The Islamic Openings


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  • The Islamic Openings


  • THE OPENING OF AL-MADA'IN

     

    After Allah the Most Powerful had granted victory to the Muslims in Qadisiyah and afflicted the Persians with the most ugly defeat they had ever known in history, many events followed. The most important and well-known was the opening of Mada'in.

     

    The Day of Pers

     

         The fighting between the Muslims and the Persians ceased for two months so that the Muslims could have some rest after the Battle of Qadisiyah and prepare themselves properly to resume the fight. During this period of time, Allah the Almighty cured Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas of the furuncles and sciatica that had afflicted him before the Battle of Qadisiyah.

    Sa'd led the Muslim army till it reached Pers, a place in Babylon, where there were relics of King Bukhtanassir and also a high hill called the castle of Pers.

    Sa'd assigned' Abdullah ibn Al-Mu'tim to head the army together with Zahrah ibn Huwaiyatah and Shurahbil ibn Al-Samit. They encountered and fought with a group of Persians, who fled to Babylon. The Persian general Bu'bahri was struck by Zahrah's sword so he threw himself into the river and died of his wounds. Bistam, the chief of Pers, came and reconciled with Zahrah, made pontoon bridges for him and told him that the Persians were gathered in Babylon.

     

    The Day of Babylon

     

         Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas resumed his march with his army till they arrived at Kufa, the famous city in the land of Babylon in Iraq. He was accompanied by Hashim ibn 'Utbah. He had inforn1ation that the Persians had gathered and assembled their army under the leadership of Al­Fairuzan to face Zahrah ibn Huwaiyah. Sa'd proceeded with his generals towards Babylon.

    The two parties clashed. After a short round of engagement in the battle, Allah the Almighty afflicted the Persians with defeat. Al-Hurmuzan fled to Ahwas, which he took possession of, then he proceeded to Nahawand, where were the treasures of Khusraw, which he also plundered.

    Sa'd stayed in Babylon for some days, then went to Kutha, a town in Iraq in the land of Babylon that was the birthplace of Prophet Ibrahim and where he was thrown into the fire. He visited the house where Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him) had been imprisoned. He looked in wonder and astonishment, and prayed for the Seal of the Prophets ~ and for Ibrahim and all the prophets (peace be upon them all). He then recited the words of the Qur'an that mean {... such are the days that We alternated among the people...} (Al Imran 3:140)

    Mada'in, which means "cities", was so called by the Arab's because it consisted of seven cities, some of which were on the western side of the Tigris River and some on the eastern side. It was twenty-five miles from Baghdad. It was the Persian capital city and the residence of the emperors, who called it Aktisighun.

    Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas ordered Zahrah ibn Huwaiyah to precede him to Bahrasir. When Zahrah arrived there, he was met by Shirzad, the ruler of Sabat, who agreed to pay jizyah.

    Zahrah resumed his advance till he was met by a Persian brigade under the leadership of Buran, Khusraw's daughter. After a fierce struggle, the Persians were defeated. Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas marched towards Bahrasir. When the Muslims saw the great palace of Khusraw, Dirar ibn Al-Khattab exclaimed, "Allahu Akbar! The palace of Khusraw! This is the fulfillment of the promise of Allah and His Messenger!"

    When Dirar cried "Allahu Akbar!" the Muslims repeated after him and whenever a brigade of the army arrived, they did the same. Then they entered the city.

    In the month of Safar, the Muslims entered Bahrasir. Beforehand, Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas had besieged the city for some days. Then he sent the cavalrymen to raid on all those who had no pact with the Muslims. They captured a large number of peasants, so Sa'd sent to Caliph 'Umar asking him what to do with them. The Commander of the Faithful 'Umar replied, "Those peasants who came to you through those who had a treaty with you are captives. But as for those who fled but you succeeded in capturing, you are free to do what you like with them." So Sa'd freed them all.

    The siege of western Mada'in

     

    The siege was so hard day after day on the people of western Mada'in that they had nothing to eat except cats and dogs. However, they were bold and withstood the hardship of the siege. Afterwards, they crossed the Tigris to eastern Mada'in.

    Sa'd let the people have suitable residences and stayed in Bahrasir for some days in the month of Safar, 16 A.H., with the aim of crossing the river. Yet he was cautious. One of the disbelievers came to him and told him about a ford in the river that led to the heart of the valley, but Sa'd hesitated and refused.

    Unexpectedly, there was a flood in the Tigris River, and Sa'd had a vision that the Muslims' horses were easily and safely crossing. He thus made his decision to cross. Another Persian came to him saying, "What hinders you? If three days pass, Yazdigird will take everything in Mada'in."

    So Sa'd renewed his decision to cross the river. He gathered the people and spoke to them, encouraging them to cross saying, "Who will start and guard the ford for us so that when other people attack they will not be stopped by the Persians?"

    'Assim ibn 'Amr, the intrepid, went to execute the mission with six hundred brave men whom Sa'd put under his leadership. 'Assim led them till he stood on the bank of the Tigris and said, "Who will come with me to protect the ford, Al-Farad, from your enemy and to guard you till you cross?" Sixty men were chosen, including `Assim ibn Wallad and Shurahbil and other strong and courageous ones. 'Assim ibn 'Amr divided them into two groups: one group riding mares and the other riding stallions.

    They plunged into the Tigris to cross it, followed by the rest of the six hundred men. The first to arrive at the other side of the river were 'Assim Al-Taim, Al-Kalaj, Abu Mafzar, Shurahbil, Hajjal Al-`Ajli, Malik ibn Ka'b Al-Hamadani, and a youth from the tribe of Banu Al­-Harith ibn Ka'b.

    When the Persians saw what they were doing, they prepared many horses to face those preceding Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas and then they rushed into the Tigris. The horses were forced back and were checked by ‘Assim ibn 'Amr in Al­-Sur'an near Al-Farad who said, "The spears! The spears! Throw them and focus on the eyes."

    The two parties confronted each other and fought. The Muslims targeted the eyes and killed the majority, and the surviving Persians were one-­eyed. The Muslims rushed one after the other into the Tigris.

    The Muslims then took the Persians by surprise, breaking their plans and preventing them from their treasures. They entered Al-Mada'in in Safar 16 A.H. and looted what remained in the palaces of Khusraw.

     

    It was said

     

    When Sa'd opened Bahrasir and resided there, the Persians went to Mada'in, where they took ships and brought them together, leaving nothing for Sa'd, who failed to find a ship. The Tigris River overflowed and its water turned black and gushed with foam due to the flood. Sa'd was told that Yazdigird was planning to take the fortunes and goods from Mada'in to Hulwan and that if he did not reach him within three days, any further effort would be of no avail.

    Sa'd delivered a speech on the banks of the Tigris. He praised and thanked Allah, then said, "Your enemies sought refuge with this river from you, for you cannot arrive at them by it. Yet, they can assault you if they like by attacking you from their ships, for nothing behind your backs threatens you. I perceive that you had better start to fight against the enemies by your good wills before this life seduces you, for I have decided to cross this water to them."

    They all replied, "May Allah determine the good decision for you and us. Do this!"  I

    Hence, Sa'd ordered the people to cross saying, "Who will start protecting the ford of the river for us…" -he meant the opposite bank of the river -"so that people may cross safely?”

    `Assim ibn `Amr and about six hundred bold men volunteered and Sa'd made `Assim their leader. As they stood at the edge of the river, `Assim said, "Who will volunteer to cross with me before the others so that we can protect the ford from the other side?" Sixty bold men answered him. The Persians were standing on the other side of the river.

    A Muslim advanced while the people were hesitant to cross. He said, "Are you afraid of this trivial thing?" Then he recited the Qur'anic verse meaning {And no soul can die except by Allah's permission. The term is preordained…} (Al-Imran 3:145) Then he plunged into the river followed by the people.

    The sixty were divided into two groups, one on stallions and the other on mares. When the Persians saw the Muslims floating on the water they said, "Madmen! Madmen!" Then they added, "Truly, you are not fighting human beings but demons."

    They dispatched some cavalrymen to confront the first group of Muslims to prevent them from getting out of the water. 'Assim directed them to focus on the eyes. They stabbed the eyes of the Persians' horses and they ran away, the Persians unable to curb them. 'Assim and his men chased them till they forced them out on the other side of the river.

    Thereupon, Sa'd waded into the river with the rest of the army when he saw that the other side was safely guarded by the Muslims. Sa'd ordered them to say upon entering the water, "From Allah we seek aid and on Him we depend. Allah is our Protector and Guardian. There is no might or strength without Allah, the Most Powerful, the Great."

    Then he plunged into the river together with the Muslims, and no one lagged behind. They went through the river as if they were walking on solid ground. This was due to the assurance and security they felt and due to their belief in Allah's promise, victory and assistance to Sa'd, the uncle of the Prophet and one of the ten Companions to whom was promised Paradise. The Prophet ~ had also prayed for Sa'd saying, "Allah, fulfill his demands and grant him victory."

    On this day, Sa'd prayed for safety and victory for his army. The Muslim army, therefore, did not lose anything during the process of crossing except a wooden cup.

     

    Entering AI-Mada'in

     

         When the horses got out of the water, they shook the water off their manes and, neighing, charged after the Persians till they arrived at Al­-Mada'in. However, they found it empty of its people and what fortunes, luggage and possessions they could take. Left behind were cattle, clothing, belongings, pots, and precious perfumes and oils. Khusraw's safe had contained three billion dinars. The Persians took what they could and left the rest, which was estimated to be nearly half the amount.

    The first brigade to enter Mada'in was the Brigade of Horror followed by the Mute Brigade. When Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas arrived, he called the people of the White Palace for three days, taking the Companion Salman Al-Farisi, who was of Persian origin, to be his spokesman. On the third day, they departed the palace and Sa'd resided in it, taking Khusraw's reception room -iwan -as a mosque.

    When Sa' d entered the White Palace, he recited Allah's words meaning {How many were the gardens and the water springs that they left behind. And sown fields and fine dwellings, and pleasant things wherein they took delight! Thus We bequeathed it on another people.} (Al-Dukhan 44: 25-28)

     

    Then he advanced to the center of the hall and prayed the Prayer of Opening, which consisted of eight rak'ahsHe prayed the Jum'ah Prayer in the palace in Safar 16 A.H. This was the first Jum'ah Prayer in Iraq.

     

    The spoils

     

    Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas assigned `Amr ibn Muqrin to be responsible for collecting the spoils and ordered Salman ibn Rabi'ah Al-Bahili to be responsible for the division and allocation. Everything that was in the palaces, mansions, houses and markets was gathered and registered. He added what the pursuers brought, for at the time of defeat the people of the city plundered the treasures and fled everywhere. Everyone who ran away with something was tracked down by the Muslims and deprived of his load. They also found Turkish domes full of baskets sealed with lead. They thought they were full of food but discovered that there were golden and silver pots. One would wander selling gold and silver similarly. They also found plenty of camphor, which they thought was salt and used it in baking, but they found it bitter tasting.

          The pursuers with Zahrah ibn Huwaiyah chased a Persian group to the bridge of Nahrawan. They crowded over it and when a mule fell into the water, they ran down after it. This action caused the Muslims to realize that there was something important on the mule.

    The parties struggled until the Muslims took the mule, on which they found Khusraw's trinkets: his clothing and wardrobe, his sash and his shield, which was decorated with jewels and which he used wear on parade.

    Al-Kalaj or Al-Kalakh followed two mules led by two Persians, whom he killed. He took the mules to the one registering the spoils and said to him, "Wait till we see what you've got!"

    He unloaded the two mules and found Khusraw's crown, which was studded with precious jewels. On the other mule were two baskets containing Khusraw's clothes that he used to wear. They were of silk brocade and gold thread and inlaid with jewels. There were other garments that were not made of silk yet were adorned with jewels, too.

    AI-Qa'qa' ibn 'Amr followed another Persian, whom he killed and took two bags from. In one of them, he found five swords. In the other he found six swords and shields, including Khusraw's shields and armor, the shields of Heraclius; Khaqan, the Turkish king; Daher, the king of India; Bahram Jarbin; and Al-Nu'man.

    Al-Qa'qa' brought all these to Sa'd, who gave him the liberty to chose from the swords. He chose the sword of Heraclius and was given the shield of Bahram. The rest was carried back by the Mute Brigade.

    'Ismah ibn Khalid Al-Dabbi took two men riding two donkeys to the one responsible for the spoils. On one of them were two baskets. One basket contained a golden horse with a silver saddle and on its mouth and neck were rubies and emeralds inlaid in silver, as well as a bridle. In addition to this was a silver camel with a golden saddle and cushions and a golden rein. All these were inlaid with rubies and on it was a golden statue of a man studded with jewels. Khusraw used to put this work of art on the cylinder of his crown.

    Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas sent one fifth of the spoils to the Commander of the Faithful `Umar ibn Al-Khattab. When he saw the booty and Khusraw's sword, belt and ornaments, he said, "Those who have brought this to me are truly honest men." `Ali ibn Abi Talib said to him, "You are honest so your people embraced honesty as well."

     

    Opening Tikrit

     

        The Companion Sa' d ibn Abi Waqqas sent the armies to Tikrit, which was guarded by a Byzantine army together with the tribes of Iyad, Taghlib, Al-Namr and Al-Shaharijah, which were Christian tribes headed by Al-Antaq. 'Umar had written beforehand to Sa'd telling him to send 'Abdullah ibn Al-Mu'tim at the head of an army marching to Tikrit. He also ordered that the vanguard be led by Rab'i ibn Al-Atkal and the cavalry by `Arfajah ibn Hurthumah.

    `Abdullah ibn Al-Mu'tim advanced to Tikrit and besieged it for forty days. He asked the Arabs that were allied with the tribe of Antaq to assist him. They agreed and did not conceal anything from him.

    When the Byzantines realized that the Muslims had the upper hand, they left their leaders and carried their possessions to the ships. The tribes of Taghlib, Iyad, and Al-Namr sent news of this to 'Abdullah ibn Al-Mu'tim and asked him to grant them safety, telling him that they were on his side.

    'Abdullah sent to them, "If you are truthful, embrace Islam." They acceded and embraced Islam.

    'Abdullah sent to them, "When you hear us callout ‘Allahu Akbar’, know that we have taken the gates facing the trench, and you take the gates facing the Tigris and say ‘Allahu Akbar’, killing as many as you can."­

    When they heard the cries of `Abdullah and his men, they headed towards the gaps that lay behind the Tigris, killing all the Byzantines. None survived from the people of the trench except the nomad tribes.

    'Abdullah ibn Al-Mu'tim sent Al-Rab'i ibn Al-Atkal to the two fortresses of Ninevah –the town of Prophet Yunus (peace be upon him) –and to Mosul. Ninevah was the eastern fortress while Mosul was the western fortress. Rab'i ibn Al-Akfal broke through the two fortresses, and the people agreed to pay jizyah and were bound to a treaty.

     

    Opening Masibdhan

     

    Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas had information that Adhin ibn Al-Hurmuzan had mobilized a large number of Persians and marched with them to the plains. Sa'd wrote to the Commander of the Faithful telling him of these arrangements. 'Umar replied, "Send to them Dirar ibn Al-Khattab with his army. Let Ibn Al-Hudhail Al-Asadi and 'Abdullah ibn Wahb Al-Rasi be in the vanguard and the marquees on the two sides of Ibn Al-Hudhail Al-Asadi.

    Dirar ibn Al-Khattab ibn Muharib ibn Fahr set out with his army as 'Umar had ordered, with Ibn Al-Hudhail in the vanguard, till they reached the plain of Masibdhan.

         The two armies confronted each other at Hunduf, a small town near Baghdad between Badhraya and Wasit. They engaged in a tough battle. Dirar ibn Al-Khattab struck Adhin's neck, killing him.

    Dirar and his army then resumed their advance till they reached Al-Sairawan. He took Masibdhan by force, so its citizens fled to the mountains seeking refuge. Dirar called them to embrace Islam and they submitted. He remained in.

    Masibdhan till Sa'd moved from Mada'in to Kufa, where he stayed. Sa'd sent to Dirar asking him to be with him in Kufa. Dirar went to Sa'd, leaving Ibn Al-Hudhail Al-Asadi in charge of Masibdhan.

     

    Opening Qarqisiya'

     

    After Hisham ibn 'Utbah had arrived in Mada'in from Jalula', news reached the Muslims that the people of Jazirah [the area of Iraq between the two great rivers] had gathered and united to aid Heraclius against the people of Horns. They had, as well, sent their army to the people of Hit, a town which lay in a lowland on the Euphrates River. It was near Baghdad above Al-Anbar and was famous for its massive palm trees and conveniences of life.

    Sa'd wrote to 'Umar telling him of this. 'Umar replied, "Send to them 'Umar ibn Malik with an army. Over the vanguard assign Al-Harith ibn Yazid Al-Amiri, and on the two flanks put Rab'i ibn `Amir and Malik ibn Habib."

    `Umar ibn Malik marched with his army towards Hit, and Al-Harith ibn Yazid advanced till he reached a slope of a valley at Hit and saw that the enemy had fortified themselves with a trench.

    When 'Umar ibn Malik saw how the people were fortified in the trench, they surrounded them for a long time and the leader of the siege was Al-Harith ibn Yazid.

    Meanwhile, 'Umar ibn Malik proceeded with half his army to block the way of the Persians and to cut the aid and reinforcements from them till he faced them at Qarqisiya'.

          'Umar ibn Malik fought a fierce battle with the enemies for a long time till he opened Qarqisiya' by force. Then they accepted to bargain and pay jizyah.

    Beforehand, 'Umar ibn Malik had written to Al-Harith ibn Yazid: "Call them and if they accept, give them the liberty to leave. Otherwise, dig a trench around theirs and let its opening be in front of you." The people accepted and the soldiers joined those of 'Umar ibn Malik. The Persians then returned to their homelands. This was how the Muslims succeeded in opening Iraq, whose people gradually entered the religion of Allah in huge numbers.

        The Commander of the Faithful 'Umar ibn Al-Khattab sent to Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas, "Build a city such that no river or bridge separates it from 'Umar."

    Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas chose Kufa, which lay between Hirah and the Euphrates and enjoyed land and water and where plants and herbs grew. He also accomplished the building of Basra, whose establishment had a great effect on the rule of caliph. The majority of citizens were of Arab origin, for Kufa was the abode of the Arab tribes coming from the south, while Basra was the abode of those coming from the north.

     

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