Bisan, Another Battle:
The Mongols managed with difficulty to find an escape route from the north side; they fled the battlefield followed by Muslims who wanted to finish them off completely. Some 20 km farther, at Bisan, the Mongols realized that they couldn’t run forever, so they arranged their forces to try and fight all over again. They fought as fierce as they could; they almost managed to take on the Muslims there. Qotoz, who was in the middle of the fight as he usually was, screamed again: “Oh, Islam”, three times, to remind his soldiers of their purpose and he stood in the middle saying: “Oh Allah, grant your servant Qotoz victory.” It was so touching to see the leader admit his weakness and ask Allah for His support.
Qotoz knocked on Allah’s door and Allah responded. As the hadith says: “Allah has said: ‘I am toward my servant as he thinks I am, and I am with him if he remembers me. If he remembers me by himself, I remember him by myself, and if he remembers me among people, I remember him among those who are better than they. If he comes nearer to me by one hand span, I go nearer to him by one cubit; and if he comes nearer to me by one cubit, I go nearer to him by two arms lengths. If he comes to me walking, I go to him running.”
That was the end of the Mongol’s spectacular tale. They started falling apart like flies. The Muslim flag went up and the Mongols flag fell. The moment that Muslims had been waiting for over forty years had finally arrived. Do you know how many of the Mongol army survived? No one! The whole army was gone, the army that had terrorized the earth and killed millions of people.
“…With Allah is the Decision, in the Past and in the Future: on the Day shall the Believers rejoice – With the help of Allah. He helps whom He wills, and He is exalted in Might, Most Merciful.” [Qur’an 30:4-5 ]
When Qotoz saw the massive numbers of soldiers dead, he dismounted and fell to the ground in a clear submission to Allah and put his forehead on the sand and said: “Alhamdu lillah (thanks to Allah)”. When we compare Qotoz to today’s leaders, we see the difference; there is no wonder that Qotoz was granted victory.
“We will, without doubt, help our messengers and those who believe, (both) in this world’s life and on the Day when the Witnesses will stand forth “ [Qur’an 40:51 ]
Lessons from Ein Jalout
Looking back at the story we realize that the Mongols were attacking and defeating Muslims for the past forty years until things turned around and the Muslims finally won.
“If a wound has touched you, be sure a similar wound has touched the others. Such days (of varying fortunes) we give to men and men by turns: that Allah may know those that believe, and that He may take to Himself from your ranks martyr-witnesses (to Truth). And Allah loves not those that do wrong.” [Qur’an 3:140]
There are two questions that might cross the mind of our readers; both questions have the same answer.
Why did Allah allow that destructive force to attack the Muslim nation when Muslims believe in Allah and they don’t?
Why did Mongols defeat Muslims in all previous battles but Muslims managed to defeat them in Ein Jalout?
We find the answer in Omar Ibn Khtab’s message to the leader of his forces to fight Persians (in Al-Qadesia); Omar tells Sa’ad:
‘I order you and your soldiers to fear Allah at all times, that is your best weapon and best plan, and I order you and your soldiers to avoid sins. Your sins are more dangerous than your enemy; we are granted victory by their sins. We lack in numbers and in arms, we only win by Allah’s favour, not by our strength or numbers. Remember that angels are watching and recording what you are doing, so watch out and don’t say that our enemy will still be worse off. We know that many people who committed sin were destroyed by the hands of people who were worse than them. The people of Israel were destroyed by the Majoose (who worshipped fire) when they committed sins.’
That’s part of the very valuable message that every Muslim should study, as it gives us the clues to why we were defeated in the beginning and why we won at last.
So, if we see the nation in shame and humility we have to realize that we are away from the right path. It is not depressing to think about it, it is a reason for us to find a way out and the way out is to fear Allah and avoid sins. Allah’s punishment might come on the hands of people who are much worse than us.
Going back to the right path is not hard; the Prophet (peace be upon him) says: ‘Allah is more pleased with the repentance of his servant than a man who makes camp at a place where his life is threatened but has his mount, his food and his water, then rests his head and sleep for a while and then wakes to find his mount gone. He suffers from heat and thirst or whatever Allah wished him to endure. Then he says: ‘I shall return to my place’. He goes back and sleeps again and then gets up to find his mount standing beside him.’ Allah accepts our repentance and it is never too late to go back to Allah’s way.
After all that his army endured, going through the Sinai desert in July, fighting in Gaza, going through Palestine from south to north to Aka and then Ein Jalout; the next step was to liberate Damascus from the Mongols. Damascus was 150 km east of Ein Jalout and it was the nearest Muslim city under the Mongols control. Qotoz wanted to use the opportunity while the Mongols were at their lowest to take back all the Muslim cities before they got supplies from Persia, Europe or China. Qotoz wanted to send the news of the Muslims victory to the people of Damascus to raise their spirits and to encourage them to support the Muslim army.
As soon as the news reached Damascus, the people rose against their occupying force and started killing them; soon the whole Mongol force was gone and their reputation as undefeatable was gone. But soon people were over confident and confused, they started burning churches and attacking Christians and Jews who lived in Damascus as well. On the 30th of Ramadan, 658 hijra, Qotoz and his army arrived in Damascus and people welcomed him as a hero. The real peace was suddenly established; back in the city scholars went all over the city to advise people not to bother Christians and Jews. Qotoz fired the supreme judge (who was hired by the Mongols) and hired a trustworthy judge to ensure that Christians and Jews would not be victims of any injustice.
The second day was Eid Al-fitr, it was by far the greatest Eid Muslims had since forty years back; it was a celebration of victory. “Say:’In the bounty of Allah. And in his mercy, in that let them rejoice’, that is better than (the wealth) they hoard”
Qotoz did not waste any time, he set Peppers and his division of the army to follow the Mongols who fled and clear the rest of Syria from them. In a short while Hems, Halab and the rest of the area was cleared of all Mongols. Qotoz announced the unity of Egypt and Syria again and started hiring the rulers over the Muslim cities. He returned Al-Ashraf to Hems when he showed regret and repentance. He also returned those Mamaleek rulers to their cities in Syria to ensure stability and security. On the 26th of Shawal, 658 hijra, Qotoz headed back to Egypt to continue governing the country after getting rid of the Mongol nightmare.