The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 35: Al-Yarmuk

 Part III: The Invasion of Iraq

 

Page: 9

The corps of Abu Ubaidah and Yazeed did not this time reach the camp. They did not have to, for the women themselves, many of them carrying swords, rushed forward and joined their men. Even the women understood that on this phase hung the fate of the battle. They came with swords and tent poles for the Romans and water for the Muslim wounded and thirsty. Among them were Khaulah and the wife of Zubair and Umm Hakeem, who shouted to the women: "Strike the uncircumcised ones in the arm!" 1 The women rushed through the Muslim corps to the front rank, determined to fight ahead of their men this time; and this proved the turning point in this sector.

The sight of their women fighting alongside, and some even ahead of them, turned the Muslims into raging demons. In blind fury they struck at the Romans in an action in which there was now no manoeuvre and no generalship - only individual soldiers giving of their superhuman best. Striking with sword and dagger, the valiant men of Abu Ubaidah and Yazeed hurled the Romans back from their positions, and the Romans retreated fast before the terrible blows of the infuriated Muslims. (See Map 23)

The battle of this day reached its climax along the entire front in the late afternoon. At this time all the generals were engaged in combat like their men, and every corps commander proved his right to be the leader of brave men. Several Romans bit the dust under the blows of Muslim women. Khaulah took on a Roman warrior, but her adversary proved a better swordsman and struck her on the head with his sword, as a result of which she collapsed in a heap with blood dying her hair red. When the Romans were pushed back, and the other women saw her motionless body, they wailed in sorrow and searched frantically for Dhiraar, to inform him that his beloved sister was dead. But Dhiraar could not be found till the evening. When he did arrive where his sister lay, Khaulah sat up, smiling. She was all right, really!

By dusk the days' action was over. Both armies stood once again on their original lines. It had been a terrible day - one that the veterans of Yarmuk would never forget and on which the Romans came very near victory. But many of them paid with their lives for a success which they were not destined to gain. The most crippling losses had been suffered by the chained men, the Armenians and the Christian Arabs. The Muslims had suffered more than on previous days, and those who were not wounded were fewer in number than those who were, but a glow of pride and satisfaction warmed their hearts, especially Khalid's who knew that the crisis was over. The tide had turned.

1. Waqidi: p 149. According to Balazuri (p. 141) these words were uttered by Hind.