Conquests and Expansion of Islamic Empire under Hazrat Umar R.A

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Conquests of Hazrat Umar (R.A)

Umar the Great:

  • Son of Al-Khattab, a scion of Bann Adi
  • Notable figure in pre-Islamic Makkah partly because of his weath but mainly because of his personality and brilliancy.
  • Good wrestler and orator.

Conquest of Iraq:

Al- Muthana and the Persians:

  • Khalid bin Walid left for Syria with half of the army.
  • The other half army with Al-Muthana at Chaldea.
  • Encouraged, the Persian choose to attack Al-Mulhana Army.
  • New Persian king dispatched 10,000 men for Al-Muthana.
  • Al-Muthana faced Persians out of Hira city and made them to flee.
  • Al-Muthana demanded more force from Madinah.
  • Abu-Bakar (R.A) instructed from his death bed to raise troops for Al-muthana. Umar obeyed and encouraged people to volunteer. People first hesitated against the might of Persia but then volunteered.
  • The first to come was Abu Ubayd- al Thaif. Umar made him the commander but instructed him to consult before making decisions.
  • Persians incited landlords of Chaldea against Muslim invader who turned against them and Muslim have to retreat to Arabian Desert in wait of reinforcements from Madinah.

Changes in Persia:

  • Persian King died succeeded by son. New weak prince came to power but the real power was with Rustam, a powerful grandee.
  • Rustam dispatched a large force against Arabs towards Chaldea.

Battle of Namaraq: Oct. 634:

  • Abu Ubayd joined Al-Muthana men Persian border.
  • They both advanced against the Persian army under Jaban who had captured Hira.
  • Persians were defeated.

Battle of Kaskar: Oct, 634:

  • Abu Ubayd crossed the Euphrates against Persian Army under Nursa, who was at Kaskar. Defeated Nursa and captured Royal date-gardens.

Battle of the Bridge: Oct, 634:

  • Persians sent a large army under Brahman.
  • Also included array of Elephants.
  • On reading the Eastern coast of the Euphrates, Brahman Challenged Ubayd either to cross or let him cross the river. In mistake, Ubayd crossed the river on the Persian side and faced detrimental consequences. He himself killed and several other commanders also lost their life.
  • 7,000 people killed. Greatest defeat of Arabs at the hand of Persia.

Umar resolves to Conquer Iraq:

  • It was strategically impossible to hold Chaldea with upper Iraq stillin hands of Persia.
  • Umar set himself as the supreme commander to crush Persia.
  • He proclaimed a holy war against Persia and summoned the Arabian tribes to rally under his banner in Madinah.
  • Assembled 20,000 men.
  • Rendered the war a national war against Persia.
  • He wanted to lead the force himself but did not do so on the recommendation of Shura.
  • Appointed Saad bin Abi Waqas as the supreme commander.
  • Meanwhile, Al-Muthana succumbed to the wounds of the battle of bridge and died. His last advice to Saad was not to cross river and fight on his own side with desert on the back 635.
  • A youth of 23 years, Yazdigard III become the new king of Persia who infused a new spirit in his troops.
  • Cities in Chaldea up to Hira again passed into Persia and were garrisoned by fresh troops.

Saad Marches to Qadisiya:

  • When reached the Persian border near the Great canal of Sapor, on the verge of a desert at a place called Qadisiya, he had 20,000 men under his command.
  • Umar himself supervised the war through instruction about selection of the site and in the conduct of the battle.

Rustam Marchhes to Qadisiya:

  • 120,000 men. Fully equipped.
  • 300 war elephants.
  • Came along the opposite bank of river at Qadisiya.
  • Negotiations opened. Muslims invited king to fold of Islam which was rejected.

“It is an augury of the triumph to come”. Saad Screamed.

  • Saad consented to the Persians crossing over to his side.
  • In spite of their number and strong weapons, the hearts of the Persian were filled with bad omens and superstitious fears.
  • Saad divided the army into columns and further into companies of ten, selected commanders commanding.
  • Troop’s morale heightened by songs of bravery and reciting verses of Quran by poet and orators.

Battle of Qadisiya:

  • Lasted for 3 days and & nights.

First day Youm-al-Armath, or the Day of Confusion:

Single combat and Muslims fought bravely but Persian Elephants caused many causalities in Arabian ranks.

2nd day Yamm-al-Aghwath, or the Day of Succor:

At mid-day the Syrian reinforcement under al-Qaqa arrived at the battle scene to the great joy of their compatriots.

Al-Qaqa killed Behman (the victor of the battle of the bridge) in single combat.

Several other leaders also killed, sending a wave of despondency through the Persian line.

3rd day yawm-al-Imas or the Day of Distress:

  • Mournful task of removing the dead and burying them.
  • Muslims completed but Persians could not.
  • Sight of huge dead bodies depressed the Persians.
  • Fight started in the mid-day.
  • Al-Qaqa attacked the elephants and drove them away, crushing Persians under their feet.

The night of Clangour:

  • Night fell, but fighting continued.
  • Rang of clangour of the weapons. That’s why called “nigh of the clangous”
  • Rustam was killed in that night. The morale of Persians lowered and despair and despondency created in Persian Ranks.
  • This ended the battle of Qadisiya in utter discomfiture of the Persian horde.
  • Muslim loss 8500 men.
  • Persian loss 35—40,000 men.
  • Heavy booty recovered/collected including emeralds, rubies, gold etc.

Consequences:

  • Beginning of end of Persian Empire.
  • End of Sassanid Empire and laid the foundation of the Islamic Empire of the middle ages.
  • Military might of proud Persia shattered.
  • Persian people lost confidence in their empire.
  • Nomadic tribes Iraq hesitated no longer in their allegiance.
  • Rapid advance towards Al-Madain, the capital of the Sassanid Empire.
  • Hira and Chaldea fell into hands of Muslim again.

Saad advances on Al-Madain:

  • Caliph ordered the Saad to advance towards Al-Madain after giving 2 months rest to his weary force.
  • He first marched on Hira, which submitted without fighting.
  • Then Bablyon where remnants of Rustam’s army resisted but defeat inflicted on them also.
  • Persian landlords submitted to Saad either as converts or as tributaries.
  • When Saad resumed his advance on al-Madain at about the middle of 637 A.D, Queen-mother led an army to stop him but could not.
  • 50,000 men.
  • Its advance checked by the Tigris river.
  • Yazdigard wanted conciliation which Saad rejected and captured the “Western half” of city. Eastern half was empty. All fled.
  • At last, Muslims jumped into the notorious Tigris and reached the other said of river bank.
  • Persians fled with their king when Muslims entered the western half.
  • Found huge spoils of precious stones, jewels, costumes, luxuries etc. innumerable captive men and women of noble birth.

Saad made Al-Madian His Headquarters:

  • Al- Madain the seat of Government of Islamic Iraq.
  • Palaces, Gardens mansions allotted to victors.
  • White palace of the Chosroes (Khosrow) was given to Saad.

Battle of Jalula:

  • Yazdigard took refuge in Hulwan.
  • Ordered his troops to hold Jalula.
  • 12,000 troops under the command of Al-Qaqa and Hashim bin Utba sent to Jalula.
  • Siege after 3 months of fight.
  • Yazdigard feld to array in North Persia, when Muslims captured it too.

Battle of Tekit:

  • In upper Iraq, Persian Romans Christians revolted against Arabs.
  • Christians entered into an alliance with Arabs.
  • Romans and Christians were crushed from this fortress on the bank of Tigris.
  • Whole Mesopotamia came into Muslim hands.

Capture of Ubulla:

  • Utba bin Ghazwan was given the task to capture Ubulla at the head of Persian Gulf when Saad was fighting at Qadisiya.
  • Utba drove out the Persians and Indian merchant from Ubulla.

Umar places ban on further conquest:

  • Arabs reduced whole of Iraq from Mosul to in the north to ubulla in the south.
  • Saad wanted to invade Persia properly which Caliph rejected.

Foundation of Kufa and Basra:

  • Thoughts of caliph had turned from conquest to consolidation and administration of Iraq.
  • Humid climate of Madain did not suit the Arab soldiers.
  • Caliph ordered the Saad to find another location for capital of Iraq which was to be dry like desert.
  • Plain of Kufa, near Hira discovered.
  • Proximity to Arabia, safe for garrison of soldiers.
  • No river lay between kufa and Madinah, as caliph wanted.
  • Red brick houses built for soldiers.
  • Societies developed with mosques, Governor’s house, straight steels and market places.
  • Ubulla was also inhospitable to Arab soldiers. So Basra was founded for the dwelling of soldiers like kufa.

Beginning of Systematic Conquests:

  • Caliph realized that war with Persia to the bitter end was inevitable.
  • He adopted a policy of systematic conquest and expansion of Islam and Arabism.
  • Several measures taken.
  • The institution of the Diwan or the Register of Pensions for the Arab tribes.
  • Foundation of military cities of Kufa, Basra etc.
  • Organization of administrative systems in the conquered provinces.
  • Encouragement of volunteer for armies of Islam fighting outside Arabia and to migrate to the new military towns and provinces.

Administration of Iraq:

  • Commanders and soldiers after victory in Iraq wanted to distribute conquered land among themselves but caliph did not sanctioned it.
  • Whatever land was left by the inhabitants was distributed among soldiers.
  • Those who did not left were required to pay tax to state. His land and property would be safe as Dhimmi/protected dispossess property.
  • Forbade the Muslims to acquire land in the conquered province, for they were to remain all-time soldiers ready to leave place.
  • Revenue deposited to Bayt-ul-mal.
  • Expenses of public administration, and the maintenance of public utilities like canals, bridges etc.
  • Remainder revenue distributed to troops or deposited to Diwan.

 

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