The Syrian Army’s Savage Invasion of Medinan Houses
As to the exact date of the Harrah event, some of the historians have reported it to be the year 62 A.H. (682 C.E.) 1 and some 63 A.H. (683 C.E.)2; of which, of course, the majority of the historians have taken the latter as more accurate and asserted the abominable day to be Wednesday 27th or 28th of Dhū'l Hijja 63 A.H.3 which is according to solar calendar to be August 27, 683 C.E.16
Referring to the historical sources and adding up and analyzing the various views will strengthen the notion that the Syrian army actually entered the battle region at the outskirts of Medina - i.e. Harrah - on Monday 24th of Dhū'l Hijja 63 A.H. (August 23, 683 C.E.)4, and after three days respite, the Syrian army's invasion of Medina started from Harrah region at dawn on 27th of Dhū'l Hijja, and later, on the same day, the defenders of Medina were killed at the end of the same day, and the Syrian army seized the city of Medina overnight.
Narration of all the aspects of the battle of Harrah must be considered on one side and this tragic part (the crimes of the Syrian army in Medina) of the history of Yazīd's Caliphate, as the heaviest and the most heinous of all the dreadful events that took place in this battle, on the other.
Dīnawarī puts it this way:
“Entrance of Syrian army into Medina took place on 27th of Dhū'l Hijja 63 A.H. and Medina was in the clutches of Syrian army until the rise of the new crescent of Muharram.”5
As Yazīd b. Mu'āwiyah had advised, Muslim b. 'Uqba ordered the Syrian army after conquering Medina: “Your hands are open! Do whatever you wish! Plunder Medina for three days.”6
This way, the city of Medina was allowed as permissible to the Syrian troops to exploit and plunder in whatever way they wished, leaving no man or woman on their way secure from their carnage, killing the people, and pillaging their properties.7129
More grievous than the Syrian's plundering and slaying the people of Medina and the remaining generation of the companions of Prophet (s) as well as the Muhājirin and Ansār, was the rash and avaricious Syrians troops' assault upon the chastity of the women of Medina!
If we accept that the Syrian army was consisted of 27 thousand armed men8 aged between 20 to 50 years old, we will find out how disastrous could the invasion of this number of troops have been on a town surrounded by numerous trenches and rugged lands. And if we agree with a number of historians who have estimated the Syrian army in the battle of Harrah to be the least of 10 thousand fighting men, still we can guess the extension of this catastrophe that took place in Medina.
The ten thousand young fighting men, who have for several days traversed the long distance between Syria and Medina with much hardship, overwhelmed the enemy in a single day of aggressive and severely harsh hit-and-fighting, and given full permission by their commander and central government for any action they wished to do, now at the end of the day stepped into houses whose men are either killed or escaped or have raised their hands up as a sign of surrender to be taken as captives.
How would have such ravenous and rash men treated the helpless and unprotected women, girls and children?!
We do not need to merely guess and imagine the extension of the tragedy; because the historians have explicitly recorded what had taken place:
“Thousands of women were assaulted in the invasion of the Syrians into Medinat al-Nabī (s), and months after the battle of Harrah, thousands of babies were born whose fathers were unknown, hence were named “children of Harrah”! The sinister aftermaths of this ethico-human diaster left its ominous impact on families and the marriages of their daughters, bringing in many individual and social problems that are too heavy to be expressed by any pen.”9131
Streets of Medina were filled with the bodies of the killed, blood stains covered the way up to the Prophet's (s) Mosque10, children were killed in their mothers' laps11, and the old companions of the Apostle of Allah (s) were persecuted and disgraced.12134
- 1. Ya‘qūbī, Ta’rīkh, vol. 2, p. 251.
- 2. Ibn Qutayba, Al-Imāma wa al-Siyāsa, vol. 1, p. 212
- 3. Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Ta’rīkh, vol. 4, p. 120; Ibn Athīr, Al-Bidāya wa al-Nihāya, vol. 6, p. 236; Ibn Taghrī Birdī, Al-Nujūm al-Zāhira, vol. 1, p. 132.
- 4. Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Ta’rīkh, vol. 4, p. 120; Ibn Kathīr, Al-Bidāya wa al-Nihāya, vol. 6, p. 236; Ibn Taghrī Birdī, Al-Nujūm al-Zāhira, vol. 1, p. 132.
- 5. Ibn Qutayba, Al-Imāma wa al-Siyāsa, vol. 1, p. 220, 212.
- 6. Ibid, vol. 2, p. 10.
- 7. Ibn A’tham Kūfi, Al-Futūh, vol. 3, p. 181; Madqisī, Al-Bad’u wa al-Ta’rīkh, vol. 6, p. 16; Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Ta’rīkh, vol. 4, p. 17; Ibn ‘Imād, Shadharāt al-Dhahab, vol. 1, p. 71.
- 8. Dinawari, al-Akhbār al-Tiwāl, p. 256; Ibn A’tham Kūfi, Al-Futūh. vol. 5, p. 180.
- 9. See: Ibn Qutayba, Al-Imāma wa al-Siyāsa, vol. 1, p. 10; Ibn A’tham Kūfi, Al-Futūh, vol. 3, p. 181; Maqdisī, Al-Bad’ wa al-Ta’rīkh, vol. 6, p. 16; Ibn Khallikān, Wafayāt al-A‘yān, vol. 6, p. 276; Ibn Jawzī, Sibt, Tadhkirat al-Khawās, p. 259; Ta’rīkh al-Khulafa, p. 209.
- 10. Ibn Athīr, Al-Kāmil fī al-Ta’rīkh, 4, p. 17.
- 11. Ibn Qutayba, Al-Imāma wa al-Siyāsa, vol. 1, p. 215.
- 12. Dinawari, al-Akhbār al-Tiwāl, p. 265.