The Battle of Buwaib and the Conquest of Persia

by Kasim Javed - June 8, 2017

All civilisations have seminal events that echo throughout the ages and are celebrated and remembered on anniversaries. The two world wars for instance are remembered regularly in Europe, it is considered a key part of Western history or the fall of the Berlin Wall was seen as a key victory for Capitalism. Similarly, the Ummah has many events that have been marked in the history of the Ummah. Many of these events occurred during the month of Ramadhan including the Battle of Badr, the Conquest of Makkah, the Battle of Ein Jaloot and many others. One such key battle was the battle of Buwaib which took place on the 13th of Ramadhan and paved the way for the opening of Persia to Islam.

The Global Vision of the Prophet (peace be upon him)

From the onset, Islam came with a global vision. The Muslims did not do the Hijrah to Madinah because they were simply persecuted by the Quraysh, rather the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) migrated from Makkah to Madinah in order to establish a state that would be the vehicle to spread the light and justice of Islam to the whole of mankind. This is why the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) sent a letter to world leaders of the time to invite them to Islam such as the letter to Chosroes, the Emperor of Persia, the envoy to Caesar and so on.

Allah, may He be exalted, says: "And We have sent you [O Muhammad] not but as a mercy for the Aalameen [mankind, jinns and all that exists]" (Quran 21:107).

The Bracelet of Kisra and Prophesy of the Conquest of Persia

During the Hijra, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu) were being chased across the desert. The Quraysh were pursuing them and had a bounty of 100 camels placed on the Prophet's head. In one gathering around Makkah, a man came in and said he had seen two men walking through the desert and it was possible that they were Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu). Suraqa ibn Malik, one of the Bedouins in the gathering, deceptively denied that this could be the case, but secretly left the gathering and prepared his horse to pursue the two men. He wanted to gain the reward of 100 camels.

Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu) would constantly be looking back and he was very worried about being caught, whereas the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) was completely calm and reciting the Quran. When Suraqa ibn Malik came close to them, the front legs of his horse sank into the sand and he fell. He thought this was odd because his horse never did this before. So he got back onto his horse and continued pursuing them. The same thing happened again! The third time it happened, he saw a wall of dust in front of him. So after this, when he approached the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) he came to beg for peace. Initially he had come to kill the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) but now he was asking the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) for a pledge of protection!

The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) then gave him the promise of protection from any future violence in writing, and he said to Suraqa ibn Malik: "What about a day when you will be wearing the Bracelets of Kisra." There was only one Kisra and everyone knew who this was, but this statement was so shocking that Suraqa ibn Malik had to clarify again: "Kisra!?" The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said "Yes, Kisra the son of Hermuz."

The Expansion of Islam

This global vision was continued after the passing of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) by Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu). Only weeks before his death, the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) instructed Usama bin Zaid (radhiallahu anhu) as a commander of the battalion to the Romans, however after the death of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) , there were many internal challenges facing Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu). From tribes that reneged upon their Islam, others refusing to pay the zakat and false prophets challenging the authority of the Islamic state, this did not distract Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu) from following the instructions of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) even though many of the Sahaba were initially opposed to this decision. Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu) explained and convinced the Sahaba and then ordered the battalion led by Usama bin Zaid (radhiallahu anhu), to continue towards the Romans. This incident not only reminds us of the obedience Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu) had to the Shar'iah, but the necessity to challenge the Roman and the Persian Empire, the two superpowers of the time who may have thought the resolve of the Muslims had weakened since the passing of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) .

In his short span as Khalifah, Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu) simultaneously continued the campaigns towards both the Roman and the Persian Empire, with a number of victories, while completely quelling any internal problems. On his deathbed, Abu Bakr (radhiallahu anhu), instructed (radhiallahu anhu) to execute the proposal of Mathanna bin Harithah, which was to send reinforcements to his division who was on the Persian front. And this was the famous incident when, after conquering Syria, Khalid Bin Waleed went all the way to Persia to support the Muslims. As soon as Omar bin Khattab (radhiallahu anhu) became the Khalifah he sensed the Sahaba were demoralised and were lacking confidence and were nervous about the Persians. So he fired up their emotions in a powerful speech;

"We have broken the power of the Persians, they have lost heart and are totally demoralised. They do not have the same courage as before. You are the lions of Allah Almighty and are the heroes of the battlefield, and victory is impatiently waiting for you. Your power and majestic grandeur is making the foe quiver from head to foot. They tremble helplessly in their homes when they think of facing you in the battlefield. Rise and determine to crush their pomp and grandeur and erase it from their history. Get ready to accompany me and annihilate their powerful tyranny!"

The Muslims fervently continued the mission to liberate Persia from the shackles of the Persian Kings and won the battles of Namaraq and Saqatia. Following these victories, the Muslims were tested in the Battle of the Bridge.

Rubiy Ibn Aamir and the Delegation to Rustam of Persia

The Ummah didn't conquer lands for material wealth and to exploit the raw materials of the earth. They did it purely to liberate humanity from darkness and oppression they were currently suffering to the justice of Islam. This can be seen from the delegation to Rustam which was led by Rubiy ibn Aamir who went directly to Rustam's encampment.

Rustam said to him: "Rubiy! What do you want from us? If you want wealth we would give you. We would provide you with provisions until you are sated. We would clothe you. We would make you become rich and happy. Look, Rubiy! What do you see in this assembly of mine? No doubt you see signs of richness and luxury, these lush carpets, fine curtains, gold embroidered wails, carpets of silk...Do you have any desire that we should bestow some of these riches which we have on you?"

Rustam thus wanted to impress the Muslim and allure him from his purpose by this show of opulence and grandeur. Rubiy looked and listened unmoved and then said:

"Allah Azza wa jal has sent us to deliver you from worshiping the creation to worshiping the Creator of the creation and to deliver you from the narrowness of this world to the vastness of this hereafter and from the oppression of the various systems to the justice of Islam... Whoever accepts that from us we are prepared to welcome him. And whoever fights us, we would fight him until the promise of God comes to pass."

"And what is the promise of God to you?" asked Rustam. "Paradise for our martyrs and victory for those who live." Rubiy responded.

This is in stark contrast to the imperial strategy of America and her allies today whose global hegemony is not for eliminating poverty, nor establishing social justice, nor getting rid of corruption, nor for creating peaceful societies, rather it is only for geopolitical interests and to remove anything that is on obstacle to that economic and political interests.

The Battle of the Bridge

In the Battle of the Bridge, the Persians not only sent their best men but equipped their armies with dangerous elephants. The Commander of the Muslims was Abu Ubaid bin Masood (radhiallahu anhu) and with him, experienced and great heroes such as Mathanna bin Harithah. The Muslim army encamped on the shores of the river Euphrates received a message from the Persian general;

"We invite you to cross the river Euphrates and face us or invite us to cross over and oppose you. Let us know which option you prefer"

The entire Muslim army voiced their unanimous opinion that they should not cross the river, as they would face danger. They advised him that a general should always remember to have a secure route by which he could retreat in case of a necessity. However, Abu Ubaid Bin Masood (radhiallahu anhu) became over-zealous and decided to cross the bridge over the river Euphrates.

The Muslim army had no space to fall into rank formations and attack the enemy, on the other hand the Persian General was wearing bracelets with bells within his army, hearing the bells, the elephants stampeded, the horses of the Muslims ran away, and they were now fighting elephants with their bare hands and swords. The Muslims faced a heavy defeat and when the news reached Omar bin al-Khattab (radhiallahu anhu), the true leader that he was, consoled the people asking them not to panic. He then sent fresh forces to support the Muslims under the command of Mathanna Bin Haritha.

The Battle of Buwaib

The armies then met once again on the banks of the Boyab Stream. The Muslims on the 13th day of Ramadhan in one of the most furious battles ever fought between them. Muslims consisted of 12,000, while the Persians numbered 120,000; of them are 100,000 riders. The great Muslim leader, Al-Muthanna Ibn Harithah, asked the army to break their fast and make Iftar first. This way he told them they would be stronger. Then the furious fight began...

Over 100,000 from the Persian army were killed and the remaining 20,000 ran away or jumped into the river. A huge number of the great sahabah met Allah SWT that day as martyrs. This battle was considered the most important battle between Muslims and the Persians that led to the removal of the Persian Empire. This battle was also called "Youm Al-Asha" (The Day of Ten) as every Muslim killed ten of the opposition.

After this, the battle of Qadasiya took place conquering what was left of the Western flank of the Persian Empire. After the victory of the Muslims, the booty was brought to the Madina. Among them was the crown of Kisra, his clothes sewn out of gold thread, his scarf adorned with precious jewels and his bracelets like which nobody had ever seen before. 'Umar shouted: "Where is Suraqa Ibn Malik?" So he came and wore the bracelets of Kisra. He walked around with them proudly, tears flooding from his eyes, saying: "Behold, the honest and the trustworthy Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has told the truth after 20 years. He has kept his promise." Umar then raised his head to the heavens above and said;

"Oh Allah, You did not reward this wealth to your Prophet, and he was closer to You and loved by You more than I, neither did You reward this wealth to Abu Bakr and he was closer to You and loved by You more than I, and You gave it to me. I seek refuge from you in what you have given me and hope that this is not a test from you in which I fail."

Whilst there are a number of lessons we can learn from the Muslims conquest of Persia, the end objective of the battles of Islam was to implement Islam, remove oppression and tyranny and invite people to Islam. Today without the Khilafah the Ummah is under the political, economic and military subjugation of the Capitalist states. Moreover, the very Aqeedah of Islam is being targeted for reform. The battle for Muslims living in the West today is to preserve and convey the Islamic identity so that the next generation of Muslims inherit the true meaning of Islam to be implemented and conveyed to the whole world. Thus, we must remember and recall our history regardless of the political pressure to secularise Islam.