By: Dr. Ali Al-Shuaibi
Fighting on the border between the Khazars and the Arabs lasted more than half a century on the borders during the Umayyad Caliphate.
However, in 717 AD, Maslama, the Arab general, was obliged to take a part of the army to invade the capital of Byzantine, but he withdrew before the Byzantine forces, so the Khazars gained the upper hand over the Arab forces that had been weakened.
The Khazars launched raids into Shirvan, they prepared a huge army and occupied a large part of Azerbaijan. Despite the heavy fighting between the two sides, the Arabs could not cross into the other side of Northern Caucasus.
According to historians, in 731 AD, the Khazars amassed huge forces reached three hundred thousand warriors under Barjik, son of the Khazar Khagan, and could reach to present-day Azerbaijan in the north of Iran.
The region was under the mandate of general Al-Jarrah ibn Abdallah al-Hakami whose forces did not exceed twenty five thousand warriors who managed to withstand three days, Al-Jarrah died in the end, because Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik did not send him military reinforcements. The battle was around the capital Ardabil.
Which the Khazars could enter and kill the remaining attendants. Afterwards, the Khazars headed towards Mosul, and fierce battles took place on its vicinity, they were about to enter it had not the Arab general Sa’id ibn Amr al-Harashi assembled the scattered Arab forces, attacking the Khazars who entered Mosul, driving them out in a crushing victory. He traces them until he brought them back to their borders.
In 732 AD, Marwan Ibn Muhammad was appointed as the commander in chief of the Arab forces in Armenia and Azerbaijan, which were fighting the Khazars. Therefore, he mobilized the ranks and attacked the Khazars.
He could debase them and destroy the entire army of Khazars, killing one hundred thousand Khazarian warriors and capturing seven thousand more.
Therefore, the Khazars hypocritically declared their conversion to Islam including Khagan, in order for Arabs to stop fighting them.
However, Marwan Ibn Muhammad left behind jurists to guide them to Islam. When Abbasids took power, they did not follow the footsteps of Umayyad in fighting the Khazars, so the wars between them and almost ended in Transcaucasia.