When the Prophet summoned the nations the message of Islam, one of his letters was addressed to Shurahbil bin Amr, the ruler of Ghassan, and the vassal of Caesar of Rome. The letter of the Prophet was carried by Harith bin Umayr, who was killed at a place called Mauta, a village not far from Balka in Syria. The murder of the Muslim envoy by a feudatory of the Roman empire was an outrage, which could not be passed over in silence. It would have been unwise to allow the enemy any leisure to muster huge forces to fall upon the Muslims; therefore, an army of 3000 strong was forthwith mustered at the command of Zaid bin Harith to avenge the blood of his envoy Harith bin Umayr against the Ghassanid ruler in 8/629.
The Muslims suddenly found themselves in the presence of a force several times more numerous than themselves, near the village of Mauta. Zaid bin Harith seizing the banner which the Prophet had entrusted to his hands, led the charge of the Muslims, plunging into the midst of the enemy ranks until he fell transfixed by their spears. Jafar Taiyar seized the banner from the dying Zaid and raised it aloft to command the Muslim force. The enemy closed in on the heroic Jafar, who was soon covered with wounds. When both his hands were cut off gripping the banner, he still stood firm holding the staff between his two stumps, until the Byzantine soldiers struck him a mortal blow. Immediately, the banner was caught up by Abdullah bin Rawaha, who also met death. Khalid bin Walid, newly converted to Islam, assumed control at this moment of defeat. Then, by retiring methodically, the survivors, under Khalid’s leadership, withdrew from the field. When the defeated Muslims approached Medina, the Prophet and the people went out to receive them.