The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 11: The Gathering Storm

 Part II: The Campaign of the Apostasy


Page: 2

Most of the Yemen was now his. And in order to get the maximum pleasure from his military and political success, Aswad forcibly married the lovely Azad. The poor widow had no choice but to submit to the drunken embraces of the loathsome Donkey-Walah.

Having occupied Najran and San'a, Aswad consolidated his gains and extended his sway over all Yemen, many tribes of which acknowledged him as ruler and prophet. As his authority grew, he began to feel discontented with the title of prophet and proclaimed himself Rahman of Yemen. 1 The word 'Rahman' means the Merciful One, and is one of the titles by which Muslims know Allah. Thus Aswad attempted to enter the divine province to which no man has laid claim without suffering disastrous consequences. Anyway, to his followers he became known as the Rahman of Yemen. His drunken orgies continued, as did his enjoyment of the ill-starred Azad, whose loathing for him grew so intense that she confided to a friend: "To me no man is more hateful than he." 2 In his viciousness Aswad also turned against the family of the Persian Bazan and heaped every manner of indignity and insult upon the surviving members. By doing so he earned the bitter hostility of a stalwart and true Muslim by the name of Fairoz Al Deilami-a member of this Persian family and a cousin of Azad.

Unknown to the false prophet, the real Prophet at Madinah had already initiated measures to deal with him. Having received full reports of Aswad's mischief, the Holy Prophet sent Qais bin Hubaira to organise the liquidation of Aswad. Qais got to Sana' undetected, laid the foundations of an underground movement against the impostor and made contact with the Persian Fairoz. Qais and Fairoz became the brains of the organisation that was to draw the sword of vengeance against Aswad and his apostates. In secret they laid their plans.

The killing of Aswad was not going to be an easy matter. The Black One was a huge, powerfully-built man, known for his strength and ferocity, and he already suspected Fairoz of disloyalty. Moreover, he lived in a palace that was surrounded by a high wall and guarded by a large number of warriors who were chosen for their loyalty and their faith in Aswad. They paced the wall and treaded the corridors of the palace. The only possible entrance was over a certain part of the wall adjacent to the chamber of Azad. The wall would have to be scaled.

Fairoz got in touch with Azad, explained his purpose and sought her help, which she readily promised, seeing this as the only way out of the wretched life that she led.

The fateful night of May 30, 632 (the 6th of Rabi-ul-Awwal, 11 Hijri) was chosen as the night. Just after midnight, when the moon had set, and at a moment when no guards were near, Fairoz scaled the wall of the palace with the aid of a rope and slipped into the chamber of Azad. She hid him in the room and the two cousins, fired by the same mission, waited.

Shortly before dawn Azad stole out of her room and walked to Aswad's chamber, which was next to hers. She knew that there was a sentry on duty nearby, though not in sight. She opened the door, looked in, and then returned to Fairoz. The fire of vengeance burnt in her eyes as she whispered, "Now! He is lying drunk!"

Fairoz, followed by Azad, tiptoed out of her chamber and to the door of Aswad's room. The woman stationed herself at the door while Fairoz entered with drawn sword. Suddenly Aswad sat up in bed and stared in horror at Fairoz, whose appearance left no doubt as to his purpose. In the face of this danger the drunkenness of the Black one vanished; but before he could get off the bed, Fairoz sprang forward and struck him on the head with his sword. Aswad fell back on his pillow. According to the chroniclers, "He began to bellow like a bull" 3

His cries attracted the attention of the sentry who rushed to Aswad's chamber. He saw Azad standing by the door and asked, "What is the matter with the Rahman of Yemen?" The plucky girl raised her finger to her lips. "Shush!" she whispered. "He is receiving a revelation from Allah!" 4 The sentry nodded knowingly, and disregarding the shouts of his master, walked away.

1. Balazuri: pp. 113 - 125.
2. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 467.
3. Balazuri: p. 114.
4. Ibid