The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 23: The Conquest of Hira

 Part III: The Invasion of Iraq


Page: 6

"Yes, not a dirham less."

Quickly the princess handed over 1,000 dirhams to the exulting Arab and returned to her family.

Shuwail rejoined his comrades, many of whom were more knowledgeable than he. Bursting with pride he told them the story: how he had released Kiramah, but made her pay through the nose-1,000 dirhams!

He was quite unprepared for the laughter which greeted his boastful account. "1,000 dirhams!" his friends exclaimed. "For Kiramah bint Abdul Masih you could have got much, much more."

Bewildered by this remark, the simple Arab replied, "I did not know that there was a sum higher than a thousand!" When Khalid heard the story he laughed heartily, and observed, "Man intends one thing, but Allah intends another." 1

Once Hira was his, Khalid turned to the subjugation of other parts of Iraq, starting with the nearer districts. He wrote identical letters to the mayors and elders of the towns, offering them the usual alternatives-Islam, the Jizya or the sword. All the districts in the vicinity of Hira had the good sense to submit; and pacts were drawn up with the chiefs and mayors, laying down the rate of Jizya and assuring the inhabitants of Muslim protection. These pacts were witnessed by several Muslim officers, including Khalid's brother, Hisham, who served under him in this campaign.

Meanwhile the affairs of Persia were going from bad , to worse. The Persians were split over the question of the succession to the throne. In opposition to Khalid, they were united, but this was a sterile unity, offering no positive results. With the military affairs of the Empire in disarray, Bahman had assumed the role of Commander-in-Chief, and was working feverishly to put the defences of Ctesiphon in order against a Muslim attack which he was certain would come. Bahman aimed at nothing more ambitious than the defence of Ctesiphon; and in this he was being realistic, for over the rest of the region west of the Lower Tigris the Persians had no control.

Over this region the Arab horse was now supreme. Khalid, having crushed four large Persian armies, knew that there was no further threat of a counter-offensive from Ctesiphon, and that he could venture into Central Iraq in strength. He made Hira his base of operations and flung his cavalry across the Euphrates. His mounted columns galloped over Central Iraq up to the Tigris, killing and plundering those who resisted and making peace with those who agreed to pay the Jizya. For the command of these fast-moving columns he used his most dashing generals Dhiraar bin Al Azwar, Qaqa, Muthanna. By the end of June 633 (middle of Rabi-ul-Akhir 12 Hijri) the region between the rivers was all his. There was no one to challenge his political and military authority.

Along with military conquest Khalid organised the administration of the conquered territories. He appointed officers over all the districts to see that the Jizya was promptly paid and that the local inhabitants provided intelligence about the Persians and guides for the movement of Muslim units. Khalid also sent two letters to Ctesiphon, one addressed to the court and the other to the people. The letter to the Persian court read as follows:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. From Khalid bin Al Waleed to the kings of Persia.
Praise be to Allah who has disrupted your system and thwarted your designs. And if He had not done so it would have been worse for you. Submit to our orders and we shall leave you and your land in peace; else you shall suffer subjugation at the hands of a people who love death as you love life.

The letter addressed to the people was in much the same words, with the added promise of Muslim protection in return for the payment of the Jizya. Both the letters were carried by local Arabs of Hira and delivered at Ctesiphon. There was no reply!

1. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 569; Balazuri: p. 245.
2. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 572.