The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 17: The Collapse of the Apostasy

 Part II: The Campaign of the Apostasy


Page: 2

From Oman, following the orders of Abu Bakr, Ikrimah marched to Mahra. Here too the germs of apostasy had infected the local population, though not in such virulent a form as in some other provinces. Mahra actually was the objective of Arfaja bin Harsama (one of the corps commanders) and Ikrimah's instructions were to assist Arfaja; but as the latter had not yet arrived, Ikrimah decided that instead of waiting for him he would tackle the local apostasy on his own.

The army of local rebels that had gathered at Jairut consisted of two unequal factions. Ikrimah arrived at Jairut and confronted the infidels in early January, 633 (mid-Shawal, 11 Hijri). When ready to engage the enemy, he called upon the apostates to return to the fold of Islam. Of the two apostates factions, the larger rejected the call, but the smaller one accepted it and came over to join the Muslims, whereupon Ikrimah attacked and defeated the rebels. Their commander was killed, and a large quantity of booty came into Ikrimah's hands.

Having re-established Islam in Mahra, Ikrimah moved his corps to Abyan, where he rested his men and awaited further developments.

In Bahrain an independent action against the rebels was fought by the corps of Ala bin Al Hadhrami. It was after the Battle of Yamamah that Abu Bakr had sent this general to crush the apostasy in Bahrain, telling him that he would get no help from other Muslim forces, that he would be entirely on his own.

Ula arrived in Bahrain to find the apostate forces gathered at Hajr and entrenched in a strong position. (This was the only instance of entrenchment being used in these campaigns.) Ula mounted several attacks and the battle continued for some days but without success, as he found it difficult to cross the trench line. Whenever he managed to get some forces across they were repulsed. Ula began to wonder just how he was going to crack this virtually impregnable position.

Then early one night Ula heard wild, joyous shouts coming from the rebel position. At a loss to understand this phenomenon, he sent spies to investigate. These spies returned soon after to inform him that there was wild revelry in the enemy camp and that everybody was drunk. Ula at once ordered a night attack. As the Muslims went into the assault they found no sentries and caught the enemy completely by surprise. They plunged into the rebels, and hundreds of them were killed before they realised that their celebration had been disturbed! Hundreds, more were slain before the rest could come to their senses and escape.

The following day Ula pursued the fugitives to the coast, where they made one more stand but were decisively defeated. Most of them surrendered and re?entered Islam.

This operation was completed at about the end of January 633 (second week of Dhul Qad, 11 Hijri).

The Yemen had been the first province to rebel against the authority of Islam when the tribe of Ans rose in arms under the leadership of its chief and false prophet-Aswad, the Black One. The affair of Aswad has already been described. He was killed by Fairoz the Persian, while the Holy Prophet still lived, and thereafter Fairoz had acted as governor at San'a.

When word arrived that the Holy Prophet had died, the people of the Yemen again revolted, this time under the leadership of a man named Qais bin Abd Yaghus. The avowed aim of the apostates was to drive the Muslims out of the Yemen, and they decided to achieve this objective by assassinating Fairoz and other important Muslim leaders, thus rendering the Muslim community leaderless. Its subsequent expulsion would then, present no difficulty.