The battle of Yarmouk was a major conflict between the Byzantine empire and the Muslim forces.
To understand this conflict, you need to know some information about its background. So, let’s start the battle of Yarmouk notes.
The first caliph, Hazrat Abu-Bakr, defeated the Romans on the Syrian front during his caliphate. Soon, Hazrat Khalid Ibn Waleed added Damascus, Emmessa and Jordan as well to the Muslim rule.
Apart after the massive blow to the Sassanid Persians at Firaz, the Muslim Arab troops, under the leadership of Khalid ibn al-Walid, took on the army of the Christian Byzantine Empire at Yarmouk
The conflict was around the border of modern-day Syria and Jordan. The confrontation was to continue for six days.
Hazrat Khalid ibn Waleed also took over Mesopotamia after Firaz. This continual expansion of the Muslim empire was seen as a threat by the non-Muslims.
Heraclius, the Byzantine emperor, invited the Sassanids to join his force against the Arabs to stop their advancing army.
To investigate the Arab advance and to recover lost territory, Emperor Heraclius dispatched a large expedition in May 636to the Levant. As the Byzantine expedition arrived, the Arabs made a plan.
They withdrew from Syria and regrouped all their forces at the Yarmouk plains near the Arabian Peninsula. This tactic helped Muslims to gain reinforcements and there were tensions in the Roman army due to this.
The battle of Yarmouk begins:
Heraclius assembled a very large army. His army consisted of the Christian Arabs, Franks and Slavs etc. Heraclius assembled his army in Northern Syria.
Heraclius wanted more forces to arrive to assist the Byzantines. What he wanted to do was exploit the diplomatic options.
However, the Muslims (under the command of Khalid ibn Waleed) were divided into four battalions, each battalion under an experienced commander.
One battalion under Amr ibn Aas in Palestine, one under Shurahbil in Jordan, Damascus-Caesarea region under Yazid and the last one under Abu Ubaidah along with Khalid at Emesa.
When the two hosts fought, it was Heraclius’s plan to exercise caution and wear the Muslims down by a range of small engagements.
However, the Sassanids did not arrive which completely shattered Heraclius plans. After six days, Hazrat Khalid managed to draw the Byzantines into a large-scale pitched battle.
This concluded with the Romans leaving them battlefield in disarray, attacked by the Arabs with a sand-laden wind following them.
The majority of the Byzantine troops fell to their deaths over a narrow gorge.
The victory for Hazrat Khalid was a very big achievement for him. This battle completely broke the power of the Byzantines and their rule in Syria.
What else happened at Yarmouk?
The massive Byzantine army, almost 260,000, that camped at the valley of Yarmouk offered Muslims a large sum of money if they left Syria.
However, the Muslims rejected the offer and instead offered them to accept Islam or to pay jizya or to prepare for the battle.
The Byzantines chose to fight with the Muslims. The battle lasted for six days and by the end of six days only, one-third of the Byzantine army remained on the battlefield.
The battlefront prevails in the plain of Jordanian Hauran, which is southeast of the Golan Heights. The conflict was fought on the fields towards the south of Yarmouk River. That valley joins the Yarmouk on its south. The river had steep banks, varying in height from 30 m (98 ft)–200 m (660 ft). Jambiya road is on the north and Azra hills are to the east.
However strategically, there was only one thing on the battlefield that helped Muslims to gain prominence. This was the 100-meter elevation which is known as Tel al Jumma’a. This place provided Muslims with a clear view of the Yarmouk valley.
Both the Byzantines and the Muslims were well-equipped with swords and animals. The archers played a very vital role for both sides.
Now, let’s view the important events from day one to day six in the battle of Yarmouk.
Day 1: Towards the sunrise, both forces came closer to each other, almost only one-mile apart. According to some sources, a Byzantine commander (George) converted to Islam. He was martyred on the very first day of the battle. The battle started with single combat which the Muslims dominated. This decreased the morale of the Byzantines.
At the single combat, the Byzantines lost a lot of commanders. Therefore, Vahan ordered his forces for a limited attack with one-third of his infantry forces to examine the Muslim forces. However, the Byzantine attack lacked confidence and many Byzantine warriors were incapable to press the attack.
Vahan did not send more forces for reinforcement and at sunset, both armies returned back.
Day 2: On 16 August 636, Vahan was determined in a council of war to attack the Muslims just before dawn. He perceived that this strategy will catch the Muslim force unprepared because they would be conducting the morning prayers.
The Byzantine army thought that they would create tensions in the Muslim army. However, Hazrat Khalid ibn Waleed (R.A) was completely expecting this from the Romans. Therefore, the Muslims countered this with ease.
Khalid (R.A), aware of the circumstances at the wings, commanded the cavalry of the right-wing to push the northern flank of the Byzantine back. The left-wing, while Hazrat Khalid was with his mobile guard, struck the southern flank of the Byzantine left-wing.
This all created massive pressure on the Byzantine army.
Both the forces constantly changed their strategies to meet the challenge. Towards the sunset, both forces withdrew back to their original position.
Day 3: The Muslims were attacked on their right flank and the centre by the Byzantines. However, they managed to push back the Byzantines.
When Hazrat Khalid (R.A) found out that their right flank was focused, he decided to attack the Byzantine army from the back. These conflicts turned into a bloodbath and later the Romans were forced to return back to their original position.
Day 4 and 5: Vahan decided to continue his strategy and attack the right side of the Muslims in order to weak them.
While Hazrat Khalid was busy on the right flank, the situation became worse on the left flank as the Byzantine archers launched fierce attacks on the left flank.
This day, the Muslims suffered massive losses and they lost many of their men.
On the other day, the Muslims changed their defensive strategy into attacking. They launched fierce attacks on the Romans and they managed to weak them.
Day 6: On this day, Hazrat Khalid ibn Waleed (R.A) came up with a bold strategy. He planned to push the left flank of the Byzantine army to disrupt their infantry.
The Muslims started the attack from the centre and they immediately turned towards the left flank of the Byzantine army. The Byzantines were unable to handle this forceful attack and they were pushed back.
Vahan decided to organize his force but he was unable to do so. Therefore, some of the Byzantine soldiers fled away. The Byzantines tried to retreat towards the North and the West but the Muslims blocked all passages.
The majority of the Byzantine soldiers met their fate. It is also believed that Vahan died during the battle.
With this, the battle of Yarmouk notes has come to an end. Thank You very much for reading the blog.
Remember that this battle is very significant in the history of Islam. Therefore, sufficient information has been provided.