The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 12: Abu Bakr Strikes

 Part II: The Campaign of the Apostasy


Page: 4

"No, by Allah!" he replied. "I shall not do that. I shall not trouble others with my burden." 1

And it was under Abu Bakr that the small army marched out to Zhu Qissa, where Numan awaited him. (This Numan was later to achieve everlasting fame as the victor of Nihawand in Persia.) Here Abu Bakr placed Numan and his brothers in command of the wings and the rear guard, as he had done for his night attack, and set out for Abraq. It was now the second week of August (third week of Jamadi-ul-Awwal).

When the Muslims got to Abraq they found that the enemy was already formed up in battle array. Without delay, Abu Bakr deployed his army and attacked the apostates.

The apostate spirits now were not as high as they had been a fortnight before. The defeated elements, which had escaped from Zhu Qissa, had joined the apostates at Abraq, and as is usual in such cases their arrival had had a depressing effect on others. For some time the apostates, who were numerically superior, resisted the Muslim attack, then they broke and fled. Abu Bakr had won another victory.

The remnants of the apostates fleeing from Abraq, and certain other clans from this region, travelled to Buzakha, whither Tulaiha the Impostor had moved from Samira. But other clans living in this area submitted to the columns that Abu Bakr sent out after the capture of Abraq to subdue the countryside. Now more taxes were gathered, to which the repentant clans gladly added gifts that were as gladly accepted.

The following day the Caliph left Abraq for Madinah. On arrival at Madinah he spent a few days in dealing with matters of state; then he moved to Zhu Qissa with the Army of Usama. But it had now ceased to be the Army of Usama, for Usama had completed his work and his army was now the Army of Islam-to be used by the Caliph as required. Usama's tenure of command was over.

At Zhu Qissa, Abu Bakr organised the Army of Islam into several corps to deal with the various enemies who occupied the entire land of Arabia except for the small area in the possession of the Muslims. This was the first time that the Muslim Army was organised into separate corps, each with its own commander, for independent missions under the general strategical guidance of the Caliph. Muslim commanders, until now essentially tacticians, would henceforth enter the higher realms of strategy and master those realms with a sure-footedness and ease that would astonish the world.

At Zhu Qissa, in the fourth week of August 632 (early Jamadi-ul-Akhir, 11 Hijri) Abu Bakr planned the strategy of the Campaign of the Apostasy. The battles which he had fought recently against the apostate concentrations at Zhu Qissa and Abraq were in the nature of immediate preventive action to save Madinah and discourage further offensives by the enemy, thus gaining time for the preparation and launching of his main forces. These actions could be described as spoiling attacks; they had enabled Abu Bakr to secure a base from which he could fight the major campaign that lay ahead.

Abu Bakr had no illusions about the task that faced him. He had to fight not one but several enemies-Tulaiha the Impostor at Buzakha, Malik bin Nuwaira at Butah, Musailima the Liar at Yamamah. He had to deal with widespread apostasy on the eastern and southern coasts of Arabia-in Bahrain, in Oman, in Mahra, in Hadhramaut, in the Yemen. There was apostasy in the region south and east of Makkah, and in Northern Arabia the Quza'a had staged a comeback after the return of the Army of Usama.

The situation of the Muslims can be compared with a small island of belief in an ocean of disbelief, a lamp shining in the darkness which held every manner of danger for the Faithful. Abu Bakr had not only to keep the flame alive, but also to dispel the darkness and crush the forces of evil that gathered threateningly on all sides. In numerical strength the apostates vastly outnumbered the Muslims, though they were not united. Abu Bakr's military strength lay in his having, among the Muslims, the finest fighting men of the time. And he had a tremendous weapon-Khalid bin Al Waleed: the Sword of Allah.

1. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 476.