Nomadism of Arab Bedouins
The nomads are by nature unruly and disobedient. To them only one union exists and that is their tribe. They liked to move. They abhorred the idea of Zakat. It must also be noted that except for larger tribes, the smaller ones had only come into fold very recently. They had accepted Islam due to their and Quraish’s defeat.
They believed their allegiance ended with the death of the Prophet. They couldn’t adjust themselves to greater social unity and uniformity. The still held allegiance to their tribal chiefs. In some cases, it was their chief that incited among them apostasy.
In Islam, they had to pray five times, keep fasts, and give Zakat. This was an arduous task for them. In previous decades, they could worship anytime they wanted and to anyone who they liked. There were no defined set of rules in their ancient old religion, so they exploited it to full extent. They engaged in usury, gambling, and adultery which Islam strictly prohibited.
The key threat to the Islamic state came from the emergence of Prophetism. The success of the Prophet had instigated few insane individuals to claim prophethood. Since Arabs were tribal-loving people, they accepted these persons without any questions. Why not have their own prophet. The chief contenders/claimants were:
a. Musaylima the Liar → came from powerful tribe of Banu Hanifa which dwelt in Yemama in Central Arabia. He had his own Quran and talked about foolish revelations. Few European historians believe he was rather inspired by Christianity than Islam. The success of the Prophet may have energized him though.
b. Aswad al-Ansi → he had already started revolting in last days of the Prophet. He belonged to Yemen. He was killed by Dalimi and his party a day before the Prophet’s demise. Nonetheless, his tribe did revolt and challenged the Caliph.
c. Tulayha of Najd → he was the chief of Banu Asad. He was wealthy and a great warrior. His abode was close to Madinah.
d. Sajah of Mesopotamia → the fourth pretender was a woman who belonged to Banu Taghlib which was a sub-sub-clan of great Tamim tribe. She was a Christians a subject of the Persian Empire.
Military expedition against rebels
To reclaim Islam, Abu Bakr divided the army into 11 battalions and placed them under a distinguished commander. Arabia was simultaneously divided into 1 parts. Each battalion was to suppress the rebellion. The first column was under the command of Khalid bin Walid. Khalid played a decisive role in reclaiming Islam’s supremacy, as we shall see later. The eleventh column was stationed in Madinah to guard the center with Abu Bakr as its supreme commander.
A call and a message were sent to every mutiny tribe or cities to give up arms and submit to Islam. Otherwise, man would be killed, and children and women would be sold into slavery.