He had not earned any fame before the Battle of Uhud, but when he fought against the Muslims in Uhud, he came to be known as a ferocious warrior of Arabs. In the Battle of Uhud, he was so severe that he came to fight the Holy Prophet (S) with Abu Sufyan. In that battle, he took some Meccans and infidels and went atop the Uhud mountain. The Prophet appointed fifty archers to stop their onslaught, under the leadership of Abdullah bin Jubair. They were instructed not to leave their position under any circumstances.
The infidels were defeated and began to flee when the Muslims attacked them on the plains. The Muslims army began to collect the booty from the fleeing infidels. The archers also left their position for the booty. Seeing an opening, Khalid attacked the Muslims from that same mountain pass and in a few moments, the Muslims were almost routed.
The martyrs of this attack include Hamza, the uncle of the Prophet, whose martyrdom caused so much sorrow to the Prophet that he could not forget it till his last moments. Within a few months of this carnage, Khalid accepted Islam, but he could not get into the good books of the Prophet. It was not only due to the matter of Uhud, but he was a man of unprincipled conduct. Otherwise, having such valor, it was only appropriate that after accepting Islam, he should have become favorite of the Prophet and all the Muslims. The Holy Prophet (S) had become very much displeased with him due to his detestable behavior.
After the conquest of Mecca, the Holy Prophet (S) was in Mecca itself from where he sent Khalid bin Walid to the Yalamlam area, where the Bani Khuzaimah lived, to invite them towards Islam. We should know that Khalid was a member of the Bani Makhzum tribe. Bani Khuzaimah and Bani Makhzum used to fight each other during the days of ignorance. When Khalid reached there, the Bani Khuzaimah formed ranks and confronted him.
They said: “We are Muslims; we offer prayers and build the mosque.” Khalid asked them: “Then why have you formed ranks against me? If you are Muslims you cannot intend to fight me. You must lay down your arms.” Bani Khuzaimah complied. But it is a great pity that inspite of their statement that they were Muslims and had laid down the arms, Khalid had their hands tied and killed some of them and tried to kill some of them at night. Umar was with Khalid at that time. He was very angry at this cruel behavior and openly expressed his dislike.1
When the Holy Prophet (S) learnt of this gory incident, he began to tremble with the fear of Allah and prayed: “O Allah! I dissociate with this act of Khalid and I pray for Your refuge.” Soon after that the Holy Prophet (S) sent Ali (a.s.) with cash and gold, so that he dismisses Khalid and makes peace with Bani Khuzaimah. Ali (a.s.) did not leave any stone unturned to carry out the orders of the Prophet since mercifulness and kindness was complete in him. We should know that no one could have bravery without having mercy and kindness. Because Khalid did not possess these qualities he can never be said to be brave. Khalid had beastliness, which the common people mistake for bravery.
The exemplar of courage is Ali (a.s.). He had such bravery that it is not possible in anyone except the lions of Allah. Such bravery is required to work for the religion of Allah and to keep it established. This courage is for the sake of Allah and not for personal motives. When the infidel spat on Ali’s face, he got up from his chest at once, because after this disrespectful act, there was a chance of personal motive coming in between his slaying. Dear readers, compare this magnanimous act with the detestable deeds of Khalid against the people of Bani Khuzaimah. Though he was by nature a cruel person, in addition to this, he had enmity with Bani Khuzaimah.
Apparently, Khalid was sent to Bani Khuzaimah for a religious purpose by the Messenger of Allah (S), but on the basis of his tribal animosity, he committed such acts as none could do. It is very regretful that Khalid committed the atrocious deeds behind the cover of Islam. Now the people of justice may compare the behavior of Khalid with that of Ali (a.s.) to know what is the difference between bravery and ferocity.
I regret comparing Khalid with Ali (a.s.) but I was compelled to do so when I saw that what an Ahlul Sunnat writer has stated in the marginal notes to this incident on some book. He says: “If the Imamiyah sing the praises of Ali’s bravery, we Ahlul Sunnat have Khalid from our side by the grace of Allah. This Khalid was braver than Ali and not less.” But this writer says that there was not a bit of bravery in Khalid, he only had ferocity. Between Khalid and Ali (a.s.) is a difference of black and white.
The second affair with relation to Islam that is related to Khalid, and which shows the nature of Khalid, is that during the occupation of Yemen, when Ali (a.s.) learnt that those tribes who had embraced Islam around Yemen, had renegaded and were preparing to fight, he went with his army to confront them. These apostates, influenced by the good nature and disposition of Ali (a.s.) again entered the fold of Islam.
There is no doubt that the bravery of manners of Ali (a.s.) had been instrumental in this, but Khalid did not give up his natural evil deeds. He had an old enmity with Ali (a.s.). Khalid consulted Buraidah Al-Haseeb and wrote a letter to the Messenger of Allah (S) complaining about Ali (a.s.). The Prophet was very angry on getting this letter and told Buraidah: “Have you become a hypocrite? Ali (a.s.) is from me and is superior to you and your people. Whatever he commands is according to the command of Allah. Seek refuge from Allah. Otherwise, the enemy of Ali is my enemy, and my enemy is the enemy of Allah.”
Hearing this, Buraidah was frightened and he said: “I wish, I were buried before complaining about Ali al-Murtadha’ (a.s.).” After that he never opposed Ali (a.s.); but the enmity of Khalid remained as it was. On the basis of this enmity, Ahlul Sunnah call Khalid, ‘His Eminence, Khalid’. If such people are called His Eminence, then what should be title of those companions of the Holy Prophet (S) who really possessed those praiseworthy qualities? The fact is that it is due to their opposition to Ali (a.s.) that people like Khalid Ibn Walid, Talha, Zubair and Muawiyah are called ‘His Eminence’. In addition to this, Ahlul Sunnat have given Khalid the title of ‘Sword of Allah’ (Saifullah).
Only Ahlul Sunnat know how Khalid began to be called by the title of Saifullah. We have already explained in the foregoing pages that this title is exclusively for Ali (a.s.) and indeed no one else deserves to be called thus, because doubtlessly, he was the sword of Allah. His sword, Zulfiqar, was a sign of his being the ‘Sword of Allah’. From which principle, which rule, which verse and which prophecy can Khalid have the right to the title of ‘Sword of Allah’? It is beyond the scope of investigation. Bravery, and not ferocity is required if one has to be ‘Sword of Allah’.
Another example of his animal behavior is presented below; which shows his heartlessness, cruelty and selfishness etc. During the Caliphate of Abu Bakr, the Bani Yarbu tribe refused to pay Zakat. Malik bin Nuwayrah was the chief of this tribe. This gentleman was a brave warrior, a cultured person and also a poet. He had met the Holy Prophet (S) and accepted Islam. The Caliph sent Khalid to collect Zakat from this tribe. Malik said: “We perform the Prayer, but we shall not pay the Zakat.” Khalid said: “You have to pray and pay Zakat. Prayers alone are not accepted.”
In brief, when Malik refused to pay Zakat, Khalid said: “I will slay you.” After this, the two parties entered into a heated argument. Abdullah Ibn Umar and Abu Qatadah Ansari were present at that time. Since the two of them did not like the stance of Khalid they tried to cool him down, but Khalid disliked their advice.
At last Malik said: “Take me to the Caliph, he will do as he wishes with me.” Khalid said: “I will slay you.” Thus, Zarar bin Abu Dharr was ordered to behead Malik. Upon this Malik said pointing to his wife: “This woman has caused my killing.” Khalid said: “Your apostasy is the cause of your death.” Malik said: “I am on Islam.”
After this, Khalid ordered Zarar to behead Malik and he was beheaded. The fact is that Malik’s wife was extremely beautiful. There is no doubt that Khalid’s selfishness became the cause of Malik’s death. Khalid should have taken Malik to Abu Bakr according to his wish.
Anyway, after beheading Malik, Khalid at once took his wife to himself. This shameless incident is composed in the satirical verses by the poets of that time. When Abu Bakr and Umar learnt of this perplexing incident, Umar said to Abu Bakr: Khalid has committed adultery. You must stone him to death. Abu Bakr replied: “I will not do it.” Then he explained his stand. Umar said: “Khalid has killed a Muslim unjustly. You must take revenge from Khalid.” But Abu Bakr continued to defend Khalid.
At last, Umar asked that Khalid should be dismissed. Abu Bakr said: “Do you want me to put the sword to sleep? Khalid is a brave warrior and our ardent supporter. Do you want that he should be distanced from us?”2 This incident shows that service to religion is different and selfishness is different. The people of justice may themselves judge the ethics and behavior of Khalid. The writer does not wish to say anything else.