5. ‘Ala΄ Bin Hazrami
‘Ala΄ Bin Hazrami son of Abdullah son of ‘Ebad son of Akbar son of Rabi‘a son of Malik son of ‘Owaif Hazrami. His father Abdullah was a citizen of Mecca and very close friend of Harb Bin Umayya. The Prophet appointed him as Governor of Bahrain. Abu Bakr and ‘Omar allowed him to hold his position until he died in the year 14 or 21 Hejir. (al-Esti‘ab, 3rd Edition, pp.146-148 and al-Esaba, 2nd Edition, p.491).
Saif tells us about ‘Ala΄ Bin Hazrami.
In Tabari 2 — 522, 528 Saif records from Menjab Bin Rashed that Abu Bakr ordered ‘Ala΄ to fight the heretics of Bahrain. Menjab was of that army. He says, "We arrived at the plain of Dahna, where God had decided to show us a miracle. ‘Ala΄ and we were all dismounted from our mounts. Suddenly our camels took fright and ran away with all our provisions, and left us with nothing in the middle of that stony desert.
Also before we had had time to put up our tents. We were most distressed and bewildered, and made our will to one another. A call came from ‘Ala΄ to go to him — all of us. So we joined him. He asked the reason for our dismay and we replied: "What do you expect of a group of whom nothing will be left tomorrow, except their place in history." He consoled us saying, "Muslims put their trust in God, surely God will not forsake those who are in a position like ours." The next day after dawn prayer, ‘Ala΄ knelt down and we did the same and we prayed to God for water, ‘Ala΄ then noticed some ripples. He sent a man to see if it was water, but it was only a mirage. The same mirage was observed later.
The third time the messenger returned with the news that there was water, so the troops drunk and washed, then suddenly our camels were sighted, and they had returned of their own accord with our provisions intact just the same as when they disappeared.
After we left that place my friend Abu Horayra asked me if I would know the place again, where the water was found. I replied that I knew the place better than anybody else. He asked me to take him to the water again. I did so; but there was no water, no pond, yet we found a jug filled with water. Abu Horayra said that it was his jug which he had left by the pond purposely to find out whether there was a pond there or whether a miracle had occurred.
Menjab swore that he had not seen water there before and Abu Horayra thanked God for this miracle. Then Saif says ‘Ala΄ won the war (against heretics) during a night when they all (heretics) were drunk.
After ‘Ala΄ was certain of the destruction of the heretics he set out with his troops for Darin; but before his departure he delivered a sermon to his soldiers. He said that God manifested a miracle in the land to encourage them with the water. (in their next assault on the heretics). He then ordered the attack saying, "Let us advance and cross the sea, God has encompassed the enemy in one place for you." The soldiers shouted, "By God we will never be afraid again since we saw the miracle in the desert of Dahna." ‘Ala΄ mounted and with his soldiers arrived at the sea.
They went in the sea some mounted and some on foot. They were reciting, " O Merciful, the Benevolent, the Patient, the Eternal, the Living, the Giver of Life, the Self-Supported, there is no God but You. O, our Lord." The water appeared to them to be shallow, to the depth only of a camel's ankle, although the distance of that island was one ,day's journey by boat from the shore. They reached the island and a pitched battle took place there (between
‘Ala's soldiers and the heretics) and the enemy was entirely destroyed.
None of the heretics were left behind to take their news back. Their wealth and families were captured and distributed. A mounted man received six thousand and a foot soldier had two thousand. ‘Afif Bin Mondher composed the following verse on that occasion:
God the almighty brought the sea under our control — An event more miraculous than the role Played by Moses on Red Sea and Nile River. The Divine wrath fell upon each unbeliever A spring gushed forth from beneath the pebbles, And we again, heard the ringing of our camel bells.
A monk was travelling with ‘Ala's army who embraced Islam after the troops returned victoriously to Bahrain and the land cleared of heretics. People asked the monk why he had converted. He said he had observed three Divine Signs, and he was afraid of being changed to an animal if he did not convert to Islam. He was asked about the three signs and he named them thus:-
1) The Spring which appeared from beneath the pebbles,
2) The turning of the rough sea.
3) The prayer recited by the soldiers, as follows, “O God you are the most Merciful. No one is God except You, Self-created; nothing was prior to You, Eternal, Conscious, Living who never dies, the Creator of the Invisible and the visible. You are in constant control. You know without learning."
The monk said that those soldiers were in the right so the angels were on their side. The story of the monk has been repeated often afterwards. ‘Ala΄ wrote a letter to Abu Bakr telling him that after experiencing some difficulties God has helped them by causing a spring to gush from beneath the pebbles.
‘Ala΄ in his letter asked Abu Bakr to pray for the Muslims troops fighting in the cause of God, and Abu Bakr did so, and said that the Bedouins used to say, "Loqman, the wise, stopped people digging a water well in the desert of Dahna, because no rope was long enough to reach the water which would be so far below the ground." Abu Bakr then said that the appearance of water was one of the biggest signs of God and he had never been heard before by any nation, and he added “ O God do not take the bliss of Muhammad away from us.
Ibn Kathir in his book (vol.6, pp.328-329) has recorded the above story from Saif. Abulfaraj in his book al-Aghani has quoted from Tabari who has in turn recorded from Saif. Other scholars have recorded that story from Saif.
The origin of Saif's story
Saif has narrated ‘Ala's story from Sa‘b son of ‘Atyya son of Bilal, that is, passed down from grandfather to father and to son. We have shown when discussing the story of Malik that the above family line of narrators has been invented by Saif.
‘Ala's story by other than Saif
Baladhori in Fotoohol Boldan (pp.92-93) says that during ‘Omar's rule ‘Ala΄ was sent to Zara and Darain. He made a treaty with the people of Zara to take one third of the gold, silver and other wealth of the town plus half of the wealth from outside of the town. Akhnas Bin ‘Amery the representative of the town said to ‘Ala΄ that the treaty applied only to the people of the town of Zara and did not apply to their relations who live in the neighboring town of Darin.
‘Ala΄ took Karaz al-Nokri as his guide, and crossed the sea on a strip of land to Darin. There he attacked the inhabitants, killed their fighting men and captured their families.
Wars against Heretics - Comparison and Conclusion
Saif writes that:-
1) A miraculous fountain appeared where even Luqman, the wise, did not expect water.
2) The camels returned of their own accord.
3) The soldiers walked in the sea, as in the land, even more miraculous than the miracle of Moses. He then supported the truth of these miracles, by telling of a monk embracing Islam seeing those signs. He emphasizes that his miracles occurred by the letter of ‘Ala΄ to Abu Bakr asking for blessing.
Tabari, Hamawi, Ibn Athir, Ibn Kathir and some other writers repeat Saif's saying in their books, and Muslims have accepted it as an Islamic History. Yet there was no miracle, the city had access to the mainland by a strip across which the soldiers marched. Also the event did not happen in Abu Bakr's time, but during ‘Omar's rule.
Saif is alone responsible for the inventing of these stories as he is alone presenting them, just as he is alone saying that none of the enemy was spared to take the news home.