The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 35: Al-Yarmuk

 Part III: The Invasion of Iraq

 

Page: 17

It is known that the Muslims lost 4,000 men in this battle, and those who did not carry wounds on their persons were few indeed; but the Roman casualty figures vary. Waqidi's estimate is exaggerated to an unacceptable degree. Tabari, in one place, 1 gives the Roman dead as 120,000 but elsewhere quotes Ibn Ishaq's estimate of 70,000. 2 Balazuri also gives the Roman dead as 70,000. 3 This last figure appears to be reasonable-about 45 per cent of the Roman army. Of these 70,000 about half fell on the plain and half fell into the ravine. Some 80,000 men got away, most of them horse and camel-mounted, including those who escaped before the Muslim ring was closed. Many may even have succeeded in crossing the Wadi-ur-Raqqad at places where it was not so precipitous.

The Battle of Yarmuk was a glorious victory for Islam; and the Plain of Yarmuk and the Wadi-ur-Raqqad provided ample, if gruesome, evidence of it. Tens of thousands of Roman bodies lay scattered, singly and in heaps, on the plain and at the bottom of the ravine. The worst signs of carnage were visible at the corner of the plain and in the ravine itself. Broken, maimed and mutilated bodies could be seen everywhere, lying in grotesque shapes and postures. Blood-covered bodies without limbs lay on the blood-spattered earth, staring with sightless eyes at the eternity of death. Thousands of Romans sprawled with broken swords in their hands, true to the oath of death which they had taken on the eve of battle. And mingled with the soldiers, lay countless priests, still clutching their crosses. The nauseating stench of decaying flesh rose and poisoned the air over the Plain of Yarmuk.

A vast and heroic battle had been fought; a great and terrible victory had been won.

1. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 596.
2. Ibid: Vol. 3, p. 75.
3. Balazuri: p. 141.