The Lion(ess) Of Syria

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Khaalid bin Al-Waleed had besieged Damascus. He had sent a Muslim blocking force to the north to prevent Roman reinforcements from coming to replenish the garrison at Damascus. At the head of this army was the commander Dhiraar – the lion of Syria who used to fight amongst the armoured enemies of Islaam naked from the waist up! He was a fierce warrior who had unfortunately been captured by the Roman reinforcements since their army was twice the strength of the Muslims, and he had launched headlong into the ranks of the enemies by himself, killing so many of the foe that his companions could not keep up with the pace. Soon he was too far into the ranks of the Romans, and was surrounded and captured. Khaalid bin Al-Waleed, upon hearing this, mobilized 5,000 from amongst the besieging force at Damascus and rode like the wind to come to the aid of the Muslims.

As Khalid approached the battlefield he suddenly saw a Muslim rider flash past him from behind and gallop off towards the Roman front. Before Khalid could stop him, he was gone. A slim, lightly-built person, dressed in black, this rider wore a breastplate and was armed with a sword and a long lance. He sported a green turban and had a scarf wrapped around his face, acting as a mask, with only his eyes visible. Khalid arrived on the battlefield in time to see this rider throw himself at the Romans with such fury that everyone present thought that he and his horse must both be mad. Raafe saw this rider before he saw Khalid and remarked, “He attacks like Khalid, but he is clearly not Khalid.” Then Khalid joined Raafe. (second in command)

Khalid took a little time to organize Raafe’s group and his own Mobile Guard into one and deploy it as a combined force for battle. Meanwhile the masked rider treated the Muslims to a thrilling display of horsemanship and attacks with the lance. He would go charging on his own, strike the Roman front at one point and kill a man; then go galloping away to another part of the front, again strike someone in the Roman front line and so on. A few Romans came forward to tackle him but all went down before his terrible lance. Marvelling at this wondrous sight, the Muslims could still see nothing more of the warrior than a youthful figure and a pair of bright eyes shining above the mask. The rider appeared bent on suicide as with his clothes and lance covered with blood, he struck again and again at the Romans. The example of this warrior put fresh courage into the men of Raafe, who forgot their fatigue and went into battle with renewed high spirits as Khalid gave the order to attack.

The masked rider, now joined by many others, continued his personal war against the Romans as the entire Muslim force attacked the Roman front. Soon after the general attack had begun, Khalid got near this rider and called, “O warrior, show us your face.” A pair of dark eyes flashed at Khalid before the rider turned away and galloped off into another assault at the Romans. Next, a few of Khalid’s men caught up with him and said,

“O noble warrior, your commander calls you and you turn away from him! Show us your face and tell us your name so that you may be properly honoured.”

Again the rider turned away as if deliberately trying to keep his identity a secret.

As the masked rider returned from his charge, he passed by Khalid, who called to him sternly to stop. The rider pulled up his horse, and Khalid continued, “You have done enough to fill our hearts with admiration. Who are you?”

Khalid nearly fell off his horse when he heard the reply of the masked rider, for it was the voice of a girl!

“O commander, I only turn away from you out of modesty. You are the glorious commander, and I am of those who stay behind the veil. I fight like this because my heart is on fire.”

“Who are you?”

“I am Khaulah, sister of Dhiraar. My brother has been captured, and I must fight to set him free.”

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