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Open Confrontation of the People of Madinah Munawwarah against Umayyid Government

By: Muhammad Ali Chenarani
Confiscation of the state property by the people of Medina and the fruitless and unfriendly negotiations of the representatives of Medinan tribes with Uthmān b. Abū Sufyān was the beginning of Muhājirin and Ansār's open confrontation with the Umayyid rule. This action of the people of Medina actually opened up the deep and old wound inflicted on their bodies by the Umayyid rule long time ago.
The atmosphere was quite ready for a serious action against the Umayyid government.
'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala Ghasīl al-Malā'ka, who had witnessed at close quarters Yazīd's irresponsibility and incompetence in Syria and even had accepted his gifts with the intention of using them in toppling his own rule, called people of Medina to the final battle against Yazīd and the Umayyids.
'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala's social status[47] among the people of Medina made them to go along with him and even choose him as the governor of Medina, swear allegiance to him, and regarded Yazid as discharged from the Caliphate.[48]
Ibn Zubayr, who was himself one of the protesters and had chosen Mecca as his base, sent a letter to the people of Medina encouraging them to stand up against Yazīd and Umayyid's administrators settled in Medina and expel them from Medina.[49]
Ibn Zubayr himself ousted Yazīd's administrators from Hijāz.[50]

Expulsion of the Governor of Medina
After swearing allegiance to 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala on the first day of Muharram 63 A.H. (682, C.E.), the people of Medina expelled Uthmān b. Muhammad b. Abū Sufyān, Yazīd's representative and the governor of Medina, from that city. Then, they imprisoned the Umayyids, their relatives, as well as those Qurayshīs who were the supporters of the Umayyid government, amounting to one thousand persons in Marwān b. Hakam's house without doing them any harm.[51]
Some historians, in the meantime, have put it this way: Those imprisoned in Marwān's house were besieged, water was denied to them, and some of them were assaulted and battered including 'Uthmān b. Muhammad and Marwān b. Hakam and his son Abd al-Malik.[52] However, such remarks have not been reported in the first hand sources.
After the revolt of Medinans and besiege of Umayyids in Marwān's house, the governor of Medina sent his torn up shirt to Yazīd along with a letter saying: Come to our rescue! The people of Medina have expelled our clan out of Medina![53]
Some have pointed out that of all the kindred of the Umayyids, only the children of Uthmān b. 'Affān were not expelled from Medina.[54]
Some have also pointed out that the governor of Medina escaped to Syria overnight.[55]

Yazīd's Reaction against the People of Medina
The letter written by Marwān b. Hakam and the Umayyids was delivered to Yazīd by Habīb b. Kurra and upon reading the letter, Yazīd got agitated and asked Habīb: Didn't the Umayyids and their relatives and slaves amount to a thousand people? Habīb answered: Yes; they were even over a thousand.
Yazīd asked: So, why didn't they resist for a while?
The courier replied: All the inhabitants were united against them, so they were unable to resist against such a great number of people.[56]
At night time, while two guards were flanking him on his sides and he was holding a candle in his hand, Yazīd left the palace in a colorful outfit and with an angry face, walked to the mosque, climbed the pulpit, and cried out: O People of Syria! 'Uthmān b. Muhammad, the governor of Medina, has written to me that the People of Medina have expelled the Umayyids from the town. I swear to God that if there were no greenery or prosperity, it would be more tolerable for me than to hear this news.[57]
With these words, in fact, Yazīd declared his firm decision to send his forces to attack Medina.
Yazīd wrote a letter to the people of Medina and ordered 'Uthmān b. Muhammad, the governor of Medina, to read it for them. He sent the letter through Nu'mān b. Bashīr Ansārī and told him: Most of the people of Medina are your relatives. Go to them and prevent them from opposition, for if they did not revolt on this matter, the people will not dare to oppose me.
Nu'mān went to his relatives in Medina and ordered them to obey and warned them against revolt and sedition, but they didn't listen to him.12 Not only that, in reply, they said to Nu'mān: O Nu'mān! Yazīd is not a Muslim, because he drinks wine day and night; he does not offer obligatory prayers, he practices debauchery, and he deems as permissible shedding the blood of the descendents of the Prophet (s); and you know that no other Caliph has not done what Yazīd has been doing. He does not deserve to be the leader of Muslim community.[58]
As soon as 'Uthmān b. Muhammad timidly read Yazīd's letter to the people of Medina, 'Abd Allāh b. Mutī' and some other people began to curse and use abusive language. When they found out that Yazīd had dispatched an army to suppress them, they made a firm decision to stand up and fight against it.[59]
After the people of Medina decisively resolved to fight against the army of Syria, the Umayyids were ousted out of town, either on their own demand or as deemed advisable by Medinan fighters, and settled in a place called Dhī Khushub[60] located at a day's journey from Medina.[61]
Marwān b. Hakam was among the expelled. However, he was happy for not having stayed in Medina because he knew that if they had stayed in Medina, they would have been more at a loss than otherwise. Thus, Marwān told his son 'Abd al-Malik: O My son! It seems that the people of Medina have permitted us to leave without consulting each other or without enough deliberation, or they have expelled us from Medina.
'Abd al-Malik asked his father why he said so ?
Marwān answered: The very fact that the people did not kill or take us captive is enough to be happy, for if they took us captive, they would keep us as hostages and would kill us in case of invasion of Syrian army! Now we are worried that they would realize their mistake and change their minds to chase after us![62]

Dispatch of the Syrian Army to Medina
Yazīd knew that the military expedition to Medina and the Prophet's (s) shrine, where many of the inhabitants were the Muhājirin and Ansār and the companions of the Prophet (s) would be a difficult task, requiring a confidential and trustable commander.
The historians reported that Yazīd first called upon a person named Dahhāk b. Qays Fihrī[63], then 'Amr b. Sa'īd Ashdaq[64]), and after that 'Ubayd Allāh b. Ziyād[65] to carry out this mission. Each one of them, however, rejected this mission, stating that shedding the blood of the descendents of Muhājirin and Ansār and violating the sanctity of the Prophet's (s) shrine was a burden too heavy for them to shoulder.
Finally, this mission was assigned to someone known as Muslim b. 'Uqba and Yazīd entrusted this costly command to him!
Muslim b. 'Uqba was an old man who had lived for more than ninety years and was sick then![66]
A person at that age and in that unfavorable physical condition did not seem to be the right option for such a mission. But, apparently it seemed that Yazīd: Firstly, had to take this option, as the others whom he had selected did not accept the mission.
Secondly, the mission required above all, a commander who was entirely at the service of the Umayyids and deeply devoted to them; and Mu'āwiyah had already talked to Yazīd about Muslim b. 'Uqba and reassured him of his devotedness and loyality to the Umayyids.[67]
Thirdly, Yazīd had to send someone to the battle against the Muhājirin and Ansār who had no fear of bloodshed and whose physical appearance could be a source of encouragement to the troops.
Although Muslim b. 'Uqba was physically not regarded as a commander powerful enough to stir up the forces by his military gestures, his old age could encourage the nave and ill-informed troops of Syrian army to invade the sanctity of the Prophet's holy land and fail to view it as an emotionally and religiously vile act.
With these calculations in mind, Yazīd appointed Muslim b. 'Uqba as the commander-in-chief of his army and assigned Husayn b. Numayr Sakūnī, Hubaysh b. Dulja Qīnī, and Rawh b. Zanbā' Jazāmī, each of them to separately command a section of that army.[68]
Yazīd ordered the government's officials as well as the ordinary people to be encouraged to participate in this conflict.
The state heralds were announcing in the streets and public places: O People! Mobilize for fighting against the people of Hijāz and receive your wage! Whoever volunteered would receive one hundred dinars cash right on the spot. Those for whom only money was important immediately agreed. After a short while about twelve thousand individuals gathered.[69]
Some other historians have reported the number of Syrian army as amounting to ten thousand troops.
The age span of the troops was between twenty to fifty years. All required equipment had been provided for them, so that many camels were carrying necessary equipment and weapons of the army.[70]
Some other historians have put it this way: Yazīd ordered people to prepare to go to Hijāz; twenty thousand infantry troops and seven thousand cavalries prepared. Yazīd gave two hundred dinars to the mounted and a hundred dinars to the infantry troops as award and ordered them to move along with Muslim b. 'Uqba.[71]
Yazīd accompanied Muslim b. 'Uqba and the Syrian army for about half a Farsakh (2.8 km) to see them off.[72]
Among the army, some Syrian Christians were also seen who had prepared to fight against the people of Medina.[73]

Yazīd's Orders to the Commanders of the Syrian Army
Since Muslim b. 'Uqba was sick at the time of departure to Medina and was unable to mount the horse, he was placed on a couch and carried on slaves' shoulders.[74] Yazīd recommended him to name Husayn b. Numayr Sakūnī as his deputy in case any problem would arise for him.[75] As for the people of Medina, he advised him as follows: Invite the people of Medina three times. If they accept, it is better; but if they do not, in case you triumph over them, massacre them for three days. Whatever there might be in that city - including properties, human beings, animals, and weapons - would be lawful for the troops. Do not prevent the people of Syria from doing what they want to do with their enemy. When the three days' period is over, cease the massacre and plunder and ask people to swear allegiance to be Yazīd's slaves! When you are done with Medina, move towards Mecca.[76]

The Itinerary of the Syrian Army
Historians have recorded their itinerary stage by stage, although there are minor differences between various sources.
Istakhrī has noted the distance between Syria and Medina to be twenty stages (manzil),[77] without recording the names of the stages; but Ibn Rusta has named some of the stages and regarded them to be twelve.[78]
Ibn Batūta has named seventeen stages between Syria and Medina,[79] but since Ibn Batūta has written his book in 779 A.H. (1377 C.E.), and Ibn Rusta wrote his in 290 A.H. (902 C.E.), Ibn Rusta's view seems to be more authentic in terms of its chronological proximity to the time of the incidence. He has not pointed out to all the names, though.
Ibn Khurdādhbih has also considered the itinerary to be the same as what Ibn Rusta noted.[80] Due to the long period between these two sources, we will proceed to give a brief list of the stages between Syria and Medina as follows: 1. Kuswa (the first township which was at a 12 mile[81] distance from Damascus), 2. Jāsim (24 miles from Damascus), 3. Fīq (or Afīq, 24 miles from Jāsim), 4. Sanamayn (12 miles from Fīq), 5. Zar'a (15 or 18 miles from Sanamayn), 6. Busrī (4 stages from Damascus and the same place where the Prophet (s), before his mission and during his business travel to Syria, met the Christian Monk and the latter recognized on his features, the signs of prophethood),[82] 7. Karak, 8. Ma'ān, 9. Hismī, 10. Dhāt al-Manār (the beginning of Syrian territory from Medina), 11. Lajūn, 12. Saragh (a village near Tabūk), 13. Dhāt Haj, 14. Taymā' (name of a river north of Tabūk), 15. Hajar, 16. Wādī al-Qurā, 17. 'Ulmā, 18. Junayna, 19. Janāb, 20. Ruhba, 21. Dhī al-Marwa, 22. Marr, 23. Jurf, 24. Suwaydā, 25 Hudayya, 26. Dhī Khushub.
Obviously, the above-mentioned stages are the known villages and townships on the way between Syria and Medina and it does not mean that the distance between each one of them is a day's journey.
However, when the Syrian army reached Wādī al-Qurā, they met with the Umayyids who were expelled or had escaped from Medina.
Muslim b. 'Uqba first inquired about the military preparedness and spiritual conditions of the people of Medina and the number of their fighters in order to plan how to penetrate into Medina and triumph over the people.
Muslim b. 'Uqba asked Marwān b. Hakam how to triumph over the people of Medina. Marwān answered: The number of Medinans is more than your troops, but not all of them have enough arms. On the other hand, they lack enough motivation, purpose, and goal and are unable to withstand the swords.
Marwān b. Hakam said to Muslim b. 'Uqba: Your biggest problem is the trench they have dug around Medina to block your way and in order to guard them they have assigned their resolute men who will not easily leave the trench. I know how to break up this blockade but I will reveal it to you in due course.16
Muslim b. 'Uqba did not content himself with Marwān's statements and tried to obtain more accurate information about Medina from the Umayyids, but they refused to give more information with the pretext that we have taken an oath to the people of Medina not to give you any information, but 'Abd al-Malik, son of Marwān, has not taken any oath of secrecy and you can acquire more information from him.[83]
The Umayyids were apparently afraid that Yazīd's army will not be able to conquer Medina, so they did not wish to endanger the prospects of their stay as well as their property and lands in Medina; otherwise, the Umayyids were not such people as to keep their oath.
As recommended by the Umayyids, Muslim b. 'Uqba consulted the young and inexperienced 'Abd al-Malik in a private session, and asked him about the people of Medina, their insurgency, and how to confront them. Declaring his readiness for any cooperation, 'Abd al-Malik said: In my opinion, you must advance to the palm groves near Medina and do not hasten to enter the city. Settle the army next to the palm groves and order the troops to rest and enjoy the date palms and other facilities available there. After a one day rest, move toward Medina. You should not enter the city from the west; rather, you should choose an entrance in which Medina may lie on your left. This necessitates that you enter the battle with the people of Medina through Harrah which is on the eastern side of Medina, for if you fight with those people during the first half of the day, the sun will be behind you, and hurt the eyes of the Medinan fighters and block their visibility. This way, you will see them well, but they will be dazzled by the glittering of your swords, lances, and helmets.
Muslim b. 'Uqba welcomed and admired 'Abd al-Malik's advice.[84]
For the itinerary of Syrian army from Damascus to Medina, see the following map.

The Syrian Army Camps near Medina
Muslim b. 'Uqba and his troops left Wādi al-Qurā' for Medina and camped his army at a place called Jurf at a distance of three miles from Medina.[85]
On the other hand, it was long since the people of Medina had been informed about the departure of Syrian army and were prepared for confrontation and defense. They reconstructed the same trench that the Muslims had dug to defend Medina in the battle of Ahzāb (Khandaq), which over time had partly ruined. They also erected high walls to protect some parts of Medina.[86]
Reconstruction of the old trench and construction of new trenches took fifteen days in all.[87] For these tasks, the Quraysh had undertaken the distance between Rātij[88] and Ahzāb Mosque and the Ansār, the distance between Ahzāb Mosque and the Banī Salama and Mawālī neighborhood to carry out the digging and reconstructing the trench from Rātij to the Banī 'Abd al-Ashhal.[89]
The trench had been dug on the west side of Medina, so Muslim b. 'Uqba was determined, after consultations he had or because of the trench that was an impenetrable barrier to his troops, to launch the attack from the east of Medina which was a rocky land called Harrah.[90]
The setting up of Syrian army camp near Medina made the people of Medina take the war more seriously and plan and carry out extra measures to defend the town. For the sake of integration of defense and battle, they also had to choose someone as their commander-in-chief.

Abd Allāh b. Hanzala, Commander of Medinan Forces
'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala played a pivotal role in the battle of Harrah. Having been influential in provoking people for battle against Yazīd and the Umayyid rule, he now undertook the high command of the combatant forces in the defense of Medina.
In fact, the role that Ibn Zubayr had undertaken in Mecca was played by 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala in Medina.
With the Syrian army approaching Medina, 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala called people to the Prophet's (s) Pulpit in Masjid al-Nabī and asked all those who accompanied him, to swear allegiance to him until the end of their lives.
The people of Medina swore an enduring allegiance to him and said that they would be with him to the last of their lives. 'Abd Allāh mounted the pulpit and after praising God said: O people! You have revolted for the sake of religion, so try to successfully come out of this trial and be graced with God's forgiveness, and may you enjoy the Paradise!
Be ready to fight with all your strength and power!
Let me inform you that the Syrians have halted and camped near Medina and that Marwān b. Hakam and the Umayyids are also with them. If God wishes, He will punish him for breaking the pledge he had made at the Prophet's (s) tomb! The people then began to curse and swear out loud together at Marwān and the Umayyids and called Marwān a frog son of a frog![91])
'Abd Allāh then called people to silence and peace, saying: Swearing does not solve any problem; so, prepare for battle, since, by God, no people have ever proceeded with truthfulness except that they triumphed by Divine assistance.
Then, 'Abd Allāh raised his hands to the sky and said: O Lord! We trust You and have faith in You and rely on You, ask You to help us triumph.[92]
The historians have elsewhere reported that 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala also said: O People of Medina! We did not revolt except for the reason that Yazīd is an adulterous, drunkard, and prayerless (denouncer of Salāt) man; and tolerating his rule will cause descent of Divine punishment. If I would be left alone and no one would help me, still I won't give up revolting against Yazīd.[93]
Meanwhile, Muslim b. 'Uqba, who was seeking to find a way to penetrate into and dominate over Medina, got the chance to address the people of Medina by sending them the following message:
Amīr al-Mu'minīn [Yazīd] sends his regards to you and says that you are his clan and kinsmen. Fear God! Listen to my words and obey. There are two bounties for you with me in my covenant to God: one in summer and the other one in winter. I have made a covenant to God to keep the price of wheat for you at the same rate as it is for us, which was one dirham for every sā' (3 kg.). As for the bounty that 'Amr b. Sa'īd Ashdaq has taken away from you, it is upon me to return it to you.[94]
This message had no impact on the people of Medina, because, although there were some people among them whose religious motivations were overshadowed by their material, tribal, and emotional motives, a large number of the pioneers of this uprising were decisive and purposeful people who were mainly motivated to overthrow the Umayyid rule and to fight against Yazīd as a person notorious for his incompetence and irreligiousness.
Thus, in response to Muslim b. 'Uqba, they said: We have removed Yazīd from Caliphate just like a shoe that we remove from out feet.12
Nevertheless, Muslim b. 'Uqba gave the Medinans three days' time to finally make up their mind.[95]
Suffering from illness, Muslim b. 'Uqba avoided attacking Medina for three days, and then since he did not receive a favorable answer from the Medinans, finally decided to overcome them by force and violence and subdue them to Yazīd.
Evidence shows that Muslim b. 'Uqba's hesitation for fighting the Medinans was not merely for avoiding slaughtering, rather, he was commissioned to go to Mecca after suppressing the Medinans' revolt in order to suppress Ibn. Zubayr's revolt as well. Muslim b. 'Uqba seemed to fear that if the battle with the Medinans would become difficult and lengthy, the fighting energy of Syrian forces would get exhausted and then he would not be able to confront Ibn. Zubayr and gain victory over him. That was because fighting with Ibn Zubayr in Mecca was in many aspects more difficult and risky than fighting with the people of Medina. First of all Mecca was a Divine Sanctuary on which invasion and launching a military campaign would cost the invaders dearly; and secondly, the distance between Mecca and Medina and its scorching and dry desert would severely wear out Syrian forces. That was why Muslim b. 'Uqba in his last talk to the people of Medina said: If you give up revolting and disobedience, I will get the chance to use all the Syrian forces against Ibn Zubayr, who is an impious and rebellious man!
However, he was unaware of the fact that they not only approved of Ibn Zubayr but did not allow the Syrian army to make any attempt to invade the Divine Sanctuary and attack that Holy Land![96]

Confrontation of the Syrian Army and the Medinan Forces
Combatants and defenders of Medina had, as mentioned above, reconstructed the trench and created a defensive and safety barrier blocking the enemy on the western side of the city that consisted of flat lands and seemed easy for the enemy to pass. They ruled out the possibility that the Syrian army can launch their assault from the rocky and rough side of the east of Medina or even if they did launch it from there, they can barely make headway.
The prediction of the Medinan combatants came true, as the Syrian army was never able to pass the Western side of the city and cross the trench, and thus was forced to move to the rocky eastern side to invade the city.
First the Syrian archers entered the battle. Ibn Hanzala told his troops: We are now targeted by arrows; whoever wishes to enter paradise should sacrifice his life around this banner - the banner of Medinans!
Upon Ibn Hanzala's speech, the self-sacrificing combatants accompanied him and got into a fierce battle against the Syrian army and an unprecedented war broke out in that land.[97]
'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala told his companions: It is true that your enemy has found the way to fight, but I do not think they will be able to resist more than one hour. You are the Muhājirin and the companions of the Prophet (s); I do not think God is more pleased with any other people than you! Death is the indispensable destiny of all human beings, but no death is superior to martyrdom; martyrdom is in front of you, take advantage of it![98]

The Syrian's Defeat during the Early Stages
After 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala's sermon, the Medinan forces got ready for another attack. Ibn Hanzala reorganized his troops and made Fadl b. 'Abbās the head of the defending army and entrusted the banner to him.
The Quraishī troops were put under the command of 'Abd Allāh b. Mutī' 'Adawī[99], the Muhājirin under the command of Ma'qal, and the Ansār were commanded by Ibn Hanzala himself. The voluntary public forces that undertook the guarding of the trench were put under the command of 'Abd al-Rahmān b. Zahīr.[100]
Fadl b. 'Abbās's fight along with the experienced cavalries was very effective in dispersing the Syrian forces. The Syrians escaped and the Fadl's riders approached near the Syrian army tents.
Fadl b. 'Abbās encouraged his riders and companions and called them to resistance, galloping onwards until he reached the standard-bearer - Muslim b. 'Uqba - and attacked him, cutting through his helmet and killing him with a single stroke of his sword.
Fadl imagined he had killed Muslim b. 'Uqba, whereas the standard bearer had been a brave Roman slave.[101]
Anyhow, the Syrian army was apprehended by this gallant attack launched by the Medinan cavalries and failed to advance. Muslim b. 'Uqba encouraged them to fight and when noticed their infirmity, he cursed them and threatened for their fear and retreat, and said: I swear by God! Whoever of you that flees, will be killed by Amīr al-Mu'minīn [Yazīd] in a most cruel way or at least the shame of it will remain with him for the rest of his life. If you do not fight and advance seriously enough, do not disperse or separate from each other.12
Whatever region around Medina that the Syrians attacked, the presence of the Medinan defenders would force them back to Muslim b. 'Uqba![102]
The battle lasted till noon. 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala asked one of his slaves to safeguard him in the rear so that he could say his prayers. 'Abd Allāh performed his prayer[103] and went on to fight against the Syrians.

Marwān b. Hakam's Role in Penetration of Syrian Army into Medina
Medina, like a stronghold, was resisting against the Syrian army and breaking through the Medinan troops seemed not very easy.[104]
Having become worried, Muslim b. 'Uqba turned to Marwān and said: You claimed earlier in Wādī al-Qurā that you have devised a plan for penetrating into Medina that you will carry out in its due time; is it not the right time to carry it out?!
Marwān b. Hakam set out toward Medina until he arrived near Banī Hāritha tribe. He summoned one of the tribe's men whom he had already identified and in a secret conversation promised to heavily reward him and do good to him for showing a way to penetrate into Medina. The man was taken in.[105] He showed Marwān a way to Medina from the neighborhood of Banī 'Abd al-Ashhal and the Syrian troops penetrated into Medina from that same way.[106]
A considerable number of troops managed to reach behind the front lines of the Medinan combatants, clashed with them, and killed a great number of them.[107]
It so happened that the front line combatants and defenders heard the takbīr and wailing from inside Medina[108] and after a very short while noticed the onslaught of the Syrian army prompting them to leave the battle and rush back to Medina to defend their women and children!22
The news of the Syrians invasion of Medina quickly spread all over the Medina's resistant front and overwhelmingly alarmed the people of Medina. A group of them returned to Medina and another group clashed with the Syrians, while a third group were rolled down into the trench in their hit-and-run fighting and skirmishes that resulted in the number of the people killed in the trench outnumbering those who were killed in the battle field.22
From this stage on, the Medinan defending forces dispersed and gradually weakened, not showing much resistance in the battle field.
Muslim b. 'Uqba pointed to the standard-bearer of the Medinan forces [Fadl b. 'Abbās] and instigated his soldeirs to carry out a targetted and harmonized attack on him. A heavy fighting broke out in which Fadl b. 'Abbās was killed, while being at a distance of ten cubits [about five meters] away from Muslim b. 'Uqba.[109]
In this attack, Zayd b. 'Abd al-Rahmān b. 'Awf also lost his life along with Fadl b. 'Abbās.12

Wearing out of Medinan Forces before the Syrian Army
Following the prolongation of hit-and-run fighting and the expansion of battle front and the treachery of Marwān b. Hakam and Banī Hāritha, the early resistance of the leading fighting troops of Medina little by little began to slacken. In addition, with a part of the forces being killed and wounded, their women and children burst into wailing and crying and the non-military men, who were wearing armor, rapidly lost their morale. The fighting combatants whose number barely exceeded a thousand[110], gradually began to feel weak and unsupported before the massive army of the enemy who were armed to the teeth and unworried of their women, children, property, and lives contrary to the people of Medina - and who would take to the open desert behind them in case of retreating.
The standard bearer of the Medinan troops was killed and the number of their fighters was significantly reduced in a short time. To provoke the people, 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala took off his armor, unsheathed his sword and called people to resistance and defense; but the Syrian troops kept moving onward, until they killed 'Abd Allāh's three sons before his very eyes.[111]
Muslim b. 'Uqba, who was viewing the movement of his mounted Syrian forces on the stony ground as difficult, in order to encourage the infantry men of his army, ordered them to dismount from their horses and move on foot. He said: O People of Syria! Fighting on foot is not exclusive to a particular group. O Husayn b. Numayr and O 'Abd Allāh b. 'Idāt Ash'arī! Dismount your horses along with your army!
They all dismounted their horses and advanced on food.
The Syrians were attacking from all directions and killing the people of Medina. The battle was going on to the advantage of the Syrians, overshadowing the vigorous resistance of the defenders of Medina.
'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala was striking his sword and reciting following couplets: Far from those who seek corruption and rebellion and turn away from the truth and the signs of guidance;
The Merciful God will not keep anyone away from His Mercy except the disobedient.[112]
Normally, a combatant at that time in history would brag with such utterances in the battle field when he wants to express his goal of offence or defense. 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala was seeking to encourage the people of Medina to resist on the one hand and to remind the Syrians of his motive and to resist the Umayyid distorters of religion, on the other.
Muslim b. 'Uqba ordered 'Abd Allāh b. 'Idāt Ash'arī to move towards 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala and his companions with fifteen archers and when they were close enough, start shooting arrows at them.[113]
Thus, finally, 'Abd Allāh b. Hanzala fell on the ground and was killed by Syrian troops and with his death the remaining resisting defenders of Medina broke up. The Syrian army chased the Medinans and killed several people in this way.[114]
The sun was setting while the dark shadow of the avaricious and revengeful army of Syria was weighing down on the defenseless people of Medina and setting the monster of death, horror, and plunder over their women, children, and life!
Notes:
[47] Hanzala b. Abī Āmir, a famous companion of the Prophet (s), was a youth who got married to Jamīla, Abd Allāh b. Ubayy's daughter, consummated with her and Abd Allāh's embryo was conceived but he did not get the chance to perform the major ablution (ghusl) in the morning as he had to proceed to the battle of Uhud on the orders of Prophet (s) and was martyred. The Prophet (s) told the people that the angels had performed the ghusl on him (Ibn Sad, Tabaqāt, vol. 5, p. 46; Dinawari, al-Akhbār al-Tiwāl, p. 310).
[48] Ibn Sad, Tabaqāt, vol. 5, p. 47; Qazwīnī, Muhammad Husain, Riyād al-Ahzān, p. 176.
[49] Dinawari, al-Akhbār al-Tiwāl, p. 264; Maqdisī, Al-Bad wa al-Tarīkh, vol. 1, p. 15.
[50] Ibn Atham Kūfi, Al-Futūh, vol. 3, p. 179; Masūdī, Murūj al-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 69.
[51] Ibn Sad, Tabaqāt, vol. 5, p. 47 and 166; Ibn Qutayba, Al-Imāma wa al-Siyāsa, vol. 1, p. 208; Yaqūbī, Tarīkh, vol. 2, p. 250; Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tārīkh, vol. 4, p. 111; Fakhrī, Tarīkh, p. 115; Ibn Khaldūn, Tārīkh, vol. 2, p. 37.
[52] Yaqūbī, Tarīkh, vol. 2, p. 250; Bayhaqī, Al-Mahāsin wa al-Masāwī, vol. 1, p. 46.
[53] Ibn Qutayba, Al-Imāma wa al-Siyāsa, vol. 2, p. 9; Bayhaqī, Al-Mahāsin wa al-Masāwī, vol. 1, p. 46; Ibn Abd Rabbih, al-Iqd al-Farīd, vol. 5, p. 137; Abū al-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Al-Aghānī, vol. 1, p. 25; Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 111; Samhūdī, Wafā al-Wafā, vol. 1, p. 127.
[54] Azraqī, Akhbār Makkat al-Musharrafa, vol. 1, p. 139.
[55] Ibn Qutayba, Al-Imāma wa al-Siyāsa, vol. 1, p. 208.
[56] Tabarī, Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 371.
[57] Ibn Qutayba, Al-Imāma wa al-Siyāsa, vol. 2, p. 9; Bayhaqī, Al-Mahāsin wa al-Masāwī, vol. 1, p. 46.
[58] Balamī, Tarīkh Nāma-yi Tabarī, vol. 2, p. 719.
[59] Ibn Qutayba, Al-Imāma wa al-Siyāsa, vol. 1, p. 208.
[60] Yāqūt Hamawī, Mujam al-Buldān, vol. 2, p. 372.
[61] Ibn Qutayba, Al-Imāma wa al-Siyāsa, vol. 1, p. 208; Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 111.
[62] Abū al-Faraj al-Isfahānī, Al-Aghānī, vol. 1, p. 24.
[63] Ibn Atham Kūfi, Al-Futūh, vol. 3, p. 179.
[64] Amr b. Saīd b. Ās b. Umayyah b. Abd Shams, renowned as Ashdaq is the same person who was the governor of Medina in 61 A.H. (680 C.E.) when Imam Husain (a) was martyred. (Ibn Sad, Tabaqāt, vol. 5, p. 176
[65] Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 11.
[66] Ibn Atham Kūfi, Al-Futūh, vol. 5, p. 180.
[67] Ibid, vol. 5, p. 180; Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 112; Samhūdī, Wafā al-Wafā, vol. 1, p. 130.
[68] Dinawari, al-Akhbār al-Tiwāl, p. 310; Ibn Kathīr, Al-Bidāyat wa al-Nihāya, vol. 6, p. 234.
[69] Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 112; Ibn Taghrī Birdī, Al-Nujūm al-Zāhira, vol. 1, p. 261; Samhūdī, Wafā al-Wafā, vol. 1, p. 128.
[70] Ibn Qutayba, Al-Imāma wa al-Siyāsa, vol. 1, p. 209; Abū al-Fidā, Al-Mukhtasar fī Akhbār al-Bashar, vol. 1, p. 192.
[71] Dinawari, al-Akhbār al-Tiwāl, p. 310; Tabarī, Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 371; Ibn Atham Kūfi, Al-Futūh, vol. 5, p. 180.
[72] Masūdī, Murūj al-Dhahab, vol. 2, p. 95; Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 56; Balamī, Tarīkh Nāma-yi Tabarī, vol. 4, p. 279.
[73] Philip Hitti, Tarīkh al-Arab, vol. 1, p. 248.
[74] Ibn Qutayba, Al-Imāma wa al-Siyāsa, vol. 2, p. 9.
[75] Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 112; Azraqī, Akhbār Makkat al-Musharrafa, vol. 1, p. 139.
[76] Dinawari, al-Akhbār al-Tiwāl, p. 264; Ibn Atham Kūfi, Al-Futūh, vol. 5, p. 180; Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 112; Ibn al-Wardī, Tatimmat al-Mukhtasar, vol. 1, p. 233; Samhūdī, Wafā al-Wafā, vol. 1, p. 128; Azraqī, Akhbār Makkat al-Musharrafa, vol. 1, p. 139; Abū al-Fidā, Al-Mukhtasar fī Akhbār al-Bashar, vol. 1, p. 192.
[77] Istakhrī, Masālik al-Mamālik, p. 27.
[78] Ibn Rusta, Alāq al-Nafīsa, p. 214.
[79] Ibn Batūta, Al-Rihla, p. 129-133.
[80] Ibn Khurdādhbīh, Al-Masālik wa al-Mamālik, p. 105.
[81] Every three miles has been regarded as one parasang; see: Turayhī, Majma al-Bahrayn, vol. 5, 476.
[82] Abū al-Fidā, Taqwīm al-Buldān, p. 277.
[83] Tabarī, Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 373; Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 112.
[84] Tabarī, Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 372; Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 112.
[85] Yāqūt Hamawī, Mujam al-Buldān, vol. 2, p. 128.
[86] Yaqūbī, Tarīkh-i vol. 2, p. 250; Masūdī, Al-Tanbīh wa al-Ishrāf, p. 263; Samhūdī, Wafā al-Wafā, vol. 1, p. 129.
[87] Digging the trench and its reconstruction took six days (Ibn Sad, Tabaqāt, vol. 2, p. 67).
[88] Name of Jewish quarter in Medina (Yāqūt Hamawī, Mujam al-Buldān, vol. 2, p. 128).
[89] Banī Abd al-Ashhal is a caln of the Aws tribe from which Sad b. Maādh and a number of Sahāba are regarded to have originated; Suwaydī, Sabāik al-Dhahab, p. 173; Zirklī, al-Alām, vol. 2, p. 42.
[90] Tabarī, Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 372.
[91] With this appellation, people were in fact referring to a hadīth from the Prophet (s) who had used the epithet a frog son of a frog about Hakam and Marwān for their indecent behavior. (Ibn Abī al-Hadīd, Sharh Nahj al-Balāgha, vol. 4, p. 71.
[92] Ibn Sad, Tabaqāt, vol. 5, p. 48; Ibn Qutayba, Al-Imāma wa al-Siyāsa, vol. 1, p. 20.
[93] Ibn Sad, Tabaqāt, vol. 5, p. 47.
[94] Ibn Qutayba, Al-Imāma wa al-Siyāsa, vol. 2, p. 9; Tabarī, Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 374.
[95] Ibid, vol. 4, p. 374; Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 114.
[96] Tabarī, Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 374; Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 114.
[97] Tabarī, Tarīkh, vol. 2, p. 250; Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 117.
[98] Ibid, vol. 4, p. 117.
[99] Abd Allāh b. Mutī b. Aswad b. Haritha b. Awf b. Abīd b. Awīj b. Adiyy b. Kab was born in the time of the Prophet (s); he participated in the battle of Harrah, but after the Medina resistance was broken down, he escaped to Mecca to Ibn Zubayr and was killed with him. (Ibn Sad, Tabaqāt, vol. 5, p. 106; Ibn Athīr, Usd al-Ghāba, vol. 3, p. 262.)
[100] Tabarī, Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 374; Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 115.
[101] Tabarī, Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 374; Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 116.
[102] Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 115.
[103] Ibn Sad, Tabaqāt, vol. 5, p. 48.
[104] Yaqūbī, Tarīkh vol. 2, p. 250.
[105] The reason why the Banī Hāritha had betrayed the Medinans is not mentioned in history, but as Yazīd's mother, Maysūn, was from this tribe, it is possible that it has been a factor in their cooperation with Yazīd's army (Ibn Abd Rabbih, al-Iqd al-Farīd, vol. 5, p. 124). Of course, this tribe also had a record of treason in the battle of Ahzāb at the time of the Prophet (s) and that the āyah 14 of Sūrat al-Ahzāb was revealed in reproaching them. (Ibn Hisham, Al-Sīrat al-Nabawiyya, vol. 2, p. 106; Sayyid Qutb, Fī Zilāl al-Qur'ān, vol. 6, p. 556).
[106] Ibn Qutayba, Al-Imāma wa al-Siyāsa, vol. 1, p. 211; Dinawari, al-Akhbār al-Tiwāl, p. 310; Samhūdī, Wafā al-Wafā, vol. 1, p. 129. Various viewpoints have been expressed concerning the geographical location of Banī Hāritha and Banī Abd al-Ashhal tribes' area, from among which the soundest view seems to be that their area has been located in the easern part of Medina; i.e., the region where the trench was located between the Shaykhān area, Uhud region and Urayd area. See: Samhūdī, Wafā al-Wafā, vol. 1, p. 191; Yāqūt Hamawī, Mujam al-Buldān, vol. 5, p. 319.
[107] Samhūdī, Wafā al-Wafā, vol. 1, p. 130.
[108] Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 118.
[109] Ibid, vol. 4, p. 118.
[110] Ibn Qutayba, Al-Imāma wa al-Siyāsa, vol. 1, p. 212.
[111] Ibn Sad, Tabaqāt, vol. 5, p. 48; Tabarī, Tarīkh, vol. 1, p. 212.
[112] Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 117.
[113] Tabarī, Tarīkh, vol. 4, p. 377.
[114] Masūdī, Murūj al-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 69.

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