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The Islamic World
The Islamic World

Khalifa Abu Bakr - Battle of the Garden

When the battle began on the next day, the forces of Musailma elated by the pride of victory on the first day made the bid to push forward. Bara'a was the commander of one of the Muslim wings. He was a brother of Anas, the personal attendant of the Holy Prophet. There was a strange peculiarity of Bara'a. Whenever he would go to fight his whole body would shake necessitating others to hold him. After some time his body would stop shaking, and he would feel electrified. He would then rush forward against the enemy and fight like a lion. At the battle of Aqraba he had his fit of shivering, and thereafter he plunged into the thick of the battle crying "O Muslims where do you go? Here am I, Bara'a bin Malik; come to me." Bara'a and his men made a determined charge. Abdur Rahman the son of Abu Bakr shot an arrow from his bow that killed Muhkam bin Tufail who commanded the forces of Musailma. At this stage the two armies faced each other in a headlong combat. As the forces of Musailma were larger in number such state of affairs was advantageous to them. While the front ranks of the two armies grappled with each other in hand to hand fight, Khalid collected his cavalry reserves and carrying out a wide outflanking movement dashed for the mounds where the camp of Musailma was located. The boldness of the move of Khalid took Banu Hanifa completely by surprise. The bodyguard of Musailma fought valiantly, but they could not hold ground for long. As Khalid increased his pressure, Musailma lost his nerves, and retreated to a neighboring fortified garden.

Battle of the Garden. With the withdrawal of Musailma his army lost the will to fight, and they too found safety in seeking refuge in the garden. A huge wall surrounded the garden, and the fugitives closed the gate thus shutting access to the pursuing Muslims. Bara'a bin Malik asked his companions to lift him to the top of the garden wall and from there he jumped into the garden. Some other Muslims did likewise Thus, hazarding their lives, this group of Muslims rushed to the gate and opened it. With the opening of the gate, the Muslim army rushed into the garden, and let lose a reign of slaughter on the Banu Hanifa. The Banu Hanifa fought desperately for sheer survival, but theirs was a losing battle. All advantages now lay with the Muslims. The men of Banu Hanifa were cut to pieces in large numbers, and the garden was virtually drenched with blood. So bloody was the battle of the garden that in the Arab annals it came to be known as the "Battle of the Garden of Death."

In the Muslim ranks there were some women as well. One of them was Umm 'Ammarah. She had fought in the battle of Uhud, and when wave after wave of the enemy rushed to attack the Holy Prophet she shielded him in which task she received no less than a dozen wounds. After the death of the Holy Prophet her son Habib while returning from Uman fell into the hands of Musailma, the Liar. Habib was required to disown the Holy Prophet of Islam, and offer allegiance to the false prophet Musailma. Habib refused, and for his faith in Islam he was put to death. Umm 'Ammarah thereupon vowed vengeance against Musailma. When Abu Bakr ordered operations against Musailma, Umm 'Ammarah accompanied the Muslim force fired with the urge to take revenge. In the "Garden of Death" penetrating through the ranks of the enemy she reached close to Musailma. At that time Wahshi an Abyssinian fighting in the Muslim ranks threw in a javelin at Musailma. At the battle of Uhud Wahshi had fought on the side of the Quraish against the Muslims, and he had killed Hamza an uncle of the Holy Prophet with his javelin. Later he became a Muslim and he fought in the various battles during the caliphate of Abu Bakr. When Wahshi threw his javelin, Abdullah another son of Umm 'Ammarah who was with her in the battle rushed forward and fell on Musailma with his sword. Musailma fell dead, and his severed head was hoisted for all to see. Thereupon the Banu Hanifa formally surrendered. With such surrender the valley of Yamama which had so long defied Islam lay prostrate at the feet of the Muslims.

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