22 July 2022
Men of Excellence: Hazrat Abu Bakrra
After reciting the tashahud, ta‘awuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said:
As I mentioned in the previous Friday sermon, today I will narrate the accounts relating to the military expeditions against the Persians during the era of Hazrat Abu Bakrra. In this regard, one of the battles was called the Battle of Dhat al-Salasil and also known as the Battle of Kazima. This battle was fought in the month of Muharram-ul-Haram in the 12th year after Hijra. This battle is known by three names; the Battle of Dhat al-Salasil, the Battle of Kazima and the Battle of Hafeer. This battle is known as the Battle of Dhat al-Salasil i.e. the Battle of Chains, because the Arabic word for chain is “Silsilah” and “Salasil” is its plural. This is because the Persian soldiers had tied themselves to one another with chains so that none of them could flee from battle. Some historians however do not accept this narration regarding the Battle of Dhat al-Salasil. This battle was fought between Muslims and the Persians near the area of Kazima. As such, it is also known as the Battle of Kazima. Kazima is a town, located on the coast on the way from Basra to Bahrain. (Umar Abu al-Nasr, Sirat Sayyiduna Siddique Akbar, p. 644) (Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, Vol. 2, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2003), 239) (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Abu Bakr Siddiq Akbar – Translated by Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Pani Pati [Lahore, Pakistan: Ilm-o-Irfan Publishers, 2004], 272) (Yaqut Ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu’jam al-Buldan, Vol. 4 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-’Arabi], 488.)
As it was fought in the area known as Hafeer, it is also called the Battle of Hafeer. (Ali Muhsin Siddiqui, Al-Siddique, p. 127)
Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid was the commander in chief of the Muslims and the name of the commander in chief of the Persians was Hurmuz. The Muslim army comprised of 18,000 soldiers. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], 309)
As has been mentioned in previous sermons, Hurmuz was the Persian governor of that region, who enjoyed a higher status in terms of ancestry, dignity and honour than most other Persian leaders. It was the custom of the more revered individuals of Iran to wear expensive hats instead of ordinary ones. The higher a person’s status was in terms of ancestry, dignity and honour, he would wear a hat corresponding to his status. It is said that the most expensive hat cost 100,000 dirhams and only an individual of the highest level of respect, dignity and honour was considered worthy of wearing it. As such, the status of Hurmuz can be gauged from the fact that his hat cost 100,000 dirhams. The Persians afforded him with great honour, but the Arabs living at the border in Iraq abhorred him as he treated those Arabs much harsher than all the other officials at the border. Their dislike, i.e. of the non-Muslim Arabs, had reached the point that whenever they mentioned the immorality of an individual, they would use Hurmuz’s name as a proverb. For instance, they would say that such and such individual is even more immoral than Hurmuz, or such and such individual is even more wretched than Hurmuz and that such and such individual is even more forgetful of the favours conferred upon him than Hurmuz. Due to this very reason, Hurmuz often had to deal with continuous raids and skirmishes conducted by the Arabs. On the other hand, Hurmuz also used to engage in skirmishes with the Indians at sea. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiquera – Translated, pp. 269-270.)
Nevertheless, before setting off from Yamama, Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid wrote a letter to Hurmuz in which he stated, “Obey and you will remain protected, or you may acquire a guarantee for your protection as well as that of your nation by accepting to pay the Jizyah. Otherwise, there will be none to blame but yourself. I have brought such a nation to oppose you, which loves death just as you cherish life!” (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], 309)
When Hazrat Khalid’sra letter reached Hurmuz, he informed the Persian king of it and then gathered his forces and set out along with a swift battalion to Kazima to fight against Hazrat Khalidra. He advanced forward more swiftly than his horses, however, he did not encounter Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid on his path. Instead, he heard the news that the Muslim army was gathering in Hafeer. Thus, he turned around and set forth for Hafeer. Hafeer is the first location one would cross en route from Basra to Mecca. As soon as he arrived there, he organised the formation of his forces. Hurmuz appointed two brothers to his right and left flanks, the first of whom was Qubadh and the second was Anushjan. According to this narration, the Persian forces had chained themselves together and it is said that upon seeing this strategy, those who differed said to them, “You have helped the enemy by binding yourselves together in chains. Do not take this course of action. This is a bad omen.” Those in favour of binding themselves together by chains responded and said, “We have received news that you intend to flee and run away.”
When Hazrat Khalidra received news of Hurmuz arriving in Hafeer, he redirected his forces to Kazima. Hurmuz learned of this and immediately set forth for Kazima and set up his encampment there. Hurmuz and his armies assembled in rows and took control of the water supply. Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid had to set up camp in an area where there was no water and the people brought this matter to him. His caller announced that everyone should dismount, unload their provisions, and fight the enemy for control of the water, for surely, the control of the water supply would fall into the hands of the army that is more steadfast and honourable of the two. Upon this, the provisions were unloaded, the mounted soldiers took their place and the foot soldiers marched forward and attacked the enemy. Both sides engaged in battle, all the while Allah sent a cloud behind the Muslim forces. It rained behind the Muslims, which gave them strength. Hurmuz then hatched a plot to deceive Hazrat Khalidra. He instructed his defensive forces that he would challenge Hazrat Khalidra to a duel, and while he keeps him occupied in combat, they should launch a sudden attack on Hazrat Khalidra. And so, Hurmuz approached the battlefield and Hazrat Khalidra dismounted from his horse. Hurmuz, too, dismounted from his horse and challenged Hazrat Khalidra to a duel. Hazrat Khalidra approached him and a fight ensued and both attacked one another. Hazrat Khalidra was able to overcome Hurmuz, upon which Hurmuz’s defensive forces broke protocol and attacked Hazrat Khalidra whilst surrounding him. When a single combat duel such as this is taking place, others are not allowed to interfere and attack, however, the enemy’s army launched an attack. Despite this, Hazrat Khalidra was able to kill Hurmuz. As soon as Hazrat Qa’qa’ra bin ‘Amr witnessed this deception by the Persians, he surrounded and attacked Hurmuz’s defensive forces and killed them. The Persian forces faced defeat and fled. Qubadh and Anushjan were also among those who fled. The Muslims pursued the Persian forces in the darkness of the night and continued to kill them up until the large bridge at the Euphrates River where, today, Basra is established. Upon the conclusion of this battle, Hazrat Khalidra had the spoils of war collected. Amongst the spoils of war was also a camel’s load worth of chains. The chains weighed 1,000 ratal, or in other words, approximately 375 kilograms. The spoils of war sent to Hazrat Abu Bakrra also included Hurmuz’s hat which was worth 100,000 dirhams and was embellished with gems.
Hazrat Abu Bakrra gave this cap to Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid. Hazrat Khalidra sent the good news of the victory, Khums and an elephant to Medina, and announced everywhere about the victory of the Islamic army. Zirr bin Kulaib went to Medina with the Khums and the elephant. The people of Medina had never seen an elephant before. Let alone the people of Medina, no Arab had ever seen an elephant aside from the elephants of Abraha’s army. When the elephant was paraded around the entire town, upon seeing it, the elderly women were astonished and asked whether it was something from among the creation of God. They thought that it was something that had been constructed. Hazrat Abu Bakrra sent the elephant back with Zirr to Hazrat Khalidra. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], 309-310) (Al-Salabi, Sayyiduna Abu Bakrra Siddique, pp. 404-405) (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Abu Bakrra Siddique – Translated, pp. 271-273) (Yaqut Ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu’jam al-Buldan, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah], 319) (Lughat al-Hadith, Vol. 2, Under ‘Ratal’, [Nashir Nu’mani Kutub Khana, Lahore, 2002], 121)
One key reason why the Muslims succeeded in this battle was the policy Hazrat Abu Bakrra devised with respect to the farmers of Iraq, which Hazrat Khalidra implemented strictly. Under this policy, the farmers were not disturbed. Instead, they were left wherever they were settled. Aside from a small amount taken in the form of Jizyah, no tax or reparations were taken from them. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Abu Bakr Siddiq Akbar – Translated by Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Pani Pati [Lahore, Pakistan: Ilm-o-Irfan Publishers, 2004], 272)
Every member of the cavalry who took part in the Battle of Dhat al-Salasil was given 1,000 dirhams and those on foot were given one-third of this. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], 311)
The battle of Kazima had a far-reaching impact; it made the Muslims realise one thing; despite knowing all about the reputation of the power wielded by the Persians, their full-strength army could not contend with a small Muslim army. They could not even imagine the volume of the spoils they acquired. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Abu Bakr Siddiq Akbar – Translated by Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Pani Pati [Lahore, Pakistan: Ilm-o-Irfan Publishers, 2004], 272.)
Then there is mention of the Battle of Ubullah; which was fought in 12 AH. Hazrat Abu Bakrra ordered Hazrat Khalidra to start the campaign in Iraq from Ubullah, which was a frontier part of the Persian Gulf area. Trade caravans from Iraq that would travel to the subcontinent and Sindh would first stop at Ubullah. There are two narrations with regard to the conquest of Ubullah. One narration is that the Muslims conquered it for the first time during the Khilafat of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, but then later fell back into the hands of the Persians and it was during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umarra that the Muslims conquered it fully.
According to the second narration, Ubullah was conquered in the time of Hazrat Umarra. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Hazrat Abu Bakrra Siddique, pp. 269)
But Allamah Al-Tabari has recorded brief details of this battle in his book under the Khilafat of Hazrat Abu Bakrra. However, he further writes: “The conquest of Ubullah, which has been mentioned by historians during the Khilafat of Hazrat Abu Bakrra seems to be contrary to authentic narrations because Ubullah was conquered in 14 AH during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umarra at the hands of Hazrat Utbah bin Ghazwanra.” (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], 310)
This has been mentioned in other books of history with regard to the Battle of Ubullah. Some historians attribute the first victory to the Khilafat of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, whereas others reject this notion and state that this battle did not take place in the Khilafat of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, rather it was during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umarra. Nonetheless, in the books of history, the battle of Ubullah and its conquest has been recorded during the Khilafat of Hazrat Abu Bakrra and Hazrat Umarra. It seems that Ubullah was first conquered during the blessed Khilafat of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, however, afterwards, owing to receiving Persian aid through sea routes, the people of Ubullah rebelled and broke away. Then during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umarra it was conquered again. (Ali Muhsin Siddiqui, Al-Siddique, p. 127)
Nonetheless, the details of the Battle of Ubullah are as follows:
After the battle of Dhat al-Salasil, Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid sent Hazrat Muthanna to pursue the defeated Persian army. Alongside this, he sent Hazrat Ma’qalra to Ubullah to gather the spoils of war and apprehend the prisoners of war. Hence, Hazrat Ma’qalra left from there and reached Ubullah and gathered the spoils as well as the prisoners. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], 310.)
Further details about this conquest during the Khilafat of Hazrat Umarra are as follows:
Hazrat Umarra sent Hazrat Utbahra bin Ghazwan to Basra in 14 or 16 AH and instructed him to remain there for one month. The people of Ubullah came out to confront him; they were 500 non-Arab soldiers who were appointed to safeguard Ubullah. Hazrat Utbahra fought against them and defeated them and entered the Persian town. Hazrat Utbahra returned to his army. Allah the Almighty struck awe and fear in the hearts of the Persians and they left the town. They took whatever little they could and boarded boats. They crossed the river and left; in this way, the entire town was left vacant. The Muslims entered the town and found many weapons as well as other provisions and also seized the prisoners. After taking out the Khums from all the spoils, the rest was divided amongst the Muslim soldiers, who numbered 300 in total. (Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, Vol. 2, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar-ul-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, 2006), 335)
Then there is the Battle of Mazar, which was fought in Safar 12 AH. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], 311)
Mazar was a settlement in Mesan. Between Mazar and Basra, there was a distance of four days travel. (Yaqut Ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Hamawi, Mu’jam al-Buldan, Vol. 5, Al-Madhar, [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah], 247)
During this incident, everyone was reciting the following, “The month of Safar has arrived, and every rebellious oppressor will be killed at the place where the rivers meet.”
In the Battle of Dhat al-Salasil, Hurmuz was up against Hazrat Khalid bin Walidra. Hormuz had written to his king to send reinforcements. The king sent a contingent as reinforcements under the command of Qarin. However, this contingent had only reached Mazar when they received news of the defeat of Hurmuz in the Battle of Dhat al-Salasil and his death. Alongside this, contingents of the defeated army of Hurmuz ran to Mazar and met Qarin. Some of the soldiers from the contingent who ran away said to the soldiers under Qarin, “If you become dispersed today, then you will never be able to gather together as one again. Therefore, immediately prepare to return.” The soldiers of the army that ran away and the soldiers from the reinforcements – i.e. the new army coming from Persia – joined forces and both incited each other to war. A new army was formed to defend the king. The forces that had run away said, “This army has come to help the king and is under the command of Qarin, who is with us. It is quite possible that god will grant us victory and rid us of our enemy. In this way, we can recover some of our loss.”
Thus, they did so accordingly and settled in Mazar. Qarin assigned the vanguard to Qubadh and Anushjan, who had run away during the battle of Dhat al-Salasil. Meanwhile, Hazrat Muthannara and Hazrat Mu’annahra had sent news of the activities of the enemy to Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid. As soon as Hazrat Khalidra heard of Qarin’s arrival, he distributed the spoils of war received in the Battle of Dhat al-Salasil to those soldiers who had been allotted the spoils according to Allah’s decree. He also gave from the Khums as much as they wished. He sent the remaining spoils and the Khums from the Battle of Dhat al-Salasil and the good news of the victory to Hazrat Abu Bakrra. He also informed Hazrat Abu Bakrra that the army defeated in the battle of Dhat al-Salasil has joined the new contingent under the command of Qarin and gathered in one place. Thus, Hazrat Khalidra left from there and went to confront Qarin’s army in Mazar. He arranged his army in rows; the two armies clashed in a state of rage and fury. Qarin stepped into the battlefield for a duel. Both Hazrat Khalidra and Hazrat Ma’qalra bin A’ashah stepped forward to confront Qarin, however, Hazrat Ma’qalra moved ahead swiftly to overpower Qarin and killed him. Hazrat Asimra killed Anushjan and Hazrat Adira killed Qubadh. When three of these Persian commanders had been killed, the resolve of the remaining forces was broken and they began to flee.
During this battle, a large number of Persians were killed. Those that retreated boarded boats and fled. Hazrat Khalidra remained in Mazar; he gave the provisions belonging to the dead soldiers to the person that killed him no matter how much it was. He also gave to them those spoils that were acquired without any fighting [Maal-e-Faey]. From among the Khums he gave to those soldiers who displayed extraordinary feats. He sent the remaining Khums with a delegation headed by Hazrat Saeedra bin Numan to Medina. According to one narration, 30,000 Persians were killed in this war, and this does not include those that jumped in the river and drowned. It is said that if the water did not stop the Muslims, not a single soldier would have been spared. Still, there were some who survived and fled in a frantic state, leaving behind everything they had. After the battle, all those who fought and aided the Persian army were imprisoned along with their families. Among these prisoners was Abu al-Hasan Basri; it is said that Abu al-Hasan Basri – who was the father of Imam Hassan Basri, who became a Muslim and was a renowned preacher and Sufi of Basra – after being imprisoned, Abu al-Hassan Basri was taken to Medina where his captor freed him. (Muhammad Ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Tarikh al-Tabari, Vol. 2 [Beirut, Lebanon: Dar al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyyah, 2012], 311-312) (Urdu Da’irah Ma‘arif Islamiyyah, Vol. 8, p. 262, Shu‘bah Urdu Da’irah Ma‘arif, Lahore)
After this victory, the general population was treated with exceeding kindness. Without inflicting any sort of harm upon them, farmers and all others were urged to offer Jizyah and they were allowed to maintain possession of their lands and properties. After tending to these preliminary matters, Hazrat Khalidra then turned his attention toward the law and order of the conquered land. He assigned collectors for Jizyah in various places. To ensure the safety of the conquered land, the armies that were appointed at Hafeer and at Jisr-e-A’zam, i.e. The Great Bridge were better organised and each battalion was appointed a commanding officer, and they were ordered to remain abreast of secret and open movements of the enemy and to combat them if ever the need arose. What greater testament can there be to Khalid’sra military prowess than the fact that from the outset of his advancements in Iran, the mighty armies of Chosroes began to fall and their vigorous confidence and enthusiasm dissipated. The Battle of Mazar took place only a short distance away from Hirah; Hirah is located between the gulf and Mada’in. (Muhammad Husain Haikal, Abu Bakr Siddiq Akbar – Translated by Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Pani Piti [Lahore, Pakistan: Ilm-o-Irfan Publishers, 2004], 275)
Upon tending to various matters after the battle, Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid became occupied with obtaining intelligence regarding enemy plans. (Tarikh Al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 312, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012)
This was so that he could remain aware of the enemy’s movements to ensure that they weren’t assembling against Islam.
Another battle was the Battle of Walajah, which took place in Safar 12 AH. Walajah is a dry land near Kaskar. The Persians had been made to face humiliating defeat at the Battle of Mazar in which many of their prominent leaders were killed. Upon this, the Persian king devised another ploy and intended to confront the Muslims with better preparation. Hence, the Persian government invited a prominent tribe of Christians from Iraq called Bakr bin Wa’il to the royal court in Iran and after inciting them to fight against the Muslims, they formed an army and a famous cavalier named Andurzeghar was appointed its leader. This army then proceeded to Walajah. There was a large tribe of Christians residing in Iraq called Bakr bin Wa’il. Emperor Ardashir called them and organised them into an army, upon which he sent them to Walajah to fight the Muslims. Residents and farmers living in the surrounding areas of Hirah and Kaskar also joined the army. Hirah is a city located three miles North West of Kufa while Kaskar is a town located between Kufa and Basra. The thought arose that all of the credit for defeating the Muslims should not go solely to the Christian Arabs, and so a prominent soldier named Bahman Jazwiyah was also sent with a large army. (Tarikh Al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 312, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012), (Hazrat Abu Bakrra Siddique, Mohammed Hussein Heikal, pp. 287-288)
When the Persian ruler felt that his army was quite large, he decided to attack Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid. Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid was near Basra when he learned of the Persian army assembling in Walajah. He felt that the best course of action was to attack the Persian army from three sides so that they become scattered and would become confused due to the sudden attack. (Syedna Abu Bakrra, Dr Ali Muhammad Sallabi, p. 406)
Hence, he appointed Suwaid bin Muqarrin in his stead and instructed him to remain in Hafeer and he went to join those whom he had left in the lower part of Dijlah. He instructed them to always remain vigilant with regard to the enemy and to never be caught off guard or deceived. He took his army and set out towards Walajah and fought against the enemy army and its supporters, ensuing in a fierce battle. Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid had Muslim soldiers lie in ambush on both sides of the enemy army and eventually, both battalions attacked the enemy from either side. The Persian armies fled upon suffering defeat; however, they were surrounded from the front by Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid and from behind by the two battalions that had been lying in ambush. This perturbed them to the extent that they no longer cared if their compatriots were killed. The leader of the enemy forces was ultimately defeated and killed. Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid treated the farmers as he usually would; in other words, he did not kill any of them. Only the progenies of those who had participated in the war and their supporters were captured, while the general population of the nation were urged to offer Jizyah and become part of the Muslim rule, which the people accepted. (Tarikh Al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 312, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012),
Then there is mention of the Battle of Ullais. The Battle of Ullais took place in Safar 12 AH. Ullais was one of the cities in the Anbar province in Iraq. The humiliating defeat handed by Hazrat Khalidra to Bakr bin Wa’il and the Persians at the Battle of Walajah greatly angered their fellow Christians. They and the Persians exchanged letters and then gathered at a place called Ullais. Their appointed leader was Abd al-Aswad Ijli. Similarly, the Persian Emperor wrote a letter to Bahman Jazwiyah instructing him to take his army to Ullais and to join with the Persian and Arab Christians gathered there. Bahman Jazwiyah did not accompany the army himself, however, he appointed another brave fighter named Jaban and sent him off with the instructions of inciting people to fight, but to not engage in battle with the opposition until he himself arrived, unless they were attacked first. Hence, Jaban set out towards Ullais. Bahman Jazwiyah then went to the Persian Emperor Aradshir in order to consult with him, however upon arriving he found the Emperor to be ill. Hence Bahman Jazwiyah became occupied with tending to him and did not send any guidance to Jaban. Jaban set out along with the army towards the battlefront and arrived at Ullais in the month of Safar. (Tarikh Al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 313, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012), (Mujam-ul-Buldan, Vol. 1, p. 494, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut)
Various tribes and Arab Christians from the surrounding areas of Hirah joined Jaban. When Hazrat Khalidra learned that these Christian tribes had assembled, he set out to combat them, however, he was unaware that Jaban was nearby as well. Hazrat Khalidra had set out only with the intention of combating those Arabs and Christians, however, he was confronted by Jaban in Ullais. When Jaban arrived in Ullais, the non-Arabs asked him his opinion as to whether they should gather intelligence or eat first. In other words, they asked whether they should begin fighting or eat first and then fight. Jaban said that if the opposition was not posing any hindrance then they should remain silent, however, he was of the opinion that they would attack them suddenly and not allow them the opportunity to eat. However, they did not heed what Jaban said; they lay down their sheets, selected the food and after inviting everyone, they began eating. (Al-Kamil Fi Al-Tarikh, Vol. 2, p. 241, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2006)
Once Hazrat Khalidra arrived to combat the enemy, he took a pause and instructed for their belongings to be unloaded. Once this was done, he turned his attention toward the enemy. Hazrat Khalidra appointed a battalion to protect him from behind. He then proceeded towards the enemy ranks whilst proclaiming, “Where is Abjar? Where is Abd al-Aswad? Where is Malik bin Aith?” Aside from Malik, everyone else remained silent out of fear. Malik however came forward to fight. Hazrat Khalidra said, “Out of all these people what has given you the courage to come and face me? You do not even possess the strength to combat me.” After saying this, he attacked and killed Malik and made the non-Arabs get up from their sheets before they could even eat. Jaban said to his people, “Did I not warn you against eating first? By god, I have never feared any soldier as I fear today’s battle.” When they were unable to eat, they began to suppose their bravery by saying, “We will leave the food for now, until we are finished with the Muslims, and then we will eat.” Jaban said, “By god, it seems to me as if you have left this food for our opponents. Do not think that you will be victorious and will then eat, rather it seems to me that your opponents will eat this food (meaning the Muslims), however, you do not perceive this. Hearken to what I say now.” He told them to listen to him and said, “Poison the food. If you are victorious then the loss of food is a paltry one. If the opponent is victorious, then you will have done something to cause harm to our opponents because they will have eaten the poisonous food.” However, those people were firmly convinced of their victory and said that there was no need to poison the food as they would easily win the war and would then eat the food.
Hazrat Khalidra organised the formation of the army in the same way he did in the previous battles. A fierce battle then ensued. The Persians were expecting the arrival of Bahman Jazawiyah because Jaban was giving them hope of this and informing them that he had departed with a huge army, hence they fought with great resolve and intensity. However, in reality, owing to the ill health of the Persian king, Bahman was neither able to tell the king of the current circumstance nor could he leave with an army. He was no longer able to have any communication with Jaban. The Muslims also fought with great courage and valour in this battle and intense fighting took place. (Tarikh Al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 313, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012),
With regards to the passion and zeal of the Persian army and the weakening state of the Muslims, a historian writes:
“From the Persian forces, the Christians were the first to launch an attack but their leader, Malik bin Qais was killed. As soon as he was killed, their condition completely changed and they became dejected. Upon seeing this, Jaban sent the Persians to go forth and in the hope of Bahman’s imminent arrival with reinforcements, they all fought with great bravery. The Muslims attacked repeatedly but the Persians were able to repel these attacks with great strength and determination. Upon seeing that all the physical measures one could adopt were proving to be insufficient, Hazrat Khalidra raised his hands and began to supplicate with utmost humility, ‘O Allah! If you grant us victory over the enemy, I shall not spare a single one of them and the river shall turn red with their blood.’”
In certain other books, it is mentioned that Hazrat Khalidra swore an oath or promised that if he was granted victory in the battle then he would not let a single soldier from the enemy remain alive. In any case, Hazrat Khalidra then tactfully moved the right and left flank of the army to attack the rear side of the Persian army. Subsequently, the Persian army became scattered and they realised that the safest option for them was to either flee or surrender. Hazrat Khalidra ordered to take the enemy forces as prisoners and not to kill anyone apart from those who were fighting. Only those were to be killed who were engaged in combat. (Sirat Syedna Siddiq-e-Akbarra, p. 671-672, Umar Abu Al-Nasr) (Tarikh Al-Tabari, [Urdu] Vol. 2, p. 564, Dar-ul-Isha’at)
There is a note in relation to this from the Research Cell and I also believe this to be correct. Whilst mentioning the details of this incident, most biographers and historians, including Tarikh Al-Tabari have mentioned that in accordance with the pledge he made in his prayer, Hazrat Khalidra had all the prisoners killed and thrown into the river continuously for one night and one day so that the river could turn red with their blood. In other words, he not only fought against those who were engaged in fighting, but he also killed those who had been taken as prisoners. It is for this reason that even today, this river is known as “Nahr-ul-Dam”, i.e. the River of Blood. (Tarikh Al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 312, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012)
However, this does not seem to be true in that the prisoners were killed and their blood was spilt into the river. It seems that the historians have either acted with negligence or greatly exaggerated, or it is quite possible that those who sought to deliberately include false accounts of cruelty and barbarity in the wars fought by Muslims included such accounts wherever they found the opportunity. Among the historians there were some who opposed the Muslims and harboured malice against them, therefore they would write such things. Hence, it is possible that they may have written that the prisoners were killed and thrown into the river. However, it seems that such accounts have been added from themselves so that through their ploys and deception they would portray as if the Muslims carried out cruelty and oppression and also that the unarmed prisoners were killed. First and foremost, in accordance with the rules and principles of warfare that were prevalent at the time, it would not have been objectionable to kill the prisoners. However, the battles which particularly took place in the blessed lifetime of the Holy Prophetsa and in the era of Khilafat-e-Rashidah there was never such an instance where the prisoners were killed like this. Although there were hundreds of thousands of people who were killed during these battles, all of them were those who were killed during active combat. If one studies the battles of the commander-in-chief, Hazrat Khalid bin Walidra, one will find that to whatever extent possible on the battlefield he would spare the lives of those who either surrendered or were willing to pledge their obedience. And despite the false accounts by the historians, one who researches into anyone who was killed by him, will find solid justifications for it. Similarly, if one ponders over this particular incident as well they will find that it seems to be fabricated. This is because, amongst the biographers and historians, who have detailed every minute information with regards to these incidents, there are some who have not mentioned this particular incident at all. This is proof of the fact that this was completely fabricated. In fact, one author, who generally tends to document history in a very liberal fashion and has mentioned certain things which one cannot agree with, even he mentioned, after making reference to this incident, that the narrators of this particular incident have greatly exaggerated. There is no doubt that Khalidra treated the opponents of Islam so very strictly that even Hazrat Qa’qara and his men could not bear to see it. (Hazrat Abu Bakrra Siddique, Hazrat Farooq-e-A’zamra, Dr Taha Hussein, pp. 85-86)
Similarly, another author wrote that he treated the prisoners in a very strict manner but to say he killed them is wrong. Another author writes through which it is evident that the Persians were not actually killed and thrown into the river. He writes that Hazrat Khalidra launched an attack against the Christian army in such an intelligent manner and broke them down and completely destroyed the rows of the Persian army that it seemed as if they were made of mud as opposed to muscle and flesh. Since the Persian army was spread widely, they formed a crescent shape and encircled the Muslims. Subsequently, the Muslims were surrounded by the Persians and Arab Christians and the opponents began to fight with great passion. But the passion of the Christian army could not match that of the Muslims. Each and every Muslim became like a bloodthirsty lion and through mighty onslaughts, they cut through the Christian army like grass. Even though the Persians were martyring and wounding the Muslims, very few Muslims were falling down and those who were injured would fight with even greater passion. The Persians were being killed in such large numbers that the battlefield was covered with their bodies and those who were injured would leave the battlefield. The Muslims killed their opponents in such large numbers that their clothes were covered with bloodstains. The clothes of Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid were also in the same condition. The ground was drenched with the blood of the Persian army and it began to flow like water. Eventually, the Persians suffered defeat and they fled in great panic. The Muslims pursued them and continued to kill or imprison their soldiers for quite some distance. The Persians fled in such disarray that a thousand soldiers of theirs plunged into the river and drowned. When the Persians had gone quite far ahead, the Muslims then returned. 70,000 Persians were killed in this battle and 138 Muslims were martyred. Historians are also astonished at the fact that how the Muslims were able to kill so many of the Persians. (Hazrat Khalidra bin Walid, Sadiq Hussein Siddiqi, pp. 161-162)
This is what has been written by another historian.
And so from this, it is evident that even if one were to consider the incident where the river turned red to be true, then it is possible that it happened due to those injured soldiers who drowned in the river. Thus, it can be said that there is some element of exaggeration in these accounts and on the basis of this people had the opportunity to level such strange allegations against the Islamic wars and against the character of Hazrat Khalidra. Through these battles, they have tried to accuse the Muslims of being cruel and oppressive.
In any case, Allah knows best, however from what it seems is that these are just mere allegations. When the enemy suffered defeat and their army became scattered and the Muslims were no longer going after them and returned, Hazrat Khalidra stood next to the food provisions and stated that this was for them because whenever the Holy Prophetsa would find the food which had been prepared by the enemy who had fled the battle, he would distribute it amongst his army. And so, the Muslims began to eat the food as their evening meal. In the battle of Ullais, 70,000 soldiers from among the enemy were killed, which has already been mentioned. (Tarikh Al-Tabari, Vol. 2, p. 314, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012),
With regards to the victory at Amghishia, it is written that Allah the Almighty granted victory over Amghishia in Safar 12 AH without any battle taking place. Amghishia is the name of a place in Iraq. When Hazrat Khalidra finished the conquest of Ullais, he made preparations and went to Amghishia. However, prior to his arrival, its residents quickly fled from the area and dispersed in Sawad. Those settlements in Iraq that the Muslims had conquered during the era of Hazrat Umarra were named Sawad owing to their lush green fields. Hazrat Khalidra ordered to seize everything that was in Amghishia and in its near vicinity. Amghishia was a city similar to Hirah and Ullais was its military cantonment. The spoils of war acquired by the Muslims from Amghishia were in such abundance that never before had such a vast amount been acquired in all the previous battles starting from Dhat al-Salasil. The share [from the spoils of war] granted to the horse-riders was 1,500 dirham and this was in addition to what was given to all those who achieved great feats in this battle. The news of the conquest of Ullais and Amghishia was given by Hazrat Khalidra through a person called Jandal, who belonged to the Ijal tribe. He was famously known for being a courageous guide. He went before Hazrat Abu Bakrra and conveyed the news about the conquest of Ullais and also gave details of the amount acquired from the spoils of war, the number of prisoners and the amount acquired as part of the Khums as well as those who achieved great feats. He particularly mentioned the valiant efforts of Hazrat Khalidra in an excellent manner. Hazrat Abu Bakrra was greatly impressed by his bravery, firm resolve and the manner in which this emissary conveyed the news of victory. Hazrat Abu Bakrra liked the mannerisms, the accounts of bravery and courage and the manner in which this emissary narrated these accounts. Hazrat Abu Bakrra enquired of him his name and he replied that his name was Jandal. Hazrat Abu Bakrra then commended him and granted him a bondswoman from the spoils of war from whom he had progeny. On this occasion, Hazrat Abu Bakrra stated, “No woman from now will be able to give birth to a child the like of Khalid bin Walid.” (Tarikh Al-Tabari, Vol. 2, pp. 314-315, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2012) (Hazrat Syedna Abu Bakr Siddiqra, Heikal, p. 312, Islami Kutub Khana) (Mujam-ul-Buldan, Vol. 1, p. 301, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut) (Mujam-ul-Buldan, Vol. 3, p. 309, Dar-ul-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut)
The rest of the accounts will be narrated in the future, insha-Allah.
(Official Urdu transcript published in Al Fazl International 12 August 2022, pp. 5-9. Translated by The Review of Religions)