The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 13: Tulaiha The Imposter

 Part II: The Campaign of the Apostasy

 

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Adi returned to the Muslim camp and explained the position to Khalid, but Khalid was in no mood to waste time on negotiations. He held strong views about the apostasy and was not inclined to be kind to those who turned to disbelief-after-belief. "Three days, O Khalid!" Adi pleaded. "Just three days! And I shall get you 500 warriors from my tribe to fight beside you. That is better than sending them to the Fire." 1 Khalid agreed to wait.

The elders of the Tayy sent off a detachment of horsemen to Tulaiha, ostensibly as a reinforcement for their contingent. And there they started working secretly to get the Tayy contingent away from Tulaiha before Khalid's arrival at Buzakha. In this they succeeded. If any members of the Tayy remained with Tulaiha, and it appears that a few did, they took no part in the Battle of Buzakha.

Khalid had agreed not to attack the Tayy. Meanwhile he decided to turn on another apostate tribe which lived close by-the Jadila. The Caliph had said nothing about the Jadila, but Khalid did not need an invitation to fight. When he announced his intention of attacking the Jadila, Adi again came forward with an offer to persuade the tribe to submit without bloodshed. Khalid was not the man to worry about bloodshed, but in view of the possibility of augmenting his own strength with more warriors, he agreed to Adi's suggestion. The eloquence of Adi bore fruit. The Jadila submitted, and 1,000 warriors joined Khalid. With the strength of his corps augmented with the 500 horsemen from the Tayy and the 1,000 from the Jadila, Khalid, now much stronger than when he had left Zhu Qissa, marched for Buzakha. On his way he was to pick up more warriors.

When a day's march from Buzakha, Khalid sent forward two scouts on a reconnaissance mission. Both these men were Ansars, one of them a renowned Companion by the name of Ukasha bin Mihsan. These scouts met two apostates engaged on a similar mission for the enemy, one of whom was Hibal, the brother of Tulaiha. Hibal was killed, but the other escaped to carry the sad news to the impostor.

Enraged at the news of his brother's death, Tulaiha came forward in person with another brother, Salma. The two pairs met. There were two duels. Tulaiha and Ukasha were expert swordsmen and continued to fight long after Salma had killed the other Muslim. But at last Ukasha went down before Tulaiha. The bodies of the Muslims remained where they had fallen until the rest of the Muslims arrived to discover and bury them. The loss of these two Muslims was deeply mourned, for they were fine fighters and beloved comrades.

When Khalid got to the southern part of the plain of Buzakha, he went into camp a short distance from where the apostates were encamped. From these two camps the opposing forces would move out to battle. The battlefield consisted of the plain of Buzakha-a level, open plain with a few low, rocky hillocks on its western and northern edges. These hillocks were an extension of the south-eastern foothills of the Aja Range. 2 (See Map 8)

The stage for the Battle of Buzakha was set. The Muslims prepared for the morrow, as did the apostates. Khalid, the Sword of Allah, with about 6,000 men, faced Tulaiha the Impostor, the strength of whose army is not recorded but is believed to have been much more than that of the Muslims. It was now about the middle of September, 632 (late Jamadi-ul-Akhir, 11 Hijri).

On the morning after the arrival of Khalid, the two armies formed up for battle on the plain of Buzakha. Khalid commanded the Muslims in person and stood ahead of his corps. Tulaiha, however, appointed Uyaina to command his army, in the centre of which stood the 700 Bani Fazara (Uyaina's clan). The impostor himself sat in a tent a short distance behind his army, his head wrapped in a scarf and a cloak draped over his shoulders. He assumed a meditative posture and let it be known that he would receive guidance from Jibril, Allah's messenger angel, on the conduct of battle.

1. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 483.
2. Nothing remains of Buzakha, but the plain which bears its name starts 25 miles south-west of the present Hail and runs in a south-westerly direction.