Nujair, Saudi Arabia (633 AD)
The Battle of Nujair was the last major military engagement of the Ridda Wars as well as one of the largest of the war. In this battle, the forces loyal to the caliphate of Medina crushed the last major anti-Muslim uprising in Arabia. More of a siege, Nujair represented the final holdout against the hegemony of Islam on the Arabian Peninsula, a status that has been maintained over the course of the last fourteen centuries. It also resulted in the final unification of the tribes that was a prerequisite to the conquest of the Middle East in the coming decades.
In June of 632, the Prophet Muhammad died in the city of Medina. Almost immediately afterward, the realm which he had created and which spanned most of the Arabian Peninsula began to collapse. Tribal chieftains throughout Arabia, chafing at the political and religious authority which had been forced upon them by Muhammad’s followers, rose up against Medina and began to break off into their former small desert kingdoms.
Abu Bakr, who had been named Muhammad’s successor as the first caliph, wasted no time in curshing dissent and bringing back the entire peninsula into the Muslim fold. Fortunately, the core of the Muslim army, which had remained intact and which was being prepared for a war against the neighboring Byzantine and Sassanid Empires, was ready to meet the threat. Within a few months, they crushed several tribes in the vicinity of Medina, where rebels had sought to overthrow the caliphate in its infancy.
Over the next six months, Abu Bakr and the highly talented Muslim general Khalid launched as whirlwind campaign, swiftly defeating rebellious tribes through central Arabia. In most instances, Abu Bakr spared as many of his enemies as possible, as well as their cities and homes, in order to swell his ranks. The strategy worked brilliantly, and by 633 most of the former rebels had sworn new loyalty to Medina. The last major tribe to hold out was the Kinda in what is now Yemen.
Despite the successful recruiting of the army of Medina, the Kinda managed to also raise a large force. However, the two sides were reluctant to fight, and instead settled in on a siege of the Kinda fortress at Nujair, punctuated by occasionally skirmishing. A few weeks later it was all over. With minimal casualties on both sides, the Kinda gave in and accepted the authority of the caliph. This ended the Ridda Wars, and set the stage for the explosion of Islam onto the world stage in the 7th century.
As of this writing no visitor information was available for the Nujair Battlefield.