The battle of Dhi Qar

The day

It is no exaggeration to say that the battle of Dhi Qar is one of the most important battles, right before the era of major Arab-Islamic conquests. Modern Iranian historians recognize the importance of Dhi-Qar, not only in Arab history, but also in its influence in Iranian history. They perceive it as a historical prelude to the famous historical battle of Al- Qadisiyya, and the great Arab conquests that led to the fall of the Persian Empire. So what’s the story of Dhi-Qar?

Dhi Qar’s name goes back to a water source that belonged to the Bakr Bin Wael tribe, one of the most important Arab tribes. Historians disagree about the date of the incident, but there is a consensus that it happened in the early seventh century AD, after the mission of the Prophet, peace be upon him. The backgrounds of the incident goes back to Khosrow’s attempt to deceive Nu ‘man Ibn al-Munthir, the king of Al-Hira, and one of the most important Arabs at the time. This was followed by the refusal of Beni Shaiban, who were part of the Bakr Ibn Wael tribe, to hand over the property of Nu ‘man and his family to Khosrow, because the Arabs morals and traditions enforce them to hand over the belongings to their owner, and not to somebody else, and of course not to his enemy.

In fact, it was Khosrow’s intention to belittle of the Arabs, to underestimate them, and to assert the control of the Persians over them. It is also said that Khosrow feared the many weapons that Nu’man deposited with Beni Sheban as such weapons shall increase the mighty of the Arabs, and make them rebel against the Persians. Hence, Khosrow resorted to the policy of divide and rule, and tried to turn the Arabs against each other. Indeed, he succeeded in including some of them to his side, but the majority of the Arabs united under the leadership of the Bakr Bin Wael tribe in defense of Arab dignity, as the Arab tribes felt that this battle would determine their fate and the future of their children, hence the Arab courage at its finest.

Contacts took place between the United Arab Tribes against the Persians. Indeed, the Arab courage prevailed. The Bakr Bin Wael tribe succeeded in winning over the Iyad tribe, and the latter withdrew during the battle from the Persian side and joined the Arab side. This led to a state of upheaval in the Persian army. As a result, this, together with what the Arab warrior showed of valour, contributed to the collapse of the Persian Empire, and its resorting to defend, during the battle, and then to escape.

And since poetry is the literary form, in which the Arabs recorded anything, it has immortalized this important event in Arab history, as Al-A’sha said in pride of the day of Dhi Qar, saying:

If every Arab took part in this battle

Surely, will be proud of the battle

Adeel bin al-Farkh al-Ajly has written on the day of Dhi Qar:

There is no better day ever mentioned

Without having Dhi Qar mentioned

Most historical sources point out the enormity of defeat on the Persian side. It was even said: Khosrow used to cut off the hands of whoever reported to him the defeat of his army in Dhi Qar. He entered in a psychological state closer to rejecting the truth and the inability to accept reality. In an attempt to assert the Persian presence and control over the Arabs, he overthrew Iyas bin Qubaisa from the rule of Al- Hira, and imposed direct Persian rule over it. This led to further rebellion by the Arab tribes against Persians. Bakr Bin Wael tribes rebelled and took over the ruling of Bahrain. Still, It did not stop there; many tribes in the middle of the Arabian Peninsula rejected any Persian control. As things escalated against Persian control, Khosrow was forced to return the rule of Al- Hira to one of the sons of Al-Nu ‘man bin Al-Munthir.

In fact, Thi-Qar was the beginning of the end of the Persian-Sāsānian empire by Arab heroes after Islam. The Battle of Al- Qadisiyya is the second episode- after Dhi Qar- that led to the fall of the western wing of the Persian Empire, and then the Arab conquerors continued to advance until the Persian Empire fell, hence, the end of the empire that terrorized the Arabs and others for decades.