The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 25: Daumat-ul-Jandal Again

 Part III: The Invasion of Iraq

 

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But they spurned his advice and determined to fight it out with Khalid. Ukaidar, however, had by now completely lost his nerve. He could not bring himself to face another encounter with the Sword of Allah, and one night he slipped out of the fort and set off on the road to Jordan. But it was too late. Khalid's army had just arrived and one of his mounted detachments, under Asim bin Amr, intercepted and captured the fleeing chief.

Again Ukaidar stood before Khalid. If he hoped that memories of the peaceful ending of their last encounter would kindle a spark of kindness in the heart of Khalid, he was mistaken. In Khalid's mind the situation could not be clearer: Ukaidar had broken his oath of allegiance; he was a rebel. Khalid ordered the execution of Ukaidar, and the sentence was carried out without delay. This was the end of Ukaidar bin Abdul Malik, prince of the Kinda, master of Daumat-ul-Jandal.

The following day Khalid took Ayadh under command and incorporated his detachment into his own army. He deployed Ayadh's men on the south of the fort to block the Arabian route; positioned part of his army of Iraq to the east, the north and the west of the fort, covering the routes to Iraq and Jordan; and kept the remainder back as a strong reserve. Khalid appreciated that at present the fort was strongly manned and to storm it in its present state would prove a costly operation. He therefore decided to wait, in the hope that the defenders, tiring of the siege, would sally out to fight him in the open. Then he could inflict the maximum damage upon them and storm the fort after the garrison had been weakened. He accordingly held his forces some distance back from the fort.

With the departure of Ukaidar the entire Christian Arab army had come under the command of Judi bin Rabi'a. Judi waited for the Muslims to make the first move, but the Muslims remained inactive. When some time had passed and Judi saw that the besiegers were making no attempt to close up on the fort, he became impatient for a clash with Khalid. Consequently he ordered two sallies. One group would attack Ayadh on the Arabian route while the other, a large group comprising his own clan, the Wadi'a, operating under his direct command, would attack Khalid's camp to the north.

Ayadh drove back the Arabs who came out to attack him. Leaving behind many dead, they hastily returned to the fort and closed the gate. This group was lucky. It had only had to face an inexperienced general like Ayadh bin Ghanam and men who were not of the calibre of the hardened veterans of Khalid.

The other and larger group-the clan of Wadi'a operating under Judi-came out at the same time as the group against Ayadh, and made for Khalid, who stood back from the fort and deployed his army for battle. Seeing no move from Khalid's side, Judi became bolder. He formed up his clan for battle and advanced to meet Khalid. The two forces were now very close, and Judi imagined that he would send the Muslims, reeling from the battlefield. Then suddenly Khalid struck at Judi with the utmost violence and speed.

The Arabs never knew just what hit them. In minutes they had collapsed like a house of cards. Judi was captured along with hundreds of his clansmen, while the rest, losing all cohesion and order, fled in panic towards the fort. The Muslims were not just pursuing them; they were with them, among them, all over them. If the first to reach the gate of the fort was a Christian Arab, the second was a Muslim. The Arabs who had remained in the fort saw a horde rushing towards the gate of which at least half was Muslim. They closed the gate in the face of their comrades, and the clan of Wadi'a which had sallied out with Judi was locked out. Hundreds were made prisoner by the Muslims. The rest perished-some in the short violent battle and the rest in the pursuit to and the fighting at the gate. It was with bitterness that they recollected the counsel of Ukaidar. Such indeed was Khalid! But now it was too late.

The first part of Khalid's plan had been accomplished. He next moved the army close to the fort to let the defenders see that there was no possibility of escape, and then called upon the garrison to surrender, but the garrison refused to comply.