The Battle of Tabuk
The lofty and strong fort, which had been built by the side of a spring on the road leading from Hijr to Damascus in the border area of the territory of Syria, was called Tabuk. In those times Syria was one of the colonies of the Eastern Roman Empire. Its capital was Constantinople. Its frontier people were the followers of Christianity and the chiefs of the districts were satellites of the Ruler of Syria who himself took orders directly from the Roman Emperor. The rapid penetration and expansion of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula and the brilliant conquests by the Muslims in the Hijaz were being noticed in areas beyond the Hijaz, and were making their enemies tremble and think of ways and means to check this tide. The fall of the Government of Makkah, the adoption of Islam by the prominent chiefs of the Hijaz, and the bravery and sacrifices of the Muslim warriors, made the Roman Emperor decide to launch a surprise attack on the Muslims with the help of a well-equipped army, because he felt his empire to be in grave danger on account of the extraordinary influence and expansion of Islam. He was very much afraid of the increase in the military and political power of the Muslims. In those days Rome was the only powerful adversary of Iran and possessed the greatest political and military strength. It was very proud on account of the victories which it had achieved against Iran and the defeat which it had inflicted on the Iranian army. The Roman army, which consisted of 4000 mounted soldiers and infantry-men and was equipped with the armour of the latest model available in those times, encamped in the frontier strip of Syria. The tribes residing in the border areas (like the tribes of Lakham, 'Amilah, Ghassan and Jazam) also joined them and the vanguard of the army advanced up to Balqa'. News about the encampment of a group of the Roman soldiers in the frontier strip of Syria reached the Prophet through the caravans, which were travelling between the Hijaz and Syria in connection with trade. He found no alternative except to give a reply to the aggressors with a big army and to protect, from the surprise attacks of the enemy, the religion, which had spread at the cost of the lives of the dear ones of Islam, and of his personal sacrifices, and had since taken root, and was about to spread throughout the world. This unpleasant news reached him at a time when the people of Madina had not yet properly collected their produce, and the dates were about to ripen, and Madina and its suburbs were, so to say, in the grip of a sort of famine. However, for the godly persons the spiritual life and the protection of high ideals, and jihad in the path of Allah are preferable to everything else. INVITING WARRIORS AND
PROCURING EXPENSES OF WAR
The Prophet was aware to some extent of the capability and experience of the enemy and was sure that besides necessitating spiritual capital (viz. faith in Allah and fighting for the sake of Allah), victory in this battle also depended on a big army. Keeping this fact in view he sent men to Makkah as well as to the areas adjoining Madina to invite Muslims to fight in the path of Allah and also to ask well-to-do Muslims to provide for the expenses of war by making payment of zakat. Soon after the proclamation made by the Prophet, 30,000 persons declared their readiness to participate in the battle and gathered in the camping ground of Madina (Thaniyya tul Wida'). The expenses of war were provided by collecting zakat. Out of these 30,000 men, 10,000 were mounted soldiers and the remaining 20,000 were infantry-men. Later the Prophet ordered that every tribe should choose a standard for itself. PERSONS OPPOSED TO PARTICIPATION IN THE BATTLE
The Battle of Tabuk was the best occasion on which the self-sacrificing persons and the pretenders and hypocrites could be recognized, because general mobilization was ordered when the weather was very hot and the business community of...
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