The Leader of the Faithful and first rightly guided Khalif after the passing of the Messenger of Allah SAW, Sayyidina Abu Bakr as Siddeeq RA, did not liberate Palestine himself, nor did the period of his rule see Masjid al Aqsa entering the hands of the Muslims. However, this peerless companion of the Prophet SAW took certain bold steps that paved the way for the liberation of Palestine later on.

Usamah RA’s expedition
Shaam – A More Determined Push
Encounter with the Byzantines
First Siege of Damascus
Battle of Ajnadein
Second Siege of Damascus
Contribution of Sayyidina Abu Bakr RA
General Notes

Usamah RA’s expedition

Immediately before his death, the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW had ordered that an expedition be sent to Syria under command of Sayyidina Usamah RA, son of the Muslim commander Sayyidina Zaid RA who had been martyred in the battle of Mutah in 629 C.E. Sayyidina Abu Bakr RA was advised that as Madinah was threatened by hostile tribes and his leadership had more pressing concerns, the expedition should be abandoned. He repudiated the suggestion and said that he could never withhold the expedition that the SAW had ordered to proceed. Abu Bakr declared in unequivocal terms: “Who am I to withhold the army that the Holy Prophet had ordained to proceed? Come what may: let Madina stand or fall; the Caliphate live or perish, the command of the Holy Prophet shall be carried out.”

The view of Abu Bakr was not based on any obstinacy or foolhardiness. It was based on ideal loyalty to the Holy Prophet envisaging the carrying out of his wish, coupled with the faith that whatever the Holy Prophet had ordered was in the best interests of the community. Sayyidina  Abu Bakr RA was next asked that if the expedition was to be necessarily undertaken, the command should be entrusted to some veteran general instead of Sayyidina Usamah RA who was a still considered a junior. But Sayyidina Abu Bakr RA dismissed this too, arguing that  changing the commander would in fact be a repudiation of the direct orders of the Prophet Muhammad SAW. Sayyidina Abu Bakr RA accordingly sent the force under Sayyidina Usamah to the Syrian front, making it the first foray into Shaam – very early on in his Khilafah.

The army of Usamah left Jorf towards the close of June 632 C.E. After a ten days march, the Muslim army penetrated into the region of Wadi-al-Qara, and fell on Banu al-Qidzah and other border tribes. Usamah rode on his father’s horse ‘Sabah”. The Byzantine forces avoided confrontation with the Muslim force, and the border tribes left to themselves were no match for the Muslim forces. They were thoroughly discomfited, and hastened to offer allegiance to the authorities at Madina. The expedition proved to be a great success. It secured the safety of the frontier with the Byzantines and averted the threat of any attack from the Byzantines. The success that attended the Muslim arms made the unruly tribes realize that Islam was not dead with the death of the Holy Prophet, and that the Muslims were strong enough to meet all emergencies. Usamah’s army returned to Madina, in August 632 C.E. laden with considerable booty. On return to Madina, the army of Usamah was given a tumultuous welcome.

As his reign progressed, most of the initial Muslim expeditions focused on Iraq.

However, whilst active operations were being undertaken in Iraq, Sayyidina Abu Bakr RA still maintained an active garrison at Tayma to the east of Tabuk to protect this border of the Muslim Empire from any attack that could be attempted by Byzantines from Shaam. The garrison at Tayma was commanded by Khalid bin Saeed.


Shaam – A more determined push

The Muslims had won spectacular success in the Da’wah and expanding their empire on the Iraq front. This created in Khalid bin Saeed the urge to score some victory on the Syrian front as well. Early in 634 C.E., Khalid bin Saeed sought the permission of Abu Bakr to advance into Shaam. Abu Bakr permitted Khalid bin Saeed to enter into Shaam, but he was directed that the operations should be undertaken as a reconnaissance measure only, and no attempt should be made to get involved in any serious hostilities with the Byzantines.

Khalid bin Saeed advanced into Shaam, and the Byzantine forces retreated before him. That gave Khalid bin Saeed the impression that the victory of Shaam would be a walk over. Khalid accordingly penetrated deep into Shaam in pursuit of the Byzantine forces. When Khalid bin Saeed was cut off from his base, the Byzantines enveloped the Muslim forces and launched a vigorous counter attack. In this encounter, the Muslims suffered a serious defeat. Khalid bin Saeed lost his son in action and that unnerved him. In a state of desperateness, he escaped from the battlefield. The command was thereafter assumed by Ikrama bin Abu Jahl, who retrieved the position by evacuating the Muslim forces.

On return from Hajj  in February 634 C.E., Sayyidina Abu Bakr RA issued a specific call to arms for Jihad on the Shaam front. In response to the call, tribal contingents came over to Madina from all parts of Arabia. By March 634 C.E., a large force assembled at Madina ready to march to Shaam. Abu Bakr organized all these warriors into four corps, each comprising of 7,000 men.

The first corps was placed under the command of ‘Amr bin Al Aas. It was required to advance to Palestine via Eila and the valley of Araba.

The second corps was placed under the command of Yazeed bin Abi Sufyan. It was directed to proceed to Damascus via Tabuk.

The third corps under Shurahbil bin Hasana was required to proceed to Jordan.

The fourth corps under Abu Ubaida bin Al Jarrah was required to advance to Emessa. All the columns were required to act independently, if the forces were to integrate, Abu Ubaida was to be the Commander-in-Chief.

When the Muslim forces marched from Madina in the first week of April 634 C.E, Sayyidina Abu Bakr RA addressed the forces at the time of their departure urging them to be just in all their affairs and to steer clear from harming any non-combatants.

“And when you have won a victory over your enemies, kill not women or children or the aged. Do not slaughter any beasts except for eating. And break not the pacts that you make with other people. You will come upon persons who live like hermits in monasteries, believing that they have given up all for God. Let them be as they are, and do not harm their monasteries. You will meet other persons who are partisans of Satan and worshippers of the Cross who shave the center of their heads so that you can see the scalp. Assail them with your swords, until they submit to Islam or pay the Jizya. In all transactions fear God, and when in difficulty invoke His aid. Now depart in the name of God. May He protect you”

This was the code that regulated the conduct of Muslims in all battles during this era.

Persons found guilty of breach of discipline were punished. The soldiers had strict orders not to kill monks, priests, women, children, the slaves, the sick and the aged. They were not to sack any town or village, or destroy or ravage any arable land. There was to be no wanton pillaging, no trees were to be cut, and no crops were to be burnt or destroyed. No corpses of the enemy were to be burnt or mutilated. The dead of the enemy were to be buried with due respect, and where requests were made for particular corpses by the enemy, these were to be freely handed over.


Encounter with the Byzantines

At the border, the corps of Yazeed struck against a force of the Christian Arabs sent forward by the Byzantines as a reconnaissance force. The Christian Armies withdrew and Yazeed marched to the valley of Araba. The corps of ‘Amr bin Al Aas reached Eila. Both the corps fought against Byzantine detachments sent to intercept their advance. The Byzantine detachments suffered defeat, and had to retreat after suffering considerable loss. In the meantime, the corps of Shurahbil and Abu Ubaida reached the region Basra and Jabiya.

The Byzantine emperor, Heraclius now planned action on a large scale. He mustered forces at Ajnadeen numbering over one hundred thousand. The position became critical for the Muslims for the four small corps that had penetrated into Syria were no match for such a large concentration of the Byzantines. Sayyidina Abu Ubaida wrote to Sayyidina Abu Bakr asking for reinforcement, and Abu Bakr decided to send Khalid bin Walid from Iraq to Syria.

It was in May 634 C.E. while Khalid bin Walid was at Al Hirah, Iraq, that he received the orders from Sayyidina Abu Bakr that he should proceed with all possible haste to Syria to take over the command of the Muslim forces in Syria and lead the operations there. With the departure of Khalid from Iraq, Al Muthanna was to be the Commander of the Muslim forces in Iraq. On receiving these orders, Khalid divided the Muslim forces in Iraq in two corps. One corps he left with Al Muthanna in Iraq and with the other corps he proceeded to Syria.

Khalid marched from Al Hirah with his corps of 9,000 men. From Al Hirah they proceeded to ‘Ein at Tamr, Sandauda, Mazayyah and Qaraqir. At Qaraqir, the army filled the water skins and other containers with water that could last for five days. Old camels were made to drink water to their full, so that they could serve as reservoirs of water in case of emergency.

Initial Muslim forays in Shaam included victories at the settlements of Suwa, Arak, Tadmur, Qaryatein and Huwareen.

From Huwareen the Muslim army took the road to Damascus. They halted at a pass twenty miles from Damascus. At this pass in the Jabal-us-Sharq range, Khalid fluttered his standard bearing the ‘eagle’, and because of such standard, the pass came to be known as “Saniyyat-ul-Uqab”, i.e. the pass of the eagle.

During this phase, one of the first major encounters of the Muslim army in Syria was the Battle of Busra.

Abu Ubaida dispatched a detachment of four thousand warriors under Shurahbil to capture Busra. Sayyidina Khalid RA also came to know that a Muslim detachment was fighting at Busra. Bypassing Damascus, Khalid and his army set off for Busra. Khalid sent a message to Abu Ubaida, the Commander-in-Chief of the Muslim forces in Syria that he should meet him at Busra.

At Busra the Muslim forces were heavily outnumbered. Taking advantage of their numerical strength, the Byzantines launched a vigorous attack, and under the intensity of the attack, the Muslim forces began to reel back. The position for the Muslims became critical, and Shurahbil prayed to God for help. Miraculously the army of Khalid arrived at the scene at the nick of time. That turned the tide of the battle. Seeing that the Muslims had received reinforcement, the Byzantine garrison withdrew to the city and shut its gates.

The following day, the two armies faced each other in battle array. The battle was preceded by a call for personal combat between the Commanders of the armies. Khalid stepped forward from the Muslim ranks and out of the Byzantine ranks their commander Romanus stepped forward. Before dueling, Khalid offered Islam to Romanus, and surprisingly enough, Romanus after asking a few questions about Islam, declared the article of faith and became a Muslim. He crossed over to the Muslim camp.

From the Muslim camp, Romanus addressed the Byzantines in the following terms: “O ye, enemies of God and His prophet. You must not forget that I have accepted the true faith of Islam to please God. Now no common ties exist between you and me, either in this world, or in the world hereinafter. I deny him who was crucified, and sever any connections with his followers. I choose Allah for my Lord, and Muhammad (peace be on him) as my Prophet, the Ka’aba as my sanctuary, and the Muslims as my brethren. In sooth, I bear witness that there is no God but Allah. He has no partner, and Muhammad (peace be on him) is His prophet, whom He selected to direct mankind to the right way. I am fully convinced that God would exalt the true religion of Islam over the religion of those who join partners with His Divinity.”

The conversion of Romanus to Islam unnerved the Byzantine forces, and instead of giving the fight, they withdrew to the city and shut the gates against the Muslims. That night, Romanus led a Muslim detachment to a subterranean passage under the ramparts of the city. This contingent was led by Abdur Rahman, the son of Abu Bakr. This contingent entered the city through the underground passage and then dashing towards the city gates opened them for the main Muslim army to enter. The Muslim forces attacked right and left raising the cries of “Allahu-Akbar.” The Byzantines lost thousands of men and the survivors laid down arms. The citizens of Busra agreed to pay Jizya, and thereupon a peace pact was drawn up.

This conquest of Busra in the second week of July 634 C.E. was the first important victory gained by the Muslims in Shaam. The Muslims lost 130 men in the battle, while the Byzantines lost several thousand persons. Khalid informed Abu Bakr of the viceroy and dispatched the usual one fifth of the spoils of war. The conquest of Busra opened for the Muslims the gate for the conquest of Shaam.


First Siege of Damascus

From Busra, Khalid ibn Walid RA, who was now appointed overall commander of the Muslim army, marched northward to Damascus. The Muslim forces occupied the outskirts of Damascus. Damascus was heavily guarded, and the Muslim force was too small to press the siege of a city like Damascus.

After the defeat of Busra, the Byzantine emperor was much upset. He vowed vengeance and undertook preparations on a large scale to drive away the Muslims from the soil of Syria. Heraclius garrisoned all forts in Syria. He ordered a huge concentration of forces in the south at Ajnadein, west of Jerusalem.

The Muslim scouts brought the intelligence that a Byzantine force over one hundred thousand strong had assembled at Ajnadein. That set Khalid thinking. If he pressed the siege against Damascus the danger was that the Byzantine army from Ajnadein might attack the Muslim army from the rear, and in that case the position for the Muslims would become very critical. Khalid accordingly changed his strategy, and decided to deal with the Ajnadein Byzantine forces in the first instance. In pursuance of this decision, the siege of Damascus was lifted and the Muslim forces were ordered to march to Ajnadein. Up to this time, the various Muslim forces in Syria were operating in different sectors. Khalid directed the integration of all the Muslim forces and required the entire Muslim army to assemble at Ajnadein.

With the Muslim siege on Damascus lifted the Byzantines felt emboldened. A Byzantine contingent with a force of six thousand horses and ten thousand-foot soldiers fell upon the Muslim rearguard as they were retreating from Damascus. So fierce and unexpected was the Byzantine attack that the Muslims had to give way. The Byzantines were able to capture a number of women who were in the Muslim camp.

When Khalid bin Walid who was leading the vanguard came to know of the disaster that had befallen his rearguard, he turned back and rushed to the relief of his men. Khalid struck with vengeance. The Byzantines were routed. Out of six thousand Byzantine horsemen, only one hundred escaped back to Damascus to tell the story of the disaster that had fallen them.


Battle of Ajnadein

From Damascus and other parts of Syria, the Muslim forces marched to Ajnadein, and there camped at some distance from gigantic camp of the Byzantines.

The total strength of the Muslim army was 40,000, while the strength of the Byzantine army was over one hundred thousand. The odds appeared to be against the Muslims, but Khalid had firm faith in Allah. He inspected the ranks, and addressed the Muslim warriors thus: “O Comrades-in-arms, you are to face the biggest army that the Byzantines could muster. Should you come out of the battle victorious all is yours. Fight in good earnest and remain steadfast to the teachings of Islam. See that you do not turn back for God sees you. Close your ranks, keep your heads, and do not lose heart.”

Khalid also focused a part of his address directly to the female contingent, accompanying the army. He said: “Sisters-in-faith, make sure that your actions be acceptable to Allah and His prophet. Your participation in this war will go down in history, and I know that you will acquit yourself honorably. Should the Byzantines attack you, show your mettle and the heroic stuff you are made of. Should you find any Muslim fleeing from the field, reproach him until he turns again to face the enemy. It is by these means that you will infuse the menfolk with a spirit that can stand up against the heaviest odds.”

The Byzantines sent a Christian Arab spy to the Muslim camp to solicit information about the strength and quality of the Muslim forces. The spy then went back in the Byzantine camp reported the following about the Muslims army: “By night they are like monks; by day they are like warriors. If the son of the ruler were to commit theft, they would cut off his hand, and if he were to commit adultery, they would stone him to death.”

On getting this report, Qubuqlar, the Deputy Commander of the Byzantine forces declared: “If whet you say is true, it would be better to be in the belly of the earth than to meet such people upon its surface. ”

The battle of Ajnadein began on 30th July 634 C.E. The Muslim army was deployed on a front of about five miles. Thc center was placed under M`uadh bin Jabal; the right wing was placed under Saeed bin ‘Amir; while, the left wing was placed under Abdur Rahman the son of the Caliph Abu Bakr. Khalid commanded the force as a whole, and he kept a reserve with him who could be commissioned for special jobs. This reserve included among others: ‘Amr bin Al Aas; Zarrar; Rafe’ and Abdullah the son of Umar.

The Byzantines took the battle position about half a mile away from the Muslim front line. Before the battle began, a venerable old man dressed in black emerged from the Byzantine ranks and walked up half way towards the Muslim army. Khalid stepped forward to meet him. Addressing Khalid, the Byzantine bishop said: “Lo’, we have an army numerous as the atoms, and it is not like the armies you have met before. With this army, Caesar has sent his mightiest Generals. My master is nevertheless inclined to be generous with you. Withdraw and we will give each of you a dinar, a robe, and a turban, and for you there will be a hundred diners, hundred robes, and hundred turbans.”

Khalid repudiating the peace offer said: “We have not come here to accept alms. Your choice is either to accept Islam or pay Jizya. The third alternative is sword. We are not afraid of the strength of your army, our one man may fight against ten of your men.”

The battle, which was fought over the course of a few days, saw the Byzantine commander, Werdan, being killed, which gave further impetus to the Muslim thrust. The Byzantines struggled desperately to hold the assault. And with Khalid RA bringing in his reserves, the tide of the battle turned. The Muslims drove deep wedges into the Byzantine army. Some Muslim soldiers advanced and killed Qaubuqlar who commanded the Byzantine forces after the death of Werdan. With the death of Qubuqlar, the Byzantine lost heart and fled from the battlefield. The Muslim cavalry pursued the fugitives and the the Muslims won a complete victory. The large Byzantine army at Ajnadein was practically annihilated.

Khalid RA sent a detailed report of the Muslim victory to Sayyidina Abu Bakr RA along with the state share of the booty. At Madinah the news of the victory was received with great joy.


Second Siege of Damascus

After the battle of Ajnadein, the Muslims broke the camp at Ajnadein in the first week of August 634 C.E and set out for Damascus. The advance of the Muslims was resisted by a Byzantine force at Yaqusa on the bank of the Yermuk. The Byzantine force was defeated with considerable loss and Muslims pushed on towards their objective Damascus.

After a three day march from Yaqusa, the Muslim forces arrived at Marj-us-Saffar, twelve miles from Damascus, and here their way was barred by a Byzantine force. The battle began on the 19th August with personal duels. In these duels the Muslim cavaliers won and their Byzantine counterparts lost their lives. When after the personal combats, the battle began, the Byzantines stood firm for a few hours, but as the Muslims increased their pressure, the Byzantine forces withdrew. Two Byzantine Generals, Kulus and Azazeer were captured alive. Many Byzantine soldiers were killed. The survivors withdrew post haste to Damascus.

In his well-known work Decline and Fall of the Romau Empire, Gibbon has a passage giving a graphic description of the arrival of the Muslim forces at Damascus. He writes; “The sad tidings of the fall of Ajnadein were carried to Damascus by the speed of grief and terror, and the inhabitants beheld from the walls of the city the return of the Muslim heroes of Ajnadein Amr bin Al ‘Aas led the van at the head of nine thousand horse, the bands of the Muslims followed each other in formidable review; and the rear was closed by Khalid in person, with the standard of the black eagle. To the activity of Zarrar, he entrusted the commission of patrolling round the city with two thousand horses, of scouring the plain and of intercepting all succor or intelligence. The rest of the Arabian chiefs were fixed in their respective stations before the seven gates of Damascus and the siege was renewed with vigor and confidence.”

The Byzantine garrison in Damascus was commanded by Thomas, a son-in-law of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius. At the principal gate of the city, the Byzantines erected a lofty crucifix before which prayers were offered that the ‘son of God’ would defend his servants and vindicate his truth.

The siege of Damascus began on the 21st of August, and on the 23rd of August 634 C.E., the Khalif, Sayyidina Abu Bakr passed away. Damascus was to fall in the hands of the Muslims in September 634 C.E. during the caliphate of Sayyidina Umar.

Contribution of Sayyidina Abu Bakr RA

Sayyidina Abu Bakr became the Caliph on the 8th of June 632 C.E. and he died on 23rd August 634 C.E. The period of his caliphate covers two years, two months and fifteen days only. Judged by the usual standards this period was too short to make an impact on history. Surprisingly enough, however, the caliphate of Abu Bakr did not merely make an impact on history; it changed the very course of history. The suppression of apostasy, the unification of Arabia, and the conquests of greater parts of Iraq and Syria within the space of two years are the extraordinary marvels of history.

The speed, the magnitude, the extent and the permanence of these campaigns excite our wonder and evoke our admiration. For these achievements, Abu Bakr holds a unique position in the history of the world in general and the history of Islam in particular.

Abu Bakr came to power in the midst of a crisis-loaded situation. The crises which he was called upon to encounter were multi-dimensional in character, being psychological, religious, political and international. Islam stood at the brink of a precipice, and any wrong step on the part of Abu Bakr at that stage would have led to the disintegration of Islam. That he not only averted the process of disintegration, but made Islam a world force which could successfully contend against the giant empires of Byzantium and Persia speaks for the dynamics of his leadership.

The historic role of Abu Bakr comprehends the following achievements: His supporting role of Islam, His suppression of apostasy and unification of Arabia; and His confrontation with the giant empires of Byzantium and Persia and conquests of parts of greater Iraq and Shaam.

Notes on the confrontation with Byzantium and Persia in Shaam and Iraq

International background: When Islam appeared on the world stage, the then world was dominated by two powers, Byzantium in the east and Persia in the west. There were spells of war as well as peace between these two years. During the sixth century, Justinian (507-565 C.E.) was the emperor of Byzantium, while Anaushirwan (531-579 C.E.) was the emperor of Persia. Both of them were contemporaries and great rulers of all world fame. In Byzantium, Justinian was succeeded by Maurice, and in Persia, Anaushirwan was succeeded by Khusro Perwez (Chosroes II). Chosroes II was overthrown in a military coup in 590, and he had to seek refuge with Maurice, the Byzantine emperor. With the Byzantine help, Chosroes II was restored to the Persian throne. Maurice regarded Khusro as a son, and during the last decade of the sixth century the two countries forged strong links of friendship. In 602 C.E., there was a revolt against Maurice. Maurice was killed, and Phocas became the emperor. There was another revolt in 610 C.E. when Heraclius became the Byzantine emperor. After the death of Maurice, the friendship between the two countries was over. In the second decade of the seventh century, Chosroes II invaded the Byzantine territories. Syria and Jerusalem fell to the Persians in 614 C.E. The Persians carried away the Holy Cross from Jerusalem. The Persians next marched to Egypt and annexed it in 616 C.E. For some time, the Byzantines lay low, but by 622 C.E. the Byzantines were strong enough to launch an attack against Persia. In the battle of Issus in 622 C.E., the Persians suffered a defeat. Other battles were fought during 623-625 C.E, which were not conclusive. The decisive battle was fought on the banks of the Tigris near the city of Mosul in 625 C.E. when Persia surrendered and asked for terms. As a result of this reverse, there was a revolt against Chosroes II in 628 C.E., when he was killed by his own son Sheroyah. Sheroyah who ascended the Persian throne as Kobad II made peace with Heraclius. By the terms of the peace treaty Persia abandoned all the conquests that it had made earlier in the second decade of the seventh century. Sheroyah died within a year. After him there was complete anarchy in the Sassanian empire, and during the next four years, there were a dozen kings including, two women. The Byzantine Empire on the other hand enjoyed a measure of stability under Heraclius.

Arab buffer states: When the two empires of Persia and Byzantium expanded, these came to include territories populated by Arabs. As a matter of policy both the empires found it expedient to set up Arab buffer states at the periphery of their empires. In the sixth century, a Ghassanid Arab state was set up in Syria under Al Harith b Jabala. This state acknowledged the suzerainty of Byzantium. In the Persian Empire a Lakhmid state was set up in Iraq with the capital at Hira. The Lakhmids acknowledged the suzerainty of Persia. The Ghassanids and the Lakhmids were often at war with each other. When Islam appeared on the world stage, the position about these buffer Arab states was changed. In Syria after the death of their king Al Harith b Jabala the Ghassanid State split into fifteen principalities. In Persia Chosroes II did away with the Lakhmid State, and took over the territory under the direct rule of Persia. The policy of the Holy Prophet was to win over the border Arab tribes to Islam. It was with a view to this end that the campaigns of Muta and Tabuk were undertaken during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet. When Abu Bakr insisted on sending Usama’s expedition to Syria, it was in continuation of the policy laid down by the Holy Prophet. With the disintegration of the Persian rule, there was a power vacuum in the coastal areas of east and south Arabia. Islam succeeded in filling up this vacuum. In Iraq, Islam had yet to make headway.

Campaigns of Abu Bakr: When Abu Bakr became the Caliph in 632 C.E., Islam was threatened with disintegration. Within a year, Abu Bakr was strong enough to attack the Persian Empire on the northeast and the Byzantine Empire in the northwest. These were giant empires with history extending over hundreds of years. They had large resources at their disposal. But yet against the Arab hordes the Persian and the Byzantine forces were not able to take a stand. In Iraq the Muslim forces gave blows after blows to the Persian armies. In Syria the same story was repeated and the Byzantine forces in spite of the superiority in strength and vastness of resources could not withstand the Muslim forces. The story of the victory of the Muslim armies in Iraq and Syria read very much like a tale of the Arabian Nights, too difficult to believe, but yet an established fact of history. In this respect, Professor Hitti observes as follows in his History of the Arabs: “If someone in the first third of the seventh Christian century had the audacity to prophesy that within a decade some unheralded, unforeseen power from the hitherto barbarians and little known land of Arabia was to make its appearance, hurl itself against the only two powers of the age, fall heir to the one-the Sassanids, and strip the other, the Byzantine of its fairest provinces, he would undoubtedly be declared a lunatic. Yet that was what happened.”

The main causes of the victories of the Muslims during the caliphate of Abu Bakr were the Help of the Almighty, the religious fervour, firm belief in the prophecies of the Prophet SAW, high morale of the Muslim soldiers, their endurance and mobility, and the superb directions of Abu Bakr.

Whatever the causes that led to the success of the Muslims when they emerged on the international horizon, so much is certain that the astounding success of the Muslim forces in Iraq and Syria reads very much like a tale from the Arabian Nights. Truth is said to be stranger then fiction, and it was certainly so in the case of the Muslim conquests of Iraq and Shaam. Iraq and Shaam fell to the Muslims just as a ripe apple would fall to the ground under the law of gravitation. It is an undeniable fact that by overpowering the empires of Persia and Byzantium, Sayyidina Abu Bakr changed the course of history and set the scene for the glorious Muslim liberation of Al Quds.