Timeline of Ridda Wars

By the Editors of the Madain Project

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The Timeline of Ridda Wars (الأزمة الردة‎), literally meaning the Apostacy Wars, provides a chronological overview of the events of the Ridda Wars campaign that was a series of conflicts that took place in Arabia after the death of Prophet Muhammad in 632 CE.


These wars or battles were fought between the various Arab tribes who had recently converted to Islam and the new Muslim state that was being established under the leadership of the first four caliphs, or leaders, of Islam. The wars were fought over issues of leadership, independence, and control of resources. They lasted for several years and resulted in the establishment of the Caliphate, a centralized political and religious entity that dominated the Arabian Peninsula for centuries.

The Campaign of the Apostasy was fought and completed with in a single year; during the 11th year of the Hijra. The year 12 Hijri dawned on March 18, 633 CE, with Arabia united under the central authority of the Caliph at Medina. This campaign was Abu Bakr's greatest political and military triumph, and was a complete success.

Timeline of 632 CE

May 632 CE

Late May or Early June: Expedition Against al-Aswad al-Ansi
Though the military expedition against the apostate al-Aswad is usually catagorised as part of the Ridda Wars campaign; it was the only battle or skirmish that actually started before the death of prophet Muhammad. Aswad al-Ansi was the leader of the Banu Ans tribe and a self-proclaimed prophet, one of the four major false prophets of the Wars of Apostasy. Though it is uncertain when Aswad proclaimed his prophethood; though according to tradition he was assassinated on the night immediately prior to prophet Muhammad's own death.

June 632 CE

June 8: Death of Prophet Muhammad
The death of Prophet Muhammad caused confusion and disunity among the Arab tribes who had recently converted to Islam.

June 8-11: Abu Bakr is Elected as Caliph
Following the death of prophet Muhammad, Abu Bakr succeeded the leadership of the Muslim community as the first Rashidun Caliph. Abu Bakr was elected as the first caliph by the prominent Muslim leaders of Medina, in an attempt to unify the Muslim community and maintain stability.

July 632 CE

Battle of Zhu Qissa
In early July, when Usama's army was elsewhere, the rebel tribes surrounded Medina, knowing that there were few fighting forces in the city. Before initiating any military action; Abu Bakr sent envoys to all the enemy tribes, calling upon them to remain loyal to Islam and continue to pay their Zakat. Failing in convincing the tribes to honour their oaths; he immediately prepared for the defense of Medina.
Meanwhile, Tulayha, a self-proclaimed prophet, reinforced the rebels at Dhu Qissa and then in the third week of July, the apostate army moved from Dhu Qissa to Dhu Hussa, a forward outpost closer to Medina, from where they prepared to launch an attack on the city of Medina.
Abu Bakr scraped together a fighting force mainly from the Muhajireen and Ansar which consisted the earliest Muslim stalwarts like Ali ibn Abi Talib, Talha ibn Ubaidullah and Zubair ibn al-Awam. Each of them was appointed commander of one-third of the newly organised force. This small force moved to counter the apostate force of Tulayha camping at Dhu Hussa.
First skirmish at Dhu Hussa resulted in a defeat for the Muslims who retreated to Medina. At Medina, Abu Bakr reorganised the army for battle and attacked the apostates during the night, taking them by surprise. The apostates retreated from Dhu Hussa to Dhu Qissa.
The Rashidun commanders held until they were reinforced by Abu Bakr. The following morning, Abu Bakr led his forces to Dhu Qissa, defeated the rebel tribes, capturing Dhu Qissa on 1 August 632.
The defeated apostate tribes retreated to Abraq, where more clansmen of the Ghatfan, the Hawazin, and the Tayy were gathered. Abu Bakr left a residual force under the command of an-Numan ibn Muqarrin at Dhu Qissa and returned with his main army to Medina.

August 632 CE

Abu Bakr Moves to Zhu Qissa
In the first week of August Usama's army returned to Medina; where he was ordered to rest and resupply his men for future operations.
In the second or third week of August 632 CE, Abu Bakr moved to Zhu Qissa with all available fighting forces. There he planned his strategy, in what would later be called the Campaign of Apostasy, to deal with the various enemies who occupied the rest of Arabia.

Battle of Abraq
In the third week, Abu Bakr, merging an-Numan ibn Muqarrin's remaining forces with his own, then moved to attack Abraq, where the retreated rebels had gathered. After they were routed from Abraq; the forces of Tulayha

September 632 CE

Battle of Buzakha
The Muslim forces, under the command of Khalid ibn al-Waleed, in mid-September 632 CE, defeated Tulayha in the Battle of Buzakha. The remnants of Tulayha's army retreated to Ghamra, 20 miles from Buzakha.

Battle of Ghamra
After the defeat at Buzakha, the remaining rebel army gathered at Ghamra, and Khalid ibn al-Waleed followed. The two armies engaged in battle in third or fourth week of September; and the resulted in the deafeat of Tulayha and his allies.
Following these decisive victories of Khalid ibn al-Waleed several tribes submitted to the Caliph without any bloodshed.

October 632 CE

Battle of Naqra
Moving south from Buzakha, Khalid reached Naqra in October, with an army now 6000 strong. After the defeat of Tulayha in the Battle of Buzakha, the tribe Banu Sulaym under the leadership of Amr bin Abdul Uzza (Abu Shajara) remained defiant and opposed the force led by Khalid ibn Walid. Eventually after a prolonged skirmish Khalid ibn al-Waleed defeated the rebel tribe of Banu Sulaym in the Battle of Naqra; near in the second or third week of October.

Battle of Zafar
In the third week of October, Khalid defeated a tribal chieftess, Salma, in the battle of Zafar.

Expedition to al-Mahra
Ikrimah, following the orders of Abu Bakr, left Oman and traveled to Mahra to join forces with Arfaja bin Harthama. However, since Arfaja was not yet there, Ikrimah took it upon himself to confront the local rebels without waiting for his ally.
Upon reaching Jairut, Ikrimah encountered two rebel armies preparing for a fight. He successfully convinced the weaker of the two to embrace Islam, then joined forces with them to defeat their common enemy. After successfully reinstating Islam in Mahra, Ikrimah moved his troops to Abyan, where they took a break and waited for further instructions.

November 632 CE

Battle of Dibba
In mid-November (in some traditions mid September 632 CE), Abu Bakr dispatched Hudaifa bin Mihsan's corps to tackle the apostasy in Oman, where the dominant tribe of Azd had revolted under their chief Laqeet bin Malik, known more commonly as "Dhu'l-Taj" ("the Crowned One"). According to some reports, he also claimed prophethood. Hudaifa entered Oman, but not having sufficient strength to fight Dhu'l-Taj, he requested reinforcements from the Caliph, who sent Ikrimah from Yamamah to aid him in late September. The combined forces then defeated Dhu'l-Taj at a battle at Dibba, one of Dhu'l-Taj's strongholds, in November. Dhu'l-Taj himself was killed in the battle.

December 632 CE

Battle of Yamama

Timeline of 633 CE

January 633 CE

Expedition to Bahrain
Following the Battle of Yamamah, Abu Bakr dispatched Ala bin al-Hadhrami's forces to take on the rebels in Bahrain. Upon arrival, Ala discovered that the rebel forces were stationed at Hajr and had taken a strong defensive stance. However, he managed to launch a surprise attack one night and capture the city. The rebels retreated to the coastal areas, where they made a final stand, but were ultimately defeated. The majority of them surrendered and returned to Islam. This campaign was concluded around the end of January 633 CE.

Expedition to Hadhramaut
The final significant uprising during the time of apostasy was led by the powerful Kinda tribe, which inhabited the areas of Najran, Hadhramaut, and eastern Yemen. This revolt did not occur until mid or near the end of January 633 CE.

February 633 CE

Battle of Nujair
In late January 633 CE the forces of Muhajir and Ziyad combined at Zafar, capital of Hadhramaut, under the overall command of the former, and defeated al-Ash'ath, who retreated to the fortified town of Nujair. Immediately after the battle with al-Ash'ath the corps of Ikrimah also arrived. The three Muslim corps, under the overall command of Muhajir, advanced on Nujair and laid siege to the fortified city. The brief skirmish campaign was concluded in the capture of Nujair in early to mid February 633 CE. With the defeat of the Kinda at Nujair the last of the great apostate movements collapsed. Arabia was safe for Islam.

August 633 CE

Battle of Dawmat al-Jandal

See Also


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