The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 13: Tulaiha The Imposter

 Part II: The Campaign of the Apostasy


Page: 2

The most powerful single supporter of Tulaiha was Uyaina bin Hisn, the one-eyed chief of the Bani Fazara-a powerful clan of the Ghatfan. This was the man who had commanded the Ghatfan contingent at the Battle of the Ditch and whom the Holy Prophet had nicknamed the Willing Fool. Now he lived up to that name by following Tulaiha. He did not, however, believe whole-heartedly in the impostor, for he is known to have said, "I would rather follow a prophet from an allied tribe than one from the Quraish. Anyway, Muhammad is dead and Tulaiha is alive." 1 His support proved invaluable, for he brought the entire tribe of Ghatfan under the sway of Tulaiha.

Tulaiha gathered the Bani Asad at Samira. The Ghatfan lived in the neighbourhood of the Bani Asad and would join him soon. The Tayy also accepted him as chief-of-chiefs and prophet, but remained in their own region north and northeast of Khaibar, except for a small contingent, which joined him at Samira. Here Tulaiha began his preparations to fight the power of Islam.

When he heard of the gathering of the clans at Abraq and Zhu Qissa, he sent a contingent from his tribe to reinforce them under his brother, Hibal. The Muslim operations against Zhu Qissa and Abraq have already been described. While these operations were in progress, Tulaiha moved with his army to Buzakha, where he was joined some time later by the remnants of the apostates driven from Abraq.

At Buzakha, Tulaiha's preparations progressed rapidly. He sent couriers to many clans, inviting them to join him, and many clans responded to the call. Uyaina brought 700 warriors from the Bani Fazara. The largest groups were from the Bani Asad and the Ghatfan. There also was a contingent from the Tayy, but the main part of the Tayy did not come to Buzakha.

Tulaiha was ready for battle when Khalid set out from, Zhu Qissa.

Before launching Khalid against Tulaiha, Abu Bakr sought ways and means of reducing the latter's strength, so that the battle could be fought with the maximum prospects of victory. Nothing could be done about the tribes of Bani Asad and Ghatfan which stood solidly behind Tulaiha; but the Tayy were another matter. They were not nearly so staunch in their support of the impostor, and their chief, Adi bin Hatim, was a devout Muslim. (A man, who was to live to the incredible age of 120 years, Adi was so tall that when he sat on his horse, his feet would touch the ground! 2) When Adi had tried to prevent the apostasy of the Tayy, they had renounced him, with the result that he had left the tribe, along with a group of his faithful supporters, and joined the Caliph. Abu Bakr now decided to make an attempt at drawing the Tayy away from Tulaiha. And if they could not be persuaded to abandon the impostor, they should be fought and crushed quickly in their present location before they could join him at Buzakha. Thus Tulaiha would be denied the support of the Tayy.

Abu Bakr sent the Tayy chief to work on his tribe. With him marched Khalid, whose corps numbered about 4,000 men. "If the efforts of Adi are not successful", Abu Bakr instructed Khalid, "fight the Tayy in their present location." 3 After dealing with the Tayy, Khalid was to, march on Buzakha. (See Map 8.)

Setting off from Zhu Qissa, Khalid marched in a northerly direction, making for Buzakha. When still a few marches from Buzakha, he turned left and approached the area south of the Aja Mountains, where the tribe of Tayy was gathered. Here Adi went forward and addressed the tribe: he spoke of Allah and His Messenger, of the fire of hell, of the futility of resistance; but in spite of his great eloquence he made no headway. The tribal elders rejected him, whereupon Adi warned them: "Then prepare to meet an army that comes to destroy you and take your women. Do as you please."

The warning had the desired effect. The elders reflected for a while and then said, "Keep this army away from us until we have extricated our brethren who are with Tulaiha. We have a pact with him. If we break it, he will either kill our brethren or hold them as hostages. We must get them away from Tulaiha before openly renouncing him."

1. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 487.
2. Ibn Qutaiba: p. 313.
3. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 483.