Khalid ibn al-Walid who was also known as Sayfu I-Lhi I-Masll lived between 592 and 642. He was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia and he was also known as Sayfullah, meaning the “Drawn Sword of God”. His father name was Al Waleed. He was a wealthy chief of one of the villages in Makkah and a trader of the Bani Makhzum clan which was among the three noblest and leading clans of the Quraish People. (Mehar 12)
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His clan was in charge of war and they took care and trained war horses. They also arranged prepared, planned and implemented expeditions and provided for the warriors. Their officers were also the leaders in the battle fields (Akram25).
After his birth he was taken to a foster mother in the desert as the custom demanded. He would grow strong and healthy in the clean, fresh, unpolluted and clear desert air. She nursed him and took care of him until he was about five or six years when he went back to his parents.
His father was greatly proud of his family and he instilled that pride in his son teaching him about his family background and ancestry. He also taught him the character of Arab man-hood, the virtues of courage and bravery in fighting, kindness and generosity with much success.
While he was still young Khalid learned how to ride not only trained war horses but also wild horses and camels, he become a perfect trainer of young horses and he was one of the best and famous horsemen of the Makhzum who were among the best horsemen in Arabia themselves. He could use all weapons but he excelled in the sword which was the most trusted and regularly used weapon. Khalid was also a lavish spender and a very generous man and this would later get him into trouble (Mehar 194)
When he reached maturity Khalid became obsessed with war and he made up his mind to learn every art of fighting there was, soon he was among the greatest warriors in his tribe and in the whole of Arabia. He was noted in the Islamic world as one of the most strongest and successful military commanders (Nicolle 60).
He gained his military experience through many years of war, from commanding the military forces of Muhammad the Islamic prophet, to those of the Rashidun Caliphate who ruled later; Umar and Abu Bakr in the seventh century. He was always successful in battle, he conquered forces which were many in number and had more sophisticated weapons like the empires of Byzantine Romans who ruled most parts of the middle-east including Syria, Israel and Jordan, the Persians of Sassanid and their friends.
Khalid Ibn Al-Walid is noted for fighting and defeating the holy prophet Muhammad in the Battle of Uhud a plain that lies at the northern part of Madinah. Khalid Ibn Al-Walid was bitterly opposed to Muslims before his conversion to Islam after they killed most his relatives in battle and captured others including his brother whom he later freed.
During the holy prophets time Khalid Ibn Al-Walid headed the distinguished Quresh clan in Mecca, and was behind their victory against the prophet and the Muslims of Medinah. They ambushed the Muslim army from behind and surrounded them, trapping them between barriers and killing many of them (Mehar 194).
The Quraish were so much determined to revenge since they were defeated in the Badr battle by the Muslims. They prepared well for the war so that they could re-establish their tarnished prestige and injured pride. There were so many polytheists who were longing for the new battle and whose aim was to crush the commonwealth that belonged to the Islam. They were also to use the caravan for the Abu Sufyan that was made up of more than a thousand camels and more than fifty thousand dinars for their army.
The honorable Quran referred to their decision in these words, “verify, those who disbelieve spend their wealth to hinder (men) from the path of Allah, and so will they continue to spend it; but in the end it will become an anguish for them. Then they will be overcome” (Akram 119). Besides, the Quarish used different ways of recruitment because they wanted people that would entice other tribes to fight the Muslims.
Khalid Ibn Al-Walid converted to Islam at around 627during the seventh year of Hijrah, after they had signed the treaty of Hudaibiya.The treaty allowed among other things that the Muslims would be flee to perform their pilgrimage to Makkah for three days.
After the Muslims left Makkah, Khalid the famous soldier of the Quarish; who was also a great hero during the Uhud battle that was meant to fight the Muslims, uttered the following to the Makkans: “It has become absolutely clear to any person with the least intelligence that Muhammad is neither a poet possessed nor a magician inspired. His words are truly the words of God, of the Lord of the universe. It follows then that every man with common sense ought to follow him” (Miller et al 203).
Ikrimah Abu heard the words from Khalid and concluded that Khalid had either been brainwashed or Islamized. Ikrimah did not believe what Khalid said and confronted him reminding him of how Muhammad wounded his father and killed his uncle during the battle of Badr. Ikrimah also swore never to be Islamized or utter the kind of words that were said by Khalid. All this did not change Khalid’s mind because he told Ikrimah that, “all you say is ignorant, tribalistic and shows only the pre-judies of pre-Islam.
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But now I am a Muslim and the whole truth lies clear before my eyes” (Miller et al 204). After his conversion, Khalid went to his first battle as a Muslim; he was one of the generals in an expedition against the Ghassanite prince who had murdered Muslim envoys. Their force of three thousand which was under the command of the prophet’s adopted son Zaid, was met with intimidating and overwhelming force upon reaching the village of Muta.
There were Romans and Arabs who had joined forces against the Muslims and Zaid was martyred alongside the prophet’s cousin Jafar. However when Khalid Ibn Al-Walid took command of the Muslims the massacre stopped and they were able to cleverly maneuver and get out of the enemies’ traps without any further losses. They returned safely to Medina (Miller et al.39).
Khalid Ibn al-Walid was recognized as one of the best and most tactical leaders of the early times. The prophet trusted him from then on and sent him in many expeditions including the destroying of al-Uzza the pagan idol in the Nakhla oasis. He was also sent to Dumat al-Jandal and Arabian oasis town and power site where he captured the local Christian Arab leader and sent him to Mecca as prisoner.
Later he went to Yemen to the Banu al-Harith tribe to convert them to Islam. Another of Khalid’s bravest acts was leading the Muslims in the conquest of Mecca at around 630; the feud was stirred when the people of Mecca decided to assist the Bani Bakr to raid the Khuza’a, who asked for help from the Muslims.
The battle of Hunaim was a challenge to Khalid and the Muslims, the massive ambush by the enemy surprised them, he was seriously wounded and they almost lost the battle, however the Muslims regained their strength and succeeded in driving the enemy away, this was a another victory (Nicolle 62).
Khalid ibn al-Walid would later succeed in many other great expeditions like the battle of Yamaha, the campaign of the Apostasy around the Muslim world, the invasion of Iraq through the clashing of Persia and the conquering of Hira. He fought many battles there including that of chains at around 633, the river battle and that of Wajala.
He conquered Damascus and Emessa and was involved in the negotiation and signing of the treaty of Jerusalem. His work was to instruct the Calvary. Among his greatest achievements was the conquest of Mesopotamia and Syria from the Romans which happened within three years between 633 and 636(Miller et al.45).
Khalid fought many battles than any other person in the Muslim army and worn them all although his adversaries were better equipped. He acquired more wealth especially from the Persian and Roman generals but he distributed it all in his generosity and it did not last long. He remained unconquered in more than a hundred battles.
He was congratulated by Bakr because of his success and was later allowed to Byzantine in Syria where he was supposed to instruct the Islamic armies in 634 A.D. Under his command, the Muslims were able to attack the army for the Romans. He had many wives and children and his house hold was full of slaves and servants who relied on him. He also gave gifts and tokens to his best soldiers and so his wealth never stayed for long (Akram 69).
Khalid ibn al-Walid is perhaps one of the most respected, honored and recognized military leaders of the early years during the Islamic expansion. His burial tomb in the city of Hims in Syria was rebuilt in the 19th century and a huge mosque and a learning centre were built there in his memory. He is believed to be one of the most important assistants and commanders of the prophet (Mehar 90).
Mehar, Ahmed. Al-Islam: Inception to Conclusion. Bloomington, IN: 1stBooks, 2003. Print.
Akram, Ahmed. The sword of Allah, Khalid Bin Waleed. GrandeStrategy.com . Aug. 1969. Web.
Miller, Frederic, Vendome, Agnes, and Mcbrewster, John. Khalid Ibn Al-Walid . New York: VDM Publishing House, 2009. Print.
Nicolle David. The Great Islamic Conquests AD 632-750. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2009. Print.