Islamic State in the Bipolar world of Persia and Byzantium
Byzantine had recently won a decisive victory against Persia and recaptured the province of Syria. Syria was predominantly ethnically an Arabian province but was ruled by romans since time of Caesar. On the other hand Iraq was ruled by Persia which held great number of Arab tribes.
Alif Lam Meem! The Roman Empire has been defeated in a land close by; but they, (even) after (this) defeat of theirs, will soon be victorious after a few years. (Al Quran 30:1-4)
Arabs living in these provinces embraced both pagan and Christian faiths. Condition of Arabs living under the chains was no better than their brothers living in peninsula. Arab tribes resented the foreign rule and were more than happy to see state of medina as their liberator not the conqueror. Muslims of Arabian peninsula could not remain untouched to what was happening to their brothers in other parts of the neighboring realms.
No man’s land
Arabia was a dry and barren land with no resources what so ever .A country where anarchy prevailed with nomadic tribes always fighting internally maybe this was the reason which saved them from the colonial ambitions of Persia and Rome. They always considered it as a kind of a buffer state.
Muhammad’s letter to Head of States
Muhammad sent letters to different head of states during his last years after having established a strong hold in medina. His emissaries sent to Persian Emperor were met with a cold response from khusro Parvez. But these delegations put an alarm in the minds of these monarchies of a rise of a new force in the political melodrama of seventh century Middle East.
Beginning of the conflict
Muhammad wanted to expand his empire further to the north. His envoys were sent to the tribes living in the north under the patronage of Roman Empire. Muslim emissaries were put to death which infuriated Medina.An army was prepared to fight against the Ghasanid tribes the culprits behind this ferocious act. But Muslim army met with a strong resistance, three of its generals were killed.
Campaign of Tabouk
Muslims considered the involvement of Byzantium forces behind their defeat at Motah. To avenge the dead Muhammad himself gathered the largest army under his command of 30000 men. After arriving at Tabouk and camping there, Muhammad’s army was prepared to face the Byzantines. However the Byzantines were not at Tabouk. They stayed there for a number of days and scouted the area but they never came.