person to you?" He said, " Aisha." I asked,"Among the men?" He said, "Her father." I said,"Who then?" He said, "Then Umar bin Al-Khattab."He then named other men. [Bukhari]Narrated Abu Huraira:I heard Allahs Apostle saying, "Anybody who spendsa pair of something in Allahs Cause will be calledfrom all the gates of Paradise, "O Allahs slave!This is good. He who is amongst those who pray willbe called from the gate of the prayer (in Paradise)and he who is from the people of Jihad will be calledfrom the gate of Jihad, and he who is from thosewho give in charity (i.e. Zakat) will be called fromthe gate of charity, and he who is amongst those whoobserve fast will be called from the gate of fasting,the gate of Raiyan." Abu Bakr said, "He who is
  • 38. called from all those gates will need nothing," Headded, "Will anyone be called from all those gates, OAllahs Apostle?" He said, "Yes, and I hope you willbe among those, O Abu Bakr." [Bukhari]Narrated Muhammad bin Al-Hanafiya:I asked my father (Ali bin Abi Talib), "Who are thebest people after Allahs Apostle ?" He said, "AbuBakr." I asked, "Who then?" He said, "Then Umar."I was afraid he would say "Uthman, so I said, "Thenyou?" He said, "I am only an ordinary person."Narrated Abu Hurairah:The Prophet (SAWS) said: "Gabriel came and takingme by the hand showed the gate of Paradise bywhich my people will enter." Abu Bakr then said:"Apostle of Allah! I wish I had been with you so thatI might have looked at it." The Apostle of Allah(SAWS) then said: "You, Abu Bakr, will be the firstof my people to enter Paradise." [Abu Dawud]
  • 39. back to the topExcellence of Umar bin Al-Khattab (RA)Narrated Abu Huraira:Allahs Apostle said, "Among the nations before youthere used to be people who were inspired (thoughthey were not prophets). And if there is any of sucha persons amongst my followers, it is Umar."[Bukhari]Narrated Abu Huraira:The Prophet said, "Among the nation of Bani Israelwho lived before you, there were men who used to beinspired with guidance though they were notprophets, and if there is any of such personsamongst my followers, it is Umar." [Bukhari]Narrated Ibn Abbas:
  • 40. When (the dead body of) Umar was put on hisdeathbed, the people gathered around him and invoked(Allah) and prayed for him before the body was takenaway, and I was amongst them. Suddenly I feltsomebody taking hold of my shoulder and found out thathe was Ali bin Abi Talib. Ali invoked Allahs Mercy forUmar and said, "O Umar! You have not left behindyou a person whose deeds I like to imitate and meetAllah with more than I like your deeds. By Allah! Ialways thought that Allah would keep you with yourtwo companions, for very often I used to hear theProphet saying, I, Abu Bakr and Umar went(somewhere); I, Abu Bakr and Umar entered(somewhere); and I, Abu Bakr and Umar wentout." [Bukhari]Narrated Jabir bin Abdullah:The Prophet said, "I saw myself (in a dream)entering Paradise, and behold! I saw Ar-Rumaisa,Abu Talhas wife. I heard footsteps. I asked, Who isit? Somebody said, It is Bilal Then I saw a palaceand a lady sitting in its courtyard. I asked, For
  • 41. whom is this palace? Somebody replied, It is forUmar. I intended to enter it and see it, but Ithought of your (Umars) Ghira (jealousy regardingwomen) and gave up the attempt." Umar wept andsaid, "Let my parents be sacrificed for you, O AllahsApostle! How dare I think of my Ghira (self-respect)being offended by you?" [Bukhari]Narrated Hamzas father:Allahs Apostle said, "While I was sleeping, I sawmyself drinking (i.e. milk), and I was so contentedthat I saw the milk flowing through my nails. Then Igave (the milk) to Umar." They (i.e. the companionsof the Prophet) asked, "What do you interpret it?" Hesaid, "Knowledge." [Bukhari]Narrated Sad bin Abi Waqqas:Umar bin Al-Khattab asked the permission of AllahsApostle to see him while some Quraishi women weresitting with him, talking to him and asking him for more
  • 42. expenses, raising their voices above the voice of AllahsApostle.When Umar asked for the permission to enter, thewomen quickly put on their veils. Allahs Apostleallowed him to enter and Umar came in while AllahsApostle was smiling, Umar said "O Allahs Apostle!May Allah always keep you smiling." The Prophetsaid, "These women who have been here, roused mywonder, for as soon as they heard your voice, theyquickly put on their veils." Umar said, "O AllahsApostle! You have more right to be feared by themthan I." Then Umar addressed the women saying, "Oenemies of yourselves! You fear me more than youdo Allahs Apostle ?" They said, "Yes, for you areharsher and sterner than Allahs Apostle." ThenAllahs Apostle said, "O Ibn Al-Khattab! By Him inWhose Hands my life is! Never does Satan find yougoing on a way, but he takes another way other thanyours." [Bukhari]Narrated Abdullah:
  • 43. We have been powerful since Umar embraced Islam.[Bukhari]Narrated Aslam:Ibn Umar asked me about some matters concerningUmar. He said, "Since Allahs Apostle died. I havenever seen anybody more serious, hard workingand generous than Umar bin Al-Khattab (till theend of his life)." [Bukhari]Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:I heard Allahs Apostle saying, "While I was sleeping,the people were presented to me (in a dream). Theywere wearing shirts, some of which were merelycovering their (chests). and some were a bit longer.Umar was presented before me and his shirt was solong that he was dragging it." They asked, "Howhave you interpreted it, O Allahs Apostle?" He said,"Religion." [Bukhari]
  • 44. Narrated Ibn Umar:During the lifetime of the Prophet we considered AbuBakr as peerless and then Umar and then Uthman(coming next to him in superiority) and then we used notto differentiate between the companions of the Prophet. [Bukhari]back to the topThe Ten Promised ParadiseNarrated Saeed bin Zayd:Abdur-Rahman bin Al-Akhnas said that when he was inthe mosque, a man abused Ali (RA). So Saeed bin Zaydgot up and said: "I bear witness to the Apostle ofAllah (SAWS) that I heard him say: "Ten personswill go to Paradise: "Abu Bakr will go to Paradise,Umar will go to Paradise, Uthman will go toParadise, Ali will go to Paradise, Talha will go toParadise: Zubair bin Al-Awwam will go to Paradise,Sad bin Abi Waqqas will go to Paradise and Abdur-
  • 45. Rahman bin Awf will go to Paradise. If I wish, I canmention the tenth." The People asked: "Who is he?"so he kept silence. They again asked: "Who is he?"He replied: "He is Saeed ibn Zayd." He then said:"The company of one man whose face has beencovered with dust by the Apostle of Allah (SAWS) isbetter than the actions of one of you for a whole lifetime even if he is granted the life-span of Noah."[Abu Dawud]These Ten Companions are listed below, together withthe dates of when they lived and died:1. Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (51 B.H-13 A.H; 573-634 C.E)2. Umar bin Al-Khattab Al-Farooq (40 B.H-23 A.H;584-644 C.E)3. Uthman bin Affan Ghani Dhun-Nurayn (47 B.H- 35A.H; 577-656 C.E)4. Ali bin Abi Talib (23 B.H- 40 A.H; 600-661 C.E)5. Talha bin Ubaidullah (28 B.H-36 A.H; 596-656 C.E)6. Zubair bin Al-Awwaam (28 B.H-36 A.H; 596-656C.E)7. Abdur-Rahman bin Awf (passed away 31 A.H/654C.E)
  • 46. 8. Sad bin Abi Waqqas (23 B.H-55 A.H; 600-675 C.E)9. Saeed bin Zaid (passed away 51 A.H)10.Abu Ubaidah Aamir bin Abdullah bin Al-Jarrah.back to the topExcellence of Khalid bin Al-Waleed (RA)Narrated Anas:The Prophet had informed the people of the martyrdomof Zaid bin Haritha, Jafar bin Abi Talib and Abdullah binRawaha before the news of their death reached. TheProphet said, "Zaid took the flag (as the commanderof the army) and was martyred, then Jafar took itand was martyred, and then Ibn Rawaha took it andwas martyred." At that time the Prophets eyes wereshedding tears. He added, "Then the flag was takenby a Sword amongst the Swords of Allah (Khalid binAl-Waleed) and Allah made them (i.e. the Muslims)victorious." [Bukhari]
  • 47. Narrated Khalid bin Al-Walid:"On the day of the Battle of Mutah, nine swordswere broken in my hand, and nothing was left in myhand except a Yemenite sword of mine." [Bukhari]Abu Saeed Al-Khudri reported there was some disputebetween Khalid bin Al-Waleed and Abdur-Rahman binAwf (RA) and Khalid (RA) abused him. ThereuponAllahs Messenger (SAWS) said to Khalid (RA): "Donot abuse my Companions, do not abuse myCompanions. By Him in Whose Hand is my soul, ifone amongst you would have spent as much gold asUhud, it would not amount to as much as one mudd(handful) of one of them or half of it." [Bukhari,Muslim]back to the topThe Killing of Imam Hasan (RA)Information dispelling the fabrication that Hasan bin Ali
  • 48. bin Abi Talib was poisoned by his wife can be found inthe article at
  • 49. NotesNote 1: The Blessed TenThese 10 men were known as Ashrat-ul-Mubashira-literally: "the ten who have been given the good news".Long before their death these men had been told by theProphet that they would enter into paradise. I havetranslated the term idiomatically as the Blessed Ten. Forthose interested, these 10 men were: Ali Abu Bakr Uthman Zubair bin Al Awwam Abdur-Rahman bin Auf Sad bin Abi Waqqas Talha bin Ubaidullah Abu Ubaidah bin Al Jarrah
  • 50. Saeed bin Zaid UmarThe list shows the order of their conversion. Therewere others who became Muslims before some of these(like Zaid bin Harithah, who was the second male toaccept Islam), but they were not among the BlessedTen.Note 2: Khalid and the YemenEarly historians have quoted some sources as sayingthat Khalid was also sent to the Yemen to convert theprovince to Islam; that he had no success; that theProphet then sent Ali, placing Khalid under hiscommand; and that Ali successfully accomplished theconversion of the Yemen. It is true that Ali went andconverted the Yemenis, but I do not believe that Khalidwas sent before him to the Yemen. The conversion ofthe Yemen was too big a job for a new convert likeKhalid; it needed a Companion of high standing, like Ali.Moreover, if as stated, Khalid had no success in theYemen, he was bound to have shed blood; and weknow that there was no bloodshed in the Yemen at thehands of Khalid. Finally, Khalid returned from Najran in
  • 51. January 632 (Ibn Hisham; Vol 2, p. 594), while Ali leftfor the Yemen in December 631 (Ibn Sad: p. 687). Sothe report of Khalid going to the Yemen could not betrue.Perhaps the nearness of Najran to the Yemen led somechroniclers to confuse Khalids actual mission to theformer with an imagined mission to the latter.Note 3: Dates of the Campaign of ApostasyWe know the dates of events more or less accuratelyup to and including the organisation of the 11 corps byAbu Bakr at Zhu Qissa. Thereafter the early historiansgive no dates.We do know, however, that the entire campaign wascompleted by the end of 11 Hijri. We know that theBattle of Yamamah was fought in the early part ofwinter ("The cold has come"-Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 518.) Wealso, know the chronological sequence of the variousbattles and other events. And there are certain pointers,like reinforcements for Battle E being sent onconclusion of Battle C, and so on.
  • 52. From this information, I have worked out theapproximate dates of the various events that have beendescribed, with the help of my military experience andjudgement: for instance, it would take so long for a forceto move from A to B; it would take so long to preparefor battle; it would take so long to completeadministrative actions after battle before the nextoperation could be launched, and so on.Because such estimates cannot be entirely accurate, Ihave given all dates after the formation of the 11 corpsin terms of weeks rather than days. There may still besome inaccuracy, but probably of no more than a weekor so.Note 4: Plan for Invasion of IraqEarly historians quote certain sources as narratinganother version of the Caliphs plan for the invasion ofIraq. This version is as follows:a. Abu Bakr instructed two generals to enter Iraq:Khalid from below, via Uballa, and Ayadh bin Ghanamfrom above, via Muzayyah. Ayadh was thensomewhere in Northern Arabia, between Nibbaj and theHijaz.
  • 53. b. Hira was given as the common objective to bothgenerals. Whichever of them got to Hira first wouldbecome the Commander-in-Chief and the other wouldserve under him.c. The Commander-in-Chief would then leave sufficientforces to guard Hira as a base, and proceed with therest of the army to fight the Persians in the imperialcapital, Ctesiphon.I reject this version for the following reasons:(i) Abu Bakr, who relied heavily on Khalid to fight themain battles of the apostasy, would not plan the newcampaign in a way that might place Khalid under thecommand of an untried general like Ayadh bin Ghanam,who was in any case not in the same class as Khalid.(ii) Abu Bakr believed strongly in the principle ofconcentration of force, as is evident from his conduct ofthe Campaign of the Apostasy. It is unlikely that hewould violate that principle now by splitting the availableforces into two and launching them in two widely
  • 54. separated areas whence they would be unable tosupport each other. A two-pronged invasion, sometimesdesirable and sound, would be a grave error in this case,when the enemy was so much stronger and operated oninterior lines. The Muslims, split into two forces, wouldsuffer defeat in detail.(iii) If this version were true and Ctesiphon was indeedthe ultimate objective of the invasion, Khalid wouldcertainly have attacked it. Actually, we know fromTabari that towards the end of the campaign, Khalidwanted to attack Ctesiphon but did not do so for fear ofthe Caliphs disapproval. And there is no mentionanywhere of Abu Bakr ever cancelling his supposedorder to attack Ctesiphon or, alternatively, remindingKhalid of it.(iv) As it happened, Ayadh was stuck at Daumat-ul-Jandal and was later helped out by Khalid. If hisobjective were "Iraq from above" there was no need forhim to engage in serious hostilities in a region far fromhis objective, especially when other and better routes tothat objective were available to him. Ayadh bin Ghanamdid have a force under his command, but its strength
  • 55. was not very great. His objective was probably noneother than Daumat-ul-Jandal. Abu Bakr may, of course,have had the intention of sending him to Iraq later tosupport Khalid, for after Daumat-ul-Jandal he didproceed to Iraq with Khalid and served under hiscommand.Note 5: The Battle of the RiverThe description of this battle is taken exclusively fromTabari, but Tabari places this battle at Mazar and namesit after both Mazar and the River (Sinyy). Balazuri (p.243) also mentions a battle at Mazar, while the accountsof Ibn Ishaq and Waqidi make no mention of action inthe Kazima-Uballa-Mazar region.Mazar, according to Yaqut(Vol. 4, p. 468) was fourdays journey from Basra on the road to Wasit (whichwas founded in 83 Hijri); and it was on the One-EyedTigris. Mazar is now believed to have stood on the siteof the present Azeir, on the right bank of the Tigris.Azeir is actually about eighty miles from Basra and thisplaces it correctly as the site of Mazar.But it should be noted that Mazar was about 70 miles
  • 56. beyond the River and 25 miles beyond the Euphrates.Thus it could not be reached without an elaboratearrangement of boats for crossing the rivers; and thereis no mention of Khalid crossing any river to go toMazar. The arrangements necessary for the collectionof boats for the crossing of the entire Muslim armywould surely have attracted the attention of historians,as Khalids use of boats after Ulleis did, and an eventlike the crossing of the Euphrates could not have goneunnoticed by the chroniclers.I believe that Khalid never crossed this river. No Arabcommander (of those days, that is) would cross a largeriver and move far beyond it, thus putting a majorobstacle between himself and the desert, while powerfulenemy forces were free to manoeuvre against his rear.This would be even more so when the enemy was theformidable imperial Persian. The desert strategy ofKhalid, and of other Arab commanders after him, wasbased on the principle of staying close to the fringes ofthe desert. Moreover, since Khalids objective was Hira,his crossing the River and the Euphrates to go intoCentral Iraq, thus deviating from his objective, would notmake sense. Hence, in my view, this battle was the
  • 57. Battle of the River only, and not the Battle of Mazaralso.Note 6: Location of Khanafis etc.There is no certainty about the location of Khanafis,Huseid, Muzayyah, Saniyy and Zhumail, and I acceptthe possibility of error in my geographical reconstructionof this operation. Historical indications about theselocations are given below.Khanafis: According to Yaqut (Vol. 2, p. 473), theplace was near Anbar and in the vicinity of Baradan.Musil, in one part of his book (p. 309), suggests that itwas west of the Euphrates, but elsewhere places it atthe present Kazimein, 5 miles above Baghdad, statingthat Baradan was a district 4 leagues from Baghdad.I place it definitely west of the Euphrates (though itsexact location is a guess) on the basis of Tabari andgeographical indications:a. Tabari states (Vol. 2, p. 580) that Khalid left Hira onthe route to Khanafis and caught up with Qaqa and AbuLaila at Ain-ut-Tamr. If Khanafis were east of the
  • 58. Euphrates, there could be no question of Ain-ut-Tamrbeing on the way to it.b. In 13 Hijri, Muthanna wanted to raid Baghdad andKhanafis from Ulleis (Tabari: Vol. 2, pp. 655-6), andwas told by guides that the two were some days journeyapart and that Khanafis was quicker to get to.Muthanna went to Khanafis by "the land route" and thencontinued to Anbar. Thus if Khanafis were at or nearKazimein, it would not be some days away fromBaghdad and could not be reached by reached by "theland route".I place Bardan as the Wadi-ul-Ghadaf, which was alsoknown as Wadi-ul-Burdan, and runs 25 miles north ofAin-ut-Tamr. If there was a place named Bardan orBurdan, it no longer exists, but the Wadi suggests itsgeneral geographical location. This is supported byTabaris statement (Vol. 2, p. 581) that on his marchfrom Ain-ut-Tamr to Muzayyah, Khalid went pastBardan. I have placed Khanafis a little north of theWadi.Huseid:Yaqut (Vol. 2, p. 281) mentions this as a smallvalley between Kufa and Syria. Hence this was
  • 59. definitely west of the Euphrates, but must have beeneast of Khanafis because of the direction ofMahbuzans withdrawal. Had Khanafis been to the east,Mahbuzan would have withdrawn towards Ctesiphonand not to Muzayyah. Musil also (p. 309) places Huseidwest of the Euphrates, but its exact location isuncertain.Muzayyah: Yaqut (Vol. 4, p. 560) calls this place a hillin Najd, on the bank of the Wadi-ul-Jareeb, in the areaof the Rabeea, which was one of the tribes of theTaghlib group in Iraq. (Najd means a high tableland,and this was not the Najd in Arabia.) Tabari (Vol. 2, p.580) places it between Hauran and Qalt. Musil (p. 303)locates it at Ain-ul-Arnab, 270 kilometres from Hira,115 kilometres north-west of Anbar and 75 kilometressouth-south-east of Aqlat Hauran. Ain-ul-Arnab iscorrectly located now 25 miles west of the presentHeet. In the absence of any other indications, I acceptthis as Muzayyah.Saniyy and Zhumail: Both Yaqut and Tabari (andMusil, who follows Yaqut in this) are well off the markin their location of these places. Yaqut (Vol. 1, p. 937)places Saniyy east of Risafa and Zhumail near Bashar,
  • 60. east of Risafa and east of the Euphrates. Tabari (Vol. 2,p. 582) also locates them east of Risafa. Risafa is inSyria, north-north-east of Palmyra and 15 miles south ofthe Euphrates. Musil (p. 312) places the two battlefieldsin the foothills of the Bisri Range, which runs north-eastof Palmyra, and regards Bashar as another name forBisri.I reject these locations emphatically. It is unthinkablethat Khalid should take his army 250 miles fromMuzayyah (about 400 miles from his base at Hira-almost a six weeks turn-round-merely to tackle twoArab concentrations which in no way concerned him.Moreover, the Bisri Range and Risafa were deep inSyria, and there could be just no question of Khalidtaking such liberties with the Caliphs instructions, whichconfined his area of operations to Iraq.I have found Zhumail. It is marked on certain maps as aruined town 35 miles north-west of Ain-ut-Tamr, on thebank of the Wadi Zhumail. The one-million scale map(Dept. of Survey, War Office and Air Ministry, London,1962) spells it as Thumail, and this is a much moresensible location for the place. Saniyy must have beenbetween this place and Muzayyah, and I have shown it
  • 61. on Map 14 as 25 miles north-west of Zhumail. (Thiscould be wrong by a few miles; but not much more.)It is possible of course, that there was another Risafasomewhere in Western Iraq, in which case thereference to it by Yaqut and Tabari would be correct.Note 7: Dates of Campaign in IraqThe dates of some battles are given in the earlyaccounts, but for others they are missing. We know thatKhalids march from Yamamah and the Battle ofKazima took place in Muharram; the Battles of theRiver, Walaja and Ulleis were fought in Safar; and Hirawas conquered in Rabi-ul-Awwal. We also know theapproximate date of Khalids arrival at Firaz and theexact date of the Battle of Firaz.The dates of the remaining battles, from Anbar toZhumail, are not given. I have assessed these datesaccording to military judgement, as for the Campaign ofthe Apostasy. And since these are approximations, Ihave given these dates in weeks rather than in days.Note 8: The Camel and Water
  • 62. Early writers have described how, before this marchbegan, many of the camels were made to drink vastquantities of water which they stored inside their bellies.These animals were then slaughtered on the march, afew every day, and the water in their bellies used forthe horses.This is an old legend and, strangely enough, believed upto this day. Actually the camel carries no water as areservoir in any part of its body. The fact is that themuscle tissue of the camel holds a higher percentage ofwater than is the case with other animals, and thus thecamel can go without water for longer periods thanother animals without suffering dehydration. The legendof the water reservoir inside the camel, which the ridercan use for survival as a last resort, is just that-alegend!Note 9: The Route of the Perilous MarchCertain present-day writers have given Khalids route asthe southern one, i.e. via Daumat-ul-Jandal. Accordingto this version, Khalid marched from Hira to Daumat-ul-Jandal and then to Quraqir (and there is such a placeabout 70 miles north-west of Daumat-ul-Jandal).
  • 63. Thence he made the perilous march across unchartereddesert to reach Eastern Syria.Indeed some of the early writers have mentionedDaumat-ul-Jandal. Balazuri gives Daumat-ul-Jandal asthe stage a next after Arak and just before Tadmur,which is clearly impossible. Tabari mentions one sourceas saying that from Hira Khalid went to Quraqir viaDaumat-ul-Jandal, though in his main account of themarch he makes no reference at all to Daumat-ul-Jandal. Waqidi and Yaqubi in their description of thisroute entirely omit both Daumat-ul-Jandal and Quraqir.The fact is that some of the early narrators confusedthis march with Khalids operations against Daumat-ul-Jandal, which have been described in Part III of thisbook. They have even stated that it was on this marchthat he captured Daumat-ul-Jandal, which is incorrect.The operative condition in Abu Bakrs instructions toKhalid was to march with speed. Going via Daumat-ul-Jandal, Khalid could not fulfil this condition as the movewould take a long time to complete. And if he did go toDaumat-ul-Jandal, why should he not take the directcaravan route to Syria and join the Muslim forces
  • 64. deployed in the area of Busra and Jabiya? On this routethere was no enemy on the way, his fears of which wehave mentioned. Why should he risk the annihilation ofthe entire army by traversing an unchartered, waterlessdesert only about 20 or 30 miles east of the maincaravan route? And why should he bypass the Muslimforces, which it was his task to contact and take undercommand, go deeper into hostile territory in EasternSyria, and then fight his way back again to join theMuslim forces? This does not make sense.Moreover, according to both Tabari (Vol. 2, p. 601) andBalazuri (p. 118), Khalid marched from Hira to Quraqirvia Sandauda and Muzayyah. These two places arenorth-west of Hira, the distance to Muzayyah beingabout 200 miles. Why should Khalid travel this extradistance north-westwards from Hira and then turn southagain to go to Daumat-ul-Jandal? This makes even lesssense!The correct general alignment of the route is given byWaqidi and Yaqubi and also by Tabari, except for hispassing reference to one source relating to the routethrough Daumat-ul-Jandal. The route that I havedescribed, i.e. the one leading directly from Iraq to
  • 65. Syria, was the quickest route; and Khalids subsequentoperations in Eastern Syria, which followed his entryinto Syria, only make sense in the context of a march onthis route. In fact clear indications of this route aregiven by:a. Khalids fears of being held up by Roman garrisons(Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 603).b. Waqidis mention of Khalids traversing the land ofSamawa, which is in the Badiyat-ush-Sham (theDesert of Syria), which covers Western Iraq and South-Eastern Syria (Waqidi: p. 14).c. Tabaris statement that on completion of the marchKhalid had left behind the frontiers of Rome and itsgarrisons facing Iraq.d. Muthannas accompanying Khalid up to Quraqir,which he would not have done if it were as far away asthe border of North-Western Arabia.Although the general alignment of the route can bededuced from historical accounts, no one can be
  • 66. absolutely certain about the exact route taken by Khalid.The route that I have here offered can only be generallycorrect, and may be out by several miles. Certainpointers used are explained below.Arak is there even now in Syria, about 20 miles east-north-east of Palmyra. Suwa was a days march fromArak, and the spring a days march from Suwa. Thusthe spring was about 50 miles from Arak, and this puts itat about the Bir Warid of today. Quraqir was five daysfrom the spring which means between 100 and 150miles away. This gives us a bel in which Quraqir waslocated. Of course, this Quraqir is not there today andno one knows its precise location, but according toYaqut (Vol. 4, p. 49) it was a valley and a wateringplace of the Bani Kalb in Samawa; and the land ofSamawa is part of the Desert of Syria, as stated above.Thus this Quraqir was certainly in Western Iraq and notin North-Western Arabia.In Western Iraq exist the ruins of several ancient townsand castles which are clearly shown on anarchaeological map of Iraq prepared by the IraqiDirectorate General of Antiquities. West of Muzayyahlie Qasr-ul-Khubbaz, Qasr Amij and Qasr Muheiwir, the
  • 67. last one being 120 miles from Muzayyah; and althoughthe ruins relate to the Parthian period, they are believedto have existed as watering places for caravans untilwell into the Muslim period. This is the route whichKhalids movement must have followed before the startof the Perilous March; and I place Quraqir at or nearQasr Muheiwir, on the Wadi Hauran. This place is 120miles from the spring, which is about the distance of afive days march of that period.Note 10: Battle of Marj-us-SaffarWaqidi says nothing in his account about the Battle ofMarj-us-Suffar. Yaqubi (Vol. 2, p. 139) and Balazuri (p.125), mention this battle as being fought before theconquest of Damascus.Waqidi, strangely enough, describes two sieges ofDamascus, the first one being abandoned after a shorttime, while all other historians have mentioned only onesiege-the successful one. According to Waqidi (p. 18),Khalid came to Damascus from the north-east, afterthe Battle of Busra, fought the battle against Azazeerand Kulus who came out of Damascus to meet him inthe open, and then invested Damascus (p. 21). But soon
  • 68. after, he raised the siege and marched to Ajnadein tofight Wardan.Gibbon accepts this version of Waqidi but it does notappear to be really acceptable. In the context of themission given to Khalid by the Caliph, of takingcommand quickly of the Muslim forces in Syria andfighting the Romans (whose most threateningconcentration was at Ajnadein) such an action does notmake sense. It is unthinkable that Khalid should firstapproach Damascus from the north-east and raid MarjRahit; then bypass Damascus, march to Busra andcapture Busra; then again approach Damascus from thenorth-east, fight Azazeer and Kulus and invest the city;then raise the siege and march to Ajnadein.But the events described by Waqidi in the action againstAzazeer and Kulus are real and correct. They did takeplace. So I have assumed that they took place beforethe one and only siege, and this was the Battle of Marj-us-Suffar.Note 11: Date of Conquest of DamascusMost early historians and practically all later ones, have
  • 69. given the fall of Damascus as occurring in Rajab, 14Hijri (September 635). Waqidi is the only one of theearly writers who has placed it a year earlier, i.e. Rajab,13 Hijri, and this I regard as correct. There are variouspointers to this in the early accounts, most of which arelinked with the death of Abu Bakr, which occurred onthe 22nd of Jamadi-ul-Akhir, 13 Hijri, i.e. the monthpreceding the conquest of Damascus, and the removalof Khalid from the command of the army by Umar.The letter which Umar wrote to Abu Ubaidah,appointing him the commander of the army, reached himwhile a great battle was in progress, and Abu Ubaidahwithheld this information from Khalid until after thebattle had been won. This battle could not have beenthat of Ajnadein, which was fought-and on this there isuniversal agreement-in Jamadi-ul-Awwal, 13 Hijri.Some writers have quoted sources saying that the eventtook place at Yaqusa. But this could not be correcteither, as Yaqusa was just a one-day battle. Some whoconsider that the year of the Battle of Yarmuk was 13Hijri have said that the letter reached Abu Ubaidahduring this battle. This too is incorrect, as the Battle ofYarmuk was fought in 15 Hijri.
  • 70. All the early historians have quoted some sources assaying that the letter reached Abu Ubaidah while theMuslims were besieging Damascus, and that he did notinform Khalid of this until after the surrender of the city.In my view this is correct; and if it is, then Damascuscould not have fallen in Rajab, 14 Hijri, for thisinformation regarding the change of command could notpossibly have been concealed from the Muslims for awhole year. It could be concealed for a few weeks-certainly no more than a month-as I have assumed.The pact with the Damascenes was signed by Khalid asthe Muslim commander and witnessed by Abu Ubaidah.This pact was actually seen by Waqidi in the followingcentury. There can be no question of this pact beingsigned by Khalid a year after his removal fromcommand with Abu Ubaidah, the actual commander,only witnessing it.According to Waqidi (p. 62), the oath of allegiance toUmar was taken by the Muslims at Damascus on the3rd of Shaban, 13 Hijri, when they had finished with thesiege of Damascus. And this was after the return ofKhalid from his raid at Marj-ud-Deebaj; which cameafter the fall of Damascus.
  • 71. Another point: The Battle of Fahl, according to everyhistorian, was fought in Zu Qad, 13 Hijri, and allhistorians have quoted some sources as saying that thisbattle took place after the conquest of Damascus.As for the duration of the siege of Damascus, historiansdisagree. It has been given variously as one year, sixmonths, four months and 70 days. I put it at about amonth. It could not have been very long, as thenHeraclius would certainly have made more than oneattempt to relieve the beleaguered garrison. If Heracliuscould raise another large army for the battle of Fahl,fought in Zu Qad, 13 Hijri, he would certainly have usedsuch an army for the relief of Damascus, had the siegecontinued till then. In any case, a garrison and apopulation so large could not have been victualled for along siege in the three weeks which elapsed after theBattle of Ajnadein until the siege began. Here againWaqidis version is the most sensible one.Keeping all this in mind, we must conclude thatDamascus fell on or about Rajab 20,13 Hijri, after asiege of one month.Note 12: Yarmuk-Opposing Strengths
  • 72. There is a difference of opinion about the strength ofboth armies at the Battle of Yarmuk. As frequentlyhappens in such cases, there has been a tendency toshow ones own strength as less than it was and theenemy strength as more than it was.Let us first take the Roman strength. Muslim historiansassess it as follows:a. Tabari, in one place, (Vol. 2, p. 598, where he giveshis main account of the battle) shows it as 200,000 men.Elsewhere (Vol. 3, p. 74) he quotes Ibn Ishaq as sayingthat it was a 100,000 including 12,000 Armenians and12,000 Christian Arabs.b. Balazuri (p. 140) gives the Roman strength as200,000.c. Waqidi (p. 107) exaggerates it to a fantastic figure,but his estimate of the Roman who used chains (30,000,p. 139) seems very reasonable.As for Western writers, Gibbon (Vol. 5, p. 325), takinghis material from early Byzantine sources, gives the
  • 73. Roman strength as 140,000 including 60,000 ChristianArabs.There is obvious exaggeration on both sides, but less soon the Western side, because the Byzantines wouldknow their own strength better than their opponentswould. We should dismiss the figure of 200,000 asincorrect. Such a vast army could not possibly havebeen assembled on one battlefield; and the problems ofthe concentration, movement, supply and feeding ofsuch a force, with the relatively primitivecommunications of the time, would be such that anystaff officer entrusted with the task would promptlyresign his commission! This point will be more apparentto the trained military mind than to the civilian reader.On the Western side, too, there is an attempt tominimise the Roman strength, especially the Europeanpart of it-partly perhaps for reasons of racial pride. It isabsurd to say that the Arab section of the armyamounted to 60,000 men. Just the Arabs of Syria couldhardly have produced such a numerous army, when theentire Muslim State, which included Arabia, the Yemen,Iraq and Gulf States, could only produce 40,000. This istherefore probably nothing more than an attempt to pass
  • 74. the blame on to the Arabs. It is noteworthy that whileGibbon gives the Christian Arab strength as 40 per cent,Ibn Ishaq (a reliable source) gives it as only 12 per cent.Allowing for exaggeration on both sides, I believe thatthe Roman army was 150,000 strong. It is impossible tosay how strong each contingent was, but in the absenceof any data, I have assumed that each of the five armieswhich comprised the Roman army at Yarmuk (includingthe Christian Arab army of Jabla) was roughly a fifth ofthe total Roman strength. There is, of course, thepossibility of some error in this assumption. As for theMuslim strength, Tabari in one place (Vol. 2, p. 592)gives it as 40,000 plus a reserve of 6,000. Elsewhere(Vol. 3, p. 74), he quotes Ibn Ishaq as saying that theMuslims numbered 24,000-this against 100,000 Romans.Balazuri (p. 141) agrees with Ibn Ishaq, while Waqidi(p. 144) places the Muslim strength at 41,000.I doubt that it could have been more than Waqidisfigure, and in order to accommodate Balazuri and IbnIshaq, have given the Muslim strength as 40,000, i.e.Tabaris figure without the reserve. This gives a ratio ofroughly one Muslim to four of the opposition.
  • 75. Note 13: Battlefield of YarmukEarly historians do not say precisely where the Battle ofYarmuk was fought, and as a result, a dispute hasarisen among later writers on this point. Some havegiven the battle-front as the Yarmuk River itself; othershave put it a little south of the Yarmuk; yet others haveplaced it east of the Yarmuk. We shall take up thesetheories in turn.No battle could be fought across the Yarmuk River. Ihave described the ravine, and one look at it wouldconvince any observer of this statement. Cavalry justcannot cross the gorge, and infantry movement is onlypossible in single file, with soldiers picking their waycarefully over the sides, skirting the precipices. This isout!A battle south of the river-on this grand scale that is-isout of the question. The terrain consists of spurs,flanked by steep wadis, running down to the Yarmuk,and nothing more than small-scale actions andskirmishes are possible in this terrain. This could not bethe place which Khalid described as "a plain suitable forthe charge of cavalry". Moreover, if the battle had been
  • 76. fought south of the Yarmuk, the Romans would havebeen pushed into the Yarmuk rather than the Wadi-ur-Raqqad, and this did not happen.As for a battle east of the Yarmuk, the terrain permits agreat battle here, as it consists of an open plain, north ofDara. But there is no indication anywhere in the earlyaccounts of the battle being fought here. In fact thepointers are against it, for as indicated below, theyfavour the geography of the field I have described.Moreover, the Wadi-ur-Raqqad is too far from the plaineast of the Yarmuk (over 20 miles from where theRoman left wing would be) for Khalid to turn theRoman, left, defeat the Roman army in position, herdthe Romans into the Raqqad and then destroy them, allin a one-day counter-offensive.Now for the battlefield I have reconstructed. There arethe following clear proofs:a. Khalids advice to Abu Ubaidah-which wasaccepted-to put Azra behind him. This means facingroughly west.b. Abu Ubaidah, after taking up positions, wrote to
  • 77. Umar that their army was deployed "on the Yarmuk,near Jaulan". (Waqidi.-p. 118).c. The position of the Roman camp near Jaulan, whichis between the Raqqad, Lake Tiberius and the area tothe north. And this was 11 miles from the Muslim camp,putting the Muslim camp a little east of where I haveplaced the battle-line.d. The Hill of Samein, 3 miles south-west of the presentNawa, is now known as the Hill of Jamua (gathering)because, according to local tradition, on it a part ofKhalids army was gathered. This is the clearestindication of the battle-front, as in most Arab countriesthese traditions have been passed down accurately fromfather to son since the earliest times.e. The manoeuvre, as it was conducted, ending at theWadi-ur-Raqqad in a one-day counter-offensive, couldonly be possible, in time and space, from the central orwest-central part of the Plain of Yarmuk.f. The front could not have been further east becausethe Muslims would not then have been on the Yarmuk,
  • 78. which starts at Jalleen, behind where I have shown theMuslim left wing. Moreover, Dhiraars outflankingmovement on the night before the last day of battlewould not have been possible if the Muslim army hadbeen 20 miles away.Hence the battle-front could only have been more orless as it has been described in the chapter on Yarmuk.This should not be out by more than a mile or so, exceptfor the Hill of Jamua, which was definitely in Muslimhands.
  • 79. Bibliography1. Ibn Hisham: Seerat-un-Nabawi, Cairo, 1955.2 . Waqidi: Maghazi Rasulillah: Cairo, 1948; Futuh-ush-Sham, Cairo, 1954.3. Ibn Sad: Tabaqat-ul-Kubara, Cairo, 1939.4. Ibn Qutaibah: Al Maarif, Cairo, 1960.5. Al-Yaqubi: Tareekh-ul-Yaqubi, Beirut, 1960;Al Buldan, Lieden, 1892.6. Al-Baladhuri: Futuh-ul-Buldan, Cairo, 1959.7. Dinawari: Akhbar-ul-Tiwal, Cairo, 1960.8 . At-Tabari: Tareekh-ul-Umam wal Muluk , Cairo,1939.9 . Al-Masudi: Muruj-uz-Dhahab, Cairo, 1958; AlTanbeeh wal Ashraf, Cairo, 1938.10. Ibn Rusta: Alaq-un-Nafeesa, Lieden, 1892.11. Isfahani: Al Aghani, Cairo, 1905.12. Yaqut: Mujam-ul-Buldan, Teheran, 1965.
  • 80. 13. Abu Yusuf: Kitab-ul-Kharaj, Cairo, 1962.14. Edward Gibbon: Decline and Fall of the RomanEmpire, London, 1954.15. Alois Musil: The Middel Euphrates; New York,1927.Ibn Hisham. His abridgement of the last pioneeringwork, Seerah Rasoolullah, by Muhammad bin Ishaq, isinvaluable. Portions of Ibn Ishaq have recently beenrecovered and published. Muhammad bin Ishaq (whodied in 150 or 151AH), is unquestionably the principalauthority on the Seerah (Prophetic biography) andMaghazi (battles) literature. Every writing after him hasdepended on his work, which though lost in its entirety,has been immortalised in the wonderful, extantabridgement of it, by Ibn Hisham. Ibn Ishaq was one ofthe Tabieen (second generation who saw the Sahabahbut not the Prophet SAWS himself) of humblebeginnings as a former slave. Ibn Ishaqs work isnotable for its excellent, rigorous methodology and itsliterary style is of the highest standard of elegance andbeauty. This is hardly surprising when we recall that IbnIshaq was an accomplished scholar not only in Arabiclanguage but also in the science of hadith. For this
  • 81. reason, most of the isnad (chains of narration) that hegives in his Seerah are also to be found in the authenticbooks of hadith. Ibn Ishaq, like Bukhari and Muslim,travelled very widely in the Muslim world in order toauthenticate the isnad of his hadith. It is reported thatIbn Ishaq saw and heard Saeed bin Al-Musayyib, Abanbin Uthman bin Affan, Az-Zuhri, Abu Salamah binAbdur-Rahman bin Awf and Abdur-Rahman binHurmuz Al-Araj. It is also reported that Ibn Ishaq wasthe teacher of the following outstanding authoritiesamong others:(a) Yahya bin Saeed Al-Ansari(b) Sufyan Ath-Thawri(c) Ibn Jurayh(d) Shubah bin Al-Hajjaj(e) Sufyan bin Uyainah(f) Hammad bin ZaidAl-Waqidi. The second most authoritative book onSeerah is that of Al-Maghazi by Muhammad bin UmarAl-Waqidi Al-Aslami (who lived from 130 to 207AHand is buried in Baghdad). This book was widely read invarious parts of the Muslim world. While som
  • 82. Ibn Sad. The third authoritative work on Seerah is IbnSads Tabaqat-ul-Kubara (nine volumes). Ibn Sad wasboth the student and the scribe/secretary of Al-Waqidi.The quality and scholarly excellence of the Tabaqat-ul-Kubara of Ibn Sad say a great deal about the academiccompetence of his teacher and patron.Al-Yaqubi. (Ahmad bin Jafar bin Wahb, died 292AH).Al-Yaqubis work is unique for its examples of theProphets (SAWS) sermons, not to be found elsewhere,especially those containing instruction and admonition.Al-Baladhuri. (Ahmad bin Yahya bin Jabir, died in279AH). The work of this early historian is valuable forthe texts it contains of certain important agreementswhich the Prophet (SAWS) concluded with somegroups and individuals- among others, the texts of hisagreements with the Christians of Najran, his agreementwith the people of Maqna, his book to Al-Mundhir binSawi and to Akaydar Dawmah.At-Tabari. (Ibn Jareer, died in 310AH) in hismonumental world history Tareekh-ul-Umam walMuluk. At-Tabari was not merely a historian, but alsoan unrivalled authority on the Arabic language and
  • 83. grammar, on hadith and fiqh, and on the tafseer(exegesis) and interpretation of the Quran. Evidence ofthe excellence of his scholarship, his prodigious anduntiring intellectual genius, is provided by his majorworks which run into many lengthy volumes each.Al-Masudi. (Abul-Hasan Ali bin Al-Husain bin Ali Al-Masudi, died in 346AH). A well-known Arab historian,descendent of one of the Companions of the Prophet(SAWS), Abdullah bin Masood (RA), author of twobooks on history including long sections on Seerah, bothmentioned above.
  • 84. The Author: Lieutenant- General A.I. AkramLieutenant-General A.I. Akram, Rawalpindi, Pakistan in his own words:M u s lim history is replete with great militaryachievements and glorious feats of arms. In the annalsof war there are no battles which surpass, in brillianceand decisiveness, the battles of Islam; no commanderswho surpass, in courage and skill, the gifted generals ofIslam. The sword has always held a place of honour inMuslim culture. And yet very little is known in the worldtoday about the military history of Islam. There is not asingle work by a trained military mind, written afterproper research and a thorough examination of theground, describing in detail the famous battles of Islam.
  • 85. In fact there has been no real research. There is a void.I became conscious of this void in early 1964 when Iwas Chief Instructor at the Staff College, Quetta.Having always been a keen student of Military History,which subject I used to direct, among others, at theStaff College, I felt that I was perhaps better qualifiedthan many Muslim soldiers to undertake the task offilling this gap in literature. The whole of Muslim militaryhistory would take several hundred volumes, but at leasta beginning could be made; and I decided to accept thechallenge. I would start at the beginning; and I woulddescribe the campaigns of Khalid bin Al Waleed (mayAllah be pleased with him).I found that a good deal of material was available on theearly battles of Islam, but it was all in Arabic. Not allearly Muslim historians have been translated; and wheretranslations exist, they are often inaccurate andsometimes downright dishonest. For such research onewould have to know the language in which the originalaccounts were written. So I learned Arabic.I then prepared a bibliography to include all the earlyhistorians, but excluded from it all writers, Muslim or
  • 86. Christian, who lived and wrote after the Tenth Century.Since the latter obtained all their information from theformer, I decided to concentrate exclusively on the earlysources and thus avoid being influenced in any way bythe opinions and conjectures of later writers. Thepreparation of the bibliography was relatively easy; thereal problem was the procurement of the books, forthese were not available in Pakistan and their cost inArab countries was considerable. In this matter,however, I was helped out by certain friends who verygenerously donated the books as a contribution to thisproject. These friends, who have all been my students atQuetta, are: Brigadier Majid Haj Hassan of Jordan,Brigadier H.U. Babar of Pakistan, and Majors Naif AonSharaf and Abdul Aziz Al Sheikh, both of Saudi Arabia.I thus came to possess an excellent library of earlyMuslim historical works; and with the acquisition of thismaterial my research began.One of the most difficult tasks which faces any scholardealing with such research is the absence ofgeographical data. Geography forms the physical basisof military strategy and no military history is possiblewithout knowing, with a reasonable degree of accuracy,
  • 87. the geographical conditions prevailing at the time. I wasfortunate to acquire two excellent geographical worksof the early Muslim period: Al Alaq-w-Nafeesa by IbnRusta and Al Buldan by Yaqubi, which explain inconsiderable detail the physical and political geographyof the time. From these works I was able to reconstructthe terrain conditions and pinpoint accurately thelocations of many places which no longer exist. It tookme several weeks of concentrated study to solve thisproblem and prepare the maps which are included in thisbook.I n my quest for maps I was also helped by BrigadierMajid Haj Hassan of Jordan and Brigadier H.U. Babarof Pakistan. And the last, though by no means least, ofmy geographical aids was a historical atlas of Iraqprepared by Dr. Ahmad Sousa of Baghdad-an excellentpiece of research which covers much more than Iraq inits scope.Although the giants of historical literature in the firstfew centuries of the Muslim era were almost allMuslims (as indeed were the giants of most branches ofliterature), I was anxious to study some early Westernauthors as well in order to know their version of events,
  • 88. especially with regard to the Muslim conquest of Syria.I was able to discover two Byzantine historians, vizNicephorus and Theophanes, both of the late Eighth andearly Ninth Centuries, but unfortunately could not findany translations of their works in languages which Iknow. I therefore decided to rely for the Western pointof view on the celebrated Edward Gibbon whose work:The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, isundoubtedly a monumental contribution to history, hisanti-Muslim prejudice notwithstanding. It only gives abirds-eye view but I had to be content with that in theabsence of other detailed, reliable Western literature.While avoiding all books written after the Tenth Centuryfor reasons already stated, I nevertheless studied certainlater authors for help in matters of geography, so that Icould collect all possible data which would make thisbook more accurate. I made extensive use of thefamous Mujam-ul-Buldan by the Twelfth/ThirteenthCentury scholar, Yaqut. And of Twentieth Centurygeographical works, the one of greatest help to me wasThe Middle Euphrates by Alois Musil, a Czech scholarwho travelled extensively in Iraq and Syria in the seconddecade of this Century and carried out a thorough study
  • 89. of the geography of the region traversed by theEuphrates.Having completed my study of the books and thepreparation of a first draft, I took leave of absence fromthe Army and in early August 1968, set out fromPakistan. I first spent some time in Europe, mainly inLondon and particularly in the British Museum, lookingfor works on Muslim campaigns against the ByzantineEmpire. I could not find any English translations of earlyWestern writers, but did get some useful referencesfrom the Museums library.I n late August I landed at Beirut, and now began mytour of the battlefields of Khalid bin Al Waleed. I wouldsee the lands over which Khalid marched, the placeswhere Khalid fought his battles, and the sands on whichthe blood of his enemies had flowed in rivulets. InLebanon I had no other work than to locate Abul Quds,a place where Khalid rescued a trapped Muslimcolumn; and having located this place, I travelled byroad to Syria.In Syria I stayed at every city which Khalid conquered -Damascus, Emessa, Tadmur, Aleppo-saw every place
  • 90. where Khalid fought his battles, and got the correctlocation of all the remaining places mentioned in Part IVof this book. In Damascus I saw the walls of the fort,traces of which still remain except in its western part,whence it has vanished altogether. I also saw the sixgates which are still named as they were in Khalidstime; but the inside of the fort has changed completely.And while in Damascus I took the opportunity of visitingthe very imposing National Museum and studying somevaluable works of reference which I did not possess inmy private library.I n Emessa I carried out the sacred duty of visiting (itwas almost a pilgrimage) the Mosque of Khalid bin AlWaleed. It was a poignant moment for me when I stoodat the foot of the grave of the master of war-the man Ihad been thinking about and reading about and writingabout for the past four years. I sat in contemplation inthe mosque, beside Khalids tomb, for an hour. Then Istood up and said two rakahs of prayer and prayed toAllah to give to the Muslims of today the victories whichHe had bestowed upon Khalid, even though they be lessdeserving.One of the most interesting days which I spent in Syria
  • 91. was the one on which I searched for and foundQinassareen (the ancient Chalcis), which Khalid hadcaptured, and at which he had held his last command.Many people in Aleppo had heard of Qinassareen andknew that it was somewhere near their city. It was alsomarked on archaeological maps as a site of ancientruins. But nobody knew just where it was and how onecould get there; for no visitor in living memory had evercome to see Qinassareen. However, I engaged a taxiand by good fortune found a Bedouin in the city (a manwhom I took to be a simple peasant) who lived twomiles from Qinassareen and had come to Aleppo on avisit. If I would drop him at his village, he would pointout to me the rest of the way to Qinassareen. I took himalong. We drove on a good road to Zarba, 14 milessouth-west of Aleppo, and here, on the Bedouinsinstructions, turned off the road on to a small countrytrack which later became so bad that the car lurcheda long with difficulty. After five miles of this, wereached the Bedouins village where he alighted fromthe car and told us to "keep going round the hill" and wewould find Qinassareen, The driver and I did keep goinground the hill, and not only found Qinassareen, but alsothat we were back on the very road we had left a few
  • 92. miles back! Qinassareen, or rather the site of it, forthere is no Qinassareen left, is actually on this road, andwe could have driven straight down to it, but were madeto do a wide detour just so the Bedouin could get to hisvillage. Clever Bedouin! But he was a pleasant fellowand did me a service by getting me to within two milesof Qinassareen; for while everybody in the surroundingvillages knew the location of Qinassareen nobody inAleppo did.The most important of my visits to battlefields in Syriawas the visit to Yarmuk. This is a prohibited areabecause of its nearness to the Cease Fire Line, andforeigners are not allowed to visit it; but thanks to thehelp of our Ambassador, Mr. A.A, Sheikh, I was givenpermission by the Syrian Government to visit any part ofthe area that I wished to see. And not only that-theSyrian Army also provided me with transport for cross-country driving and a conducting officer who knew thearea well and proved an indispensable guide. Thus Iwas able to spend many hours, armed with map andcompass, carrying out a thorough examination of thefamous battlefield. I drove along the entire length ofwhat had been the battle front, examined the terrain
  • 93. from several vantage points and had a good look at theYarmuk gorge from the north bank. I could not see theWadi-ur-Raqqad because it is the Cease Fire Line, butfrom a village named Shajara, three miles from theravine, I had a clear view of the area where the lastbloody phase of this battle was fought.After Yarmuk I drove with my conducting officer toBusra, saw the famous fort, examined the terrainoutside Busra and then returned to Damascus.I spent altogether a fortnight in Syria-a country full ofbeauty and full of history. Here my travels were madeeasier and more enjoyable with the help and cooperationof our Ambassador and our First Secretary, Mr. FazalRahim. On September 13, I traveled by taxi to Amman.I arrived in Jordan to find (not entirely to my surprise)that a Pakistani is not an alien in Jordan. In fact, in nocountry in the world does a Pakistani, when outside hisown native land, feel so much at home as in Jordan,where the affection and hospitality shown to Pakistanisis overwhelming and unforgettable. I stayed in Jordan asa guest of the Jordanian Army, and was given everyfacility to see all that I wanted to see, for which my
  • 94. thanks are due to the Chief of the General Staff,General Amer Khammash. And I am indebted to my oldstudent and friend, Brigadier Majid Haj Hassan, fortaking upon his broad shoulders the entire responsibilityof organising my programme and for seeing it through toa successful conclusion with the utmost efficiency.I spent a whole day examining the battlefield of Yarmukfrom south of the Yannuk River. This wassupplementary to the reconnaissance which I hadcarried out earlier from the Syrian side. I visited Fahland saw the area of the Jordan Valley where the Battleof Fahl was fought. I drove down to Mutah and walkedover what is believed to be the site of the battle, in thecentre of which a fine new mosque is now being built.Here, strangely enough, several people claim to haveseen visions of the Battle of Mutah-the movement ofMuslim warriors, the clash of combat-and I myself mettwo men who said that they had seen such visions. Thethree Muslim commanders who fell martyrs in this battleare buried at Mazar, two miles away, and I visited andprayed at the grave of each.My visit to Jordan ended on September 21, 1968, when Iflew to Baghdad, via Beirut, carrying with me memories
  • 95. of an interesting and heart-warming stay in a countrysmall in size but big in spirit.I arrived at Baghdad to find all the arrangements for mytour of Iraq already made, thanks to the foresight of ourMilitary Attache, Colonel H.M.I. Ameen. TheGovernment of Iraq had responded in a positive andbrotherly fashion to my project of writing about theconquests of Islam and the Minister of Culture andGuidance, Mr. Abdullah As-Salum, had already issuedinstructions that I was to be given every facility to seeall that I wished in Iraq, This official help was ofinestimable value to me. I was given transport and aconducting officer, Dr. Muhammad Baqir Al Hussaini,who proved a welcome guide and companion.I first spent a week in Baghdad, studying in the libraryof the Baghdad Museum and holding discussions withsome of the eminent scholars of Iraq-Dr. Saleh AhmadAlAli, Dr. Ahmad Sousa (whose atlas I have alreadymentioned) and Mr Fuad Safan. These discussionsrevolved around historical and geographical themes andwere of definite help to me. But my task of locatingbattlefields in Iraq proved much more difficult than ithad been in Syria and Jordan, for the reason that while
  • 96. in those countries Khalids battles were fought at greatcities and on well-known plains which are still there forthe visitor to see, his battles in Iraq were fought mainlyat small towns which have ceased to exist. Moreover,the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, behaving likeunpredictable women, have capriciously changed theircourse many times, thus altering the geography of theregion through which they flow. This makes the task ofaccurately placing the towns on their banks a matter ofconsiderable difficulty.Nevertheless, I was able to achieve a good deal, byGods grace. I carried out a tour of several daysduration, based first at Baghdad and then at Kufa, anddrove hundreds of miles in the desert and the sown. Ilocated and visited every battlefield of Khalid with theexception of the places where he fought after thecapture of Ain-ut-Tamr, for these places do not existnow and their location is not definitely established. Ithen went on to Basra and saw Mazar (the present AlAzeir) and the sites of Uballa and Hufeir, of neither ofwhich does a trace remain.This brought to an end my two and a half weeks stay inIraq-a stay made more interesting and comfortable by
  • 97. the hospitability of Colonel Ameen. On October 8, 1968,I travelled by road to Kuwait.I had very little to do in Kuwait. I located and sawKazima, the scene of Khalids first battle with thePersians (actually not much remains of Kazima); andtwo days after my arrival from Iraq I flew back toPakistan. In a little more than six weeks in the MiddleEast, I had travelled by road something like 4,000 miles.For four months I remained at my post, rewriting theaccount of Khalids campaigns in Iraq and Syria in thelight of knowledge gained in my travels. Then, in earlyFebruary, 1969, I set out once again for the desert, tocomplete what remained of my tour. I flew to Jedda onFebruary 4, and was received at the airport by ourM ilit a r y Attache, Colonel Nur-ul-Haq, andrepresentatives of the Saudi Arabian Army. ColonelNur-ul-Haq had informed the Saudi Government of mycoming and the purpose of my visit, and with typicalArab hospitality, the Government had invited me to stayas its guest. I happily accepted the invitation and thisproved a great boon, for over the vast spaces whichcomprise Saudi Arabia my extensive travels would nothave been possible without official assistance. In fact,
  • 98. as my tour progressed, and as I drove along sandy trailsand over barren deserts, I became more and moreconscious of my debt to the Saudi Government, and inparticular to the Army, because without their help Icould never have carried out such a thoroughexamination of these battlefields.All my travel arrangements were made by the Armyand I was given a conducting officer, Captain Abdur-Rahman Al Hammad, an intelligent young man whoremained with me as my aide and companion throughoutmy five weeks stay in the country.Soon after my arrival, I did the Umra at Makkah andthen flew to Riyadh. I decided to visit the northern partof Arabia first, as here my travels had to cover a muchlarger region, and I felt that it would be better to get thisbehind me, so that I would then be left with the easierand relatively better known, battles in the region ofMakkah and Madinah. Thus I would first see the placeswhere Khalid fought his battles against the apostates,the battles described in Part II of this book.I stayed three days at Riyadh, during which I spent anentire morning examining the battlefield of Yamamah,
  • 99. and then travelled by road to Buraidah. Using this as abase, I drove out to Nibbaj (the present Nabqiyya) andButah. On February 12, I flew to Hail and wassurprised to see how cold it was. Here I spent threedays-most of the time driving about the desert- and sawseveral places where Khalid fought the apostates. Thedifficulties of a reconnaissance such as I hadundertaken can be judged by the fact that just to seeSameera and Ghamra, which are close to each other, Ihad to drive 200 miles in a round trip from Hail, goingover desert trails and cross-country, a trip that took me10 long, dusty hours. And the problem of locating placeswas further accentuated by the fact that I had to do mymap reading with nothing better than a one million scalemap.I flew back to Riyadh on February 15, and the followingday returned to Jedda. Now began the second phase ofmy tour-the region of Makkah.On February 17, I went up to Taif for a night and a day,and saw the mosque where had stood the Muslim campduring the siege of Taif. I found no trace of any ruinswhich could give an indication of the Taif Fort, but Itook the opportunity to visit a number of places
  • 100. connected with the route of the Holy Prophet to Taif.Then I returned to Jedda, and was sorry to leave Taif asit is a very pleasant spot and delightfully cool.I spent a day over the Battle of Hunain and this proveda long day indeed. The maps show a road to andthrough the Hunain Valley, and this used to be the mainroad from Makkah to Taif before the present highwaywas built, but the road is now in disuse and recent rainshave not been kind to it. Thus I was driving very oftenin sandy and stony wadi beds, and but for the fact that Ihad a land-rover, I would never have got through thevalley. Luckily, I made it and was able to carry out agood examination of the valley in which the battle wasfought.I next spent a day studying Makkah itself, in order toplace on the ground the plan of the cpnquest ofMakkah. Makkah has expanded enormously since thoseearly days of Islam, and it is not possible to determinethe exact limits of the town as they were in theProphets time; yet the places known to exist then stillexist, and I saw all these places. I also climbed the Hillof Kuda, about two miles south of the Kabah, fromwhic h I had a fairly good view of the southern
  • 101. approaches, I even tried to draw & panoramic sketch,but the area is so hilly that the task proved beyond mylimited artistic ability and I had to be content withmaking a map without hills. I have found no large-scaletopographical maps to guide me in this, and I confessthat of all the maps in this book, this (Map 5) is the onewith which I am the least satisfied. Perhaps anotherwriter with cartographical talents superior to mine couldimprove on this infantrymans effort.Thus ended Phase Two: the region of Makkah. And itwas now time for the Hajj; so during the end ofFebruary, I did the annual pilgrimage-the dearest wisho f every Believer- as a guest of the Saudi ArabianGovernment. This duty done, I drove to Madinah, onMarch 4, for the very last phase of my tour of Muslimbattlefields.At Madinah I made a critical examination of the Battlesof Uhud and the Ditch, which are recorded in suchdetail and are so well known that it was quite easy tofollow them on the ground. I made panoramic sketchesof the various hill features which are shown in the mapsof this book; and I visited Abraq about 70 miles fromMadinah, where Caliph Abu Bakr trounced the
  • 102. apostates in the little-known Battle of Abraq. This partof my tour was organised by Major Muhammad AbdulHameed Asad, and I had as guide the best of guides:the learned Sheikh Ibrahim bin Ali Al Ayyashi, a scholarand historian of repute, at whose knowledge of earlyMuslim history and geography I could not but marvel.After a stay of five days at Madinah I returned to Jeddawhence, on March 11, 1969, I flew back to Pakistan. Ileft Saudi Arabia with feelings of deep gratitude for theco-operation and help extended to me by theGovernment and the Army of this vast desert kingdomand the hospitality of all Saudis with whom I came incontact. I felt particularly indebted to His RoyalHighness Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the Minister ofDefence whose kindness in treating me as a State guesthad made possible what would otherwise have been analmost impossible task.Back in Pakistan, once I had got over the fatigue of myArabian travels, I pondered deeply over the many facetsof my tour of Khalids battlefields. I was more than alittle surprised that I had been able to carry out this tourentirely on my own, for it was undoubtedly an ambitiousproject; and I was deeply thankful to God Almighty for
  • 103. His help in making it successful. I had to pay a highprice in effort and time and money; but looking backupon it, I was glad that I had done it at my own expenseand not at the expense of a kind donor (not that therehad been any actual offer of help!). This was myservice to Islam, my contribution to Muslim literature myhumble act of worship as one of the Faithful.It took me several months to rewrite the manuscript andin October, 1969, the revised manuscript is being sent topress. It had taken me over five years to carry out theentire project, from the initial collection of material tothe final preparations for printing the book.This is a book of history, specifically of Muslim militaryhistory. It deals with the life and campaigns of one ofthe most remarkable soldiers the world has ever known-Khalid bin Al Waleed, an all-conquering hero who neverknew the meaning of military defeat. Seeking clarity forthe layman as well as the professional soldier, I haveavoided technical terminology and tried to maintain asimple style.A good deal of what appears in this book is notgenerally known to the public; but every incident, every
  • 104. circumstance is historically correct. Every move, everyduel, every blow, every quoted statement is taken fromthe accounts of the early historians. In the interpretationof the facts, I have at times had to rely on judgement,particularly with regard to the description of the battles;but I have tried to be as objective as possible. In myaccount of the battles and my description of the eventswhich occurred in those early, fateful years of Islam, Ihave given credit to the enemies of Islam when theydeserved it (and this was often); and I have pointed outthe mistakes of the Muslims (though these were few).While all the facts are given in the early accounts, thereis a considerable amount of confusion because of theexistence of various, and conflicting, versions. The earlyhistorians have faithfully recorded each version of agiven event, even when these are directly contradictory,and left it to the reader to take his choice, with theremark: "And Allah knows best!" This confusion appliesmost seriously to the Syrian Campaign, with the resultthat the reader is left in doubt as to exactly how thecampaign was fought and just what was thechronological sequence of events.I have tried to dispel this confusion by giving one under-
  • 105. standable version which appears to me the most likelyand sensible. I have not burdened the book withfootnotes explaining differences of opinion among theearly chroniclers, but I have given footnotes to show thehistorical source from which every dialogue or quotedstatement is taken. These footnotes are for referenceby research scholars rather than for the general reader;the latter may well disregard them, if he is not interestedin further study of the subject. Moreover, in the case ofimportant or controversial differences, I have givennotes in an appendix at the end of the book, whichwould be of value to more demanding readers.Some of the battles, particularly in the second half of thebook, are reconstruction, but my account is based onincidents and clear pointers given by early historians.The difference lies in the fact that the early historiansmade no effort to analyse strategy and tactics, whereasI have tried to do so as a soldier as well as a historian.The philosophy of the manoeuvre and the analysis aremy contribution to the account of each battle. All thefacts that I have given belong to history. They are thebright flowers of history. But the thread that holds themis mine; and the arrangement of the flowers is mine.
  • 106. Part I of the book-the battles fought in the time of theHoly Prophet-may appear to the reader to be more amilitary biography of Prophet Muhammad than ofKhalid. This is unavoidable. Events which occurred inArabia in the Prophets time, whether religious, political,economic, cultural or military, were so completelydominated by the Messenger of Allah that no writer candescribe these events without reflecting, in his account,the tremendous impact of the personality of Muhammad(on whom be the blessings of Allah) and the newmessage which he brought as the last Apostle of God.Moreover, a study of the Prophets battles is essential tothe student who wishes to trace the development of theart of war in early Islam from its humble beginnings atMadinah to the complex manoeuvres of Khalid atYarmuk.I have mentioned in these pages many who have beenof assistance to me in carrying out the project. Thereare others who have helped me in various ways, butspace does not permit me to name them all. I would,however, like to acknowledge my debt to my wife fordrawing the maps and checking my draft, and mypersonal assistant, Naib-Subedar Abdul Sattar Shad, for
  • 107. typing the manuscript.To conclude, the object of this book is to record andmake known to the world the life and militaryachievements of Khalid bin Al Waleed. If the booksucceeds in achieving this object, Allah be praised! If itdoes not, even then Allah be praised! A. I. Akram October, 1969 Rawalpindi, West Pakistan
  • 108. Chapter 1: The Boy Part I: In the Time Page:of the Prophet 1(SAWS)“The best of you in Jahiliyyah are the best of you in Islam, as long as they have understanding.” [Prophet Muhammad (SAWS)]1Khalid and the tall boy glared at each other. Slowly theybegan to move in a circle, the gaze of each fixed intentlyupon the other, each looking for an opening for hisattack and each wary of the tricks that the other mightuse. There was no hostility in their eyes-just a keenrivalry and an unshakeable determination to win. AndKhalid found it necessary to be cautious, for the tall boywas left-handed and thus enjoyed the advantage that allleft-handers have over their opponents in a fight.
  • 109. Wrestling was a popular pastime among the boys ofArabia, and they frequently fought each other. Therewas no malice in these fights. It was a sport, and boyswere trained in wrestling as one of the requirements ofArab manhood. But these two boys were the strongestof all and the leaders of boys of their age. This matchwas, so to speak, a fight for the heavy-weight title. Theboys were well matched. Of about the same age, theywere in their early teens. Both were tall and lean, andnewly formed muscles rippled on their shoulders andarms as their sweating bodies glistened in the sun. Thetall boy was perhaps an inch taller than Khalid. Andtheir faces were so alike that one was often mistakenfor the other.Khalid threw the tall boy; but this was no ordinary fall.As the tall boy fell there was a distinct crack, and amoment later the grotesquely twisted shape of his legshowed that the bone had broken. The stricken boy laymotionless on the ground, and Khalid stared in horror atthe broken leg of his friend and nephew. (The tall boysmother, Hantamah bint Hisham bin Al Mugheerah, wasKhalids first cousin.)In course of time the injury healed and the leg of the tall
  • 110. boy became whole and strong again. He would wrestleagain and be among the best of wrestlers. And the twoboys would remain friends. But while they were bothintelligent, strong and forceful by nature, neither hadpatience or tact. They were to continue to compete witheach other in almost everything that they did.The reader should make a mental note of this tall boyfor he was to play an important role in the life of Khalid.He was the son of Al Khattab, and his name wasUmar.Soon after his birth Khalid was taken away from hismother, as was the custom among the better families ofthe Quraish, and sent to a Bedouin tribe in the desert. Afoster mother was found for him, who would nurse himand bring him up. In the clear, dry and unpolluted air ofthe desert, the foundations were laid of the tremendousstrength and robust health that Khalid was to enjoythroughout his life. The desert seemed to suit Khalid,and he came to love it and feel at home in it. Frombabyhood he grew into early childhood among the Arabsof the desert; and when he was five or six years old hereturned to his parents home in Makkah.
  • 111. Some time in his childhood he had an attack of smallpox, but it was a mild attack and caused no damageexcept to leave a few pock marks on his face. Thesemarks did not, however, spoil his ruggedly handsomeface, which was to cause a lot of trouble among thebelles of Arabia - and some -to himself too.The child became a boy; and as he reached the age ofboyhood he came to realise with a thrill of pride that hewas the son of a chief. His father, Al Waleed, was theChief of the Bani Makhzum - one of the noblest clans ofthe Quraish - and was also known in Makkah by thetitle of AlWaheed- the Unique. Khalids upbringing wasnow undertaken by the father who did his best (and withexcellent success) to instil into Khalid all the virtues ofArab manhood-courage, fighting skill, toughness andgenerosity. Al Waleed took great pride in his family andhis ancestors, and told Khalid that he was:Khalidson of Al Waleedson of Al Mugheerahson of Abdullahson of Umarson of Makhzum (after whom the clan was named)
  • 112. son of Yaqzason of Murrason of Kabson of Luwayyson of Ghalibson of Fihrson of Malikson of Al Nazrson of Kinanason of Khuzeimason of Mudrikason of Ilyasson of Muzarson of Nizarson of Maaddson of Adnanson of Uddson of Muqawwamson of Nahurson of Teirahson of Yarubson of Yashjubson of Nabitson of Ismail (regarded as the father of the Arabians)
  • 113. son of Ibrahim (the prophet)son of Azarson of Nahurson of Sarugh (or Asragh)son of Arghuson of Falakhson of Eibarson of Shalakhson of Arfakhshazson of Saamson of Noah (the prophet)son of Lamkson of Mattushalakhson of Idris (the prophet)son of Yardson of Muhlailson of Qeinanson of Anushson of Sheisson of Adam (the father of mankind)1. Bukhari, from Abu Hurayrah. Sahih Al-Jami’ Al-Saghir No. 3267
  • 114. Chapter 1: The Boy Part I: In the Time Page:of the Prophet 2(SAWS)The great tribe of the Quraish that inhabited Makkahhad evolved a clear-cut division of privilege andresponsibility among its major clans. The three leadingclans of the Quraish were the Bani Hashim, the BaniAbduddar (of which the Bani Umayyah was anoffshoot) and the Bani Makhzum. The Bani Makhzumwas responsible for matters of war. This clan bred andtrained the horses on which the Quraish rode to war; itmade arrangements for the preparation and provisioningof expeditions; and frequently it provided the officers tolead Quraish groups into battle. This role of the BaniMakhzum set the atmosphere in which Khalid was togrow up.
  • 115. While still a child he was taught to ride. As a Makhzumihe had to be a perfect rider and soon acquired masteryover the art of horsemanship. But it was not enough tobe able to handle trained horses; he had lo be able toride any horse. He would be given young, untrainedcolts and had to break them and train them intoperfectly obedient and well-disciplined war horses. TheBani Makhzum were among the best horsemen ofArabia, and Khalid became one of the best horsemen ofthe Bani Makhzum. Moreover, no Arab could claim tobe a good rider if he only knew horses; he had to be justas good on a camel, for both animals were vital forArab warfare. The horse was used for fighting, and thecamel for long marches, in which horses were taggedalong unmounted.Along with riding, Khalid learned the skills of combat.He learnt to use all weapons-the spear, the lance, thebow and the sword. He learnt to fight on horseback andon foot. While he became skilful in the use of allweapons, the ones for which he appears to have had anatural gift were the lance, used while charging onhorseback, and the sword for mounted and dismountedduelling. The sword was regarded by the Arabs as the
  • 116. weapon of chivalry, for this brought one nearest to onesadversary; and in sword fighting ones survivaldepended on strength and skill and not on keeping at asafe distant from the opponent. The sword was themost trusted weapon.As Khalid grew to manhood, he attained a great height-over six feet. His shoulders widened, his chestexpanded and the muscles hardened on his lean andathletic body. His beard appeared full and thick on hisface, With his fine physique, his forceful personality, andhis skill at riding and the use of weapons, he soonbecame a popular and much-admired figure in Makkah.As a wrestler, he climbed high on the ladder ofachievement, combining consummate skill withenormous strength.The Arabs had large families, the father often havingseveral wives to increase his offspring, Al Waleed wasone of six brothers. (There may have been more, butthe names of only six have been recorded.) And thechildren of Al Waleed that we know of were five sonsand two daughters. The sons were Khalid, Waleed(named after the father), Hisham, Ammarah and AbduShams. The daughters were Faktah and Fatimah.
  • 117. Al Waleed was a wealthy man. Thus Khalid did nothave to work for a living and could concentrate onlearning the skills of riding and fighting. Because of thiswealthy background, Khalid grew up to disregardeconomy and became known for his lavish spending andhis generosity to all who appealed to him for help. Thisgenerosity was one day to get him into serious trouble.Al Waleed was a wealthy man. But the Quraish were asurprisingly democratic people and everybody wasrequired to do some work or the other-either forremuneration or just to be a useful member of society.And Al Waleed, who hired and paid a large number ofemployees, would work himself. In his spare time hewas a blacksmith 1 and butcher 2 , slaughtering animalsfor the clan. He was also a trader, and along with otherclans would organise and send trade caravans toneighbouring countries. On more than one occasionKhalid accompanied trade caravans to Syria and visitedthe great trading cities of that fair province of Rome.Here he would meet the Christian Arabs of theGhassan, Persians from Ctesiphon, Copts from Egypt,and the Romans of the Byzantine Empire.Khalid had many friends with whom, as with is brothers
  • 118. he would ride and hunt. When not engaged outdoorsthey would recite poetry, recount genealogical lines andhave bouts of drinking. Some of these friends were toplay an important part in Khalids life and in this story;and the ones deserving special mention besides Umar,were Amr bin Al Aas and Abul Hakam. The latterspersonal name was Amr bin Hisham bin Al Mugheerah,though he was to earn yet another name later: Abu Jahl.He was an elder cousin of Khalid. And there was AbulHakams son, Ikrimah, Khalids favourite nephew andbosom friend.Al Waleed was not only the father and mentor of hissons; he was also their military instructor, and from himKhalid got his first lesson in the art of warfare. Helearnt how to move fast across the desert, how toapproach a hostile settlement, how to attack it. Helearned the importance of catching the enemyunawares, of attacking him at an unexpected momentand pursuing him when he broke and fled. This warfarewas essentially tribal, but the Arabs well knew the valueof speed, mobility and surprise, and tribal warfare wasmainly based on offensive tactics.On reaching maturity Khalids main interest became
  • 119. war and this soon reached the proportions of anobsession. Khalids thoughts were thoughts of battle; hisambitions were ambitions of victory. His urges wereviolent and his entire psychological make-up wasmilitary. He would dream of fighting great battles andwinning great victories, himself always the champion-admired and cheered by all. He promised himself battle.He promised himself victory. And he promised himselflots and lots of blood. Unknown to him, destiny hadmuch the same ideas about Khalid, son of Al Waleed.1. Ibn Qutaibah: p. 575.2. Ibn Rusta: p. 215.
  • 120. Chapter 2: The New Faith Part I: In the Time Page:of the Prophet 1(SAWS) "It is He who has sent His Messenger with Guidance and the Religion of Truth, to make itprevail over all religion,and Allah is sufficient as a witness." [Quran 48:28]A certain Arab would walk the streets of Makkah atnight, lost in thought. He was a member, no longerwealthy, of the noble clan of Bani Hashim. A strikinglyhandsome man of medium height with broad, powerfulshoulders, his hair ended in curls just below his ears. Hislarge, dark eyes, fringed with long lashes, seemedpensive and sad.There was much in the way of life of the Arabs that
  • 121. caused him pain. Everywhere around him he saw signsof decay-in the injustice done to the poor and helpless, inthe unnecessary bloodshed, in the treatment of womenwho were considered as no better than domesticanimals. He would be deeply anguished whenever heheard reports of the live burial of unwanted femalechildren.Certain clans of the Arabs had made a horrible ritual ofthe killing of infant daughters. The father would let thechild grow up normally until she was five or six yearsold. He would then tell her that he would take her for awalk and dress her up as if for a party. He would takeher out of the town or settlement to the site of a gravealready dug for her. He would make the child stand onthe edge of this grave and the child, quite unaware ofher fate and believing that her father had brought herout for a picnic, would look eagerly at him, wonderingwhen the fun would start. The father would then pushher into the grave, and as the child cried to her father tohelp her out, he would hurl large stones at her, crushingthe life out of her tender body. When all movement hadceased in the bruised and broken body of his poorvictim, he would fill the grave with earth and return
  • 122. home. Sometimes he would brag about what he haddone.This custom was not, of course, very widespread inArabia. Among the famous families of Makkah-theBani Hashim, the Bani Umayyah and the BaniMakhzum-there is not a single instance on record of afemale child being killed. This happened only amongsome desert tribes, and only in some clans. But even theexceptional occurrence of this revolting practice wassufficient to horrify and sicken the more intelligent andvirtuous Arabs of the time.Then there were the idols of Makkah. The Kabah hadbeen built by the Prophet Ibrahim as the House of God,but had been defiled with gods of wood and stone. TheArabs would propitiate these gods with sacrificialofferings, believing that they would harm a man whenangered and be bountiful when pleased. In and aroundthe Kabah there were 360 idols, the most worshipped ofwhom were Hubal, Uzza and Lat. Hubal, the pride ofthe Arab pantheon, was the largest of these gods andwas carved of red agate. When the inhabitants ofMakkah had imported this idol from Syria it was withouta right hand; so they fashioned a new hand of gold and
  • 123. stuck it on to its arm.In the religion of the Arabs there was a curious mixtureof polytheism and belief in Allah-the true God. Theybelieved that Allah was Lord and Creator, but they alsobelieved in the idols, regarding them as sons anddaughters of Allah. The position of the deity in the Arabmind was like that of a divine council, God being thePresident of the council of which these other gods andgoddesses were members, each having supernaturalpowers, though subservient to the President. The Arabswould swear by Hubal or by another god or goddess.They would also swear by Allah. They would nametheir sons Abdul Uzza, i.e. the Slave of Uzza. Theywould also name their sons Abdullah i.e. the Slave ofAllah.It would not be correct to suggest that everything waswrong with the Arab culture of the time. There wasmuch in their way of life which was glorious andchivalrous. There were qualities in the Arab characterwhich would be enviable today-courage, hospitality anda sense of personal and tribal honour. There was alsoan element of vindictiveness, in the blood feuds whichwere passed down from father to son, but this was
  • 124. understandable, and even necessary, in a tribal societywhere no central authority existed to enforce law andorder. Violent tribal and personal retaliation was theonly way to keep the peace and prevent lawlessness.What was wrong with Arab culture lay in the fields ofethics and religion, and in these fields Arab life had hitan all-time low. This period became known in history asthe Ignorance. During the Ignorance Arab actions wereacts of ignorance; Arab beliefs were beliefs ofignorance. The Ignorance was thus not only an era butan entire way of life.The Arab mentioned at the beginning of this chaptertook to retiring to a cave in a hill not far from Makkah,for one month every year. In this cave he would spendhis time in meditation and reflection, and he would wait-not knowing just what he was waiting for. Then oneday, while he was meditating in the cave; he suddenlybecame conscious of a presence. He could see no oneand there was no sound of movement, but he could feelthat someone was there. Then a voice said, "Read!"
  • 125. Chapter 2: The New Faith Part I: In the Time Page:of the Prophet 2(SAWS)Alarmed by the phenomenon of the disembodied voice,the Arab exclaimed, "What shall I read?" The voicewas louder as it repeated, "Read!" Again the Arabasked, "What shall I read?" The voice now seemedterrible as it called sternly, "Read!" Then the voicecontinued in a more gentle tone:Read: in the name of your Lord who created,Created man from a clot.Read: and it is your Lord the BountifulWho taught by the pen;Taught man that which he knew not. [Quran 95: 1-5]This happened on a Monday in the month of August,
  • 126. 610 CE. The world would never be the same again, forMuhammad had received his first revelation. A newfaith was born.When Muhammad (SAWS) received this revelation,Khalid was 24 years old.For three years the Prophet remained silent, receivingguidance through the Angel Jibril. Then he was orderedto start expounding the religion of Allah, and he startedwith his own family and clan. Most of them, however,scorned his teaching and made fun of the new faith.One day the Prophet decided to collect his closerrelatives and give them a good meal at his house. Thiswould give him an opportunity to get them together andput them in a situation where they would have to listento him. The meal was duly arranged and heartily eatenby the guests. The Prophet then addressed theassembled guests and said, "O Bani Abdul Muttalib!By Allah, I do not know of any man among theArabs who has come to you with anything betterthan I have brought you. I bring you the best of thisworld and the next. I have been ordered by Allah tocall you to Him. Who will help me in this work and
  • 127. be my brother and deputy?"The response of the entire gathering was silence. Noone replied, each watching the others to see if anyonewould get up to support this man. And then a thin,under-sized boy with skinny legs, in his early teens,sprang up and piped in a voice which had not yetbroken, "I, O Prophet of Allah, will be your helper!"There was a roar of laughter from the guests at whatappeared at the time to be a ridiculous sight-rude andcontemptuous laughter-as they stood up and began towalkaway. But the boy was impervious to suchrudeness, for the next instant he had been clasped bythe Prophet in a loving embrace. The Prophet declared,"This is my brother and deputy." 1 The boy was theProphets cousin-Ali, son of Abu Talib. He was the firstmale to accept Islam at the hands of the Prophet .2Gradually the truth began to spread; and a fewindividuals, mostly youths or weak, helpless people,accepted the new faith. Their number was small buttheir courage was high. And the Prophets sphere ofactivity widened. In spite of the rebuffs and insultswhich were hurled at him by the Quraish, he continued
  • 128. to accost people at street corners and in the marketplace and to warn them of the Fire which awaited theevil-doer. He would deride their idols of wood and stoneand call them to the worship of the true God. As hisactivities increased, the opposition of the Quraishbecame harder and more vicious. This opposition wasdirected mainly by four men: Abu Sufyan (whosepersonal name was Sakhr bin Harb, and who was theleader of the Bani Umayyah), Al Waleed (father ofKhalid), Abu Lahab (uncle of the Prophet) and AbulHakam. Of the first and the last we will hear a lot morein this story.Abu Sufyan and Al Waleed were men of dignity andself-respect. While they directed the opposition againstthe Prophet, they did not demean themselves byresorting to violence or abuse. Al Waleeds initialreaction was one of ruffled dignity. "Is theprophethood to be bestowed on Muhammad," heexploded, "while I, the greatest of the Quraish andtheir elder, am to get nothing? And there is AbuMasud, the chief of the Saqeef. Surely he and I arethe greatest of the two towns." 3 This grand old manlived in a world of his own where everything depended
  • 129. on nobility of birth and rank. He was, of course, beingunfair to the Prophet, for the line of Muhammad joinedhis own six generations back, and the family ofMuhammad was no less noble than his own. In fact, inrecent history the Prophets family had acquired greaterprominence than any other family in Makkah. TheProphets grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, had been thechief of all the Quraish in Makkah.1. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 63; Ibn Sad: Vol. 1, p. 171.2. Ibn Hisham: Vol. 1, p. 245; Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 56.Masudi: Muruj; Vol. 2, p. 283.3. Ibn Hisham: Vol. 1, p. 361.Quran 95:1-5
  • 130. Chapter 2: The New Faith Part I: In the Time Page:of the Prophet 3(SAWS)According to Ibn Hisham, it was in connection with thisstatement of Al Waleed that the Quranic verse wasrevealed: And they say: If only this Quran had beenrevealed to some man from the, two great towns![Quran 43:31]. The two towns were Makkah andTaif. And another Quranic revelation believed to havereferred to Al Waleed who, as we have stated in thepreceding chapter, was known by the title of AlWaheed (the Unique), reads: Leave Me (to deal) withhim whom I created Waheed; and bestowed uponhim ample means; and sons abiding in hispresence; and made (life) smooth for him. Yet hedesires that I should give more. Nay, for lo, he hasbeen stubborn about Our revelations. On him I
  • 131. shall impose a fearful doom…Then he looked;then he frowned and showed displeasure; then heturned away in pride and said: This is nothing butmagic from of old; this is nothing but the speech ofa man. Him shall I fling into the fire: [Quran 74:11-17 and 21-26]The most blood-thirsty and vindictive of these leaderswas Abul Hakam-cousin and friend of Khalid. As aresult of his violent opposition to Islam he was given bythe Muslims the nickname of Abu Jahl, the IgnorantOne, and it is by this name that posterity was to knowhim. A small, tough and wiry man with a squint, he hasbeen described by a contemporary as: "a man with aface of iron, a look of iron and a tongue of iron." 1And Abu Jahl could not forget that in their youngerdays, in a fierce wrestling match, Muhammad hadthrown him badly, gashing his knee, the scar of whichwas to remain until his death.2These prominent men of the Quraish, and some others,finding it impossible to stop the Prophet by either threator inducement, decided to approach the aged andvenerable Abu Talib, uncle of the Prophet and leader ofthe Bani Hashim. They would have killed the Prophet
  • 132. but for the strong sense of tribal and family unity whichprotected the Prophet. His killing would have led to aviolent blood feud with the Bani Hashim, who wouldundoubtedly have taken revenge by killing the killer or amember of the killers family.The delegation of the Quraish now approached AbuTalib and said "O Abu Talib! You are our leader andthe best among us. You have seen what the son ofyour brother is doing to our religion. He abuses ourgods. He vilifies our faith and the faith of ourfathers. You are one of us in our faith. Either stopMuhammad from such activities or permit us to dealwith him as we wish." 3Abu Talib spoke gently to them, said that he would lookinto the matter, and dismissed them with courtesy. Butbeyond informing the Prophet of what the Quraish hadsaid, he did nothing to stop him from spreading the newfaith. Abu Talib was a poet. Whenever anything of thissort happened, he would compose a long poem and pourall his troubles into it.In the house of Al Waleed, the actions of the Prophetbecame the most popular topic of conversation. In the
  • 133. evening Al Waleed would sit with his sons and otherrelatives and recount the actions of the day and all thatthe Quraish were doing to counter the movement ofMuhammad. Khalid and his brothers heard their fatherdescribe the entire proceedings of the first delegation toAbu Talib. Some weeks later, they listened to him tell allabout the second delegation to Abu Talib, which had nomore effect than the first. The Prophet continued withhis mission.Then Al Waleed took a bold step. He decided to offerhis own son, Ammarah, to Abu Talib in return for theperson of Muhammad. Ammarah was a fine, strappingyouth in whom men and women saw all the virtues andgraces of young manhood. The Quraish delegationapproached Abu Talib with Ammarah in tow. "O AbuTalib" said the delegates. "Here is Ammarah, son ofAl Waleed. He is the finest of youths among theQuraish, and the handsomest and noblest of all.Take him as your son. He will help you and be yoursas any son could be. In return give us the son ofyour brother-the one who has turned against yourfaith and the faith of your fathers and has causeddissension in our tribe. We shall kill him. Is that not
  • 134. fair-a man for a man?"Abu Talib was shocked by the offer. "I do not thinkthat it is fair at all," he replied. "You give me yourson to feed and bring up while you want mine to kill.By Allah, this shall not be." 4 The mission failed. Wedo not know how Ammarah reacted to the failure of themission-with disappointment or relief!1. Waqidi: Maghazi, p.20; Ibn Rusta p. 223.2. Tabari: Vol. 1, p. 265; Ibn Sad: p. 186.3. Ibn Hisham: Vol. 1, p. 265; Ibn Sad: p. 186.4. Ibn Hisham: Vol. 1, p. 267; Ibn Sad: p. 186.
  • 135. Chapter 2: The New Faith Part I: In the Time Page:of the Prophet 4(SAWS)Now seeing no hope of persuading Abu Talib to stop theProphet and despairing of persuading him themselves,the Quraish decided to make the life of Muhammad andhis followers so wretched that they would be forced tosubmit to the wishes of the Quraish. They set thevagabonds of Makkah against him. These hooliganswould shout and jeer at the Prophet wherever hepassed, would throw dust into his face and spreadthorns in his path. They would fling filth into his house,and in this activity they were joined by Abu Lahab andAbu Jahl. This ill treatment was soon to enter a moreviolent phase.As the persecution of the Muslims gathered momentum,
  • 136. it also increased in variety of method. One man got thebright idea that he would hurt Muhammads cause bychallenging him to a wrestling match, and thus belittleand humiliate him in a public contest. This man was anunbelieving uncle of the Prophet by the name ofRukkana bin Abd Yazid, a champion wrestler who wasproud of his strength and skill. No one in Makkah hadever thrown him. "O son of my brother!" he accostedthe Prophet. "I believe that you are a man. And Ibelieve that you are not a liar. Come and wrestlewith me. If you throw me I shall acknowledge you asa true prophet." The man was delighted with himselfat having thought up this unusual way of lowering thestock of Muhammad in the eyes of the Makkans.Muhammad would either decline, and thus look small, oraccept and get the thrashing of a lifetime. But that iswhat he thought. His challenge was accepted, and in thewrestling match that ensued the Prophet threw himthree times! But the scoundrel went back on his word.1The Prophet himself was reasonably safe from physicalharm, partly because of the protection of his clan andpartly because he could give better than he took in afight. But there were other Muslims who were in a
  • 137. vulnerable position-those who were not connected withpowerful families or were physically weak. Theyincluded slaves and slave girls. There was one slave girlthe news of whose conversion so infuriated Umar thathe beat her. He continued to beat the poor girl until hewas too tired to beat her any more. And Umar was avery strong man!Many of the men and women were tortured by theQuraish, The most famous of these sufferers, of whomhistory speaks in glowing terms, was Bilal binHamamah-a tall, gaunt Abyssinian slave who wastortured by his own master, Umayyah bin Khalf. In theafternoon, during the intense heat of the Arabiansummer, when the sun would dry up and bakeeverything exposed to it, Bilal would be stretched out onthe burning sand with a large rock on his chest and leftto the tender mercies of the sun. Every now and thenhis master would come to him, would look at hissuffering, tormented face, his dry lips and his swollentongue, and would say, "Renounce Muhammad andreturn to the worship of Lat and Uzza." But the faithof Bilal remained unshaken. Little did Umayyah binKhalf know, while he was torturing Bilal, that he and his
  • 138. son would one day face his erstwhile slave in the Battleof Badr, and that Bilal would be his executioner and theexecutioner of his son.Bilal and several other slaves, all victims of torture,were purchased by Abu Bakr, who was a wealthy man.Whenever Abu Bakr came to know of a Muslim slavebeing tortured, he would buy and free him.In spite of all this persecution, the Prophet remainedgentle and merciful towards his enemies; He wouldpray: "O Lord! Strengthen me with Umar and AbulHakam." His prayer was answered in so far as itconcerned Umar, who became the fortieth person toembrace Islam 2; but Abu Jahl remained an unbelieverand died in his unbelief.In 619, ten years after the first revelation, Abu Talibdied 3. The Prophets position now became moredelicate. The hostility of the Quraish increased, and sodid the danger to the life of Muslims. The Prophetremained surrounded by a few faithful companions towhom he continued to preach, and among thesecompanions were 10 who were especially close to him.These men became known as The Blessed Ten, and
  • 139. were held in especial esteem and affection by theMuslims as long as they lived.41. According to Ibn Hisham (Vol. 1, p. 390) the Prophethimself challenged Rukkana, but I have narrated Ibn-ul-Asirs version (Vol. 2, pp. 27-28), as the event is morelikely to have happened this way.2. This is Ibn Qutaibahs placing (p. 180). Tabari,however, places Umar as the 67th Muslim (Vol. 3, p.270).3. Ten years reckoning by the lunar year, which is, at anaverage, 11 days shorter that the solar year.4. For the names of these 10 men, see the Companionspage or Note 1 in Appendix B.
  • 140. Chapter 2: The New Faith Part I: In the Time Page:of the Prophet 5(SAWS)The Prophet remained in Makkah, bearing up againstwhat became increasingly more unbearable. Then somemen of Madinah (at the time known as Yathrib) met theProphet and accepted Islam. Knowing the danger towhich the Prophet was exposed, they invited him tomigrate to their settlements and make his home withthem. With this invitation came Allahs permission forthe Muslims to migrate, and the Prophet sent most ofthem to Madinah.In September 622, the Quraish finally made up theirminds to assassinate Muhammad. On the eve of theplanned assassination, during the night, the Prophet lefthis house and, accompanied by Abu Bakr, a slave and a
  • 141. guide, migrated to Yathrib. With his safe arrival atYathrib, Madinah (as the place was now to be called)became the seat and centre of the Muslim faith and thecapital of the new Muslim State. The era of persecutionwas over.Three months after the Prophets departure fromMakkah, Al Waleed called his sons to his death bed, Heknew that he was dying. "O my sons!" he said. "Thereare three tasks that I bequeath you. See that you do-not foil in carrying them out. The first is my bloodfeud with the Khuzaa. See that you take revenge. ByAllah, I know that they are not guilty, but I fear thatyou will be blamed after this day. The second is mymoney, accruing from interest due to me, with theSaqeef, See that you get it back. Thirdly, I am duecompensation or blood from Abu Uzeihar." 1 Thisbad man married the daughter of Al Waleed and thenput her away from him without returning her to herfathers home.Having made these bequests, Al Waleed died. He wasburied with all the honour due to a great chief, arespected elder and a noble son of the Quraish.
  • 142. The first of the problems was settled without too muchdifficulty; the Khuzaa paid blood money, and the matterwas closed without violence. The second matterremained pending for many yeays, and was thenshelved as unsettled. As for the third problem, i.e. thefeud with the son-in-law of Al Waleed, Khalids brother,Hisham, decided that he would be content with nothingless than the blood of Abu Uzeihar. He waited morethan a year before he got his chance. Then he killed hisman. The matter assumed an ugly aspect, and therewas danger of further bloodshed between the twofamilies; but Abu Sufyan intervened and made peace.No more blood was shed.During the years following his fathers death, Khalidlived peacefully in Makkah, enjoying the good life whichhis wealth made possible. He even travelled to Syriawith a trade caravan, to a large town called Busra,which he was to approach many years later as amilitary objective.We do not know how many wives or children he had atthis time, but we know of two sons: the elder was calledSulaiman, the younger, Abdur-Rahman. The latter wasborn about six years before the death of Al Waleed, and
  • 143. was to achieve fame in later decades as a commanderin Syria. But according to Arab custom, it was Sulaimanby whose name Khalid became known. Thus he wascalled variously: Khalid, his own name; Ibn Al Waleed,i.e. the son of Al Waleed; and Abu Sulaiman, i.e. thefather of Sulaiman. Most people addressed him as AbuSulaiman.1. Ibn Hisham: Vol. 1, pp. 410-411.
  • 144. Chapter 3: The Battle of Uhud Part I: In the Time Page:of the Prophet 1(SAWS) "Allah did indeed fulfil His Promise to you, when you were about to annihilate the enemy with His permission, until you flinched and fell to disputingabout the command, and disobeyed after He showed you what you covet. Among you were some thathankered after this world and among you were some that desired the Hereafter. Then did He divert you from them in order to test you. But He has forgiven you, for Allah is full of grace to those who have faith." [Quran 3:152]Everybody in Makkah rejoiced at tbe arrival of the
  • 145. caravan from Palestine. The caravan had been in gravedanger during the few days it moved along the coastalroad near Madinah and very nearly fell into the hands ofthe Muslims. It was only the skill and leadership of AbuSufyan, who led the caravan, that saved it from capture.The caravan consisted of 1,000 camels and had takengoods worth 50,000 dinars, on which Abu Sufyan hadmade a cent per cent profit. Since every family of notein Makkah had invested in this caravan, its return withso much profit was a matter of jubilation for all Makkah.And it was spring in Arabia: the month of March, 624.Even as the people of Makkah sang and danced, andthe merchants rubbed their hands while awaiting theirshare of the profit, the battered and broken army of theQuraish picked its weary way towards Makkah. Thisarmy had rushed out in response to Abu Sufyans callfor help when he had first realised the danger from theMuslims. Before the Quraish army could come intoaction, however, Abu Sufyan had extricated the caravanand sent word to the Quraish to return to Makkah as thedanger had passed. But Abu Jahl, who commanded thearmy, would have none of this. He had spent the past 15years of his life in bitter opposition to the Prophet, and
  • 146. he was not going to let this opportunity slip away.Instead of returning, he had precipitated a battle withthe Muslims.Now this proud army was returning home in a state ofshock and humiliation.While the Quraish army was still on its way, amessenger from it sped to Makkah on a fast camel. Ashe entered the outskirts of the town, he tore his shirt andwailed aloud, announcing tragedy. The people ofMakkah hastily gathered around him to seek news ofthe battle. They would ask about their dear ones and hewould tell of their fate. Among those present were AbuSufyan and his wife, Hind.From this messenger Hind heard of the loss of her dearones; of the death of her father, Utbah, at the hands ofAli and Hamza, uncle of the Prophet; of the death ofher uncle, Sheiba, at the hands of Hamza; of the deathof her brother, Waleed, at the hands of Ali; of the deathof her son, Handhalah, at the hands of Ali. She cursedHamza and Ali and swore vengeance.The Battle of Badr was the first major clash between
  • 147. the Muslims and their enemies. A small force of 313Muslims had stood like a rock against the onslaught of1,000 infidels. After an hour or two of severe fightingthe Muslims had shattered the Quraish army, and theQuraish had fled in disorder from the battlefield. Thefinest of the Quraish had fallen in battle or been takenprisoner.A total of 70 infidels had been killed and another 70captured by the Muslims, at a cost of only 14 Muslimdead. Among those killed were 17 members of the BaniMakhzum, most of them either cousins or nephews ofKhalid. Abu Jahl had been killed. Khalids brother,Waleed, had been taken prisoner.As the messenger announced the names of those whohad fallen and those who had killed them, the Quraishnoted the frequency with which the names of Ali andHamza were repeated. Ali had killed 18 men by himselfand had shared in the killing of four others. Hamza hadkilled four men and shared with Ali in the killing ofanother four. The name of Ali thus dominated theproceedings of this sad assembly.Two days later Abu Sufyan held a conference of all the
  • 148. leaders of the Quraish. There was not one amongstthem who had not lost a dear one at Badr, Some hadlost fathers, some sons, some brothers. The mostvociferous at the conference were Safwan binUmmayya and Ikrimah, son of Abu Jahl.Ikrimah was the most difficult to restrain. His father hadhad the distinction of commanding the Quraish army atBadr and had fallen in battle. The son drew somecomfort from the fact that his father had killed a Muslimat Badr and that he himself had killed another.Moreover, he had attacked and severed the arm of theMuslim who had mortally wounded his father; but thatwas not enough to quench his thirst for revenge. Heinsisted that as noble Quraish they were honour-boundto take revenge.
  • 149. Chapter 3: The Battle of Uhud Part I: In the Time Page:of the Prophet 2(SAWS)"And I have lost my son, Handhalah." said AbuSufyan. "My thirst for revenge is no less than yours.I shall be the first to prepare and launch a powerfulexpedition against Muhammad." 1At this conference they all took the pledge of revenge;this time none would stay back. An expedition would beprepared such as had never assembled at Makkahbefore, and other local tribes would be invited to join theexpedition and take part in the annihilation of theMuslims. The entire profit from the caravans, amountingto 50,000 dinars, would be spent on financing theexpedition- Abu Sufyan was unanimously elected as the
  • 150. commander of the Quraish army.Abu Sufyan now gave two decisions, the first of whichwas more or less universally accepted. This was to theeffect that there should be no weeping and no mourningof any kind for those who had fallen at Badr. The ideabehind this order was that tears would wash away thebitterness in their hearts, and that this bitterness shouldbe kept alive until they had taken their revenge againstthe Muslims. However, those whose burden of sorrowwas too heavy to carry wept secretly.The second decision related to the prisoners who werein Muslim hands. Abu Sufyan forbade all efforts to getthem released for fear that if these efforts were madeimmediately, the Muslims might put up the price. Thisdecision, however, was not followed by everyone.Within two days a man left Makkah secretly at night toransom his father; and when others came to know aboutthis, they took the matter into their own hands and gottheir dear ones released. Abu Sufyan had no choice butto revoke his decision.The rate of ransom varied. The top rate was 4,000dirhams and there was a graduated scale down to 1,000
  • 151. dirhams for those who could not afford to pay more. Afew prisoners who were too poor to pay but wereliterate, earned their freedom by teaching a certainnumber of Muslim children to read and write. Somedestitute ones were released by the Prophet withoutransom on condition that they would never again take uparms against Muslims.Among those who went to negotiate the release of theprisoners were Ikrimah, Khalid (who had missed thebattle of Badr on account of his absence from the Hijaz)and Khalids brother, Hisham. Khalid and Hishamarranged the release of their brother, Waleed. WhenHisham heard that the ransom would be 4,000 dirhams,he began to haggle for a lower sum but was rebuked byKhalid. The sum of 4,000 dirhams was duly paid for therelease of Waleed, whereafter the three brothers leftMadinah and camped for the night at a place called ZhulHalifa, a few miles away. Here, during the night,Waleed slipped away from the camp, returned toMadinah, reported to the Prophet and became aMuslim. He thereafter proved a devout Muslim andbecame very dear to the Prophet; and in spite of hisnew faith, his relations with Khalid remained as warm
  • 152. and loving as ever.While at the Quraish conference the main theme of thediscussion had been revenge, another factor whichdrove the Quraish to war with the Muslims waseconomic survival. The main route of the Quraishcaravan to Syria and Palestine lay along the coastalroad which now, after the Battle of Badr, was no longeropen to them. In November, Safwan bin Ummayya feltthe need for more trade, and despatched a caravantowards Syria on another route which he thought mightbe safe. This caravan left Makkah on the road to Iraq,and after travelling some distance turned north-westtowards Syria, bypassing Madinah at what Safwanconsidered a safe distance. But the Holy Prophet cameto know of this caravan and sent Zaid bin Harithah with100 men to capture it, which Zaid did.Safwan then went to Abu Sufyan, and both leadersagreed that since the economic well-being andprosperity of the Quraish depended on their profitabletrade with Syria, the sooner the Muslims were crushedthe better. Ikrimah also was impatient and pressed forspeed. Abu Sufyan, however, as a wise old chief, knewthat it would take time to prepare the expedition and
  • 153. purchase the camels, the horses and the weapons. Hepromised to do his best.The preparations for the expedition now began in rightearnest. While they were in progress, an unbeliever ofdoubtful character approached Abu Sufyan with aproposal. This man was Abu Amir of Madinah. He hadtaken exception to the arrival of the Holy Prophet atMadinah and to the speed with which members of hisown clan, the Aws, had begun to embrace Islam.Consequently he had left Madinah and sworn never toreturn as long as Muhammad remained in power. AtMakkah he took to inciting the Quraish against theMuslims. In the old days Abu Amir had been known asthe Monk, but the Holy Prophet had given him thenickname of the Knave! Thus the Muslims knew thisman as Abu Amir the Knave.21. Waqidi: Maghazi, pp. 156-72. Ibn Hisham: Vol. 2, p. 67.
  • 154. Chapter 3: The Battle of Uhud Part I: In the Time Page:of the Prophet 3(SAWS)"I have 50 members of my clan with me", he said toAbu Sufyan. "I have much influence with my clan,the Aws. I propose that before the battle begins I bepermitted to address the Aws among the Muslims,and I have no doubt that they will all desertMuhammad and come over to my side." 1 AbuSufyan gladly accepted the arrangement. The Awswere one of the two major tribes of Madinah and wouldcomprise more than a third of the Muslim army.Parleys were begun with neighbouring tribes, and strongcontingents were received from the Kinana and theThaqeef. Early in March 625, the assembly of the
  • 155. expedition began at Makkah. At this time Abbas, uncleof the Prophet, wrote to him from Makkah to informhim of the preparations being made against him.In the second week of March, the Quraish set out fromMakkah with an army of 3,000 men, of whom 700 werearmoured. They had 3,000 camels and 200 horses. Withthe army went 15 Quraish women in litters, whose taskit was to remind the Quraish of the comrades who hadfallen at Badr and to strengthen their spirits. Amongthese women was Hind, who acted as their leader, andthe role came naturally to her. Others were the wife ofIkrimah, the wife of Amr bin Al Aas and the sister ofKhalid. One of the women, whom we shall hear ofagain later, was Amrah bint Alqama, and there werealso some songstresses who carried tambourines anddrums.As the expedition moved towards Madinah, one of theleaders of the Quraish, Jubair bin Mutim, spoke to hisslave, who was known as the Savage-Wahshi bin Harb."If you kill Hamza, the uncle of Muhammad, inrevenge for the killing of my uncle at Badr, I shallfree you." 2 The Savage liked the prospect. He was ahuge, black Abyssinian slave who always fought with a
  • 156. javelin from his native Africa. He was an expert withthis weapon and had never been known to miss.After travelling a little further, the Savage saw one ofthe litter-carrying camels move up beside him. From thelitter Hind looked out and spoke to the Savage. "OFather of Blackness!" she addressed him. "Heal, andseek your reward." 3 She promised him that if hewould kill Hamza in revenge for his killing her father,she would give him all the ornaments that she waswearing.The Savage looked greedily at her ornaments-hernecklace, her bracelets, the rings that she wore on herfingers. They all looked very expensive and his eyesglittered at the prospect of acquiring them.The Holy Prophet had been warned by Abbas of theQuraish preparations before they left Makkah. Whilethey were on their way, he continued to receiveinformation of their progress from friendly tribes. OnMarch 20, the Quraish arrived near Madinah andcamped a few miles away, in a wooded area west ofMount Uhud. On this very day the Prophet sent twoscouts to observe the Quraish, and these scouts
  • 157. returned to give their exact strength.On March 21, the Prophet left Madinah with 1,000 men,of whom 100 were armoured. The Muslims had twohorses, of which one was the Prophets. They campedfor the night near a small black hillock called Shaikhan,a little over a mile north of Madinah.The following morning, before the march was resumed,the Hypocrites, numbering 300 under the leadership ofAbdullah bin Ubayy, left the Prophet on the plea thatfighting the Quraish outside Madinah had no prospect ofsuccess, and that they would not take part in anoperation which in their view was doomed to failure.The Hypocrites returned to Madinah. The Prophet wasnow left with 700 men; and with this strength hemarched from the camp. The Prophet had not actuallyintended to fight outside Madinah. It had been his wishthat the Muslims should await the arrival of the Quraishon their home ground and fight the battle in Madinah;but most of the Muslims had insisted that they go out tomeet the Quraish, and so the Prophet, submitting to theirdemand, had marched out to give battle to the Quraishoutside Madinah. But although he was going out to meethis enemy in the open, he would nevertheless fight the
  • 158. battle on ground of his own choice. He moved to thefoot of Mount Uhud and deployed for battle.1. Waqidi: Maghazi, p. 1612. Ibn Hisham: Vol. 2, pp. 61-2.3. Ibid.
  • 159. Chapter 3: The Battle of Uhud Part I: In the Time Page:of the Prophet 4(SAWS)Uhud is a massive feature lying four miles north ofMadinah (the reference point in Madinah being theProphets Mosque) and rising to a height of about 1,000feet above the level of the plain. The entire feature is 5miles long. In the western part of Uhud, a large spurdescends steeply to the ground, and to the right of thisspur, as seen from the direction of Madinah, a valleyrises gently and goes up and away as it narrows at adefile about 1,000 yards from the foot of the spur.Beyond this defile it shrinks into nothingness as it meetsthe main wall of the ridge. At the mouth of this valley, atthe foot of this spur, the Prophet placed his army. Thevalley rose behind him.
  • 160. He organised the Muslims as a compact formation witha front of 1,000 yards. He placed his right wing at thefoot of the spur and his left wing at the foot of a low hill,about 40 feet high and 500 feet long, called Ainain. TheMuslim right was safe, but their left could be turnedfrom beyond Ainain; so, to meet this danger, theProphet placed 50 archers on Ainain, from which theycould command the approaches along which theQuraish could manoeuvre into the Muslim rear. Thesearchers, under the command of Abdullah bin Jubair,were given instructions by the Prophet as follows; "Useyour arrows against the enemy cavalry. Keep thecavalry off our backs. As long as you hold yourposition, our rear is safe. On no account must youleave this position. If you see us winning, do notjoin us; if you see us losing, do not come to helpus." 1 The orders to this group of archers were verydefinite. Since Ainain was an important tactical featureand commanded the area immediately around it, it wasimperative to ensure that it did not fall into the hands ofthe Quraish.Behind the Muslims stood 14 women whose task it wasto give water to the thirsty, to carry the wounded out of
  • 161. battle and to dress their wounds. Among these womenwas Fatimah, daughter of the Prophet and wife of AliThe Prophet himself took up his position with the leftwing of his army.The Muslim dispositions were intended to lead to afrontal positional battle and were superbly conceived.They gave the Muslims the benefit of fully exploitingtheir own sources of strength-courage and fighting skill.They also saved them from the dangers posed by theQuraish strength in numbers and in cavalry-the mobilemanoeuvre arm which the Muslims lacked. It wouldhave suited Abu Sufyan to fight an open battle in whichhe could manoeuvre against the Muslim flanks and rearwith his cavalry and bring his maximum strength to bearagainst them. But the Prophet neutralised Abu Sufyansadvantages, and forced him to fight on a restricted frontwhere his superior strength and his cavalry would be oflimited value. It is also worth noting that the Muslimswere actually facing Madinah and had their backs toMount Uhud; the road to Madinah was open to theQuraish.Now the Quraish moved up. They established a battlecamp a mile south of the spur, and from here Abu
  • 162. Sufyan led his army forward and formed it in battlearray facing the Muslims. He organised it into a mainbody of infantry in the centre with two mobile wings.On the right was Khalid and on the left Ikrimah, eachwith a cavalry squadron 100 strong. Amr bin Al Aaswas appointed in over-all charge of the cavalry, but histask was mainly that of co-ordination. Abu Sufyanplaced 100 archers ahead of his front rank for the initialengagement. The Quraish banner was carried by Talhabin Abi Talha, one of the survivors of Badr. Thus theQuraish deployed with their backs to Madinah, facingthe Muslims and facing Mount Uhud. In fact they stoodbetween the Muslim army and its base at Madinah. (Forthe dispositions of the two armies see Map 1).Just behind the Quraish main body stood their women.Before battle was joined, these women, led by Hind,marched back and forth in front of the Quraish,reminding them of those who had fallen at Badr.Thereafter, just before the women withdrew to theirposition in the rear of the army, the clear, strong voiceof Hind rose as she sang:O you sons of Abduddar!Defenders of our homes!
  • 163. We are the daughters of the night;We move among the cushions.If you advance we will embrace you.If you retreat we will forsake youWith loveless separation. 21. Ibn Hisham: Vol. 2, pp. 65-66; Waqidi: Maghazi, p.175.2. Ibn Hisham: Vol. 2, p. 68. Waqidi: Maghazi, p. 176.
  • 164. Chapter 3: The Battle of Uhud Part I: In the Time of the Prophet Page:(SAWS) 5It was the morning of Saturday, March 22, 625 (the 7thof Shawwal, 3 Hijri)-exactly a year and a week afterBadr. 1 The armies faced each other in orderly ranks,700 Muslims against 3,000 unbelievers. This was thefirst time that Abu Sufyan had commanded in the fieldagainst the Prophet, but he had able lieutenants and feltcertain of victory. The Muslims repeated to themselvesthe Quranic words: "Sufficient for us is Allah, andwhat a good protector He is." [Quran 3: 173] Andthey awaited the decision of Allah.The first event, after the forming up of the two armies,was the attempt by the Knave to subvert the Aws. Thisman stepped forward ahead of the front rank of the
  • 165. Quraish, along with his 50 followers and a large numberof the slaves of the Quraish. He faced the Aws andcalled, "O people of the Aws! I am Abu Amir. Youknow me!" The reply from the Aws was unanimous:"No welcome to you, O Knave!" This was followed bya shower of stones hurled with great delight by the Awsat the Knave and his group, under which the grouphastily withdrew through the ranks of the Quraish.Observing the look of derision on the faces of theQuraish, the Knave assumed a prophetic posture andobserved, "After me my people will suffer." 2 But theQuraish were not impressed!
  • 166. After the encounter of the Knave, the archers openedup from both sides. This was a kind of artillery duelbetween the 100 archers of the Quraish and the Muslimarchers, who were either in the group on Eniein ordispersed along the front rank of the Muslims. Manysalvoes were fired. Under cover of the Quraish archersKhalid advanced with his squadron to attack the leftwing of the Muslims, but was forced back by accuratefire from the Muslim archers. As the archersengagement ended, the song of the Quraish women wasagain heard on the battlefield: "We are the daughtersof the night... "The next phase was the phase of duels by thechampions of the two armies. Talha, the standard bearerof the Quraish, stepped out of the front rank and called"I am Talha, son of Abu Talha. Will anyone duel?" 3On his challenge, Ali strode out and before Talha coulddeliver a single blow, Ali struck him with his sword andfelled him. Talha was only wounded, and as Ali raisedhis sword to strike again, Talha begged for mercy. Alipromptly turned away. Later, however, while the generalengagement was in progress, the wounded Talha wasdespatched by the Muslims. On the fall of Talha, another
  • 167. infidel came forward and picked up the Quraishstandard. This man was killed by Hamza, As Hamzakilled him, he was noticed by the Savage who stoodbehind the Quraish ranks. Stealthily the Savage began tomove towards the right in order to approach Hamzafrom a flank. Hamza was easily recognisable by a largeostrich feather which he wore in his turban.Now the duels became more general. One after theother the relatives of Talha picked up the standard, andone after the other they were killed by the Muslims, thelargest number falling before Alis sword, Abu Sufyanalso rode up to duel and was faced by Handhalah binAbu Amir, who was dismounted. Before Abu Sufyancould use his lance or draw his sword, Handhalah struckat the forelegs of the horse and brought it down. AbuSufyan shouted for help and was assisted by one of hiscompanions, who engaged and killed Handhalah. AbuSufyan withdrew hastily to the safety of the Quraishranks.Another Quraish warrior who came forward wasAbdur-Rahman, son of Abu Bakr. He stepped out of thefront rank and gave the usual challenge, whereupon hisfather, Abu Bakr, drew his sword and prepared to move
  • 168. forward from the Muslim position to fight him. But AbuBakr was restrained by the Holy Prophet, who said tohim, "Sheathe your sword," 4 This Abdur-Rahmanwas later to become one of the most valiant warriors ofIslam and acquire glory in the Muslim campaigns inSyria.1. Some historians have placed the date of the Battle ofUhud a week later, but the earlier date is probably morecorrect.2. Ibn Hisham: Vol. 2, p. 67; Ibn Sad: p. 543.3. Waqidi: Maghazi, p. 176.4. Ibid: p. 200.
  • 169. Chapter 3: The Battle of Uhud Part I: In the Time Page:of the Prophet 6(SAWS)Soon after the duels, the fighting became general andboth armies were locked in fierce hand-to-hand fighting.The Muslims were superior in swordmanship andcourage, but these advantages were offset by thenumerical superiority of the Quraish. As this generalengagement of the main body progressed, Khalid madeanother sally towards the left wing of the Muslims,where the Prophet stood, but was again driven back bythe Muslim archers on Ainain.The Prophet himself participated in this action by firingarrows into the general mass of the Quraish. Beside himstood Sad bin Abi Waqqas, who was an arrow-maker
  • 170. by profession and was among the best archers of histime. The Prophet would indicate targets to Sad and Sadwould invariably score a hit.Hamza was fighting near the left edge of the Muslimforce. By now he had killed two men and found a thirdone approaching him-a man named Saba hin AbdulUzza, whom Hamza knew well. "Come to me!" shoutedHamza, "O son of the skin-cutter!" 1 (The mother ofSaba used to perform circumcision operations inMakkah!) The colour rose in Sabas face as he drew hissword and rushed at Hamza.As the two men began to duel with sword and shield,the Savage, crawling behind rocks and bushes,approached Hamza, At last he got within javelin rangeand with an experienced eye measured the distancebetween himself and his victim. Then he stood up andraised his javelin for the throw. Hamza struck a mortalblow on the head of Saba, and Saba fell in a heap atHamzas feet. At this very moment the Savage hurledhis javelin. The cruel weapon, thrown with unerring aim,struck Hamza in the abdomen and went right throughhis body. Hamza turned in the direction of the Savageand, roaring with anger, took a few steps towards him.
  • 171. The Savage trembled as he waited behind a large rock,but Hamza could only take a few steps before he fell.The Savage waited until all movement had ceased inHamzas body, and then walked up to the corpse andwrenched out his javelin. He then casually walked awayfrom the scene of fighting. He had done his job. TheSavage would fight more battles in his life, but therewould be no more battles for the noble Hamza- "Lion ofAllah and of His Prophet!" 2Soon after this, the Quraish army began to waver andthe Muslims pressed harder in their assault. Whenseveral Quraish standard-bearers had been either killedor wounded, their standard was picked up by a slavewho continued to fight with it until he too was killed andthe standard fell again. As it fell, the Quraish broke andfled in disorder.There was now complete panic in the ranks of theQuraish. The Muslims pursued them, but the Quraishoutran their pursuers. The Quraish women wailed whenthey saw what had befallen their men. They also took totheir heels; and raising their dresses in order to be ableto run faster, gave a fine view of their flashing legs to
  • 172. the delighted Muslims. All the women ran except Amra,who remained where she had stood, close behind theoriginal Quraish battle line.The Muslims got to the Quraish camp and began toplunder it. There was complete confusion in the campwith women and slaves milling around, hoping not to bekilled, while the Muslims rifled everything they couldfind and shouted with glee. There was now no order, nodiscipline, no control, for the Muslims felt that the battlewas won. The first phase of the battle was indeed over.The casualties had been light, but the Quraish had beenclearly defeated. This should have marked the end ofthe Battle of Uhud, but it did not.As the Quraish fled and the Muslims, following in theirfootsteps, entered the Quraish camp, the two mobilewings of the Quraish stood firm. Both Khalid andIkrimah moved back a bit from their previous positionsbut kept their men under complete control, notpermitting a single rider to retreat. And Khalid nowwatched this confused situation, looking now at thefleeing Quraish, now at the plundering Muslims, now atthe archers on Ainain. He did not quite know what todo; but he was capable of a high degree of patience and
  • 173. waited for an opportunity which would give him a line ofaction. Soon his patience was rewarded.1. Ibn Hisham: Vol. 2, p. 70.2. Waqidi: Maghazi, p. 225.
  • 174. Chapter 3: The Battle of Uhud Part I: In the Time Page:of the Prophet 7(SAWS)When the archers on Ainain saw the defeat of theQuraish and the arrival of the Muslims at the Quraishcamp, they became impatient to take part in the plunderof the camp. The Quraish camp looked very tempting.They turned to their commander, Abdullah bin Jubair,and asked for permission to join their comrades, butAbdullah was firm in his refusal. "You know very wellthe orders of the Messenger of Allah", he said. "Weare to remain on this hill until we receive his ordersto leave it." "Yes, but that is not what the Messengerof Allah intended," the archers replied. "We were tohold this hill during battle. Now the battle is over,and there is no point in our remaining here." And in
  • 175. spite of the protests of their commander, most of thearchers left the hill and ran towards the Quraish campshouting, "The booty! The booty!" 1 Abdullah was leftwith nine archers on the hill. This movement wasobserved by the keen eyes of Khalid, who waited untilthe archers had reached the Quraish camp.Then Khalid struck. He launched a mounted attackagainst the few archers who remained on the hill, withthe intention of capturing this position and creating forhimself room for manoeuvre, Ikrimah saw themovement of Khalid and galloped across the plain to joinKhalids squadron. As Khalids squadron reached thetop of the hill, Ikrimahs squadron was just behind whileIkrimah himself came ahead and began to take part inthe assault on the Muslim archers.The faithful archers who had remained on the hillresisted gallantly. Some were killed while the remainder,all wounded, were driven off the hill by the assault ofKhalid. Abdullah bin Jubair, defending to the last theposition which the Prophet had entrusted to him,suffered many wounds and was then slain by Ikrimah.Now Khalids squadron, followed by Ikrimahs, sweptforward and came in behind the line that had been held
  • 176. by the Muslims an hour ago. Here the two squadronswheeled left and charged at the Muslims from the rear.Ikrimah with a part of his squadron assaulted the groupwhich stood with the Holy Prophet, while Khalidssquadron and the remainder of Ikrimahs squadronattacked the Muslims in the Quraish camp.Khalid drove into the rear of the unsuspecting Muslims,confident that having taken them unawares he wouldsoon tear them to pieces. But the Muslims refused to betorn to pieces. As the Quraish cavalry reached thecamp, there was an uproar in the ranks of the Muslims,and a few of them lost their heads and fled. Most ofthem, however, stayed and fought. As long as theProphet lived, these men were not going toacknowledge defeat. But as the Muslims turned to fightthe Quraish cavalry, Amra rushed towards the Quraishstandard which lay on the ground. She picked up thestandard and waved it above her head in the hope thatthe main body of the Quraish would see it.By now Abu Sufyan had regained control over most ofthe infantry, He saw the movement of the cavalry. Hesaw the Quraish standard waving in the hands of Amraand he got his men back into action. Knowing that the
  • 177. Muslims had been taken in the rear by the cavalry, theQuraish rushed into battle once again, shouting their warcry: "O for Uzza! O for Hubal!" 2The Muslims were now caught between two fires, theQuraish cavalry attacking from the rear and the bulk ofthe Quraish infantry attacking from the front. AbuSufyan himself charged into battle and killed a Muslim.The situation soon became desperate for the Muslims,who broke up into small groups, each fighting on its ownto repel the attacks of the cavalry and infantry. Theconfusion increased, and in the dust a few of theMuslims even began to fight each other. There wassome alarm, but still no panic. Losses began to mountamong the Muslims, but they held out-determined tofight to the last. At about this time, Khalid killed his firstman-Abu Aseera-with his lance and knocked downanother Muslim. Believing him dead, Khalid rode on; butthe second man was only wounded and got up to fightagain.1. Waqidi: Maghazi, pp. 178-179.; Ibn Sad: pp. 545,551.2. Waqidi: Maghazi, p. 188; Ibn Sad: p. 545.
  • 178. Chapter 3: The Battle of Uhud Part I: In the Time of the Prophet Page:(SAWS) 8The battle was now divided into two separate actions.There was the main body of the Muslims holding outagainst the main part of the Quraish army, and therewas the group with the Holy Prophet holding out againstpart of Ikrimahs squadron and some of the; Quraishinfantry which had returned to attack him.Now began the ordeal of the Prophet. (See Map 2.below)
  • 179. When the Muslims left their positions in pursuit of theQuraish, the Holy Prophet remained at his battlelocation. Here he had with him 30 of his Companionswho stuck to him and refused to be tempted by theprospect of plunder. Among these 30 were some of theclosest of his followers, including, Ali, Abu Bakr, Sad binAbi Waqqas, Talha bin Ubaidullah, Abu Ubaidah,Abdur-Rahman bin Auf, Abu Dujanah and Musab binUmair. With the group were also present two womenwho had busied themselves with carrying water to theMuslims and had now joined the Prophet.As Khalid captured the archers position and the Quraishcavalry began to wheel round to attack the Muslims inthe rear, the Prophet realised the seriousness of thepredicament in which the Muslims were placed. Hecould do nothing to control and direct the actions of themain body, for it was too far away; and he knew that hisown group would soon be under attack. His presentposition was utterly untenable, so he decided to move tothe foot of the spur immediately behind him (not the spurat the foot of which the Muslim right wing had beenplaced), and with this intention he started to movebackwards. But he had not gone more than about a
  • 180. quarter of a mile with his 30 Companions when Ikrimahwith his horsemen moved up and barred his way. TheProphet determined to stand and fight where he stood;and it was not long before a Quraish infantry group alsoarrived to attack the Prophet.The Prophets group found itself assailed from front andrear. The Muslims formed a cordon around the Prophetto defend him and the fighting gradually increased inintensity. The Prophet himself used his bow to effectand continued to use it until it broke. Thereafter he usedhis own arrows to augment those of Sad, whose superbarchery gave a great deal of trouble to the Quraish.Every Muslim took on an opposing group of three or fourmen and either fell himself or drove his opponents back.The first of the Quraish to reach the Prophets positionwas Ikrimah. As Ikrimah led a group of his men forwardthe Prophet turned to Ali and, pointing at the group, said,"Attack those men." Ali attacked and drove them back,killing one of them. Now another group of horsemenapproached the position. Again the Prophet said to Ali,"Attack those men." 1 Ali drove them back and killedanother infidel.
  • 181. As the fighting increased in severity, the Quraish beganto shower the Prophets group with arrows and stones,They would use these missiles from a distance and thencharge with swords, either mounted or on foot. To shieldthe Prophet from the arrows, Abu Dujanah stood in frontof him, with his back to the Quraish infantry, from whichcame most of the arrows. After some time the back ofAbu Dujanah was so studded with arrows that he lookedlike a porcupine, but he continued passing his ownarrows to Sad. Talha also stood beside the Prophet. Onone occasion, when an arrow seemed about to hit theProphet in the face, Talha put his hand in the arrowsline of flight and stopped it with his hand. Talha lost afinger as a result, but saved the Prophet.Against the main body of the Muslims, Khalid waslaunching assault after assault with his squadron anddoing severe damage. About now he killed his secondman-Sabt bin Dahdaha-with his lance. In this battleKhalid relied mainly on his lance, with which he wouldrun down and impale his adversary. Every time hebrought a man down, he would shout, "Take that! And Iam the Father of Sulaiman!" 2The first rush of the counter-attack passed, and was
  • 182. followed by a lull in the Prophets sector, as the Quraishwithdrew a short distance to rest before resuming theirattacks. During this lull, one of the Muslims, noticed thatthe Prophet was looking cautiously over his shoulder.The man asked the reason for this, and the Prophetreplied casually, "I am expecting Ubayy bin Khalf. Hemay approach me from behind. If you see himcoming, let him get near me". He had hardly said thiswhen a man detached himself from Ikrimahs squadronand slowly advanced towards the Prophet, mounted on alarge, powerful horse. The man shouted, "OMuhammad! I have come! It is either you or me!" Atthis some of the Companions asked the Prophet forpermission to deal with the man, but the Prophet said,"Let him be!" 3 The Companions moved aside, and leftthe way open for the rider to approach.1. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 197.2. Waqidi: Maghazi, p.198.3. Ibid: pp. 195-6; Ibn Hisham: Vol. 2, p. 84.
  • 183. Chapter 3: The Battle of Uhud Part I: In the Time Page:of the Prophet 9(SAWS)At the Battle of Badr, a young man by the name ofAbdullah bin Ubayy (not to be confused with theAbdullah bin Ubayy who was the leader of theHypocrites) was taken prisoner by the Muslims. Hisfather, Ubayy bin Khalf, came to release his son andpaid 4,000 dirhams as ransom. Once the ransom hadbeen paid and the young man released, while still inMadinah, Ubayy had been insolent to the Prophet. Hehad said, "O Muhammad! I have a horse which I amstrengthening with a lot of fodder, because in thenext battle I shall come riding that horse and I shallkill you" The Prophet had then replied, "No, you shall
  • 184. not kill me. But I shall kill you while you are on thathorse, if Allah wills it." 1 The man had laughedscornfully as he rode away with his son.And now Ubayy bin Khalf was approaching the Propheton his horse. He saw the Companions move out of theway. He saw the Prophet waiting for him, andgrudgingly he admired the man he had set out to kill.The Prophet was wearing two coats of mail. He wore achain helmet, the side-flaps of which covered hischeeks; His sword rested in its sheath, tucked into aleather belt, and in his right hand he held his spear.Ubayy noticed the powerful, broad shoulders ofMuhammad; notice the large, hard hands-hands strongenough to break a spear in two. The Prophet looked amagnificent sight.It is known to few people today that ProphetMuhammad was one of the strongest Muslims of histime. Add to his great personal strength the fact ofdivine selection, and one can imagine what a formidableopponent he would prove to anybody. But Ubayy wasundaunted, He had just killed a Muslim, and his spiritswere high.
  • 185. The Prophet could easily have told his Companions toslay Ubayy. They would have fallen upon him and tornhim to pieces. Or he could have given Ali the simpleorder, "Kill that man", and that man would be as goodas dead, for when Ali set out to kill a man nothing couldsave him. But the Prophet had ordered his Companionsto stand aside. This time he wanted no help fromanyone. This was a matter of personal honour-a matterof chivalry. Muhammad would fight alone as achivalrous Arab. He would keep his rendezvous with achallenger.As Ubayy reached the Prophet, he pulled up his horse.He was in no hurry. Not for a moment doubting thatMuhammad would await his attack, he took his owntime over drawing his sword. And then suddenly it wastoo late, for the Prophet raised his spear and struck atthe upper part of Ubayys chest. Ubayy tried to duck,but was not quick enough. The spear struck him on theright shoulder, near the base of the neck. It was a minorwound, but Ubayy fell off his horse,