Battle of Marj Rahit (634)
|Battle of Marj-al-Rahit.|
|Part of Muslim conquest of Syria|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Khalid ibn al-Walid||Unknown|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Marj al-Rahit was a minor conflict fought between the Ghassanid Arab allies of Byzantine Empire and Rashidun army under the command of Khalid bin Walid in April, 634 CE. After the Battle of Huwwarin, Khalid the very next morning moved to wards Damascus with his 9000 army, 20 miles from Damascus there lies a pass, over the top of this pass which is about 2000 feet above the surrounding land. The ridge is part of the range known as Jabal-ush-Sharq, which is an offshoot of the Anti-Lebanon Range and runs in a north-easterly direction to Tadmur. The pass itself, not a formidable one, is quite long. Khalid stopped at the highest part of it, and here he planted his standard. As a result of this action the pass became known as Saniyyat-ul-Uqab (ثنية العقاب), i.e. the Pass of the Eagle, after the name of Khalid's standard. From the Pass of the Eagle, Khalid moved to Marj Rahit, a large Ghassanid meadow near the current city of Adra on the road to Damascus. The Muslims arrived in time to participate in a joyous festival of the Ghassanids whose participation took the form of a violent raid.
The joyous festival of Easter of the Ghassanid Christian Arabs became a violent battle. A large number of refugees from the region of which Khalid had recently operated had gathered at Marj-al-Rahit, and these refugees mingled with the crowds celebrating the festival. The Ghassanids were not unmindful of the danger Khalid's entry into Syria posed for them. They had positioned a strong screen of warriors on the route from Tadmur, below the pass; but this force was scattered in a few minutes by a swift charge of the Muslim cavalry. Although some Ghassanid resistance continued as the Muslims advanced, it ceased once the main body of the Muslim army reached and attacked the town. The Muslims raided the town of Marj Rahit. After a little while, having collected a large amount of booty and a certain number of captives, Khalid pulled out of the town and set up camp outside of it.
The battle itself was not a major battle but it had some tactical importance to clean up the Muslim army's rearguard so that the siege of larger cities could be laid in relative ease.
On the following morning, Khalid deployed a strong mounted column towards Damascus with the task of raiding the Ghouta. Then, having sent a messenger to Abu Ubaidah with instructions to report to him at Bosra, Khalid himself set off for Bosra with the main body of the army, by-passing Damascus. The mounted column sent to Damascus reached the neighborhood of the city, picked up more booty and captives, and rejoined Khalid while he was still on the march. The minor operations following Khalid's entry into Syria were now over. Khalid then moved to Bosra city and would conquer it.
- A.I. Akram, The Sword of Allah: Khalid bin al-Waleed, His Life and Campaigns, Nat. Publishing. House, Rawalpindi (1970) ISBN 0-7101-0104-X.