THE CONQUEST OF KHURASAN


 

The Battle of Tuburstan

The battle took place in 30 A.H. Tuburstan was an ancient Iranian province southeast of the Caspian Sea. It was bordered by Kilan (or Jilan) on the west, Iraq on the south, and Khurasan on the east. Among its towns were Istrabadh and Dinbawand (or Dimaqand). Its name meant “the place of axes”.

 

The First Muslim Directed to Open Tuburstan

The first to determine to open Tuburstan was Suwaid ibn Muqrin, who was sent by his brother Na’im ibn Muqrin at the instructions Caliph ‘Umar. Suwaid marched to Qoms and entered it peacefully, then he entered Jirjan. It was said that he settled a treaty with its ruler, Al-Asbahand, the ruler of Tuburstan.

Then it was invaded by Sa’id ibn Al-‘As, except for `Abdullah ibn ‘Amir, who left Basra to advance to Khurasan, thus preceding Sa’id ibn Al-‘As. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir camped in Abrashahar, which Sa’id ibn Al-‘As left and headed with his army to Qoms and reconciled with its citizens.

Sa’id then reached Tamyah, a coastal city of Tuburstan on the border of Jirjan. Its citizens fought him and he prayed the Fear Prayer while engaged in the battle. Sa’id hit a Persian on his shoulder and the point of the sword came out from beneath his arm. Sa’id besieged them till they asked for a treaty of peace and safety. He agreed to the condition that he would not kill one of them. However, when they opened the fort, he killed them all saving one man and took as spoils everything that was there. Sa’id ibn Al-‘As also opened Namyah, which was a desert devoid of any houses or life, before returning to Kufa. When he settled a treaty with them, they sometimes paid jizyah and other times refused to pay, thus violating their agreement.

 

Opening Khurasan

In 31 A.H., after Abu Lu’lu’ah Al-Majusi stabbed the Commander of the Faithful and killed him as a martyr, the citizens of Khurasan violated the pact and betrayed the Muslims.

Later, when the Muslims chose ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan to succeed ‘Umar, he appointed `Abdullah ibn ‘Amir as governor of Basra. ‘Abdullah managed to open some Persian towns and cities. He invaded Khurasan and left Ziyad ibn Abi Sufyan to succeed him in Basra. He marched towards Karman and ordered Mujashi’ ibn Mas’ud Al-Salmi to fight its people who had betrayed the Muslims and violated the agreement.

He also ordered Al-Rabi’ ibn Ziyad Al­-Harithi to fight against Sajistan, a city one league from Karman that had broken the treaty. Abdullah ibn ‘Amir advanced to Nisapur With Al-Ahnaf Ibn Qais in the vanguard of the army. He reached Al-Tabsin, which had two forts arid was the gate of Khurasan. The citizens reconciled with him.

Afterwards, he progressed to Kahistan, but its people resisted him, fighting desperately till they sought refuge in their fort.

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir sent a company to Rustaq Zam, a small city of Nisapur, which they opened after encountering its people. Allah also granted him the opening of Bakharz and Juwin, two cities of Nisapur, and he took many captives.

After that, ‘Abdullah directed Al-Aswad ibn Kulthum ibn ‘Adi to Baihaq, a city’ after Nisapur. He and some of his army entered from an opening in its walls, but the enemies blocked the way and fought fiercely. Al-Aswad and some of his men were killed. After his death, his brother Adham resumed the struggle till he overcame them after a weary battle. Adham ibn Kulthum buried all the martyrs except his brother Al-Aswad, who used to pray Allah to resurrect him from the stomachs of birds and wild animals. So he did not bury the body.

Allah granted victory to ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir over small cities of Nisapur like Bisht, Ashbandh, Rakh, Zarah, Khuwaf, Asfara’in and Ar’iyan.

Then he came to Abrashahr, the capital of Nisapur, and besieged it for many months. The city was divided into four zones, each with a man in charge. One of the men in charge of a zone came to ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir asking for a treaty of peace and security in return for allowing the Muslims into the city.

‘Abdullah accepted the deal, and the man helped the Muslims to enter the city by night and opened the gates for them. The satrap of the city took shelter in its fortified castle together with others. He then asked for a peace treaty on behalf of all Nisapur and agreed to pay the annual jizyah. When `Abdullah accomplished the opening Nisapur, he assigned Qais ibn Al-Haitham Al-­Salmi to rule it.

Then `Abdullah directed `Abdullah ibn Khazim Al-Salmi to the village of Hamrandar of Nasa. He opened it, and the governor of Nasa came to him offering to reconcile on the harvest of the land, and in return no citizens were to be killed or captured. Bahmana, the supreme ruler of Abyurd, reconciled with `Abdullah ibn ‘Amir on a payment off our thousand dirhams.

Also, ‘Abdullah ordered `Abdullah ibn Khazim to advance to Sarkhas, a city between Nisapur and Merv. He attacked them till the satrap of the city, Zadhwih, came to him asking for a pact to grant safety to a hundred men and in return he would give them their women. The satrap’s daughter came into the possession of ‘Abdullah ibn Khazim and he took her for himself and called her Misa’.

From Sarkhas, `Abdullah ibn Khazim directed Yazid ibn Salim, the slave of Sharik Al­-A’war to Khiva and Binah, which he opened. Kanaztik, the satrap of Tus, came to ‘Abdullah ibn `Amir and reconciled with him on behalf on Tus for six hundred thousand dirhams.

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir sent to Harah an army led by Aus ibn Tha’labah. Having learned about this, the satrap of Harah came to ‘Abdullah and settled a treaty for Harah, Badghis and Bushneh. As for Taghun and Baghun, they were both opened by force.

This is what `Abdullah ibn ‘Amir wrote:

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Ever Merciful.

This is  what `Abdullah ibn ‘Amir ordered on the satrap of Bushneh and Badghis. He ordered him to fear Allah and to assist the Muslims and to take care of the two cities under his authority. He reconciled with him on behalf of the plains and maintains of Harah, on the condition that he pays jizyah for those regions. This jizyah is to be shared by the two cities equally and the one that refuses to pay the appointed sum is out of the pact and the agreement.

The witnesses to this are Rab’i ibn Nahshal and Jathim ibn ‘Amir.

Shahajan, the satrap of Merv, wrote to ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir asking for reconciliation, so ‘Abdullah sent Hatim ibn Al-Nu’man Al-Bahili to him to sign an agreement with its people. The treaty stated that they were to enlarge the houses for the Muslims and to share money with them, and the Muslims were only to take small amounts. Thus, Merv was opened peacefully expect for one village called Sanh, which was opened by force.

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir sent Al-Ahnaf ibn Qais to Merv Al-Ruz, which was a fort known as the fort of Ahnaf or Bashq Al-Jard. He besieged its people till they came to him asking for a treaty. He reconciled with them on the condition that one of his men enter the castle to make the adhan for the prayers and stay among them till Al-Ahnaf ibn Qais departed. The pact was on behalf of all of Rustaq.

Al-Ahnaf resumed his march towards Merv Al-Ruz and besieged it, but the people resisted him boldly. However, the Muslims overcame them and broke through their fortresses. The satrap, who was one of the sons of Badham, came and agreed on a jizyah of sixty thousand dirhams.

Later, Al-Ahnaf ibn Qais sent Al-Aqra’ ibn Habis Al-Tamimi to Juzjan with some cavalry. Al-­Aqra’ said to his group, “O Banu Tamimi! Love one another and sacrifice for one another, then your affairs will be set rightly. Start by fighting against your stomachs and desires; thus your religion will be right. Do not go to extremes or exaggerate; thus your fighting will be right.”

Al-Aqra’ then confronted his enemy boldly and vigorously. At first the Muslims were about to be defeated, but they continued struggling and overcame their enemies, opening Juzjan by force.

Al-Talqan was opened peacefully by Al-­Ahnaf ibn Qais. Then he also opened Al-Fariyab. Afterwards, he marched towards Balkh, a city in Talkhara and reconciled with its citizens for four hundred thousand dirhams. He assigned Arsid ibn Al-Mutshamash as governor. He resumed the advance to Khuwarizam but was unable to take it. Then Arsid ibn Al-Mutshamash returned to Balkh and collected the jizyah.

When `Abdullah ibn ‘Amir succeeded in all these openings in Khurasan, people said to him, “Allah did not grant victory to anyone before as He did to you.” He said, “My thanks to Allah for this will be that I will depart in a state of ritual consecration (ihram) from this very place.” So ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir decided to perform ‘Umra from Nisapur and left Qais ibn Al-Haitham to govern Khurasan. He then went to Caliph ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan.

 

Opening Istukhur

Istukhur was a one of the Persian lands that had many towns and villages, such as Baida’, Niriz, Abarquh, Yazid and others. It also contained the treasures of the kings before Islam, and in Darabgrid, one of its villages, was found mercury. In Istukhur, when it was at its greatest, Histasib wrote the book Zaradisht the Prophet of the Magi. In ancient times, Istukhur was known by the name of Barsiyulis and it was the center of the Persian sovereignty and had many wells.

With the advent of Islam, the first to invade this land was Al-‘Ala’ ibn Al-Hadrami during the caliphate of ‘Umar in the year 17 A.H. Al-‘Ala’ went with his army by sea and landed in Istukhur.

They fought its people in a difficult battle that ended with the victory of the Persians. In the same year, Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (‘Abdullah ibn Qais) entered Persia and gave the responsibility to fight Istukhur to ‘Uthman ibn Abi Al-‘As Al- Thaqafi, who assigned the standards among his men.

The Muslims encountered the people of Istukhur in Gur and defeated them. They opened Gur, then advanced to Istukhur and killed many of its citizens while others ran away. ‘Uthman ibn Abi Al-‘As invited them to settle a treaty and pay jizyah, and Al-Hurbudh, their satrap, agreed. The two parties ceased the battle in 18 A.H. or maybe later.

During the caliphate of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, the people of Istukhur violated the pact and betrayed the Muslims. When’ Abdullah ibn ‘Amir knew about the violation, he marched towards them with a huge army. They met in Istukhur and the Persians were defeated and the city was opened by force.

Afterwards, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir led his army to Darabgrid, whose people had also violated the agreement. He opened it, like Gur, by force.

After Istukhur had violated the pact, `Abdullah ibn ‘Amir returned to it and besieged it.

He fought, killing many people and destroying the majority of its houses, including the houses of some distinguished Persians who had sought refuge in it. It was said that nearly forty thousand were killed. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir left Shuraik ibn Al-A’war Al-Harithi to govern Istukhur, and he was the one who built its mosque.

 

Opening Karman

When ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir went to Persia, he sent Mujashi’ ibn Mas’ud Al-Salmi to Karman because its people had betrayed the Muslims and violated the agreement. Mujashi’ opened Bimint by force, asked its citizens to stay, and granted them safety for their lives and properties. He built a palace known as the Palace of Mujashi’.

Mujashi’ also opened Barukharwah and went to Shirjan, a city of Karman, where he besieged its citizens in their forts for some days. Then the people came out on their horses to fight the Muslims. Mujashi` fought them fiercely till he overcame them and opened the city by force. Many people of Karman fled to the sea, some of them reached Makran, and some of them entered Sajistan. The Muslims divided their houses and lands among them. They lived there and planted, paid the zakah and dug many canals.

 

Opening Sajistan

Sajistan lay to the southwest of Afghanistan. After the murder of ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, the people of Sajistan and Khurasan violated the agreement with the Muslims.

When the Muslims chose ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan to be the third caliph, he appointed ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir governor of Basra, so Ibn ‘Amir headed to Khurasan. He also ordered AI­Rabi’ ibn Ziyad Al-Harithi to go to Sajistan. Rabi’ arrived at the fortress of Zaliq and attacked it on a feast day. He captured its chief, who redeemed himself by ramming a stick into the ground then covering it completely with gold and silver. He settled a pact to guarantee his safety and agreed to a pact like that of the people of Persia.

Al-Rabi’ ibn Ziyad resumed his progress till he reached a village called Karkawiyah five miles from Zaliq. Its citizens reconciled with him peacefully. Later, he went to Zaliq and took a guide to lead him to Zirinj. He advanced to Handamind and arrived at Izdisht, which was in Zirinj. The people fought him and many Muslims were injured and killed. The Muslims attacked Izdisht and defeated them, forcing them to retreat to their city after many of them were killed.

Then Ibn Ziyad went to Nashrudh and Shirwadh, two villages of Zirinj. He gained a victory and overcame them, then besieged the city of Zirinj after attacking its people. The satrap, Abirwiz, sent to him asking for a peace treaty. They agreed to a thousand Persian servants, each with a bulging long-necked bottle of gold. The Muslims then entered Zirinj.

Al-Rabi’ then went to a valley in Sajistan called Sanarudh Maghbarah and attacked and defeated two cities there. Afterwards, he returned to Zirinj and resided in it for two years. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir then appointed over it a man of the tribe of Banu Al-Harith ibn Ka’b. Unfortunately, the people forced him out and locked the city against the Muslims.

However, `Abdullah ibn ‘Amir had appointed ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Samra ibn Habib over Sajistan, so he went and besieged Zirinj and its satrap in his palace on one of their feast days. The satrap agreed to pay large sums of money.

Ibn Samra then succeeded in overcoming the Persians in the regions between Zirinj and Kush near India, as well as on the route to Rakhaj between Persia and the land of Dawar. On reaching Dawar, he surrounded them in the mountain of Zur, then reconciled with them. He entered a temple where the idol called Zur was located. It was a golden idol with two rubies as its eyes. He damaged its hands and took out the jewels saying to the satrap, “Take the gold and the jewels. I just wanted to prove to you that it is a thing that can do neither harm nor good.” ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Samra opened Kabul and Azabalistan and then resided in Zirinj.

 

The Turks Advance to Fight the Muslims

Many Turks left the region of Khurasan. They were nearly forty thousand fighters led by their king, Qarin, aiming to fight the Muslims. They reached Tabsin, where the people of Badhghis and Harah and Qahistan gathered to support them. ‘Abdullah ibn Khazim was appointed by, Abdullah ibn ‘Amir to rule Khurasan. Thus, he advanced to confront the Turks and combat them together with four thousand men, telling them, “Take with you some fat.”

When the Muslim army approached the Turkish army of Qarin, ‘Abdullah ibn Khazim ordered them to tie cloth or cotton over their spear tips and soak them in fat. They marched till the evening. He started with the vanguards, who were seven hundred fighters, then followed them with the rest saying, “Light the spear tips.”

The Muslim vanguard reached the camp of Qarin near midnight and attacked. The Turks were confused and enraged, for they were camping in a safe place and had no fear that anyone could reach them.

When Ibn Khazim approached with his troops and the Turks saw the burning fires on the right and left, now progressing, now retreating, now raised, now lowered, they were terrified and horrified. The Muslims attacked determinedly, killing and injuring till they killed King Qarin.

The Turks were defeated and the Muslims pursued them, killing and capturing. They seized many women and children. After that, ‘Abdullah ibn Khazim wrote to ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amir telling him about the victory, and he was satisfied with it and ordered him to govern Khurasan.

The strategy that `Abdullah ibn Khazim used in burning the spear tips and attacking at night was the first military trick of that kind in Islamic history. ‘Abdullah innovated it and the enemies were terrified at the sight, and this terror and panic were the main reason for the triumph of the Muslims over the Turks in this battle.

 

Taken from the book : THE ISLAMIC OPENINGS

 

 

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