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Hazrat Khalid bin Waleed (R.A.) : The Sword of Allah
Khalid bin Waleed (R.A.) was born in Makkah to Waleed Bin Mughira, chief of Banu Makhzum, a clan of the Arab tribe of Quraysh. Banu Makhzum was one of the three leading clans of the Quraysh and were responsible for matters of war. It is no wonder then that the upbringing of a child from Banu Makhzoom was done under special conditions. Soon after birth, the child is sent to live with the Bedouins in the desert, away from pollution and corruption. By the age of five or six, they return to their parents.
As Banu Makhzum were responsible for warfare, it goes without saying that these people were very skilled with use the spear, the lance, the bow, the sword and were amongst the best horsemen of Arabia. Khalid Bin Waleed (R.A.) Is known to have been especially good with the lance and a champion wrestler of his time. Hazrat Khalid Bin Waleed (R.A.) was also the cousin of Umar Bin Khattab (R.A.), (one of the first few Rightly guided Khalifahs of Islam) and so they shared a lot of resemblance in the way they looked. They were both tall and had well-built bodies with broad shoulders.
Not much is known about Hazrat Khalid (R.A.) during the early days of the preaching of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W). His father was known for his hostility against Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). Khalid Bin Waleed did not take part in the battle of Badr, which was the first battle between the Muslims and the unbelievers, but he did fight against the Muslims in the battle of Uhud.
He later converted to Islam and joined Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) in the conquest of Mecca in thereafter he commanded a number of conquests and missions in the Arabian Peninsula.
After the death of Muhammad, Khalid recaptured a number of provinces that were breaking away from Islam. He was sent northeastward by the caliph Abu Bakr to invade Iraq, where he conquered Al-Ḥirah. Crossing the desert, he aided in the conquest of Syria. Routing the Byzantine armies, he surrounded Damascus, which surrendered on Sept. 4, 635, and pushed northward. Early in 636 he withdrew south of the Yarmuk River before a powerful Byzantine force that advanced from the north and from the coast of Palestine. The Byzantine armies were composed mainly of Christian Arab, Armenian, and other auxiliaries, however and when many of these deserted the Byzantines, Khalid, reinforced from Medina and possibly from the Syrian Arab tribes, attacked and destroyed the remaining Byzantine forces along the ravines of the Yarmuk valley (Aug. 20, 636). Almost 50,000 Byzantine troops were slaughtered, which opened the way for many other Islamic conquests. His bravery and great work in the way of Allah and in spreading Islam was got him the title of سيفالله (Saif Allah) which translates to “The Sword of Allah” Khalid’s (R.A.) conversion to Islam “A man like Khalid, can’t keep himself away from Islam for long”. Prophet Muhammad S.A.W.
Khalid bin Waleed was the son of the chieftain of the tribe of Banu Makhzoom, Waleed bin Mughaira. In his youth, the qualities of foresight and planning bloomed to perfection and he occupied an enviable position among the youths of Banu Makhzum. He was blessed with a graceful physique and had a dignified bearing.
Before he accepted Islam, in every battle, he used to enter the battlefield challenging the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). On one occasion when the Prophet (S.A.W.) was leading the Zuhr prayer in the battlefield, with his army behind him, Khalid bin Waleed was tempted to take advantage of this opportunity and attack the Muslims who would thereby suffer great losses. But some invisible force seemed to hold him back and he was never able to gather enough courage to do it. The same episode happened during the Asr prayers and Khalid bin Waleed realized that some unseen power was protecting the Prophet(S.A.W.) and surely one day Prophet (S.A.W.) would conquer not only the whole of Arabia but the entire world.
When the Prophet(S.A.W.) signed the peace treaty of Hudaybiyah, Khalid bin Waleed began to wonder what would follow next and thought about his own future. He could not seem to decide whether he wanted to give up his warrior’s life or not. At this moment, he received a letter from his brother who had converted to Islam. He wrote in very affectionate terms that the Prophet (S.A.W.) had asked him where Khalid bin Waleed was. His brother had answered respectfully that Allah Almighty would surely one day bring Khalid bin Waleed to the Prophet(S.A.W.) to embrace Islam. He had told the Prophet that his intelligent, perspective and able brother should not be deprived of the blessings of Allah Almighty and Islam. This persuaded the mind of Khalid bin Waleed more towards Islam and he felt very elated and proud that the Prophet (S.A.W.) had asked about him.
During this time, he dreamt that he was moving out of a tiny, dark and dirty place into a vast green fertile field. When he woke up he felt extremely pleasant and made up his mind to go to Madinah. When Khalid bin Waleed met the Prophet (S.A.W.), he respectfully greeted him and was greeted back with a smile. Khalid bin Waleed then took the pledge of allegiance, swearing on the palm of the Prophet(pbuh).The Prophet(pbuh) affectionately told Khalid bin Waleed “I was sure, taking into consideration your brilliance, your wisdom and foresight that surely one day you would accept Islam as your religion”.
In 633 A.D. Hazrat Abu Bakr (R.A.) ordered Khalid Bin Waleed to proceed to the border of the Persian empire. There were four other columns, each under different commanders, these were also directed to proceed to reinforce the main Muslim army under the command of Hazrat Khalid (R.A.) Khalid bin Waleed sent a letter to Hurmuz, who was at that point of time the commander of the Persian Army… giving him 3 choices:
2. Pay Jizya (which is a poll tax that early Islamic rulers demanded from their non-Muslim subjects. This tax applied especially to followers of Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism, who were tolerated in the practice of their religion because they were “peoples of the book.” In return for this tax, the people of the area were sworn to protection by the Muslims.)
3. If they didn’t agree with the other two options, then they should be ready for war.
Hurmuz, having accepted the third alternative, gathered his forces and set out from Uballa – the main port of Iraq – to meet the Muslim forces at Kazima. The Muslim army stood there all set to fight, so the Persians were forced to go into action immediately. The Battle of Kazima was also known as the Battle of Chains as the Persians stood together linked in chains. Due to the heavy attack of Muslims, Persians were forced to fall back. As they retreated bound together in chains, they were killed in large numbers. Before sunset the Muslims had won the war and the Persians suffered a humiliating defeat. Many of the Persians were killed including Hurmuz but many were taken captives.
There are many more battles which were led by Hazrat Khalid like the Battle of Mazar, Battle of Walaja, Battle of Ulleis, Battle of En-at-Tamr, Battle of Basra, Battle of Ajnadein, I will In Shaa Allah give information on these topics as well.
Journal [ edit | edit source ]
- Triggered By: Speaking to Dirbert
- Journal Section: Quests
- Quest Title: Idle hands in Imnesvale
- Entry Title: Idle hands in Imnesvale
The following entry is added to the Journal upon starting the quest:
I have, perhaps foolishly, agreed to purchase three bastard swords and some Baalor Ale for three youngsters in the village of Imnesvale. Mind you, how much trouble could they get into? One of the local merchants named Min Minling should have what they need.
After delivering any or all of the requested items to them, the following entry is added:
Well, I bought the three kids in Imnesvale what I promised them, and they've run off to enjoy it. Hopefully they don't get into too much trouble. and here's to hoping their parents don't get wind of this.
Upon entering the Umar Cave for the first time after giving them any or all of the items, the quest is completed with the addition of the following entry:
Did I ask how much trouble they could get into? I just ran into the three kids from Imnesvale that I bought the ale and swords for, and they were being chased across the forest by a gibberling which they drunkenly mistook for a dragon Ah, youth.
Antique, Swords of the Prophet MUHAMMAD (SAW)
Photos taken by Muhammad Hasan Muhammad al-Tihami,
Suyuf wa al-Apostles' uddah harbi-hi (Cairo: Hijr, 1312/1992).
Also known as 'Al-Fijar Ma'thur' sword is owned by the Prophet Muhammad before he received the first revelation in Makkah. This sword was given by her father, and brought the time migrated from Mecca to Medina until it is given together with other war equipment to Ali ibn Abi Talib.
Now the sword is in the Topkapi Museum, Istanbul. Shaped blade with a length of 99 cm.The handle is made of gold with the shape of two serpents with emeralds and turquoise encrusted. There are close to the banister carved Kufic Arabic script reads: 'Abdallah bin Abd al-Mutalib'.MISSTORY . BOOKMARK THE PERMALINK. RSS FEED FOR THIS POST.
Photos taken by Muhammad Hasan Muhammad al-Tihami, Suyuf wa al-Apostles' uddah harbi-hi (Cairo: Hijr, 1312/1992).
Al-'Adb, the name of this sword, means "cut" or "sharp." The sword was sent to the companions of the Prophet Muhammad just before the Battle of Badr. He uses this sword in the Battle of Uhud and his pengikutnnya use this sword to show loyalty to the Prophet Muhammad. Now the sword is in the Husayn mosque in Cairo, Egypt.
3. Dhu al Faqar
Photos taken by Muhammad Hasan Muhammad al-Tihami, Suyuf wa al-Apostles' uddah harbi-hi (Cairo: Hijr, 1312/1992).
Dhu al Faqar is a sword of the Prophet Muhammad as a result of the war booty at the time of Badr. And reported that the Prophet Muhammad gave this sword to Ali ibn Abi Talib, who later Ali returned when the War of Uhud with bloodied hands and shoulders, with a Dhu Al Faqar in his hand.
Many sources say that this sword belongs to Ali Bin Abi Talib and his family. Shaped blade with two eyes.
4. Al Battar
Al Battar sword is a result of the Prophet Muhammad as booty from the Banu Qaynaqa.The sword is called "The sword of the prophets', and in carving swords have Arabic writing that reads:
'David, U.S., U.S. Solomon, Prophet Musa, U.S. Aaron, Prophet Yusuf, Prophet Zachariah the U.S., U.S. John, Prophet Isa, the Prophet Muhammad'.
Figure engraving the names of the prophets in it:
Inside there are also pictures of David cut the head of the U.S. as Goliath, people that have this sword in the beginning. In this sword Bismol also identified as Nabataean writings.
Now the sword is in the Topkapi Museum, Istanbul. Shaped blade with a length of 101 cm. It is rumored that the sword of the Prophet Isa will be used later when he came down to earth again to defeat the Antichrist.
Photos taken by Muhammad Hasan Muhammad al-Tihami,
Suyuf wa al-Apostles' uddah harbi-hi (Cairo: Hijr, 1312/1992)
Hatf is a sword of the Prophet Muhammad as booty from the Banu Qaynaqa results. It was narrated that the Prophet David, the U.S. took the sword 'Al Battar' from Goliath as booty when he defeated Goliath at the time of age 20 years.
Almighty Allah gave to Prophet David, the U.S. ability to 'work' with the iron, making armor, weapons and armaments, and he also makes his own weapon. And Hatf is one homemade, like Al Battar but bigger than that.
He uses this sword is then stored by the Levite tribe (the tribe that holds these weapons Israeli goods) and finally got into the hands of the Prophet Muhammad. Now the sword is in Musemum Topkapi, Istanbul. Shaped blade, length 112 cm and width 8 cm.
6. Al Mikhdham
Suyuf wa al-Apostles' uddah harbi-hi (Cairo: Hijr, 1312/1992).
There is news that the sword is from the Prophet Muhammad who was later awarded to Ali ibn Abi Talib and forwarded to her children Ali. But there is another word that is derived from the sword of Ali ibn Abi Talib as a result of the attacks that he loot the leadership in Syria.
Now the sword is in the Topkapi Museum, Istanbul. Shaped blade with a length of 97 cm, and has carved Arabic inscriptions which read: 'Zayn al-Din al-Abidin. "
7. Al Rasub
Suyuf wa al-Apostles' uddah harbi-hi (Cairo: Hijr, 1312/1992).
Some say that the sword was kept in the house of Muhammad by his family and relatives like the Ark (Ark), which is stored by the nation of Israel.
Now the sword is in the Topkapi Museum, Istanbul. Shaped blade with a length of 140 cm, has a gold sphere in which there are carvings of the Arabic script that reads: 'Ja'far Al-Sadiq'.
8. Al Qadib
Suyuf wa al-Apostles' uddah harbi-hi (Cairo: Hijr, 1312/1992).
Al-Qadib thin blade-shaped so that it can be said is similar to a cane. This is a sword for the defense when traveling, but not used for warfare.
Written by the sword of silver engraving which reads the creed:
"There is no god but Allah, Muhammad Rasool Allah - Muhammad ibn Abdallah ibn Abd al-Mutalib."
There was no indication in the sources of history that this sword has been used in warfare. This sword was in the house of Muhammad and then only used by the Fatimid caliphs.
Now the sword is in the Topkapi Museum, Istanbul. Its length is 100 cm and has a scabbard of dyed animal skins.
Suyuf wa al-Apostles' uddah harbi-hi (Cairo: Hijr, 1312/1992).
This sword is known as "Qal'i" or "Qul'ay." Names that may be associated with a place in Syria or a place near India's China. Clerics of other countries that the word "qal'i" refers to "lead" or "white lead" which in the mines various locations.
This sword is one of the three swords of the Prophet Muhammad acquired as booty of Bani Qaynaqa. There also are reports that the Prophet Muhammad's grandfather found this sword when he found the water of Zamzam in Mecca.
Now the sword is in the Topkapi Museum, Istanbul. Shaped blade with a length of 100 cm. Inside there are carved in Arabic reads: "This is a precious sword from the house of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah."
This sword is different from the others because this sword has a wave-shaped design.
Owned swords of Prophet Muhammad SAW | Unsolved Mysteries and Murders mystery
Hatf I (Urdu: حتف) is a subsonic battlefield range ballistic missile (BRBM)which entered service with the Pakistan Army in the early 1990s. It is deployed as an artillery rocket and has been replaced by the improved Hatf-IA and Hatf-IB, which have a maximum range of 100 km.
Hatf is an Arabic word meaning "Deadly" or "Vengeance". The name comes from the sword of Muhammed, Al-Hataf 
Development and design
Hatf I was designed in the 1980s as a highly mobile missile for tactical use. The design is said to have been derived from the second-stage of the French Eridan missile system. Its major use is as an unguided general bombardment weapon, to be fired across a battlefield or at a general target area. If properly aimed, it can hit within several hundred meters of the target area. The missile is low cost and easy to produce and maintain in large numbers. The Hatf I missile development program dates back to the 1980s. The Hatf-I was officially revealed by Pakistani officials in 1989 and it is believed to have entered service in 1992.
The Hatf I has a range of approximately 70 km (43 mi) and can carry a 500 kg conventional or non-conventional warhead. As it is unguided, it should be considered a long-range artillery shell, with the location of the impact depending upon the proper direction, angle of launch and the ability of the missile to fly straight. The Hatf-I is deployed with high explosive or cluster munitions, although it can theoretically carry a tactical nuclear weapon. The missile has a diameter of 0.56 m and is 6 m in length. It uses a single-stage solid propellant rocket motor.
The Hatf IA and Hatf IB are upgraded versions with improved range and accuracy. The Hatf IA increased maximum range to 100 km by using an improved rocket motor and lighter materials in the missile's construction. The dimensions and the payload capacity remain the same. Hatf-IA is believed to have entered service in 1995.
The Hatf IB represents the final evolution of the Hatf I missile system. It includes an inertial guidance system that considerably improves the accuracy of the missile and is otherwise identical to the Hatf IA, retaining the maximum range of 100 km and payload of 500 kg. The inertial guidance system allows the missile to be used as an artillery rocket against enemy military encampments or storage depots etc. The missile system is designed to be used like an artillery system, with 5-6 missiles fired simultaneously at the target area. Being a ballistic missile the Hatf-IB would reach its target much quicker than an ordinary artillery shell giving the target little warning to take evasive action.
Hatf-IB was first flight tested in February 2000. All current Hatf-I missiles have been upgraded to Hatf-IB standard as of 2001. The system is operational with Pakistan's armed forces.
A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims
The most notable event of the year 6 of the Proclamation was the conversion to Islam of Umar bin al-Khattab, a future khalifa of the Muslims. He was one of the most rabid enemies of Islam and of Muhammad, the Messenger of God, and was a great tormentor of the Muslims. The modern Egyptian historian, Amin Dawidar, says that Umar's hatred of Islam, and his hostility to Muhammad, were matched only by the hatred of, and hostility to them, of his own maternal uncle, Abu Jahl.
It is said that one day in sheer exasperation, Umar resolved to kill Muhammad, and thus to extinguish the flame of Islam itself. He left his home with this intention.
As already noted, the Muslims at this time (the last days of the year 6) still gathered in the house of Arqam bin Abi al-Arqam to say their congregational prayers. They were beginning to assemble when one of them, looking out the window, saw Umar approaching toward the house with a drawn sword. In a state of considerable alarm, he told the other members of the congregation what he saw. Presumably, they too were alarmed.
But Hamza, who was also present in the house of Arqam, reassured them, and said that if Umar was coming with good intentions, then it was all right but if not, then he (Hamza) would run him (Umar) through with his (Umar's) own sword. But it so happened that Umar had come with the intention of accepting Islam, and he did.
The story is told that Umar was going toward Dar-ul-Arqam with the intention of killing Muhammad when a passer-by stopped him, and informed him that his own sister and her husband had become Muslims, and advised him to put his own house in order before undertaking any other grandiose and chimerical project.
Muhammad Husayn Haykal
Umar went there (to Dar-ul-Arqam) resolved to kill Muhammad and thus relieve the Quraysh of its burden, restore its ravaged unity, and re-establish respect for the gods that Muhammad had castigated.
On the road to Makkah he was met by Nu'aym ibn Abdullah. Upon learning what Umar was about, Nu'aym said, “By God, you have deceived yourself, O Umar! Do you think that Banu Abd Manaf would let you run around alive once you had killed their son Muhammad? Why don't you return to your own house and at least set it straight?” (The Life of Muhammad)
Umar was furious to hear that his sister and her husband had become Muslims. He immediately changed his direction from Arqam's house to her house to investigate the allegation. In reply to his questions, she gave a discreet but evasive answer.
Umar came to the door (of the house of his sister) as Khabbab (a companion of the Prophet) was studying under her guidance the Sura Taha and also “When the Sun is Overthrown” (81:1). The polytheists used to call this reading “rubbish”.
When Umar came in, his sister saw that he meant mischief and hid the sheets from which they were reading. Khabbab slipped away into the house. Umar asked what was the gibberish he had heard, to which she answered that it was merely conversation between them. ” (The Life of the Messenger of God)
Umar exploded in wrath at what he believed to be a prevarication, and struck his sister in her face. The blow caused her mouth to bleed. He was going to strike again but the sight of blood made him pause. He suddenly appeared to relent, and then in a changed tone asked her to show him what she was reading. She sensed a change in him but said: “You are an unclean idolater, and I cannot allow you to touch the Word of God.”
Umar immediately went away, washed himself, returned to his sister's home, read the text of Qur'an, and then went to the house of Arqam where he formally accepted Islam.
Sir William Muir says that Umar's conversion to Islam took place at the close of the sixth year of the Prophet's mission. He adds the following footnote:
It (Umar's conversion) occurred in Dhul Hijjah the last month of the year. The believers are said now to have amounted in all to 40 men and ten women or by other accounts, to 45 men and eleven women. (The Life of Mohammed, 1877, p. 95)
Umar was about 35 years old when he became a Muslim.
Muhammad Husayn Haykal
At that time, (when he was converted to Islam) Umar ibn al Khattab was a mature man of thirty to thirty-five years of age. (The Life of Muhammad)
Many Muslims claim that with Umar's conversion, Islam recruited new strength, and Muslims were now emboldened to dare the pagans. They could, according to these claims, now come out of their places of hiding, and pray openly in the precincts of Kaaba, or rather, it was Umar himself who brought them out of their hiding places, and they were not now afraid of Abu Jahl or of anyone else.
Muhammad Husayn Haykal
The Muslims who returned from Abyssinia did so for two reasons. First, Umar ibn al Khattab was converted to Islam shortly after their emigration. With him, he brought to the Muslim camp the same boldness, determination, and the tribal standing with which he had been fighting the Muslims before. He never concealed his conversion nor did he ever shun the Quraysh opponents. On the contrary, he proclaimed his conversion publicly and challenged the Quraysh openly.
He did not approve the Muslims' concealment of themselves, their secret movement from one end of Makkah to the other, and their holding of prayers at a safe distance from any Quraysh attack. Umar began to fight the Quraysh as soon as he entered the faith of Islam, constantly pressed his way close to the Kaaba, and performed his prayer there in company with whatever Muslims decided to join him. (The Life of Muhammad)
But these curious claims find little support in evidence. And if the evidence means anything, it appears to run counter to the claims themselves.
Some claims are even more extravagant. For example, the Egyptian historian, Amin Dawidar, says in his book, Pictures From the Life of the Messenger of God, that Umar's conversion to Islam was a death blow to the Quraysh.
What actually happened was that Umar's conversion to Islam synchronized with a new and an unprecedented wave of terror that broke over the Muslims. Whereas before his conversion only those Muslims were victims of persecution who had no one to protect them, now no Muslim, not even Muhammad Mustafa himself, was safe from the malevolence of the polytheists.
Muhammad Husayn Haykal
In their exile (in Abyssinia), they (the emigrants) heard that upon Umar's conversion the Quraysh had stopped their persecution of Muhammad and his followers. According to one report a number of them had returned to Makkah, according to another, all. On reaching Makkah they realized that the Quraysh had resumed persecution of the Muslims with stronger hatred and renewed vigor. Unable to resist, a number of them returned to Abyssinia while others entered Makkah under the cover of night and hid themselves away. (The Life of Muhammad, Cairo, 1935)
But this was not all. Much more was yet to come. Now Muhammad Mustafa, the Messenger of God, could not even live in Makkah. In fact, little more than a week had passed since Umar's conversion to Islam, when Muhammad and all members of his family and clan, had to leave Makkah, and had to go into exile. Therefore, the theory that Umar's conversion to Islam caused Muslims to abandon their caution and defensive posture, and to defy the infidels, is simply not coincident with facts.
. we have no record of any occasion on which Umar displayed remarkable courage, though many examples are at hand of his cruelty and bloodthirstiness at the battle of Hunain he ran away, and on another occasion owed his life to the good nature of an enemy. (Mohammed and the Rise of Islam, 1931)
Professor Margoliouth has made a reference to the occasion when a good-natured enemy spared Umar's life. He must be referring to the battle of the Trench or the Siege of Medina (A.D. 627). In that battle, Ali ibn Abi Talib killed the Makkan general, Amr ibn Abd Wudd, whereupon his (Amr's) comrades-in-arms hastily retreated across the Trench. When they were retreating, Umar tried to overtake one of them. This knight, who was in retreat, had heard that Ali never pursued a fleeing enemy.
He, therefore, figured that whoever was pursuing him then, could not be Ali. Out of curiosity, he stole a glance backwards and noticed that it was Umar who was bearing down upon him. When he saw Umar, he immediately turned the reins of his horse to face him, and this made him (Umar) stop. The knight who knew Umar, said to him: “If my mother had not made me vow that I would never kill a Qurayshi, you would be a dead man now. Be grateful to her, and do not forget that I have spared your life.”
It may be noted that Hamza had accepted Islam one year before Umar became a Muslim, and he had signalized his conversion by striking Abu Jahl, the maternal uncle of Umar, with his bow. One may not expect Umar to emulate Hamza's example by striking his own uncle, but there is no record that he struck any other idolater for showing insolence to the Apostle of God.
Furthermore, when Hamza accepted Islam and bloodied the nose of Abu Jahl, Umar himself was an idolater. It was his duty, in the name of “tribal solidarity,” to challenge Hamza, and to defend the honor of the brother of his mother. After all, according to many claims in circulation, he was the most fearless, the most fear-inspiring, the most violent-tempered, and the most headstrong man in Makkah. And who but Umar would dare to challenge Hamza? But the challenge never came.
Godric Gryffindor, the original owner of the Sword
The sword of Gryffindor was made in the 10th century by goblins, the magical world's most skilled metalworkers, and is therefore enchanted. Fashioned from pure silver, it is inset with rubies, the stone that represents Gryffindor in the hour-glasses that count the house points at Hogwarts. Godric Gryffindor's name is engraved just beneath the hilt. Ώ]
The sword was made to Godric Gryffindor's specifications by Ragnuk the First, finest of the goblin silversmiths, and therefore King (in goblin culture, the ruler does not work less than the others, but more skillfully). When it was finished, Ragnuk coveted it so much that he pretended that Gryffindor had stolen it from him, and sent minions to steal it back. Gryffindor defended himself with his wand, but did not kill his attackers. Instead he sent them back to their king bewitched, to deliver the threat that if he ever tried to steal from Gryffindor again, Gryffindor would unsheathe the sword against them all. The goblin king took the threat seriously and left Gryffindor in possession of his rightful property, but remained resentful until he died. Ώ]
A legend persists, in some sections of the goblin community, that Gryffindor actually stole the sword from Ragnuk. This is partly a result of belief among some goblins that goblin-made items rightfully belong to goblins, rather than the heirs of those who may have purchased them. Ώ] Β]
Affray in the Chamber of Secrets
The Sword magically appearing in the Sorting Hat
Harry slays Slytherin's Basilisk with Gryffindor's sword
In May of 1993, the sword materialised inside the old school Sorting Hat and appeared to Harry Potter, whom the hat was given to when he arrived in the Chamber of Secrets to save his best friend's sister, Ginny Weasley, from being drained of her life force by Tom Riddle's Diary and eaten by the Basilisk. Harry used the sword to kill the Basilisk, which was hiding inside the bowels of the Chamber. Α] This caused the sword to be imbued with basilisk venom (since goblin-made items only imbibe what makes them stronger) and hence gained the ability to destroy Horcruxes, although Harry instead used one of the Basilisk's fangs to destroy the diary, which eliminated the sentient memory of Tom Riddle it contained and restored Ginny's vitality. After the events of that year, the sword resided in the Headmaster’s office and was kept safe within a glass case. Β]
Hunt for Horcruxes
During the summer of 1996, Albus Dumbledore used the sword on the Gaunt family ring. The sword cracked the stone in the ring, thus destroying it as a Horcrux. It still worked as the Resurrection Stone. Dumbledore tried to use it to talk to his deceased relatives, but failed.
The Sword in Dumbledore's office in 1997
Before he died, Dumbledore entrusted the sword to Harry in his will. However, Rufus Scrimgeour claimed that the sword was not Dumbledore's to give away. The Minister stated that it was a school heirloom, not personal property and refused to give it to Harry. This caused the trio substantial problems. Dumbledore placed an identical copy of the sword in his office, because he knew that the British Ministry of Magic would try to confiscate it and hid the real sword in a hole in the wall behind his portrait. Sure enough, the sword on display in the Headmaster's office was later taken by Rufus Scrimgeour for examination. Β]
When the sword was returned to the Headmaster's office by the Ministry, Dumbledore's Army students Ginny Weasley, Neville Longbottom, and Luna Lovegood attempted to steal it for Harry. The group was caught and punished as a result. Following that incident, Severus Snape passed the counterfeit sword to Bellatrix Lestrange. Bellatrix then stored it in her Gringotts vault alongside Helga Hufflepuff's cup, one of Voldemort's Horcruxes.
Harry reaching for the sword, in a frozen lake, in the Forest of Dean
Upon discovering where Harry and his friends were camping out, Dumbledore's portrait instructed Snape to give Harry the real sword without Harry knowing that it was Snape, in case Voldemort found out through Legilimency on Harry. Snape deposited the real sword in a frozen lake in the Forest of Dean and used his corporeal Doe Patronus to guide Harry to the sword. When Harry tried to retrieve the sword, the Locket of Slytherin closed around his neck and attempted to strangle him, sensing that its destruction was near. Ron Weasley came to Harry's rescue, retrieved the sword from the lake and used it to stab the locket, destroying it. Β]
Skirmish at Malfoy Manor
Later, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were captured by the Snatchers and the sword was taken by one of them as a spoil. They were then taken to Malfoy Manor where Bellatrix Lestrange noticed the sword. Though Bellatrix ordered the Snatcher to give her the sword, the man foolishly refused and was stunned along with his comrades. Harry and Ron were then imprisoned in the cellar along with Luna Lovegood, Dean Thomas, Mr Ollivander and the goblin Griphook while Hermione was being tortured and interrogated by Bellatrix. Bellatrix demanded to know where the trio came into the possession of the sword, thinking that they had broke into her vault for it. She summoned Griphook to verify the sword, and at Harry's request, Griphook lied and said that it was a fake. Γ]
Break-in of Gringotts Wizarding Bank
Harry Potter with the Sword in the Lestrange Vault
When Harry and the rest were saved by Dobby to Shell Cottage, Harry asked for Griphook's assistance to break into Bellatrix Lestrange's vault at Gringotts, as he suspected the Cup of Hufflepuff - one of Voldemort's Horcruxes - was hidden within it. Griphook, impressed by Harry's respectful treatment of the house elf, agreed to help on the grounds that he would be given the real sword as payment. Harry agreed reluctantly. When their break-in was discovered, Griphook seized the real sword and ran with it. Afterwards, the goblins were summoned to Malfoy Manor to deliver the news of the break-in to Voldemort in a fit of blind rage, Voldemort murdered all those present for their failure in protecting the vault and one of his Horcruxes. Β]
Battle of Hogwarts
Neville slays Nagini during the battle with the sword
In the Battle of Hogwarts, the sword reappeared in the Sorting Hat for Neville Longbottom and, while following Harry Potter's orders, he used it to behead Nagini, Voldemort's snake and his last remaining Horcrux with a single stroke of the blade, rendering Voldemort a mortal man once more. The sword was last mentioned lying beside Neville in the Great Hall following the conclusion of the final battle and the end to the Second Wizarding War. Β]
During the mysterious Calamity which affected the Wizarding world in the 2010s, the Sword of Gryffindor was one of the numerous magical items and artefacts that appeared scattered across the world, called Foundables for which volunteer wizards and witches of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force had to deal with in order to uphold the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. Δ]
Umar ibn al Khattab among the most influential people in history
Michael H. Hart wrote a book entitled "THE 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History" in 1978. Several other authors have written similar books but this still remains a distinguished book in it's category. The book is thought provoking and encourages the reader to see history from different perspectives.
He chose Prophet Muhammad to lead the list of the world's most influential persons which was surprising to many people. He said he chose Muhammad because he was the only person in the history who was supremely successful on both the religious and secular levels. Michael Hart went on to count the traits and qualities of Prophet Muhammad and his overall impact on human history and arrived at the conclusion that Prophet Muhammad should be the number one person in the filed of 100 influential persons in human history.
Another surprise to many people was Michael Hart's choice of Umar Ibn Al-Khattab among the 100 influential persons, whom he not only included among these 100 persons but also put him as number two on the second half (51 to 100) of his choice. Umar Ibn Al-Khattab is 52nd on the list. He ranked him higher than such famous men as Charlemagne and Julius Caesar. He further says that Umar's brilliant leadership was responsible for the expansion of the Islamic territory and the enormous extent that it did occur under him. He further says that Umar Ibn Al-Khattab ordered the Muslim armies to leave the natives of the conquered land in peace and ordered the military personnel not to force the natives to convert to Islam.
In the parenthesis Michael put his note, "From the above, it is clear that the Arab conquest was more a nationalist war of conquest rather than a holy war, although the religious aspect was not lacking". Michael Hart further says that Umar ibn Al-Khattab's achievements are impressive and it would be a grave mistake to ignore his contributions to humanity. It should be noted that Umar Ibn Al-Khattab's brilliant leadership was responsible for permanence of the territories that came under the Islamic role at that time and are still part of the Islamic world today.
Umar Ibn Al-Khattab is a pioneering figure in the Islamic world. He was a leader, a statesman, a pious and God conscious Muslim who showed respect for all individuals including non-Muslims and he ordered the Muslims to treat non-Muslims with respect. He showed us how to apply the Quranic injunction "there is no compulsion in religion."
Under the leadership of Umar ibn Al-Khattab Islam spread widely not by the sword but by virtue of its beauty, simplicity, transparency, openness and the leadership provided by him. Another reason for the rapid growth of Muslim community was the conversion of some high-placed religious personalities from among the Jewish and the Christian communities. These religious personalities saw Islam as a continuation and affirmation of the Abrahamic faith. Ardkun, the Bishop of Damascus, accepted Islam after the Islamic armies entered the city under Khalid bin Walid. The followers of Ardkun became attracted towards the new faith and became Muslim. The chief administrator of the city of Shata in Egypt, famous for its textiles manufacturing, left his town with two thousand men and went to city of Damietta where the Muslim army was camped and embraced Islam with his followers.
During the time of Umar ibn Al-Khattab, the non-Muslims enjoyed freedom of religion. They were free to perform their religious rites, ring bells to start their religious ceremonies, take out the Cross in procession and hold religious fairs. Even treaties were signed during the time of Umar ibn Al-Khattab with non-Muslims that guaranteed freedom of religion. The writ of Hudhaifa bin al-Yaman to people of the region of Mahdinar says, "They shall not be required to change their religion, nor shall any interference be made in their religious practices."
Umar ibn Al-Khattab followed the principle of equality very strictly and would not tolerate any kind of distinction. Once, Umar ibn Al-Khattab had a difference of opinion with Ubayy bin Ka'b. The matter was referred and brought in the court of Qazi Zaid bin Thabit. When Umar ibn Al-Khattab arrived at the court the Qazi, Zaid bin Thabit, vacated his seat out of respect for the Khalifah. Umar ibn Al-Khattab, after observing the situation, said that this was the first injustice Zaid has done to the suit. Then he sat down next to Ubayy, his opponent.
Umar ibn Al-Khattab always favored individual freedom and self-respect. By word of mouth and through his writings he made it very clear that every human being was born free and no one should have to abase himself in front of others. Once, the son of Amr bin As abused and beat up a Copt Christian on hearing this Umar ibn Al-Khattab had son of Amr punished publicly by the hand of the victim Copt Christian. Then Umar ibn Al-Khattab addressed both father and son and said, "Since when have you turned men into slaves, whereas they are born free of their mothers?"
The people of many cultures who accepted Islam faced new challenges. More complex questions regarding the Islamic way of life cropped up at the same time. Many of the questions could not be answered because clear rulings of the Holy Prophet or the Holy Qur'an were not available. The Qadis and Muftis appointed in towns and cities were Companions of the Prophet, yet they referred complicated questions to the Khalifah. The famous Sahabis who referred the question to Umar Ibn Al-Khattab are Abdullah bin Ma'sud, Ammar bin Yasar, Abu Musa Ash'ari, Abu Ubaidah bin Jarrah, Mughira bin Shuba and others. Umar ibn Al-Khattab gave his judgment after discussing these questions in the assembly of the companions. The discussions were conducted with the greatest freedom and acumen. Shah Wali-Ullah writes in Hujjatullah al-Baligha, "It was Umar's practice to consult the companions and hold discussions with them, until the veils were lifted and conviction was attained. For this reason Umar's dicta were accepted throughout the East and the West."
It is said that his writings, his letters and official instructions were as powerful as his speeches. In a letter to Abu Musa Ash'ari he wrote, "People generally hate their ruler, and I seek protection of Allah, if my people should entertain similar feelings about me. Avoid vain suspicions and keep away from malice, and don not encourage people of cherish vain hopes, and be careful of Allah's property, and guard yourself against evil men. If you find any people who are vindictively inclined towards the Muslim state, it is devilish inclination and must be put down by the sword, until they bow to Allah's decision and turn to better ways"
In another letter to Abu Musa Ash'ari he said, "The thing that strengthens one in execution of work and that one should not procrastinate for if you do so, your affairs will heap up and overwhelm you and you will not then be able to decide what to do and what not to do, and you will fail in your work."
Umr Ibn Al-Khattab appointed Amr bin Al-As as the Governor of Egypt. Amr bin Al-As delayed remitting the revenue to the treasury. Umar ibn Al-Khattab wrote to him and reminded about the delay. Amr bin Al-As procrastinated. Umar ibn Al-Khattab sent him a strong letter, he wrote, "I understand that the thing that has kept you from replying is the fact that your subordinates are not good. They have made you a shield, and it is a disease for which I possess an effective remedy. I am surprised that I have written to you often and at length, but you neglected sending the revenue and have avoided giving straight answers. So Abu, Abdullah, don't worry. Due shall be taken from you and you shall pay them, for as the river yields pearls, so will you have to render the dues."
Umar ibn Al-Khattab used to end his speeches with following statement: "O God, let me not fall into an error, nor let me be called to account on unawares, nor let me fall into neglect."
Umar ibn Al-Khattab's actions speak louder about his character, his integrity and his love for the people in the Muslim state. He made rounds at night to gauge and evaluate the condition of the people. His achievements are reflection of his life.
Sayings of Umar ibn Al-Khattab:
Umar ibn Al-Khattab always had a sound opinion, which made him a very powerful leader who expected higher degree of integrity from the people working with him during his Khilafate. Some of his wise sayings are quoted here:
Khalid ibn al-Walid
Khālid ibn al-Walīd (585–642) (Arabic: خالد بن الوليد ) also known as Sayf-Allah al-Maslul (the Drawn Sword of God or Sword of Allah), was one of the two famous Arab generals of the Muslim army during the Muslim conquests of the 7th Century. 
|Khālid ibn al-Walīd|
خالد بن الوليد
|Nickname||Sword of Allah|
|Buried at||Khalid ibn al-Walid Mosque|
|Years of service||632–638|
|Commands held||Commander-in-chief (632–634)|
Field commander (634–638)
Commander of Mobile guard (634–638)
Military governor of Iraq (633–634)
Governor of Chalcis (637–638)
He is famous for his military success, as he commanded the forces of Muhammad and of his immediate successors Abu Bakr and Umar ibn al-Khattab.  He was undefeated in over a hundred battles  against the numerically superior forces of the Byzantine Roman Empire, Sassanid Persian Empire, and their allies. Therefore he is regarded as one of the finest military commanders in history. His greatest strategic achievements were his quick conquest of the Persian Empire and conquest of Roman Syria within three years from 633 to 636. His greatest tactical achievements were his successful double envelopment maneuver at Walaja and his victories at Ullais and Yarmouk.
Khalid ibn Walid was from the Meccan tribe of Quraysh, who opposed Muhammad, and he played a vital role in their victory at the Battle of Uhud. He converted, however, and joined Muhammad after the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah and commanded various expeditions for him. After Muhammad's death, he played a key role in commanding Medinan forces for Abu Bakr in the Ridda wars, the capture of the Sassanid Arab client Kingdom of Al-Hirah, and the defeat of the Sassanid Persian forces during his conquest of the Persian Empire.
Youth and approximately 590 root Khalid bin Walid was born in the year. His mother and father is Lübabe family Velid'dir sad. Family (tribe sad) specializing in military matters and is a privileged tribe of Quraysh. As a youth, spears, bows and swords were learning to use and cavalry. Personal weapon of choice was the sword.
Before the early years of Islam Islam Khalid bin Walid, corresponding to a soldier in his youth was notorious in pure Quraysh. He did not participate in the Battle of Badr but he participated in the Battle of Uhud. Khalid fought against Muslims for the first time. Muslims in this battle orders to the rear of the cavalry deployed in a way that can sag. However, the path of Muhammad (SAW) this horse and fifty archers for defense has hired. The beginning of the war on Muslims to come up with their position archers terkedince, Khalid bin Walid opportunity to evaluate and Muslim armies from the rear with the cavalry in order has stuck. Khalid ibn al-Walid with this movement changed the course of the war and has defeated the Muslims. This is the last time after the war against Muslims fought in the Battle of Trench. After agreement with previously Hudaybiyyah Muslim brother, Walid joined the ranks via
The Pact of Umar
LAST SATURDAY, in the Kenyan town of Machakos, representatives of Sudan’s northern—based Muslim government joined with a Christian-led southern rebel faction to sign a protocol that could eventually end the country’s 19-year civil war. While still short of a full peace accord, the accomplishment is impressive. To reach this détente after a bloody roller—coaster ride of ethnic and religious warfare, Sudan’s Muslim rulers have had to back away from a pact supposedly as old as Islam itself.
The Pact of Umar, a document purportedly signed by the second caliph, Umar I (634–44), is the source of the restrictive regulations on non-Muslims embedded in the shari'aor Islamic law. In 1983, Sudan’s northern Muslim government took a fundamentalist turn and imposed the shari'a on the Christian south. This triggered the warfare that has since killed more than 2 million Sudanese and displaced millions more.
Under shari'a, both Jewish and Christian minorities (dhimmi, or literally “protected peoples") have freedom to remain in Muslim countries but no freedom to recruit. Conversions can only be to Islam, not away from it.
Like other early and medieval documents with weighty consequences for politics and religion, Umar’s pact is hard to pin down to a date. It may have originated as early as 673, after the Muslims conquered Christian Syria and Palestine. But scholars date the text in its current form to about the ninth century.
The pact is purportedly written by the conquered Christians themselves. In it, those Christian subjects gratefully receive the protection of their Muslim masters and in return agree to certain religious and social strictures:
Whatever its true age, the pact has been used as the model for Muslims’ treatment of Christians and Jews in many territories from the Middle Ages down to today. Under its strictures, dhimmi have been disallowed from exerting any authority over Muslims in many Muslim countries, and so have been barred from the army or civil service. Often, they have also had to pay an onerous head-tax or tribute (jizya).
Some Muslims and non-Muslims have pointed to the dhimmi tradition rooted in the Pact of Umar as proof that Muslims have treated “religious others” with relative tolerance. Certainly, throughout most of world history, Muslims have not dealt with the monotheistic Christians and Jews as implacable foes, as they have the pagans. Rather, they have allowed these fellow “peoples of the book” living in their territories to keep practicing their own religion.
However, history has seen both less and more oppressive implementations of the dhimmi system, sometimes mixed with the sterner practices of jihad. And clearly Christians in Sudan have decided that the price of Islamic protection in this tradition is high enough to warrant resistance to the death.
Faced with such resistance, the modern Muslim leaders of Sudan seem at last to be backing away from the ancient pact. The Machakos Protocol is the fruit of several years of such retreat. Practically, this has already meant the easing of strict Islamic dress codes and other social legislation—enough that non-Muslim exiles have begun returning home.
Under the new protocol, the Muslims have agreed that though they may impose shari'a in the north, they will not infringe on non-Muslims’ rights by doing so in the south. Northern leaders will have six years to prove they are serious about creating a friendlier environment for Christian and other non-Muslim Sudanese to practice their faiths. After that time, southern Sudanese will be able to vote in a referendum deciding whether to stay with the largely Muslim north or form an independent state.
Time will tell whether the legacy of Umar can be so swiftly disowned.
For two alternative texts of the pact itself, see
By Chris Armstrong
[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #74 in 2002]
The Early Muslim Community and the Sword
We continue our comparative study of early Christianity and Islam. In the previous article we looked at the evidence in the epistles (written by the apostles) of the New Testament and concluded that they never instituted the sword as a church policy.
What did the early Muslim community say about the sword?
After Muhammad died in A.D. 632, four caliphs, one after another, took over leadership of Islam: Abu Bakr (ruled 632-634), Umar (r. 634-644), Uthman (r. 644-656), and Ali (656-661). They lived during Muhammad’s life, and he trained them.
These four rightly guided caliphs never wrote Scriptures, but their words and deeds appear in various Islamic sources. The four are important because they eagerly searched the Quran and their memories of their deceased leader for guidelines on how to conduct Islamic war. Muhammad waged jihad and guided them (Quran 33:21). So they followed his example.
Further, the caliphs found commands in the Quran that showed them how to divide up the spoils of war, so the material aspect of early Islam is important as well. Succinctly said, religion and wealth (e.g. gold and silver in direct payment or taxes), weapons (e.g. swords and shields), commodities (e.g. grains and dates), and real property (e.g. farms and even cities), dominate the rule of the caliphs as Islam expanded by military conquest.
This article, naturally following the reigns of the four caliphs, is therefore concerned with the Quran as the inspiration for their conquests by the sword and with the resources that flowed back to Medina, the capital of early Islam.
Thus, what is a major theme here in this article is the caliphs’ referencing the Quran to justify their policies.
Abu Bakr (r. 632-34) is credited with being Muhammad’s closest companion. As the first caliph, he consolidated Islamic rule over the Arab peninsula, and he conquered large territories in Iraq, in the two years he ruled. We can get a sense of how he sought to implement the Quran’s call to jihad by the campaigns of Khalid al-Walid (d. 642), his competent and talented Meccan commander of the Muslim armies during the time of Muhammad and the first two caliphates. He was nicknamed the “Sword of Allah” or the “Drawn Sword of Allah” because of his brutality. Only a sample of Abu Bakr’s and Khalid’s campaigns and policies can be mentioned.
In A.D. 632-633 Abu Bakr waged the Wars of Apostasy. Some tribes in Arabia had promised to adhere to Islam during the life of Muhammad, but after he died, they went back to their old ways, sensing Islam was weak. Abu Bakr vowed to show them they were wrong. One hadith says as follows:
When Allah's Apostle [Muhammad] died and Abu Bakr became the caliph some Arabs renegade [reverted to disbelief] [Abu Bakr decided to declare war against them], Umar, said to Abu Bakr, "How can you fight with these people although Allah's Apostle said, 'I have been ordered [by Allah] to fight the people till they say: "None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, and whoever said it then he will save his life and property from me except on trespassing the law. and his accounts will be with Allah."’ Abu Bakr said, "By Allah! I will fight those who differentiate between the prayer and the zakat, as zakat is the compulsory right to be taken from the property [according to Allah's orders], by Allah! If they refuse to pay me even a she-kid which they used to pay at the time of Allah's Apostle, I would fight with them for withholding it."
Umar, soon to be the second caliph, responds that this policy came from Allah.
Then Umar said. "Allah opened Abu Bakr's chest towards the decision [to fight] and I came to know that his decision was right."
This entire hadith echoes Quran 9:33, 61:9, 48:28 (three identical verses), 2:193, 8:39-41, 9:29, and especially 9:5. All of them speak of fighting until Islam prevails, but 9:5 discusses battling specific pagans until they pay the zakat or charity tax. In the command to fight the pagans (9:5) the fighting can only cease when the pagans (1) repent, (2) establish the Islamic prayer, and (3) pay the zakat. Now that these tribes refused the third of the three conditions they are considered basically like pagans again (as they refuse to obey an important obligation of Allah in Islam) then the command to fight them becomes applicable again.
Abu Bakr sent open letters to the apostates or rebels of every Arab tribe, so that they may be warned before battle erupts. After he explains Islam’s theology, which all religions have a right to do – preach – he then informs the tribes what will happen in practical terms. If they return to Islam, they will not be killed. If they refuse, Khalid will not spare them, but may burn them with fire, slaughter them by any means, and take the women and children captive.
I [Abu Bakr] ordered [Khalid] not to fight anyone or to kill anyone until he has called him to the cause of God [Islam] so that those who renounce [unbelief] and do good works [my envoy] shall accept him and help him to [do right], but I have ordered him to fight those who deny [Him, i.e. God] for that reason. So he will not spare any one of them he can gain mastery over, [but may] burn them with fire, slaughter them by any means, and take women and children captive nor shall he accept from anyone anything except Islam.
Sometimes this policy required fierce battles for Khalid to wage. For example, the conquest of a so-called false prophet Musaylimah and his tribe in al-Yamamah, an oasis district in central eastern Arabia, many miles east of Medina where Abu Bakr was headquartered, takes up to over thirty pages to recount in an early Islamic history, with bloody battles.
The narrative about the Muslims conquering Uman (Oman) takes only four pages. The conclusion of the fighting is offered here because it represents the slaughter that occurs elsewhere in the history of Islam’s reconquest of Arabia, or sometimes the conquest of an area for the first time.
God strengthened the people of Islam through [reinforcements], and weakened through them the polytheists so the polytheists turned their backs in flight, so that 10,000 of them were killed in the battle. (The Muslims) pursued them so that they made great slaughter among them and took the offspring prisoner and divided flocks among the Muslims. They sent a fifth of the booty to Abu Bakr.
As Abu Bakr promised in his open letters, “slaughter” subdues the enemies of Islam, the children are led away into captivity, and the spoils are divided up among the jihadists or qitalists, one-fifth of which is sent back to Medina so that Abu Bakr can run the burgeoning state of Islam, in accordance with the Quran, modeled on the Battle of Badr in 624, when his prophet was alive and Quran 8:41 was revealed. As we shall see over and over again, this verse tells how the spoils of war were to be divided: one-fifth goes to the state and four-fifths go to the warriors or jihadists.
However, some tribes saw the wisdom of returning to Islam without struggle, such as the Amir, located in northern and west-central Arabia. Observing the subjugation of their neighbors, “they gave [Abu Bakr] their hands to Islam,” referring to the traditional hand clasp symbolizing the oath of allegiance. So they accepted the first option in the open letter, accepting Islam and paying the zakat tax.
Next, Khalid wrote up a truce for the Hanifah tribe in Arabia, outlining what the tribe owes Islam so that it does not attack them. One leader is hesitant, but the other one says the tribe should give in to Islam, so that Muslims do not demand the tribe’s womenfolk in marriage:
[Khalid] bound them to [payment of] gold, silver, half the captives, suits of mail, horses, a garden in every village, and a farm on condition that they embrace Islam. Then you will be secure in God’s safety, you will have the protection of Khalid b. Al-Walid and the protection of Abu Bakr, successor of the Apostle of God [Muhammad] and the protections of the Muslims in good faith.” A leader of the tribe was hesitant, but another one stepped forward and advised them to accept the truce “before the women are carried off against their will on the backs of horses and are taken to wife without being demanded in marriage. So they obeyed him [the second leader]. and accepted his decision.
This tribe accepted their status as living under the “protection” of Islam. But they must pay up in gold and silver and other material things.
Similarly, Abu Bakr writes to the people of Najran in southwest Arabia:
. To the people of Najran. he [Muhammad] affords them protection from his army and himself and decrees for them the protection of Muhammad, except that which Muhammad the Apostle of God had revoked on God’s command regarding their lands and the lands of the Arabs, that two religions should not dwell in them.
Abu Bakr goes on to outline what is protected, like the flocks and herds and church buildings and monks, but the people must be loyal to Islam, even to recruit soldiers to subdue the other tribes. The last clause about no two religions dwelling in Arabia shows that this dhimmi citizenship will not last, for Umar (the second caliph) will drive Jews and Christians out of the country in 635.
Abu Bakr’s Islamic Armies March Northward
Islam does not stay in the Arabian peninsula, but marches northward into Iraq, Jordan, and Syria. In Ullays, on the Euphrates River, Iraq, Khalid vows that he will make a nearby canal flow with the blood of polytheists.
The Muslims raged against them. Khalid said: “O God, if You deliver their shoulders to us, I will obligate myself to You not to leave any one of them whom we can overcome until I make their canal run with blood.” Then God defeated them for the Muslims and gave them their shoulders to them. As a result, the cavalry brought prisoners in droves, driving them along. Khalid has detailed certain men to cut off their heads in the canal. He did that to them for a day and a night . And Khalid cut off their heads. Khalid had blocked up the canal, but he released the waters, and the blood flowed. Owing to this, it has been called Blood Canal to this day.
Early Muslims looked to the Quran and Abu Bakr for inspiration and the will to fight. In 634 at Yarmuk River, on the Syrian and Jordanian border, a reciter of the Quran followed Muhammad’s custom after the Battle of Badr and quoted from memory Quran 8, which, as noted, deals with the aftermath of Badr, in order to inspire the jihadists before the clash of arms. “The people did not cease doing this [listening to or reciting Quran 8] after that.” Interestingly the ordinary soldiers titled this chapter of the Quran “Jihad.” Its name is actually “Spoils” of war.
In addition to Quran 8, the entire chapter, as a source of inspiration, in a short sermon Abu Bakr says rewards in the afterlife are a motive to wage jihad:
Indeed, the reward in God’s book for jihad in God’s path is something for which a Muslim should love to be singled out. It is a commerce that God has pointed out, by which God has saved [people] from humiliation, and through which He has bestowed nobility in this world and the next.
He offers the Quran’s trade of this life for the next, in an economic bargain or “commerce” and in the context of jihad. Quran 61:1-12, 4:74, and 9:111 also speak of a deadly economic bargain with Allah, and the soldier’s life is the currency.
However, this offer of martyrdom may or may not be enough to get young Muslims to sign up for and launch their military campaigns. The poll (submission) tax, called the jizyah, was also a motive. This money flowed back to Medina. In the next passage, Khalid lays down the terms of surrender to the governor of al-Hirah, a city along the Euphrates River in Iraq. Khalid is sent to call people to Islam or pay a tax while living under Islamic rule as protected citizens. If not, they must face an army that loves death as much as other people love life. Khalid says:
"I call you to God and to Islam. If you respond to the call, you are Muslims: You obtain the benefits they enjoy and take up the responsibilities they bear. If you refuse, then [you must pay] the jizyah. If you refuse the jizyah, I will bring against you tribes of people who are more eager for death than you are for life. We will fight you until God decides between us and you."
The option to pay the jizyah or tribute tax recalls Quran 9:29, which offers this payment plan. Further, this love of death reflects Quran 3:143, the context of which is the Battle of Uhud in 625, led by Muhammad. The verse says, “Before you [Muslims] encountered death you were hoping for it.”
When Khalid perceived that his Muslim soldiers desired to return to Arabia, he pointed out how luscious the land of the Persians was:
"Do you not regard [your] food like a dusty gulch? By God, if struggle for God’s sake and calling [people] to God were not required of us, and there were no consideration except our livelihood, the wise opinion would [still] have been to strike this countryside until we possess it".
It was up to the Muslims to take possession of it. Accordingly, money and resources must not go back only to Medina. The soldiers could get as high as eighty percent of the spoils of war immediately after a conquest.
In Ayn al-Tamr, Iraq, Khalid won another battle and “beheaded all the men of the fortress and took possession of all that their fortress contained, seizing as spoils what was in it.” The account continues:
Khalid found in their church forty boys who were studying the Gospels behind a locked door, which he broke down in getting to them. He asked, “Who are you?” They replied, “Hostages.” He divided them among the Muslims who had performed outstandingly in battle.
Apparently one of the conditions of Quran 9:29 had been carried out. If the People of the Book (in this case Christians) fight, then they will be killed. Other Quranic passages say that the women could be taken as slaves (see Quran 4:3, 24). These boys were divided up as the human spoils of war. Recall that Quran 33:25-27 refers to the Battle of the Trench in 627. Muhammad sold Jewish women and children into slavery after that battle.
Not too long after this victory in Ayn al-Tamr, Khalid found another human spoil. “The Muslims rushed upon the enemy, killing the troops and making captives of the children . Khalid purchased the daughter of al-Judi who[se beauty] was extolled” in the Dumah tribe, also in Iraq. Her father had been killed.
To conclude this section on Abu Bakr, he ruled only two years after Muhammad’s death, but he subdued the tribes in Arabia and sent military excursions into Iraq and as far away as Syria. He depended heavily on the Quran and Muhammad’s example to guide him.
He died in 634. One account says the cause of death was poison put in a grain of rice by the Jews, while another version omits this. Either way, the Islamic sources agree that he died of a sickness and a fever. He left behind four wives and many children.
On the death of Abu Bakr, Umar (r. 634-644) became the second caliph. Considered uncompromising and even violent, instituting the policy of carrying a whip, he and his armies conquered vast territories, such as Jerusalem, Syria, Iraq, parts of Egypt, and Libya, with surprising rapidity.
In the lengthy hadith quoted above about Abu Bakr’s reason for fighting the Arab tribes, Umar said:
. Allah opened Abu Bakr's chest towards the decision [to fight] and I came to know that his decision was right.
Thus Umar determined to carry on where Abu Bakr left off, until Islam prevails over all religions (and Medina got even richer).
Umar’s Military Successes in Iraq
First he had to take over Iraq from the Persians. Then, he went east to invade Persia itself (modern Iran). The motive, in addition to religion, is clear. On the eve of Islamic conquests of Persia, Umar “gave the army permission to penetrate into Persia to wrest from Yazdagird his imperial possessions.” Yazdagird was the Persian king.
The first thing Umar did was to rally the troops to fight the Persians who had controlled large territories in Iraq. He also insisted that the people swear an oath of allegiance to him. Umar then stood up and gave this speech:
The Hijaz is not a home for you except for foraging its inhabitants do not survive in it except by that. Where are the impulsive migrants for the sake of God’s promise? Travel in the land that God has promised you in the Book to make you heirs to, for He has said, “That he may make it [Islam] triumph over all religion.” God is the one who grants victory to His religion, strengthens His helper, and commits to His people of inheritances of the nations. Where are the righteous worshippers of God?
The Hijaz is the region where Medina is located and the early Muslims were headquartered. It was not sufficient for all of them – Muslims, Christians, and Jews. So Umar needed to expel the Jews and Christians out of the area, and he required the Muslims to go north and fight in the land that he says Allah promised to Islam. Then the Muslims could have the newly conquered territory. The clause that says Islam “must triumph over all religion” is a quotation of Quran 9:33, 61:9, and 48:28, all of which also promise Islam’s ultimate triumph over all other religions.
On the same theme, a Muslim commander stood up before an assault by the light cavalry and told them that Allah has given them “the upper hand.” This is a quotation of Quran 3:139 and 47:35, which also says true believers have the upper hand. The historical context of the verse in Chapter 3 refers to the Battle of Uhud, in 625, when Muhammad was alive. And Quran 47 can be titled “Muhammad” or “War” (Qital), and it deals with various issues of warfare.
However, Allah's will may not be enough to inspire the Muslim soldiers to fight. Material possessions have to be brought into the reward system. The commander goes on to say that Allah has given them permission to fight the Persians. He says, “You have the upper hand and God is with you. If you stand firm and fight them with courage, their property, their women, their sons, and their country will be yours.” The upper hand refers to Quran 3:139 and 47:5, both chapters appearing the context of war and promising Islam the upper hand.
Though Islam at this time in its history won many more battles than it lost, it did not always win. In the Battle of al-Qarqus, on the west bank of the Euphrates, in Iraq, the Muslims had to retreat. Umar quotes Quran 8:16, which says that if a Muslim turns back, except for a battle maneuver or to rejoin a company, he will have Allah’s wrath on him. Umar told the retreating Muslims that he was their company, so Allah was not angry with them.
During the long campaign against Qadisiyyah, a Persian city a little to the west of the Euphrates, in central Iraq, Umar, following his prophet Muhammad and Abu Bakr who sent letters to various leaders forewarning them of impending doom if they do not accept Islam or pay a tax, told his Muslim commanders to meet with the Persian king and invite him to accept Islam. They first told the king that Islam is wonderful. Then they spelled out the practical choices.
Then he [Muhammad] ordered us to start with the nations adjacent to us and invite them to justice. We are therefore inviting you to embrace our religion. If you refuse our invitation, you must pay the poll tax. This is a bad thing, but not as bad as the alternative if you refuse [to pay,] it will be war. If you respond and embrace our religion, we shall leave you with the Book of God [the Quran]. we shall leave your country and let you deal with its affairs as you please. If you protect yourself against us by paying the poll tax, we shall accept it from you and ensure your safety. Otherwise we shall fight you!
Justice in this case means Islam. If a country refuses Islam, it refuses justice, and an unjust country deserves to be attacked, to rescue its citizens. The poll (submission) tax protects the Persians from Islam.
Later in the lengthy Qadisiyyah campaign, Sad, Umar’s lead commander, sent impressive looking men to a Persian general representing the king and also invited the Persians to Islam. A Muslim spokesman told the general:
One of the ideas he [Muhammad] brought from our Lord was to wage war against those who were closer to us first. We acted upon it among ourselves and saw that there was no turning away from what he had promised us. Now we came to you by order of our Lord, fighting for his sake. We call upon you to embrace Islam and to accept its authority. If you agree, we will let your alone. If you refuse, the only permissible thing for us to do is to engage you in battle unless you ransom yourselves by paying the poll tax. If you pay this, well and good if not, then God has already bequeathed to us your country, your sons, and your property.
Both passages of forewarning and options reflect Quran 9:29, and apparently it could apply in certain cases to people who were not of the Book, the Bible (Jews and Christians). In the context of the second passage, the Persian spokesman asked the Muslim why the Arabs have come here and attacked what justifies Islam’s aggression? The Muslim spokesman explained that Allah sent a messenger (Muhammad) to the Arabs, and he called them to fight. The Muslims were sent by Allah.
Further, both passages say that Muhammad told his followers to wage war against those who were nearest them. Surely this parallels Quran 9:123, which says, “You who believe, fight [q-t-l] the disbelievers near you and let them find you standing firm” .
In the Qadisiyyah campaign Sad sent the Muslims out in raiding parties before the final victory. After a victory by a raiding party, they yelled, “God is most great!” Or “Allahu Akbar!” This turned into a battle cry before or after the fight, inspiring the jihadist. Sad also distributed one-fifth share of the booty to the people and four-fifths to the soldiers. Ordinarily the one-fifth went to the leader or back to Medina (Quran 8:41), but he was generous. One or two times Umar permitted this policy of dividing the spoils of war among the soldiers without regard to the resources for Medina, but he will institute a more Quranic plan during and after his conquest of Jerusalem, which was one-fifth to Medina, four-fifths to the soldiers.
The Quran inspired the soldiers before fighting in skirmishes. Sad ordered the noon prayers and a Quran reader to recite Chapter 8 for the soldiers, a long passage glorifying Muhammad’s surprise victory at Badr in 624. The soldiers, as they did in the caliphate of Abu Bakr, also called this chapter “Jihad,” but its name is formally “the Spoils” (of War). “The hearts and eyes of the people became cheerful, and in reading this surah [chapter] they experienced repose.” Sad yelled, “God is most great!” while the Muslims prepared for battle. After the victory at Qadisiyyah, Sad wrote Umar a letter announcing the good news. On the night before the battle, Sad says, the Muslims “were whispering the Quran, humming like bees.”
Islam was at last victorious in Qadisiyyah. The victory opened up other doors to the east, namely to India. Umar told Utbah b. Ghawan that he would be appointed the governor of “the land of India.” Again, Umar told him to invite the people to Islam. He follows the same pattern as Quran 9:29: invite people to Islam – acceptance of it means acceptance from Islam – refusal leads to humiliation and poll tax – refusal to pay – leads to sword.
Umar writes his appointed ruler: “Summon the people to God those who respond to your call, accept it from them, but those who refuse must pay the poll tax out of humiliation and lowliness. If they refuse this, it is the sword without leniency.”
Umar Conquers Jerusalem
The real prize, theologically speaking, was the conquest of Jerusalem. It cannot really be called a conquest in the sense of fierce fighting. The Muslims had piled victory after victory, so the Byzantine empire, which had controlled the city, was too weak to resist, not to mention the city itself.
Yet, Umar himself made the trip up to Jerusalem because one of his commanders had besieged it, and it surrendered on the condition that Umar write the treaty personally. The people of the city “made peace with Umar on the condition that they would pay the poll tax and opened up Jerusalem for him.”
The conditions of peace were that the inhabitants got to keep their churches and rituals and crosses and religion without forcible conversion. “They will have to pay the poll tax.” If some wish to depart to the Byzantine territory, they may do so safely. Umar led the Muslims in prayer the next morning. He recited Quran 38, the entire chapter, which talks about the prophets in the Old Testament, sometimes in a garbled form, for Muhammad picked up these stories from traveling poets and storytellers who wandered from city to city along the trade routes. But one thing was clear for Muhammad in that chapter: Islam is the better religion (Quran 38:29 and cf. 5:15-16).
Umar’s Division of Spoils
Umar and Ali (the future fourth caliph, below) gathered the Muslim leaders and divided up the spoils of the conquests of Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and Jerusalem. Those who accepted Islam the earliest, like the old Meccan tribes or the veterans of the Battle of Badr (A.D. 624) got the most money. Those who embraced Islam later, in chronological order, got a slightly reduced amount.
For example, the converts before Badr each got 5,000 dirhams, and those between that battle and the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah (A.D. 628) got 4,000 each. If anyone fought in the battles in Iraq and Syria before Qadisiyyah, he was given 3,000. Those who fought at Qadisiyyah and in Syria got four-fifths of the spoils, divided up among them, based on Quran 8:41, Umar and Ali referencing it in their discussion. Those after that got 2,500.
Back in Medina, the wives of Muhammad were paid more than the soldiers, 10,000 each, though Aishah, his favorite, got 2,000 extra. The victors who moved to or remained in the newly conquered territories received a stipend of land. Umar was to get a modest amount, befitting his station as caliph. The poll tax was to go to those who administered the new Muslim areas.
Because of these new conquests, a growing bureaucracy developed in Umar’s caliphate. As new territories were conquered, the bureaucracy grew proportionately. He introduced the military pay system. Those who joined Islam earlier got more than those who joined later. Briefly said and regardless of the particulars, Islam became rich – richer than any time in its short history up to that point.
Capture of the Emperor of Persia and Umar’s End
Finally, after only a short time of conquests, in 643-644, Yazdagird, the king of Persia, was killed, caught hiding in a mill. The Muslim commander sent a letter back to Umar, along with the one-fifth of the booty, telling him of the good news. Umar gathered the people of Medina together and announced that Allah had sent Muhammad “with guidance and the true religion, and that He might make it prevail over any [other] religion, even though the polytheists were adverse.” This verse is a quotation of Quran 9:33, 61:9, and 48:28.
Umar clearly links military conquests with Islam prevailing over all other religions, the ultimate goal of the new religion.
That's a perfect description of a holy war.
Umar’s end came when a disgruntled slave protested Umar’s tax policies. Umar denied his request for relief. A few days later the slave stabbed him. See Part Ten for more details of his death.
When Uthman (r. 644-656) took the reins of power as the third caliph, elected by a council, Islamic armies had taken over vast territories. Administering them would pose a challenge for him with their cross-currents and stresses and strains of different peoples and cultures and power grabs. The overwhelming impression of his caliphate is that he did not concern himself with vast conquests, though his troops waged jihad in the name of Islam and enlarged its territories. Nor did he keep quoting the Quran, though he did that.
For our purposes, the one main record of his regime does not show his soldiers offering the newly conquered cities and tribes death or taxes or conversion, though his generals did that too.
Rather, the main theme of his caliphate is that he unsuccessfully administered his domains.
Uthman’s Moral and Spiritual Life
On a spiritual and moral plane, Uthman lived piously, as much as a political leader can. In a sermon he said life is transitory and the world harbors deceit, so life should not deceive us and the deceitful one should delude about Allah, and wealth and sons may adorn life, but righteousness is better before Allah. He referenced Quran 31:33 and 33:5: “People, be mindful of your Lord and fear a day when no parent will take the place of their child, nor a child take the place of their [sic] parents, in any way. God’s promise is true, so do not let the present life delude you, nor the Deceiver delude you about God” (31:33) “Name your adopted sons after their real fathers: this is more equitable in God’s eyes – if you do not know what their fathers are [they are your] ‘brothers-in-religion and protégés’” . (33:5).
Other Muslim leaders told their peoples to watch out for the deceitfulness and transitoriness of life, but Uthman emphasized it a little more than usual.
Uthman regulated his married life. He married a Christian from the Kalb tribe (Iraqi), but they did not consummate the marriage until she converted to Islam.
Finally, in a telling episode, he was careless about a very important signet ring. Muhammad himself had worn it. Uthman was twisting it on his finger while he was sitting by the edge of a well, but it fell in the water. Uthman’s servants and others searched for it and drained the well, but they could not find the ring. He ordered a new ring made and inscribed it with “Muhammad, Messenger of God.” After Uthman was assassinated, “the ring disappeared from his hand, and no one knows who had taken it.”
This anecdote maybe has some truth in it, but even if it is a fiction, it surely was symbolic of his rule.
Administratively, he installed and removed many governors after a year of service, but others for a lot longer duration. Sometimes the governors met with resistance, assassinations or attempts at it, and even revolt. Other times the people were pleased with their new rulers. In his first letter to them he tells them to uphold justice and righteousness, but also to be a shepherd to the people. If the governors confront enemies, then they must look for aid from Allah.
The caliph’s piety was important to him, but would it be enough to rule over the Islamic world?
That notion was soon tested. Uthman’s leadership encountered rebels who were hungry for revolution to replace him.
Three examples are important for the end of his reign.
First, in Egypt he stripped a governor of power, and the governor was “intensely angry and filled with hatred for Uthman,” and the governor refused to relinquish control of the tax revenues. So Uthman sent troops from Arabia, especially the Muslims who converted early, to conquer Ifriqiyah, on the border of Tunisia (one had to pass through Egypt to get to Tunisia). Finally the old governor departed, while the new one was installed.
The second example is a particularly unstable town, Kufah in southern Iraq. Governors came and went as people revolted Uthman dismissed them, and rebels assassinated some leaders “with sword in hand.”
Al-Walid, one of the governors, had to deal with a sorcerer who played tricks on people’s minds. An extra-devout Muslim killed him. Uthman wrote to the governor that he approved of the “divinely ordained penalty,” but it should have been carried out by the government. However, al-Walid was accused of drinking alcohol, which is forbidden, so Uthmam summoned him and ordered him flogged. Even after Uthman replaced him with men from Medina and Mecca, the affairs of Kufah remained in turmoil. They believed he favored certain men of his own tribe and other allies. The dissenters grew as the years passed, and they cursed Uthman.
The third example is Basrah, a town also in southern Iraq. The same pattern developed. Rebels stirred up a segment of the population that festered even during the time of Ali, after Uthman, when they engaged in civil war with the fourth caliph. Uthman exiled the Basran rebellious leaders to Syria. Maybe a partial reason for troubles dominating certain areas in Iraq is that Uthman had to settle veterans from Arabia, particularly the ones who converted to Islam early or fought at Qadisiyyah, but they had not migrated to Iraq. But his offer of land for cheap was generous, so they went. However, those who had not converted or fought opposed the chosen favorites. “Thus (the malcontents) were on the increase and the people were decreasing (in proportion). As a result evil prevailed.”
Inevitably, comparisons with Uthman’s predecessor Umar were made. For example, money going to the favored few like Muhammad’s wives was doubled, and charity during Ramadan was increased. He went beyond the second caliph.
Further, he enlarged the Kabah precinct, despite the protests of those living near it, for he destroyed their homes and put what money would have been owed them into the treasury. However, despite their vocal protests, Uthman told them that Umar had done the same thing, but they did not yell at him.
Uthman’s Military and Spoils of War
Militarily, Islam advanced. Muslim attacked the Byzantines in the latter’s own territory. Alexandria, Egypt denounced its treaty it made in the time of Umar, but it was reconquered. Islam attacked the island of Cyprus until it was conquered and had to pay tribute.
More conquests ensued. Islam consolidated Syria. Islam won a sea battle over the Byzantines. Islamic armies advanced in Iran and central Asia, and the new Muslim governors imposed a tribute that went to them and Medina. Islam advanced in North Africa. The Muslims were planning to invade Spain (but that would have to wait, when civil war loomed around the corner under Ali).
In various battles and victories, the spoils of war were divided according to the Quran’s injunction (8:41): one-fifth went to the state, and four-fifths to the soldiers. But one commander gave the four-fifths to his favorite troops and excluded others from the rewards of war. Yet Uthman imposed a relatively more unified policy: the Quranic injunction that one-fifth of the spoils went to the governors and back to Medina, and four-fifths to the soldiers.
The treasury in Medina ran a surplus.
Revolt against Uthman
Uthman’s life came to an end when hundreds in a coalition of Iraqis (two factions, one of the Basrans, the other of the Kufans) and of Egyptians, led by Abu Bakr’s (the second caliph’s) son Muhammad, camped out in Medina. They demanded justice, favorable treatment, and even his replacement with their favorites. They also wanted new governors to rule in their city or region.
Further, the rebels accused Uthman, as noted, of favoring a chosen few, so jealousy motivated them to oppose him. For the new caliph the Basrans wanted a man named Talhah, but his representatives shouted at them and drove them away, perhaps because Talhah could be rounded up and accused of treason, or perhaps he genuinely disliked the idea. The Kufans desired a leader named al-Zubayr, but his representatives also shouted at them and drove them away, perhaps for the same reasons, as the one for Talhah. The Egyptians demanded Ali, but his son Hasan, his representative, also shouted at them and drove them away, also for the same reasons.
Rebuffed by their favorite would-be caliph, the rebels departed from Medina, but thought better of it and went back. Some of them surrounded and blocked the entrance to the mosque. They even threw rocks at Uthman while he was in the pulpit. He fell unconscious and was carried off to his house.
In another instance Uthman again ascended the pulpit, and a rebel took the staff that Muhammad had carried, followed by Abu Bakr and Umar, and broke it over his knee. They even accused Uthman of falling into error. He reassured them that he was an orthodox Muslim, by quoting Quran 9:33, 61:9, and 48:28: “It is He who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, to show that it is above all [other] religions, however much the idolaters hate it” Uthman wrote letters to his allies asking for help. He likened his enemies to the Meccans who had surrounded Medina during the Battle of the Trench in A.D. 627 (cf. Quran 33:20-27). But Muhammad was able to fend them off until they left after a month-long siege. Could Uthman do the same? A series of charges and counter charges ensued from all sides, but went nowhere. Various accounts say they besieged him for a number of days.
Then the Egyptian faction, led by Abu Bakr’s son, stabbed him. One account says Uthman was reading Quran 3:167, the context of which is the battle of Uhud, in 625. Another account says he was reading 20:1, which says: . “It was not to distress you that We [Allah] sent down the Quran to you.” Whichever passage he was reading, the Quran was stained with his blood. See Part Ten for more details.
Uthman’s reign was punctuated with success from Islam’s point of view, for money kept flowing into the treasury in Medina from the conquests and tribute payments. He led his religion to a surplus. However, his administration was weaker than Umar’s, so Uthman had some failures in his administration of the vast Islamic territories. His deficiencies – which boiled down to a lack of strong control over the realm and its governors and rebels – led to his downfall. He left behind many wives and children.
Ali (r. 656-661) was Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law he had married Muhammad’s daughter Fatima. He was elected to the caliphate when Uthman was assassinated, but two major revolts broke out shortly after that. So his caliphate is not concerned so much with the expansion of Islam as it is with his survival by the sword.
Battle of the Camel
The first revolt was led by Aishah, the favorite wife and now widow of Muhammad. She was joined by Talhah and al-Zubayr, as they left the Hijaz (region around Medina) and arrived in Basrah, where they set up their base. They blamed Ali for Uthman’s death, though indirectly by Ali’s passivity, and opposed his ascendancy to the caliphate after Uthman.
Even though she heard that the council voted for Ali, she nonetheless said, “The fact that Uthman has been killed unjustly and that as long as the mob rules order will not be established. Seek revenge for the blood of Uthman, and you will strengthen Islam!” Then she added: “March therefore. we hope Almighty and Glorious Allah will help Uthman get their blood revenge speedily.”
Ali went to Kufah and raised an army to confront them, which took place in A.D. 656 and is called the Battle of the Camel because Aishah was on an armored camel and rallied her troops from her position on the animal. The revolt was crushed. Ali killed his two rivals Talhah and al-Zubayr, but he lamented the war that pitted Muslim against Muslim.
As an earthly reward, however, Ali investigated the treasury in Basrah and found 600,000 dirhams. He divided it up among those who fought on his side, giving each 500. He appointed governors over Egypt, Barsrah, and Kufah and told each of them to collect the land tax.
Ali’s use of the Quran around the time of the Battle of the Camel is mainly (but not entirely) benign. Nearly every verse is found in the Meccan chapters of the Quran, when his prophet Muhammad was militarily weak and had to promote peace in Mecca. Yet, sometimes these chapters also promise calamity and hell, but this is done by Allah’s sovereignty, not by a human army – certainly not by a Muslim army in the original context of the verses.
However, Ali is about to wage war, so he has to appeal to the jihad verses too, located in the Medinan chapters, when his leader Muhammad was building up his military from raiders to an army based in Medina. From both of these chapters, Ali, first, cites verses that speak of Allah’s support in the context of the Battle of Badr in A.D. 624. “Remember when you were few . but God sheltered you and strengthened you with His help” (Quran 8:26). This verse is more peaceful than one would expect, while the revolt against Ali was just getting underway thirty-two years later in A.D. 656. However, Quran 47 can be titled either “Muhammad” or “War.” Ali quotes a verse from this chapter just before going to Basrah to fight: “You who believe! If you help God, He will help you and make you stand firm” (Quran 47:7). Ali’s allies and enemies could not fail to connect Quran 47 with war.
Next, still heading toward Basrah to fight, Ali expressed regret that Muslim had to fight Muslim, but Allah would decide. “No misfortune can happen, either in the earth or in yourselves, that was not set down in writing before We [Allah] brought it into being” . (Quran 57:22). When allies wanted to join him, he was happy and said, “Those believers who stay at home, apart from incapacity, are not equal to those who commit themselves and their possessions to striving [jihad] in God’s way – although He has promised all believers a good reward, those who strive [jihad] are favored with a tremendous reward above those who stay at home” (Quran 4:95).
Further, when the people of Basrah were afraid that their defeat would be followed by Ali killing their men and taking their women as slaves, he reassures them that this is allowed only for disbelievers or pagans.
22 You [Prophet] are not there to control them. 23 As for those who turn away and disbelieve [infidels], God will inflict the greatest torment upon them (Quran 88:22-23).
Another example of Ali’s use of the Quran is in the context of Abu Musa’s governorship over Kufah. Ali needed him to muster some troops for battle, but Abu Musa delayed. Ali quotes Quran 17:18, which promises hell.
If anyone desires [only] the fleeting life, We [Allah] speed up whatever We will in it, for whoever We wish in the end We have prepared Hell for him in which to burn, disgraced and rejected (Quran 17:18).
Ali intends to talk his enemies into swearing allegiance to him and not break their oaths. So he quotes Quran 16:92, which says that people should not deceive each other with their oaths, like a woman who undoes her thread, though it was tightly woven.
After the battle, Ali says that those who suffer calamity will be rewarded by Allah.
Whatever misfortune befalls you [people], it is because of what your own hands have done – God forgives much (Quran 42:30).
Finally, in Ali’s long letter to the people of Egypt, in which he recounts the recent events and tells the people of Egypt that he is in charge, and which the new governor reads to them, Ali quotes Quran 12:18, 52-53, 21:112, and 3:173. Each verse says Allah is their helper, an excellent guardian and sufficiency. Verses 52-53 are about Joseph, the second in command of Egypt, according to Genesis 37-50, so the meaning is that the new governor is to rule in an appropriate manner.
All of these examples of Ali quoting the Quran show that he was mostly (but not completely) patient with his Muslims opponents, probably because Aishah was leading them. He too wanted to exact revenge on Uthman’s murderers, whom he regarded as Talhah and al-Zubayr, though it was the Egyptian faction who killed him. Also, he lamented Muslim killing Muslim. Nonetheless, Ali maintained his caliphate by the sword.
A question emerged among his soldiers who wanted more spoils. Why would not the Muslims who fought for Ali get the money and human slaves from the enemy? He replied that their enemies, now defeated friends, are like the victors they are all Muslims, implying they are not pagans: “Those who fought you are like you . Those who make peace with us are one with us, and we are one with them, but, for those who persist until they get struck by us, I fight them to the death. You are in no need of their fifth.”
Recall that one-fifth of the spoils of war went to the leadership and the government. It was at this moment that the secessionists – those who were about to separate from Ali a year later – “began talking among themselves.” That is, they began to be disgruntled with him.
The second revolt happened in A.D. 657, in Siffin, northern Iraq. Muawiyah, based in Syria, ostensibly intended to avenge Uthman’s death, and he had to go through Ali to do it. Muawiyah really wanted the caliphate.
After several months of fighting Ali seemed to be on the verge of winning, until Muawiyah’s men pierced pages of the Quran on their spears and summoned both sides to a council. Some extra-devout Muslims in Ali’s camp, called the Kharijites, agreed and said the Quran alone has authority. Ali and Muawiyah talked via their representatives, but one of Ali’s arbitrators was unwise, while Muawiyah’s was wise, so Ali’s representative declared Muawiyah the caliph. Muawiyah was to rule Syria and Ali over Iraq.
Ali refused to recognize the decision, but did not fight and went back to Kufah. On the way back from northern Iraq, the Kharijites changed their mind and encouraged Ali to fight. He said he could not. They separated from him. Then he fought and crushed them at the Battle of the Canal in A.D. 657, promising extra monetary reward for anyone who would fight them. Only a small number of them survived.
The frequency of Ali’s use of the Quran increased greatly throughout this second revolt. We cannot discuss each one here, but only a sample of the Medinan chapters. In one of Ali’s motivational speeches before a skirmish with Muawiyah, he told his men to fight “with swords and staves, wrestling, biting, and grappling.” Then he quotes the Quran “Stand firm and frequently mention the name of God so that you might prosper. And do not contend one with another and so lose courage and your strength expire be steadfast for God is with the steadfast” (Quran 8:45-46).
In another motivational speech, Ali quotes from Quran 61:4: “God truly loves those who fight in solid lines for His cause, like a well-compacted wall.” Next, in the middle of fighting the Syrians, Ali needed to rally a flagging section of his troops, so he quotes Quran 2:250, which speaks of David and Goliath, and 3:147, which is in the context of Muhammad’s fight at the Battle of Uhud in 625 and speaks of Allah making the soldiers’ feet firm in battle.
Some of the enemy troops in the heat of battle insulted Ali to his face. He tells his men that the dignity of Islam is under assault, so his men should “attack them!” Quoting Quran 9:32 and 61:8, two verses appearing in the context of war, he further says they have raised war against his side and are putting out the light of Allah. The next verses talk about Islam gaining the upper hand over all other religions. That is a perfect description of a holy war.
Further, Christians should be maintained as dhimmis (second-class citizens) and pay the jizyah or poll (submission) tax, a clear reference to Quran 9:29. Finally, at every turn Ali says jihad is part of life and so is performing good deeds and earning rewards by waging it, ideas that are found in Quran 61:10-12.
10 You who believe, shall I show you a bargain that will save you from painful punishment? 11 Have faith in God and His Messenger and struggle [j-h-d] for His cause with your possessions and your persons – that is better for you, if only you knew – 12 and He will forgive your sins, admit you into Gardens graced with flowing streams, into pleasant dwellings in the Gardens of Eternity. That is the supreme triumph. (Quran 61:10-12)
During Ali’s complicated conflict with Muawiyah, the Najiyah tribe also revolted against Ali. He called them to dialogue, but to no avail. He compared them to Thamud, an ancient tribe that was swept away in divine punishment (Quran 11:95). The Najiyah were also about to be swept away. He then compared them to the Meccans at the Battle of Badr in A.D. 624, who follow Satan (Quran 8:48).
Ali’s commander met the tribe and discovered three kinds of Christians among them. One group concluded their religion was the best, so they held to it a second group converted to Islam and remained in their new religion. The third group converted to Islam, did not like it because it practiced violence, especially during the bloody civil war that Ali waged, so they went back to their original religion. The commander asked them to return to Islam, but they refused. So he laid out a plan to kill them and take their dependents captive. Apostates – those who leave a religion, Islam in this case – must die and their families punished.
With all the battles and the first Civil War in Islam it should not be surprising that Ali was assassinated. For more details on his death, see Part Ten.
How did the early Muslim community carry out the Quran’s vision and guidance? When they waged war, how far did they get? We limit the chronology up to the time Ali was assassinated in 661 and a little beyond. From Islam’s point of view the armies were successful.
In 632-633 under the caliphate of Abu Bakr (r. 632-634), the armies reconquer and sometimes conquer for the first time the polytheists of Arabia. This is known as the Wars of Apostasy.
In 633-634 Kuwait and parts of Iraq are conquered, the armies going as far north as Jordan and Syria.
In 635 under the caliphate of Umar (r. 634-644), Muslims besiege and conquer of Damascus. In the same year Jews and Christians are expelled from Arabia.
In 636 Muslims defeat Byzantines decisively at Battle of Yarmuk.
In 637 they conquer Iraq at the Battle of al-Qadisiyyah against the Persian Sassanids (some date it in 635 or 636).
In 638 they conquer and annex Jerusalem, taking it from the Byzantines. Umar orders the clearing of the temple, such as it was, perhaps a reference to Jesus’s clearing the temple.
In 640 they begin the conquest of Egypt. In 641 they control Syria and Palestine. In 642, the Persians are defeated.
In 649 Cyprus is conquered.
Under the caliphate of Umar and Uthman (r. 644-656) in 638 to 650 they conquer Iran, except along Caspian Sea.
In 657, while Ali (r. 656-661) was caliph, at the Battle of Siffin, fought between Muslim factions, there is a stalemate.
From 643 to 707 Muslims conquer North Africa.
To wrap up this long article in the series, Muhammad set the institutional genetic code. He waged wars to get the pagan black stone encased in the Kabah shrine in Mecca, and at the same time he got the spoils of war, to boot. Passages in the Quran, specifically the Medinan chapters, reflect this rise to military might and political power.
After his death, early Muslims were very eager to follow his Quran and example. Carrying forward his policies, the four so-called rightly guided caliphs sent Islamic armies on the march, conquering vast territories.
The campaigns, jihad verses, and the other topics in this chapter match up closely with the topics in the chapters on Muhammad’s mission and the Quran.
The mosque and state were embodied in the caliphs. They led prayers at the mosque and religious pilgrimages to Mecca one moment and then in the next flogged a governor for disobeying their words. Umar was the one who instituted carrying the whip. The caliphs flogged ordinary people often enough, one time even his own son for drinking. However, it must also be noted that Islam could use persuasion and preaching to get people to convert. But the problem is that its armies were so active and had advanced so far that it is difficult to figure out when people exercised complete freedom of conscience to convert. Islam wielded the sword to spread its message.
In nearly all of these battles and conquests the four caliphs, their governors, and generals sent letters to the non-Islamic tribal chiefs, governors, kings and potentates, laying down the terms: fight and die surrender and pay a jizyah tax or convert to Islam, and being a part of the Islamic state, pay taxes. These options resemble the ones in Quran 9:29. The caliphs worked hard at applying them, directed at the People of the Book. But sometimes the caliphs applied them to polytheists as well. It was a lucrative policy not to annihilate polytheists who refused to convert to Islam outside of the Arab peninsula, because they could work the land and pay various taxes. Dead people could not do that.
In the vast majority of cases, none of these peoples attacked Islam first. The territories in Iran, North Africa, and Cyprus, for example, never initiated war. The four caliphs looked around for a reason to start a fight and could usually conjure one up, but there is a religious motive at the core of their calculations. The motive to attack is found in Quran 9:33, 61:9, and 48:28, all three identical verses, which say that Islam would emerge victorious over all other religions. The caliphs used the three passages to justify their aggression. The people of Armenia, for instance, were said to be “unbelievers.” Truthfully, however, Armenia was the first nation to embrace Christianity. No matter.
Islam must prevail or get the upper hand over them and their religion. Islam represents justice. Any society that does not embrace Islam is unjust. And an unjust society must be attacked, in order to bring justice to it and rescue the people who live in darkness, even if they are People of the Book – not to mention polytheists (Quran 5:15-16).