Jehangir C. Coyajee
Dinshah Irani Memorial Volume)
domination of generals and governors was the last phase of the political
evolution of the Sassanide period; but this new feudalism had no time to
consolidate itself before the Arab invasion.1
In this eminently just dictum, Professor Christensen draws attention to
the most important factor in the decline and fall of the Sassanide Empire. That
feudalism, according to him, was the result of the military policy inaugurated
under Khosro I (Anoshirvan the Just); for one result of that policy was that
each Spahbod or governor considered his province as something like a hereditary
Christensen might have gone on to add that, with the decline of the old dynasty,
such generals and governors were tempted more and more to play the part of
king-makers, or to set up as kings themselves.
For example, Bahram Chobin, Vistakhm (Bistam) and Farrukhan Shahrvaraz (Shahran-Guraz)
made themselves kings with temporary success. The
fatal example was set by Bahram
Chobin and was followed by Shahran-Guraz with disastrous results for the unity and
independence of old Iran. But the
assassination of Shahran-Guraz convinced the nobles of the country that the game
of usurping the throne was too dangerous, and one which the country, devoted as
it was to the Sassanian dynasty, was not likely to tolerate. Thenceforward the
aristocracy took up the plan of playing the part of king-makers.
This accounts for the very large number of young kings, who were set up
and dethroned after the reign of Shahran-Guraz. Even before that year under
Ardeshir III, Mah-Adhur-Gushnasp had figured as the regent.
Some time later Farrukh-Hormuzd who
was the governor of Khorassan, according to Tabari, or the " ishkan"
or prince of Azarbaijan, according to
Armenian sources) aspired to the
crown and attempted to secure it by proposing a marriage to queen Azarmidokht.
The proud queen refused these overtures and got rid of her ambitious suitor by
having him assassinated. However, Rustam, the son of Farrukh-Hormuzd, avenged
his father by marching on the capital, seizing the queen and having her blinded
and deposed.2 Both
father and son have been styled "ishkans" or "princes”
of Azarbaijan by Armenian writers. It
would also appear that prince Rustam had the ambition of enlarging his realm by
conquests. For we read in the Armenian history by M. St. Martin that Rustam
conquered Armenia from its Byzantine governor Prince Varazdirot in A.D. 631.
These Armenian conquests of Rustam might account for the fact that when
he marshaled his army against the Arabs, there were important Armenian
contingents in it.3
we next hear of Rustam, he has taken the part of Yazdgard III (who had been
recently crowned) who had captured Ctesiphon and installed himself as regent.
He was assisted in his rule by his brother Farrukhzad, who had been made
the "darik-pat" (or chamberlain), and by another leader Zadhoe.4 It may be as Noldeke guesses that his support to the
coronation of Yazdgard was simultaneous with his
attack on the queen.5
while there was little so far to distinguish Rustam from other aristocratic
claimants for power of the day in Iran, he and his brother honorably
distinguished themselves by their single-minded devotion to the sovereign, whom
they had raised to the throne, and to the task of defending Iran against foreign
invaders. They went down fighting for their country and king to the last,
harassed and handicapped though they were by intrigues at the capital as well as
by the indifference of the majority of the Satraps to the cause of national
defense. They have had their reward in the homage and admiration of Iranians
the Iranian Epic, Rustam is endowed with
a noble character and great Vigor; and he and his
brother are held
up to admiration as sole
champions of Iran and of Yazdgard. Their
unfailing loyalty and energy are contrasted with the treachery or feebleness of
other Iranian spahbads. Nor have later historians failed to do justice to Rustam.
Christensen describes him "as a man endowed with extraordinary energy, a
good administrator and a fine general”.6
One might also quote the appreciation of Sir W.
Muir: In Rustam
“we may discern the lineaments of a prince brave in the field, but
proud and over-weening. His
energy was soon felt. The nobles rallied round him”.7
Persia was destined to go down before the invaders from Arabia,
fortune favored Rustam with at least one resounding victory, namely, that
at “the battle of the Bridge”.
He successfully recovered the delta from the Arabs and sent
forward against the Arab commander Abu 'Ubaid the one Persian general in whom
his troops had confidence, namely, Bahman
With this latter was joined another general Jalenus,
who had fled before the enemy before and who was now warned that
the penalty of any further retreat would be death.
Indeed, though Rustam was not himself present at the victory of al-Jisr
(or the Bridge), yet that success was so closely associated
with his name that such a great historian as Baladhuri names him
as the victor. Relying therefore on such high authority, we may assert at least
that the last victory of ancient Iran was won under the auspices of Rustam.8
Bahman conducted the
campaign with bravery as well as caution and allowed the Arab general Abu Ubaid
to cross and place the river Euphrates behind
him. When, therefore the Arab army emerged on
the battlefield on the other side of the river, it found no room for
maneuvering: very soon it was driven back on the river and hemmed in by a charge
of elephants, while its general was trampled to death by the White Elephant. Indeed, only the skill of Mothanna, the lieutenant of Abu 'Ubaid,
saved even a remnant of three thousand men.
As it was, had Bahman been able at this juncture to pursue Mothanna, the
Arab forces would have been entirely destroyed. But, at that time, Firuzan, the leader of the party of
Persians proper; threatened the position of Rustam at the capital and thus the
finest opportunity that Persia ever had in this war was irretrievably lost.
As Sir W. Muir well
observes, the one thing certain as regards the internal history of Persia at
this great crisis of the Empire was that "the nobles sacrificed the empire
to intrigue and jealousies".9
But, in spite of all this, Rustam had certainly finished one
campaign against the Arabs with a decisive victory, a thing that had not been
possible even for the Emperor Heraclius with all his prestige as a military
genius and with the undivided resources of the Byzantine Empire at his disposal.
Caliph Umar met this great reverse with his usual courage and firmness; but even
so, as Baladhuri observes, "for
one year after the calamity, that befell Abu Ubaid and Salit, Umar refrained
from the mention of Iran.10 Meanwhile,
however, Mothanna had gathered round his banner tribes of the frontier including
even Christian tribes like the Beni Namr. He then advanced against the Persian general Mehran, who had
reoccupied Hira. The battle took place at Boweib; and this time, experience
induced Arabs to remain on
the defensive and allow the Persians to cross the river and
take the risk of an offensive.
The Persians were defeated in the fight though the issue remained
doubtful for some time.
Arabs reaped the fruits of their victory by the occupation of Mesopotama and
the Delta, while raids were being constantly made in other Persian territories
to obtain supplies and to strike terror. Moreover
the Caliph Umar was encouraged by the success to resume the invasion of
Persia on a larger scale; and he gave the leadership to Sad ibn-abi Waqqas,
who had the distinction of having been a Companion of the Prophet. Mothanna was
superseded partly because he "was a mere Bedouin chief", and partly
because he never really recovered from the wounds which he had received at the
battle of al-Jisr, wounds which shortly after proved fatal. But before his
death, he performed a great service to the Arab cause by advising Sad to meet
the enemy bettveen Qadisiyyah and Udhaib.11
"Fight there the enemy," said the dying Mothanna, "for ye will be
the victors; and even if worsted, ye will still have the friendly and familiar
desert wastes behind. There the
Persians cannot enter; and from thence ye will again return to the attack."
The army of Sad was swollen by the new levy en masse ordered by
the Caliph; and it contained "no fewer than 1,400 Companions, and
ninety-nine, who had fought at Bedr".
As to the total forces at the disposal of Sad accounts vary.
Some put it about 30,000 men, taking Mothanna 's command at eight
thousand, a similar number which Sad himself had brought up, and the Syrian
levies as well as the new levies from Yemen and the South.
He wisely followed the advice of the Caliph to practice patience and
vigilance. He had chosen his battlefield well, his right resting on a great
swamp and his rear and the other flank on the great Trench of Shapur, the fort
of Qodeis and the desert.
advance in person of Rustam who was now virtually the regent of Iran, though
hampered by his rival Firuzan, could only meet such a great danger.
His effort was worthy of his high position and energetic character.
He retook much lost
territory, advanced on Hira, reconquered it and rebuked the
inhabitants for falling away from the old Empire. He is supposed to have
“crossed the Euphrates below Babylon, encamped for a time near the ruined pile
of Birs Namrud” and, passing by Najaf, faced the Arab army. As
regards the size of the army which he commanded, we have widely different
accounts. Some accounts put it as high as 200,000 men; others estimate it at
120,000 men. Of these latter 40,000 men are supposed to have formed the vanguard
under Jalenus, 60,000 were in the main body under Rustam. But as a high
authority has put it, "it is all guess-work".
account puts the Arab army at only five to six thousand; according to this view,
the numerical superiority of the Arabs could not have been considerable.12
This last account very probably errs on the side of paucity.
One element of Rustam's army deserves special notice.
It consisted of a battalion of four thousand men from Dailain and was
called "Jund-i Shahanshah", a sort of Imperial Guard.13
It would appear however that the solidarity of this northern race with
the other races of old Iran was imperfect; for, on the death of Rustam, their
contingent made terms with the Arab invaders, accepted Islam and received
stipends from the former.
thing is obvious that while the prudence and foresight of Umar placed the
maximum possible number of Arab troops at the disposal of Sad, Rustam did not
dispose of anything like the full
military resources of the Persian monarchy. Not only individual nobles, but the
Queen-mother herself, kept back very large bodies of troops, which, had they
been joined to Rustam's army, would have decisively turned the tide of battle.
This is obvious from the fact that very shortly after the battle of
Qadisiyyah, another Persian noble, Nakhvargan, sallied from the capital to fight
the Arabs on his own account.
when the Arabs marched on the capital, the Queen despatched a third army against
them which fought with them valiantly at the battle
of Bahurashir being
commanded by a veteran general designated as the “Lion of Chosroes.”15
soon after the fall of Medain, a fourth Persian
army fought with the Arabs at Jalula.
Baladhuri informs us that “the
Persians were on this occasion led by Khurrahzad, a brother of Rustam.
The fight that ensued was the fiercest they ever had, in which arrows and
lances were used until broken to pieces, and swords were applied until they were
bent”.16 As another authority puts it, the severity of
this fourth battle "was not surpassed by the Night of Clangor at Qadisiyyah,
excepting that it was shorter".17
But while the bravery of the Persian forces was undoubted, it is obvious
that these masses were frittered away in successive engagements.
remains to be added
that quite a large contingent of
Armenians accompanied Rustam to the battle-field.
This was to be expected, since Rustam was the "ishkan" or
prince of Azarbaijan. On this point Caetani, Dulaurier and Patkanian have
collected much valuable information from old Armenian chronicles.
We learn from these sources that Varaz-Grigor (Gregorio), prince of
Alowan in Armenia, sent his forces under his brave son (named Jewansher) to join
the Persian army at Ctesiphon. The
chronicles tell us that Rustam "had hardly seen the
young Armenian chief when
he felt a great sympathy for him
and treated him as a brother or a son".18
This narrative is important as showing prince Rustam’s kind and sympathetic manner
of treating his subordinates. And
here we might refer to one Bahman Hajib, who was the right-hand man of Rustam in
thecampaign and who commanded the confidence of the troops as no other officer
in the Persian army did. He was obviously a “fecht-general”, for we find him
fighting and meeting a hero's death in the front
lines of battle; and he was the first of
the Iranian generals to fall on
the field of honor.
Sa’d marched towards
encounter with suitable caution.
The former is alleged to have taken four months to march from Medina to
Qadisiyyah; and similarly, the latter left Medina in the spring while the battle
was fought in November of the same year. Rustam, as the defeated party, has, however, received a
greater share of blame. But both generals had no doubt great pre-occupations to
detain them. Sa'd was constantly receiving reinforcements and required time to
incorporate them into his army. Rustam had to reconquer and reorganize much
territory as his base of operations, while he was certainly in no mood to
respond to the impatience of the Persian court, or to the intrigues of his
enemies at the court, who would have liked him to stake the fate of the Empire
on a single battle fought at the earliest opportunity.
word might be said about “the
desponding dreams and auguries”
No portents were required from supernatural quarters to inform that
commander of the seriousness of his situation.
The constant intrigues against him
at the Persian court, which at
once denied him the forces which he had a right to expect, and which put
pressure on him to hasten the decisive struggle, were by themselves the worst
omens. He was no doubt also well
posted about the contemporary successes of the Arabs in Syria where they had won
the battles of Wacusa and Fihl and were taking Damascus.
He could not be ignorant that each of these successes made more and
larger reinforcements available
for the invaders of Persia. Moreover,
for years the decline of the Persian monarchy had been obvious; thus the
patriotic heart of the Persian general might well have been oppressed by this
accumulation of unfavorable circumstances and he might well have seen
corresponding portents in the heavens, with the help of the then fashionable
science of astrology. But it might
also be that Rustam resorted to these divinations in order to check the
precipitous haste with which the court at Ctesiphon was bringing on a battle.
Indeed one anecdote preserved for us by Tabari19
indicates that Rustam
himself utilized either the skill or the dishonesty of the astrologers of the
royal court at Ctesiphon for his own purposes. Thus, the services of the
astrologer-royal, of one of his assistants and of an Indian astrologer of the
name of Zurna were employed by Rustam himself to obtain his commission to march
against the Arabs.
authorities agree that before the final struggle in the field, there were
interviews between Arab envoys and Rustam as well as with the king of Iran. On
this subject, too, there is a diversity of accounts.
One of the envoys sent by Sa’d to Rustam was al-Mughirah;
and Baladhuri informs us that the latter “betook himself towards Rustam's
throne, in order to sit by him, but was not allowed to do so by the Persian
cavalry guard”. In the course of the interview, Rustam used both diplomacy and
a show of superior force, as was indeed his true policy.
That procedure is also indicated in the Shah-Nameh.
to another account, Rustam sent the Arab embassy to King Yazdegard, who broke
off the interview in anger and rebuked Rustam for referring the envoys to the
court. But those historians who assume from Rustam’s
“contemptuous denunciations” of
the Arab envoys that he was a man of
“overweening pride,” are surely mistaken.
For exhibitions of resentment is sometimes only an aspect of diplomacy.
Moreover, we cannot rely on all the details of these interviews as given
to us. As one authority has
observed in the accounts of these wars and related transactions, "much is
drawn evidently from the imaginations of the traditions".19
As the great Noldeke says “we
must accept with great caution the sayings of Arab warriors based on confused
recollections”. For, in fact, the
events, the circumstances and the recollections were all confused.
negotiations were followed by three “days of grace”,
granted to the Persians to
consider the terms offered by the Arab general.
It is not too much to say that this
delay of three days was fatal to the Persian cause,
since it enabled the Syrian
reinforcements commanded by that redoubtable warrior al-Qa'qa to arrive at the
critical juncture of the battle. It was he, indeed who was the foremost champion
on the Arab side, since Sa'd himself was unable to mount his horse to lead the
fight on account of his illness.
the end of that time, Rustam invited the Arab commander to cross the river and
begin the battle. But the latter
prudent to abandon his strong and well-covered position.
He left it to Rustam to cross
the river in the face of strong opposition and to seek an engagement with such a
great obstacle at his back. The
Arabs stoutly defended the bridge of boats on the river; but the Persian
engineers managed to throw a dam across the stream and their army
crossed over, with Rustam encouraging his men by observing "by tomorrow we
shall have beaten them small". Whatever
despondency he might have felt at heart, it was his duty to hearten his troops,
and he performed it well.
regards the dispositions for the battle, our information
is scanty and vague. But we know that the wings
of the Persian army were commanded by the generals Hurmuzan (Satrap of Pars) and
Mihran Bahram Razi, while Jalenus led the advance guard.
Pirozan was placed in command of the rear-guard.20
Rustam had at his disposal 30
(or by other accounts 33)
Of these, 18 were placed
in the center and the rest on the wings. Rustam had a sort of throne made for
himself from which he could direct the operations. Prof. Christensen tells us
that this was the constant practice in battles royal of the Sassanide dynasty.23
What was unique in this case was that the Persian prince kept in constant
communication with the court at Ctesiphon by an uninterrupted chain of men
stationed at suitable intervals, who could communicate the news of the events of
the battle to King Yazdegard.24 It
was a human "telephone" that Rustam had thus installed.
accounts agree that the first day of the battle was one of entire success for
the Persians, and that at the end of it, the Arabs and their leaders were in a
state of profound despondency. After the usual series of single combats, the
line of elephants advanced upon the Arab army and bore down all before them. In
vain, the bravest of Arab warriors performed deeds of valour like those of Abu
Mihjan. The elephants were not to be denied. At last the Arab commander-in-chief appealed to the gallant
Asim of the Tamim tribe to stop the advance of elephants "at all
costs". Asim advanced with his archers against the elephants, shot down
some of the soldiers riding the elephants and cut the girths of their
"howdahs". As the "howdahs" fell to the ground the riders
were massacred. But though the
advance of the elephants was thus stayed, the battle lasted without interruption
No wonder that as Sir W. Muir says “the Arab force was
in his account of the first day's battle, throws additional light on the
maneuvers of prince Rustam. According to him, that general attempted to surprise
the Arab commander in the castle
of al-'Udzayb, whence he was surveying the fight.
But the Arabs rallied to the defense of their general successfully 27
and checked the attempt.
second day of the battle, however, opened well for the Arabs, since it brought
reinforcements for them from Syria. The advance guard of these succors was led
by al-Qa'qa; and it would not be too much to say (that to him the Arabs owed the
victory of Qadisiyyah. His arrival
gave great confidence to his side, especially as he signaled his arrival by a
sudden attack on the leading Persian file, where he fought Bahman Hajib; the
victor of the battle of the Bridge.
with two other Arab warriors rushed against Bahman shouting that he wanted to
avenge Abu 'Ubaid and others who had perished in that battle. Bahman too
received help from two Persian champions, Pirozan and Bindawan.
But Al-Qa'qa struck down Pirozan while his companions smote the other two
Persians were further dismayed as other parties of reinforcements came up in
batches. “The spirits of the
Arabs rose”, observes Sir W. Muir, “and they forgot the disasters of
Above all, the Persians
were fighting without their former advantage, since the harness of their
elephant corps was being repaired, that equipment having been cut in the first
day of the battle, while with an improvised camel corps, the Arabs drove back
the Persian cavalry. But then Rustam descended from his post of observation and
restored the battle with the help of his well disciplined infantry.
Thus closed “the day of Aghwath”, in which the Arabs lost over 2,000
men; and, owing to such heavy mortality, Sa'd dispensed with the ceremony of
washing the bodies of the dead before lowering them into hastily constructed
the third day of the battle (called Yaum. Ghimas or Imas) the event still
remained doubtful. But the arrival of
Hisham with 700 more men from Syria heartened the Arab troops, especially since
by strategy these reinforcements advanced at intervals in batches of 100 men;
and thus the succors were magnified. Meanwhile
the harness of the elephants had been repaired and they again advanced to the
attack, But, acting on the advice of some Persian refugees, al-Qa'qa,
his brother Asim and others advanced against these pachyderms and wounded them
in their trunks and eyes. Thus
assailed, the elephants wavered for a time between the two armies; but, later
on, they charged through the Persian army and stampeded across the canal.
Rustam, however, succeeded in maintaining the day. No wonder that, in the
opinion of the great authority on the battle, on Sayf b. Umar the
Arabs would have been defeated on that day but for the skill of al-Qa’qa and
the arrival of reinforcements under Hisham.30
have also to remember when appraising the services of al-Qa'qa to the Arab cause
that he organized a sort of camel corps in order to neutralize the advance of
the Persian cavalry; for the horses of the Persians were unaccustomed to the
sight, sound, and the smell of the camels. The result of this ruse of al-Qa'qa
was a stampede of the Persian cavalry into the lines of the infantry which
caused serious trouble.31
confused struggle raged throughout the third night of the battle, which has been
made famous in history under the designation of the “Laylah al-Harir”.
According to Caetani,32 the title alluded to the groans of pain heard
throughout its course; while Wellhausen supposes that the word "harir
" means suppressed cries of combating animals33;
for the two sides were now too exhausted and furious to pronounce coherent
challenges. It is curious, adds Caetani, that in the struggle at Yermuk, too,
there was a night so named. On
the Arab side, there were some
moves attempted in the course of
this night, though only partially under the direction of the High Command. Thus Sa'd ordered Tulayhah bin Khuwaylid to guard the fords
of the canal below the Arab position, lest the Persians might be attempting a
flanking movement. But Tulayhali could not resist the temptation to cross the
canal, and boldly carried out his design. He
was, however, driven back by the Persians across the canal. Other Arab bands
followed up this move and attacked the Persians shouting their own tribal names
to give some information to their leader of what was
going on. Sa'd had to pardon
such acts of "brave indiscipline".34 Like the Arabs;
the Persians kept up shouting by tribes or regiments during the second and third
nights to keep up their confidence. Needless
to add that these night operations were in no sense directed by the generals on
either side. They marked the exhaustion as well as the exacerbation on either
side, and an effort to bring the battle to a speedy termination.
was only on the morning of the fourth day (Sunday) of the battle that the
Persian army gave way. One important
factor in this was a terrific dust storm which, as Sayf bin 'Umar has recorded,
beat down even the pavilion under which Rustam was watching and directing the
has justly observed that "as in Palestine the south wind forced the
Christians to fly before the followers of Islam, so at Qadisiyyah such clouds of
dust were blown against the Magians by a west wind, so heavy that even the
pursuing Mohammedans could not see the faces of their foes.
factor in the Persian defeat was a last desperate charge advised by Qa'qa. As
all tents had been thrown down, Rustam who had been directing operations in the
center was compelled to take refuge under a mule laden with bags of treasure;
but one of the heavy bags of treasure fell on him and crushed his back. Rendered
thus incapacitated and incapable of defending himself, Rustam threw himself into
the canal in order to cross it and was slain there.
There are many accounts of his death. and many claimants to the honor of
terminating such a great career. The usual account is that he was slain by
Hillal bin ‘Ullafah.37
According to Bala-dhuri however "Rustam was slain and his body was found
covered with so many blows and stabs that the one who gave the fatal blow could
not be determined.
Tulayhah ibn-Khuwaylid, Kurt ibn Jammah and Dirar ibnal-Azwar had all rushed at
him.38 Some say that Rustam was killed by Zuhair
ibn-'Abd Shams; others by 'Auwam ibn-'Abd Shams.
In still another version, we read that Rustam shot an arrow at Hillal who
was riding towards him and transfixed his foot to his stirrup.
Upon this, Hillal rushed against Rustam and dispatched him.39
However that may be, with the death of Rustam the Persian army was
in full flight.
Rustam's death, no one was left to lead the army back and hence, according to
Tabari, it lost 10,000 men in its flight besides those that had been killed in
the three earlier days.40
The army corps led by Pirozan and Hormuzan were lucky in being the
first to re-cross the dam at the canal al-Atiq; but before Jalenus could
follow with his corps, the dam was swept away and that general was slain while
trying to rally his men. Amongst
other noted fugitives were Zadz Buhaysh and Qarin, who came of a family that had
given many a noted warrior to old Iran.41
is noteworthy that the Arab chronologist, Sayf bin 'Umar, to whom we owe so many
traditions of the great battle, has been at pains to preserve the
names of some brave Persian chiefs, who with their followers refused to retreat.
They preferred after the retreat to "die gloriously".
On this role of honor Sayf, and following him Tabari,42
places the names of Sharyar Kanara, Hirbidz, Farrukhan Ahwazi and Khusrawshnum
As Waqidi also observes, "a group of Persians planting their
banner firmly in the ground said ‘we shall not leave our position until we
die'." But although such
rallies were highly honorable to those who took a part in them, they cost Persia
the lives of generals who could be ill spared. The same might be said of the
struggle of Nakhveraghan at Dayr-I-Ka’b.44
Thereafter, no generals were left who could direct the defense of
it might be observed that in the mention of the brave Hirbidz we have the only
authority for the fact that men of the priestly caste served as fighting
officers during the Sassanian age.
as a tactician, nor as a strategist, could Rustam be said justly to have been
found wanting, and historians have not laid at his door the adverse result of
the great battle. As regards tactics, he could not be blamed for the stampede of
elephants, which was certainly a great misfortune for the Persian cause; and he
must be praised for restoring the battle after that event.
It was in fact the advent of great reinforcements from Syria that decided
the battle. Perhaps, Rustam had some inkling of the imminent advent of these
fresh hostile forces; and it was that knowledge, and no "overweening
confidence", that impelled him to cross the canal al-Atiq and to bring on a
battle with the well-chosen and strong Arab position before him and the canal in
his rear. For the Iranian
general was no rash assailant; and, as Caetani observes, Rustam knew the
weakness of the Persian Empire at the time. Had he been able to prevail by a
show of force, he would have been glad to return to Ctesiphon with the laurels
of a great moral victory. His long
delay before the battle showed that he was aware of Sa'd’s strategy of drawing
the Persian army into the desert-a region well known to Arabs and adapted to
their manoeuvres of cavalry45
but which would have been very unfavorable to the Persians. Rustam's hands were
also forced by Arab raids on the one hand and by his king's injunctions on the
is all to Rustam’s credit that he faced the Arab invaders in the hardest
fought battle that they encountered either before or after.
In none of the battles that these invaders had fought in Syria with the
forces of Heraclius had they ever been brought so near defeat.
It was no disgrace to prince Rustam that he fell after a gallant struggle
against a unique combination of
circumstances- the full tide of a Semitic national flood, the genius and policy
of Caliph 'Umar, the desperate bravery of warriors like al-Qa’qa,
Hashim and Tulayha, and finally the rage of nature itself as shown in the
furious dust storm, which went far to decide the result of the well-fought field
of al-Qadisiyyah. It is also worth
noting what a mass
of traditions - in fact, a
veritable epic, has been constructed by the Arabs about the Qadisiyyah.
In particular, the Iraqi school of traditionalists has labored hard to
embellish and ornament the epic of this fight,47
while there is also a Medinah version which is less labored & ornamented.
Finally, in times to come, the fight of Qadisiyyah served as a standard
and a pattern to the Arabs of
what a really hard-fought field was like. Thus, when the great battle of Siffin,
with all the ferocious intensity
of a civil conflict, had to be described, it was compared to that of Qadisiyyah.
importance, which both friends and foes attached to the power and personality of
Rustam, was well illustrated soon after his death.
Thus, four thousand cavaliers from Day-lam, who had formed the
"royal regiment" under Rustam, did not hesitate to cast in their lot
at once with the Arabs when he had passed away, feeling that there was now no
future with Persia.48 Simultaneously,
Christians belonging to the Bedouin tribes on both sides of the Euphrates came
to the Arab general and said: "Now that Rustam has been slain, we will
accept the new religion."49 Obviously,
friend as well as foe, regarded the death of Rustam as equivalent to the
complete triumph of the Arabs and the passing away of the Persian power; they
felt that as long as he lived, the prospects of the invaders were doubtful
indeed, but that with his death the doom of Persia was sealed.
better epitaph can a patriotic general either desire or require?
Christensen, L’ Iran Sous les Sassanides, pp. 494-5
op. Cit. 49
Caetani, Annali dell’ Islam, Vol. VII. P. 78, sec. 28
op. Cit. P. 494
Geschichts der Perser und Araber, p. 398
of the Early Caliphate, p. 127.
Origins of the Islamic State, Vol. I. P.
of the Early Caliphate, p 131, note 2
Cit. P. 405
Op. Cit. 409
Baker in Cambridge Mediaeval History, Part II, pp. 346-7
523, and Baladhuri, 417
Op. Cit. 420
Vol. III. P.686, sec. 117
2251-2253; Caetani, pp. 661-2
der Perser und Araber, p. 399.
op. cit. P. 207
W. Muir, op. cit. P.169.
Vol. III, p. 647
pp. 673-4: Muir, pp. 171-3.
Athir, II, 368; Caetani, p. 672.
pp. 675-6, and Muir, pp. 173-4
op. Cit. P. 676
der Chalifen, Vol. I. P. 70
op. Cit. P. 670
op. Cit. P. 415
p. 174 n.
I. 2335-2337, and Caetani, p.676
op. cit. Vol. III. pp. 708-709
op. cit. pp. 716-7
Vol. III. p. 916, secs. 106-7
Vol. III. P. 814, SEC. 323 and Sir T.W. Arnold, The Preaching of Islam, p.