|629||Battle of Mutah (Mota)||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Outcome:||A first conflict with the Arabs and a Byzantine victory after a fierce battle||September 629|
|War & Enemy:||
Arab Conquest of Syria
|The Battlefield|| Location:
Near the village of Mutah which is close to Karak (a city in modern Jordan) where, later, the crusaders built one of the biggest castles in Middle East
| Modern Country:
|The Byzantines(emperor: Heraclius)||The Enemies|
|Commander:||Theodore (Heraclius’ brother)||Zayd ibn Haritha, Jafar ibn Abi Talib|
|Background story:||After the conversion to Islam of most parts of Arabia, prophet Muhammad sent emissaries to the nomadic Arabian tribes in the north. His envoys were killed there, and Muhammad sent 3000 troops to punish the tribes.
Those tribes were Ghassanids which was the name of a group of Hellenized Arabian Christian tribes that had emigrated in the early 3rd century from Yemen to Southern Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and the Holy Land where they eventually merged with Greek-speaking Early Christian communities. Traditionally, the Ghassanids were allies of Byzantium.
The leader of the Ghassanids had received word of the expedition and prepared his forces; he also sent to the Byzantines for aid. Muslim historians report that the Byzantine emperor Heraclius gathered an army and hurried to the aid of his Arab allies.
It was a fierce battle which ended with a victory of the Byzantines, although Muslim historians described it as a draw.
During the battle, all three Muslim leaders fell one after the other as they took command of the force. Finally, Khalid ibn al-Walid took over. Khalid, seeing that the situation was hopeless, prepared to withdraw. He continued to engage the Byzantines in skirmishes, but avoided pitched battle. In the night, he completely changed his troop positions and brought forth a rearguard that he had equipped with new banners; all this was intended to give the impression that reinforcements had arrived from Medina. He also ordered his cavalry to retreat behind a hill during the night, hiding their movements, and then to return during daytime when the battle resumed, raising as much dust as they could. This also was intended to create the impression that further reinforcements were arriving. The Byzantines believed in the fictitious reinforcements and hesitated, thus allowing the Muslim force to safely retreat to Medina.
|Noteworthy:||The fight was so intense that Khalid ibn al-Walid had to use nine swords which broke in the battle.|
|Aftermath:||It was the first battle between the Byzantines and the Arabs. For the Byzantines, it was, most probably, a minor skirmish. For the Arabs however, it was a milestone.|