dhat as-salasil is a spot situated ten days’ walk north of madinah. the muslims are said to have encamped in a place with a well of water called salsal, hence the terminology dhat as-salasil. in view of the alliance between the arabian tribes on the borders of syria and the byzantines, the prophet [pbuh] deemed it of top urgency to carry out a wisely-planned manoeuvre that might bring about a state of rapport with those bedouins, and would at the same time detach them from the byzantines. for the implementation of this plan, he chose ‘amr bin al-‘as, whose paternal grandmother came from bali, a tribe dwelling in that area. this motive in mind, combined with provocative military movements, by bani quda‘a, precipitated this preemptive strike which started in jumada ath-thaniya, 8 a.h.
‘amr bin al-‘as was awarded a white flag with a black banner to go with it. he set out at the head of 300 emigrants and helpers assisted by a cavalry of 30 men, and was recommended to seek help from bali, ‘udhra and balqain tribes. he used to march at night and lurk during the day. on approaching the enemy lines and realizing the large build up of men, he sent for reinforcements from madinah, and these arrived on the spot headed by abu ‘ubaidah bin al-jarrah leading further 200 men as well as other platoons including abu bakr and ‘umar bin al-khattab. all of them were given strict orders to cooperate, work in harmony and never leave any area for disagreement.
at noon, abu ‘ubaidah wanted to lead the muslims in prayer, but ‘amr objected on grounds that the former came only to assist, and leadership in prayer was given to ‘amr.
the muslim army reached the habitations of quda‘a and penetrated deep in their land, destroyed the enemies and obliged the others to flee for their lives in different directions.
at the conclusion of the military operations, a courier was despatched to the messenger of allâh [pbuh] to brief him on the developments of events and the ultimate victory achieved.