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: 10

For the night the Muslims dropped where they stood, and escaped from the nightmare of the battle into the sleep of the victorious.

Next morning Khalid walked about the battlefield. Everywhere he saw the wreckage of battle. Broken, twisted bodies, lying in grotesque shapes, littered the wadi and the plain of Aqraba and the Garden of Death. In places he picked his way over blood-soaked earth.

All the important leaders of the apostasy in Yamamah had been killed-all save the captive Muja'a who now, still in irons, dragged his feet beside the victor. Khalid had taken him along so that he could identify some of the dead leaders and also feel the full impact of the defeat of the Bani Hanifa.

The state of the Muslims too was appalling. The battle had taken a heavy toll, and right now they were in no condition even to defend themselves, let alone fight a battle. Exhausted and worn-out, they lay where they had dropped the night before, resting their weary limbs. But Khalid had reason to be satisfied with the outcome of the battle: Musailima was dead and his army had been torn to pieces. A glow of pleasure warmed the heart of Khalid. But Muja'a soon dispelled it.

"Yes, you have won a victory", he conceded. "But you should know that you have fought only a small portion of the Bani Hanifa-all that Musailima could hastily gather. The major portion of the army is still in the fort at Yamamah."

Khalid stared at him incredulously, "May Allah curse you! What are you saying?"

"Yes, that is so", Muja'a went on. "I suggest that you accept a peaceful surrender. If you will state your terms, I shall go into the fort and try to persuade the army to lay down its arms."

It did not take Khalid long to realise the impossibility of fighting, with his exhausted men, an even larger army than the one he had just tackled. "Yes", he replied, accepting Muja'a's proposal. "Let there be peace."

The terms of surrender were worked out by the two leaders. The Muslims would take all the gold, the swords, the armour and the horses in Yamamah, but only half its population would be enslaved. Muja'a was released from his fetters and, on giving his word to return, allowed to proceed to the fortified city. After some time he returned, shaking his head sadly. "They do not agree. They are all set to fight. In fact they turned against me. You can attack now if you wish."

Khalid decided to take a look at the city himself. Leaving the bulk of his weary army to bury the martyrs and gather the spoils, he took a mounted detachment and rode to Yamamah, accompanied by Muja'a. As he got near the northern wall of the fortified city he stopped in amazement, for the battlements were crowded with warriors whose armour and weapons glinted ominously in the sun. How on earth would he deal with this fresh army in an impregnable fort? His men were in no state to fight, they wanted nothing but rest.

The voice of Muja'a broke the silence. "They might be prepared to surrender the fort if you do not enslave any of them. You could have all the gold, the swords, the armour, the horses."

"Have they agreed to this?" asked Khalid.

"I have discussed the matter, but they gave no decision."

Khalid was prepared to go so far and no further. He looked at Muja'a sternly. "I will give you three days", he said. "If the gates are not opened on these revised terms, I shall attack. And then there shall be no terms of any kind."

Muja'a again went into the fort. This time he returned smiling. "They have agreed." 1 he announced.

1. Tabari: Vol. 2, pp. 515-7; Balazuri: pp. 99-100.