Abu Bakr’s interest in the invasion of al-Sham was stronger than his interest in Iraq. For this, he gave more care for summoning Khalid and ordered him to march forward taking half of the people and leaving the other half under the command of Al-Muthanna Ibn Haritha al-Shibani. And he promised him if he emerged victorious in al-Sham he would return him to Iraq.
Then, Khalid started to select his army troops and he had chosen the companions of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), to whom May Allah’s Blessings and peace be granted. He left the same number to Al-Muthanna from those people who have a conviction but with no companions. Then he divided the army into two divisions.
Al-Muthanna said: “I swear by Allah, I’ll never implement any order but that of Abu Bakr. I swear by Allah, I don’t seek victory but with the companions of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), to whom May Allah’s Blessings and peace be granted.”
When Khalid saw that he did what satisfied Al-Muthanna. Thus, the number of the army that went with him numbered 9000. Al-Muthanna accompanied him to the Sahara boundaries to see him off.
Khalid marched with his army and when they reached to Quraqer, which is a water source of Kalb, he raided its people and he wanted to cross the area to Sawa, which is a water source of Bahra.
Then he arrived in Arak and its folks made accord with him. Later, he reached Palmyra 1 and conquered it after making accord with its people.
When he passed by it, its people fortified themselves well and he cordoned them from all sides, but he couldn’t do anything. And when he felt himself unable to conquer it by force and that he needed time to do that he said: “O People of palmyra if you were above clouds we would lower you and we would show you that Allah is higher than you. And if you did not make accord with us I would return to you. Then I would enter your city to kill many and take many as captives.”
When he departed, they sent to tell him that they wanted accord with him. They made accord with him on what they had given him and he consented.
Afterwards, Khalid came to al-Qariatin 2 and fought its people and defeated them; and then he reached Hawarin; but its people fought him and beat them, killed many of them and took many of them as captives. He, later, came to Qusam, which is a place in Badia (Semi-Sahara) near al-Sham close Iraq, but its people made accord with him encouraged by Quda’a. He continued his march and reached Thaniat al-O’qab which is a turning looking over the Damascus Ghotta passed by those comers from Homs to Damascus. He entered it spreading his banner al-O’qab (Eagle) which is black. Then, he reached Marj Rahit 3 and raided Ghassan on Easter Day 4.
He fought them and sent a battalion, to a chuch in al-Ghatta. They killed men and took women as captives, and they took boys to Khalid. He, then, marched to Bosra and fought the people there. It was the first city conquered in al-Sham by Khalid and Iraq’s people. He sent the loots to Abu Bakr. Then, he moved and met Muslims in Rabe’ al-Akher in al-Yarmouk. He found them fighting the Romans united; each commander was confronting an army. Abu Obaida was a commander of an army; Yazid Ibn Abi Sufian was a commander of an army; Sharhabil Ibn al-Husna was a commander of an army and Amr Ibn al-As was also a commander of an army.
Khalid said: “This is a day of Allah. Pride should not be taken in it; neither vandalism should be practiced on this day… So, be true fighters for Allah’s sake, be pure in your holy war. Offer all your work to Allah, Be He exalted, this is a day no better than it would be. And there are people behind you; people if knew your action, it will be an obstacle to do it. Then, know what you weren’t ordered on it as you see that it is the opinion of your master”.
They said: “What is the point?”
He said: “The state in which you are is tougher on Muslims than what happened to them. It is more useful for the polytheists than backing them up. I knew that the life dispersed you from each other. I swear by Allah… Let us deliberate on the command. Let it be for some of us today and for others (of us) tomorrow and for others after tomorrow; till all of you have command. Le me today be your commander.”
They said: “Yes. And they accepted him as a commander and the conquest was achieved by Khalid.”
The Messenger came that day telling them that Abu Bakr had died and Omar Ibn al-Khattab, for whom may Allah’s good pleasur is prayed, had become the caliph after Abu Bakr.
The news also came on the appointment of Abu Obaida as a commander on all al-Sham, on the one hand; and the sacking of Khalid Ibn al-Walid, on the other. He took the letter from the messenger and left him at his tent. And, then, he told a man to prevent him from giving the news to the people lest they feel weak and to score victory on the enemy. He killed about 100,000. Later, he went into the tent of Abu Obaida saluting him as a coommander in chief.
The two armies clash and the victory of Muslims
The number of Muslims was as follows:
– 21,000, the total figure of the four commanders army.
– 6,000, the army of A’krama Ibn Abi Jahl.
– 9,000, the army of Khalid Ibn al-Walid.
– 3,000, the army of Khalid Ibn Sa’id.
– 39,000, the total of the Muslim army, and it is said 40,000 combatants.
The Roman army:
– 80,000, tied combatants.
– 40,000, tied with chains for death.
– 40,000, tied with turbans lest they run away.
– 80,000, infantry (on foot combatants).
The total is 240,000.
The number of equestrians in both armies was not known.
Khalid mobilized his army and divided it into forty Karadis 5 and he appointed a brave man as a commander on each kerdos (group of horsemen) and made up three divisions – the heart (central), the right wing and the left wing:
(1) Abu Obaida – commander of the heart (central) squadrons.
(2) Amr Ibn al-Ass and Sharhabil Ibn al-Husna – both of them commanders of the right wing squadrons.
(3) Yazid Ibn Abi Sufian – the commander of the left wing squadrons.
He appointed Qubath Ibn Ashiam 6 as head of the vanguards, and Abdullah Ibn Masud in charge of al-Aqbad (loots).
Abu Sufian was moving and standing in front of the squadrons to say:
“Allah is Great … You are the support for Arabs and the supporters for Islam, and they are the support for Romans and the supporters for polytheism. O, Allah this is your Day. O, Allah You may bestow victory on your people”.
A man told Khalid: “What a big number the Romans are!”
Khalid said: “What a small number the Romans are! And what a big number the Arabs are! Soldiers are many by vicroty and a few by defeat not by the number of men.”
Then, Khalid ordered A’krama and al-Qa’aqa’a, who were on the two sides of the heart, to heighten the fight and they launched the offensive.
Then, fight escalated, combatants clashed with each other and equestrians were on a run and retreat… Afterwards, the news reached as we said before.
Jurja embraces Islam
Jurja went out from the rows challenging Khalid to a duel. He cried: “Let Khalid come out and make a duel with me”.
Khalid went out to him. Abu Obaida took his position and made him stand between the two rows till their two horses necks were adverse in positions. And each one gave his instructions to his companion.
Jurja said: “O, Khalid; may you tell me the truth. The free man does not lie; and please do not deceive me because the noble man does not deceive others… I appeal to you to speak the truh: Did Allah send your Prophet a sword from the heavens and gave it to you and you never fought with it any people and emerged a loser, you had ever been triumphant???”
Khalid said: “No.”
Jurja said: “Then why you were named the sword of Allah?”
He said: “Allah, to Whom belong glory and might, sent us from amongst of us a messenger (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), to Whom may Allah’s Blessings and peace be granted. He (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) preached us, but we distanced ourselves from him (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam). Then, some of us belied him (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) and followed him (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) and others went away from him (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) and believed him (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam). I was one of those who belied him (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) and fought against him (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam). Then, Allah helped us see the truth and guided us into the right path. So, we followed him (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam). He (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) said: ‘You are a sword of Allah which Allah hath taken out against polytheists.’ And he supplicated for me to be ever Victorians … For this I was named the Sword of Allah. I am the toughest amongst Muslims against polytheists.’ ”
Jurja said: “You did tell me the truth.” Then repeated: “Tell me Khalid to what you preach me?”
Khalid said: “I preach you to the acknowledgement that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) is His servant and His Messenger; as well as the acknowledgement of what he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) had brought from Allah, Be He exalted.”
– “And those who do not respond to you?”
– “The. tribute…”
– “And if they did not give it?”
– “We warn them of a war and then we fight them.”
– “What is the position of those who become with you and respond to you today?”
– “Our position is the same; but Allah is the only One who sort out the honest, the humble, the first and the last.”
Then Jurja repeated: “Is there a reward or a deposit of goodness for those who become Muslims today, O, Khalid, the same as you have?”
– “Yes and better…”
– “How does he equalize you while you preceded him?”
– “We believed in this message and gave the pledge of allegiance to our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), to whom May Allah’s Blessings and peace be granted, while he was alive, to whom the heavens’ news come; and he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) told us about things and holy books and showed us miracles. It is the right of those who saw what we had seen and heard what we had heard to embrace Islam and to give the pledge of allegiance. But, you did not see what we had seen and you did not heard what we had heard; particulary the miracles and evidence. And who believed in Islam, from your part, actually and with a true intention, he must be better than us.”
– “Do you swear by Allah that you have told me the truth; and that you did not decieve me?”
– “I swear by Allah. I have told you the truth. And I feel no animosity towards you or towards anyone of you. And I am responsible for what you asked about!”
– “You told me the truth.”
Then Jurja turned the shield and inclined towards Khalid.
He said: “Teach me Islam.”
Then, Khalid inclined with him to his big tent and sprayed on him a jar of water. And Jurja prayed two prostrations. The Romans launched an offensive on Muslims when they saw Jurja inclining to Khalid. They thought Jurja was attacking Muslims. They forced the Muslims to change their positions.
Khalid and Jurja as well as the Romans moved together on the back of their horses through the rows of Muslims and people told each other and understood what had happened. Thus, the Romans changed their attitudes.
The continuation of battle
Khalid moved on till swords met together and the two armies fought. Khalid and Jurja fought the Romans fiercely from the sunrise to the sunset. Then, Jurja was injured. He could not say his prayers except the two prostrations by which he declared his faith in Islam. People performed the first and the afternoon prayers on battle-field by gesture and the Romans were shaken. Khalid led the heart (central army) till he reached their horsemen and infantry, the horsemen ran away to the Sahara and the infantry remained. Then, Muslims stormed their trench and those, who were chained, collapsed. And those who were tied with turbans and others also collapsed.
They were killed and al-Fiqar and other Roman important figures were also killed. The number of those who broke down and surrendered in the trench was 120,000 including 80,000 tied and 40,000 free, not to mention those who were killed in the battle; such as horsemen and infantry.
When the Romans were defeated, Hercules was still in Homs. He called Romans for departure from the city in the near future and he made it a separation line between the Muslims and him. And he appointed commanders in it and in Damascus.
The Muslim dead
Some 3000 Muslims were killed including A’krama and his son Amr, Salama Ibn Hisham, Amr Ibn Sa’id, Aban Ibn Sa’id; and it was not proved yet where Khalid Ibn Sa’id died; Jundob Ibn Amr, Al-Tufail Ibn Amr, Tulaib Ibn Omair, Hisham Ibn al-As, Ayyash Ibn Abi Rabe’a, Sa’id Ibn al-Harith Ibn Qais Ibn Odai al-Shami, Na’im Ibn Abdullah al-Nahham al-Adawi, Al-Naseer Ibn al-Harith Ibn A’lqama, Abu al-Roum Ibn Omair Ibn Hashim al-A’bdari.
Abu Sufian Ibn Harb’s eye was hit by an arrow in the battle. Abu Hathma took the arrow out of his eye.
Women also fought including Jweiriya Bint Abi Sufian.
Khalid said at that time: “Thanks be to Allah Who predestined by the death of Abu Bakr; who was more lovable to me than Omar; and thanks be to Allah Who predetermined by the appointment of Omar as caliph, and who was not lovable to me; then He obliged me to love him”.
Omar, for whom May Allah’s good pleasure is prayed, was dissatisfied with Khalid during the caliphate of Abu Bakr for his practice against Ibn Nweira.
The first thing, Omar did was the sacking of Khalid. And he said I would never do anything after this! Then, Omar, for whom May Allah’s good pleasure is prayed contemplated the matter. He witnessed the great victories made by Khalid and the obedience by the Muslims to him in all battles and sacrificing themselves and everything with him. He feard that people would be fascinated by him. And it might be that he weighs this matter and thinks of attempting to get more power and this would divide the Muslim ranks.
It is said that Omar summoned him, after ousting him, to Medina and Khalid admonished him. Omar, then, told him: “I did not oust you because I doubted your ability; but people were fascinated by you and I feared that you will be fascinated by people”.
(1) Palmyra is an ancient city; it is famous located in al-Sham wilderness. A five-day march separates it from Aleppo.
(2) Al-Qariatin is a big village in Homs on the way to the wilderness. Abu Hudaida said in “Futoh al-Sham” (The conquests of al-Sham) : “ Khalid Ibn al-Walid, for whom may Allah’s good pleasure is prayed, marched from Tadmur (polmyra) to al-Qariatin, which is called Hawarin”, but Hawarin is another village other than al-Qariatin.
(3) Mary of Rahit is in Damasun outskirts. It is the most famous plains mentioned in Arab poetry.
(4) Easter is like al-Fitr of Muslims. It is the feast in which Christians eat meat after fasting. It is a holy day for them like Eid al-Fitr for Moslems following Ramadan (the farting month).
(5) Karadis is the plural of kerdos which is the qroup of the strong and great horses. It is the squadron.
(6) Qubath Ibn Ashiam inhabited in Damascus and he witnessed Badr and the coming of the elephant to Mecca. Abdullah Ibn Marwan asked him: Who is older you or the Messenger of Allah, to whom may Allah’s Blessings and peace be granted? He said: :The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), to whom may Allah’s Blessings and peace be granted, is greater than me and I am older than him”.
The reason for his belief in Islam is that : One day men of his people visited him and said, “Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Ibn Abdul Muttaleb had gone out preaching people for a religion other than ours.” Qubath stood up till the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), to whom may Allah’s Blessings and peace be granted, arrived. When he saw Qubath he told him, “Sit down Qubath”: “Did you say” Had the women of Qureish got out they would have repelled Muhammad and his companions? Qubath said: “I vow by truth, my tongue has never uttered this; nor my lips moved nor my ears heard such words! But it is a thing that I thought of inside myself…I acknowledge that there is no God but Allah, the only one Allah with no partner and I certify that Muhammad (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) the Messenger of Allah; and I acknowledge that you the Messenger of Allah. ”(The Lion of the Forest). The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) knew what was inside the brain of Qubath without uttering it. This is the reason for his belief in Islam.
Taken from the book : ABU BAKR AL SIDDIQ-THE FIRST CALIPH