Khalid ibn al-Walid

Khalid ibn al-Walid

Infobox Military Person
name= Khālid ibn al-Walīd

caption= Khālid ibn al-Walīd is famous for his victories against the Byzantines and the Persians during the early Muslim conquests.
allegiance= Rashidun Caliphate
nickname= The Sword of Allah
lived= 592 - 642
placeofbirth= Mecca, Arabia

Khālid ibn al-Walīd (592-642) ( _ar. خالد بن الوليد) also known by Sunnis as Sayf-'ullah al-Maslul (the Drawn Sword of God, God's Withdrawn Sword, or simply Sword of God), was one of the two famous Muslim generals of the Rashidun army during the Muslim conquests of the 7th Century. "Khalid ibn al-Walid." Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 17 Oct. 2006 [] ] ("See also: 'Amr ibn al-'As".) He is noted for his military prowess, commanding the forces of Muhammad and those of his immediate successors of the Rashidun Caliphate; Abu Bakr and Umar ibn al-Khattab. He has the distinction of being undefeated in over a hundred battles, against the numerically superior forces of the Byzantine Roman Empire, Sassanid Persian Empire, and their allies, he is regarded as one of the finest military commanders in history. His greatest strategic achievements were his swift conquest of the Persian Empire and conquest of Roman Syria within three years from 633 to 636, while his greatest tactical achievements were his successful double envelopment maneuver at Walaja and his decisive victories at Firaz, Ullais and Yarmouk.

Khalid ibn Walid was from the Meccan tribe of Quraish, who opposed Muhammad, and he played a vital role in their victory at the Battle of Uhud. He accepted Islam, however, and joined Muhammad after the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah and commanded various expeditions for him, such as the Battle of Mu'tah. After Muhammad's death, he played a key role in commanding Medinan forces for Abu Bakr in the Ridda wars, the capture of the Sassanid Arab client Kingdom of Al-Hirah, and the defeat of the Sassanid Persian forces during his conquest of the Persian Empire. He then crossed the desert to capture the Byzantine Arab client state of the Ghassanids during his conquest of Roman Syria. Even though Umar later relieved him of high command, he remained the effective leader of the forces arrayed against the Byzantines during the early stages of the Byzantine-Arab Wars. Under his command, Damascus was captured in 635 and the key Arab victory against the Roman Byzantine forces was achieved at the Battle of Yarmuk (636), which led to the conquest of the Bilad al-Sham (Levant).

Early life

Khalid ibn Walid was born around c. 590 in Mecca to Walid ibn al-Mughira, the chief of the Banu Makhzum clan of the Quraish. He was also known in Makkah by the title of Al-Waheed- "the Unique". Banu Makhzum were specialized in warfare. [ The three leading clans of Quraish at that time were, Banu Hashim, Banu Abd-al-dar, and Banu Makhzum. The Banu Makhzum was responsible for matters of war.] According to the tradition of Quraish, Khalid, soon after his birth he was taken away from his mother and was sent to a Bedouin tribe in the desert, where a foster mother was found for him who would nurse him and bring him up in the clear, dry and unpolluted air of the desert. Some time in his childhood he had a mild attack of smallpox that left few pock marks on his face. At the age of five or six, he returned to his parents in Mecca.

Khalid's upbringing was now undertaken by his father who did his best to instil into Khalid all the virtues of Arab manhood-courage, fighting skill, toughness and generosity. As a Makhzumi, who were among the best horsemen in Arabia, Khalid learned to ride and use weapons like the spear, the lance, the bow, and the sword as a child. Khalid personally preferred the use of the sword, and as an adult he was over six feet tall and was admired as a renowned warrior and wrestler among the Quraish. [Akram, chapter 1.]

Muhammad's era (610-632)

Following the migration ("Hijra") of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, many battles were fought between the new Muslim community at Medina and the confederacy of the Quraish. Khalid didn't participate in the first Battle fought between Muslims and Quraish of Mecca i.e. Battle of Badr, but Khalid's leadership was instrumental in turning the tables and ensuring a Meccan stalemate during the Battle of Uhud (625). In 627 AD he was a part of Quraish's campaign against Muslims which resulted in the Battle of the Trench, and this was Khalid's last battle against Muslims.Following the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah in 628, Khalid accepted Islam and personally apologized for his previous actions to Muhammad and began to fight for Islam from then on. When he apologized, Muhammad told him that when you become a Muslim, all your previous sins are washed away as if you are a newborn, but Khalid still insisted of repentance which Muhammad made and said to him that you now use your sword in the way of Allah, instead of against Allah (due to the fact that Khalid was a former enemy of Islam).

Coversion to Islam

After Treaty of Hudaybiyyah in 628, there was a peace agreement for ten years between Muslims and Quraish of Mecca. Khalid's brother Walid bin Walid, who was taken captive at Battle of Badr, had already accepted Islam. Prophet Mohammad once said to him:Khalid's brother wrote him a letter and told him about what Prophet Mohammad had said about him, meanwhile Khalid, who was not unduly drawn towards the Idols of the Kabah, now had began to ponder deeply on religious matters, but did not share his thoughts with anyone. And it was suddenly flashed across his mind that Islam was the true faith. He then shared it with his childhood friend Ikramah ibn Abu Jhal who opposed him, Khalid was threatened by Abu Sufyan with dire consequences, but was restrained by Ikrimah who said:cquote|"Steady, O Abu Sufyan! Your anger may well lead me also to join Muhammad. [Waqidi: Maghazi, p. 321.] Khalid is free to follow whatever religion he chooses."That night Khalid took his armour, his weapons and his horse, and set out for Madinah. On the way he met Amr ibn al-A'as and Uthman ibn Talha who were also going to Madinah to accept Islam. They arrived at Madinah on May 31, 629 and went to the house of the Prophet Muhammad. Khalid was received by his elder brother Walid bin Walid and was first among the three men to enter Islam.

Battle of Mu'tah and Sword of Allah (629)

Three months after Khalid's arrival to Medina, Muhammad sent an envoy to the Ghassanids with a letter asking the chieftain to accept Islam. While passing through Mu'tah, this envoy was intercepted and killed by a local Ghassanid chieftain by the name of Shurahbil ibn Amr. Traditionally, diplomatic envoys held immunity from attack, and the news of this act inflamed Medina. Fact|date=February 2007

An expedition was immediately prepared to take punitive action against the Ghassanids. Muhammad appointed Zayd ibn Harithah as the commander of the force. In the event of Zayd's death, the command was to be taken over by Jafar ibn Abi Talib, and if Jafar were to be killed, the command would be in the hands of Abd-Allah ibn Rawahah. In the event that all three were killed, the men of the expedition were to select a commander from amongst themselves. [Commanders of the Muslim Army (Among the Companions of the Prophet), by Mahmood Ahmad Ghandafar, Published by Darussalam ]

During the battle, the three named commanders were slain, and Khalid was selected as the commander. He was able to maintain his army of 3,000 soldiers against 200,000 soldiers of the Byzantine Empire and Ghassanid Arab forces in what would be known as the Battle of Mu'tah. Because of Khalid's brilliant military abilities, the Muslim army survived from what would have been a shameful defeat. Khalid broke 9 swords during combat in the battle and after the Battle of Mu'tah he was given the title "Sword of Allah". [Ibn Hisham: Vol. 2, page. 382 and Waqidi: Maghazi, page. 322.]

In 630 AD Muslims advanced from Madinah to conquer Mecca. In the Conquest of Mecca Khalid commanded one of the four Muslims armies that entered Mecca, and he had a skirmish with the Quraish cavalry. Later he was sent to Banu Jadhimah tribe.

Banu Jadhimah (630)

When Khalid led an expedition against the Banu Jadhimah, he persuaded them to disarm by acknowledging that they had become Muslims. He then, against Abd ar-Rahman ibn Awf's advice began killing some of the prisoners. But he stopped at ibn Awf's intervention. When this matter was brought to Muhammad, the prophet became upset and paid the blood money for all the dead and declared to God that he was innocent of what Khalid had done, and sent 'Ali ibn Abi Talib to pay the survivors compensation. [Tabari, Vol. ?, p. 188.] [Ramadan, Tariq (2007). "In the Footsteps of the Prophet". Oxford University Press, p. 179]

Later in 630 AD he was made commander of Muslim's Cavalry in the Battle of Hunayn, following this Battle he also participated in the Siege of Ta'if, he was part of Muslim's army went for the campaign of Tabouk under the command of Muhammad, from where he was sent to Daumat-ul-jandal by Muhammad to capture it where he attacked and imprisoned the prince of daumat-ul-jandal, thus forcing daumat-ul-jandal to submit.

In 631 CE he also participated in the farewell hajj of Muhammad. According to a narration, when Muhammad shaved his head, Khalid took some of his hairs. When asked by Muhammad the reason for this, he replied, "I will keep these hairs with me forever as a relic so that they will help me be victorious in battles."Fact|date=February 2007 Later he sewed those hairs in his cap, which he always wore under his turban.

Abu Bakr's era (632–634)

After the death of Muhammad, many tribes broke away in revolt against the rule of Medina. Caliph Abu Bakr sent his armies to counter the rebels and apostates. Khalid ibn al-Walid was given command of an army and sent towards the rebel tribe of Tai, but Addi bin Hatim - a prominent companion of Muhammad - arbitrated, and the attack was stopped. Khalid's next target was the Jalida tribe. Once again 'Addi bin Hatim arbitrated. Later in the same month, he turned towards Buzakha where he defeated Tulaiha, a main rebel leader who claimed prophethood as a means to draw support for himself, in the Battle of Buzakha in mid-September 632 CE. The remaining followers of Tulaiha were defeated in the Battle of Ghamra 20 miles from Buzakha in the third week of September 632 CE. Several tribes submitted to the Caliph after Khalid's decisive victories. Moving south from Buzakha, Khalid reached Naqra with 6000 men, and defeated the rebel tribe of Banu Saleem in the Battle of Naqra. Later in October 632 CE, he defeated a tribal mistress, Salma, in the battle of Zafar. Afterwards he moved against the rebel tribe of Banu Tamim and their Sheikh Malik ibn Nuwayrah.

Malik ibn Nuwayrah and the massacre of his tribe

During the Ridda wars, Abu Bakr sent Khalid into Najd with 4,000 men. Many clans of Banu Tamim hastened to visit Khalid, but the Banu Yarbu' - a branch of Bani Tamim - under its chief, Malik ibn Nuwayrah, hung back.Malik was a chief of some distinction; a warrior, noted for his generosity; and a famous poet. Bravery, generosity and poetry were the three qualities most admired among the Arabs. Malik ordered his followers to scatter and he himself apparently moved away across the desert with his family. Abū Bakr had given orders that the test to be applied to suspected rebels was that they be asked to repeat the Muslim formula and that they answer the call to prayerFacts|date=February 2007. Malik was guilty for his acts against the state of Madinah. After the death of Muhammad, he broke in open revolt against Madinah. At the time of Muhammad, he had been appointed as a Tax collector for the Tribe of Banu Tamim. As soon as Malik heard of the death of Muhammad, he gave back all the tax to his tribespeople, saying that "Now you are the owner of your wealth". [reference=al-Balazuri: book no: 1, page no:107.] His riders were stopped by Khalid's army at the town of Battah. Khalid asked them about the signing of pact with Sajjah they said it was just because they wanted revenge against their terrible enemies. [reference= Tabari: Vol) p. 501-2.] When Khalid reached Najd he found no opposing army, so he sent his cavalry to near by villages and ordered them to call the Azaan (call for prayers) to each party they meet. Zirrar bin Azwar, a group leader, arrested the family of Malik claiming they did not answer the call to prayer. When arrested, Malik was asked by Khalid about his crimes. Khalid's interpretation of Malik's response was "your master said this your master said that" (referring to Muhammad). Khalid understood this to be a transparent attempt by Malik to save his own life by any means at his disposal. Khalid declared Malik an apostate and ordered his execution. [reference=Tabari: Vol. 2, Page no: 5) ] Khalid ordered Malik's killing because he knew that Malik had betrayed the Islamic state of Madinah.The same night, Khalid married Malik's widow Layla bint al-Minhal, who is said to be one of the most beautiful women in Arabia at the time. [reference=Tabari: Vol. 2, Page no: 5) ] .The marriage of Khalid with layla later became a controversial issue, because there was a group of people who though that Khalid had killed malik to get Layla, and Khalid was Called by Caliph Abu Bakr to explain the matter.

The last threat

After the incident of Malik ibn Nuwayrah, Caliph Abu Bakr sent Khalid to crush the most powerful threat to the nascent Islamic state of Medina: another prophet, Musailima. Khalid won a decisive victory against Musailima in the Battle of Yamama, which was fought in the 3rd week of December, 632 CE. With the defeat of Musailima, nearly all resistance of the rebel tribes collapsed. [Akram, chapter 13-17.]

Further conquests

Now Caliph Abu Bakr decided to expand the empire. The Islamic conquest of Persia was to begin. Khalid was sent to the Persian Empire with an army consisting of 18,000 to conquer the richest province of the Persian empire: Iraq. [Akram, chapter 18.]

Conquest of Persian Empire

After entering Iraq (Mesopotamia) with his army of 18,000, Khalid won decisive victories in four consecutive battles: Battle of Chains, fought in April 633 CE; Battle of River, fought in the 3rd week of April 633 CE; Battle of Walaja, fought in May 633 CE (where he successfully used a double envelopment manoeuvre), and Battle of Ullais, fought in the mid of May, 633 CE. By now the Persian court was down and out. In the last week of May 633 CE, the capital city of Iraq fell to the Muslims after resistance in the Battle of Hira. After resting his armies, Khalid moved in June 633 CE towards Al Anbar, which resisted and was defeated in the Battle of Al-Anbar, and eventually surrendered after a siege of a few weeks in July 633 CE. Khalid then moved towards the south, and conquered the city of Ein ul Tamr after the Battle of ein-ul-tamr in the last week of July, 633 CE. By now, almost the whole of Iraq was under Islamic control. Khalid got a call of help from northern Arabia at daumat-ul-jandal, where another Muslim Arab general, Ayaz bin Ghanam, was trapped among the rebel tribes. Khalid went to Daumat-ul-jandal and defeated the rebels in the Battle of Daumat-ul-jandal in the last week of August, 633 CE. Returning from Arabia, he got news of the assembling of a large Persian army. Within a few weeks, he decided to defeat them all separately to avoid the risk of defeat to a large unified Persian army. Four divisions of Persian and Christian Arab auxiliaries were present at Hanafiz, Zumiel, Sanni and Muzieh. Khalid divided his army in three units, and decided to attack these auxiliaries one by one from three different sides at night, starting from the Battle of Muzieh, then the Battle of Sanni, and finally the Battle of Zumail. In November 633 CE, Khalid defeated those armies in his series of three sided attacks at night. These devastating defeats ended Persian control over Iraq. In December 633 CE, Khalid reached the border city of Firaz, where he defeated the combined forces of the Sassanid Persians, Byzantine Romans and Christian Arabs in the Battle of Firaz. This was the last battle in his conquest of Iraq. [Akram, chapters 19-26.]

Conquest of Eastern Roman Empire

Caliph Abu Bakr congratulated Khalid ibn al-Walid over his victories and gave him a new task, to enter the Byzantine province of Syria and command Islamic armies there. The Byzantine province of Syria in those days consisted of modern day Syria, Jordan, Palastine, the Palestinian territories, Lebanon and southern Turkey. Passing through the Syrian Desert, Khalid with his half of the army of 9,000 warriors entered Syria in June 634 and commanded the 23,000 strong Muslim army present there under the command of four generals, Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, Yazid ibn Abu Sufyan, Sharjeel bin Hosanna and 'Amr ibn al-'As.

After only one day, Khalid set out for the conquest of Syria.

He reached the town of Sawa, and defiant forces present there resisted but later in the evening surrendered the city and agreed to pay tribute. He moved to the city of Aarak in the same day, and this city too surrendered and agreed to pay tribute. The next day Khalid moved to the city of Tarmad, which surrendered as well. He moved further and cities of Sakhna and Qadma also surrendered and agree to pay tribute. The next day the cities of Qarteen and Hawwareen were captured after the Battle of Qarteen and the Battle of Hawareen. After dealing with all these cities, Khalid moved towards Damascus, after three days journey he reached a mountain pass, 20 miles from Damascus which is now known as Sanita-al-Uqab (Uqab pass) after the name of Khalid's army standard. From here he moved away from Damascus towards the rest of the Islamic armies which were still near the Syrian-Arabia border. At Maraj-al-Rahab, Khalid defeated a Ghassanid army of Christian Arabs in a short Battle of Marj-al-Rahit. By now he was moving away from Damascus, the stronghold of Byzantines, and towards the city of Basra. Khalid reached Basra after three days at a time when Sharjeel bin Hassana's 4,000 army was fighting the 12,000 Roman army.

As soon as Khalid reached there with his 9,000 warriors, the Roman army retreated and fortified themselves in the castle. After few days they came out and were defeated in the Battle of Bassorah and again retreated to castle and surrendered the city. 130 Muslims died, and by now it was almost mid of July 634. The Muslims soon heard of the gathering of a Roman army at Ajnadayn said to be 90,000 strong, after which all the divisions of the Muslim army joined Khalid at Ajnadayn on 24 July 634, and the Muslim army became 32,000 in number. Khalid defeated the Romans on 30 July 634 at the Battle of Ajnadayn. After one week Khalid moved to Damascus, and on his way there he defeated another Roman army in the Battle of Yakosa in mid-August 634. Tomur, the son-in-law of Emperor Heraclius, sent another army to stop Khalid but they too were defeated in the battle of Maraj-al-Safar on 19 August 634. The next day Khalid finally reached Damascus and besieged the city for 30 days, having defeated the reinforcements sent by the Roman Emperor Heraclius at the Battle of Sanita-al-Uqab 20 miles from Damascus. Khalid's forces withstood three Roman attacks that tried to break the siege, and finally attacked and conquered the city on 18 September 634 after Conquest of Damascus.

The Byzantine army was given a deadline of three days to go as far as they could, with their families and treasure, or simply agree to stay in Damascus and pay tribute. After the three days deadline was over, the Muslim cavalry under Khalid's command attacked the Roman army, catching up to them using an unknown shortcut, at the Battle of Maraj-al-Debaj. Abu Bakr died during the siege of Damascus and Umar became the new Caliph. He dismissed his cousin Khalid ibn al-Walid from the command and appointed Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah the new commander in chief of Islamic army in Syria. Abu Ubaidah got the letter of his appointment and Khalid's disposal during the siege, but he delayed the announcement until the city was conquered.

Umar's era (634–642)

Dismissal of Khalid from command

On 22 August 634, Abu Bakr died, having made Umar his successor. Umar's first move was to relieve Khalid from commanding the army and appointed Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah as the new commander in chief of the Islamic army, there is only one known reason for Khalid's dismissal, which is that the Calipha Umar feared his soldiers might rely on Khalid for victory, and not Allah, so he relieved Khalid of his post. There was inevitably a slowdown in the pace of military operations, as Abu Ubaida would move slowly and steadily. The conquest of Syria continued under him, Abu Ubaida being an admirers of Khalid, made him command of cavalry and relyed heavily on his advice during the whole campaign. [Akram, chapter 31.]

Further conquests

Soon after the appointment of Abu-Ubaida as commander in chief, he sent Khalid to rescue a Muslim army trapped by the Byzantines at Abu-al-Quds. Khalid reached there and defeated them in the Battle of Abu-al-Quds on 15 October 634 CE.Abu-Ubaida appointed Khalid as commander of the cavalry.Emperor Heraclius assembled another army to repel the Muslim army from Syria at the plain of Fahal. The Muslim army moved to Fahal, with Khalid commanding the cavalry, reaching there first and defeating the Byzantine army at the Battle of Fahal on the 23rd of January 635 CE.

Battles for Emesa and 2nd Battle of Damascus

After the battle, Abu Ubaida moved towards Emesa with Khalid, who was commanding the cavalry. Meanwhile, Emperor Heraclius sent General Theodras to Damascus to recapture it, as there was only a weak defensive army in the city. Theodras met the Muslim army at Maraj-al-Rome, and moved with half of his army towards Damascus at night, while Abu Ubaida and Khalid were engaged with the remaining Byzantine army. Khalid's spy informed him about the move, and Khalid asked Abu Ubaida to give him the permission to defend Damascus. While Abu Ubaida fought and defeated the Roman army in the battle of Maraj-al-Rome, Khalid moved to Damascus with his cavalry and attacked and defeated Theodrus in the 2nd battle of Damascus.A week later, Abu Ubaida himself moved towards Balaq, while he sent Khalid straight towards Emesa. Both cities surrendered and agreed to pay tribute. Emesa and Qinasareen signed a one year peace treaty. In November 635, Khalid and Abu Ubaida moved towards Hamma city, which surrendered and agreed to pay tribute. Later, Abu Ubaida sent Khalid to Shairzer, Afamia and Matar-al-Hamz which all surrendered. Meanwhile Qinasareen and Emesa broke the peace treaty. In response, Abu Ubaida decided to conquere Emesa first and sent Khalid with Muslim advance guard. Byzantine commander decided to drove back the advance guard and was, thus defeated out side the fort by Khalid. The Byzantines retreated to the castle of Emesa and were subsequently besieged. Soon, Abu Ubaida reached Emesa with rest of his army, and he gave the command of the siege to Khalid. Byzantine made attempts continuosly to break the siege but their sallies were repulsed. After two months of the siege, the city was finally conquered on March 636 CE after the 3rd Battle of Emesa.

Battle of Yarmouk

Abu Ubaida sent Khalid to conquer northern Syria. Khalid defeated a Roman army in a skirmish and took many prisoners. These prisoners informed him about Emperor Heraclius's final effort to take back Syria. They told him that an army possibly two hundred thousand (200,000) strong would soon emerge to recapture their territory. Khalid stopped there on June 636 CE. This huge army set out for their destination. As soon as Abu Ubaida got the news, he gathered all his officers to plan their next move. Khalid suggested that they should call all of their forces present in Syria (Syria, Jordan, Palestine) to make a powerful joint force and then move towards the plain of Yarmouk for the battle.Abu Ubaida ordered all the Muslim commanders to withdraw from all the conquered areas, return the tributes that they previously gathered, and move towards Yarmuk. Hercules army also moved towards Yarmuk. The Muslim armies reached there in July 636 CE. A week or two later, around mid July, the Byzantine army arrived. Khalid's cavalry defeated Christian Arab auxiliaries of the Roman army in a skirmish . Nothing happened until the third week of August in which the Battle of Yarmouk was fought. The battle lasted 6 days during which Abu-Ubaida transferred the command of the entire army to Khalid. The Byzantine army was defeated on October 636 CE.

Capturing Jerusalem

Abu Ubaida held a meeting with his high command officers, including Khalid to decide of future conquests. They decided to conquer Jerusalem. The siege of Jerusalem lasted four months after which the city agreed to surrender, but only to caliph Umar Ibn Al Khattab in person. Amr-bin al-Aas suggested that Khalid should be sent as caliph, because of his very strong resemblance with Caliph Umar. Khalid was recognized and eventually, Caliph Umar Ibn Al Khattab came and the Jerusalem surrendered on April 637 CE. Abu Ubaida sent the commanders Amr bin al-Aas, Yazid bin Abu Sufyan, and Sharjeel bin Hassana back to their areas to reconquer them. Most of the areas submitted without a fight. Abu Ubaida himself along with Khalid moved to northern Syria once again to conquer them with a 17,000 strong army. Khalid along with his cavalry was sent to Hazir and Abu Ubaidah moved to Qinnasrin city.

Conquest in northern Syria, southern Turkey and Jazira

Khalid defeated Byzantine cavalry in there daring assault at Battle of Hazir and reached Qinnasrin before Abu Ubaidah. The city surrendered to Khalid. Soon, Abu Ubaidah arrived in June 637 CE. Abu Ubaidah then moved against Aleppo. As usual Khalid was commanding the cavalry. After the Battle of Aleppo the city finally agreed to surrender in October 637 CE. Abu Ubaidah and Khalid then moved towards Antioch. In their way to Antioch, a Roman army blocked them near a river on which there was an iron bridge. Because of this, the following battle is known as the Battle of Iron bridge. The Muslim army defeated the Byzantine army and Antioch surrendered on 30 October 637 CE. Abu Ubaida sent Khalid to conquer the remaining cities within the area. In a series of minor battles, Khalid conquered the cities of Lazkia, Jabla and Tartus. Abu Ubaidah sent Khalid to conquer north eastern Syria. All the areas up to Munbij were conquered, and all resistance suppressed up to the Euphrates. After these conquests Khalid returned to Abu Ubaidah at Aleppo in January 637 CE. Later within the year, Abu Ubaida sent Khalid and another general Ayaz bin Ghanam at the head of two separate armies against western part of Jazira most of which was conquered with out strong resistance. The important city of Marash was conquered in autumn 638 CE. Khalid returned to Aleppo and Abu-Ubaida appointed him Governor of Qinnasrin city. The conquest of Marash city represented the end of Khalid's military career. [Akram, chapters 31-36.]

Dismissal from army

Before his expedition to Marash, Khalid had a special bath. He had with him a certain substance prepared with an alcoholic mixture, which was supposed to have a soothing effect on the body when applied externally. Khalid rubbed his body with this substance and thoroughly enjoyed his bath, from which he emerged glowing and refreshed. Caliph Umar's spies reported this incident to him. A few weeks later he received a letter from the Caliph in which he was asked about this, as this substance contained alcohol, which is forbidden in Islam. Khalid felt that this was carrying the Muslim ban on alcohol a bit too far. He was thoroughly conversant with the Quran and knew that the Quranic verses on alcohol dealt only with the drinking of it, and that the injunction against strong drink was intended to eliminate the evils of drunkenness and alcoholism. Khalid wrote back to Umar and explained the method of preparation of the offending substance with the alcoholic mixture and the cleaning of it by boiling. Shortly after Khalid's capture of Marash, in the autumn of 638 (17 Hijri), Umar came to know of Ash'as reciting a poem in praise of Khalid and receiving a gift of 10,000 dirhams. This was more than the Caliph could take. He immediately wrote a letter to Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah asking him to bring Khalid in front of the congregation, tie his hands with his turban and take off his cap. He wanted Abu Ubaida to ask him from what funds he gave to Ash'as: from his own pocket or from the spoils acquired in the expedition? If he confessed to having been given from the spoils, he was guilty of misappropriation. If he claimed that he gave from his own pocket, he was guilty of extravagance. In either case he would be dismissed, and Abu Ubaida would take charge of his duties. Abu Ubaida was himself an admirer of Khalid bin Walid and loved him as his younger brother, and so he said he was not capable of doing it. Instead, Bilal ibn Ribah was appointed for this task and called back Khalid from Qasreen to Emessa, where he was charged publicly. Khalid stated that he gave money from his own pocket and thus was declared innocent in that charge. However, when he went to Abu Ubaida, he told him that he had been dismissed on the order of caliph Umar.

Khalid went to Qinnasrin and said good bye to his mobile guard. He then went to Medina to meet caliph Umar. He protested about what he considered to be injustice. Umar praised him in these words:

Later Umar explained his dismissal of Khalid:

Khalid's successful military career finished that wayAkram, chapter 37.] .


Although it is believed that relations between `Umar and Khalid, cousins, were always something short of cordial, Khalid apparently harbored no ill-will. Upon his death, he bequeathed his property to `Umar and made him the executor of his will and estate. [cite book | first=Fazl | last=Ahmad | authorlink= | year=1976 | title=Khalid Bin Walid: The Sword of Allah | coauthors= | publisher=Muhammad Ashraf Publishers | location=Lahore] Khalid died and was buried in 642 in Emesa (Homs), Syria. He had wanted to die a martyr in the field of battle, and was apparently disappointed when he knew that he would die in bed. Khalid put all the torment of his soul into one last, anguished sentence:

cquote|I fought in so many battles seeking martyrdom that there is no place in my body but have a stabbing mark by a spear , a sword or a dagger, and yet here I am, dying on my bed like an old camel dies. May the eyes of the cowards never sleep [Ibn Qutaibah: p. 267] .

His tomb is now part of a mosque called Jamia Khalid ibn al-Walid ("Khalid ibn al-Walid Mosque"). Khalid's tombstone depicts a list of over 50 victorious battles that he commanded without defeat (not including small battles).


Khalid fought over a hundred battles in his campaigns against the numerically superior forces of the Roman Empire, Persian Empire, and their allies, and remained undefeated throughout his career, a fact that his admirers point out when regarding him as one of the finest generals in history. His greatest strategic achievement was his swift conquest of the Persian Empire and conquest of Roman Syria all within just three years from 633 to 636. He also remained military Governor of Iraq from 632–633 AD and Governor of Qinnasrin city in Northern Syria. Much of Khalid's strategical and tactical genius lies in his use of extreme order to account for the numerical inferiority of his own forces. He used his highly mobile army effectively against less mobile Persian and Byzantine armies, specially his elite light cavalry (see "Mobile guard"). One of Khalid's greatest tactical achievement was at the Battle of Walaja, where he was the only other military commander in history, along with Hannibal at Cannae, who successfully used the double envelopment maneuver against a numerically superior army. His most decisive victories were at the Battle of Walaja and Battle of Yarmouk.According to a narration, he had scars of wounds from swords, lances and arrows (that he endured during his campaigns), all over his body. He had so many scars that people often wondered how he survived them.
Khalid during his childhood also had a mild attack of smallpox which he survived, but it left some pock marks on his left cheek. [Akram, chapter ?.] Khalid and Umar the second Caliph, were cousins and had very close facial resemblance. Khalid and Caliph Umar were both very "tall", Khalid had a well-built body with broad shoulders. He had a beard which appeared full and thick on his face. He was also one of the Champion wrestlers of his time.It is said that the news of Khalid's death broke like a storm over Madinah. The women took to the streets, led by the women of the Banu Makhzum (Khalid's tribe), wailing and beating their breasts. Though Caliph Umar, from very first day had given orders that there would be no wailing for departed Muslims, but in this one case he made an exception. Umar said cquote|"Let the women of the Banu Makhzum say what they will about Abu Sulaiman(Khalid), for they do not lie, over the likes of Abu Sulaiman weep those who weep." [Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 614.] It is said that Umar showed his regrets over removing Khalid from army during Hajj in 642 and had decided to resume him as a commander on his return to Madinah but on his return, a news of Khalid's death arrived. Once after Khalid's death Umar was reported to say that cquote|"Khalid was not as i had though of him", when asked by Ali that then why did he remove him from army Umar replied "i did wrong".Also according to some narrations, on his death bed, Umar named some persons that if they were alived he would have appointed one them, his successor, he also named Khalid. (See also .)


Khalid's father name was Walid ibn al-Mughira and his mother name was "Lubabah a-Saghirah".Walid bin mughira had many wives and had many children the name of only his following children are recorded in history.
*Hisham ibn al-Walid,
*Walid ibn al-Walid,
*Ammarah ibn al-Walid,
*Abdul Shams ibn al-Walid,

Walid ibn al-Mughira's daughters were: (Khalid's sisters)

*Faktah bint al-Walid,
*Fatimah bint al-Walid,
*Najiyah bint al-Walid,Fact|date=March 2008

It is unknown how many daughters did Khalid ibn al-Walid had, but names of his three sons and one known daughter (fourth name as under) are mentioned in history which are as follows:
*Sulaiman bin Khalid,
*Abdulrehman ibn Khalid,
*Muhajir bin Khalid.
*Sara binti Khalid

Sulaiman was killed during the Muslim conquest of Egypt, Muhajir bin Khalid died in the Battle of Siffin while fighting from Caliph Ali's side and Abdulrehman ibn Khalid remained Governor of Emesa during the time of 3rd Caliph Usman and participated in the Battle of Siffin as one of the Generals of Muawiyah I, he was also the part of Umayyad army that went for the siege of Constantinople. Abdul Rehman was later to be appointed the successor of Muawiyah I but according to some narration he was Poisoned by Muawiyah I because Muawiyah wanted to make his son Yazid I his successor. The male line of descent from Khalid is believed to have ended with his grandson, Khalid bin Abdur-Rahman bin Khalid.

In popular culture

*Khalid's reputation as a formidable general led to his inclusion as a "" in the " " expansion to the "Civilization IV" video game, which attempts to include real historical people into its gameplay.
*Pakistan Army's main battle tank (MBT), Al-Khalid or MBT 2000, is named after Khalid ibn al-Walid.
*Pakistan Navy's Agosta 90B class submarine, PNS/M "Khalid "(S137)
*Bangladesh Navy's frigate "Khalid bin Walid "are named after him.

ee also

*Rashidun Caliphate army




External links

* [ Map of Khalid bin Al-Waleed's Conquests]
* [ Darul Ishaat UK]

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