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: 12

The Battle of Yamamah was the fiercest and bloodiest battle so far fought in the history of Islam. Never before had the Muslims been faced with such a trial of strength, and they rose gloriously to the occasion under the leadership of the Sword of Allah. By crushing the vastly superior forces of the Bani Hanifa led by the redoubtable Musailima, the Muslims proved themselves to be men of steel. Half a century later old men would describe this battle in vivid detail to their grandchildren and end the account with the proud boast: "I was at Yamamah!"

The casualties were staggering. Of the apostates 21,000 were killed-7,000 in the plain of Aqraba, 7,000 in the Garden of Death, and 7,000 in the mopping up operations of the columns sent out by Khalid.

The Muslims suffered lightly in comparison with the apostates, but compared with their own past battle losses, their casualties were heavy indeed. Twelve hundred Muslims fell as martyrs-most of them in or near the wadi. 1 Half this loss was suffered by the Ansars and the Emigrants-the closest and most revered Companions of the Prophet. It is also said that the martyrs included 300 of those who knew the whole Quran by heart. Some of the finest of Muslims fell in this battle-Abu Dujanah, Abu Hudaifa (the commander of the left wing), Zaid (brother of Umar and commander of the right wing). While Zaid fell, Umar's son, Abdullah, survived.

When Abdullah returned to Madinah he went to pay his respects to his father, but there was no welcome in the eyes of Umar as he looked at his son. "Why were you not killed beside Zaid? Zaid is dead and you live! Let me not see your face again!"

"Father", pleaded this brave young man, "my uncle asked for martyrdom and Allah honoured him with it. I also sought martyrdom but did not attain it." 2

In the Battle of Yamamah, Abu Bakr's campaign against the apostates reached its high-water mark. This was the climax. Abu Bakr's strategy of using Khalid as his right arm to fight the main apostate chiefs in turn, going from nearer to farther objectives, had met with admirable success. Henceforth things would be easier.

One episode remains to be narrated before we finish with the Battle of Yamamah. On the day that the city of Yamamah opened its gates, Khalid sat outside his tent in the evening. Beside him sat Muja'a. They were alone.

Suddenly Khalid turned to Muja'a. "I want to marry your daughter!"

Muja'a stared in amazement at Khalid. He could not possibly have heard aright!

Khalid, his tone more insistent, repeated, "I want to marry your daughter!"

Muja'a now realised that Khalid was not mad, that he knew what he wanted. Yet in view of the occasion, the whole idea seemed utterly ridiculous. "Steady, O Khalid!" he replied. "Do you want the Caliph to break your back and mine also?"

"I want to marry your daughter", repeated Khalid. And that very evening he married the beautiful daughter of Muja'a bin Marara.

A few days later Khalid received an angry letter from Abu Bakr. "O son of the mother of Khalid!" wrote the Caliph. "You have time to marry women while in your courtyard the blood of 1,200 Muslims is not yet dry!" When he had read the letter Khalid muttered, "This must be the work of that left-handed one!" 3

However he continued to enjoy his new bride. It seems that he had discarded the glamorous widow of Malik bin Nuwaira. We do not know what happened to that lady, for history makes no further mention of the beautiful Laila with the gorgeous eyes and the lovely legs.

1. The visitor to Jubaila today is shown a graveyard on the southern bank of the wadi where the Muslim martyrs lie buried, and on the northern bank he is shown a low mound between the village and the gully, where the apostate dead were buried.
2. Tabari: Vol. 2, pp. 512-3.
3. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 519.