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: 5

A sense of humour was not one of Umar's strong points; and not being able to think of a suitable rejoinder, he turned away.

Tulaiha returned to his tribe and lived amongst them until the third invasion of Iraq. Then he volunteered for service in Iraq as a Muslim warrior and commander. He served with distinction, performing prodigies of valour and skill, and took part in the great battles of Qadissiyah and Nihawand, where he fell a martyr. Tulaiha thus more than earned his redemption.

As soon as the battle was over, Khalid sent out columns to pursue the fleeing apostates and subdue the neighbouring tribes. One column caught up with some apostates in the hilly region of Ruman, 30 miles south-south-east of Buzakha, but they submitted without a fight and became Muslims again. Khalid led a fast column in pursuit of Uyaina, who had fled to the south-east with his clan of Bani Fazara and some elements of the Bani Asad. Uyaina had only got as far as Ghamra, 60 miles away 1 (see Map 8), when Khalid overtook him. Uyaina then turned to fight again, for although he was now totally disillusioned about Tulaiha, he remained defiant and unrepentant. There was a sharp clash in which several apostates were killed and the rest fled. Uyaina was taken prisoner.

Uyaina's father had been a very prominent and highly respected chieftain of the Ghatfan, as a result of which Uyaina regarded himself as second to none in birth and rank. But this proud scion of a long line of chiefs, with whom the Holy Prophet himself had sought to negotiate peace at the Battle of the Ditch, was now put in irons and led as a humble captive to Madinah.

As he entered Madinah, the children, on discovering his identity and circumstances, crowded around him. They began to prod him with sharp sticks, chanting awhile "O Enemy of Allah! You disbelieved-after-belief." Uyaina protested piteously, "By Allah, I never was a believer." In other words, since he had never become a Muslim (as he now falsely claimed), he could not be accused of apostasy.

He pleaded his case before Abu Bakr, who pardoned him, and so Uyaina became a Muslim again and lived in peace amidst his tribe for many long years.

In the time of Caliph Uthman, Uyaina, now grown old, visited Madinah and called on the Caliph. It was well after sunset. Uthman, as always the generous host, asked him to stay for supper and was taken aback when Uyaina declined the invitation on the plea that he was fasting. (The Muslim fast begins at the first light of dawn and ends at sunset.) Seeing the look of surprise on Uthman's face, Uyaina exclaimed hastily, "I find it easier to fast by night than by day!" 2

After the action at Ghamra, Khalid set off for Naqra where certain clans of the Bani Sulaim had gathered to continue the struggle against Islam. (See Map 8) In command of this group of Bani Sulaim was a rash chieftain whose name was Amr bin Abdul Uzza, but who was more commonly known as Abu Shajra. This man had learnt no lesson from the defeat of Tulaiha, and in order to encourage his men to remain firm in their defiance of Muslim authority, he composed and recited the following lines:

My spear shall play havoc
With the regiments of Khalid.
And I trust thereafter
It shall also crush Umar

1. Ghamra lies 15 miles north north-east of Samira, and a hill overlooking the present village is also named Ghamra. This place has been called Ghamr by Ibn Sad who places it at two stages from Feid (p. 590). It is actually 30 miles from Feid as the crow flies, and would be a little farther by caravan route.
2. Ibn Qutaiba: p. 304.
3. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 494.