Friday Sermon delivered at Masjid Mubarak, Islamabad, Tilford, UK
After reciting Tashahhud, Ta`awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) said that he would continue highlighting incidents and expeditions from the life of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra).
His Holiness(aba) said that there was the Battle of Heerah. Hazrat Khalid(ra) set out from Amgheshiyah towards Heerah which was located by the Euphrates river, whose governor was a Persian. He had an idea that Hazrat Khalid(ra) would come to Heerah next, and so he had already begun preparations. Hence, the governor instructed his son to block the river’s water so as to hinder Hazrat Khalid(ra), who he anticipated would arrive by way of ships. When Hazrat Khalid’s(ra) ships could not longer move forward, he took a battalion of riders and headed towards the governor’s son, then the rest of the army and then the governor all of whom were defeated by Hazrat Khalid(ra). He then oversaw that the Euphrates was made to flow once again.
His Holiness(aba) said that upon seeing this, the people of Heerah betook themselves to four fortresses and prepared for further battle. Hazrat Khalid(ra) appointed people from his army to encircle each one of those fortresses, with the instructions to first invite them to Islam and if they accepted then they should be left alone. However, if they refused, then they should be given a day after which the Muslims should combat them. The people of Heerah rained down rocks upon the Muslims, and the Muslims fired back arrows. Seeing that they would ultimately suffer defeat, they said that they would accept one of the conditions, upon which they opened the doors of their fortresses and met with Hazrat Khalid(ra) who reprimanded them from their ways. Then the chieftains agreed to pay the Jizyah and an agreement was formed between them and the Muslims. However, after the demise of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra), the people of Heerah became apostates once again. Then Hazrat Musanna(ra) conquered Heerah again during the era of Hazrat Umar(ra) and then later again by Hazrat Sa’d(ra).
His Holiness(aba) said that when Hazrat Khalid(ra) gained victory in Heerah, people sent gifts to congratulate him on his victory, but he sent all these gifts to Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) along with the good news of their victory. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) said that he would only accept these gifts as Jizyah as that would be the just thing to do. Hazrat Khalid(ra) remained there for some time to ensure the establishment of peace. Upon hearing of his victory, surrounding chieftains from Iraq came forward on their own to establish peace treaties with Hazrat Khalid(ra).
His Holiness(aba) said that once there was no longer any threat from Iraq and they had come under the Islamic rule, Hazrat Khalid(ra) intended to attack Iran directly. The Persian government was at odds upon the demise of Kisra, as it struggled to select the next emperor. Hazrat Khalid(ra) sent a letter to them telling them that they were at odds, however if they accepted Islam they would be at peace. Either they should accept Islam or accept the payment of Jizyah to ensure the establishment of peace and their security. However, if they refused, then he would bring with him such a fierce army which loved death as much as they loved life.
His Holiness(aba) said then there was the Battle of Anbaar or Dhat al-Uyun. The Persian army had encamped near Heerah at Anbaar and Ain al-Tamar which was near Kufa. It was clear that if the Muslims did not take any action, then they could very well lose the area of Heerah which they had only just conquered. Hence, Hazrat Khalid(ra) instructed his army to prepare. Once peace was restored in Heerah, Hazrat Khalid(ra) appointed Hazrat Ka’ka in his stead and set out to help Hazrat Ayaz bin Ghanam(ra) who had been sent by Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) from the south to conquer Iraq with the instructions of meeting with Hazrat Khalid(ra).
His Holiness(aba) said that the people of Anbaar betook themselves to their fortress and had dug a trench outside the fortress. When Hazrat Khalid(ra) arrived, he analysed the situation and then devised a plan. He appointed a thousand archers, who very accurately struck the opponent, specifically striking their eyes. Hence this is also known as the Battle of Dhat al-Uyun (The Battle of Eyes). Then Hazrat Khalid(ra) formed a bridge with camels, filling the trench. Upon seeing this, the leader of Anbaar offered a peace treaty with Hazrat Khalid(ra) and requested safe passage to his own desired destination. His Holiness(aba) commented that this is sufficient to silence those critics of Hazrat Khalid(ra) who say that he was unjust and bent on fighting, whereas here, despite the enemy not accepting offers of peace, when they were finally defeated, he still chose to establish peace.
His Holiness(aba) said then there was the Battle of Ain al-Tamar. After tending to matters related to Anbaar, Hazrat Khalid(ra) set out towards Ain al-Tamar, where a large force of the Persian army had encamped under the leadership of Mehraan bin Bahzaam. There were also various Arab tribes there as well and one of the leaders was Akka. He said to Mahraan that being Arabs, they knew how to fight against Hazrat Khalid(ra) and so the matter should be left to him. Mahraan had heard of Hazrat Khalid’s(ra) great victories and saw this as an excuse, hence telling Akka that he should certainly take the lead in fighting against Hazrat Khalid(ra). Akka set out but Hazrat Khaid(ra) defeated him, upon hearing of which Mahraan fled while others betook themselves to a fortress. They were all imprisoned by Hazrat Khalid(ra) who also took over the armory that had been left behind.
His Holiness(aba) said that Hazrat Khalid(ra) informed Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) of the victory achieved by the Muslims along with the explanation of why he had left Heerah after a year of staying there to combat the enemy in Anbaar and Ain al-Tamar.
His Holiness(aba) said then there was the Battle of Daumatul Jandal which was near the Syrian city called Medina. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) had sent Hazrat Ayaz to Daumah however he faced many difficulties there. When Hazrat Walid bin Uqbah went to Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) with the news of victory at Anbaar and Ain al-Tamar, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) instructed him to go and assist Hazrat Ayaz in Daumatul Jandal. Upon arriving, Hazrat Walid(ra) saw the difficult situation Hazrat Ayaz was in, and advised him to seek help from Hazrat Khalid(ra). Hence, after his victory at Ain al-Tamar, Hazrat Khalid(ra) took his army and set out towards Daumatul Jandal. When the people learned of Hazrat Khalid’s(ra) arrival, their leaders were at odds. One of them named Uqaidar said that they should seek to establish peace while others insisted upon fighting. Uqaidar then left and was later captured by the Muslims. When he was brought to Hazrat Khalid(ra) he was imprisoned and then killed.
His Holiness(aba) said that the explanation for why Uqaidar was killed was during the Battle of Tabuk, the Holy Prophet(sa) sent Hazrat Khalid(ra) towards Uqaidar. At the time, Uqaidar sought peace and agreed upon a treaty, however he broke the conditions of that treaty. Hence, it was due to this breach that Hazrat Khalid(ra) later had the opportunity to take him to task for his treacherous ways.
His Holiness(aba) said that when Hazrat Khalid(ra) arrived in Daumatul Jandal, a fierce battle ensued, however Hazrat Khalid(ra) and his army were ultimately victorious. Many people betook themselves to their fortress, however Hazrat Khalid(ra) ultimately infiltrated that as well and many were taken as prisoners. This victory greatly strengthened the Muslims’ tactical footing, as Daumatul Jandal was located on the way to three prominent places; Iraq, Iran and Syria.
His Holiness(aba) said that then there was the Battle of Usaid and Khanafis. Hazrat Khalid(ra) was in Daumatul Jandal when Arabs had struck deals with foreigners to avenge the death of Akka. Hence armies from Baghdad set out with the intention of meeting at Usaid and Khanafis. When Hazrat Khalid(ra) returned to Heerah he learned of these activities, he sent Hazrat Ka’ka and Abu Laylah to combat the two armies and later set out himself. He instructed Hazrat Ka’ka to go to Usaid and Abu Laylah to Khanafis and instructed them both to gather the two enemy armies in one place, and if this could not happen then they should attack them. The Muslims ultimately proved victorious in the Battle of Usaid and the surviving enemies fled to Khanafis. However, the Muslims were also ultimately victorious in Khanafis.
His Holiness(aba) said then there was the Battle of Musayyakh, located near Damascus. Hazrat Khalid(ra) and his generals attacked from three different sides and ultimately proved victorious. During this battle, two Muslims were inadvertently killed by the Muslims army, and when Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) learned of this he offered their blood money. Although Hazrat Umar(ra) wanted Hazrat Khalid(ra) punished for this, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) explained that something like this was absolutely possible when there were Muslims living among the enemy. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) then also vowed to ensure that the upbrining of their children was tended to.
His Holiness(aba) said that then there were the incidents of Sanni and Zumail. Rabia, who wished to avenge the death of Akka encamped in Sanni. Hazrat Khalid(ra) learned of this and decided to attack from three sides again which ultimately resulted in the Muslims proving victorious. Thereafter the Muslims went to Ruzab which was conquered without any difficulty.
His Holiness(aba) said that then there was the Battle of FIraz, which took place between the Mulsims and Romans. This took place during Ramadan due to which Hazrat Khalid(ra) was unable to keep fasts. Hazrat Khalid(ra) set out along the Euphrates River towards the south and as he passed by various areas the residents would agree to treaties of peace. He then reached Firaz. Although this had never initially been the plan, it was God who opened up the paths for such widespread victories for Islam. Hence the Muslims were also ultimately victorious over the Romans in Firaz.
His Holiness(aba) read out the statements of various historians about the great victories achieved by Hazrat Khalid(ra) all of which were possible due to the leadership and guidance of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra).
His Holiness(aba) said that this brought an end to the accounts of battles during the time of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) and that he would continue accounts from the life of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) in future sermons.
His Holiness(aba) said that next Friday marks the commencement of Jalsa Salana UK and asked everyone to pray that this Jalsa is blessed in every way; those attending may have safe travel and that those performing duty may have the ability to carry out their responsibilities in the best manner. This year Jalsa is being held at its full scale after three years due to which some difficulties may arise. His Holiness(aba) prayed that may Allah remove all such difficulties.
Summary prepared by The Review of Religions
After reciting the tashahud, ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) stated:
Accounts relating to the expeditions during the era of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) were being narrated. Today, I will speak about the remaining military expeditions which were led by Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid. In order to complete the accounts relating to the battles, it is possible that today’s Friday sermon may be slightly longer.
The Battle of Hirah was fought in RabI‘ al-Awwal, in the beginning of the 12 AH, when Hazrat Khalid(ra) set off from Amgheshiyah and headed towards Hirah. (Umar Abu al-Nasr, Sirat Sayyiduna Siddique Akbar(ra) – Translated, [Lahore, Pakistan: Mushtaq Book Corner, 2020], p. 672)
In relation to this, it is said that Hazrat Khalid(ra) set off from Amgheshiyah and headed towards Hirah. Hirah is located near the Euphrates River and it served as an old Christian centre. Its ruler at the time was a Persian and he assumed that Hazrat Khalid’s(ra) armies would now turn towards him. As such, he started preparations to counter Hazrat Khalid(ra). He also assumed that Hazrat Khalid(ra) would come by sea on boats. He instructed his son to stop the flow of the Euphrates River so that Hazrat Khalid’s(ra) ships would get stuck in the swamp. He personally followed him and set up camps for his army at the outskirts of Hirah. When Hazrat Khalid(ra) had set off from Amgheshiyah and when the army had boarded the ships and set off along with their provisions and the spoils of war, Hazrat Khalid(ra) became rather anxious as the ships were hitting the ground due to the lack of water. The sailors said, “The Persians have opened the canals in order to stop the water of the Euphrates flowing in this direction. The water is flowing towards other directions. Until the canals are closed, the water will not flow towards us.”
Upon this, Hazrat Khalid(ra) immediately took a group of the cavalry with him and headed towards where the governor’s son was. On the way, Hazrat Khalid(ra) fought the army that was stationed at the bank of the Ateeq River. Hazrat Khalid(ra) ambushed them when they were completely unaware of it and he killed all of them. He then advanced and saw that the son of the ruler of Hirah was supervising the task of diverting the flow of the river. Hazrat Khalid(ra) ambushed him, killed him and his army and allowed the river to flow by breaking the dam. He then remained standing there personally and oversaw this task until the ships set off on their journey once again. Following this, Hazrat Khalid(ra) gathered all of his commanders and reached Khawarnaq, a fort near Hirah. However, when the governor came to know of the passing of Ardashir and his own son had also been killed during battle, he crossed the Euphrates River and fled without putting up a fight. Nevertheless, despite the fleeing of the governor, the people of Hirah did not lose courage and fortified themselves. There were four fortresses. They closed themselves off in each of these fortresses and started preparing for battle.
It is recorded that Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid surrounded the fortresses in the following manner; Dhirar bin Azghar was appointed to surround the white fortress, in which Iyas bin Qubaisah al-Ta’i had sought refuge. Dhirar bin Khattab was appointed to surround the fortress of Adsiyyin, in which Adi bin Adi had sought refuge. Dhirar bin Muqarrin was appointed to surround the fortress of Bani Ma‘zin, in which Ibn Akkal had sought refuge and Muthanna bin Haritha was appointed to surround the fortress of Ibn Mukaila, wherein Amr bin Abdil-Masih had sought refuge.
Hazrat Khalid(ra) instructed his commanders to first extend an invitation of Islam to these people. If they were to accept Islam then their conversion to Islam should be accepted. However, if they refused, then they should be given a days respite. He also instructed them to not grant the opponents any opportunity; rather, they should fight them and they should not prevent the Muslims from fighting the enemy. They chose to fight and started to throw stones at the Muslims. In turn, the Muslims showered them with arrows, attacked them with all their might and conquered the fortresses. Upon this, the priests that were present exclaimed, “O people of the fortresses! None but you shall kill us.” This was an attempt to motivate and encourage them. The people in the fortresses replied, “O Arabs! We have accepted one of your three conditions. As such, you should stop now.”
When they saw that the Arabs, i.e. the Muslims, were gaining the upper hand, they expressed their intention of opening the fortresses on certain conditions. The leaders in those fortresses came out and Hazrat Khalid(ra) met the people in those fortresses separately. Reprimanding them on their actions. (Ali Muhammad al-Salabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) Shakhsiyyat aur Karname - Translated [Khan Garh, Pakistan: Al-Furqan Trust], p. 410) (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique – Translated [Lahore, Pakistan: Islami Kutub Khanah], p. 315) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah], p. 315) (Yaqut Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi], p. 459)
And whilst reprimanding them, Hazrat Khalid(ra) said: “Woe be unto you! What were you thinking of yourselves by trying to confront us? If you are Arabs then why were you willing to fight your fellow nation? And if you are non-Arabs then did you believe that you could win against a nation that is unmatched in its justice and equity?” Following this, the chiefs agreed to pay the Jizya. Hazrat Khalid(ra) was hopeful that these Iraqi Arabs would most certainly accept Islam as they belonged to the same nation. However, he was rather astonished when they insisted on remaining Christian. Nevertheless, Hazrat Khalid(ra) penned the agreement between the people of Hirah and the Muslims, which was as follows,
“In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful. This is the covenant Khalid bin Walid has made with Adi bin Adi, Amr bin Adi, Amr bin Abdul Masih, Iyas bin Qabaisah, Hiri bin Akkal. These are the chieftains of Hirah, and the people of Hirah have agreed to this covenant and accepted the condition to pay 190,000 dirhams annually in compensation for their security and protection (in other words, the Jizya will be collected for the protection of the local people). This [Jizya] is mandatory for all who have wealth and worldly material possessions, even if they are monks or priests, except for those who possess nothing and have disassociated with the material world; this covenant will protect all such people. If the rulers are unable to protect them, they are not liable to pay the Jizya (that is, it is the responsibility of the ruler to protect them). If the people, through their words or actions, express sentiments of rebellion, then this covenant will be dissolved. This treaty is being written on 12 Rabi‘ al-Awwal in the year 12 AH.”
This document was given to the people of Hirah; however, after the demise of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra), the people of Sawad became apostates and disregarded this treaty. They ceased to comply with the covenant and joined others in disbelief, after which the Persians took control. During the Khilafat of Hazrat Umar(ra) when Hazrat Muthanna conquered Hirah once again, the people cited the same covenant; however, Hazrat Muthanna did not accept it and added an additional clause. Following this, when Hazrat Muthanna faced pushback in some battles – where he was forced to retreat – the people [of Hirah] fell into disbelief once again. They supported the rebels, broke the covenant, and did not comply to its conditions. In time, when Hazrat Saad(ra) conquered Hirah once more, the people desired to come to a settlement based on the prior covenant. Hazrat Saad(ra) asked them to present any past covenants they had made, but they were unable to do so. Owing to this, Hazrat Saad(ra) reinstated a tax for them. After having evaluated their financial means, they were to pay 400,000 [dirhams] in addition to precious gems.
Following the conquest of Hirah, Hazrat Khalid(ra) performed the Prayer of Victory, which consists of eight rak‘aat [unit of prayer] and one salaam [salutation to conclude the prayer]. He prayed the eight rak‘aat together, after which he said, “During the Battle of Mu‘tah, I used and broke nine swords. Never have I fought against a nation like the Persians and among the people of Persia, never have I fought against a people so severely than the people of Ullais.” (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah], pp. 316-319)
It is further recorded that the people sent gifts for Hazrat Khalid(ra), but Hazrat Khalid(ra) sent those gifts to Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) along with the glad tidings of victory. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) exemplified the highest order of fairness and justice and accepted the gifts only as Jizya. He then wrote to Hazrat Khalid(ra) stating, “If you have included these gifts in the Jizya, they will be retained. If not, deduct the value of these gifts from the amount that is due and collect what remains of the sum”; in other words, he did not accept those valuables as gifts, but as Jizya. The Muslims treated the people of Hirah very open-heartedly. Witnessing this kind treatment, the landowners and nobles from the surrounding areas also agreed to pay Jizya and submitted to Muslim rule. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique – Translated [Lahore, Pakistan: Islami Kutub Khanah], pp. 318-319)
The conquest of Hirah proved to be an important military feat. As a result of this conquest, the Muslims became more hopeful for a successful conquest of Persia because the city [of Hirah] was of great importance for Iraq and the Persian Empire, both geographically and culturally. The great commander of the Muslim army made this city his centre of command and headquarters wherefrom the Muslim armies would receive orders to move on the offensive or defensive, or orders pertaining to military structure and reinforcements.
Hirah was also made the central place for the planning and policymaking of matters in dealing with prisoners. Hazrat Khalid(ra) appointed governors in different regions to collect the Jizya and tax, he also appointed leaders along the border so as to protect against the enemy. He stayed there himself to maintain the system of peace and stability. News about Hazrat Khalid(ra) spread to nobles and chieftains alike, and they came to him for negotiations. It was upon witnessing that the Muslims were victorious that they resorted to negotiations. No one was left in Sawad [region] in Iraq and its surrounding areas that had not come into negotiations or made a covenant with the Muslims. (Muhammad al-Salabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) Shakhsiyyat aur Karname - Translated [Mazhar Garh, Pakistan: Maktabah al-Furqan], p. 412)
Hazrat Khalid(ra) remained in Hirah for one year where, before departing for Syria, he conducted tours in the upper and lower regions of the area, all the while the Persians were occupied with appointing and deposing new kings. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah], p. 321)
In other words, the Persians did nothing to combat the Muslims. In Persia, they were occupied in appointing and deposing their king. The circumstances in Iraq became favourable as the Persian government lost its grip on the Arab territory between Hirah and the Tigris River, reducing the risk of an attack from the rear. Upon this, Hazrat Khalid(ra) decided to attack Persia directly. In the meantime, the Persian government faced great tumult at the death of Ardashir, the Persian king; they were torn between who to elect as his successor. Hazrat Khalid(ra) took advantage of the situation and wrote a letter to the kings, nobles and to the affluent people. To the kings, he wrote, “This letter is from Khalid bin Walid, to the kings of Persia. All praise belongs to Allah, Who has brought down your government; He rendered your plans useless, planted discord amongst you, took you from strength to weakness, snatched your wealth away and reduced your power and respect to dust. Thus, when you receive this letter, accept Islam and you will remain safe and be given peace, or make a covenant and agree to pay Jizya. (If you do not wish to accept Islam, then make a covenant for peace and accept the terms of paying Jizya;) if you do so, we will leave your land and go toward the opposite direction. Otherwise, by Allah, aside from Whom there is none worthy of worship, I will bring upon you such an army of men who desire death as ardently as you desire to live, and who desire the afterlife just as much as you desire the life of this world.”
In his letter to the leaders and governors of Persia, Hazrat Khalid(ra) wrote:
“This letter is from Khalid bin Walid, addressed to the governors and leaders of Persia. Accept Islam and you will be safe or pay the Jizya and we will take up the responsibility of your protection. If not, then remember, I will overcome you with a people who crave death just as much as you crave wine.” Hazrat Abu Bakr’s(ra) desire to conquer Iraq by virtue of the conquest of Hirah and to bring it under Islamic rule was partially fulfilled; this was just the beginning of attacks directed towards Persia. Hazrat Khalid(ra) discharged his duties in an excellent manner and within a short span of time, he was able to conquer Hirah; his expedition to Iraq started in Muharram in 12 AH at the Battle of Kazimah, and in Rabi‘ al-Awwal of the same year, Hirah was conquered.
After this, there is also the Battle of Anbar, also known as Dhat al-Uyun, which took place in the year 12 AH. The Persian forces had already set up camp in Anbar and Ain al-Tamr, which was very close to Hirah. Anbar is also a city near Baghdad. It is written here that the reason Anbar was given its name is because in the Arabic language, Anbar means a cabin where harvests and provisions are stored. Thus, this city was named Anbar for its abundance of food and drink. Ain al-Tamr is a city close to Anbar, to the West of Kufa. It is recorded that the Muslim Army was in grave danger due to the Persian forces occupying these two locations. In such circumstances, if Hazrat Khalid(ra) was to remain stationary in Hirah and not go out to fight against the Persian forces, there was a great risk for the Muslims to lose hold of that area, namely Hirah, which they had acquired after great difficulty. Thus, Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid commanded the army to make preparations for battle. (Muhammad al-Salabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) Shakhsiyyat aur Karname - Translated [Mazhar Garh, Pakistan: Maktabah al-Furqan], p. 413) (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Abu Bakr Siddiq Akbar – Translated by Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Pani Piti [Lahore, Paksitan: Ilm-o-Irfan Publishers, 2004], p. 287) (Ibn Athir, Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2003], p. 245) (Munjid Dictionary, under na-ba-ra) (Yaqut Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 1 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi], p. 305) (Yaqut Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi], p. 199)
After the circumstances were under control in and around Hirah and peace was established, Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid appointed Hazrat Qa‘qa bin Amr al-Tamimi(ra) in his place and he, himself, set out to help Hazrat Iyad bin Ghanam. Hazrat Iyad bin Ghanam was sent by Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) to conquer Iraq from the North and then to join with Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid. (Muhammad al-Salabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) Shakhsiyyat aur Karname - Translated [Mazhar Garh, Pakistan: Maktabah al-Furqan], p. 416)
The commander of the army in Anbar was the chieftain of Sabat, Shirzad. During his time, he was a very intelligent, respected and a popular individual among the Arabs and non-Arabs alike.
Sabat is also a very well-known place in Mada’in [Ctesiphon]. Nonetheless, it is recorded that the people of Anbar took to their forts and dug trenches right outside the fort walls and filled them with water. This trench was very close to the wall of the fort. Any Muslim who would come near the trenches would be forced to retreat by the enemy archers in the fort walls. In the meantime, Hazrat Khalid(ra) arrived there with the vanguard of his army. He went all around the trenches to evaluate the fort’s defences, and with his God-given insight, devised a plan. Hazrat Khalid(ra) went to his archers and chose 1,000 experienced archers who had the best aim. He told them, “I have observed that these people are oblivious to the principles of war. Take aim of your arrows at their eyes and shoot only at their eyes.” Therefore, the archers took aim and did what they were told. As a result, on that day, approximately 1,000 eyes were pierced. For this reason, this battle is also called Dhat al-Uyun, “The Battle of the Eyes.”
Panic spread amongst the enemy that the people of Anbar had lost their eyes, but despite this, the commander of Anbar was reluctant to surrender without any conditions. Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid took some of the army’s weakest and injured camels to where the trenches were most narrow. He slaughtered the camels and put them in the trenches, thereby forming a bridge. Now, the Muslims and idolaters came face to face in the trenches. Upon witnessing this, the enemy retreated into their fort. Shirzad, the commander of Anbar, began correspondence with Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid to surrender, and requested that he be allowed to go to his home escorted by a small battalion with no carriage or provisions. Hazrat Khalid(ra) accepted this.
It is important to note here, especially in reference to those historians and biographers who accuse Hazrat Khalid(ra) of being violent and barbaric and accuse him of going on a killing spree, that despite fighting in a severe battle and despite the enemy refusing to accept a treaty of peace, he was still able to overcome the enemy. After all of this, when [Shirzad] requested to be allowed to leave from there, he was given provisions for a journey of three days without any sort of resistance.
Hence, this proves that saying he was cruel is nothing more than an allegation. When Shirzad fled to save his life and reached Bahman Jazviyah and informed him of what happened, he rebuked Shirzad, upon which he said, “I was among a people who were unintelligent and who hailed from Arab progenies.” He was not referring to Muslims but to the people of Anbar who were from Arab tribes and were ignorant. Shirzad said, “I heard that the Muslims were attacking us without any regard for their own lives, and whenever a people does something without any regard for their own lives, they are bound to be victorious. And so, when our army came face to face with theirs, they perforated the eyes of a thousand of our soldiers in the fortress and on the ground. This led me to believe that the best course of action was to establish a truce.”
When Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid and the Muslims became content with the state of Anbar and when the people of Anbar’s fear dissipated and they came out, Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid realised that they were literate in the Arabic language. Hazrat Khalid(ra) asked them who they were, to which they said, “We are a people from among the Arabs and we came to live with the Arabs who had settled here before us in the time of the Arab Bakht Nasar, when he allowed Arabs to settle and then they remained here.” Hazrat Khalid(ra) asked them who had taught them to write, to which they replied, “We were taught how to write by the Arab tribe Banu Iyad.” Afterwards, Hazrat Khalid(ra) also established peace with the people in the surrounding areas of Anbar. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah], p. 322-323) (Yaqut Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi], p. 209)
Then, there is also mention of the Battle of Ain al-Tamr which also took place in 12 AH. After the conquest of Anbar, and upon it being entirely under the control of Hazrat Khalid(ra), he set his sights upon a nearby area called Ain al-Tamr which is located at the edge of the desert between Iraq and the Syrian desert. It took three days to travel from Anbar to Ain al-Tamr. The governor appointed there by the Persians was Mehran bin Bahram who was present there with a large army comprising of non-Arabs. Aside from the Persian forces, various auxiliary Arab tribes were also present there who were led by Aqqah bin Abi Aqqah. When they heard about Hazrat Khalid(ra), Aqqah said to Mehran, “Arabs know how to best fight against Arabs. Leave Khalid to us.” He thought that they [the Arabs] would fight against them because they knew how to. Mehran replied, “You are right; you are experts in fighting against Arabs just as we are experts in fighting against non-Arabs.” In this way, he deceived Aqqah and ensured his own survival and then said, “You should fight against them, and if you require our assistance then we will certainly help you.”
When Aqqah set out to fight Hazrat Khalid(ra), the Persian used very strong language for Aqqah and said to Mehran, “What made you say this to him?” He said, “Leave me be. I only desired what was best for you and worst for the Muslims. Certainly, that man”, in reference to Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid, “is coming towards you who has killed even your kings. He is a mighty warrior who has stifled your grandeur and majesty. Therefore I have merely used Aqqah as a shield against him. If he proves victorious against Khalid, then this victory will be yours and if the opposite occurs then when you face the Muslims they will have been weakened. Then we will fight them while we are stronger and they will be weaker.” Upon hearing this, they accepted that what Mehran had done was best. Mehran remained in Ain al-Tamr while Aqqa set up camp along the way to combat Hazrat Khalid(ra). (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq – Translated [Lahore, Pakistan: Islami Kutub Khanah], pp. 288-289) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2, Khabr Ain al-Tamr, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah], p. 324)
Aqqah had only just begun arranging his troops when Hazrat Khalid(ra) himself attacked and imprisoned him and without a fight, his army fled in defeat and most of them were captured. When this news reached Mehran, he took his army and fled and they abandoned their fortress. When those who had been defeated reached the fortress and took refuge, Hazrat Khalid(ra) lay siege to it upon which they sought protection from Hazrat Khalid(ra), but he refused. They accepted his decision and lay down their arms, upon which he captured them and killed Aqqah, along with all those who fought against the Muslims and kept those inside the fortress as prisoners, seizing everything inside the fortress as spoils of war. Inside their monastery, he found 40 boys who the Christians had been using as collateral. Most of these boys were of Arab heritage and they are regarded with prominence in Islamic history because many great people were born from their progenies who left deep-rooted and indelible legacies both in that era and in later eras as well. Among those boys was Sirin, father of Muhammad ibn Sirin, Nusayr, father of Musa ibn Nusayr and Humran, the freed slave of Hazrat Uthman(ra).
Sirin was originally from Iraq and was imprisoned in the events of Ain al-Tamr and was made the slave of Hazrat Anas(ra) bin Malik. He was a great orator and obtained freedom from Hazrat Anas(ra) by way of Mukatibat [mutual conrtact]. His son’s name was Muhammad ibn Sirin, a prominent tabi‘i [someone who has met a companion of the Holy Prophet(sa)] and an imam in the sciences of commentary of the Holy Quran, hadith, jurisprudence and the interpretation of dreams. Muhammad ibn Sirin was the son of the person who was imprisoned in that battle and was later freed. Then there was Nusayr, who was the father of Musa ibn Nusayr; he was among the prisoners from Banu Umayyah and was later freed by another person from the Banu Umayyah. He is renowned because of his son Musa ibn Nusayr, who became widely known in North Africa and also played a huge role along with Tariq bin Ziyad in establishing the Islamic government in Spain.
Then Humran bin Aban was also among the prisoners of Ain al-Tamr. He was a Jewish man who later accepted Islam. He was freed by Hazrat Uthman(ra) and was able to remain close to him. He was made the governor of Basra for some time in 41 AH and then garnered recognition for his role in the rule of Banu Umayyah. Hazrat Khalid(ra) conveyed news of his victory along with the Khums to Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra). (Ibn Athir, Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, Dhikr Fath Ain al-Tamr, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2006], p. 246) (Sheikh Shah Moinuddin Ahmad Nadvi, Siyar al-Sahabah, Vol. 3 [Karachi, Pakistan: Dar al-Ishaat, 2004], pp. 277-278) (Imam Abu al-Hasan Ahmad bin Yahya al-Buladhari, Futuh al-Buldan – Translated [Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2000], pp. 325-326) (Mirat al-Zaman Fi Tawarikh al-Ayan, Part. 6 [Beirut, Labanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah], p. 228) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 3, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah], p. 169, 524)
After the conquests of Anbar and Ain al-Tamr, Hazrat Khalid(ra) entrusted the Khums to Walid bin Uqbah and sent him to Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) bearing the news of their victory. Upon reaching Medina, he informed him of all the events that had transpired and told him that despite his instructions, Hazrat Khalid(ra) left Hirah and attacked Anbar and Ain al-Tamr because he had spent an entire year in Hirah. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) had instructed him to wait in Hirah; however, he took this course of action thinking it to be best according to the prevailing circumstances. There was also no telling when Iyad would leave Dumat al-Jandal and go to help Hazrat Khalid(ra) in Hirah. Quite some time had already passed and Iyad(ra) had still not reached there. Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) had also grown weary of Iyad’s(ra) slackness and felt as if he was impeding upon the confidence of the Muslims. Had the enemy continued to hear news of the great feats which Hazrat Khalid(ra) had achieved in Iraq, then they would surely have taken advantage of Iyad’s weakness and would have caused the Muslims great shame. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq – Translated [Lahore, Pakistan: Islami Kutub Khanah], p. 325)
Then there was the Battle of Dumat al-Jandal which also took place in 12 AH. Dumat al-Jandal is a city at the distance of a five-night journey from Damascus and a fifteen-night journey from Medina, according to the means of transport available at that time. This is the closest Syrian city to Medina.
Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) had sent Hazrat Iyad bin Ghanam(ra) to Dumah and he was made to face great difficulties by the enemy for a long time, which was why he was unable to join Hazrat Khalid(ra). When Hazrat Khalid(ra) sent Walid bin Uqbah to Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) with the news of their victory at Ain al-Tamr, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) grew worried about Iyad. Hence he sent Walid bin Uqbah to help Iyad(ra). (Muhammad Raza, Abu Bakr al-Siddique Awwalu al-Khulafa al-Rashidin, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya al-Kutub al-Arabiyah, 1950], p. 124)
When Walid bin Uqbah reached Hazrat Iyad(ra), he found that Hazrat Iyad(ra) had surrounded the enemy while the enemy had also surrounded him and blocked his path. Walid bin Uqbah said to Hazrat Iyad(ra), “Sometimes when battling a large army, intelligence proves more useful. You should send a messenger to Hazrat Khalid(ra) and seek help from him.” Hazrat Iyad(ra) had no option but to accept Walid’s advice because it had already been a year since he arrived at Dumat al-Jandal and victory was nowhere in sight. Hence Hazrat Iyad(ra) did just that, and when his messenger reached Hazrat Khalid(ra), the conquest of Ain al-Tamr had already taken place. He wrote a short letter addressed to Hazrat Iyad(ra) which he gave to the messenger and immediately sent him back in hopes of lessening his worry. The letter read, “Wait just a bit, horses being ridden by lions are on their way. Swords will be glistening and ranks upon ranks of the army will arrive.”
It is recorded with regards to Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid’s own journey to Dumat al-Jandal that after the conquest of Ain al-Tamr he appointed Awaim bin Kahil Aslami as the custodian and took the army which was with him at Ain al-Tamr and set out towards Dumat al-Jandal. Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid traversed 300 kilometres in less than 10 days. When the people of Dumah learned of Hazrat Khalid’s(ra) imminent arrival, they sought help from their allied tribes. These tribes joined forces with various other tribes and arrived at Dumat al-Jandal and their numbers were far greater than the army faced by Hazrat Iyad(ra) when he had arrived there a year earlier. The army of Dumatul Jandal comprised two large factions. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique – Translated [Lahore, Pakistan: Islami Kutub Khanah], pp. 290-291) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1987], pp. 324-325) (Muhammad al-Salabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) Shakhsiyyat aur Karname – Translated [Muzaffar Garh, Pakistan: Al-Furqan Trust], p. 418)
They were led by two leaders; one was Ukaider bin Abd al-Malik and the other was Judi bin Rabi‘ah. When they learned of Hazrat Khalid’s(ra) arrival, a dispute arose between the two; Ukaider said, “I am very well acquainted with Khalid and there is no one more successful than him nor is there anyone sharper in battle. Any nation which battles Khalid, whether less in number or more, certainly suffers defeat. You should heed my advice and make peace with them.” However they rejected this idea upon which Ukaider said, “I cannot accompany you in fighting against Khalid. Do as you please, I will have no part in it.” After saying this, he left. Hazrat Khalid(ra) received news of this and he sent Asim bin Amr to intercept him along the way. Since they did not agree to making peace, he left and headed back towards his home. Asim intercepted Ukaider who demanded, “Take me to your leader, Khalid.”
When Ukaidar came before Hazrat Khalid(ra), he had Ukaider killed and seized all his possessions. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 1987], p. 325)
The question arises is that having made him a prisoner, why was he killed? The reason mentioned is that during the Battle of Tabuk, the Holy Prophet(sa) sent Hazrat Khalid(ra) to Ukaider. Hazrat Khalid(ra) imprisoned him and brought him to the Holy Prophet(sa). As an act of kindness, the Holy Prophet(sa) set him free but also took a covenant from him [that he would not do it again]. However, he broke this covenant and rebelled against the rule of Medina. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique – Translated [Lahore, Pakistan: Islami Kutub Khanah], p. 327-328)
When Ukaider learnt of Hazrat Khalid’s(ra) arrival in Dumat al-Jandal, Ukaider left his people and ran away. As mentioned before, while on route to Dumat al-Jandal, Hazrat Khalid(ra) learnt of this development and he ordered Asim bin Amr to go and arrest him. He managed to capture him and owing to his treachery, Hazrat Khalid(ra) ordered for him to be killed and thus he was killed. Hence, Allah the Almighty destroyed him owing to his treachery and rebellion. (Muhammad al-Salabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) Shakhsiyyat aur Karname – Translated [Muzaffar Garh, Pakistan: Al-Furqan Trust], p. 419)
According to some narrations it is mentioned that he was captured and sent to Medina, and he was released in the Khilafat of Hazrat Umar(ra), after which he moved to Iraq from Medina. There he settled in Ain al-Tamr in Dumah and remained there until his demise. (Muhammad al-Salabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) Shakhsiyyat aur Karname – Translated [Muzaffar Garh, Pakistan: Al-Furqan Trust], p. 328)
These are the two [varying] narrations.
With regard to the battle with the people of Dumah, it is mentioned that Hazrat Khalid(ra) advanced ahead and reached Dumah. Hazrat Khalid(ra) surrounded the people of Dumah whereby his army was on one side and Hazrat Iyad’s(ra) army was on the other. Since there was not enough space inside the fort, the Christian Arabs who came to assist the people of Dumah were positioned around the fort towards the outer side. When Hazrat Khalid(ra) had calmly arranged the rows of his army, the chiefs of Dumah came out of the fort and attacked Hazrat Khalid(ra). A fierce battle ensued between the two armies and eventually Hazrat Khalid(ra) and Hazrat Iyad(ra) defeated their opponents. Hazrat Khalid(ra) captured one chief named Judi and Hazrat Aqra bin Habis(ra) captured another chief named Wadiyah, who was the chief of the Kalb tribe. The rest of the people retreated and locked themselves inside the fort. However, there was not enough space inside the fort [for everyone]; when the fort was full, the people inside locked the door despite the fact that there were still lots of people outside, as a result of which the people became worried and ran around in this state.
Asim bin Amr said, “O Banu Tamim! Help the Banu Kalb, your confederates, because you will not have an opportunity to help them in this manner again.” Upon hearing this, the Banu Tamim came to their aid. Owing to this protection issued by Asim, the Banu Kalb were spared. Hazrat Khalid(ra) chased after those who retreated to the fort and killed so many of them that the mound of bodies obstructed the door of the fort. He then killed Judi and those captives with him. Only the captives of the Banu Kalb tribe survived because Asim and Aqra(ra) as well as the Banu Tamim all granted them protection.
Following this, Hazrat Khalid(ra) began circling around the door and only rested when he had broken it down as a result of which the Muslims entered the fort, they killed all the fighters and imprisoned those who were young. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 325)
After gaining victory, Hazrat Khalid(ra) instructed Aqra bin Habis(ra) to return to Anbar and he himself remained in Dumat al-Jandal. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique – Translated [Lahore, Pakistan: Islami Kutub Khanah], p. 293)
The conquest of Dumat al-Jandal greatly strengthened the Muslims militarily, because along three sides of Dumat al-Jandal, various important routes passed from there; in the south was the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq was to the East and Syria was to the north-west. Naturally, this city was a worthy focal point for Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) and his army, who were engaged in fighting in Iraq and were reaching the borders of Syria. It was for this reason that Hazrat Iyad(ra) did not advance from Dumat al-Jandal and instead remained resolute until the arrival of Hazrat Khalid(ra). Had Dumat al-Jandal not been captured by the Muslims, then the Muslim forces in Iraq would have been in grave danger. (Muhammad al-Salabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) Shakhsiyyat aur Karname [Khan Garh, Pakistan: Al-Furqan Trust], pp. 419-420)
Then there was the Battles of Husaid and Khanafis. Husaid is a small valley between Kufa and Syria and Khanafis was an area near to Anbar towards Iraq. It is written that Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid was stationed in Dumat al-Jandal and as was their habit, the non-Arabs were plotting against him, i.e. against Hazrat Khalid(ra) and the Muslims.
Out of zeal and wanting to gain revenge for the killing of Aqqah, the Arabs made schemes with the non-Arabs. Hence, Zarmahr set off from Baghdad and along with him, Ruzbah set off towards Anbar. Both of them promised to meet in Husaid and Khanafis. When Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid’s deputy in Hirah, Hazrat Qa‘qa(ra) bin Amr, heard of this development, he instructed A‘bad bin Fadaki to depart for Husaid and also sent Urwah bin Ga’ad towards Khanafis. When Hazrat Khalid(ra) returned to Hirah from Dumah, he also heard of this development. Hazrat Khalid(ra) had intended to attack Mada’in [Ctesiphon], but when he reached there [Hirah] and learnt of the latest developments, he sent Hazrat Qa‘qa(ra) bin Amr and Abu Lailah to confront Ruzbah and Zarmahr. Hazrat Khalid(ra) received the letter from Umra al-Qais Kalbi, who was the governor of the Quda‘ah and Kalb tribes appointed by the Holy Prophet(sa). During the Khilafat of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) he remained steadfast upon Islam. In the letter he mentioned that Huzail bin Imran had gathered forces in Musayyakh; Rabi‘ah bin Bajir had gathered forces in Saniyy and Bishr.
Driven by their rage to seek revenge for Aqqah, they were going to join forces with Ruzbah and Zarmahr. As soon as he learnt about this, he appointed Hazrat Iyad(ra) bin Ghanam as his deputy in Hirah and departed from there. In order to reach Khanafis, Hazrat Khalid(ra) used the same route taken by Qa‘qa and Abu Lailah. Hazrat Khalid(ra) met with both of them in Ain al-Tamr. From here he appointed Hazrat Qa‘qa(ra) as the commander of the army and sent him to Usaid, and also sent Abu Lailah to Khanafis; he instructed both of them to surround the enemy and those that were inciting the enemy in one place and if they were not together in one place then to fight them as they were. When Hazrat Qa‘qa(ra) saw that Zarmahr and Ruzbah were not advancing, he made his way towards Husaid. The leader of the army of both Arabs and non-Arabs was Ruzbah. When Rubzah found out that Hazrat Qa‘qa(ra) was heading in his direction, he asked for help from Zarmahr. Zarmahr appointed a deputy in his place and himself departed to assist Ruzbah. Both armies clashed fiercely in Husaid and Allah assisted the Muslims in killing a large part of the non-Arab [enemies]. Qa‘qa(ra) killed Zarmahr and Ruzbah was also killed. The Muslims acquired a large part of spoils from this battle. The defeated army that ran away from Husaid gathered together in Khanafis.
With regard to the Battle of Khanafis, it is written that Abu Lailah headed towards Khanafis with his army and also the contingent of reinforcements. The defeated army at Husaid joined with the deputy of Zarmahr. Upon learning of the arrival of the Muslims, he left Khanafis and ran towards Musayyakh. The commander in Musayyakh was Huzail. Abu Lailah did not run into any difficulty in his conquest of Khanafis. Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid was informed about all these victories. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], pp. 325-326) (Yaqut Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi], p. 307, 446) (Ibn Athir, Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2003], p. 205)
The Battle of Musayyakh. Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid learnt that the people of Husaid and Khanafis had run away. Hazrat Khalid(ra) wrote letters to Hazrat Qa‘qa(ra), Abu Lailah, A‘wad and Urwah in which he designated a time in the night to meet in Musayyakh. Musayyakh was situated between Khoran and Qald. Khoran was a large area near Damascus which comprised of many settlements and fields. Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid departed from Ain al-Tamr towards Musayyakh and arrived at the appointed night. Hazrat Khalid(ra) and his commanders attacked Musayyakh in unison; Huzail and those that had taken refuge with him were under attack from three sides. Huzail managed to escape with a handful of people. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 326) (Sayyid Fadl al-Rahman, Farhang-e-Sirat [Karachi, Pakistan: Zawwar Academy Publications, 2003], p. 109)
During this battle, two Muslims, who had received an assurance of peace from Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra), were killed by the Islamic army. When Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) was informed of their killing, he paid blood money for them. Hazrat Umar(ra) insisted that Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid should be punished for this action. Hazrat Umar(ra) was impassioned on account of why Muslims had been killed, but Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) said, “If such a situation arises for such Muslims who take refuge in enemy lands and take refuge with the enemy, then for something like this to happen to them is not a significant matter, as this can easily happen [in such circumstances].” However, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) left a will instructing to take care of the children of the deceased Muslims. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique – Translated [Lahore, Pakistan: Islami Kutub Khanah], p. 311) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 327)
The incidents of Saniyy and Zumeil; Zumeil is the name of a place and its name is also recorded as Bishr. It is situated close to Saniyy. Due to their rage to get revenge for the killing of Aqqah, who died in the battle of Ain al-Tamr, Rabi‘ah bin Bujair had gathered with his army in Saniyy and Bishr. Having gained victory in the Battle of Musayyakh, Hazrat Khalid(ra) sent Qa‘qa(ra) and Abu Lailah ahead of him and it was decided again that on a particular night, all of them would attack in unison from three directions like they did in Musayyakh. Subsequently, Hazrat Khalid(ra) departed from Musayyakh and reached Zumeil, passing through various places on the way. Hazrat Khalid(ra) began [the attack] from Saniyy and both of his commanders joined him. All three of them launched a night attack from three directions against Rabi‘ah and those who were eager to fight against them. With swords drawn, they attacked them in such a manner that not a single person was able to escape to warn anyone. Their women were taken as prisoners and the Khums was sent to Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) for the bait-ul-mal. The rest of the spoils of war were distributed amongst the Muslim army.
According to the agreement, Huzail, who was defeated in the Battle of Musayyakh and had run away, joined the army of Rabi‘ah bin Bujair. Once again he fled and sought shelter with Zumail bin Atab. Atab was stationed in Bishr with a formidable army. Even before Atab could learn about the defeat of Rabiah’s army, Hazrat Khalid(ra) attacked him as well from all three sides. In this battle, many people were killed and the Muslims gained a significant amount of spoils of war. Hazrat Khalid(ra) distributed the spoils of war among the Muslims and sent the khums to Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra).
Hazrat Khalid(ra) then advanced towards a place near Bishr called Rauzab. The commander in that area was Hilal bin Aqqah. When his army learnt that Hazrat Khalid(ra) was advancing towards them, the army deserted him. Because of this, Hilal was forced to flee and the Muslims occupied Rauzab without any difficulty. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], pp. 327-328) (Yaqut Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 3 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi], p. 307, 170)
Then there is mention of the Battle of Firaz. Firaz was the name of a place between Basra and Yamama. This is where the routes from Syria, Iraq and Arabia would converge. This battle was fought between the Muslims and the Byzantines during Dhu Al-Qa‘dah, 12 AH at Firaz. For this reason, this battle was known as the Battle of Firaz. After occupying Rauzab, Hazrat Khalid(ra) arrived for Firaz.
During this campaign, Hazrat Khalid(ra) faced many battles. He was not even able to fast during Ramadan. News of Khalid’s(ra) sudden attacks and him defeating various tribes had spread throughout Iraq and all the tribes dwelling in the desserts became fearful. They thought that in the interest of their safety, it was best to throw down their weapons and accept the rule of the Muslims. Hazrat Khalid(ra) and his army made their way north along the Euphrates River. Wherever they would come across any settlements, its people would enter into a peace treaty and accept their rule. Eventually Hazrat Khalid(ra) reached Firaz, which was on the border of Iraq, Syria and Al-Jazira [region]. Firaz was the northern most area of Iraq and Syria.
If fortune favoured Iyad(ra) bin Ghanam and he conquered Daumatul Jandal, then perhaps Khalid(ra) would not have reached this far. This is because Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) did not want to conquer the entire land of Iraq and Syria. He only desired to establish peace at the borders with both countries and so that the Persians and Byzantines would not attack the Arab lands from this direction. However, it was the will of Allah that both empires were to come under the control of Muslims, and so He established such means whereby Khalid(ra) travelled to the extreme north of the country in order to bring the tribes in Iraq under the authority of the Muslims and in this way it opened a path for the Muslims to attack Syria from its north. To attack the Byzantines from the border of Iran was such a miraculous development which even Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) could not have thought of and this extraordinary feat was carried out by such an individual the like of which could not ever be produced by any Arab or non-Arab woman – just as it was mentioned on one occasion by Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra).
Khalid(ra) remained in Firaz for an entire month and displayed a peerless example of strength, resolve and determination. He was surrounded by the enemy from all four directions. To the East were the Persians who were thirsty for his blood and the Byzantines were in the West and they were of the view that if Khalid’s(ra) forces were not destroyed straight away, then it would prove difficult to stop them. It was only the Euphrates River which separated the Byzantines and the Muslims, but apart from that the Bedouin tribes dwelled all around them, whose prominent chiefs had been killed by Khalid(ra) and therefore their hearts were kindled with an unrelenting desire to seek revenge. However, Khalid(ra) was not oblivious to this extremely sensitive situation.
If Khalid(ra) wanted he could have gone back to Hirah and strengthened his forces and then set out again for the Byzantines. However, Khalid(ra) did not do this because his nature was such that upon seeing the enemy, it would be difficult for him to hold back. And indeed this was the case as this was part of his disposition. In his eyes, the Persians and Bedouins alike held no worth. He never paid any regard to their extraordinary army before, nor was he prepared to do it in the future and thus occupied himself in preparing the army in a very calm manner.
The Byzantines had not come up against Khalid(ra) before and were unaware of the intensity of his attack. When the Islamic forces gathered at Firaz and remained encamped for an entire month, the Byzantines became impassioned and sought help from the nearby Persian military posts. The Persians happily came to the help of the Byzantines as the Muslims had humiliated them and completely destroyed their grandeur and glory and shattered their pride. Apart from the Persians, the Arab tribes of Taghlib, Iyad and Namir tribes also fully extended their support to the Byzantines because they had not forgotten the killing of their chiefs and leaders. Subsequently, a very large army comprising of the Byzantines, Persians and the Arab tribes departed in order to fight against the Muslims.
Upon reaching the Euphrates River, they sent a message to the Muslims asking whether they would cross the river, or whether should they do so. Hazrat Khalid(ra) replied that since they had come to fight therefore they should cross over the bridge. Following this, the enemy began to cross the river. Meanwhile, Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid arranged his army rows and prepared them to fight against the enemy. When the time for the battle approached, the commander-in-chief of the Byzantines instructed that their army should separate and stand with their respective tribes so that it could be determined as to who achieved the greater feats. And so, the entire army separated under their respective chiefs. When the battle commenced, Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid instructed his army to surround the enemy from all directions and to gather them in one place and to repeatedly launch attacks so that the enemy could not have the opportunity to gather themselves again. And so, this is precisely what happened; the Islamic forces surrounded the Byzantines and gathered them in once place and then attacked them with great force. The Byzantines and their allies thought that they by separately sending the tribes to attack the Muslims they would be able to prolong the battle and when the Muslims would get tired and exhausted then they would launch one mighty attack and completely defeat them. However, their idea failed and their plan went against them. When the Muslims gathered them in once place and began to attack them, they were unable to withstand it and very quickly suffered defeat and fled from the battlefield. The Muslims were not going to let them get away and so they pursued after them and continued to kill them over a long distance [as they fled]. All of the historians unanimously agree that 100,000 people from among the enemy were either killed in the battlefield or upon being pursued. After the victory, Khalid(ra) stayed in Firaz for ten days and on 25 Dhul-Qa‘dah 12 AH, he ordered for his army to return to Hirah. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddique – Translated [Jhelum, Pakistan: Book Corner Showroom] pp. 312-315) (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2012], p. 328) (Yaqut Ibn Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu‘jam al-Buldan, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi], p. 276)
Whilst expressing his views on this battle, an author writes:
“It was the first time in the era of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) that the Muslims fought the Byzantines and the Persians, who were both superpowers and also against the Arab armies that dwelled near them. But despite this, the Muslims attained an emphatic victory and without a shadow of a doubt, this battle proved to be a truly historic and decisive one. Though it did not get as much recognition as the other battles, but in any case, through this battle the internal strength of the disbelievers came to an end, irrespective of whether they belonged to the Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, Arabia or Iraq. The battle fought by Khalid Saifullah [i.e. The Sword of Allah], in Iraq marked the final phase [of the Persian rule]. After this battle, the grandeur and glory of the Persians was completely destroyed. After this, they never again possessed the military might which could cause the Muslims to become fearful.” (Muhammad al-Salabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) Shakhsiyyat aur Karname [Muzaffar Garh, Pakistan: Al-Furqan Trust], p. 423)
Another historian has mentioned the significance of the battle of Firaz as follows:
“After the victory of the Muslims in Ullais, the strength of the Persian forces was completely broken. Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid continued to march ahead and attained victory in the following order Amgheshya, Hirah, Anbar, Ain al-Tamr and Daumatul Jandal and eventually reached Firaz. Firaz was a city situated near the Euphrates River and was very close to the border of the Byzantines. A joint army consisting of the Byzantines, Persians and Christian tribes came up against the Muslims here; however, Hazrat Khalid(ra) defeated this large army of the disbelievers. Syedna Khalid(ra) bin Walid, “the Conqueror of Arabia”, conquered Iraq in just one year and two months. He had a total of 10,000 soldiers and the other Islamic commanders-in-chief had also approximately the same number of soldiers under them as well. The extraordinary achievements of this extremely small army are indeed unparalleled in history. Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid took part in every battle and never suffered defeat. Hazrat Khalid(ra) was given the title of ‘Saifullah’, i.e. ‘the Sword of Allah’ by the Holy Prophet(sa) and he truly did justice to this title. Moreover, he made such excellent arrangements in the lands he conquered that the locals preferred the Arab rule as opposed to the Persian government.”
Nevertheless, the last conquest in the Arab land was in Firaz. Hazrat Khalid(ra) remained in Firaz for 10 days and then took half of his army and left for the battlefront in Syria.
With regard to the conquest in Iraq, it is written that the victory in Iraq was a sign of great success. The Muslims inflicted continuous destructive defeats upon the Persian army there, who were greater than them in both number and weapons. One must remember that at the time, the Persian army was one of the most formidable armies of its time. This is such an extraordinary achievement in the era of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) which is matchless in history.
There is no doubt that the success in the battles was owing to the efforts of Hazrat Khalid(ra) bin Walid and his companions and commanders-in-chief. However, one cannot deny the fact that these victories and success were achieved under the command of a greater leader, Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra). History bears testimony that no matter how superior and talented an officer of the army may be, they cannot display such trust, unity, loyalty and sincerity unless they are influenced by the personal qualities and lofty morals by the leader of the land. In all the various stages; from the battles against the disbelievers, apostates and rebels to the conquest of Iraq, the excellent organisation and firm resolve displayed by Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) inspired the hearts of the Muslim ummah to offer great sacrifices. His instructions and guidance was not only comprehensive and filled with great wisdom but his own personal example was far more impressive.
What other proof can there be for a leader’s firm resolve and determination, who right from the beginning till the end, did not change a single instruction or guidance of his for the sake of his own honour or owing to the pressure of any other individual. And not just that, but one cannot find an example the like of which Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) presented with regard to always thinking well of his able subordinates and placing his trust in them so that they would continue to discharge their responsibilities to the highest of standards and to elevate their spirit of sacrifice.
Can any subordinate leave any stone unturned in order to practically implement the instructions of such a leader like Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra), who himself was a living example of having immense passion to show loyalty and offer sacrifices for the sake of fulfilling his leader’s instructions, guidance and to honour his authority?
The military prowess of Syedna Khalid(ra) places him amongst the great military commanders. The Arab principles of warfare which Syedna Khalid(ra) adopted against the opponents, rather one ought to say that the principles which Syedna Khalid(ra) introduced, is a golden phase in military history. In order to make the challenging strategies of Syedna Khalid(ra) a success, the military skills of the Muslim army and their continuous movements was a major factor. Through both these aspects, Syedna Khalid(ra) was able to go the most extreme lengths of enduring hardship and this was only possible because he never placed any of his soldiers in a difficulty which he himself did not endure. The first Khalifa [Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra)] holds a unique position in the history of Islam and Syedna Khalid(ra) is the foremost amongst the commanders who conquered the lands outside of Arabia and was a close associate in helping Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) change the world’s religious and political landscape. Just as the Muslims were able to conquer the entire land of Iraq like a raging storm under the political and spiritual leadership of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq(ra) and under the military leadership of Syedna Khalid(ra), they were also now about to take over the other empire, which was Eastern Roman empire.” (Umar Abu al-Nasr, Sirat Sayyiduna Siddique Akbar(ra) – Translated, [Lahore, Pakistan: Mushtaq Book Corner, 2020], pp. 679-681)
There are still some accounts which remain from the life of Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) and, insha-Allah, will be mentioned in the future. As I mentioned earlier, this would take some extra time to cover but this now brings the accounts related to the military expeditions to a conclusion.
Insha-Allah, next Friday, the United Kingdom’s Jalsa Salana will commence. Pray that may Allah the Almighty bless it in every respect. May all the attendees have a safe journey. Pray for those who will perform duties that may Allah the Almighty enable them to duly fulfil their responsibilities. This is because the Jalsa is taking place after three years on such a large scale. Although the Jalsa took place last year, but it was on a much smaller scale. The Jalsa now is once again taking place on a much larger scale, therefore there may be some challenges. May Allah the Almighty remove all such difficulties which could arise from an administrative perspective or any other challenges.
(Official Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International, 19 August 2022, pp. 5-11.Translated by The Review of Religions.)