The Battle of al-Qādisiyyah (Arabic: معركة القادسيّة; romanization Maʻrakatu al-Qādisiyyah; alternative spellings: Qadisiyya, Qadisiyyah, Kadisiya, Ghadesiyeh), fought in 636, was a decisive battle between the Arab Muslim army and the army of the Sasanian Empire during the first period of Muslim conquests.
Although the description of this battle has had an important place in Islamic historiography, much of the material have little historical value. The battle took place at an uncertain date at the small frontier town of Qadisiyyah. The larger Sasanian army was headed by the important military and political figure Rostam Farrokhzad, who died in uncertain circumstances, and a collapse of the Sasanian army led to an Arab Muslim victory.
The Muslim victory was key to the conquest of Asorestan (Iraq), and was followed by the major engagements at Jalula and Nahavand. The battle also saw the alleged alliance of Emperor Yazdegerd III with Byzantine emperor Heraclius, who married his granddaughter Manyanh to Yazdegerd as a symbol of alliance.
During the lifetime of Muhammad, the Sasanian Empire was ruled by Khosrow II. The Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 began as an attempt to avenged the murder Khosrow's ally, Byzantine emperor Maurice, by a pretender, Emperor Phocas. The military of the Sasanian Empire invaded and captured Syria, Egypt, and Anatolia, and the True Cross was carried away in triumph.
Emperor Heraclius succeeded Phocas in 610 and led the Byzantines in a war of reconquest, successfully regaining territory lost to the Sasanians. He defeated a small Persian army at the final Battle of Nineveh and advanced towards Ctesiphon. After a successful coup by one of Khosrow's sons, Kavadh II, the new ruler ordered the execution of his father along with all his brothers and half-brothers, which included Mardanshah, the favorite son of Khosrow II, who was heir to the Sasanian throne. Kavadh's next move was to make peace with the Byzantines and return all captured territories.
At the same time Turks had attacked the north of Persia with a massive army. Heraclius ordered his armies to retreat after a pact was signed with Kavadh. According to the pact, the True Cross would be given back to Heraclius, and all Byzantine territory that the Persians had captured would be evacuated.
Khosrow II was murdered in his palace by his son Kavadh II in 628. Kavadh II put his 18 brothers to death and began negotiations with Heraclius, but he died suddenly after a reign of only a few months after being infected by plague. Thus began a civil war. Ardashir III (c. 621–630), son of Kavadh II, was raised to the throne at age seven but was killed 18 months later by his general Farrokhan, who was called Shahrbaraz, a title meaning "the Boar of the Empire". Shahrbaraz declared himself ruler. Shahrbaraz had taken Damascus and Jerusalem from the Byzantine Empire in 613 and 614 respectively.
On 9 June 629, Shahrbaraz was killed during an invasion from Armenia by a Khazar–Göktürk force under Chorpan Tarkhan. He was succeeded by Boran, daughter of Khosrow II. She was the 26th sovereign monarch of Persia, ruling from 17 June 629 to 16 June 630, and was one of only two women to sit on the Sasanian throne, the other being her sister Azarmidokht. She was made empress regnant on the understanding that she would vacate the throne upon Yazdegerd III attaining majority.
Boran attempted to bring stability to the empire by the implementation of justice, reconstruction of the infrastructure, lowering taxes, minting coins, and a peace treaty with the Byzantine Empire. She also appointed Rostam Farrokhzād as the commander-in-chief of the Persian army.
Boran was largely unsuccessful in restoring the power of the central authority, however, which was weakened considerably by civil wars, and she resigned or was murdered soon after. She was replaced by her sister Azarmidokht, who in turn was replaced by Hormizd VI, a noble of the Persian court.
After five years of internal power struggle, Yazdegerd III, grandson of Khosrow II, became emperor at the age of eight. The real pillars of the Persian state were generals Rostam Farrokhzād and Piruz Khosrow (also known as Piruzan). There was friction between the two, although pressure from courtiers pushed this backstage.
The coronation of Yazdegerd III infused new life into the Sasanian Empire.
After the death of Muhammad, Abu Bakr established control over Arabia through the Ridda Wars and then launched campaigns against the remaining Arabs of Syria and Palestine. He triggered the chain of events which would in few decades form one of the largest empires the world had ever seen. He thus put the nascent Islamic empire on a collision course with the Byzantine and Sassanid empires, which were the two super-powers of the time. The wars soon became a matter of conquest that would eventually result in the demise of the Sassanid empire and the annexation of all of the Byzantine Empire's southern and eastern territory. To make victory certain, Abu Bakr decided that the invading army would consist entirely of volunteers and would be commanded by his best general, Khalid ibn al-Walid. Khalid won quick victories in four consecutive battles: the Battle of Chains, fought in April 633; the Battle of River, fought in the third week of April 633; the Battle of Walaja, fought in May 633; followed by the decisive Battle of Ullais, fought in mid-May, 633. By now the Persian Empire was struggling, and in the last week of May 633, the capital city of Iraq, Al-Hirah, fell to the Muslims after the Battle of Hira. Thereafter, the Siege of Al-Anbar during June–July 633 resulted in surrender of the city after strong resistance. Khalid then moved towards the south and conquered the city of Ein ul Tamr after the Battle of Ayn al-Tamr in the last week of July 633. In November 633, the Persian counter-attack was repulsed by Khalid. In December 633, Muslim forces reached the border city of Firaz, where Khalid defeated the combined Sassanid, Byzantine, and Christian Arab armies in the Battle of Firaz. This was the last battle in the conquest of Iraq.
By this time, with the exception of Ctesiphon, Khalid had captured all of Iraq. However, circumstances changed on the western front. The Byzantine army soon came in direct conflict in Syria and Palestine, and Khalid was sent with half of his army to deal with this new development. Soon after, Caliph Abu Bakr died in August 634 and was succeeded by Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattāb. Muslim forces in Iraq were too few to control the region. After the devastating invasion by Khalid, the Persians took time to recover; political instability was at its peak at Ctesiphon. Once the Persians recovered, they concentrated more troops and mounted a counterattack. Muthanna ibn Harith, who was now commander-in-chief of the Muslim forces in Iraq, pulled his troops back from all outposts and evacuated Al-Hirah. He then retreated to the region near the Arabian Desert. Meanwhile, Umar sent reinforcements from Madinah under the command of Abu Ubaid. The reinforcements reached Iraq in October 634, and Abu Ubaid assumed the command of the army and defeated the Sassanids at the Battle of Namaraq near modern-day Kufa. Then, in the Battle of Kaskar, he recaptured Hira.
The Persians launched another counterattack and defeated the Muslims at Battle of the Bridge, which killed Abu Ubaid, and the Muslims suffered heavy losses. Muthanna then assumed command of the army and withdrew the remnant of his forces, about 3000 strong, across the Euphrates. The Persian commander Bahman (also known as Dhu al-Hajib) was committed to driving the Muslims away from Persian soil but was restrained from pursuing the defeated Muslims after being called back by Rustum to Ctesiphon to help in putting down the revolt against him. Muthanna retreated near the frontier of Arabia and called for reinforcements. After getting sufficient reinforcements, he re-entered the fray and camped at the western bank of Euphrates, where a Persian force intercepted him and was defeated.
After Khalid left Iraq for Syria, Suwad, the fertile area between the Euphrates and the Tigris, remained unstable. Sometimes it was occupied by the Persians and sometimes by the Muslims. This "tit-for-tat" struggle continued until emperor Yazdegerd III consolidated his power and sought alliance with Heraclius in 635 in an effort to prepare for a massive counterattack. Heraclius married his daughter to Yazdegerd III, in accordance with Roman tradition to seal an alliance. Heraclius then prepared for a major offensive in the Levant. Meanwhile, Yazdegerd ordered a concentration of massive armies to reclaim Iraq for good. This was supposed to be a well-coordinated attack by both emperors to annihilate the power of their common enemy, Caliph Umar.
When Heraclius launched his offensive in May 636, Yazdegerd could not coordinate on time, so the plan was not carried out as planned. Meanwhile, Umar allegedly had knowledge of this alliance and devised his own plan to counteract it. He wanted to finish the Byzantines first, and later deal with the Persians separately. Accordingly, he sent 6000 soldiers as reinforcements to his army in Yarmouk who were facing off the Byzantine army. Simultaneously, Umar engaged Yazdegerd III, ordering Saad ibn Abi Waqqas to enter in peace negotiations with him by inviting him to convert to Islam. Heraclius, fearing the abovementioned scenario had instructed his general Vahan not to engage in battle with Muslims and await his orders. However, Vahan, witnessing fresh reinforcements for the Muslims arriving daily from Madinah, felt compelled to attack the Muslim forces before they got too strong. Heraclius's imperial army was annihilated at Battle of Yarmouk in August 636, three months before the battle of Qadisiyyah, therefore ending the Roman Emperor's offensive in the west. Undeterred, Yazdegerd continued to execute his plan of attack and concentrated armies near his capital Ctesiphon. A large force was put under the control of veteran general Rostam and was cantoned at Valashabad near Ctesiphon. Receiving news of preparations for a massive counter-attack, Umar ordered Muthana to abandon Iraq and retreat to the edge of the Arabian Desert. The Iraqi campaign would be addressed at a later date.
Caliph Umar started raising new armies from all over Arabia with the intention of re-invading Iraq. Umar appointed Sa`d ibn Abī Waqqās, an important member of the Quraysh tribe as commander of this army. In May 636, Saad was instructed to march to Northern Arabia with a contingent of 4,000 men from his camp at Sisra (near Madinah) and take over command of the Muslim army, and immediately march onwards to Iraq. Because of his inexperience as a general, he was instructed by Caliph Umar to seek the advice of experienced commanders before making critical decisions. Umar sent orders to him to halt at Al-Qadisiyyah, a small town 30 miles from Kufah.
Umar continued to remotely issue strategic orders and commands to his army throughout the campaign. Due to a shortage of manpower, Umar decided to lift the ban on the ex-apostate tribes of Arabia from participating in state affairs. The army raised was not professional but was a volunteer force composed of newly recruited contingents from all over Arabia. After a decisive victory against the Byzantine army at the Yarmouk, Umar sent immediate orders to Abu Ubaidah to send a contingent of veterans to Iraq. A force of 5,000 veterans of Yarmouk were also sent to Qadisiyyah, they arrived on the second day of the battle Qadisiyyah. This proved to be a major turning point, and a major morale booster for the Muslim army. The battle of Qadissiyyah was fought predominantly between Umar and Rostam, rather than between Saad and Rostam. Coincidentally, bulk of the Sassanid army was also made up of new recruits since the bulk of regular Sassanid forces was destroyed during the Battle of Walaja and the Ullais.
Qadisiyya was a small town on the west bank of the river Ateeq, a branch of the Euphrates. Al-Hira, ancient capital of Lakhmid Dynasty, was about thirty miles west. According to present day geography, it is situated at southwest of al-Hillah and Kufah in Iraq.
Modern estimates suggest that the size of Sassanid forces was about 50,000–100,000 strong and Muslims around 30,000 strong after being reinforced by the Syrian contingent on second day of the battle. These figures come from studying the logistical capabilities of the combatants, the sustainability of their respective bases of operations, and the overall manpower constraints affecting the Sassanids and Arabs. Most scholars, however, agree that the Sassanid army and their allies outnumbered the Muslim Arabs by a sizable margin.
The Persian army reached Qadisiyyah in July 636 and established their highly fortified camps on the eastern bank of the Ateeq river. There was a strong bridge over the Ateeq river, the only crossing to the main Sassanid camps, although they had boats available in reserve to cross the river.
The Sassanid Persian army, about 60,000 strong, fell into three main categories, infantry, heavy cavalry, and the Elephant corps. The Elephant corps was also known as the Indian corps, for the elephants were trained and brought from Persian provinces in India. On 16 November 636, the Sassanid army crossed over the west bank of Ateeq, and Rostam deployed his 45,000 infantry in four divisions, each about 150 meters apart from the other. 15,000 cavalry were divided among four divisions to be used as reserve for counter-attack and offensives. At Qadisiyyah, about 33 elephants were present, eight with each of the four divisions of army. The battle front was about 4 km long. The Sassanid Persians' right wing was commanded by Hormuzan, the right center by Jalinus, the rear guard by Piruzan, and the left wing by Mihran. Rostam himself was stationed at an elevated seat, shaded by a canopy, near the west bank of the river and behind the right center, where he enjoyed a wide view of the battlefield. By his side waved the Derafsh-e-Kāveyān (in Persian: درفش کاویان, the 'flag of Kāveh'), the standard of the Sassanid Persians. Rostam placed men at certain intervals between the battlefield and the Sassanid capital, Ctesiphon, to transmit information.
In July 636, the main Muslim army marched from Sharaf to Qadisiyya. After establishing camp, organizing defenses, and securing river heads, Saad sent parties inside Suwad to conduct raids. Saad was continuously in contact with Caliph Umar, to whom he sent a detailed report of the geographical features of the land where the Muslims encamped and the land between Qaddasiyyah, Madinah, and the region where the Persians were concentrating their forces. The Muslim army at this point was about 30,000 strong, including 7,000 cavalry. Its strength rose to 36,000 strong once it was reinforced by the contingent from Syria and local Arabs allies. Saad was suffering from sciatica, and had boils all over his body. He took a seat in the old royal palace at Qaddasiyyah from where he directed the war operations and had a good view of the battlefield. He appointed as his deputy Khalid ibn Arfatah, who carried out his instructions to the battlefield. The Rashidun infantry was deployed in four corps, each with its own cavalry regiment stationed at the rear for counter-attacks. Each corps was positioned about 150 meters from the other. The army was formed on a tribal and clan basis, so that every man fought next to well-known comrades and so that tribes were held accountable for any weakness.
The Muslim forces wore gilded helmets similar to the silver helmets of the Sassanid soldiers. Mail was commonly used to protect the face, neck, and cheeks, either as an aventail from the helmet or as a mail coif. Heavy leather sandals as well as Roman type sandal boots were also typical of the early Muslim soldiers. Armor included hardened leather scale or lamellar armour and mail. Infantry soldiers were more heavily armored than the horsemen. Hauberks and large wooden or wickerwork shields were used as well as long-shafted spears. Infantry spears were about 2.5 meters long and those of the cavalry were up to 5.5 meters long.
Swords used were a short infantry weapon like the Roman gladius and the Sassanid long sword. Both were worn hung from a baldric. Bows were about two meters long when unbraced, about the same size as the famous English longbow, with a maximum range of about 150 meters. Early Muslim archers were infantry archers who proved very effective against the opposing cavalry. The troops at the Sassanid Persian front were lightly armored compared to the Rashidun troops deployed at the Byzantine front.
The Arabs were camped at Qadisiyyah with 30,000 men since July 636. Umar ordered Saad to send emissaries to Yazdegerd III and the general of Sasanian army Rostam Farrokhzad, inviting them to convert to Islam. For the next three months, negotiations between Arabs and Persians continued. On Caliph Umar's instructions, Saad sent an embassy to court of Persia with instructions to convert the Sassanid emperor to Islam or to get him to agree to paying jizyah. An-Numan ibn Muqarrin led the Muslim emissary to Ctesiphon and met Sasanian Emperor Yazdgerd III, but the mission failed.
During one meeting, Yazdgerd III, intent on humiliating the Arabs, ordered his servants to place a basket full of earth on the head of Asim ibn Amr, a member of the emissary. The optimistic Arab ambassador interpreted this gesture with the following words: "Congratulations! The enemy has voluntarily surrendered its territory to us" (referring to the earth in the basket). Rustam, the Persian general, held a view similar to Asim ibn Amir. He allegedly rebuked Yazdgerd III for the basket of earth because it signifies that the Persian voluntarily surrendered their land to the Muslims. Yazdgerd III, upon hearing this, ordered soldiers to pursue the Muslim emissaries; and retrieve the basket, however the emissaries were already at their base camp at that point.
As tensions eased on the Syrian front, Caliph Umar instructed negotiations to be halted. This was an open signal to the Persians to prepare for battle. Rostam Farrokhzād, who was at Valashabad, broke camp for Qadisiyyah. He was inclined, however, to avoid fighting and once more opened peace negotiations. Saad sent Rabi bin Amir and later Mughirah bin Zurarah to hold talks. After the negotiations fell through, both sides prepared for battle.
On 16 November 636, an intervening canal was choked up and converted into a road on Rostam's orders and before dawn the entire Persian army crossed the canal. Rostam now armed himself with a double set of complete armour and requisite weapons. Both armies stood face to face about 500 meters apart. Rashidun's army was deployed facing northeast, while the Sassanid army was deployed facing southwest and had the river at its rear
The battle began with personal duels; Muslim Mubarizun stepped forward and many were slain on both sides. Muslim chronicles record several heroic duels between the Sassanid and Muslim champions. The purpose of these duels was to lower the morale of the opposing army by killing as many champions as possible. Having lost several in duels, Rostam began the battle by ordering his left wing to attack the Muslims' right wing.
The Persian attack began with heavy showers of arrows, which caused considerable damage to the Muslims' right wing. Elephants led the charge from the Persian side. Abdullah ibn Al-mutim, the Muslim commander of right wing ordered Jareer ibn Abdullah (cavalry commander of the right wing) to deal with the Sassanid elephants. However, Jareer's cavalry was stopped by the Sassanid heavy cavalry. The elephants continued to advance, and the Muslim infantry began to fall back.
Saad sent orders to Ath'ath ibn Qais, commander of the center right cavalry to check the Sassanid cavalry advance. Ath’ath then led a cavalry regiment that reinforced the right wing cavalry and launched a counterattack at the flank of the Sassanid left wing. Meanwhile, Saad sent orders to Zuhra ibn Al-Hawiyya, commander of Muslims right center, to dispatch an infantry regiment to reinforce the infantry of the right wing. An infantry regiment was sent under Hammal ibn Malik that helped the right wing infantry launch a counterattack against the Sassanids. The Sassanid left wing retreated under the frontal attack by infantry of Muslims right wing reinforced by infantry regiment from right center and flanking attack by Muslims cavalry reinforced by a cavalry regiment from right center.
With his initial attacks repulsed, Rostam ordered his right center and right wing to advance against the Muslim Cavalry. The Muslim left wing and left center were first subjected to intense archery, followed by a charge of the Sassanid right wing and right center. Once again, the Elephant corps led the charge. The Muslim cavalry, on left wing and left center, already in panic due to the charge of the elephants, were driven back by the combined action of Sassanid heavy cavalry and the elephants.
Saad sent word to Asim ibn Amr, commander of the left center, to overpower the elephants. Asim's strategy was to overcome the archers on the elephants' and cut the girths of the saddles. Asim ordered his archers to kill the men on elephants and ordered infantry to cut the girths of the saddles. The tactic worked, as the Persians retired the elephants, the Muslims counterattacked. The Sassanid army's center right retreated followed by the retreat of the entire right wing. By afternoon the Persian attacks on the Muslim left wing and left center were also beaten back. Saad, in order to exploit this opportunity, ordered a yet another counterattack. The Muslim cavalry then charged from the flanks with full force, a tactic known as Karr wa farr. The Muslim attacks were eventually repulsed by Rostam, who plunged into the fray personally and is said to have received several wounds. The fighting ended at dusk. The battle was inconclusive, with considerable losses on both sides.
In the Muslim chronicles, the first day of the battle of Qadisiyyah is known as Yawm al-Armath (يوم أرماث) or "The Day of Disorder".
On 17 November, like the previous day, Saad decided to start the day with Mubarizuns to inflict maximum morale damage on the Persians. At noon, while these duelings were still going on, reinforcements from Syria arrived for the Muslim army. First, an advance guard under Al-Qa'qa ibn Amr at-Tamimi arrived, followed by the main army under its commander Hisham ibn Utbah, nephew of Saad. Qa’qa divided his advance guard into several small groups and instructed them to reach the battlefield one after the other giving the impression that a very large reinforcement contingent had arrived. This strategy had a very demoralizing effect the Persian army.
On this day, Qa’qa is said to have killed Persian general Bahman, who had commanded the Sassanid army at the Battle of Bridge earlier. As there were no elephants in the Sassanid fighting force that day, Saad sought to exploit this opportunity to gain any breakthrough if possible, so he ordered a general attack. All four Muslim corps surged forward, but the Sassanids stood firm and repulsed repeated attacks. During these charges, Qa’qa resorted to the ingenious device of camouflaging camels to look like strange monsters. These monsters moved to the Sassanid front; seeing them, the Sassanid horses turned and bolted. The disorganization of the Sassanid cavalry left their left center infantry vulnerable. Saad ordered the Muslims to intensify the attack. Qa’qa ibn Amr, now acting as a field commander of the Muslim army, planned to kill the Sassanid commander Rostam, and led a group of Mubarizuns, from his Syrian contingent who were also the veterans of Battle of Yarmouk, through the Sassanids' right center towards Rostam's headquarter. Rostam again personally led a counterattack against the Muslims, but no breakthrough could be achieved. At dusk, the two armies pulled back to their camps.
On 18 November, Rostam wanted a quick victory, before more Muslim reinforcements could arrive. The Elephant corps was once again in the front of the Sassanid army, giving him the advantage. Pressing this advantage, Rostam ordered a general attack along the Muslim front, using his full force. All four Sassanid corps moved forward and struck the Muslims on their front. The Persian attack began with the customary volley of arrows and projectiles. The Muslims sustained heavy losses before their archers retaliated. The Persian elephant corps once again led the charge, supported by their infantry and cavalry. At the approach of the Sassanid elephants, the Muslim riders once again became unnerved, leading to confusion in the Muslim ranks. The Sassanids pressed the attack, and the Muslims fell back.
Through the gaps that had appeared in the foe's ranks as a result of the Sassanid advance, Rostam sent a cavalry regiment to capture the old palace where Saad the Commander-in-Chief of the Muslim forces was stationed. The strategy of Rostam was that the Muslim Commander-in-Chief should be killed or taken captive with a view to demoralizing the Muslims. However, a strong cavalry contingent of the Muslims rushed to the spot and drove away the Sassanid cavalry.
Saad determined that there was only one way to win the battle: to destroy the Sassanid elephant corps that was causing the greatest havoc among the Muslim ranks. He issued the orders that the elephants should be overpowered by blinding them and severing their trunks. After a long struggle, the Muslims finally succeeded in mutilating the elephants sufficiently to be driven off. The frightened elephant corps rushed through the Sassanid ranks and made for the river. By noon no elephants were left on the battlefield. The flight of the elephants caused considerable confusion in the Sassanid ranks. To exploit this situation even further, Saad ordered a general attack, and the two armies clashed once again. In spite of the Muslims' repeated charges, the Sassanids held their ground. In the absence of the Persian elephants, the Muslims once again brought up camels camouflaged as monsters. The trick did not work this time, and the Persian horses stood their ground.
The third day of the battle was the hardest for both armies. There were heavy casualties on both sides, and the battlefield was strewn with the dead bodies of fallen warriors. In spite of fatigue after three days of battle, the armies continued the fight, which raged through the night and ending only with the dawn. It became a battle of stamina, with both sides on the verge of breaking. The strategy of Sa'd was to wear down the Persians and snatch victory from them. In the Muslim chronicles the third day of the Battle is known as Yaum-ul-Amas and the night as Lailat-ul-Harir, meaning the "Night of Rumbling Noises".
At sunrise of 19 November 636, the fighting had ceased, but the battle was still inconclusive. Qa'qa, with the consent of Sa'd, was now acting as a field commander of the Muslim troops. He is reported to have addressed his men as follows:
"If we fight for an hour or so more, the enemy will be defeated. So, warriors of the Bani Tameem make one more attempt and victory will be yours."
The Muslims' left center led by Qa’qa surged forward and attacked the Sassanid right center, followed by the general attack of the Muslims' corps. The Sassanids were taken by surprise at the resumption of battle. The Sassanids left wing and left center were pushed back. Qa’qa again led a group of Mubarizuns against the Sassanids' left center and by noon, he and his men were able to pierce through the Sassanid center.
On the final day, Rostam was slain, which heralded the defeat of the Persians. Two different accounts have been told of his mysterious death:
1) Qa'qa and his men dashed towards the Sassanid Headquarter. Meanwhile, in the middle of a sandstorm, Rostam was found dead with over 600 wounds on his body. The Persians were not aware of his death, though, and they continued to fight. The Sassanid right wing counter-attacked and gained its lost position, as the Muslims' left wing retreated back to their original position. The Muslims' left center, now under Qa’qa's command, when denied the support of their left wing, also retreated back to its original position. Saad now ordered a general attack on the Sassanid front to drive away the Persians, demoralized by the death of their charismatic leader. In the afternoon the Muslims mounted another attack.
2) There was a heavy sandstorm facing the Persian army on the final day of the battle. Rostam lay next to a camel to shelter himself from the storm, while some weapons, such as axes, maces, and swords had been loaded on the camel. Hilāl ibn `Ullafah accidentally cut the girdle of the load on the camel, not knowing that Rostam was behind and under it. The weapons fell on Rostam and broke his back leaving him half dead and paralyzed. Hilal beheaded Rostam and shouted "I swear to the god of Kaaba that I have killed Rostam." Shocked by the head of their legendary leader dangling before their eyes, the Persians were demoralized, and the commanders lost control of the army. Many Persian soldiers were slain in the chaos, many escaped through the river, and finally the rest of the army surrendered.
The Sassanid front, after putting up a last resistance, finally collapsed; part of the Sassanid army retreated in an organized manner while the rest retreated in panic towards the river. At this stage Galinus took command of what was left of the Sassanid army and claimed control of the bridge head, succeeding in getting the bulk of the army across the bridge safely. The battle of Qaddisiyyah was over, and the Muslims were victorious. Saad sent the cavalry regiments in various directions to pursue the fleeing Persians. The stragglers that the Muslims met along the way were either killed or taken captive. Heavy casualties were suffered by the Sassanids during these pursuits.
From this battle, the Arab Muslims gained a large amount of spoils, including the famed jewel-encrusted royal standard, called the Derafsh-e-Kāveyān (the 'flag of Kāveh'). The jewel was cut up and sold in pieces in Medina. The Arab fighters became known as ‘’ahl al-Qādisiyyah’’ and held the highest prestige of the later Arab settlers within Iraq and its important garrison town, Kufa.
Once the battle of Qadisiyya was over, Sa'ad sent a report of the Muslim victory to Umar. The battle shook the Sassanian rule in Iraq to its foundations but was not the end of their rule in Iraq. As long as the Sassanids held their capital Ctesiphon, there was always the danger that at some suitable moment they would make an attempt to recover what they had lost and drive away the Arabs from Iraq. Caliph Umar thus sent instructions to Saad that as a sequel to the battle of Qadisiyyah, the Muslims should push forward to capture Ctesiphon. The Siege of Ctesiphon continued for two months, and the city was finally taken in March 637. Muslim forces conquered the Persian provinces up to Khuzistan. The conquest was slowed, however, by a severe drought in Arabia in 638 and the plague in southern Iraq and Syria in 639. After this, Caliph Umar wanted a break to manage the conquered territories and for then he wanted to leave the rest of Persia to the Persians. Umar is reported to have said:
"I wish there were a mountain of fire between us and the Persians, so that neither they could get to us, nor we to them."
The Persian perspective however, was the polar opposite, one of great embarrassment, humiliation, and scorn. The pride of the imperial Sassanids had been hurt by the conquest of Iraq by the Arabs, and they continued the struggle to regain the lost territory. Thus a major Persian counterattack was launched and subsequently repulsed at the Battle of Nahavand, fought in December 641.
After that, a full-scale invasion of the Sassanid Persian empire was planned by Umar to conquer his arch-rival entirely. The last Persian emperor was Yazdgerd III, who was killed in 653 during the reign of the Caliph Uthman. His death officially marks the end of the Sassanid royal lineage and empire.
Adarnase I (Georgian: ადარნასე I) or Adrnerse (ადრნერსე, also transliterated as Atrnerseh), of the Chosroid dynasty, was a presiding prince of Iberia (Kartli, eastern Georgia) from 627 to 637/642.
He was the son of Bakur III, the last king of Iberia, and a hereditary duke (eristavi) of Kakheti. In 627, he assisted the Byzantine-Khazar army with the siege of Tbilisi and was made ruler of Iberia by the Byzantine emperor Heraclius who had the pro-Sassanid prince Stephanus I executed. Somewhere between 637 and 642 (i.e., after the battle of al-Qādisiyyah and before that of Nihawānd), he joined his forces with the Albanian prince Javanshir in an attack on Iranian garrisons in Albania.According to the 7th-century historian Movses Daskhurantsi, Adarnase wore three Byzantine titles. He is identified by the art historian Wachtang Djobadze with the honorary consul Adarnase (Adrnerse hypatos) recorded on an inscription from the Jvari Monastery at Mtskheta, Georgia. Cyril Toumanoff argues, however, that this Adrnerse is actually Adarnase II active in the late 7th century. His other titles are likely to have been those of patrikios and perhaps stratelates.Al-Muthanna Club
The Al-Muthanna Club (Arabic: نادي المثنى) was an influential pan-Arab fascist society established in Baghdad ca. 1935 to 1937 which remained active until May 1941, when the coup d'état of pro-Nazi Rashid Ali al-Gaylani failed. It was named after Al-Muthanna ibn Haritha, an Iraqi Muslim Arab general who led forces that helped to defeat the Persian Sassanids at the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah. Later known as the National Democratic Party, Nadi al-Muthanna was influenced by European fascism and controlled by radical Arab nationalists who, according to 2005's Memories of State, "formed the core of new radicals" for a combined Pan-Arab civilian and military coalition.Al-Qaqa ibn Amr al-Tamimi
Qa'qa' ibn 'Amr ibn Malik al Tamimi (Arabic: القعقاع بن عمرو بن مالك التميمي al-Qaʿqāʿ ibn ʿAmr ibn Mālik al-Tamīmī) was a man of Banu Tamim. He and his tribe converted to Islam possibly during the time of Ahnaf ibn Qais. He is known as successful Military Commander who took part in two important victorious battles in early Muslim Conquest, the Battle of Yarmouk against the Byzantine Empire (commanded by Khalid ibn al-Walid) and the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah against the Sassanian Empire which was led by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas. It was reported that in one time Caliph Abu Bakr praised him as an equal to eleven thousand men so in return the caliph predecessor, caliph Umar only sent him and a handful bodyguards as reinforcement to Al Qaddisiyah as the first wave as reinforcement. making him one of the most Illustrious military figures in that era.Al-Qādisiyyah (historical city)
Al-Qādisiyyah (Arabic: القادسية) is a historical city in southern Mesopotamia, southwest of al-Hillah and al-Kūfah in Iraq. It is most famous as the site of the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah in c. 636, which saw a force of Arab-Muslim invaders defeat a larger army sent by the Sāsānian Empire.Battle of Babylon (636)
Battle of Babylon was fought between the forces of Sassanid Empire and Rashidun Caliphate in 636. Muslim Arabs won the encounter to maintain their pursuit of conquering Ctesiphon.Battle of Burs
The Battle of Burs was a minor engagement in 636 AD at Burs or Birs Nimrud, now in central Iraq, during the Muslim conquest of the Sassanid empire. The Rāshidūn commander, Zuhra ibn al-Ḥawiyya, defeated Busbuhra, the Sassanid commander of the town, in single combat, and the garrison offered little further resistance.:160After his victory at the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah in the summer of 636 AD, Saʿd ibn Abī Waqqās divided his army into five forces for the advance on Ctesiphon; they were commanded by Zuhra ibn al-Ḥawiyya, ʿAbdullah ibn al-Mutʼim, Shurḥabīl ibn as-Simt, Khālid ibn ʿUrfatah and Hāshim bin ʿUtba. The force under Zuhra met with some resistance at Burs, but this was soon overcome after he defeated Busbuhra, the garrison commander, in single combat.:160:345Hashim ibn Utbah
Hashim ibn Utbah bin Abi Waqas was a Muslim army commander. He was Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas' nephew through his father, and was a Sahaba (a companions of the Prophet Mohammed). Hashim participated in the Ridda wars against the rebellious Arabic tribes following the death of Prophet Mohammad in order to return them to Islam. He fought the Byzantines in Battle of Yarmouk under the command of Khalid ibn al-Walid. He played a vital role in the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah that led to the conquest of Al-Mada'in by Muslims.Hormuzan
Hormuzan (Middle Persian: Hormazdān, New Persian: هرمزان) was an Iranian aristocrat who served as the governor of Khuzestan, and was one of the Sasanian military officers at the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah. He was later taken prisoner by the Muslims after the fall of Shushtar in 642. Two years later, he was accused of the assassination of the Rashidun caliph Umar, and was killed by 'Ubaid-Allah, the deceased caliph's son.Humaydah al-Bariqi
Humaydah ibn an-Nu'man al-Bariqi (Arabic: حميضة بن النعمان البارقي) was a companion of Muhammad. He was the leader of the tribe of Bariq and an extremely successful military general during the reign of Rashidun Caliph Umar. Humaydah also fought under Sa`d's command against the Sassanid army at the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah.Kanarang
The kanārang (Persian: کنارنگ) was a unique title in the Sasanian military, given to the commander of the Sasanian Empire's northeasternmost frontier province, Abarshahr (encompassing the cities of Tus, Nishapur and Abiward). In Byzantine sources, it is rendered as chanaranges (Greek: χαναράγγης) and often used, for instance by Procopius, in lieu of the holder's actual name.The title was used instead of the more conventional marzbān, which was held by the rest of the Persian frontier wardens. Like the other marzbān, the position was hereditary. The family holding it (the Kanārangīyān) is first attested in the reign of Yazdegerd I (r. 399–421), but was descended from some pre-Sasanian, most likely Parthian, dynasty. They enjoyed a high prestige and great authority in the Sasanian Empire's northeastern borderlands, as reflected in their glorified description in the Shahnameh of the great Persian poet Ferdowsi.The family was active until the very end of the Sasanian realm. A man called Kanāra in Arab sources commanded the Persian light cavalry at the decisive Battle of al-Qādisiyyah, and his son, Shahrīyār bin Kanāra, is reported to have fought valiantly before being killed. The family is later recorded as assisting the Muslim conquest of Khorasan by Abd-Allah ibn Amir, and being rewarded with the right to keep the province of Tus and half of the province of Nishapur under their control.Kāve
Kaveh the Blacksmith (Persian: کاوه آهنگر – Kāve ye Āhangar), also known as Kawa or the Blacksmith of Isfahan, is a mythical figure in the Iranian mythology who leads a popular uprising against a ruthless foreign ruler, Zahāk (Aži Dahāk). His story is narrated in the Shahnameh, the national epic of Iran, by the 10th-century Persian poet Ferdowsi.
Kāveh was, according to ancient legends, a blacksmith who launched a national uprising against the evil foreign tyrant Zahāk, after losing two of his children to serpents of Zahāk. Kāveh expelled the foreigners and re-established the rule of Iranians. Many followed Kāveh to the Alborz Mountains in Damāvand, where Fereydun, son of Ābtin and Faranak was living. Then a young man, Fereydun agreed to lead the people against Zahāk. Zahāk had already left his capital, which fell to Fereydun's troops with small resistance. Fereydun released all of Zahāk’s prisoners.
Kāveh is the most famous of Persian mythological characters in resistance against despotic foreign rule in Iran. As a symbol of resistance and unity, he raised his leather apron on a spear. This flag, known as Derafsh Kaviani, was later decorated with precious jewels and became the symbol of Persian sovereignty for hundreds of years, until captured and destroyed by the Arabs, following the defeat of the Sassanids at the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah. Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar, who rebelled against the Abbasid Caliphate, claimed the inheritance of the kings of Persia and sought "to revive their glory," in 867 he sent a poem written by himself to the Abbasid caliph Al-Mu'tazz, stating: "With me is the Derafsh Kaviani, through which I hope to rule the nations.". In later times, Kaveh the Blacksmith was invoked by Persian nationalists starting from the generation of Mirza Fatali Akhundov. His name was used as the title of a nationalist newspaper in 1916, and in 1920, adorned the canton of the flag of the Persian Socialist Soviet Republic (widely known as the Soviet Republic of Gilan).Mehregan is the celebration for Fereydun's victory over Zahāk; it is also the time when autumn rains begin to fall.
The dynasty of Karen Pahlav (also known as the House of Karen) claimed to be Kāveh's descendants.Modern usage of al-Qādisiyyah
The Battle of al-Qādisiyyah (Arabic: معركة القادسيّة; transliteration, Maʿrakat al-Qādisiyyah; Persian: نبرد قادسيه; alternate spellings: Qadisiyya, Qadisiyyah, Kadisiya) was the decisive engagement between the Arab-Muslim army and the Sāsānian Iranian army during the first period of Muslim expansion which resulted in the Arab-Muslim conquest of Iran. In the centuries following the battle, Qādisiyyah became enshrined in Muslim collective memory as a symbol of the successes of early Islamic history. Already during the period of the Crusades, Muslim leaders referred to Qādisiyyah as a point of reference to which they compared their own achievements. Academic studies of the narratives of Qādisiyyah and other early Islamic battles have revealed numerous topoi that make up a common schema of the Arab-Muslim conquests; the generation of these literary layers seems to have begun immediately, as story-tellers (quṣṣāṣ) embellished their narrative in order to create an entertaining story or to glorify past ancestors.Mu'awiya ibn Hudayj
Mu'awiya ibn Hudayj al-Kindi as-Sakuni (variously transliterated as Muawia bin Hudeij or Mu'àuia ibn-Hodeig) was a general of the Kindah tribe under Muawiyah I in Ifriqiya. He led 10,000 troops in the area of Sousse (Hadrumetum).He participated in the Battle of Yarmuk, the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah, and the Battle of Jalula. After the Siege of Uthman and Uthman's death, Ibn Hudaij called for retribution. In 658, he killed Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr. At the time, he was a pro-Umayyad soldier and is said to have quarreled with the prisoner and killed him out of hand. Ibn Hudayj was so incensed at Ibn Abi Bakr that he put his body into the skin of a dead donkey and burned both corpses together, so that nothing should survive of his enemy. He garrisoned troops in the Kairouan area (654 - 665) and conduct operation against Hadrumetum in the Tacape (Lesser Syrtis) region. He would conduct raids on Sicily in 44 AH (666). He was made the governor of Barqah (Cyrenaica) in 47 AH (669).Mushegh III Mamikonian
Mushegh III Mamikonian (Armenian: Մուշեղ Գ Մամիկոնյան) was an Armenian sparapet that fought against the Arabs during the Muslim conquest of Persia. He was killed during the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah in 636.Piruz Nahavandi
For the eighteenth Sasanian King of Persia see Peroz I.Piruz Nahavandi also spelled Pirouz Nahawandi (Persian: پیروز نهاوندی, Pīruz Nahāvandī or Persian: فیروز نهاوندی Fīruz Nahāvandī), also known by the Arabic teknonymy Abu Lu'lu'ah (Arabic: أَبُو لُؤْلُؤَة) was a Persian Sasanian general who served under the chief-commander of the Sassanian army Rostam Farrokhzad, but was captured in the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah (or Battle of Nahavand) in 636 CE when the Sasanians were defeated by the Muslim army of Umar ibn al-Khattab on the western bank of the Euphrates River. After he was brought to Arabia, he managed to assassinate Umar in the Hijri year 23 (644–645). He also has been emphasized by some Iranologists as an important general in the Sassanian army and possibly a member of the House of Karen who played a significant role in the Persian front during Arab conquest of Persia. Nahavandi also has been reported as an expert blacksmith and carpenter. His name indicates that he is originally from the ancient city of Nahavand, a town in Iran (Persia). He killed himself after assassinating Umar. Thus, his death took place on the same day of Umar's assassination, although Umar lived for about four days after the attack.Rashidun cavalry
The Mobile Guard (Arabic: طليعة متحركة, Tulay'a mutaharikkah or جيش الزحف, "Jaish al‐Zaḥf") was an elite light cavalry regiment of Rashidun army during the Muslim conquest of Syria, under the command of Khalid ibn Walid. This force was earmarked as a cavalry reserve for use in battle as required.
After the decisive victory at the Battle of Ajnadayn in 634 CE, Khalid, from his army of Iraq, which after Ajnadayn numbered about 8000 men, organised a force of 4000 horsemen, which the early historians refer to as The Army of Sharpeners. Khalid kept this force under his personal command.
The first recorded use of this mounted force was during the Siege of Damascus (634). The best use of this lightly armed fast moving cavalry was revealed during the Battle of Yarmuk (636 AD) in which Khalid ibn Walid, knowing the importance and ability of his cavalry, used them to turn the course of events at every critical instance of the battle. With their ability to engage and disengage, and turn back and attack again from the flank or rear, the Mobile Guard inflicted a shattering defeat of the Byzantine army. This strong mobile striking force was often used in later years as an advance guard. It could rout opposing armies with its greater mobility that gave it an upper hand against any Byzantine army. One of the victories of the mobile guard was at Battle of Hazir in 637 CE under the command of Khalid, in which not a single Byzantine soldier survived. With this mobile striking force the Muslims easily conquered Syria with few casualties, including the Muslim victory at Battle of Iron Bridge which followed the surrender of Antioch.
Khalid ibn Walid had organized a military staff – a simple beginning of what later in military history would emerge as the general staff. He had collected from all the regions in which he had fought - Arabia, Iraq, Syria and Palestine - a small group of keen and intelligent men who acted as his 'staff officers', mainly functioning as an intelligence staff. They would collect information, organize the dispatch and questioning of agents, and keep Khalid up-to-date with the latest military situation. This was a personal staff rather than the staff of an army headquarters; wherever Khalid went, this staff went with him, and was part of the mobile guard. The Mobile guard remained under the personal command of Khalid ibn Walid for about four years (634-638 CE) until Khalid was dismissed from army by Caliph Umar after the completion of the conquest of the Levant.
With the dismissal of Khalid this powerful cavalry regiment was dismantled. One of its brilliant commanders Qa'qa ibn Amr had been sent to the Persian front in 637 CE along with reinforcements for the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah, in which he played an important part. A part of it was later sent to the Persian front as reinforcements for the Muslim conquest of Persia. Many of its members died in the plague during 639-640 CE which killed approximately 25,000 Muslims in Syria. This included many sub-commanders of the mobile guard like Zirrar ibn Azwar, those who survived accompanied the army under the command of Amr ibn al-'As to conquer Egypt.Siege of Ctesiphon (637)
The Siege of Ctesiphon took place from January to March, 637 between the forces of Sassanid Empire and Rashidun Caliphate. Ctesiphon, located on the eastern bank of the Tigris, was one of the great cities of Persia, the imperial capital of the Parthian and Sassanid Empires. The Muslims managed to capture Ctesiphon ending the Persian rule over Mesopotamia.Tulayha ibn Khuwaylid ibn Nawfal al-Asadi
Tulayha ibn Khuwaylid ibn Nawfal al-Asadi (Arabic: طليحة بن خويلد بن نوفل الأسدي) was a prominent Arab clan chief and military commander during the time of Muhammad; he belonged to the Banu Asad ibn Khuzaymah tribe. He was known as a wealthy chief. In 625 he was defeated in the Expedition of Qatan, a Muslim expedition against him. He also took part in the Battle of the Trench in 627 and in Battle of Buzakha and Battle of Ghamra in 632 against Muhammad and later in Battle of Qadisiya and the Battle of Nahāvand on the Muslim side.Zhayedan
Zhāyēdān (literally "The Immortals") were warriors of an elite unit within the Sassanian army, numbering 10,000 men. They are possibly modeled on the former Immortals, who served the rulers of the Achaemenid Empire, and possibly wore the same clothing as their predecessors. These warriors bore the very finest quality weaponry and armor of the entire Sassanian military. The Zhayedan were led by a commander bearing the title of "Varhranighan-khvadhay".