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Abu Bakr (r) Military Expansion A.S. Hashim, MD From wikipedia.com
Sources of Reference Tabaqat ibn Sa'd Tarikh ar-Rusul wa al-Muluk Encyclopaedia of Islam, , Leiden al-Bidayah wa'an-Nihayah Life of Muhammad Sahih al-Bukhari, Tabari. The Encyclopaedia of Islam. "The Life of Muhammad - A translation of Ibn Ishaq's Sirat Rasul Allah" by A. Guillaume, Oxford University Press, Qutayba al Dinawari. Al Imamah Wa'l Siyasa.
In this Slide Show After the Ridda wars, Al-Muthanna leads a successful raid on a Persian town. He informs Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr sends Khalid as Commander-in-Chief to Iraq Khalid prevails over the Persians and liberates many towns, all within only 11 months Khalid crosses the desert on his way to Byzantine Syria Khalid unifies the forces and is its Commander-in-Chief Khalid conquers Damascus, and Abu Bakr dies, Omar as 2 nd Khalifa Khalid is removed from his post right away by Omar The Vision of Abu Bakr
The Expansion Once the Ridda rebellions were put down, Abu Bakr began a war of conquest. Whether or not he intended a full-out imperial conquest is hard to say; he did, however, set in motion a historical trajectory that in just a few short decades would lead to one of the largest empires in history. Abu Bakr began with Iraq, the richest province of the Persian Empire. He sent his most brilliant general Khalid ibn al- Walid to invade the Persian Empire.
Muthanna ibn Harith After the Ridda Wars, a tribal chief of north eastern Arabia, Muthanna ibn Harith, raided the Persian towns in Iraq. With the success of the raids, a considerable amount of booty was collected. Muthanna ibn Harith went to Medina to inform Khalifa Abu Bakr about his success He was appointed commander of his people, after which he begun to raid deeper into Iraq. Using the mobility of his light cavalry he could easily raid any town near the desert and disappear in it The Persian army was unable to chase them into the desert. Muthanna’s acts made Abu Bakr think about the expansion outside of Arabia.
7 Abu Bakr for Expansion 1. To rule under Islam 2. Offer Islam 3. To unify the Arabians 4. Economic gains 5. Islamic power
The Persians and the Arabs Abu Bakr started with the invasion of Iraq. The problems faced by Abu Bakr were that the Arabs feared the Persians with a deep, unreasoning fear which ran in the tribal consciousness as a racial complex and was the result of centuries of Persian power and glory. In return the Persians looked down upon the Arabs and regarded them with contempt. It was important therefore not to suffer a defeat, for that would confirm and strengthen this instinctive fear.
Abu Bakr chooses Khalid To make certain of victory, Abu Bakr decided on two measures; 1. that the invading army would consist entirely of volunteers; 2. and he put his best general, Khalid ibn al-Walid, as commander-in-chief, Having defeated Musailema in the Battle of Yamama, Khalid was still there when Abu Bakr sent him orders to invade the Persian territory. Making Al-Heerah the objective of Khalid, Abu Bakr sent reinforcements and ordered the tribal chiefs of north eastern Arabia, Muthanna ibn Harith, Mazhur bin Adi, Harmala and Sulma to operate under the command of Khalid along with their men.
10 Chain of Victories In March 633 (the first week of Muharram 12th Hijrah) Khalid set out from Yamama with an army of 10,000. The tribal chiefs, mustered 2,000 warriors each, joined Khalid; Thus Khalid entered the Persian Empire with 18,000 troops. After entering Iraq with his army of 18,000, Khalid won decisive victories in four consecutive battles: 1. Battle of Chains, 2. Battle of River 3. Battle of Walaja and 4. Battle of Ullais. By now the Persian court (already disturbed by the internal problems), was down and out. Soon after, Heera capital city of Iraq fell to the Muslims after resistance in the Siege of Heera.
Chain of Victories After resting his armies, Khalid laid siege to Al-Anbar, which resisted but eventually surrendered after a siege of a few weeks After the siege of Al-Anbar, Khalid moved towards the south, and conquered the city of Ein al-Tamr. By now, almost the whole of Euphrates region of Iraq was under Islamic control. Khalid got a call of help from northern Arabia at Daumatul Jandal, دومة الجندل where another Muslim Arab general, Ibn Ghanam, was trapped among the rebel tribes. Khalid went to Daumatul Jandal and defeated the rebels in the Battle of Daumatul Jandal in the last week of August, 633 A.D.
12 Route of Khalid ibn Walid's conquest of Iraq Map detailing the route of Khalid ibn Walid's conquest of Iraq. Khalid’s Route of conquest
Chain of Victories Returning from Haj, Arabia, Khalid got news of the assembling of a large Persian army. He decided to defeat them all separately to avoid the risk of defeat to a large unified Persian army. Four divisions of Persian and Christian Arab auxiliaries were present at Hanafiz, Zumiel, Sanni and Muzieh. Khalid devised a brilliant plan to destroy the Persian forces. He divided his army in three units, and attacked the Persian forces in brilliantly coordinated attacks from three different sides at night, starting from the Battle of Muzieh, then the Battle of Sanni, and finally the Battle of Zumail during November 633 A.D.
Further Inroads These devastating defeats ended Persian control over Iraq, and left the Persian capital Ctesiphon vulnerable for Muslims’ attack, To eliminate all Persian forces from south and west, Khalid: Marched against the border city of Firaz, where he defeated the combined forces of the Persians, Byzantine and Christian Arabs in the Battle of Firaz in 633 AD While Khalid was on his way to attack Qadisiya, (a key fort in the way to Persian capital city Ctesiphon), he received a letter from Abu Bakr sending him to the Byzantine front in Syria to help the Muslim forces there He was to assume the command of Muslim armies facing Byzantine Syria.
Invasion of Eastern Byzantine Empire With a successful invasion of Persian province of Iraq, Abu Bakr’s confidence grew and he concentrated large army at Dhu Qissah and sent them to Byzantine Syria, The army was divided in four corps. Each, under its own commander and target. While these armies were on their march they received intelligence of concentration of large Byzantine armies at Ajnadayn أجنادين. The armies stopped their advance and wrote to Abu Bakr for help. Position in Iraq was stable by now, Abu Bakr accordingly wrote to Khalid to take half of his forces of Iraq to Syria And to assume the command of Muslim armies in there.
16 Map detailing the invasion of Byzantine Syria. The 4 Corps from Arabia
Khalid and the Routes to Syria The Byzantine province of Syria in those days consisted of modern day Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon and southern Turkey. There were two routes towards Syria from Iraq, one was via Daumatul Jandal and the other was through Al-Raqqah. Muslim armies in Syria were in need of urgent reinforcement, Khalid avoided the conventional routes to Syria via Daumatul Jandal and he avoided Al-Raqqah route too because of presence of Roman garrisons in Northern Syria and Mesopotamia and it was wise to not engage with them at the time Khalid selected a rather short route to Syria, an unconventional route passing directly through Syrian Desert.
Marching through the Desert Boldly Khalid marched his warriors through the desert It is recorded that his soldiers marched for two days without a single drop of water, before reaching an oasis. In this manner Khalid entered Northern Syria surprizing the Byzantines at their right flank 1. and according to modern historians, it was this ingenious strategic maneuver of Khalid, 2. And his perilous march through the desert 3. and appearing at the north-eastern front of Byzantines while they were occupied in tackling Muslim armies in southern Syria, 4. that unhinged the Byzantine defenses in Syria.
Khalid in Syria Khalid entered Syria in June 634 and quickly captured many border forts: Sawa, Arak, Tadmur, Sukhnah. Qaryatayn and Hawarin. After dealing with all these cities, Khalid moved towards Damascus, passing through a mountain pass known as Uqab Pass after the name of Khalid's army standard. From here he moved away from Damascus, towards Busra بصرى, the capital of Ghassani Arab kingdom, a vassal of Eastern Roman empire. He had ordered the other Muslim commanders (near the Syrian- Arabian border) to concentrate on Busra. At Maraj-al-Rahab, Khalid defeated a Ghassani army of Christian Arabs in the quick Battle of Marj-al-Rahab.
20 Map detailing the route of Khalid ibn Walid's invasion of Syria. Route of Khalid from Iraq to Syria Khalid’s Invasion of Syria
Abu Ubaida, Shurhabil and Khalid Meanwhile Abu Ubaida ibn al-Jarrah, the supreme commander of Muslim armies in Syria had ordered Shurhabil to attack Busra. Shurhabil شرحبيل laid siege to Busra with his small army of 4000 men. Roman and Ghassani Arab garrison, noticing that this might be the advance guard of the larger Muslim army to come, decided to attack and destroy Shurhabil’s army. They came out of the fortified city and attacked Shurhabil, surrounding him from all sides; Khalid reached the arena with his advance guard cavalry just in time, and they saved the day for Shurhabil. The combined forces of Khalid, Shurhabil and Abu Ubaida then laid siege of Busra, which surrendered some time in mid July 634. thus effectively ending the Ghassani Dynasty.
22 Khalid at Busra Geographical Map detailing the route of Khalid ibn Walid's invasion of Syria. Khalid’s at Busra
Khalid the Commander-in-chief Here Khalid took over the command of Muslim armies in Syria from Abu Ubaidah, as per the instructions of Abu Bakr. The massive Byzantine armies were concentrating at Ajnadayn to push the invading armies back to the desert. Early Muslim sources have mentioned its size to be 90,000, while most of the modern historians doubt the figures, but they consider this battle to be the key to breaking the Byzantine power in Syria. According to the instructions of Khalid all Muslim corps were concentrated at Ajnadayn اجنادين, where they fought a decisive battle against Byzantine on 30 July 634. Defeat at the Battle of Ajnadayn, left Syria vulnerable to the Muslim invaders. Khalid decided to capture Damascus, the Byzantine stronghold.
Towards Damascus At Damascus Thomas, son-in-law of Emperor Heracleus, was in charge. Receiving the intelligence of Khalid's march towards Damascus he busily prepared for the defenses of Damascus. He wrote to Emperor Heracleus for reinforcement, (Heracleus was at Emesa at that time). Moreover Thomas, in order to get more time for preparation of a siege, sent the armies to delay or if possible halt Khalid's march to Damascus, one such army was defeated at Battle of Yaqusa in mid-August 634 near Lake Tiberias 90 miles from Damascus, another army to halt the Muslim advance to Damascus was defeated in Battle of Maraj al-Saffer on 19 August 634. These engagements did delay Khalid’s advance and they gave Thomas enough time to prepare for the siege.
Khalid and Damascus Meanwhile Heracleus' reinforcement (which he had dispatched after the bad news of Ajnadyn), had reached Damascus. Before Heracleus' another regiment had reached Damascus too. Now, Khalid himself had finally reached Damascus. He reached Damascus on 20 August and besieged the city. To isolate the city from rest of the region, Khalid 1. placed the detachments south on the road to Palestine 2. and in north at Damascus-Emesa route, 3. and several other smaller detachments on routes towards Damascus. 4. Heracleus' reinforcement was intercepted and routed at the Battle of Sanita-al-Uqab, 20 miles from Damascus. 5. Khalid's forces withstood three Roman sallies that tried to break the siege.
Damascus Conquered Khalid finally attacked and conquered Damascus on 18 September 634 after a 30-day siege. According to some sources the siege lasted for four or six months. Heracleus, having received the news of the fall of Damascus, left for Antioch from Emesa. The citizens were given peace on the terms of annual tribute; the Byzantine army was given a three-day peace to go as far as they could. After the three-day deadline was over, the Muslim cavalry under Khalid's command attacked the Roman army, catching up to them using an unknown shortcut, at the Battle of Maraj-al-Debaj, 190 miles north of Damascus.
Khalid Ibn al-Walid To Expand 1. To invade Iraq 2. To cross the desert 3. To defeat the Byzantines4. Conquer Damascus 5. Dismissed by Omar
With Abu Bakr’s Death Abu Bakr died during the siege of Damascus and Omar was appointed as the new Khalifa. Omar dismissed Khalid ibn al-Walid from the command right away Omar appointed Abu Ubaida as the new commander-in-chief of Islamic forces in Syria. Abu Ubaida got the letter of his appointment and Khalid's disposal during the siege, but Khalid delayed the announcement until the city was conquered. This was to prevent disarray among the Muslims
Death of Abu Bakr On 8 August 634, Abu Bakr fell sick, and never recovered. There are two accounts about the sickness of Abu Bakr. One account is that the 8 th of August 634 was a cold day and when Abu Bakr took a bath, he caught a chill then got sick. Another account is that he had been poisoned. This is highly unlikely. Abu Bakr developed high fever, and was confined to bed. His illness was prolonged and his health deteriorated, when his condition worsened, he felt that his end was near.
Near Death and the Choice Realizing that his end was drawing near, Abu Bakr wanted to nominate his successor It is claimed that was to cause no dissention after his death, Fully being aware that there was already high controversy over Ali not having been appointed. He appointed Omar as his successor after discussing with some companions. Some companions favored the nomination but others disliked it, The reason being the tough nature of Omar. Abu Bakr thus dictated the testament to Uthman Ibn Affan in the following terms:
Abu Bakr’s Last Will In the name of Most Merciful God. This is the last will and testament of Abu Bakr bin Abu Qahafa, when he is in the last hour of the world, and the first of the next; an hour in which the infidel must believe, the wicked be convinced of their evil ways, I nominate Omar Ibn al-Khattab as my successor. Therefore, listen to him and obey him. If he acts right, confirm his actions. My intentions are good, but I cannot see the future results. However, those who do ill shall render themselves liable to severe account in the hereafter. Fare you well. May you be ever attended by the Divine favor of blessings. The funeral prayer was led by Omar. He was buried the same night by the side of Muhammad's grave in Aisha's house near Al-Masjid al- Nabawi
Abu Bakr’s Vision Abu Bakr had an acute sense of evaluating people’s capacity He saw in Khalid the genius of military acumen He saw the great potential if Muslims prevailed over the Persian and Byzantine Empires. He saw to it that the Arabians unite toward a glorious goal for Islam None could envision the magnificent aftermath of two civilizations, (the Persians and Byzantine), under Islam Abu Bakr was the trigger that sparked the expansion for Islam His administration was too short, facing grave danger at the Ridda wars, followed by sending the Arabian Muslims to take on the Empires up north. Ali had a son nicknamed Abu Bakr, killed in Karbala with Al-Husain Al-Hasan had a son by the name of Abu Bakr, also killed in Karbala with Al-Husain
Legacy: Sunni View Sunni Muslims also consider Abu Bakr as one of the ten Sahaaba (companions) for whom Muhammad had testified that they were destined for Paradise. He is regarded as The successor of Messenger of Allah, and first of the Rightly Guided Khalifas - i.e. Rashidoon and being the rightful successor to Muhammad. Abu Bakr had always been the closest friend and confidant of Muhammad throughout his life. He was always there beside the Prophet at every major event. It was Abu Bakr's wisdom that Muhammad always honored and would always consult him before anyone else.
Legacy: Sunni View Upon Muhammad's death, it was Abu Bakr who demonstrated sagacity to keep the ranks of the Muslims together. Muhammad had not left behind a clear will on who would succeed him. There was dissension between the two original tribes of Medina, namely Aws and Khazraj regarding who would become the ruler over the Muslims after Muhammad. This even led to drawing of swords between them. Abu Bakr, Omar and Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah rushed to the spot where the dispute almost turned bloody, and delivered his famous speech to show the path of unity between the Muslims and declared that Omar should become the first Khalifa. In turn, Omar declared his allegiance to Abu Bakr saying that there is no better man amongst the Muslims after Muhammad. Majority of the Sahaaba assembled there followed suit and pledged their allegiance to Abu Bakr. Sunnis point out this fact of avoiding bloodshed between Muslims and preserving the unity of the state as of paramount importance, or it would have led to self-destruction of the new state.
Legacy: Shi’a View The Shi'a have a very unfavorable view of Abu Bakr. They believe that he was a usurper who snatched the Khilaafah when it should have gone to Ali, who had been appointed by Muhammad as his successor at Ghadeer Khum. It is also believed he and Omar planned to take over power in the Muslim nation after Muhammad's death, in a coup d'état against Ali, as they had ignored Muhammad's wishes by preventing Muhammad from writing the name of the successor on a piece of paper during Muhammad's illness. They also met with the tribal leaders of Mecca and Medina at Saqifa to elect Abu Bakr. The Shi’a view Abu Bakr's election as completely formulated by the people and not specifically by Muhammad and hence not by God.
Legacy: Shi’a View The Shi'a criticize Abu Bakr for a dispute between him and Muhammad's daughter, Fatima, that ended with her becoming angry with Abu Bakr and refusing to talk with him for the rest of her life, she died six months later. Abu Bakr had refused to grant her a piece of land which Muhammad had given to her as a gift before his death. Shi’a also accuse him of participating in the assault on the house of Ali and Fatima, with threat to burn the house That event (which is corroborated by several Sunni sources), precipitated in her miscarriage. The Shi'a believe that Abu Bakr sent Khalid ibn Walid to crush those who were in favor of Ali's Khilaafah (see Ridda Wars).
37 Abu Bakr: Territory under Islam Territory of Islam when Abu Bakr died, 634. Islamic territory when Abu Bakr died
In Conclusion Abu Bakr and the Military Expansion Abu Bakr sends Muslim force under Khalid to Iraq Khalid conquers many towns in the Persian Empire Khalid crosses the desert to Syria Khalid is just in time to conquer Busra Khalid becomes the Commander-in-Chief in Syria Khalid conquers Damascus Abu Bakr dies, Omar is the Khalifa Omar dismisses Khalid and gives the leadership to Abu Ubaida
Finally we quote the Quran: By the Token of Time Verily Man is in loss, Except those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to Truth and exhort one another to patience. بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ وَالْعَصْرِ إِنَّ اِلانسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ إِلا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ