Background of Khalid ibn al-Walid

Khalid ibn al-Walid, a 7th-century Arab military leader, was known for his service to the early Islamic community. Originally, he was a campaigner against Prophet Muhammad , fighting on behalf of the Quraysh tribe. However, he eventually embraced Islam and devoted himself to serving the Prophet  and the first two Rashidun caliphs, Abu Bakr and Umar. Khalid was a masterful commander and played a vital role in several key events, including the Ridda Wars, the invasion of Sasanian Iraq, and the conquest of Byzantine Syria. He passed away in 642.

Conversion to Islam and Service to the Rashidun Caliphs

Khalid ibn al-Walid was a member of the aristocratic Banu Makhzum clan and was a skilled horseman. As an opponent of Prophet Muhammad , he played a crucial role in the defeat of the Prophet  and his followers during the Battle of Uhud in 625. However, he later converted to Islam and became an official military commander among the Muslims after being inducted by the Prophet  himself. He was given the title of "Sayf Allah" or "Sword of God". 

Khalid bin Walid was instrumental in the Battle of Mu'ta where he ensured the safe withdrawal of Muslim troops and led Bedouins during the Muslim conquest of Mecca and the Battle of Hunayn. After the death of the Prophet Muhammad , Khalid was tasked with suppressing Arab tribes who opposed the Muslim state. He was successful in defeating rebel leaders Tulayha and Musaylima in the Battle of Buzakha and the Battle of Yamama, respectively.

Military Successes and Accomplishments

After his successful campaign against Arab tribes and Persian garrisons in Iraq, Khalid was tasked by Abu Bakr to lead the Muslim army in Syria. He impressed as a military strategist by leading his troops on a daring march across the Syrian Desert. Thanks to Khalid's decisive victories against the Byzantines at Ajnadayn, Fahl, Damascus, and Yarmouk, the Rashidun army was able to conquer much of the Levant. 

However, despite his successes, Khalid bin Walid was demoted by Umar bin Khitab and removed from the army's high command. Despite this, Khalid continued to serve under his successor Abu Ubayda ibn al-Jarrah in the sieges of Homs, Aleppo, and the Battle of Qinnasrin, which ultimately resulted in the retreat of the Byzantine troops from Syria. Umar eventually dismissed Khalid from the governorship of Jund Qinnasrin in 638. Khalid passed away in either Medina or Homs in 642.

Controversies and Criticisms

Khalid ibn al-Walid is widely regarded by historians as one of the most skilled and accomplished generals of the early Islamic period. He is revered throughout the Arab world for his tactical prowess and successful leadership of the early Muslim conquests. However, Islamic tradition also holds him responsible for the execution of Arab tribesmen who had converted to Islam, such as members of the Banu Jadhima during Muhammad 's lifetime, and Malik ibn Nuwayra during the Ridda Wars. 

Additionally, he is accused of engaging in morally and financially corrupt practices in the Levant. Umar and other pious early Muslims were concerned about Khalid's growing military reputation, fearing it could lead to the development of a personality cult.

FAQs:

How many fight Khalid bin Walid won?

Khalid bin Walid's (ra) string of victories is a testament to his remarkable accomplishments. He remained undefeated in a total of 41 major battles, and if minor engagements are taken into account, this number increases to an astonishing 100 battles against well-trained Persian and Roman forces.

How powerful was Khalid bin Walid?

Khalid bin Al-Walid emerged victorious in 15 battles against the Persians, leading to the collapse of their state. He also brought an end to the thousand-year existence of the Eastern Roman Empire by defeating them in 9 battles. However, the Persians and Romans joined forces to challenge Khalid in the Battle of Al-Fard, which took place in the 12th year after Hijra with a fighting force of 200,000.