The Brunt of the Battle Centred around the Standard
soon the general engagement ensued and the fight of the two parties grew fierce everywhere on the battlefield. the strain of the fight was centred round the carriers of the standard. after the death of their leader talha bin abi talha, banu ‘abd ad-dar alternated the mission successively. talha’s brother, ‘uthman, ran forward and seized the standard which lay by the lifeless body of his brother, chanting: "the standard-bearer has the right to dye its shaft in blood, till it be beaten in his hand." hamzah bin ‘abdul muttalib attacked and dealt him a blow that cut his arm and shoulder and went down to his navel to uncover his lung.
the standard was raised up again by abu sa‘d bin abi talha; but sa‘d bin abi waqqas shot him with a deadly arrow that hit him at his throat and made his tongue hang out breathing his last.
in another version it was narrated that abu sa‘d lifted the standard up and challenged the muslims to fight him. ‘ali bin abi talib went forth. they exchanged two blows. then ‘ali gave him a terminal blow that finished him off.
musafi‘ bin talha bin abi talha then hoisted the standard, but was soon shot with an arrow by ‘asim bin thabit bin abi al-aqlah. his brother kilab bin talha bin abi talha followed him picked the banner and lifted it up; but az-zubair bin al-‘awwam attacked him and managed to kill him. their brother al-jallas bin talha bin abi talha lifted the banner up but talha bin ‘ubaidu-allâh stabbed him to death. they also said that it was ‘asim bin thabit who managed to deal a terminal blow to him.
all those six people killed round and in defence of the standard, belonged to one house, the house of abi talha ‘abdullah bin ‘uthman bin ‘abd ad-dar. another man from bani ‘abd ad-dar, called artat bin sharhabeel carried the standard but he also was killed by ‘ali bin abi talib. others said it was hamzah who killed him not ‘ali.
then it was shuraih bin qariz who was killed by quzman — he was a hypocrite who fought for prestige only, not in defence of islam. abu zaid ‘amr bin ‘abd munaf al-‘abdari lifted the standard up but he was killed by quzman too. a son of sharhabeel bin hashim al-‘abdari hoisted it again and was also killed by quzman.
so we see that ten fighters of bani ‘abd ad-dar — the standard-bearers — were annihilated. seeing that none of ‘abd ad-dars survived to carry the standard, a slave of theirs — called sawab — came to raise it. the slave showed more admirable sorts of bravery and steadfastness than his former masters. sawab, the slave went on fighting till his hand was cut off. so he knelt down and embraced the banner, leant it against his chest and neck lest it should fall down to the ground. he remained fighting steadily and steadfastly till he was killed. in the meanwhile he did not stop saying: "o allâh, have i been excused?" after the death of the slave sawab, the standard fell down to the ground, and remained there as there was no one to carry it.