The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 14: False Lords and Ladies

 Part II: The Campaign of the Apostasy


Page: 2

Strangely enough, most of her mother's clan accepted her as prophetess and pledged to obey her. They had been Christians! She mustered many armed followers and came down into Arabia, where her father's tribe also flocked to her standard. No doubt many that followed her, elders and clansmen, were led by the temptation of plunder and the desire to settle old scores with some of the tribes in north-eastern Arabia which had old feuds with them.

Elated by her success in gathering followers, she arrived at Al Hazn with a fair-sized force and exchanged envoys with her kinsman, Malik bin Nuwaira. 1 She proposed a pact: they would operate jointly against the tribes that were their mutual feudal enemies and would thereafter war against the Muslim power at Madinah. In order to assure Malik that she had no aggressive designs upon the lands of the Bani Yarbu', she declared, "I am only a woman of the Bani Yarbu'. The land is yours." 2

Malik accepted Sajjah's proposal and entered into a pact with her. However, he cooled her martial ardour somewhat and dissuaded her from warring against the Muslims. This happened in June 632.

The combined forces of Malik and Sajjah now turned upon the hapless tribes that had offended the Bani Tamim and the Taghlib. There was nothing religious in this operation, the underlying motives were revenge and the lust for loot. Any tribe that resisted was fought, subdued and plundered. Malik was joined to the impostress by the pact and his followers fought alongside hers in these raids. It appears, however, that he did not personally take part in these depredations.

Then Sajjah came to Nibbaj and began plundering the neighbourhood. 3 And here she suffered a serious setback. The local clans, driven by their common fear of the terrible lady, united in opposition to her and this resistance resulted in a battle. It was not by any means a decisive battle, but she got the worst of it; a few of her important officers were captured by her opponents, who refused to release them unless she pledged to depart from their area. To this she agreed.

The elders of the tribes which made up her following now gathered around their impostress. "Where now?" they asked.

"To Yamamah," she replied.

"But the people of Yamamah are mighty", they pointed out, "and their Chief, Musailima, is a very powerful man."

"To Yamamah", repeated Sajjah and then broke into verse:

Onward to Yamamah!
With the flight of soaring pigeons;
Where the fighting is the fiercest;
And no blame shall fall upon you.
Onward to Yamamah!

1. The location of Hazn is not certain, but according to local information in Hail, it is the same as the area of Hazm which lies between Samira and Butah. This seems to fit in with Yaqut's statement (Vol. 1. p. 661) that it was near Butah.
2. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 496.
3. Nabbaj is the present Nabqiya (also called Nabjiya by the inhabitants) 25 miles north-east of Buraida. Now it is a village; then it was a sizeable town.
4. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 498.