Recruits were instantly raised in every part of Arabia to send to the army.
Continuing Muslims Conquer Syria,
our selection from History of the Saracens by Simon Ockley published in 1718. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages. The selection is presented in twelve easy 5 minute installments.
Previously in Muslims Conquer Syria
One Cathib, happening to be called after his brother Sahal, and looking upon himself to be the better man, resented it as a high affront, and roundly abused Kaled. The latter, however, gave him very gentle and modest answers, to the great satisfaction of all, especially of Abu Obeidah, who, after a short contention, made them shake hands.
Kaled, indeed, was admirable in this respect, that he knew no less how to govern his passions than to command the army; though, to most great generals, the latter frequently proves the easier task of the two.
In this hazardous enterprise his success was beyond all expectation, for he threw Jabalah’s Arabs into disorder and killed a great many, losing very few of his own men on the field, besides five prisoners, three of whom were Yezid Ebn Abu Sofian, Rafi Ebn Omeira, and Derar Ebn Al Alzwar, all men of great note.
Abu Obeidah sent Abdallah Ebn Kort with an express to Omar, acquainting him with their circumstances, begging his prayers and some fresh recruits of Unitarians, a title they glory in, as reckoning themselves the only asserters of the unity of the Deity. Omar and the whole court were extremely surprised, but comforted themselves with the promises made to them in the Koran, which seemed now to be all they had left to trust to.
To encourage the people, he went into the pulpit and showed them the excellency of fighting for the cause of God, and afterward returned an answer to Abu Obeidah, full of such spiritual consolation as the Koran could afford.
Omar commanded Abdallah, as soon as ever he came near the camp and before he delivered the letter, to cry out, “Good news!” in order to comfort the Muslims and ease them in some measure of the perplexing apprehensions they labored under. As soon as he received this letter and message, together with Omar’s blessing, he prepared to set out on his return to the army; but suddenly he remembered that he had omitted to pay his respects at Mohammad’s tomb, which it was very uncertain whether he should ever see again. Upon this he hastened to Ayesha’s house (the place where Mohammad was buried), and found her sitting by the tomb with Ali and Abbas, and Ali’s two sons, Hasan and Hosein, one sitting upon Ali’s lap, the other upon Abbas’. Ali was reading the chapter of beasts, being the sixth of the Koran, and Abbas the chapter of Hud, which is the eleventh.
Abdallah, having paid his respects to Mohammad, Ali asked him whether he did not think of going? He answered, “Yes,” but he feared he should not get to the army before the battle, which yet he greatly wished to do, if possible. “If you desired a speedy journey,” answered Ali, “why did not you ask Omar to pray for you? Don’t you know that the prayers of Omar will not be turned back? Because the apostle of God said of him: ‘If there were a prophet to be expected after me, it would be Omar, whose judgment agrees with the book of God.’ The prophet said of him besides, ‘If an [universal] calamity were to come from heaven upon mankind, Omar would escape from it.’ Wherefore, if Omar prayed for thee, thou shalt not stay long for an answer from God.” Abdallah told him that he had not spoken one word in praise of Omar but what he was very sensible of before. Only he desired to have not only his prayers but also those of all the Muslims, and especially of those who were at the tomb of the prophet. At these words all present lifted up their hands to heaven, and Ali said, “O God, I beseech thee, for the sake of this chosen apostle, in whose name Adam prayed, and thou answeredst his petition and forgavest his sins, that thou wouldst grant to Abdallah Ebn Kort a safe and speedy return, and assist the followers of thy prophet with help, O thou who alone art great and munificent!” Abdallah set out immediately, and afterward returned to the camp with such incredible speed that the Saracens were surprised. But their admiration ceased when he informed them of Omar’s blessing and Ali’s prayers at Mohammad’s tomb.
Recruits were instantly raised in every part of Arabia to send to the army. Said Ebn Amir commanded them, having received a flag of red silk at the hands of Omar, who told him that he gave him that commission in hopes of his behaving himself well in it; advising him, among other things, not to follow his appetites, and not forgetting to put him in hopes of further advancement if he should deserve it. Said thanked him for his advice, adding that if he followed it he should be saved. “And now,” said Said, “as you have advised me, so let me advise you.” “Speak on,” said Omar. “I bid you then [added the other] fear God more than men, and not the contrary; and love all the Muslims as yourself and your family, as well those at a distance as those near you. And command that which is praiseworthy, and forbid that which is otherwise.”
Omar, all the while he spoke, stood looking steadfastly upon the ground, leaning his forehead upon his staff. Then he lifted up his head, and the tears ran down his cheeks, and he said, “Who is able to do this without the divine assistance?” Ali bade Said make good use of the Caliph’s advice and dismissed him. Said, as he marched toward the army, lost his way, which turned out very unfortunate for the Christians, for by that means he fell in with the prefect of Amman with five thousand men. Said having cut all the foot to pieces, the prefect fled with the horse, but was intercepted by a party which had been sent out under Zobeir from the Saracen camp to forage. Said at first thought they had fallen together by the ears, and were fighting among themselves, but when he came up and heard the techir, he was well satisfied. Zobeir ran the prefect through with a lance; of the rest not a single man escaped. The Saracens cut off all their heads, then flayed them, and so carried them upon the points of their lances, presenting a most horrible spectacle to all that part of the country, till they came to the army, which received fresh courage by the accession of this reinforcement, consisting of eight thousand men.
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