The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 30: The Conquest of Damascus

 Part III: The Invasion of Iraq


Page: 14

Now the other three corps commanders got together and began to discuss the situation. After a few minutes they reached agreement among themselves and conveyed their opinion, to Khalid: Let there be peace, because if the Romans in Syria heard that the Muslims had given a guarantee of safety and then slaughtered those whose safety had been guaranteed, no other city would ever surrender to the Muslims, and that would make the task of conquering Syria immeasurably more difficult.

The emotions of Khalid never interfered with his reason; and the reason of Khalid saw the military wisdom of the advice tendered by the generals. For a moment he glared at Thomas and Harbees. Then he said, "Alright, I agree to peace, except for these two accursed ones."

"These two were the first to enter my peace," Abu Ubaidah said to Khalid. "My word must not be broken. May Allah have mercy upon you!"

Khalid gave up. "By Allah!" he exclaimed, "but for your word I would certainly have killed them. Let them get out of the city, both of them, and may Allah's curse follow them wherever they go!"

Thomas and Harbees were nervously watching the altercation between the two Muslim generals while interpreters were translating their statements. Thus they understood all and breathed a sigh of relief as they came to know of the conclusion of the dialogue. They now moved to Abu Ubaidah with an interpreter and asked for permission to depart on any route they chose.

"Yes," said Abu Ubaidah. "You may go on any route you choose. But if we conquer any place at which you are residing, you will not then be under a guarantee of peace."

Thomas, fearing a pursuit by Khalid, then requested, "Give us three days of peace; then the truce would be ended. Thereafter if you catch up with us, do as you will-kill us or enslave us."

Here Khalid entered the talks. "Agreed, except that you may take nothing with you but food for the journey."

"This again would amount to a breaking of the pact," objected Abu Ubaidah. "My pact with them allows them to take all their belongings."

"Even to this I agree," said Khalid, "but no weapons."

Now Thomas protested: "We must have some weapons for our defence against other enemies than you. Otherwise we stay here; and you can do with us as you please." Thomas understood very well how important it was for these Muslims to honour their pacts, and was exploiting this sense of honour.

Khalid went so far as to agree that every man could take one weapon with him, either a sword or a lance or a bow. The last of the problems was thus settled. 1

Immediately after this, and it was now shortly after sunrise, a pact was drawn up and signed by Khalid. It read as follows -

"In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. This is given by Khalid bin Al Waleed to the people of Damascus. When the Muslims enter, they (the people) shall have safety for themselves, their property, their temples and the walls of their city, of which nothing shall be destroyed. They have this guarantee on behalf of Allah, the Messenger of Allah, on whom be the blessings of Allah and peace, the Caliph and the Faithful, from whom they shall receive nothing but good so long as they pay the Jizya." 2

1. This dialogue between Khalid and Abu Ubaidah is taken from Waqidi: pp. 51-52.
2. Balazuri: p. 128.