The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 30: The Conquest of Damascus

 Part III: The Invasion of Iraq


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As in earlier encounters, Dhiraar, naked above the waist, did the most damage and slew the largest number of Romans, thrilling the spectators with his daredevilry.

When this had gone on for an hour or so, Khalid decided that it was time for the 'heavy?weight bout'! He called back the Muslim officers and rode forward himself. As he got into the centre of the battlefield, he called:

I am the pillar of Islam!
I am the Companion of the Prophet!
I am the noble warrior,
Khalid bin Al Waleed!

Since he was the commander of the Muslim army, his challenge had to be met by a top ranking Roman general. Kulus had by now lost some of his zest for battle, because he had been intimidated by the sad fate of all the Romans who had come forward to duel with the Muslims this morning. It appears that he was unwilling to accept the challenge of Khalid; but egged on by the taunts of his rival, Azazeer, he rode out from the front of the Roman army. On getting near Khalid he indicated that he wished to talk; but Khalid paid no heed to his sign and attacked him with his lance. Kulus parried the thrust, showing uncommon skill in doing so. Khalid charged at him again, but the thrust was parried.

Khalid decided not to use the lance any more. He came near his opponent, dropped his lance and grappled with him with his bare hands. Catching Kulus by the collar he jerked him off his horse, whereupon the Roman fell to the ground and made no effort to rise. At this Khalid signalled for two Muslims to come to him. When they came forward, he ordered them to take Kulus away as a prisoner, which they did.

While the Romans were dismayed by the sight of this encounter, Azazeer was secretly pleased and hoped that the Muslims would kill Kulus. Now he came forward, and regarding himself as a greater fighter than Kulus, had no doubt that he would soon make short work of Khalid. But he would first amuse himself by making fun of the Muslim commander. Azazeer stopped a few paces from Khalid and said in Arabic, "O Arab brother, come near me so that I can ask you some questions."

"O enemy of Allah" replied Khalid. "Come near me yourself or I shall come and take your head." Azazeer looked surprised, but urged his horse forward and stopped at duelling distance. In a gentle, persuasive tone he continued: "O Arab, brother, what makes you come to fight in person? Do you not fear that if I kill you, your comrades will be left without a commander?"

"O enemy of Allah, you have already seen what a few of my comrades have done. If I were to give them permission, they would destroy your entire army with Allah's help. I have with me men who regard death as a blessing and this life as an illusion. Anyway, who are you?"

"Do you not know me?" Azazeer exclaimed. "I am the champion of Syria! I am the killer of Persians! I am the breaker of Turkish armies!"

"What is your name?" asked Khalid.

"I am named after the angel of death. I am Israel!"

At this Khalid laughed. "I fear that he after whom you are named seeks you ardently... to take you to the abyss of hell!"

Azazeer ignored this remark and went on in an unconcerned way: "What have you done with your prisoner, Kulus?"

1. Waqidi: pp. 41, 48.