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: 8

With the death of Salma, all resistance collapsed and the apostates scattered in all directions. Salma had given Khalid the hardest fight since Tulaiha.

The Salma Range-a range of black, rugged hills standing some 40 miles south-east of the town of Hail-is believed to have been named after Salma, Um Zhiml…a fitting tribute to a grand lady who had the courage to stand and fight against the greatest soldier of the day, and who went down fighting.

The Battle of Zafar was fought in late October 632 (late Rajab, 11 Hijri). For a few days Khalid rested his men. Then he gave orders for the march to Butah, to fight Malik bin Nuwaira.

The first phase of the Campaign of the Apostasy ended with the death of Salma. The major tribes of North-Central Arabia which had rebelled against Islam as followers of Tulaiha had now been defeated and subdued, and their leaders were either killed or captured or driven away. No more rebel chieftains raised their heads again in this region.

But one man remained, more of a bandit leader than a tribal chief, who was still causing anxiety to the Muslims. This man's name was Ayas bin Abd Yalil, but he was more commonly known as Al Faja'a. He was an adventurer.

At about the time when Khalid was consolidating his gains at Buzakha, Al Faja'a came to Abu Bakr. "I am a Muslim." he said. "Equip me with weapons and I shall fight the infidels." 1

Abu Bakr was only too glad to hear the offer and equipped him with weapons. The man rode away from Madinah, formed a gang of bandits and began to waylay unwary travellers, many of whom were killed. The gangsters operated in the region lying to the east of Makkah and Madinah, and Muslim and infidel alike suffered at the hands of Al Faja'a.

When Abu Bakr heard of the depredations of Al Faja'a, he decided to make an example of him for the deceit he had practised on the Caliph. He sent a column to get the man alive, and a few days later the brigand was brought to Madinah in irons.

Abu Bakr ordered a large pile of faggots arranged in front of the mosque. When ready, the pile was set on fire. As the wood crackled and the flames rose skywards, Al Faja'a, still in irons, was thrown into the fire!

When Abu Bakr was dying, two years later, he expressed certain regrets. There were, he said, three things that he had done and wished he had not done, and three things that he had not done and wished he had. One of these related to Al Faja'a "I wish", said Abu Bakr, "I had had Al Faja'a killed outright and not burnt alive." 2

1. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 492
2. Ibid: Vol. 2, p. 619; Balazuri: p. 112; Masudi: Muruj, Vol. 2, p. 308.