Khalid ibn al-Walid

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Khalid ibn Walid (592-642) (Arabic: خالد بن الوليد) also known as Sword of Allah. He is noted for his military prowess, commanding the forces of Prophet Muhammad and those of his immediate successors of the Rashidun Caliphate; Caliph Abu Bakr and Caliph Umar during the Islamic conquest in 7th century. In having 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.

Quotes of Khalid

  • Submit to Islam and be safe. Or agree to the payment of the Jizya, and you and your people will be under our protection, else you will have only yourself to blame for the consequences, for I bring the men who desire death as ardently as you desire life.
    • This letter was written by Khalid, from his head-quarters in Babylonia, to the Persian monarch before invading it. (History of the World, Volume IV [Book XII. The Mohammedan Ascendency], page 463, by John Clark Ridpath, LL.D. 1910.)


  • Do you see a space of the span of a hand on my leg, chest, arm which is not covered by some scar of the wound of a sword or an arrow or a lance ?
    • Said this to one of his friend few days before he died, four years after dismissal from army.


  • If you were in the clouds, Allah would raise us to you or lower you to us for battle.
    • Said this to the Byzantine troops when they retreated from the battle field to the fortified town of Chalcis.


  • When I am in the battlefield, I love it more then when I am in my house.


  • The rainy night when I am standing wearing armor with sword and shield in my hand and looking again and again towards the eastern horizon, waiting for sun to rise so that I could start the battle.
    • Said this after getting dismissed from army by Caliph Umar in 638 A.D.


  • When Allah decides a matter, it is done.


  • I have dedicated my life to the way of Allah, Most High.


  • Man intends one thing, but Allah intends another.


  • The earth destroys its fools, but the intelligent destroy the earth.


  • If you are truthful you will survive. If you lie you shall perish.


  • I am the noble warrior, I am the Sword of Allah, I am Khalid bin Al Waleed.
    • These were the famous verses that Khalid use to recite in the battle field.


  • I am the son of many chiefs.

My sword is sharp and terrible. It is the mightiest of things When the pot of war boils fiercely.


I am the pillar of Islam! I am the Companion of the Prophet! I am the noble warrior, Khalid bin Al Waleed!


  • I will give you three days, if the gates are not opened on these revised terms, I shall attack. And then there shall be no terms of any kind."


  • I am the son of Al Walid ! Will anyone duel ?


  • By my faith, the water will go to whichever army is more steadfast and more deserving.


  • O Lord! If you give us victory, I shall see that no enemy warrior is left alive until their river runs with their blood!
    • Said this during Battle of Ullais which is also known as Battle of blood river.


  • At Battle of Mu'tah I broke nine swords in my hand. But I have never met an enemy like the Persians. And among the Persians I have never met an enemy like the army of Battle of Ullais.


  • Wait a while; there will come to you mounts, carrying lions in shining armor, battalions followed by battalions.
    • Wrote this letter to Ayaz bin Ghanam who asked him for reinforcement while fighting against the rebel Arab tribes in northern Arabia.


  • I see that these people know nothing about war.
  • Said this about Persian and Christian Arab recruits in Persian army after analysing the siege of An al Tamar in Iraq.


  • We shall take this route; let not your resolve be weakened. Know that the help of Allah comes according to your desire. Let not the Muslims fear anything so long as they have the help of Allah.
    • Said this when one of his commander tried to stop him from taking a dangerous rout direct to Syria from Iraq through Syrian desert and said that ..You cannot take this route with an army. By Allah, even a lone traveler would attempt it at the peril of his life. It involves five days of extreme hardship without a drop of water and the ever-present danger of losing the way.


  • But for the necessity of obeying the orders of the Caliph, I would never have accepted this command over you. You are much higher than me in Islam. I am a Companion of the Prophet, but you are one whom the Messenger of Allah had called 'the trusted one of this nation.

I have received with gladness the letter of Abu Bakr appointing you commander over me. There is no resentment in my heart, for I know your skill in matters of war.


  • Take her as a gift, there shall be no ransom.
    • Said this while handing over the daughter of Emperor Heraclius who was captured after Battle of Maraj al debaj in which Heraculus's son-in-law Thomas, was killed in duel with Khalid.

Heraclius wrote following letter to Khalid...

I have come to know what you have done to my army. You have killed my son-in-law and captured my daughter. You have won and got away safely. I now ask you for my daughter. Either return her to me on payment of ransom or give her to me as a gift, for honour is a strong element in your character'.


  • Praise be to Allah who decreed death upon Abu Bakr, who was more beloved to me than Umar. Praise be to Allah who gave authority to Umar, who was less beloved to me than Abu Bakr, and compelled me to love him."
    • Said this some time before his death, [w:Abu Bakr|Caliph Abu Bakr]] made him commander in chief of army. while Caliph Umar dismissed Khalid from army. Though relations of Khalid with his cousin Umar always remained something short of cordial, but magnificent and just rule of Umar impressed Khalid a lot and he on his death bequeathed his property to `Umar and made him the executor of his will and estate.


  • May Allah have mercy upon Abu Bakr! Had he lived, I would not have been removed from command.
    • Said this on the death of [[w:Abu Bakr|Caliph Abu Bakr, when his successor Caliph Umar dismissed Khalid from command and made Abu Ubaidah, the new commander in chief.


  • If Abu Bakr is dead and Umar is Caliph, then we hear and obey.
    • Said this After the death of Abu Bakr.


  • By Allah, if you were to appoint a small child over me, I would obey him. How could I not obey you when you are far above me in Islam and have been named the Trusted One by the Prophet? I could never attain your status. I declare here and now that I have dedicated my life to the way of Allah, Most High.
    • Said this to Abu Ubaidah, after being removed from command by Caliph Umar for no reason.


  • These Romans were the bravest that I had ever met.
    • Gave tribute to the Byzantine soldiers after winning Battle of Emesa.


  • How few are the Romans and how numerous are we ! 'An army's strength lies not in numbers of men but in Allah's help, and its weakness lies in being forsaken by Allah"
    • said this to one of his soldier at Battle of Yarmouk who said that ..How numerous are the Romans and how few are we.


  • I protest to the Muslims against what you have done. By Allah, you have been unjust to me, O Umar !
    • Said this to Caliph Umar who dismissed him from army in 638.


  • Umar appointed me over Syria until it turned to wheat and honey; then dismissed me !
    • Said this to his wife after neing removed from army.


  • Praise be to Allah who took Abu Bakr away. He was dearer to me than Umar. Praise be to Allah who appointed Umar in authority He was hateful to me, but I grew to like him.


  • And here I am, dying in my bed, like cattle die. May the eyes of cowards never sleep.
    • Last words of Khalid.

Speeches

  • Do you not see the wealth of the land of the Persians ? Do you not remember the poverty of the land of the Arabs ? Do you not see how the crops in this land cover the earth ? If the holy war were not enjoined by Allah, we should still come and conquer this rich land and exchange the hunger of our deserts for the abundant eating which is now ours.


  • In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. From Khalid ibn Walid to the kings of Persia.

Praise be to Allah who has disrupted your system and thwarted your designs. And if He had not done so it would have been worse for you. Submit to our orders and we shall leave you and your land in peace; else you shall suffer subjugation at the hands of a people who love death as you love life.

    • Sent this letter to Persian emperor after capturing the persian province of Iraq.


  • Know, O Muslims, that you have never seen an army of Rome as you see now. If Allah defeats them by your hand, they shall never again stand against you. So be steadfast in battle and defend your faith. Beware of turning your backs on the enemy, for then your punishment will be the Fire (on dooms day). Be watchful and steady in your ranks, and do not attack until I give the order.
    • Speech at the Battle of Ajnadayn, which was first major pitched battle between Muslims and the Byzantines.


  • In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. This is given by Khalid bin Al Waleed to the people of Damascus. When the Muslims enter, they (the people) shall have safety for themselves, their property, their temples and the walls of their city, of which nothing shall be destroyed. They have this guarantee on behalf of Allah, the Messenger of Allah, on whom be the blessings of Allah and peace, the Caliph and the Faithful, from whom they shall receive nothing but good so long as they pay the Jizya.


  • O men of Islam ! The time has come for steadfastness. Weakness and cowardice lead to disgrace; and he who is steadfast is more deserving of Allah's help. He who stands bravely before the blade of the sword will be honored, and his labors rewarded, when he goes before Allah. Lo ! Allah loves the steadfast.

Quotes about Khalid


  • What an excellent slave of Allah: Khalid ibn Walid, one of the swords of Allah, unleashed against the unbelievers.


  • He is a master of war; a friend of death. He has the dash of a lion and the patience of a cat !
    • Amr ibn al A'as, an other famous general of 7th century Islamic conquest, said this during Ridda wars when Caliph Abu Bakr asked him about his opinion regarding Khalid.(632 A.D)


  • O Umar, keep your tongue off Khalid. I shall not sheathe the sword that Allah has drawn against the infidels.


  • O Quraish ! Your lion has attacked another lion and overpowered him. Women can no longer bear sons like Khalid.


  • Women will no longer be able to give birth to the likes of Khalid bin Al-Waleed.


  • I know more about Khalid than anyone else, no man is luckier than he. No man is his equal in war. No people face Khalid in battle, be they strong or weak, but are defeated. Take my advice and make peace with him.
    • Prince Ukaid of Domat ul Jandal. (633 A.D)


  • By Allah, I shall destroy the Romans and the friends of Satan with Khalid bin Al Walid.


  • Is the standard of this army a black one? Is the commander of this army a tall, powerfully built, broad shouldered man with a large beard and a few pock marks on his face? Then beware of fighting this army.
    • Byzantine priest. (633 A.D)


  • I am not averse to Khalid being in command. But he is wasteful and squanders his wealth on poets and warriors, giving them more than they deserve, which wealth could be better spent in helping the poor and the needy among the Muslims. Let none say that I have dismissed a strong man, and appointed a mild man to command, for Allah is with him (i.e. Abu Ubaidah) and will help him.


  • He neither slept nor let others sleep, and nothing was concealed from him.
    • Anonymous


  • Khalid is truly the commander. May Allah have mercy upon Abu Bakr, He was a better judge of men than I have been.


  • Bring Khalid in front of the congregation, tie his hands with his turban and take off his cap. Ask him from what funds he gave to Aishah....from his own pocket or from the spoils acquired in the expedition? If he confesses to having given from the spoils, he is guilty of misappropriation. If he claims that he gave from his own pocket, he is guilty of extravagance. In either case dismiss him, and take charge of his duties.


  • You have done;
  • And no man has done as you have done.
  • But it is not people who do;
  • It is Allah who does


  • O Khalid! By Allah, you are honorable in my eyes, and you are dear to me. You will not have cause to complain of me after this day.


  • I have not dismissed Khalid because of my anger or because of any dishonesty on his part, but because people glorified him and were misled. I feared that people would rely on him. I want them to know that it is Allah who does all things; and there should be no mischief in the land.


  • Have women ever stopped mourning for anyone like Khalid?


  • Let the women say what they will about Abu Sulaiman (Khalid), for they do not lie, Over the likes of Abu Sulaiman weep those who weep.


  • You were better than a million men,
  • When the faces of men were downcast,
  • Brave? You were braver than the tiger,
  • Generous? You were more generous than
  • The unstoppable deluge flowing between mountains.
    • Lubabah As-Sagheer, mother of Khalid, eulogising him.(642 A.D)


  • Caliph Umar : Khalid was not as I thought of him
  • Ali : Then why did you dismiss him from army?
  • Caliph Umar : I wish I never had.
    • Dialogue between Caliph Umar and Ali (who would became caliph in future 656-661) few years after Khalid's death.(643 A.D)


  • The fiercest and most successful of the Arabian warriors.

Sources