The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 29: The Battle of Ajnadein

 Part III: The Invasion of Iraq

 

Page: 6

David was horrified to hear these instructions, as they appeared to be against the orders of Heraclius to fight the Muslims and throw them back into the desert. He therefore refused to carry out this mission. Wardan then told him the entire plan of the plot in order to convince him that he intended no disobedience of the instructions of the Emperor. And this, as we shall see, was a mistake.

The sun had not yet set when David walked up to the Muslim army, which was still arrayed in battle order, and asked to see Khalid on a matter of peace proposed by Wardan. As soon as Khalid was informed, he came out to David and stood glaring at him.

The sight of Khalid with his 6 feet and more of bone and muscle could have an unnerving effect on any man at whom Khalid glared. His hard, weather-beaten, battle-scarred face and his piercing eyes gave the impression of pitilessness to those whom Khalid regarded as enemies. The effect on poor David was devastating. Wilting under the gaze of the Sword of Allah, he blurted out: "I am not a man of war! I am only an emissary!"

Khalid drew closer. "Speak!" he ordered. "If you are truthful you will survive. If you lie you shall perish."

The Christian Arab spoke: "Wardan is pained by all this unnecessary bloodshed and wishes to avoid it. He is prepared to sign a pact with you and spare those who still live. There should be no more fighting until the talks are completed. He proposes that you and he meet alone between the two armies in the morning and discuss terms of peace."

"If what your master intends is deceit," replied Khalid, "then by Allah, we ourselves are the root of trickery and there is none like us in stratagem, and guile. If he has a secret plot, it will only hasten his own end and the annihilation of the rest of you. If on the other hand he is truthful, then we shall not make peace except on the payment of the Jizya. As for any offer of wealth, we shall soon take it from you anyway." 1

Khalid's words, uttered with unshakeable conviction, had a profound effect on David. Saying that he would go and convey Khalid's message to Wardan, he turned and began to walk away while Khalid stood staring after him and sensing that all was not as it seemed. David had not gone far before it suddenly struck him that Khalid was right; that victory would go to the Muslims and the Romans would perish no matter what tricks they tried. He decided to save himself and his family by confessing the truth. Consequently he retraced his steps and once again stood before Khalid, to whom he revealed the entire Roman plot, including the place at which the 10 Romans would lie concealed - below a hillock a little to the right of the Roman centre. Khalid promised to spare David and his family on condition that he did not tell Wardan that the Muslims now knew of his plot. To this, David agreed.

On his return to the Roman Army, David informed Wardan of the initial talks he had had with Khalid and Khalid's agreement to the rendezvous as planned; but said nothing of the second conversation he had with the Muslim. Wardan was delighted.

At first Khalid thought of going to the hillock alone and killing all 10 Romans himself. His adventurous soul thrilled at the prospect of a glorious fight. But when he discussed the matter with Abu Ubaidah, the latter dissuaded him and suggested that he should detail 10 valiant fighters instead. To this Khalid agreed. The 10 men he chose included Dhiraar, who was appointed leader of the party. He instructed Dhiraar to be prepared to next morning to dash out from the front rank of the Muslims and intercept and kill the 10 Romans when they appeared. But Dhiraar was no less adventurous in spirit that Khalid and insisted that he and his men be allowed to use the hours of darkness to find the Romans in their place of concealment and kill then in their lair. Knowing Dhiraar as he did, Khalid acceded to his request. Shortly before midnight Dhiraar and his nine comrades set off from the camp.

1. Waqidi: p. 39.