The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 16: The Battle of Yamamah

 Part II: The Campaign of the Apostasy


Page: 5

For some time the devastation of the camp proceeded at a horrible pace as the infidels snatched what they could carry and smashed what they could not. They cut the tents to shreds. Then, as quickly as it had started, the looting stopped. The apostates hastened back to the plain of Aqraba, for in the south they could see the Muslim army, formed in perfect order with solid ranks, advancing again.

Amazingly, as they stopped to regain their breath and think about what had happened, there was no fear in the hearts of the Muslims. There was only anger at their own disorganisation and the consequent retreat. Just how had this happened? How could it have happened? They had certainly inflicted greater losses on the enemy than they themselves had suffered.

Their courage remained steadfast, but they also felt baffled. Their frustrated anger found an outlet in mutual tribal recrimination-tribe against tribe, clan against clan, city against desert. They blamed each other for the debacle. "We know more about war than you", said the city dwellers. "No", replied the desert Arabs, "we know more." A clamour went up: "Let us separate into our tribal groups. Then we shall see who vindicates his honour." 1

Khalid could see what had gone wrong. The apostate front had not given way under the terrible onslaught of the Muslims, as all fronts had done before this. What is more, the apostates had counter-attacked while the Muslims were somewhat disorganised. The Muslims had lost their balance and under the pressure of the counter-attack were unable to regain it. There had been no lack of bravery.

Khalid saw that forming regiments out of mixed tribal contingents had been a mistake, for the clan feeling was still very strong among the Arabs. It added another pillar of strength to the Islamic zeal and the individual courage and skill which distinguished the Muslim army. In face of the three-to-one superiority of the enemy and the blind, fanatical determination of Musailima's followers, the absence of tribal loyalty had resulted in a weakening of cohesion in the Muslim regiments.

Khalid corrected this mistake and regrouped the army. He deployed it in the same battle formation with the same commanders, but the soldiers were now formed into clan and tribal units. Thus every man would fight not only for Islam but also for the honour of his clan. There would be healthy rivalry among the clans.

Once the reorganisation was complete, Khalid and his senior commanders went about the regiments. They spoke to the men and strengthened their resolve to punish Musailima for the disgrace that they had suffered. The men swore that if necessary they would fight with their teeth.

Khalid also picked a handful of warriors and formed them into a personal bodyguard. It was his intention to set an example for his men by throwing himself into the thick of the fighting. This bodyguard would prove useful. "Stay close behind me", he told these men.

Thus reorganised and reformed into orderly ranks, the Muslims once again advanced to the plain of Aqraba. They returned to battle not like lions, but like hungry lions!

Meanwhile Musailima the Liar had redeployed his army in the same battle formation as before. He awaited the second strike of the Sword of Allah, confident that he would once again send the Muslims reeling from the battlefield.

On the orders of Khalid, the Muslim army again swept forward with cries of Allah-o-Akbar and the war cry of this battle: "Ya Muhammad!"2 The smaller army again engaged the superior massed forces of the apostates. The wings clashed with the wings and the centre with the centre. The commander of the Muslim right, Zaid, confronted Rajjal the renegade who commanded the infidel left. Wishing to save the renegade from the fire of hell, Zaid called, "O Rajjal! You left the true faith. Return to it. That would be more noble and virtuous." 3 The renegade refused, and in the fierce duel that followed Zaid despatched Rajjal to the Fire.

1. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 513.
2. This is a misunderstanding. The actual slogan, as recorded by Ibn Kathir in Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah, Vol. 6 P. 397, was 'Ya Muhammadah! (O for Muhammad!)', rather than 'Ya Muhammad! (O Muhammad!)'; this is like the cry 'Ya Islamah! (O for Islam!)'. The Ya here is for exclamation, not for prayer, as in the Prophet's statement (SAWS), 'Ya tuba lil-Sham! (O joy for Syria!)', and this is further confirmed by the suffix "ah". The Companions understood Islam far too well to pray to the Prophet (SAWS)!
3. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 511.