Arab Conquest 639AD- 660AD
1x 3Cv (General): Khālid ibn al-Walīd
4x 4Bd or 4Sp
1x 7Hd or 2Ps
Muhammad died in June 632, and Abu Bakr was appointed Khalifa, or Caliph (deputy). and political successor at Medina. Soon after Abu Bakr's succession,
several Arab tribes revolted, in the Ridda Wars (Arabic for the Wars of Apostasy). Abu Bakr dispatches his most fearsome commander Khālid ibn al-Walīd (592AD- 642AD), also known as
SayfAllāh al-Maslūl (the Drawn Sword of God), who summarily slaughters the infidels and heretics wherever he finds them, for as the Qu'ran reads, "...in the shade of scimitars is Paradise prefigured."The Ridda Wars preoccupied the Caliphate until March 633, and ended with the entirety of the Arab Peninsula under the authority of the Caliph at Medina.
In 633 AD, Al-Muthanna (ibn Haritha), chief of the Banishaiban clan, steals into Persian Mesopotamia and begins the siege of Hira (which he takes on camelback) and then
drives his army west to Damascus. 700,000 Christian troops are dispatched from Constantinople by Emperor Heraclius in response; most of them are slaughtered in the
desert outside the city. "Infidels they came, infidels they departed."
Then Omar, caliph from 634 to 644, initiated an explosive expansion of Islam. He seized Syria, then Jerusalem and finally Damascus in 638 after having defeated Heraclius.
In 635, other Arab troops launched an assault on the Sassanian Empire, and crossed the Euphrates. The downfall of the empire was well underway when the Arab
horsemen dealt the deathblow to the Sassanid dynasty and overran Persia first entering Ctesiphon in 637.
Successive victories were to follow. They emerged victorious from the engagement at Nahavand in 642, which left the way open for them to enter the Iranian plateau.
The conquest of Persia continued with the fall of Afghanistan (651) and then Transoxiana (674).
635 AD : Damascus falls after Khalid and his army arrives. He then leads his troops into Jordan and defeats the Byzantine army massed against him at Battle of Yarmuk.
638 AD : The Islamic armies swarm Jerusalem after a 600 day siege of the city and soon control most of the Holy Land.
640 AD : Arabian troops cross into Egypt, and by September control Alexandria. Amr (ibn Al'as), the general now in command, writes back to the Caliph in Mecca, "We entered
the city, every man having to veil their eyes from the sunlight glaring off the marble and gold."
649 AD : Arabs take Cyprus and begin a naval war with the Byzantine Empire.
653 AD : The lessons of the Prophet are for the first time officially compiled into the Koran (Qu'ran) while all other unauthorized literature is immediately suppressed.
The First Jihad erupts.
656 AD : The Third Caliph Uthman (ibn Affan) is assassinated in Medina by religious sectarians, and two opposed armies of the faithful mass at Siffin, in Syria,
copies of the Qu'ran spiked to the tips of their lances. The Syrian side carries the day as Islam schisms effectively into the Sunni (who believe the Caliph line to be
legitimate) and the Shi'a (who believe Ali ibn Abu Talib, Mohammed's cousin, to be the true spiritual successor. This schism, however, and Talib, have nothing to do
with Taliban (ta-fathah), which is Arabic for "student", as most of them are graduates from various orthodox Islamic institutions). Syrians were Sunnis, the Persians Shi'a.
(The Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s was fought along exactly the same religious grounds, with Iraq as Sunnis, Iran as Shi'as). The Muslim conquest of Persia led to the end
of the Sassanid Empire in 644, the fall of Sassanid dynasty in 651 and the eventual decline of the Zoroastrian religion in Persia. Arabs first entered Sassanid territory in 633,
when general Khālid ibn al-Walīd,invaded what is now Iraq. Following the transfer of Khalid to the Roman front in the Levant, the Muslims eventually lost their holdings
to Persian counterattacks. The second invasion began in 636 under Saad ibn Abi Waqqas, when a key victory at the Battle of Qadisiyyah led to the permanent end of
Sassanid control west of Persia. The Zagros mountains then became a natural barrier and border between the Rashidun Caliphate and the Sassanid Empire. Owing to
continuous raids by Persians into the area, Caliph Umar ordered a full invasion of the Sassanid Persian empire in 642, which was completed with the complete conquest
of the Sassanids by mid 644. The quick conquest of Persia in a series of well coordinated multi-pronged attacks, directed by Caliph Umar from Medina several thousand miles
from the battlefields in Persia, became his greatest triumph, contributing to his reputation as a great military and political strategist.
Tomb of Khalid, in Khalid ibn al-Walid Mosque, Homs.
Click here to see the army pictures.