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Khalifa Abu Bakr - Apostacy Campaign Against Taleah

Campaign against Taleaha

Taleaha. Taleaha belonged to the Banu Asad tribe. The tribe held the region to the north of Madina. Taleaha had laid claim to prophethood and divine revelation during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet. He ridiculed the Muslim way of prayer, and asked his followers to pray standing. He declared "God does not want us to invert our faces or bend our backs in ugly postures." The Holy Prophet directed punitive action against the imposter. In his anxiety to have the benediction of killing a false prophet, a Muslim stole into the camp of Taleaha with a view to murdering him. The attempt was miscarried, and that made the followers of Taleaha proclaim that no sword could harm their prophet.

Before the Muslim army commissioned by the Holy Prophet could advance against Taleaha, the Holy Prophet was dead. Taleaha declared that the death of the Holy Prophet was a sign corroborative of his prophethood. Many other tribes acknowledged Taleaha as the prophet, and the argument that weighed with them was that while Muhammad (peace be on him) was dead, Taleaha was alive, and a living prophet was to be preferred to the Prophet who was dead. The Banu Fazara joined him under their leader 'Uyaynah. The tribes of Abs, Ghatafan, Banu Bakr and Dhayiban who had been defeated by the Muslims in the battle of Abraq also made common cause with Taleaha. Parts of the Bani Taiy and Banu Jadilah also joined the ranks of Taleaha. That made Taleaha sufficiently strong and powerful, and he came to lead a confederacy of numerous tribes who held North East Arabia.

Movements of the parties. At the time of the battle of Zul Qissa, Taleaha was at Sumera. After the battle of Zul Qissa, Taleaha moved from tribe to tribe who offered their allegiance to him. Ultimately he came to Buzakha and here he mustered a strong force drawn from various tribes anxious to measure swords with the Muslims.

Abu Bakr commissioned Khalid bin Walid to undertake operations against Taleaha. In view of the strength of the army at the disposal of Taleaha an effort was made to enlist the flower of the Muslim warriors under the colors of Khalid. Moving northwards the contingent of Khalid penetrated into the mountain region of Aja and Salma, held by Banu Taiy. Here Khalid entered into negotiations with Addi, the chief of Bani Taiy. After the battle of Zul Qissa, Bani Taiy chief had visited Madina, paid Zakat and offered allegiance to Islam. In spite of that although Addi himself remained faithful to Islam, the bulk of his tribe supported Taleaha, and dispatched a contingent to Buzakha to fight against the Muslims. Khalid bin Walid carried a special message of Abu Bakr for Addi, in which he was asked to use his influence with his people to wean them from the support of Taleaha, and help the cause of Islam. After some difficulty, Addi succeeded in his efforts and his tribe offered allegiance to Islam. The Bani Taiy contingent was withdrawn from Buzakha, and it joined the ranks of the Muslim army. The contingent was commanded by Addi. Through the efforts of Addi, the allied tribe Banu Jadilah also detached itself from Taleaha and joined the fold of Islam. The addition of the contingents of Bani Taiy and Banu Jadilah considerably strengthened the Muslims.

Thus reinforced the Muslim army marched to Buzakha. On the way, the Muslim army was sorely distressed to find that two of the Muslim scouts Akkasha bin Mohsin, and Sapit b Akram had been slain by the men of Taleaha, and left to be trampled on the road. Khalid bin Walid arranged for the burial of these martyrs. Khalid vowed that he would take vengeance for the death of these scouts.

Battle of Buzakha. When the Muslim army reached Buzakha, they were confronted by the forces of the apostate tribes. In spite of some defections, the forces of the confederate tribes were considerable in strength, and outnumbered the Muslim force. Khalid called upon Taleaha to submit to Islam, but he ridiculed the offer. Thereupon the two armies clashed. The Muslim forces were commanded by Khalid, while the forces of Taleaha were commanded by 'Uyaynah, the chief of Bani Fazara. The two armies were well matched, and the outcome of the battle seemed uncertain.

Taleaha retired to a place of safety, and pretended to await heavenly inspiration. Khalid increased his pressure and 'Uyaynah hard pressed waited on Taleaha to inquire whether he had received any message from the heavens about the outcome of the battle. Taleaha replied that the request made by him was under consideration in the heaven, and a reply was expected any moment. 'Uyaynah led a charge against the Muslim forces, but was beaten back with heavy losses. He again waited on Taleaha, and wanted to know whether any reply had come from the heavens. Taleaha said that God had spoken to him in the following terms: "Your hopes and that of Khalid shall remain at variance, and between you matters are so ordained that an event will take place which you will never forget." At this ambiguous message carrying no sense, 'Uyaynah realized that Taleaha was an imposter, and his cause was doomed to failure. He told Taleaha "Woe to you! I go." 'Uyaynah asked the men of his tribe to break camp and retreat to save themselves. With the withdrawal of 'Uyaynah and his men the tide of the battle was turned in favor of the Muslims. Khalid intensified the attack, and the battlefield came to be strewn with the dead bodies of the men of Taleaha. Finding resistance useless, Taleaha escaped with his wife to Syria. With the withdrawal of Taleaha the battle was over. The Muslims had won a significant victory. Most of the tribes surrendered and accepted Islam. Those who still remained opposed to Islam retreated and sought refuge further inland.

Sequel to the battle of Buzakha. Khalid made Buzakha his headquarters and re-organized the administration. He appointed his agents for the various districts. General amnesty was granted to those who re-entered the fold of Islam and expressed regret for their past behavior. Those who had perpetrated atrocities on the Muslims were apprehended and subjected to likewise atrocities. The vacillating tribes in the region who had been sitting on the fence, and had preferred to watch the course of events submitted to the authority of Madina, paid Zakat and were re-admitted to the fold of Islam. The chiefs of the tribes who surrendered were sent to Madina for presentation before Abu Bakr. Considerable booty captured from the battlefield was also sent to Madina. Abu Bakr treated such chiefs with due courtesy and kindness. Khalid submitted a detailed report to Abu Bakr about the operations at Buzakha. Abu Bakr approved of the action taken, and appreciated the services of Khalid and his men in strong terms.

Taleaha on escape from Buzakha sought refuge in Syria. When Syria was occupied by the Muslims, Taleaha accepted Islam again and his career as a false prophet came to an end. Later he joined the Muslim army and took conspicuous part in the battles of Qadsiya and Nehavand, during the caliphate of Umar.

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