Category:Muslim conquest of the Levant
Pages in category "Muslim conquest of the Levant"
The following 25 pages are in this category, out of 25 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
The following 25 pages are in this category, out of 25 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
1. Siege of Damascus (634) – The Siege of Damascus lasted from 21 August to 19 September 634 AD before the city fell to the Rashidun Caliphate. Damascus was the first major city of the Byzantine empire to fall in the Muslim conquest of Syria, the last of the Roman-Persian Wars ended in 627, when Heraclius concluded a successful campaign against the Persians in Mesopotamia. At the same time, Mohammad united the Arabs under the banner of Islam, after his death in 632, Abu Bakr succeeded him as the first Rashidun Caliph. Suppressing several internal revolts, Abu Bakr sought to expand the empire beyond the confines of the Arabian Peninsula, in April 634, Abu Bakr invaded the Byzantine Empire in the Levant and decisively defeated a Byzantine army at the Battle of Ajnadayn. The Muslim armies marched north and laid siege to Damascus, after the surrender of the city, the commanders disputed the terms of the peace agreement. The commanders finally agreed that the terms given by Abu Ubaidah would be met. The peace terms included an assurance that no pursuit will be undertaken by Muslims against the departing Roman convoy for three days, in 610, during the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628, Heraclius became the emperor of the Byzantine Empire after overthrowing Phocas. While Heraclius focused his attention on the affairs of his empire, the Sassanid Persians conquered Mesopotamia, overran Syria in 611. In 612, Heraclius expelled the Persians from Anatolia, in 613, he launched a counter offensive against Syria, but was decisively defeated. Over the next decade, the Persians conquered Palestine and Egypt and Heraclius rebuilt his army, preparing for a new offensive and he achieved substantial victories over the Persians and their allies in the Caucasus and Armenia. In 627, he launched a winter offensive against Persia in Mesopotamia. This victory threatened the Persian capital city of Ctesiphon, Heraclius restored the True Cross to Jerusalem with an elaborate ceremony in 629. In Arabia, the Prophet Mohammad had united most of Arabia under a single religious, when Mohammed died in June 632, Abu Bakr was elected to the newly formed office of Caliph, becoming Mohammads political and religious successor. Several Arabic tribes revolted against Abu Bakr, in the Ridda wars, Abu Bakr quelled the revolt. By 633, Arabia was firmly united under the authority of the Caliph in Medina. In 633, Abu Bakr initiated a war of conquest against the neighboring Sassanian, after a successful conquest of the Persian province of Iraq, Abu Bakrs confidence grew and in April 634 his armies invaded the Byzantine Levant from four different routes. He attacked and overthrew the Byzantine defenses of Levant and quickly captured the Ghassanid capital city of Bosra, in July 634, the Muslim army under Khalids command defeated another Byzantine army in the Battle of Ajnadayn. After clearing their southern flank, the Muslims laid siege to Damascus, strategically located, Damascus attracted merchants from all over the world
2. Muslim conquest of the Levant – During the Roman period, beginning after the fall of Jerusalem in the year 70, the entire region was renamed Palaestina, subdivided into Diocese I and II. The Romans also renamed an area of land including the Negev, Sinai, part of the area was ruled by the Arab vassal state of the Ghassanids symmachos. Thus, on the eve of the Muslim conquests the Romans were still in the process of rebuilding their authority in these territories, politically, the Syrian region consisted of two provinces, Syria proper stretched from Antioch and Aleppo in the north to the top of the Dead Sea. To the west and south of the Dead Sea lay the province of Palestine, Syria was mostly a Syriac and Hellenized land with some Jewish presence and with a partly Arab population, especially in its eastern and southern parts. The Ghassan Dynasty became one of the princely dynasties of the Empire, with the Ghassan king ruling over the Arabs in Jordan. The last of the Ghassan kings, who ruled at the time of the Muslim invasion, was Jabla bin Al Aiham, the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius, after re-capturing Syria from the Sassanians, set up new defense lines from Gaza to the south end of the Dead Sea. These lines were designed to protect communications from bandits, and the bulk of the Byzantine defenses were concentrated in Northern Syria facing the traditional foes. This defense line had as a drawback that it enabled the Muslims, the 7th century was a time of fast military changes in the Byzantine Empire. Muhammad died in June 632, and Abu Bakr was appointed Caliph, soon after Abu Bakrs succession, several Arab tribes revolted against him in the Ridda wars. The Campaign of the Apostasy was fought and completed during the year of the Hijri. The year 12 Hijri dawned, on 18 March 633, with Arabia united under the authority of the Caliph at Medina. After successful campaigns against the Sassanids and the ensuing conquest of Iraq Khalid established his stronghold in Iraq, while engaged with Sassanid forces, confrontation also ensued with the Byzantine Arab clients, the Ghassanids. Tribal contingents were recruited to the call from Medinah from all over the Arabian peninsula. The tradition of raising armies from tribal contingents remained in use until 636, Abu Bakr organised the army into four corps, each with its own commander and objective. Move on Elat route, then across Valley of Arabah, Yazid ibn Abu Sufyan, Objective Damascus. Move on Tabuk route after Yazid, Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, Objective Emesa. Move on Tabuk route after Shurahbil, in case the corps had to concentrate for one major battle, Abu Ubaidah was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the entire army. In the first week of April 634, the Muslim forces began to move from their camps outside Medina, the first to leave was Yazids corps, followed by Shurahbil, Abu Ubaidah and Amr, each a days march from the other
3. Khalid ibn al-Walid – Abū Sulaymān Khālid ibn al-Walīd ibn al-Mughīrah al-Makhzūmī, also known as Sayf Allāh al-Maslūl, was a companion of Muhammad. He is noted for his tactics and prowess, commanding the forces of Medina under Muhammad. It was under his leadership that Arabia, for the first time in history, was united under a single political entity. His strategic achievements include the conquest of Arabia during the Ridda Wars, Persian Mesopotamia and he is also remembered for his decisive victories at Yamamah, Ullais, and Firaz, and his tactical successes at Walaja and Yarmouk. Khalid ibn al-Walid was from the Meccan tribe of Quraysh, from a clan that initially opposed Muhammad and he played a vital role in the Meccan victory at the Battle of Uhud against the Muslims. Khalid ibn Al-Walid reported that the fighting was so intense, that while fighting and this earned him the title ‘Saif-ullah meaning The Sword Of Allah. Khalid took over after Zayd ibn Haritha, then Jafar ibn Abi Talib, after Muhammads death, he played a key role in commanding Medinan forces for Abu Bakr in the Ridda wars, conquering central Arabia and subduing Arab tribes. He captured the Sassanid Arab client Kingdom of Al-Hirah, and defeated the Sassanid Persian forces during his conquest of Iraq and he was later transferred to the western front to capture Roman Syria and the Byzantine Arab client state of the Ghassanids. Although Umar later relieved him of command, he nevertheless remained the effective leader of the forces arrayed against the Byzantines during the early stages of the Byzantine–Arab Wars. Under his command, Damascus was captured in 634 and the key Arab victory against the Byzantine forces was achieved at the Battle of Yarmouk, in 638, at the zenith of his career, he was dismissed from military services. Khalid is said to have fought around a hundred battles, both battles and minor skirmishes as well as single duels, during his military career. Having remained undefeated, he is claimed by some to be one of the finest military generals in history, Khalid was born c.592 in Mecca. His father was Walid ibn al-Mughirah, Sheikh of the Banu Makhzum, Walid was known in Mecca by the title of al-Waheed - the Loner. Khalids mother was Lubabah al-Sughra bint al-Harith, a sister of Maymunah bint al-Harith. At the age of five or six, he returned to his parents in Mecca, during his childhood Khalid suffered a mild attack of smallpox, which he survived, but it left some pockmarks on his left cheek. The three leading clans of Quraysh at that time were Banu Hashim, Banu Abd ad-Dar and Banu Makhzum, the latter clan being responsible for the matters of warfare. As a member of the Makhzum clan, who were amongst the best horsemen in Arabia, Khalid learned to ride and use weapons as the spear, the lance, the bow. The lance was said to be his favorite among the weapons, in youth he was admired as a renowned warrior and wrestler among the Quraysh
4. Islam in Syria – Islam in Syria is followed by 90% of the countrys total population, Sunnis make up 74% of the total, mostly of Arab, Kurdish and Turkoman ethnicities. Shias make up the remaining 13%, Alawites are the predominant Shia group, followed by Twelvers, Sunnis are mainly of the Shafii madhhab with pockets of Hanafi and Hanbali. Several large Sufi orders are active in the country, including the Naqshbandi tariqa, although not traditionally considered as Muslims, the Druze make up 3% of the total population. In the mid-7th century, the Umayyad dynasty, then rulers of the empire, Syria was divided into four districts, Damascus, Homs, Palestine and Jordan. The Islamic empire expanded rapidly and at its height stretched from Spain to India and parts of Central Asia, thus Syria prospered economically, early Umayyad rulers such as Abd al-Malik and Al-Walid I constructed several splendid palaces and mosques throughout Syria, particularly in Damascus, Aleppo and Homs. In the mid-8th century, the Caliphate collapsed amid dynastic struggles, regional revolts, the Umayyad dynasty was overthrown by the Abbasid dynasty in 750, who moved the capital of empire to Baghdad. Arabic — made official under Umayyad rule — became the dominant language, replacing Greek, for periods, Syria was ruled from Egypt, under the Tulunids, and then, after a period of anarchy, the Ikhshidids. Northern Syria came under the Hamdanids of Aleppo, the court of Ali Saif al-Daula, Sword of the State, was a centre of culture, thanks to its nurturing of Arabic literature. He resisted Byzantine expansion by skillful defensive tactics and counter-raids into Anatolia, after his death, the Byzantines captured Antioch and Aleppo. Syria was then in turmoil as a battleground between the Hamdanids, Byzantines and Damascus-based Fatimids. The Byzantines had conquered all of Syria by 996, but the chaos continued for much of the 11th century as the Byzantines, Syria was then conquered by the Seljuk Turks. After a century of Seljuk rule, Syria was conquered by Saladin, during the 12th-13th centuries, parts of Syria were held by Crusader states, the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch and County of Tripoli. The area was threatened by Shia extremists known as Assassins. The withdrawal of the main Mongol army prompted the Mamluks of Egypt to invade, the Mamluks eliminated the last of the Crusader footholds in Syria and repulsed several Mongol invasions. Citadel of Aleppo is considered to be one of the oldest and largest castles in the world, in 1400, Timur Lenk, or Tamerlane, invaded Syria, defeated the Mamluk army at Aleppo and captured Damascus. Many of the inhabitants were massacred, except for the artisans. At this time the Christian population of Syria suffered persecution, by the end of the 15th century, the discovery of a sea route from Europe to the Far East ended the need for an overland trade route through Syria. In 1516, the Ottoman Empire conquered Syria, the largest religious group in Syria is the Sunni Shafii Muslims, of whom about 70 percent are native Syrian Arabs, with the remainder being Kurds, Turkomans, Circassians, Iraqis and Palestinians
5. Battle of Yarmouk – The Battle of Yarmouk was a major battle between the army of the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim Arab forces of the Rashidun Caliphate. The result of the battle was a complete Muslim victory which ended Byzantine rule in Syria, in order to check the Arab advance and to recover lost territory, Emperor Heraclius had sent a massive expedition to the Levant in May 636. The battle is considered to be one of Khalid ibn al-Walids greatest military victories and it cemented his reputation as one of the greatest tacticians and cavalry commanders in history. During the last Byzantine–Sassanid Wars in 610, Heraclius became the emperor of the Byzantine Empire, meanwhile, the Sassanid Persians conquered Mesopotamia and in 611 they overran Syria and entered Anatolia, occupying Caesarea Mazaca. Heraclius, in 612, managed to expel the Persians from Anatolia, over the following decade the Persians were able to conquer Palestine and Egypt. Meanwhile, Heraclius prepared for a counterattack and rebuilt his army, nine years later in 622, Heraclius finally launched his offensive. Heraclius restored the True Cross to Jerusalem with a ceremony in 629. Meanwhile, there had been rapid development in Arabia, where Muhammad had been preaching Islam and by 630. When Muhammad died in June 632, Abu Bakr was elected Caliph, troubles emerged soon after Abu Bakrs succession, when several Arab tribes openly revolted against Abu Bakr, who declared war against the rebels. In what became known as the Ridda wars, Abu Bakr managed to unite Arabia under the authority of the Caliph at Medina. Once the rebels had been subdued, Abu Bakr began a war of conquest, sending his most brilliant general, Khalid ibn al-Walid, Iraq was conquered in a series of successful campaigns against the Sassanid Persians. Abu Bakrs confidence grew, and once Khalid established his stronghold in Iraq, the Muslim invasion of Syria was a series of carefully planned and well coordinated military operations that employed strategy instead of pure strength to deal with Byzantine defensive measures. The Muslim armies, however proved to be too small to handle the Byzantine response. Khalid was sent by Abu Bakr from Iraq to Syria with reinforcements, in July 634, the Byzantines were decisively defeated at Ajnadayn. Damascus fell in September 634, followed by the Battle of Fahl where the last significant garrison of Palestine was defeated and routed, Caliph Abu Bakr died in 634. His successor, Umar, was determined to continue the Caliphate Empires expansion deeper into Syria, though previous campaigns led by Khalid were successful, he was replaced by Abu Ubaidah. Having secured southern Palestine, Muslim forces now advanced up the route, where Tiberias and Baalbek fell without much struggle. From thereon, the Muslims continued their conquest across the Levant, having seized Emesa, the Muslims were just a march away from Aleppo, a Byzantine stronghold, and Antioch, where Heraclius resided
6. Battle of Bosra – The Battle of Bosra was fought in 634 between the Rashidun Caliphate army and the Byzantine Empire for the possession of Bosra, in Syria. The city, then capital of the Ghassanid kingdom, a Byzantine vassal, was the first important one to be captured by the Islamic forces, the siege lasted between June and July 634. Caliph Abu Bakr sent his four corps under Amr ibn al-Aas, Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, Shurahbil bin Hasana and Yazid bin Abu Sufyan and they were unable to get significant success in their goals and were in great pressure because of concentration of the Byzantine army at Ajnadayn. One place which worried him a deal was Bosra, a large town which was the capital of the Ghassanid Kingdom. It was garrisoned by a force of Byzantine and Christian Arabs under the command of Roman officers. While Khalid was clearing the region of Eastern Syria, Abu Ubaidah came to know that he would come under Khalids command upon the latters arrival and he decided to take Bosra quickly. He therefore sent Shurahbil with 4,000 men to capture Bosra, Shurahbil marched to Bosra, the garrison of which withdrew into the fortified town as soon as the Muslims appeared in sight. This garrison consisted of 4,000 soldiers, but expecting that more Muslim forces would soon arrive, Shurahbil camped on the western side of the town, and positioned groups of his men all round the fort. The following day, as Khalid ibn al-Walid set out on the last day of his march to Bosra, the garrison of the town came out to give battle to the Muslims outside the city. Both forces formed up for battle, but first there were talks between Shurahbil and the Roman commander, at which the Muslim offered the usual choices, Islam, tribute, the Byzantines vainly chose the sword, and in the middle of the morning the battle began. The Romans were able to move forces around both Muslim flanks, and the increased in intensity. The temper of the Muslims became suicidal as the danger of their position became evident and they fought ferociously to avoid encirclement. By early afternoon the Roman wings had moved forward. Then suddenly the combatants became aware of a force of cavalry galloping in mass towards the battlefield from the northwest. Khalid was about a mile from Bosra when the wind carried the sounds of battle to him and he immediately ordered the men to horse, and as soon as the cavalry was ready, led it a gallop towards the battlefield. But Khalid and the Romans never met, as soon as the Romans discovered the arrival of the Muslims Cavalry, they broke contact from Shurahbil and withdrew hastily into the fort. The Muslims under Shurahbil came to regard this occurrence as a miracle, the next morning, the Byzantine garrison again came out of the fort to give battle. The shock of Khalids arrival the previous day had now worn off, and seeing that the strength of the Muslims was about the same as their own
7. Battle of the Iron Bridge – The Battle of the Iron Bridge was fought between the Muslim Rashidun army and the Byzantine army in 637 AD. The battle took its name from a nearby stone bridge spanning the Orontes River which had gates trimmed with iron. It was one of the last battles fought between the Byzantines and Rashidun Caliphate in the province of Syria, the aftermath of the battle marked the nearly complete annexation of the province into the Rashidun Caliphate with the fall of its capital. The Rashidun army had achieved a victory at the Battle of Yarmouk. Following this victory, they managed to control of the Levant. Rashidun forces then marched north, conquering other portions of the Levant and they penetrated into northern Syria near its borders with Anatolia intending to capture Antioch, and to secure the conquered lands from any possible threat from the north. After the conquest of Aleppo, Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah sent a column under Malik al-Ashtar to capture Azaz in Northern Syria, as soon as Malik rejoined the army, Abu Ubaidah marched westwards to capture Antioch, with Khalid ibn Walid leading the advance guard with his Mobile guard. The army marched westward directly from Aleppo via Harim and approached Antioch from the east,20 km from the city, near modern-day Mahruba, a bridge of iron spanned the River Orontes. It was here that the battle was fought between the Rashidun army and the Byzantine garrison defending Antioch, a major battle was fought, the details of which are not recorded. Khalid ibn Walid played a prominent role with his Mobile guard, the Byzantine forces suffered heavy losses and were defeated. The Byzantine casualties in battle were the highest in the Muslim conquest of Syria, with the exceptions of the battles of Ajnadayn. The remnants of the Byzantine army fled to Antioch, the Rashidun army later moved up and laid siege to Antioch. The city surrendered on October 30,637 According to the pact, following the surrender of Antioch, Rashidun army columns moved south along the Mediterranean coast and captured Latakia, Jablah and Tartus, thus capturing most of north-western Syria. Other columns were sent to subdue the resistance in northern Syria. Khalid ibn Walid was sent with his cavalry on a raid eastwards, up to the Euphrates in the vicinity of Munbij, the campaign was ended in early January 638. These columns went northwards as far as the Ararat plain and west towards the Taurus Mountains, the Taurus Mountains in Turkey thus marked the westernmost frontier of the Rashidun Caliphate in Anatolia