Khalid bin Walid (r.a.)

Khalid took part in all of the battles against the Muslims in the first rank of the polytheists but he returned home depressed after all battles. For, Allah was preparing him for His service. 

A group of cavaliers was riding their thoroughbred Arab horses fast under the scorching sun in the desert. The grits heated by the sun stuck to the bodies of both horses and men. Finally, the cavaliers reached the hill. The scenery from the hill gave them a feeling of happiness mixed with terror and fear. The people that they wanted to find by riding their horses for hours were there, in the middle of the valley.

They were on the hill, overlooking the enemy. However, the commander of the cavaliers did not give the order to attack. The horses started to feel restless, grub the sand and neigh.

The commander of that group of cavaliers of Makkan polytheists was Khalid bin Walid, the Arab genius of war. The Prophet of the end of time, Hz. Muhammad, (pbuh) was leading the noon prayer to his Companions who had formed rows in the valley.

Khalid narrates the incident as follows:

“I thought it was a very suitable time to attack them. However, I could not give the order to attack by any means. After waiting for a long time, I gave up the idea of attacking. This situation affected me a lot. I said, ‘This person is really protected by Allah.’ I can say that I took part in all of the battles against Muhammad. However, I have always felt after returning from each battle that I did something wrong.”

After this incident, Khalid bin Walid became very hesitant. Once, he thought of going to Abyssinia, to the Negus. However, then, he gave up this idea thinking, “He is also following Muhammad; and Muhammad’s Companions live in security there.” He decided to go to Byzantine and Iran but he could not set off. While he was hesitant like that, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) came to Makkah to perform the umrah that the Muslims had to postpone due to the Treaty of Hudaybiyya.  

Khalid bin Walid hid somewhere so as not to meet the Messenger of Allah. Walid bin Walid, Khalid’s brother who had become a Muslim beforehand, came there with the Messenger of Allah. He looked for his brother Khalid but could not find him. Then, he wrote the following letter to be given to his brother:

“Bismillahirrahmanirrahim.

“I have never seen anything stranger than your escaping from becoming a Muslim though you are very clever. Who can keep away from a religion like Islam? The Messenger of Allah asked about you. He asked, ‘Where is Khalid?’ I said, ‘Allah will bring him.’ He said, ‘Can people like him keep away from Islam? It would be better for him if he struggled and made efforts for Islam.’ My brother! Come here quickly. Do not miss the opportunity.”

Khalid bin Walid’s interest in Islam increased more after receiving the letter. He was pleased that the Messenger of Allah asked about him. He saw in his dream that he was passing through a narrow and arid place to a green country. He did not exactly know the meaning of his dream but this dream encouraged him to be a Muslim.

He decided to go the Messenger of Allah. However, he was looking for somebody to accompany him. He met Safwan bin Umayya on the way. He said to Safwan,

“O Abu Wahb! Do you know the situation we are in? Our number decreased. Muhammad has become superior to both Arabs and non-Arabs.” Saf­wan gave Khalid the following answer:

“I will not follow him even if only I am left in the world.”

Khalid attributed this hatred and grudge of his to the fact that his brother and father were killed in the Battle of Badr. When Safwan bin Umayya heard the adhan called by Bilal Habashi during the missed umrah of the Prophet, he said, “Thank God my father died before hearing this voice.” He was in such unbelief and polytheism.

Then, Khalid met Ikrima, Abu Jahl’s son. He said the same things as he said to Safwan to Ikrima. Ikrima told him not to reveal his belief. 

Khalid bin Walid decided to go to the Messenger of Allah alone. He went home, got ready and set off. He met Uthman bin Talha on the way. He told Uthman the same things as he said to Safwan and Ikrima. Uthman bin Talha accepted Khalid bin Walid’s offer and decided to go to the Messenger of Allah together. When they arrived at Hidda, Amr bin As, who had come from Abyssinia, also joined them. 

They went to Madinah together. When they arrived in Madinah, the first person to meet them was Walid bin Walid, Khalid bin Walid’s brother.

Walid gave them the good news:

“Hurry up! The Messenger of Allah heard about your arrival and became very happy. He is waiting for you.”

Meanwhile, the Messenger of Allah said to the Companions around him,

“Makkah gave its most beloved people to us

In fact, those warriors, who fought against the Muslims in the first ranks of the polytheist armies, accepted the superiority of Islam and were coming in order to pay allegiance to the Messenger of Allah.

The compassionate Prophet welcomed them by smiling and with joy. First, Khalid bin Walid greeted and uttered kalima ash-shahada. Everybody was waiting in excitement for what the Messenger of Allah would say. The Messenger of Allah addressed Khalid bin Walid as follows:

“Praise be to Allah who enabled you to find the true path. I pray to Allah to enable you to serve Islam.”

Khalid bin Walid remembered his previous sins and asked the Messenger of Allah to pray for him so that his sins would be forgiven. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Islam does not question the sins committed before being a Muslim.” However, Khalid bin Walid wanted the Messenger of Allah to pray for him. The Messenger of Allah raised his hands and prayed as follows:   

“O Allah! Forgive the sins that he committed so far to deviate people from Your way.”

Afterwards, Khalid bin Walid proved that he was worthy of this appreciation and prayer of the Messenger of Allah with his heroism and service; he was given the nickname “Allah’s Sword”.

Khalid bin Walid was one of the notables of Quraysh in the Era of Jahiliyya. Qurayshis gave him the important duty of being the commander of the cavaliers. He was a successful commander. He was very good at war tactics. Therefore, the Prophet wanted Khalid to be a Muslim very much and to use his power in the way of Islam. Once, he stated the following about him:  

“It is impossible for a person like Khalid not to know Islam. I wish he would struggle and make efforts with the Muslims against the polytheists; it would be so nice. We would prefer him to others.”

Yes, after that, Khalid was going to use his power in the way of Allah against the enemies of Islam. The first battle he took part was the Battle of Muta. The reason for this battle was the fact that Harith b. Umayr, whom the Prophet sent to the Byzantine Kaiser as an envoy, was martyred by Shurahbil b. Amr, the governor of Damascus. This incident depressed the Messenger of Allah very much. He prepared an army of three thousand people. He appointed Zayd b. Haritha as the commander of the army. If Zayd were to be martyred, Jafar bin Abi Talib would replace him. If Jafar were to be martyred, Abdullah bin Rawaha would be the commander. Khalid bin Walid joined the army as an enlisted man.

The mujahids that set off from Madinah met the Byzantines in Muta. The number of the soldiers of the Byzantine army was about 100 thousand (according to another narration, 200 thousand). Besides, they were equipped with very good weapons. However, their number and weapons did not intimidate the mujahids because they joined the army with the wish of being martyrs. It was an opportunity for it. They attacked the enemy by shouting “Allah, Allah!” after Zayd bin Haritha, their commander. After a while, Zayd, Jafar and Abdullah were martyred by fighting heroically. The Islamic army was without a commander. The Byzantines were about to destroy all Muslims. Some of the Companions were martyred.  

Meanwhile, Thabit Aqram took the standard and tried to bring the soldiers together. He shouted, “O Muslims! Choose someone among you as the commander and gather around him.” The Muslims came together and said, “We have chosen you as the commander; we are pleased with you.” However, Thabit did not accept it and wanted to hand the standard to Khalid b. Walid. Khalid did not want to be the commander but he held the standard when Thabit said, “You know war strategy better than me.” Besides, all of the mujahids wanted Khalid to be the commander.

Meanwhile, God Almighty removed the veils of time and space. He showed the battlefield to the Prophet. The Prophet ascended the pulpit and addressed the Muslims as follows when they gathered:

“They confronted the enemy. Zayd was martyred and entered Paradise. He is running there now. Then, Jafar took the standard and he was martyred, too. Now, he is flying with two wings made of ruby. After Jafar, Abdullah b. Rawaha took the standard and he was martyred, too. After Abdullah b. Rawaha, Khalid bin Walid took the standard. Now, the battle has become hot.”

Then, the Prophet raised his hands and prayed as follows: “O Allah! He is a sword of Your swords. Help him.”

Thus, the Islamic army, which received the prayer of the Prophet, started to pull itself together and continued fighting the enemy under the command of Hz. Khalid. After a while, they defeated a Byzantine division. It was late and the weather got dark. The two armies retreated and started to rest.

It was a very good opportunity for Hz. Khalid. He had to benefit from this situation. He was experienced in wars. It was time for him to show his experience, to save mujahids from destruction and to give a severe blow to the Byzantine army.  

He walked around the camp and boosted the morale of the soldiers. After midnight, he applied the plan he had made. He replaced the mujahids in the right wing with the ones in the left wing and the mujahids at the back with the mujahids at the front. Thus, he wanted to demoralize the enemy by making them think that new soldiers had come.  In the morning, he gave the order to attack. When the Byzantines saw the Muslims that they had not seen before, they thought, “Auxiliary troops have probably arrived.” They were frightened and then they panicked. Benefitting from this situation, the mujahids attacked suddenly and defeated the enemy. The commander was swinging his sword in the first rank. Nine swords were broken in the hands of Khalid that day.

Thus, the Muslims gained a great victory thanks to the successful commanding of Hz. Khalid. They set off for Madinah with a lot of booty.

After that, Hz. Khalid was called “Sayfullah”, that is, “Allah’s Sword”. [1] Hz. Khalid had a different place in the eye of the Prophet. He settled him in a house near his house and made him the commander of the cavaliers. Hz. Khalid served Islam a lot in the Siege of Taif, Conquest of Makkah, Battle of Hunayn and the other battles that he participated. He was wounded in the Battle of Hunayn. The Prophet healed his wound with his blessed breath.  

Along with military services, the Prophet sometimes sent Khalid to places with other duties. Hz. Khalid was a person that was successful in inviting people to Islam. For instance, when he went to Sons of Harith, he invited them to Islam with a style that they could understand and would affect their hearts. Sons of Harith accepted his call and became Muslims. After that, Khalid stayed with them for a while upon the order of the Prophet. He taught them the Quran and the principles of Islam. He collected their zakah too. After a few days, he entered into the presence of the Prophet with the delegates of Sons of Harith. 

After the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet gave Khalid the duty of demolishing the idol of Uzza. When the guard of Uzza noticed the decision of Khalid, he put a sword on the idol and went to the mountain. When Khalid arrived there to demolish the idol, he saw a naked woman whose hair was untidy, whose hands were on her neck and who gnashed her teeth. It was a devil. Khalid shivered. The guard of the idol shouted at the woman as follows:   

“O Uzza! Come on! Attack Khalid severely. If you do not kill him today, you will be abased and destroyed.

Hz. Khalid got over his astonishment. He said, “O Uzza! You will no longer be recognized or glorified. I see that Allah lowered you.” Then, he attacked the woman and divided her into two. The woman was transformed into black dust. After that, Khalid killed the guard of Uzza. Then, he returned to the prophet. He told the Prophet what had happened. Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah said,

“Uzza will no longer be worshipped in your land. There is no Uzza for Arabs from now on. Nobody will worship it.”

Hz. Khalid praised Allah: “O Messenger of Allah! Praise be to Allah, who granted us the lofty religion of Islam and who saved us from destruction. I saw that my father chose the best camel and sheep among 100 animals, that he slaughtered them for Uzza and returned home happily after staying there for three days. I look at this view and belief for which my father spent his life and his deception by slaughtering animals for a piece of wood that could not hear and see and that could not harm or be useful for anyone and I find it odd now.” [2]

Khalid regarded everything that came from the Prophet blessed, was honored with it and regarded it as a means of praise. As a matter of fact, he would collect the hairs of the Prophet that fell from his head and beard; he would keep them on him. 

During the Battle of Yarmuk Hz. Khalid lost his turban. He ordered his soldiers to look for it and to find it. After looking for it for a while, the mujahids found it. It was torn. It was not worth searching. They could not understand why their commander looked for such a turban insistently. Hz. Khalid said,

“When the Messenger of Allah was in umrah, he had his hair cut. All of the Companions there collected the hairs before falling to the ground. I acted faster than the others and caught a piece of his hair falling from his head. I placed it in my turban. I won all battles in which I took part after that when that turban was on my head.” [3]

The only pleasure Hz. Khalid had in the world was to make jihad in the way of Allah and His Messenger. Hz. Khalid said, “Jihad is more enjoyable than the night he married a woman that he loved or the day when he had a son.” He also stated the following:

“I was in a military unit sent by the Messenger of Allah. It was a cold and icy night. I waited impatiently for the whole night to fight the enemy in the morning. There is no moment in my life more enjoyable than that night in my life. If you want to win, make jihad.” [4]

Khalid bin Walid continued the duty of being the commander of the army during the caliphate of Hz. Abu Bakr and Hz. Umar. He intimidated all of the enemies of Islam. For, he won victories in all of the battles he participated. The Muslims had the following thought: “We will definitely win every battle in which Khalid participates.” Hz. Umar was disturbed by this idea. He feared that the Muslims would attribute everything to Khalid by forgetting about Allah’s help. Therefore, he removed Khalid and appointed Abu Ubayda bin Jarrah as the commander in order to show that one person was not enough to do everything. When Khalid was informed about it, he did not object. He fought under the command of Abu Ubayda. He fought as a soldier in the army in which he was a commander a short while ago. [5]

Hz. Khalid, who spent most of his life on horseback and in battlefields, felt very sorry that he did not become a martyr. When he died in 21 H, he cried and uttered the following statement:  

“I participated in many wars and battles. There is no place on my body without a wound of sword, spear and arrow. However, you see that I am dying in bed like camels. Let cowardly people find no peace in the world!”[6]

May Allah be pleased with him!

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[1]Tabaqat, 2: 128-130; 7: 395; Insanul-Uyun, 2: 788-789.
[2]Tabaqat, 1: 339; Sirah, 4: 239; Maktubat, p. 144.
[3]Hayatus-Sahaba, 3: 506; Maktubat, p. 135.
[4]Hayatus-Sahaba, 1: 333.
[5]Asr-ı Saadet, 4: 291.
[6]Hayatus-Sahaba, 1: 418

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