The Castle of Kerak

The Castle of Kerak

Plains of the battle of Mu’tah

Complex at Mu’tah


  • The town of Kerak lies on a hilltop overlooking the Dead Sea and is surrounded on three sides by steep hills. It boasts one of the largest castles in the region known as the Kerak Castle which was built in 1142CE by the Crusaders with a mixed architectural style of West European, Byzantine and Arab design.
  • Due to its strategic location, the castle became a coveted asset throughout its history. Falling from the hands of the Franks to the Ayyubids, then to the Mamluks and eventually the Ottomans.

    The town is however more famously known in Islamic history as the site of the Battle of Mu’tah.

  • Mu’tah is a town in the Kerak Governorate and is known for being the battleground of the first military engagement between the Muslims and the Byzantine Empire.
  • An emissary sent with a letter inviting the Northern Arab tribes to Islam was killed. The expedition sent for taking those people to task was the largest Muslim army raised yet against a non-Meccan confederate force and would be the first to confront the powerful Byzantines.
  • 3000 Sahabah RA were dispatched in 629CE led by Zayd bin Haritha RA the adopted son of Muhammad ﷺ. The second-in-command was Jafar ibn Abi Talib RA and the third-in-command was Abdullah ibn Rawahah RA.
  • The Arab Ghassanid tribe to whom the Muslims were marching, sent for aid to its Byzantine ally who promptly sent a force. The combined force of Roman soldiers and Arab allies is usually reported to be approximately 200 000.
  • In the ensuing battle all three leaders were martyred as were many others. Khalid bin Walid RA led the Muslims thereafter – for the first time – and tactically withdrew with the rest of the Muslims.
  • A musjid now marks the site of the battlefield and a mausoleum housing the tombs of Ja’far and Zayd Ibn Haritha RA has been erected closeby.
  • Another musjid about 500m away houses the tomb Abdullah bin Rawahah RA.


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