Islamic History: Brave Hearts
Abu Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah (R)

The Prophet Muhammad (S) publicly named ten men who he himself guaranteed would be in Paradise in the hereafter. One of these fortunate men was Abu 'Ubaidah bin Al-Jarrah (R). He was one of amongst who accept Islam in its early days in Makkah. He took part in the migrations to Ethiopia and Al-Madinah, for the sake of preserving his faith. He fought in all the major battles of Islam and spent most of his life as a soldier fighting for the cause of Islam. He even killed his own father in battle when his father vowed to slay him for accepting Islam. Praising his character, the Prophet(S) said:
"Every Ummah has a trustworthy man; Abu 'Ubaidah is the trustworthy man of this Ummah."

At Hira, in late May 634, Khalid opened the Caliph's letter and read:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. From the slave of Allah, Atiq, son of Abu Quhafa, 2 to Khalid, son of Al Waleed. Peace be upon you.
I render praise unto Allah save whom there is no Allah, and invoke blessings on His Prophet, Muhammad, on whom be the blessings of Allah and peace.
March until you reach the gathering of the Muslims in Syria, who are in a state of great anxiety
I appoint you commander over the armies of the Muslims and direct you to fight the Romans. You shall be commander over Abu Ubaidah and those with him. Go with speed and high purpose, O Father of Sulaiman, and complete your task with the help of Allah, exalted be He. Be among those who strive for Allah.

Divide your army into two and leave half with Muthanna who shall be commander in Iraq. Let not more go with you than stay with him. After victory you shall return to Iraq and resume command.

Let not pride enter your mind, for it will deceive and mislead you. And let there be no delay. Lo, to Allah belongs all bounty and He is the dispenser of rewards

Syria the campaign against the Romans.

After some fighting, the Roman army broke contact and withdrew into the fort. At this time Khalid was fighting on foot in front of his centre. As he turned to give orders for the commencement of the siege, he saw a horseman approaching through the ranks of the Muslims. This horseman was to achieve fame and glory in the Syrian Campaign that would be second only to Khalid's.

A man in his early fifties, he was tall, slim and wiry with a slight stoop. His lean and clear-cut face was attractive, and his eyes showed understanding and gentleness. His thin beard was dyed. In his hand he held a standard such as only generals carried. This was a yellow standard and is believed to have been the standard of the Holy Prophet at the Battle of Khaibar. 1 His coat of mail did not conceal the simple and inexpensive appearance of the clothes that he wore. As he smiled at Khalid, he revealed a gap in his front teeth; and this gap was the envy of all Muslims. This was Abu Ubaidah, Son of the Surgeon, the One Without Incisors. He had lost his front teeth while pulling out the two links of the Prophet's helmet that had dug into the Prophet's cheek at the Battle of Uhud, and it is said that Abu Ubaidah was the handsomest of "those without incisors"! 2

Though called Abu Ubaidah bin Al Jarrah, his actual name was Amir bin Abdullah bin Al Jarrah. It was Abu Ubaidah's grandfather who was the surgeon (Al Jarrah), but like some Arabs he was known after his grandfather rather than his father. As a Muslim, he belonged to the topmost strata and had been very dear to the Prophet, who had once said, "Every nation has, its trusted one; and the trusted one of this nation is Abu Ubaidah." 3 Thereafter Abu Ubaidah had become known as the Trusted One of the Nation-Ameen-ul-Ummat. He was one of the Blessed Ten.

The battle with Romans at Al-Yarmuk

The sixth day of battle dawned bright and clear. It was the fourth week of August 636 (third week of Rajab, 15 Hijri). The stillness of the morning gave no indication of the holocaust that was to follow. The Muslims were now feeling more refreshed, and knowing of their commander's offensive intentions and something of his plans, were eager for battle. The hopes of this day drowned the grim memories of the Day of Lost Eyes. To their front stretched the anxious ranks of the Roman army - less hopeful but still with plenty of fight in them.

As the sun rose over the dim skyline of the Jabal-ud-Druz, Gregory, the commander of the army of chains, rode forward, but from the centre of the imperial army. He had come with the mission of killing the Muslim army commander in the hope that this would have a demoralising effect on the Muslim rank and file. As he drew near the Muslim centre, he shouted a challenge and asked for "none but the commander of the Arabs". 2

Abu Ubaidah at once prepared to go forth. Khalid and the others tried to dissuade him, for Gregory had the reputation of being a powerful fighter, and looked it too. All felt that it would be better if Khalid went out in response to the challenge, but Abu Ubaidah was adamant. He gave the army standard to Khalid, and with the words, "If I do not return you shall command the army, until the Caliph decides the matter," 3 set out to meet his challenger.

The two generals met on horseback, drew their swords and began to duel. Both were splendid swordsmen and treated the spectators to a thrilling display of swordsmanship with cut, parry and thrust. Romans and Muslims held their breath. Then, after a few minutes of combat, Gregory drew back from his adversary, turned his horse and began to canter away. Shouts of joy rose from the Muslim ranks at what appeared to be the defeat of the Roman, but there was no such reaction from Abu Ubaidah. With his eyes fixed intently on the retreating Roman, he urged his horse forward and followed him.

Gregory had hardly gone a few hundred paces when Abu Ubaidah caught up with him. Now Gregory, who had deliberately controlled the pace of his horse to let the Muslim overtake him, turned swiftly and raised his sword to strike at Abu Ubaidah. His apparent flight had been a trick to throw his opponent off guard. But Abu Ubaidah was no novice; he knew more about sword play than Gregory would ever learn. The Roman raised his sword, but that is as far as he got. He was struck at the base of his neck by Abu Ubaidah, and the sword fell from his hand as he crashed to the ground. For a few moments Abu Ubaidah sat still on his horse, marvelling at the enormous size of the Roman general. Then, leaving behind the bejewelled and gold-encrusted armour and weapons of the Roman, which he ignored with his habitual disregard for worldly possessions, the saintly soldier turned and rode back to the Muslim front.