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Siege of Medina

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Siege of Medina
Part of Arab Revolt of the Middle Eastern theatre of World War I
Date10 June 1916 – 10 January 1919
Location
Result Arab victory
Belligerents
Arab Revolt Kingdom of Hejaz
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
British Empire
Ottoman Empire Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Arab Revolt Faisal bin Hussein
Arab Revolt Abdullah bin Hussein
Arab Revolt Ali bin Hussein
Ottoman Empire Fahreddin Pasha
Strength
30,000 (1916)[1]
50,000 (1918)[2]
3,000 (1916)[3]
11,000 (1918)[4]
Casualties and losses
Unknown but heavy 8,000 evacuated to Egypt[4]

Medina, an Islamic holy city in Arabia, underwent a long siege during World War I. Medina was at the time part of the Ottoman Empire. In the war, the Ottoman Empire sided with the Central Powers. Sharif Hussain of Mecca revolted against the caliph and the Ottoman Empire which, under the leadership of the nationalistic Young Turks, had ignored the wishes of the Caliph and sided with the Central Powers. Hussain instead sided with the British Empire. T. E. Lawrence was instrumental in this revolt. Hussain occupied Mecca and besieged Medina. It was one of the longest sieges in history that lasted until even after the armistice (10 January 1919). Fahreddin Pasha was the defender of Medina. Some celebrated him as "the Lion of the Desert" despite the suffering of those who remained in Medina.[5] The siege lasted two years and seven months.

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Transcription

Polytheists of Mecca did everything they could have done to assassinate the Messenger of the God, to prevent him from migrating to Medina. But their every attempt failed, and these failures were unpalatable for them. Ever since the migration of the Messenger of The God, the Polytheist of Mecca were scheming and preparing to attack Medina. While Muslims were in Mecca, the God forbade Muslims, to fight even in self-defense. As Muslims were few in number and helpless, fighting even in self-defense, could have been fatal. In Mecca Muslims had no choice, but to accept the oppression, or to migrate. But, after migration to Medina, the God allowed the Muslims, to fight for their right, justice, and to defend themselves. The God revealed: Permission to fight has been given to those who are being fought, and were wronged. And indeed, Allah (THE GOD) is able to give them victory. They are those who have been unjustly evicted from their homes only because they say, "Our Lord is Allah (THE ONE TRUE GOD)." And were it not that Allah tests one set of people by means of another, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah (THE GOD) is Powerful and Exalted in Might. In the year 624 C.E., the Polytheist of Mecca were preparing for a great attack on Medina. And they were gathering every means to strengthen their army. A caravan of Mecca was bringing great provisions from Syria to Mecca, with only forty guards. This information reached the Muslims, and they thought, this is a good opportunity to mend, for their lost wealth in Mecca. As the Muslims were extorted by the Polytheists of Mecca before the migration to Medina. Muslims had to leave their all lands and properties in Mecca. And if the Muslims are able to overtake this caravan, it will delay the attack from Mecca, and prevent the army of Mecca from getting more powerful. So the Muslims prepared an attack on the caravan. The Muslims were able to gather only 310 men, 60 from the Muhajir, and 250 from the Aanser. As there were only 40 guards with the caravan, the Muslims thought 310 men were sufficient to overtake the caravan, and the Muslims would have the upper hand. Unfortunate for the Muslims, the leader of the caravan of Mecca, learnt about this attack through his scouts and brought the caravan back to Mecca by a different route. Meanwhile, when the caravan was returning Mecca, the Polytheist of Mecca also learnt about the preparation of attack by the Muslims on their caravan, and the Polytheist of Mecca send prepared 1,000 soldiers to eradicate the Muslims and kill the Messenger of the God. After reaching Mecca the leader of the caravan sent scouts to the leaders of the Polytheist army to return Mecca, as the caravans have safely returned Mecca, but the leaders of the Polytheist army saw this as a grand opportunity to kill the Messenger of the God and eradicate the Muslims. The two armies fought at a place called Badr and with the mercy of the God the army of Medina defeated and humiliated the Meccan army. On that day the Meccan Polytheists suffered great losses. 70 from among their ranks were killed many of whom were nobles and leaders from the tribes of Mecca and 70 more were taken captives. Only 14 were Shaheed from amongst the Muslims. In the 6th century C.E., war captives were either killed brutally, or were enslaved and thrown into the life of hardship forever, but in Islam it is forbidden to treat inhumanly anyone. When the terms captives, and enslavement are used in Islam, they are not meant in their conventional sense. In Islam when enemies are captured during war, they are taken as captives, to ensure that the enemies do not get the opportunity to reorganize themselves and attack the Muslims again. Manifest guidelines have been given to the Muslims regarding the treatment of captives in the Quran, and the authentic Hadith of the Messenger of the God. The guidelines for treatment of the captives are as follows Prisoners of war should not be killed, unless they are guilty of war crimes. It is prohibited for Muslims to commit Zina (adultery, fornication, etc.) or rape. It is illegal to separate related captives or prisoners of wars The captives should be guarded but not ill-treated. The Messenger of the God urged the Muslims to treat the captives well and give them priorities over themselves The captives must be clothed and fed well in a dignified manner Captives can get their freedom in any of the following ways: Captives can be ransomed for money. The money demanded will depend on the financial background of the captive Captives may be set free after they have provided some sort of service to the Muslims, for a determined period of time (for example- teaching Muslim kids to read and write, etc.) Captives who swear that they will never raise their swords against the Muslims will be set free. Slave traders, are considered as criminals in the Islamic society. Muslims are not allowed to enslave anyone, and are encouraged to banish the slave trade, if they had the authority. According to the Hadith the Messenger of the God, said the God will be the opponent in the afterlife of those who sells people for a price. Therefore the Muslims are not allowed to enslave anyone, and sell them for a price. But, if Muslims do not possess the authority, the Muslims are allowed to buy slaves from the slave traders, and it is encouraged in the Quran, and Hadith, to manumit the slaves, and manumitting slaves are considered as deeds of great piety in Islam. The captives and slaves can only be hold as a paid worker, under the surveillance of a Muslim guardian, and according to the Quran there shall be a written contract, mentioning all the clause about their work, salary and the price of exemption from the hold. The guardian, will also have to share their wealth with their slaves or captives (hold workers) on a reasonable basis. The guardians are not allowed to compel their captives or slaves, to commit sins or crimes (steal, prostitution, murder, etc.). But, if any guardian forces his or her slave, or captive, to commit a crime or a sin, and if the captive or the slave helplessly commits it, the captive or the slave will be free of guilt and sinless, and the guardian will be charged with the crime and the guardian will be sinful. The God have provided manifest guidelines by his Messenger regarding the treatment of bought slaves and war captives. The ruling of bought slaves and war captives are A slave or a captive has to maintain conditions with their guardian. There are 2 ways in which a slave or a captive is employed with their guardian. The guardian will be responsible for the livelihood, education, marriage, protection, etc., for the slave or captive, and the slave or captive will work for his guardian. The slave or the captive will live as a freeman, earn their own livelihood, work according to their own choice, but will be responsible and provide for the livelihood, of their guardian. Sometimes the slaves were more enriched, and solvent, than their guardians. If any slave or captive disagree with the arrangement with their guardian then they can go to the court or a judge for justification. The Messenger of the God also said the following regarding the slaves Your slaves are your brothers and Allah has put them under your command. Whoever has a brother (that is a slave) under his command should feed him of what he eats, and dress him of what he wears. Do not ask your slaves to do things beyond their capacity, and if you do so, then help them. Ask for their (slaves) help in what is too much for you, and help them in what is too much for them. If anyone murders or injures his slave, then the perpetrator of the crime will be penalised with capital punishment or will be punished with the same injuries, that the perpetrator has done to the slave. If somebody slanders his slave then he will be flogged on the Day of Resurrection unless the slave is really as he has described him. He who hits his slave, the expiation for it is that he should set the slave free. Not one of you should say ‘This is my slave’, or ‘This is my slave girl’. He should call them ‘my daughter’ or ‘my son’ or ‘my brother’. The Messenger of the God encouraged masters’ of female slaves, to teach the slaves good manners and to educate the slaves in the best possible way, and manumit and marry the slaves. In Islam, it is prohibited for both men and women to have sexual relations with anybody outside marriage. Masters of the slaves are not allowed to have sexual relations with their slaves if they are not married. But the masters may marry their slaves, if the slaves consent to it. The slaves can marry anyone of their choice, but with the permission of their masters. Allah The Almighty has encouraged the freeing of slaves and, the expiation of many offenses is freeing of slaves. The Muslims treated the Polytheist captives of the Battle of Badr in accordance with the guidelines ordained by the God. The Muslims would share the better part of their food with the captives, and share their animals as rides with the captives, thus the captives were impressed by the generosity of the Muslims, and many among them accepted Islam. Many of the captives were ransomed for money, depending on their financial conditions. The Muslim converts from the Badr captives decided to stay in Medina, even though their family tried to ransom them, and take them back to Mecca. Another form of ransom had an educational dimension; most of the captives were well educated, so they were entrusted with ten Muslim children, and once these children learnt to read and write, they were set free. Some captives were also set free when they swear that they would never raise their sword towards the Muslims again.

Contents

Events

In June 1916 Sharif Hussain, the Hashemite ruler of Mecca revolted against the Ottoman Empire which, under the rule of the Young Turks, had by that time begun movement towards ethnic nationalism and was marginalizing the office of the Caliph. Hussain wanted to move north and create an Arab state from Yemen to Damascus and establish a Hashemite Caliphate.[6] Medina was, at the time, deemed important in that regard and was connected to the Ottoman Empire through a railway line. Hussain's forces besieged Medina, beginning in 1916 and lasting till January 1919.

With British support, an initial attack led by Hussein's son Feisal was launched against Medina in October 1916; however, the Arabs were repulsed with heavy losses by the Turks, who were heavily-entrenched and armed with artillery, which the Arabs lacked. As the Arab Revolt slowly spread northwards along the Red Sea (ultimately culminating in the seizure of Aqaba), British and Arab strategy for capturing Medina changed, and Faisal and his advisers were determined that the Arabs would gain an advantage by leaving Medina unoccupied; this would force the Turks to retain troops to defend Medina, and to protect the Hejaz Railway, the only means of supplying the city.

For this purpose, Nuri as-Said set about creating military training camps in Mecca under the direction of General 'Aziz 'Ali al-Misri. Using a mix of Bedouin volunteers, Arab officers and Arab Ottoman deserters who wanted to join the Arab Revolt, 'Aziz 'Ali created three infantry brigades, a mounted brigade, an engineering unit, and three different artillery groups made up of a patchwork of varying cannon and heavy caliber machine guns. Of his total force of 30,000, 'Aziz 'Ali proposed that it be divided into three armies:

  • The Eastern Army under the command of Prince Abdullah bin Hussein would be in charge of surrounding Medina from the east.
  • The Southern Army, commanded by Prince Ali bin Hussein, would ensure a cordon was formed around Medina from the south.
  • The Northern Army, commanded by Prince Faisal, would form a cordon around Medina from the north.

These armies had a mixture of British and French officers attached to them who provided technical military advice. One of these officers was T. E. Lawrence.

The defending commander of the Ottoman garrison in Medina Fahreddin Pasha was besieged by Arab forces but tenaciously he defended the holy city. Fahreddin Pasha not only had to defend Medina but also protect the single-track narrow gauge Hejaz Railway from sabotage attacks by T. E. Lawrence and his Arab forces, on which his entire logistics depended.[7] Turkish garrisons of the isolated small train stations withstood the continuous night attacks and secured the tracks against increasing number of sabotages (around 130 major attacks in 1917 and hundreds in 1918 including exploding more than 300 bombs on 30 April 1918).[7]

With the resignation of the Ottoman Empire from the war with the Armistice of Mudros between Ottoman Empire and Entente on 30 October 1918, it was expected that Fahreddin Pasha would also surrender. He refused and did not surrender even after the end of the war despite pleas from the Ottoman Sultan. He held the city until 72 days after the end of the war. After the Armistice of Moudros the closest Ottoman unit was 1300 km (808 miles) away from Medina.[8]

Eventually, his men faced starvation due to a lack of supplies and the remaining garrison including Fahreddin Pasha surrendered on 10 January 1919.[9] Abdullah I of Jordan and his troops entered Medina on 13 January 1919.[4] After the surrender, the Arab troops looted the city for 12 days. Overall 4,850 houses which were locked and put under seal by Fahreddin Pasha were opened forcefully and looted.[4]

About 8,000 (519 officers and 7,545 soldiers) men of the Turkish garrison were evacuated to Egypt after their surrender.[4] Besides the evacuated some died of disease and others dispersed on their own to various areas.[4] The weapons and ammunition of the garrison were left to the besiegers.[4]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Spencer C. Tucker, Arab Revolt (1916-1918), The Encyclopedia of World War I, ABC-CLIO, 2005, ISBN 1-85109-420-2, page 117.
  2. ^ Mehmet Bahadir Dördüncü, Mecca-Medina: the Yıldız albums of Sultan Abdülhamid II, Tughra Books, 2006, ISBN 1-59784-054-8, page 29
  3. ^ Polly a. Mohs, Military Intelligence and the Arab Revolt: The first modern intelligence war, Routledge, ISBN 1-134-19254-1, page 40
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Süleyman Beyoğlu , The end broken point of Turkish - Arabian relations: The evacuation of Medine, Atatürk Atatürk Research Centre Journal (Number 78, Edition: XXVI, November 2010) (in Turkish)
  5. ^ Gingeras, Ryan (2016). Fall of the Sultanate: The Great War and the End of the Ottoman Empire, 1908-1922. OUP. p. 215 ISBN 0199676070.
  6. ^ Avi Shlaim. Lion of Jordan. page 4: Penguin Books, Ltd. ISBN 978-0-14-101728-0.
  7. ^ a b Mesut Uyar, Edward J. Erickson: A Military History of the Ottomans: From Osman to Atatürk, ABC-CLIO, 2009, ISBN 0275988767, page 253.
  8. ^ Başbakan Erdoğan'ın sır konuşması, Sabah, 24.03.2012 (in Turkish)
  9. ^ Francis E. Peters: Mecca: A Literary History of the Muslim Holy Land, Princeton University Press, 1994, ISBN 069103267X, page 374.

References

External links

This page was last edited on 7 September 2019, at 05:06
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