CONQUESTS OF SYRIA & PALESTINE 634-638 A.D:
Situation is Syria on Umar’s Accession:
- Rapid advancement towards Syria.
- Emperor Heraclius had fled from Emessa to Antioch in Northern Syria, which became his second capital.
Advance on Damascus:
Damascus—Capital of Byzantine Syria.
- “Queen of cities”, fertility, mild climate, water availability.
- Syrian, Arab and Greek population.
- Liberated from Persians by Heraclius.
- Khalid summoned Amr Bin al-As from Palestine and Shurahbil from Jordan to siege Damascus.
- The city was captured with mild resistance.
- Poll-tax of 1 Dinar and one Jarib (20 months of wheat) per head implemented which was raised later by Umar.
- Khalid advanced towards Antioch, leaving Yazid as commander of the city of Damascus.
- Syrian people opened the doors for Arabs for they wanted liberation from their old masters.
- Heraclius collected a large army under his brother Theodore’s.
- The both Armies met at Yamruk (a valley).
- Muslims 30,000 men.
- Syrians 100,000 – 200,000 men.
- Syrians were well equipped but a heterogeneous force, weakened by racial and religious antipathies among the Greeks, Armenians and Syrian Arab soldiers. Jealousy. Not accustomed to dry, hot and dusty weather/environment of desert.
- Muslims were united, morale high disciplined under the greatest commander of the time, Khalid bin Walid.
- A fierce battle took place. Muslims faced resistance first but then easily defeated the enemy.
- The defeat turned into a rout for Syrians.
- Muslim losses 3000 men.
- Syrian losses 140,000 men.
- Heraclius fled to Constantinople from Antioch.
- Syria captured. “Syria is as quite as a camel”, wrote Khalid to caliph when faced no resistance.
- After the victory, Khalid was dismissed by caliph for his material severity, extravagance in personal matters.
- Later he was exonerated from all charges and fought as an ordinary soldier under the command of Abu Ubayda.
- Hazrat Umar devised a policy to systematically capture the Syria not by arms but through negotiations etc.
Capture of Jerusalem:
- Inhabited by Greeks, minority Syrians.
- Gave resistance to Arabs.
- Amr bin al-As siege Jerusalem.
- Artabun surrender to caliph in person who visited Jerusalem on his request.
- Caliph showed a spirit of tolerance, justice and peaceful treatment to the non-Muslims.
- Byzantine power was shattered.
- Arabs were welcomed by locals.
- After capturing of Caesarea in Oct 640, whole Syria and Palestine were subjected to Muslim rule.
- Rebellion efforts by Heraclius from Asia minor which were nipped in the bud by Abu Ubayda.
- Some areas of Asia minor also captured.
- Christians of Mesopotamia accepted Islam.
- Jizya not applied to non-Muslims Zakat had to be paid.
Plague of Imwas:
- A terrible epidemic broke out in items, Damascus, and other towns of Syria where Arab troops were garrisoned.
- Umar had to left Madinah for Syria due to the havoc played by plague.
- 25,000 Arab soldiers died including commanders like Abu Ubayda, Muadh bin Jabal, Shurabil, Yazid Bin Abu Sufyan etc.
Administration of Syria:
- Caliph travelled to Syria in 639.
- Appointed Muawiya as the Governor of Syria which he held for 20 years before becoming the caliph.
- Divided the Syria into four military districts. They were Damascus, Hims, Jordan and Palestine.
- Non-Muslims were allowed to keep their faith on two conditions;
- Pay taxes.
- Remain peaceful and loyal to their new masters.
They became. “protected people or briefly “Dhimmis”, for they were under the protection of Islam. ”
Jizya & Kharaj:
- Jizya was a pool tax paid by able bodied men.
- Women, children, Invalids except.
- Kharaj or land tax, non-Muslim land owners and cultivators. Both in cash and kind.
Constitution of Umar:
- Treaties with people of captured areas – contracts of Umar.
- Muslim law of war and peace, international relations, treaties and treatments of non-Muslims evolved from contracts of Umar.
- The treaties granted rights and freedoms to non-Muslim subjects of Islam state and also imposed some responsibilities.
- Freedom of religion and conscience.
- Rights of property and life.
- Freedom of trade and commerce
- Freedom of personal law and equality before law in criminal cases.
- Perform duties to state.
- Pay taxes
- Remain loyal and peaceful.
|i. Not insult the Quran, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.W) and Islam.||i. Distinctive clothing|
|ii. Not to marry Muslim women||ii. Not to build houses higher than of Muslims.|
|iii. Not to attempt to convert Muslim or injure his life or property||iii. Not to drink in public|
|iv. Not to assist enemies of Islam||iv. Not to sound their wooden bells
|v.||v. To bury- their dead in silence|
|vi.||vi. Not to mount horse.|