Plan against the apostates.
After the battle of Abraq, Abu Bakr felt that a stage had been reached when campaigns against the apostates should be planned and organized on a large scale. Towards the close of August 632 C.E. all the Muslim forces were mustered at Zul Qissa.
At Zul Qissa, Abu Bakr formed the Muslim forces into eleven corps each under its own commander. Each commander was given a flag and assigned an objective. The commanders were further authorized to recruit other soldiers on the way in their march to their objectives.
The eleven corps.
The first corps was placed under the command of Khalid bin Waleed. It was required to take action against Taleaha of the Banu Asad concentrated at Buzakha. Thereafter they were to proceed against the Bani Tamims at Butaha.
The second corps under ‘lkrama b Abu Jahl was required to take action against the false prophet Musailmah of the Banu Hanifa tribe at Yamama, but it was required not to engage the enemy till it received further reinforcement.
The third corps under Amr bin Al Aas was required to take action against the tribes of Quzaa’a, Wadee’a and Harith in the areas of Gaza, and Daumatul Jandal near the borders of Syria.
The fourth corp under Shurahbil bin Hasana was required to follow Ikrama and await further instructions.
The fifth corps under Khalid bin Saeed was required to operate on the Syrian border in the Hamqatan region.
The sixth corps under Tureifa bin Hajiz was required to take action against the apostate tribes of Hawazin and Bani Sulaim in the region east of Makkah and Madina.
The seventh corps under ‘Ala bin Hadrami was commissioned to operate against the tribes in Bahrain.
The eighth corps under Arafja bin Harsama was required to take action against the tribes in the coastal area of lower Yemen.
The ninth corps under Huzaifa bin Mihsan was required to take action against the apostates in Oman.
The tenth corps under Muhajir bin Abi Umayya was required to operate in Upper Yemen and Hadramaut.
The eleventh corps under Suweid bin Muqran was required to operate in the coastal areas north of Yemen.
Message to the tribes.
Before the various corps left Zul Qissa for their objectives, Abu Bakr sent envoys to all apostate tribes calling upon them to return to Islam. The message read: “I have learnt with regret that under the misguidance of the Devil you have apostatized from Islam, the true faith of God.
I am sending to you a Muslim force consisting of the Muhajreen and the Ansar. I have instructed them not to launch the attack against you, without offering you lslam in the first instance. He who repents, re-enters the fold of Islam, desists from hostile activities against Islam, and does good deeds will be forgiven and granted amnesty. He who refuses to accept Islam, and persists in hostilities will be given no quarter. Force will be used against him, and it will not be possible for him to avert that Allah has ordained for him. Such persons will be put to sword, slaughtered, or burnt to death.
Their women and children will be taken captive. Nothing short of allegiance to Islam will be accepted. If after considering this warning, any person seeks his refuge in Islam, such faith will stand him in good stead. But he who persists in his apostasy will never be able to humble God. I have instructed my envoys that they should read this message of mine in public gatherings. Calling the Azan will be regarded as an indication of the acceptance of Islam. If there is no Azan this will be taken to mean that the tribe persists in its apostasy.”
Instructions to the Commanders.
As the various corps left for their objectives, Abu Bakr instructed the commanders to fear God. They were to exert themselves to the utmost in the way of Allah, and to allow no sloth to retard their efforts. They were commanded that if any tribe responded with the Azan it was not to be molested or attacked. Those who did not make such response were to be dealt with by fire and sword.
Allapostates guilty of murdering Muslims were to be killed. Those who were guilty of burning Muslims alive were to be likewise burnt alive. Abu Bakr insisted that the only options for the apostate tribes were unconditional surrender or war until total destruction. The commanders were enjoined not to dishonor the word once pledged. They were also forbidden to depart from the targets assigned to them, with out further instructions.