Duraid, Rabea'a and Raita - Raids and Honor
Arabian Knights - Volume 2

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Kaan Ya Makaan, Fee Qadeem Al-Zamaan…
There was a Place, in Times of Old…

Where lived a restless young warrior named Duraid bin Al-Simmah, of the tribe of Bani Jusham. One day, Duraid decided to lead a raid against the neighboring tribe of Bani Kinanah who had been raiding and robbing his people. So he gathered the strong, young warriors of his tribe together and rode confidently across the desert at the head of his small army.

When the raiding party neared the territory of the Bani Kinanah tribe, Duraid spied a man leading a camel upon which a howdaj (a small cloth/hide hut in which women would travel) was perched. Seeing what he thought was an easy target, Duraid sent one of his warriors to speak to the man leading the camel.

"Leave the thaeena (woman in the howdaj), and save yourself," the warrior called confidently to the man leading the camel as he approached.

The man refused to abandon his charge and continued to refuse as the warrior drew closer and closer, loudly demanding he abandon the woman he was accompanying.

The warrior rode up in a cloud of dust and saw that the man was in fact a youth. Sure of his ability to best the stripling, the warrior demanded arrogantly that the youth flee and leave the woman. The youth, Rabea'a bin Mookdum, casually tossed aside the reins of the camel he was leading and called to the woman to keep going. He then suddenly and ferociously attacked the warrior with his spear and quickly defeated him. Whereupon Rabea'a coolly passed the reins of the fallen warrior's horse to the woman, picked up her camel's reins and continued on his way.

Duraid waited for a while, then he sent another warrior to see why the first had not returned. The second warrior saw his fallen comrade and called out angrily to Rabea'a, who serenely ignored him. Filled with outrage, the second warrior galloped up and challenged Rabea'a.

After a brief and violent struggle, Rabea'a again emerged victorious. He handed the reins of the second warrior's horse up to the woman, picked up the camel's reins and resumed his journey.

Yet again Duraid found himself waiting impatiently for his warriors to return. A third warrior was dispatched to see where the other two warriors were while the raiding party halted their advance and waited impatiently for the return of their missing warriors.

The third warrior saw his companions lying in the dust whilst Rabea'a, carrying his slightly damaged spear, led the camel bearing the howdaj away. Even more infuriating to the third warrior, was the sight of his fallen comrades' horses following closely behind the retreating figures.

"Leave the thaeena!" the third warrior bellowed as he galloped up to Rabea'a.

Rabea'a called up calmly to the woman on the camel, "Continue home."

Raising his damaged spear, Rabea'a attacked the third warrior and fought his way to yet another victory. Unfortunately, Rabea'a's spear finally gave out and he found himself unarmed. Rabea'a philosophically tossed the broken spear aside as he gathered up the reins of both the camel and the third warrior's horse, and continued on.

Having finally lost his patience, Duraid began to worry that his warriors had done something dishonorable. He only wished to ransom the woman back to her people, not harm her. So the idea that his warriors might have made off with her did not sit well with him. Pushing down his unease, Duraid set out alone to see where his warriors had gone. When he arrived, he found that his warriors were dead and Rabea'a and the lady had almost reached the safety of their tribe's territory.

At first Duraid was upset over the defeat and death of his warriors, they were all members of his tribe and therefore his kinsmen in one way or another. Yet Duraid could not help but admire this young man who had so valiantly defended the woman in his charge. This fledgling warrior had defeated seasoned knights and then placidly resumed his journey, seemingly unfazed by the numerous attacks.

Duraid rode up and eyed the unarmed Rabea'a meditatively. Then Duraid tossed Rabea'a his own spear and said with grim amusement, "One such as you is not killed...and the horses are upset enough over the loss of their riders. I did not see a spear with you, and you are young, and I know this spear is not worthy of you. So, I am going to return to my men and convince them not to pursue you."

Duraid turned away abruptly and galloped off without further explanation. He soon rejoined his men and assuming a deep air of dejection told them, "The thaeena's knight has protected her, killed your warriors and wrested away my spear! There is no use going after them."

The members of the raiding party agreed that a warrior who could defeat their leader was someone they had no interest in pursuing. The decision to leave Rabea'a alone and continue on their way was quickly made. They had a raid against Bani Kinanah planned and they had wasted too much time on the two travelers already. As one, the raiding party turned and wheeled away as Rabea'a and the lady he was accompanying arrived safely in their own tribe's territory.

Some years later Banu Malik bin Kinanah, Rabea'a's clan, raided Banu Jusham, Duraid's tribe. Many people were killed, others were captured and a great deal of wealth was plundered by the raiders. Among the captured people was Duraid, who hid his identity lest he be executed.

When the raiders returned to the lands of the Banu Malik clan, they proudly displayed their plunder and captives. Everyone was surprised when a woman from the clan ran up to one of the captives and threw her cloak over him as she called out, "You have destroyed and been destroyed! What have our people done?! This is the man who gave Rabea'a his own spear! O' Bani Firas, I grant this man sanctuary, he helped us on the Day of the Valley!"

"Who are you?" the spectators asked the captive curiously.

"I am Duraid bin Al-Simmah," Duraid replied truthfully. Then, unable to hide his curiosity, he added, "What has become of Rabea'a bin Mookdum?"

"Bani Saleem killed him," someone answered him in a soft and sorrowful voice.

"Who was the thaeena that was with him?" Duraid asked, feeling sorrow for the death of so gallant and young a warrior and wondering about the woman the youth had fought so hard to protect.

"Raita bint Jithl, and I am she," the woman who had spoken to him said with quiet dignity.

While the people of the clan argued amongst themselves, Duraid was separated from the other prisoners and held alone.

"We cannot overlook the favor Duraid did us on that day!" many said insistently raising their voices.

"By god, we cannot let him go without the permission of the warrior who captured him," others countered firmly.

The argument wore on that night as Raita walked among her people extemporizing poetry that lauded his good deed, emphasized the debt her tribe owed him on her behalf and warned of the dishonor that overlooking such a debt would bring.

Early the next morning, everyone pitched in and bought Duraid away from the man who had captured him. Raita herself provided Duraid with some fresh clothes and supplies, and helped him prepare for the perilous journey back to his tribe. She then happily saw him safely on his way and later received word that he had arrived home without incident.

From that day until the day of his death, Duraid and his people never again raided Bani Firas, Rabea'a and Raita's people, and the two tribes enjoyed an unprecedented period of prolonged peace.

*Written by © 2012. Care to read or leave Comments?

Notes:
  1. Names, Translations and Aliases:
    • Duraid bin Al-Simmah: دُريد بن الصِّمَّة.
    • Rabea'a Bin Mookdum: ربيعة بن مُكدَّم.
    • Raita bint Jithl: ريطة بنت جِذْل.

Sources:
  1. Ibrahim, M., Al-Mowla, M., Al-Bajawi, A. (2011 AD, 1432 H). قصص العرب [Stories of the Arabs]. Beirut: Al-Maktaba Al-Assrya. Volume 4. Page 166-169.

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