AL-Basus War

AL-Basus War

AI visualization of Abo Laila Al-Muhalhal Al-Zeer Salem
  • one of the bloodiest and longest wars of the pre-Islamic Arabian history, AL-Basus War.
  • History indicates that the war did not end until forty years after it began in the year 496 AD. AL-Basus War is one of the long-lasting wars that ignited between two tribes from the Hejaz, and it is cited as the greatest war of vengeance, It is said to have specifically erupted in the Al-Baha region, in the Khaydan Valley, in the encampments of the lands of Bakr and Taghlib.

The lineage of Bakr and Taghlib tribes

arab's social
  • Historians have differed on the exact date of the beginning of the Basus War, but it most likely erupted in the 6th century AD, around the year 496. Long before the war broke out, there was a man named Wael, who had two sons, Bakr and Taghlib.
  • Bakr and Taghlib married and had children, and after several decades, their descendants from the Bakr and Taghlib tribes became cousins.
  • There was a man from the Taghlib tribe named Rabia, who had two sons: Audi, nicknamed Salem, and Wael, nicknamed Kulayb.
  • And there was a man from the Bakr tribe named Murrah, who had two sons, Humam and Jassas, and a daughter named Al-Jalila.

Heroes of the Story

taghleb and bakr
  • Kulayb was a stern and brave man who cared deeply for his tribe, He valued honor above all else, but he was also very impulsive and quick-tempered, Kulayb loved Al-Jalila greatly, and why not? Al-Jalila was the most beautiful woman of her time and the proudest and most dignified.
  • As for Salem, he was an unrivaled knight, but he loved to indulge in leisure and was addicted to wine, The Arabs in his tribe called him Salem Al-Zeer.
  • The term “Al-Zeer” among the Arabs of old meant a man who enjoyed sitting and talking with women, and because of this, women were very fond of him.
  • Humam was also a brave knight and one of the closest people to Salem, They were inseparable friends, whether in times of hardship or leisure.
  • Jassas, on the other hand, was a man quick to anger, who neither laughed nor enjoyed gatherings of leisure, It is likely that he did not like Kulayb or Salem either, envying them both, yet he was less daring than they were and did not ever act wisely.

Who is that AL-Basus?

AI visualization of Al-Jalila
  • Humam, Jassas, and Al-Jalila had an aunt named AL-Basus, who was strikingly beautiful but had not yet married, She had a camel named 'Al-Sarab' which was the most important thing to her.
  • AL-Basus was a trader who always sought to curry favor with the King of Yemen, being careful to win his approval, She was also romantically involved with the King of Yemen’s minister and they had plans to marry.
  • To get even closer to the King of Yemen, during her visit, she spoke to him about Al-Jalila, her beauty, her eyes, and her smile, saying that there could not be a woman among all the Arabs as beautiful as Al-Jalila.
  • The King of Yemen was so dazzled by the description that he became enchanted with Al-Jalila even before seeing her, as AL-Basus was a very good speaker and also a poet.
  • The King ordered his minister to travel with AL-Basus on a journey to Hejaz and commanded him to bring Al-Jalila to him for marriage.
  • Of course, it was a wonderful journey for Basus and the King’s minister, and AL-Basus was prepared to do anything to make this marriage happen because it would bring her closer to the King and on the other hand, she would receive the King’s blessing for her own marriage to his minister.
  • Such an order was considered a very great insult among the Arabs, How could a king, whoever he may be, command that one of the men bring his daughter to him by order, like a beast.
  • Anger erupted in the tribes of Bakr and Taghlib, especially in the heart of Jassas "brother of Al-Jalilah" and Kulayb "Al-Jalilah'lover",  then They decided to pretend to agree to this marriage in order to deceive Al-Basus and make she think that everything was fine.

The top of risk for pride and dignity

  • As it was said before, love creates miracles. Jassas prepared his sister, the bride, for the King of Yemen in a grand procession with Twenty huge boxes laden with jewels, clothes, and perfumes.
  • However, among those huge boxes, there were four containing four knights, the finest knights of the Arabian Peninsula: Jassas, Kulayb, Salem, and Imru' al-Qais bin Aban, ‘friend of Kulayb and Salem.’
  • The King of Yemen welcomed his bride and ordered the maids to take her to rest from the journey until he met her at night, and he commanded his soldiers to take her belongings to her room.
  • When the wedding celebration ended at night and the king was alone with Al-Jalilah, the knights emerged from the boxes, and Kulayb delivered several stabs to the king, who died instantly from their effects.
  • This was not the most significant event in our story, but when the guards heard strange noises inside the king’s room, they immediately entered and found the king murdered They saw the four knights and Al-Jalilah fleeing through the back door of the room, They pursued them under the leadership of the king’s minister, They started fighting and Kulayb killed the minister by stabbing him with a dagger in his heart.
  • Kulayb took the knights and his beloved Al-Jalilah, and they returned safely to their homes.

The New King and the Revenge of Al-Basus

  • Kulayb became the talk of all Arabs after he killed the King of Yemen and his minister, avenging his pride and preserving his dignity and the honor of his tribe, He also refused to give up his beloved.
  • The new King of Yemen considered that Kulayb had done him a favor by being the reason he became the king of Yemen and did not seek revenge against Kulayb, Thus, Kulayb became the king of the Arabs in the Hijaz and married Al-Jalilah.
  • After becoming king, Kulayb's behavior changed completely, and he issued some decisions that angered the people,specially Jassas, Among these was his prohibition of people from allowing their sheep and camels to graze in his pasture, as Kulayb owned almost all the water outlets and green lands.
  • Al-Basus was seething with anger because of what Kulayb had done, his killing of her lover, and the killing of the King of Yemen, who had been assisting her in much of her trade from the Hijaz to Yemen.
  • In the end, Al-Basus, a woman who could not kill Kulayb or duel him to avenge herself, sent her camel 'Al-Sarab' to Kulayb's pasture and left it there, It ate and drank, and then Kulayb saw the camel causing havoc in his pasture, so he shot it with an arrow and killed it.
  • When Basus learned of the killing of her camel "Al-Sarab," she became enraged and urged Jassas to take revenge for what Kulayb had done, The killing of this camel was a great insult to the Bakr tribe, so Jassas rose up and went to kill Kulayb.
  • However, Kulayb was not so weak as to be killed by Jassas, indeed Kulayb could fight 50 knights and defeat them all, and this is no exaggeration—Kulayb was truly so.
  • When Jassas saw Kulayb, he did not dare to kill him and began to reproach him violently for what had happened, but Kulayb did not respond to him and left him speaking and continuing on his way.
  • Unable to bear another insult, Jassas shot Kulayb with an arrow that hit him below the shoulder from behind, left him in the desert, and fled, Kulayb died alone in the desert, with no one to save him.
  • Salem, known as "Audi," "Al-Muhalhal," or "Al-Zeer," was drinking wine with his friend and brother-in-law Humam, and Jassas's brother, when they received news of Kulayb's murder.
  • I cannot describe to you the state of Al-Zeer Salem at that time. He went to bury his brother and stayed by his grave for three days, mourning him with poetry and crying until Jassas, his father Murrah, and the entire Bakr tribe thought that Salem would not seek vengeance for Kulayb and that he only desired to sit with women, recite poetry, and drink wine.
  • Murrah and his tribe did not know that hell was coming for them anyway, Murrah and a delegation went to speak to the elders of the Taghlib tribe to stop the bloodshed between the two tribes and to avoid the fire of war.
  • AL-Harith bin Obbad was neutral in this meeting, The Taghlib tribe had one of three demands: either they kill Jassas, kill Humam, or kill Murrah, the father of Jassas and Humam.
  • Murrah refused all three proposals, and at that moment, Salem entered and said to Murrah, "By Allah, I will kill a man from among you for every limb of Kulayb," and he expelled them. Al-Zeer Salem literally did this later on.

The beginning of the war

Jassas Kill Kulayb
  • Indeed, from the beginning of the next morning, Salem began to kill everyone he met from the Bakr tribe in revenge for Kulaib, and the first he killed were the sons of Humam, yes, his sister's sons!, Hammam was killed by salem shortly thereafter.
  • Then, after several years, Salem was able to find the location of Jassas in the Levant and killed him, but the war did not calm down, nor did Salem, and he continued for nearly four decades to kill anyone he met from the Bakr tribe.
  • And when Salem killed Jassas, Murrah sent a letter to Salem saying, "You have achieved your revenge and killed Jassas, so stop the war as this is better for all of us," but Salem did not respond and continued his war.
  • The men of the Bakr tribe were not weak but were strong knights, and you can imagine that there is not a house in the Bakr tribe that does not have a feud with Salem and his people from the Taghlib tribe, so the war continued, sometimes the Bakr tribe would get the better of the Taghlib tribe and sometimes the Taghlib tribe would get the better of the Bakr tribe.
  • Even before Salem's death by several years, and after AL-Harith bin Obbad had become old and had no one in the world but his nephew Bajeer, the Bakr tribe sent a delegation to AL-Harith bin Obbad to intervene and speak to Salem to stop the war, and AL-Harith bin Obbad had retired from this war since its beginning and said then a famous sentence, "I have neither a camel nor a she-camel in this war."
  • So AL-Harith bin Obbad sent Bujair, his nephew, to Salem and said to him, "O Salem, either you stop the war, for you have avenged your brother long ago, or you kill me to avenge Kulaib and end this war."
  • Salem did not hesitate and stabbed Bajeer with his sword, and he died instantly, uttering only one sentence, "no But by the strap of Kulaib's sandal."
  • When AL-Harith bin Obbad received the news of Bujair's death at the hands of Salem, he said, "As long as the tribes have reconciled, may God have mercy on Bajeer," but someone said to him, "But Salem said that Bujair is worth nothing but the strap of Kulaib's sandal," so AL-Harith bin Obbad's anger intensified, and he gathered the people to fight Salem.

The End of Abo Laila Al-Muhalhal "Al-Zeer Salem"

Abo Laila Al-Muhalhal "Al-Zeer Salem"

  • Due to his age, AL-Harith bin Obbad’s vision had weakened. When the two factions met in the midst of battle, AL-Harith bin Obbad recognized Salem, whose leg had been broken after he fell from his horse. AL-Harith bin Obbad placed his sword on Salem’s neck and said to him, “Guide me to Salem.” Salem asked him for a guarantee of safety for himself, which AL-Harith bin Obbad granted, Then Salem revealed, “I am Salem, and you have granted me safety for myself.” AL-Harith bin Obbad became angry and asked him to point out someone he could kill in exchange for Bujair. Salem pointed out Imru' al-Qais bin Aban, and AL-Harith bin Obbad reached him and killed him.
  • After Salem and his companions were defeated, Salem was at the peak of betrayal, having caused the death of his lifelong companion, Imru' al-Qais bin Aban, Unable to face the questions from his wife and children, he took one of his daughters and withdrew from the war. The human losses were great between the two tribes. Later, news of the reconciliation between Bakr and Taghlib reached him. Salem met a man from Bakr on his way to Yemen and killed him, thus breaking the truce and reigniting the war.
  • Al-Muhalhal Salem lived difficult days after his strength waned. His daughter was taken captive, and he was subjected to humiliation and enslavement by some tribes. Some historians say that Salem died of thirst in the year 531 AD in the desert of Yemen, while others say that his guards killed him in the Hijaz. We do not know which story is more accurate.
  • Many historians believe that Salem " Abo Laila Al-Muhalhal" was not fighting only to avenge his brother Kulaib but also because of his Ego, After being just a drunkard and a poet who always sat with women, he gained a position among kings because of this war, He could not end this war and lose that status.
  • Most importantly, with Salem's death, the spark of war was extinguished, and the Bakr and Taghlib tribes reconciled After a war that lasted 40 years of killing, destruction and bloodshed.

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