A Chapter from Muslim History – The Battle of Yamamah

A Chapter from Muslim History; The Battle of Yamamah

By Brig Muhammad Saleem (10th War Course)

Photo of Brig Muhammad Saleem, 14 Punjab (10th War Course) Editor’s Note: Brig Muhammad Saleem (Retd) was commissioned in 14 Punjab Regt in July 1967. He retired as Station Commander Rawalpindi in 1999. After the retirement, he has settled in Rawalpindi.

All praises be to Allah who enabled me to spend some days in his blessed land. After two days of arriving in Riyadh on 20 July, 2019, my son-in-law Muhammad Zeeshan, Deputy Head of Mission Pakistan Embassy, took me to nearby area of Yamamah which gained fame during Ridda Wars in 632 A.D. (12 Hjri). Most fiercest battles took place against the leading Apostate Musaylimah Al-Kadaab in which a large number of Sahaba embraced Shahadat to defend Khatam-e-Naboowat.

Since preservation of history, particularly by Muslims, has remained a weak area leading to many distortions, visualization of the battlefield and details of battle of Yamamah was difficult for me. To help me understand this better, my son-in-law invited a Pakistani Mr. Hamid who during his over four decades stay in Saudi Arabia had done research by physically visiting all battlefields of Ghazwat and places visited by Rasool Allah (ﷺ) and other historic places in Saudi Arabia. An evening session with Hamid Sahib whom I found a living encyclopedia of Muslim history followed by a conducted tour of Yamamah area on 1 August proved highly enlightening. His main research findings about the Battle of Yamamah were:

*.  A few weeks before the death of Rasool Allah (ﷺ), Musaylimah heading a large entourage visited Medina. He was received by Hazrat Abu Bakar Siddique (r.a.) and lodged in a state guest house near Masjid-e-Nabawi. He showed his displeasure on lack of proper protocol, claiming himself to be the strongest chieftain of Banu Tamim. His meeting with Rasool Allah (ﷺ) was planned in Masjid-e-Nabawi, but he insisted that Rasool Allah (ﷺ) should come and meet him which was rejected and he returned to Yamamah without the meeting.

*.  Immediately after the death of Rasool Allah (ﷺ) most of the Arab tribes rebelled against Medina with some of their chiefs claiming false prophet-hood. Among them Musaylimah was the strongest. The Muslim Army under Usama ibn Zayd raised on the orders of Rasool Allah (ﷺ) for avenging the Battle of Mu’tah (Roman Frontier) was still at Medina. The Caliph Abu Bakar Siddique (r.a.) against the advice of his companions, sent the Army on its original mission and raised fresh forces which he personally led against the rebellious tribes trying to surround Medina and successfully drove them away during July/August 632 AD. Meanwhile the Caliph organised Muslim forces in eleven Corps for Ridda Wars against apostate tribes in entire Arabia (For details visit Wikipedia).

*. The Caliph assigned Ikrimah ibn Abi-Jahl (r.a.) and Shurahbil ibn Hasana (r.a.) Corps on fixation mission of Musaylimah at Yamamah with orders for not attacking till the main effort under Khalid ibn al-Walid (r.a.) cleared apostate tribes in north-central Arabia and finally joined them for attacking Musaylimah. However, after learning about rapid success of Khalid ibn al-Walid against apostate Tulayha ibn Khuwaylid at the Battle of Buzakha and the Battle of Ghamra, in the third week of September, Ikrimah (r.a.) got impatient and directly attacked vastly superior forces of Musaylimah and was defeated with heavy losses. He was moved by the Caliph to Oman for joining Muslim forces fighting apostate tribes.

*. The reinforcing Corps of Shurahbil (r.a.) committed same mistake at Yamamah and was also defeated with heavy losses. Remnants of his Corps at Yamamah were finally joined by Khalid (r.a.) in early December, 632 after decisive victories against apostate tribes led by Tulayha, Salama, Malik ibn Nuwayrah in north-central Arabia. By that time the Muslim Army under Usama (r.a.) had also returned after successful operation at Mu’tah on the Roman Frontier and joined the forces of Khalid (r.a.) at Yamamah.

*. Muslim Army was 14,000 strong, and the strength of Musaylimah Army was 40,000.

*. Final battle of Yamamah was fought in end December, 632 with overwhelming Muslim victory with Musaylimah killed and his forces routed.

*.  A large number of Sahaba including about 600 Hafiz-e-Quran sacrificed their lives during the fiercest battles of Khatam-e-Naboowat. 29 graveyard compounds of Shuhadah of Yamamah exist in the area. A few years ago, bodies of some Shuhadah were shifted from these Graveyards for clearing sites for commercial markets of some members of royal family. Quoting a Pakistani grave-digger (گور کن) from Sialkot who was involved in this shifting, the bodies were as fresh as at their time of Shahadat .


Another important revelation by Mr. Hamid was about the false propaganda alleging Khalid ibn Walid (r.a.) marrying the beautiful wife of apostate Malik ibn Nuwayrah after his execution at Najad, which was spread by Malik’s brother in Medina, finding mention in various historic accounts later.

It was most inspiring experience for me to see the battlefields of Yamamah still filled with highly refreshing scent of love of Shuhadah of Islam who sacrificed their lives for Islam and Namoos-e-Risalat. Allama Iqbal beautifully summarized such love for the Prophet  (ﷺ) which led to rise of the great Muslim Empires as long as we practically lived with this love:

A Chapter from Muslim History - The Battle of Yamamah

Some photos of the area denoting important places of Yamamah Battlefield are given below:-

The Battle of Yamamah, by Brig Muhammad Saleem, 14 Punjab

The Battle of Yamamah, by Brig Muhammad Saleem, 14 Punjab

The Battle of Yamamah, by Brig Muhammad Saleem, 14 Punjab

The Battle of Yamamah, by Brig Muhammad Saleem, 14 Punjab

The Battle of Yamamah, by Brig Muhammad Saleem, 14 Punjab 

The Battle of Yamamah, by Brig Muhammad Saleem, 14 Punjab

The Battle of Yamamah, by Brig Muhammad Saleem, 14 Punjab

The Battle of Yamamah, by Brig Muhammad Saleem, 14 Punjab

The Battle of Yamamah, by Brig Muhammad Saleem, 14 Punjab

Here are some selected verses, as a prayer, from a famous poem of Allama Iqbal:-

The Battle of Yamamah, by Brig Muhammad Saleem, 14 Punjab

Related Page:
Pakistan Army Blog (Retired Officers)

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  1. Very informative. It compelled me to read it till the end.

  2. Sir,
    It’s a very well researched article with the photos of the battlefield.

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