Khalifa Abu Bakr - Campaign Against Bani Sulaim

The Bani Sulaim. The Bani Sulaim occupied the region north of Madina. Their settlements extended Upto the Khyber. Their main concentration was at Naqra.

The tribe was converted to Islam in the time of the Holy Prophet. They participated on the side of the Muslims in the conquest of Makkah. They also fought along with the other Muslims in the battles of Hunain and Taif. A contingent of the Bani Sulaim fought under the command of Khalid and they were very much attached to him.

After the death of the Holy Prophet, the tribe apostatized. They made common cause With Taleaha, and fought against the Muslims in the battle of Buzakha.

The Bani Sulaim were led by a rash chieftain Anu bin Abdul Uzza commonly known as Abu Shadier. He was a poet, and he composed the following doggerel satirizing Islam: "My spear shall play havoc with the regiments of Khalid, and I trust thereafter to crush Abu Bakr and Umar."

After the battle of Buzakha, the Bani Sulaim escaped to Naqra. Khalid pursued them to Naqra and launch the attack. The Bani Sulaim offered stiff resistance, but they could not bear the blows of Khalid for long. In the confrontations which followed many men of the tribe were killed. The aim of Khalid was to capture Abu Shajra alive. By a stratagem he succeeded in this object. With the capture of Abu Shajra all resistance on the part of Bani Sulaim collapsed.

Abu Shajra. Abu Shajra was put in chains and sent to Madina. When presented before Abu Bakr, Abu Shadier repented, asked for pardon and chose to be reconverted to Islam. Abu Bakr took a lenient way and granted him amnesty. During the caliphate of Umar, Abu Shajra came to Madina again. Seeing him Umar said, "May God curse you. Were you the man who wrote that doggerel?" Abu Shujra said, "I wrote that doggerel in my ignorance; my submission to Islam has cancelled all that."

Al Faja'a. When Khalid undertook operations against Taleaha, another chief of Bani Sulaim, Ayas bin Abd Yaleel commonly known as Al Faja'a came to Abu Bakr at Madina. He declared that he was a Muslim, and was keen to assist the Muslims of Madina in their fight against the apostates. He wanted to be supplied with arms so that he and his people might fight against the infidels. Abu Bakr took him at his words, and he was supplied with arms to equip his people to fight against the apostates. Al Faja'a rode away from Madina with the blessings of Abu Bakr, but instead of fighting against the apostates, he formed a gang of bandits who waylaid unwary travelers and put them to death. The gangsters operated in the neighborhood of Madina and Makkah, and the Muslims and non Muslims suffered alike at their hands. When the activities of Al Faj a'a were brought to the notice of Abu Bakr, he deputed a column to get the man alive. The column succeeded in its mission and the brigand was brought to Madina in chains. Abu Bakr felt very bitter at the treachery of of Al Faja'a. The Caliph ordered a large pile of wood in front of the Prophet's mosque. When the pile was set on fire and flames rose high, Al Faja'a still in chains was thrown into the fire and roasted to death. Later on his death bed, Abu Bakr expressed certain regrets, Abu Bakr regretfully said, "I wish I had Al Faia'a killed outright and not burnt alive." This regret was because of a tradition of the Holy Prophet according to which if a person professed to be a Muslim he was not to be punished to death by fire.

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