Post-classical history

§ The Franks March on Damascus201

Here is an example of the execution of the divine will in the fates and lifespans of humankind. The Franks (may God confound them) unanimously agreed to march on Damascus and capture it.202 So they assembled a large host and the lord of Edessa and Tell Bashir joined them, as did the lord of Antioch.203 The lord of Antioch encamped at Shayzar on his way to Damascus. The Franks had already haggled between themselves for the houses in Damascus, [115] its baths and its bazaars, and the burgesses204 had in turn purchased all this from them and paid out their prices – so little did they doubt that they would conquer the city and possess it. At that time, Kafartab belonged to the lord of Antioch, who now selected and removed one hundred horsemen from his army and ordered them to stay in Kafartab to ward off any attacks from us or from Hama. When the lord of Antioch left for Damascus, all the Muslims of Syria assembled to march on Kafartab. They sent one of our comrades called Qunayb ibn Malik to spy on Kafartab for them during the night. He went to the town, had a look around and returned, telling us, ‘Rejoice! We can collect our plunder in complete safety.’

So the Muslims marched against the enemy there and met in battle at Mudhkin.205 God (glory be to Him) granted victory to Islam and they killed all the Franks. Qunayb, who had spied on Kafartab for them, had spotted a large number of animals in the town’s fosse. When they defeated the Franks and killed them, he wanted to capture those animals, hoping to obtain the plunder all for himself. So he set off at full gallop to the fosse. But a Frankish soldier hurled a stone at him from the citadel and killed him.

He left with us his mother, an old woman, who was a public wailer at our funerals206 and who now wailed for her own son. When she would keen over her son Qunayb, her breasts would flow with milk, wetting her clothes. But when she stopped her keening, and her broken heart was quiet, her breasts became again like two pieces of skin without a drop of milk in them. Glory be to He who permeates our hearts with tenderness for our children!

When the lord of Antioch, who was just then attacking Damascus, was told ‘The Muslims have killed your comrades’, he said, ‘That’s not true. I left a hundred horsemen behind at Kafartab who can handle all the Muslims put together.’

But God (glory be to Him) decreed that the Muslims at Damascus would be victorious over the Franks and would inflict upon them [116] a great slaughter, capturing all their animals. And so the Franks left Damascus on a most miserable and contemptible journey – praise be to God, the Lord of the Worlds!

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!