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: 6

As soon as he arrived at Naqra, Khalid launched his column into a violent attack on the Bani Sulaim. Actually, he had pleasant memories of the Bani Sulaim. They had served under him during the conquest of Makkah and the Battle of Hunain and the advance to Taif. Except for their flight when ambushed in the Hunain defile (when most troops would have done the same), they had served him well. But now they had apostatised and deserved no mercy.

Fighting against their ex-commander, the Bani Sulaim resisted fiercely for some time and were able to kill several Muslims, but they too found the powerful blows of Khalid too hard to take and broke up. A large number of them were slaughtered before the rest found safety in flight. Their commander, Abu Shajra the soldier-poet, was taken prisoner and sent to Madinah, where he too pleaded his case with Abu Bakr and was pardoned. He also re-entered Islam.

In later years Abu Shajra fell upon bad times, he was impoverished. Hoping to get some help from Madinah, he rode thither, tied his camel outside the town and went in. Soon he came upon Umar who stood surrounded by the poor to whom he was distributing alms. Entering the throng, Abu Shajra, called, "I too am in need." Umar turned and looked at him but failed to recognise him. His appearance had changed much since the days of his apostasy. "Who are you?" Umar enquired.

"I am Abu Shajra."

Suddenly old memories flashed across the mind of Umar and he recalled the entire story of the wretched man. "O Enemy of Allah!" Umar roared. "Was it not you who recited:

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

Umar did not wait for a reply. He raised his whip, without which he never left his house, and struck at the man. Abu Shajra raised his arm to protect his head even as he pleaded, "My submission to Islam has cancelled all that." 1 Then the second blow fell!

Abu Shajra realised that no amount of pleading would stay the whip of Umar, who was clearly in a mood to strike first and ask questions later. He turned and ran as fast as his legs would carry him, with Umar in hot pursuit, brandishing his whip. But he outran Umar, got to his camel, leapt onto its back and sped away.

Abu Shajra never showed his face in Madinah again!

While the Battle of Buzakha was being fought, certain tribes had stood aside and watched. These were the tribe of Bani Amir and certain clans of the Hawazin and Bani Sulaim. Though inclined towards Tulaiha, they had wisely refrained from battle and preferred to sit on the fence until the outcome of battle was known.

The outcome was soon known. Peace and quiet had hardly returned to Buzakha when these tribes came to Khalid and submitted. "We re-enter what we came out of", they declared. "We believe in Allah and His Messenger. We shall submit to his orders with our lives and property." 2

Soon other sections of repentant Arabs began to pour into Buzakha. "We submit!" was the universal cry. But Khalid remembered the instructions of the Caliph-to kill all those who had killed Muslims. He refused to accept their submission (which meant that they could be attacked, killed, enslaved) until they had handed over every murderer in the tribe. To this the tribes agreed.

1. Balazuri: p. 107
2. Tabari: Vol. 2 pg. 486.