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: 11

The pact was drawn up accordingly. It was signed on behalf of the Muslims by Khalid and on behalf of the Bani Hanifa by Muja'a bin Marara. 1

When the pact had been signed, Muja'a returned to the fort, and soon after the gates of the fort were thrown open. Khalid, accompanied by his mounted warriors and Muja'a, rode into the city, expecting to see hordes of armed warriors, but wherever he looked, he saw nothing but women and old men and children. He turned in amazement to Muja'a. "Where are the warriors I saw?"

Muja'a pointed at the women. "Those are the warriors you saw", he explained. "When I came into the fort I dressed these women in armour, gave them weapons, and made them parade on the battlements. There are no warriors!"

Furious at being tricked, Khalid swore at Muja'a, "You deceived me, O Muja'a!"

Muja'a merely shrugged his shoulders. "They are my people. I could do nothing else."

But for the pact, Khalid would have torn Muja'a apart with his bare hands. However, the pact had been signed and its terms had to be respected. The Bani Hanifa, those of them who were in the city, were safe. Soon they had come out of their city roamed freely in the neighbourhood.

A day or two later a message arrived from the Caliph, who was not yet aware of the end of the Battle of Yamamah, instructing Khalid to kill all the apostates of the Bani Hanifa. Khalid wrote back explaining that the Caliph's order could not be implemented because of the pact that he had signed. Abu Bakr agreed to the observance of the terms of the pact.

But the pact only applied to those who had been in the fort. The rest of the vast tribe of Bani Hanifa-tens of thousands of people living in the region around Yamamah-were not covered by the pact. The most important element of the Bani Hanifa now was the remnants of the army of Musailima which had fled from the plain of Aqraba. These warriors, amounting to more than 20,000 men, were moving at random in clans and groups. After Musailima's death they posed no great danger to Islam, but they could nevertheless cause considerable mischief. They had to be crushed. Under the harsh laws of war, they had no claim to immunity from attack until they had fully submitted.

Khalid was determined to wipe out all resistance among the Bani Hanifa so that undisturbed peace might prevail in the region. He allowed his army a couple of day's rest: then he divided it into several columns which he despatched to subdue the region around Yamamah and to kill or capture all who resisted. These columns fanned out in the countryside.

The fugitives were sought out wherever they had taken shelter. Thousands remained unrepentant and defiant, these were attacked and wiped out, and their women and children taken captive. But other thousands submitted and were spared. Eventually all the survivors re-entered Islam.

Khalid set up his headquarters near Yamamah, where he was to stay about two months before receiving his next military task from the Caliph.

With the successful conclusion of the Battle of Yamamah, most of Arabia was freed of the mischief of the apostasy. Some of it still remained on the fringes of the peninsula, but this posed no serious threat. Some battles were still to be fought, but they were minor affairs compared with the great clashes which have been described in this and the preceding chapters.

1. There is some difference of opinion among early historians about the exact terms of the pact, but the details are not important.