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Dumat al-Jandal

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Dumat al-Jandal marked on the map of Saudi Arabia.

Dūmat al-Jandal (Arabic: دُومَةُ الجندَل‏) is a city in al-Jawf province in Saudi Arabia which was part of Syria territory before. As Dumat al-Jandal is situated on the way between Hijaz, Iraq and Syria, its geographical location has made the city highly important. A number of historical events including the Battle of Dumat al-Jandal took place in the region which were described and mentioned in historical reports of Islam. Jawf al-Sarhan is the other name of this city or the region where the Arbitration after the Battle of Siffin took place.

Geographical Situation and Features

Dumat al-Jandal is a city located in al-Jawf province in the north of Saudi Arabia. Jordan is located on northwest, Ha'il and Tabuk on south and Hudud is located on northeast of this region. Dumat al-Jandal is positioned in southwest of Sakaka, the capital of al-Jawf province. It has a dry and hot weather and it is amongst the hottest cities of the province. The distance between Dumat al-Jandal and Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia is 900 km; and it is 1220 km away from Mecca. According to the national census of Saudi Arabia in 2010, the population of Dumat al-Jandal is assessed about 50,000.


Before the Emergence of Islam

According to historical and geographical reports like Yaqut al-Hamawi, the first part of the name Dumat al-Jandal is derived from the name of Isma'il b. Ibrahim's son, "Duma'", as he established the city and built a strong castle with clod and stone.

Marid Castle in Dumat al-Jandal.

Al-Jandal is a plural noun of Jandala meaning clod and stone; Dumat al-Jandal means the castle built by Duma' in a region full of stones. It seems centuries back, Dumat al-Jandal was on the way of trade caravans from Iraq and Hijaz to Syria or vice versa, therefore this city was an important city for trade and military purposes.

Archeologists have discovered evidences in al-Jawf province which shows people were living in the region and its surroundings thousands of years ago.

In Islamic Era

In the time of emergence of Islam, Banu Kinana from Kalb tribe were living in Dumat al-Jandal and its surroundings; they were following Christianity. Ukaydir b. 'Abd al-Malik al-Kindi the ruler was a Christian and was subject to Roman Kings. According to historical reports, Muslim armies attacked Dumat al-Jandal a number of times and finally Ukaydir and people of Dumat al-Jandal converted to Islam.

The Battle of Dumat al-Jandal

In 5/626, Prophet Muhammad (s) was informed that people of Dumat al-Jandal, who were living on the way of merchants passing from other region, set traps and took properties of traders. Then Prophet (s) set out for Dumat al-Jandal with a thousand of his men. When people of Dumat al-Jandal were told of an army approaching them, they fled and Muslims' troops only saw the animals and shepherds left there; then Prophet (s) returned to Medina with his men. Because the governor of Dumat al-Jandal was Christian subject to the Roman King, it is said it was the first encounter of Muslims with Romans.

Sariyya of 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf

In 6/627 Prophet Muhammad (s) was informed again of safety issues caused for merchants in Dumat al-Jandal. Then Prophet (s) sent 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf to resolve the issues and invite people to Islam. When al-Asbagh b. 'Amr al-Kalbi, a notable man of the region, converted to Islam and 'Abd al-Rahman married his daughter issues declined significantly.

Sariyya of Khalid b. Walid

In 7/628 when Prophet Muhammad (s) was returning to Medina from Tabuk, he sent Khalid b. Walid to Dumat al-Jandal as he feared the ruler of the region, Ukaydir b. 'Abd al-Malik help Romans in their battles against Muslims. Ukaydir was hiding in his strong castle. When 'Ukaydir left the castle, Khalid attacked him and al-Hassan, Ukaydir's brother was killed and he returned to his castle. Khalid promised if he surrender, he will save his life and take him to Prophet Muhammad (s) in Medina.

Ukaydir surrendered and Khalid took him to meet Prophet (s), he converted to Islam and Prophet (s) appointed him as the governor of Dumat al-Jandal. According to other sources, Ukaydir did not convert to Islam and he agreed a peace treaty with Muslims to pay tax. Sources mentioned that after the demise of Prophet Muhammad (s), Ukaydir refused to pay Zakat and tax and eventually Khalid b. Walid who was passing from Iraq to Sham, surrounded Ukaydir and he was killed in the incident.

The Arbitration after the Battle of Siffin

Based on historical sources, the Arbitration between 'Amr b. al-'As and Abu Musa al-Ash'ari arbitrators of Mu'awiya and Imam 'Ali (a) took place in Dumat al-Jandal.