When the Muslim Commander Reached the Gates of China
Occupied East Turkistan (Xinjang- west China) has been going through an intensification of repression by the Chinese regime. All things Islam are being criminalised, from Hijab, the beard, to prayer. Muslims are being rounded up in mass concentration camps, Muslim women are forced to marry Chinese men, organs forcefully harvested, and historic mosques totally destroyed. Such is the situation of the Ummah when we are left without the shield of the Khilafah, as described by Rassulallah (ﷺ). When the shield was present, we recall the fear the Muslims instilled into the Chinese rulers. The History of al-Tabari narrates the time the Muslims went to China.
The Muslim commander Qutaybah bin Muslim Al-Bahilee opened Turkestan – the West of Central Asia and opened its two major cities, Samarkand and Bukhara, in 94 AH, and then he turned towards the east until he reached Kashgar, which in those times was the capital of East Turkestan, which China now calls Xinjiang, and he completed its opening in the year 95 AH. He then stopped at the gates of China. This is where we pickup from in ‘The History of al-Tabari’
“Qutaybah penetrated far, until he drew near to China. The king of China wrote to Qutaybah, ‘send to us one of the nobles who are with you, that he may tell us about you and we may ask him about your religion.’ Qutaybah chose twelve from his army from assorted tribes, good-looking, beefy men, eloquent, hirsute, and brave, this being after he had asked about them and found them to be the best of those from among them in wisdom.” Al-tabari continues to describe how Qutayba then “ordered that they be well equipped with weapons, fine silk, embroidered garments, soft delicate white clothing, sandals, and perfume.” Qutaybah then mounted them on fine horses.
One of the delegates, Hubayrah al-Kilabi, was asked by Qutayba, “O Hubayrah, how are you going to conduct this?” Hubayrah replied that he would do as Qutaybah wished. Qutaybah then instructed “Go with God’s blessing; through God comes success. Do not remove your turbans until you reach the King’s country. When you enter into his presence, inform him that I have sworn that I shall not depart until I tread on their land, seal (take captives) the necks of their kings, and collect their tax.”
“When they arrived, the king sent to them, summoning them. They bathed and emerged wearing white clothes with tunics underneath, they applied perfume, put on sandals and fine outer garments and entered into the king’s presence; with him were high ranking officials of his kingdom. They sat down, and neither the king nor any of those with him spoke to them, the Muslims then stood and left. The king said to those who were present with him, ‘what do you make of these people?’ They said, ‘we think they are people who are nothing but women…’
“On the next day the king sent for them, and they wore embodied garments, fine turbans, and matarif and went to him in the morning. When they entered into his presence, they were told, ‘return.’ The king then asked his officials, ‘what do you think of this attire?’ They said, ‘this attire is more like the attire of men than the first one was. They are indeed men.’
“On the third day the king sent for them, and they strapped on their weapons, wore their head mail and helmets, girded themselves with their swords, took up their spears, shouldered their bows, mounted their horses, and went to him in the morning. The king of China looked at them, and he saw what resembled mountains advancing. When they drew to him, they fixed their spears into the ground. Then they advanced towards the king and his officials, tucking up their garments. Before they could enter, they were told to return because of the fear that had entered the hearts of the king and his officials.
“They departed; they mounted their horses, pulled up their spears, and urged on their horses, as if pursuing one another with them. The king said to his officials, ‘what do you think of them?’ They said, ‘We have never seen the like of these.’ In the evening the king sent a message to them: ‘send me your leader, the worthiest of you as a man.’ They sent Hubayrah to him. When Hubayrah reached the king, the king said to him, ‘you have seen the might of my dominion and that no one can protect you from me while you are in my country. You are in the position of an egg in the palm of my hand. I am going to ask you about something, and , if you do not tell me the truth, I shall kill you,’ Hubayrah said, ‘Ask!’ The king then said, ‘why did you do what you did with your dress on the first, second and third days?’ Hubayrah then replied, ‘ as for the first day, that is what we wear among our families, as for the second day, that is what we wear when we go to our amirs. As for the third day, that is our dress for our enemies, when we are provoked, we dress thus.’ ”
The dress turned out to be a symbol of the three options given to the inhabitants of the land whom the Muslims wish to conquer, namely: 1. Accept Islam and be part of our family, 2. Pay the jizyah and accept to be ruled by Islam (political dress), 3. War.
The king then asked Hubayrah to ” ‘depart to your master and tell him to depart, for I know his greed/excessive desire and the small number of his companions; otherwise I shall send against you someone who will destroy both you and him.’ Hubayrah then said, ‘ How can one whose front cavalry are in your land, while the last of them are in places where the olive trees grow, be said to have a small number of companions? How can one who has left the world behind him, under his control, and has campaigned against you, be charged with greed/excessive desire? As for your attempt to scare us with being killed. We have allotted life spans; when their ends come about, the noblest of them involves being killed. We do not dislike that, nor do we fear it.’ The king then asked ‘what then will satisfy your master(Qutaybah)?’ Hubayrah answered, ‘He has sworn an oath that he will not depart until he trends on your land, seals(take captives) your kings, and is given tax.’
“The King then offered, ‘we shall extricate/release him from his oath. We shall send some soil from the soil of our land, so that he may tread on it; we shall send him some of our sons so that he can seal their necks; and we shall send him some tax, so that he may be pleased with it.’ the narrator then said that he called for some dishes of gold with soil in them, and he sent silk and gold and four young men from amongst his sons of their kings, he gave them leave to depart and presented them with gifts, and they went off and reached Qutaybah with what the king had sent. Qutaybah accepted the tax, sealed the necks of the king’s sons and returned them, and trod on the soil.”
Today, the Chinese regime knows that the commander of the 2nd righteous Khilafah will not accept such an offer, especially given that they have waged a war of genocide against the Muslims of East Turkestan.
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