Demolition of Dhul Khalasa
The Demolition of Dhul Khalasa occurred in April and May 632 AD, in 10AH of the Islamic Calendar. Dhul Khalasa is referred to both as an idol and a temple, and was known by some as the Ka'ba of Yemen, built and worshipped by pagan tribes, Muhammad sent a party of his followers to destroy it.
Dhul Khalasa was known as the southern Ka’ba, to rival the Ka’ba at Mecca, so Muhammad ordered its demolition. Jarir ibn Abdullah al-Bajali was sent to demolish it. The Temple of Dhul Khalasa resided at Tabala, and was worshipped by the Bajila and Khatham tribes.
The term Dhul Khalasa is usually taken as the name of the temple, it was referred to as the Yemenite Ka’ba by the tribes who worshipped it. But old accounts say that it was the name of a God who was worshipped there. It was reportedly worshipped under the name “God of Redemption”.
Hisham Ibn Al-Kalbi mentions when Jarir ibn Abdullah proceeded to Dhul Khalasa, he was met with resistance. The Muslims led by him, fought and killed 100 men “of the Bahilah, its custodians, and many of the Khath'am” and another 200 men of the “Banu-Qubafah” tribes. He then demolished the building and set it on fire.
Even after the idol was destroyed by Muhammad’s followers, the cult of Dhul Khalasa was resurrected and worshipped in the region until 1815, when members of the Sunni Wahhabi movement organised military campaigns to suppress remnants of pagan worship. The reconstructed idol was subsequently destroyed by gunfire.
Islamic primary sources
The Muslim historian Hisham Ibn Al-Kalbi, mentions this event as follows:
When the Apostle of God captured Mecca and the Arabs embraced Islam, among the delegates who came to pay their homage was Jarir ibn-'Abdullah. He came to the Apostle and embraced Islam before him. Thereupon the Apostle addressed him saying, "O Jarir! Wilt thou not rid me of dhu-al-Khalasah?" Jarir replied, "Yea." So the Apostle dispatched him to destroy it. He set out until he got to the banu-Abmas of the Bajilah [tribe] and with them he proceeded to dhu-al-Khalasah. There he was met by the Khath'am and the Bahilah, who resisted him and attempted to defend dhu-al-Khalasah. He, therefore, fought them and killed a hundred men of the Bahilah, its custodians, and many of the Khath'am; while of the banu-Qubafah ibn-'Amir ibn-Khath'am he killed two hundred. having defeated them and forced them into flight, he demolished the building which stood over dhu-al-Khalasah and set it on fire. A certain woman of the banu-Khath'am thereupon said:
"The banu-Umamah, each wielding his spear,
Were slaughtered at al-Wahyab, their abode;
They came to defend their shrine, only to find
Lions with brandished swords clamoring for blood.
The women of the Khath'am were, then, humiliated
By the men of the Abmas, and abased."
At the present time dhu-al-Khalassah constitutes the threshold of the gate of the mosque at Tabalab.
−Ibn-Al-Kalbi, Hisham, The Book of Idols, pp. 31–2
The incident is also referenced in the Sahih Bukhari hadith collection:
In the Pre-lslamic Period of Ignorance there was a house called Dhu-l-Khalasa or Al-Ka'ba Al-Yamaniya or Al-Ka'ba Ash-Shamiya. The Prophet said to me, "Won't you relieve me from Dhu-l-Khalasa?" So I set out with one-hundred-and-fifty riders, and we dismantled it and killed whoever was present there. Then I came to the Prophet and informed him, and he invoked good upon us and Al-Ahmas (tribe). Sahih al-Bukhari, 5:59:641
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Five hundred horsemen went to Dhul Khalasa to demolish the Yemenite Ka'ba
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- Sahih al-Bukhari, 5:59:641
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