The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 26: The Last Opposition

 Part III: The Invasion of Iraq

 

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And so this manoeuvre was carried out. The Persians and the Arabs slept peacefully, for the last reported locations of the Muslim corps showed them at a considerable distance and there was no apparent danger of a surprise attack. This proved to be their last night in Muzayyah. The imperial army knew of the attack only when three roaring masses of Muslim warriors hurled themselves at the camp.

In the confusion of the night and the panic of the moment the imperial army never found its feet. Terror became the mood of the camp as soldiers fleeing from one Muslim corps ran into another. Thousands were slaughtered. The Muslims struck to finish this army as completely as they had finished the army of Andarzaghar at Walaja; but large numbers of Persians and Arabs nevertheless managed to get away, helped by the very darkness that had cloaked the surprise attack.

By the time the sun rose over the eastern horizon no, living warrior of the imperial army remained at Muzayyah.. We do not know the fate of the Persian general, Mahbuzan, but the Arab commander, Huzail bin Imran, made good his escape and joined the Arab force at Zumail.

This action took place in the first week of November 633 (fourth week of Shaban, 12 Hijri). The manoeuvre had worked beautifully; the timing was perfect!

Among the Arabs who lost their lives at Muzayyah were two Muslims. These men had travelled to Madinah a short while before the invasion of Iraq and had met Abu Bakr, accepted, Islam and returned to live among their Christian clansmen. When Madinah heard of the death of these two Muslims at the hands of Khalid's army, Umar walked up to the Caliph and angrily denounced what he called the tyranny of Khalid; but Abu Bakr shrugged it off with the remark: "This happens to those who live among infidels." 1 Nevertheless, he ordered that blood-money be paid to their families. As for Khalid, the Caliph repeated his now famous words: "I shall not sheathe the sword that Allah has drawn against the infidels."

From Muzayyah, Khalid turned to Saniyy and Zumail-Saniyy was closer and thus became the first objective, for which Khalid decided to repeat the manoeuvre of Muzayyah. His army would operate in three corps as before. From Muzayyah the corps would march on separate axes and converge for the attack on Saniyy on a predetermined night and time. Khalid advanced on the direct route from Muzayyah while the other corps moved wide on his flanks. On the appointed night and at the appointed time-in the second week of November 633 (first week of Ramazan, 12 Hijri)-the three corps fell upon the Arab camp at Saniyy. This time even fewer Arabs survived the slaughter. The women and children and many youths, however, were spared, and taken captive. The Arab commander, Rabi'a bin Bujair, also met his death, and his beautiful daughter was captured; but she was not taken by Khalid. She was sent to Madinah, where she became the wife of Ali. 2

Khalid was now manoeuvring his army with the effortlessness with which one might move pieces on a chessboard. Two or three nights after Saniyy he did the same to Zumail - three corps attacking from different directions-and the Arabs at Zumail too were swallowed up by the earthquake which hit Muzayyah and Saniyy. 3

Once he had disposed of the captives and the booty taken at Zumail, Khalid turned his steps towards Ruzab, where Hilal, the son of Aqqa, was gathering more Arab clans to avenge his father's death. But when the Muslims arrived at Ruzab not a soul was to be seen. At the last moment these Arabs had decided that further resistance was futile and had melted away into the desert.

1. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 581.
2. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 582.
3. There is uncertainty about the location of these four battlefields. For an explanation see Note 6 in Appendix B.