Khalid b. al-Walid

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Khalid b. al-Walid
Personal Information
Full NameKhalid b. Walid al-Makhzumi
TeknonymAbu Sulayman or Abu l-Walid
EpithetSayf al-Islam
LineageBanu Makhzum
Place of BirthMecca
Place(s) of ResidenceMecca, Medina
Death/Martyrdom21/641-2 or 22/642-3
Burial PlaceHoms
Religious Information
Conversion to Islam8/629
Presence at ghazwasBattles of Badr, Uhud, Ahzab against Muslims and Battle of Mu'ta, Conquest of Mecca, Battle of Hunayn for Muslims
Known forKilling Malik b. Nuwayra and adultary with her wife, Battles of Ridda, ...

Khālid b. Walīd al-Makhzūmī (Arabic:خالد بن الوليد المخزومي) was a well-known commander in early years of Islam who is known among Sunnis Muslims as Sayf Allah (The Sword of Allah) or Sayf Allah al-Maslul. Before he converted to Islam, Khalid had fought against Muslims in the battle of Badr, the battle of Uhud and the battle of Khandaq. Khalid b. Walid converted to Islam before the Conquest of Mecca. He attended the battle of Mu'ta and the Conquest of Mecca. Khalid was also among those who ran away in the battle of Hunayn.

The most famous historical report on Khalid b. Walid is about his behavior toward Malik b. Nuwayra, a companion of Prophet Muhammad (s). Although Malik b. Nuwayra, his tribe and Banu Tamim tribe were Muslims, they were captured as slaves by Khalid. Then he ordered to kill Malik b. Nuwayra and his tribe members and afterward he committed adultary with Malik's wife (then widow) in that night.

Khalid b. Walid secretly acted against Imam 'Ali (a) which brought condemnations to him because of his deeds.

Kunya and Tribe

Khalid b. Walid b. Mughira b. 'Abd Allah b. 'Amr ('Umayr) b. Makhzum al-Qurashi al-Makhzumi was among the companions of the Prophet (s). His Kunya was Abu Sulayman or Abu l-Walid according to a narration. He was a member of Banu Makhzum, one of the main and important clans of Quraysh tribe who had rivalries with Banu Hashim.

Birth and Lineage

Historians did not mention the birth date of Khalid b. Walid, but regarding the age of Khalid in the time of his death and his death date, it is assumed that he was born twenty-six years before Bi'that/584 CE in Mecca. Walid b. Mughira, his father, was a notable member of Quraysh tribe and his mother, 'Asma' (Lubaba, Sughra or Kubra) was the daughter of Harith b. Harb (or Hazn, Hazm) whose lineage goes back to Qays 'Aylan b. Mudar.

Khalid b. Walid had two notable uncles, Abu Umayya b. Mughira and Hisham b. Mughira. Abu Umayya b. Mughira was famous for resolving the issue of who should have the honor of replacing Hajar al-Aswad (the Black Stone) after rebuilding Ka'ba. He suggested that they will choose the first person who enter the mosque as the judge. Hisham b. Mughira, another uncle of Khalid, was a notable member of Quraysh and the commander of Banu Makhzum's army in the battle of Fujar. After the death of Hisham, people of Quraysh closed Bazaar for three years and they set his death date as the start of Banu Makhzum's calendar. Maymuna the daughter of Harith (Prophet Muhammad's (s) wife) and Lubaba Umm al-Fadl (the wife of 'Abbas b. 'Abd al-Muttalib and the grandmother of Abbasid caliphs) were the maternal aunts of Khalid b. Walid.

Before Converting to Islam

In Jahiliyya era, Khalid b. Walid was a nobleman and a courageous fighter of Quraysh tribe. He was also in charge of cavalries of Quraysh army in battles.

He attended the battle of Badr in the second year after Hijrat and fought against Muslims. According to reports of al-Waqidi he was captured in the battle.

In the third year after Hijrat, Khalid was the leader of cavalries of the right flank of the army in the battle of Uhud. Because of the mistakes made by some Muslims soldiers in guarding a path, Khalid managed to defeat Muslims.

In the fifth year after Hijrat, Khalid attended the battle of the Trench or the battle of Ahzab. He tried to pass the trench along with a number of other soldiers of Quraysh, but they all failed.

It is reported that in Shawwal 6/February-March 628, Khalid b. Walid led an army of two hundred horsemen of Quraysh in order to prevent Prophet Muhammad (s) to perform Hajj. They moved from Mecca to Kura' al-Ghamim.

In 7/628-9 when Prophet Muhammad (s) and Muslims traveled to Mecca to perform 'Umrat al-Qada', Khalid left Mecca out of hatred toward Muslims.

After Converting to Islam

Historians have reported different narrations on the date that Khalid b. Walid converted to Islam. Some said he converted to Islam in 5/626-7 after the battle of Banu Qurayza, or it took place in the interval between the Hudaybiyya Peace Treaty (in 6/628) and the Battle of Khaybar (in Muharram 7/628) or in the seventh year after Hijrat, after the battle of Trench. However according to a famous report, Khalid converted to Islam in the first of Safar 8/May 31,629 before the Conquest of Mecca.

The Eighth Year after Hijrat

The Battle of Mu'ta

Some months after converting to Islam, Khalid b. Walid attended the battle of Mu'ta in Jumada I 8/August-September 629. He was assigned in charge of Muslims army after the martyrdom of leaders of the army. He managed to bring the remaining Muslims soldiers back to Medina. Later Khalid said that in the battle of Mu'ta, nine swords were broken in his hands. It is said after the battle, Khalid b. Walid was titled as Sayf Allah. Some narrations stated that Prophet Muhammad (s) gave him the title.

The Conquest of Mecca

In 20th of Ramadan 8/11th January, 630 as Muslims were trying to conquer Mecca, Khalid was ordered by Prophet Muhammad (s) to lead a group of horsemen to enter Mecca through Lait region. He fought against a number of Quraysh soldiers in Khandama and killed some of them. When he entered Mecca and joined Prophet (s), he tried to justify his actions. Once Prophet Muhammad (s) entered Ka'ba, Khalid stood by the door and did not let anyone to enter. Later Khalid was ordered by Prophet Muhammad (s) to lead a group of cavalries to go to Batn Nakhla where they destroyed the famous idol called al-'Uzza, the biggest idol of Quraysh tribe.

In the beginning of Shawwal in 8/January 630 Prophet Muhammad (s) ordered Khalid b. Walid to lead an army of 350 soldiers of Muhajirun, Ansar and members Banu Sulaym tribe to Banu Jadhima near Mecca in order to invite them to Islam. Although they accepted Islam and surrendered, Khalid ordered to behead a number of them. When Prophet Muhammad (s) was informed of the incident, he dissociate himself from Khalid's action and sent 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) to pay diyat (blood-money) of the deceased. 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Awf believed that Khalid killed some of Banu Jadhima to take revenge for his uncle, Faka b. Mughira.

Battle of Hunayn

In the same year, When Prophet Muhammad (s) was traveling from Mecca to the battle of Hunayn to fight against Hawazin tribe, Khalid b. Walid along with horsemen of Banu Sulaym were leading the army; however he ran away during the battle. It is said later he returned to the battle-field and fought against the enemies in the battle. Khalid was injured after killing some oppositions including a woman. Then Prophet Muhammad (s) ordered him not to kill children, women and slaves. Also When Prophet Muhammad (s) was moving toward Ta'if to fight against Thaqif tribe in 8/629-30, Khalid was marching on the front side of the army.

The Ninth Year after Hijrat

In Rajab 9/October-November 630 when Prophet Muhammad (s) was staying in Tabuk, he ordered Khalid to lead an army of 420 horsemen toward Ukaydir b. 'Abd al-Malik, the Christian ruler of Dumat al-Jandal. After a short fight Khalid managed to capture Ukaydir and then they made peace with each other.

In 10th Year after Hijrat

In Rabi' II or Jumada I 10/July-August 631, Prophet Muhammad (s) sent Khalid b. Walid along with four hundred soldiers toward Banu Harith (Balharith b. Ka'b) in Najran to invite them to Islam. In the same year, he was sent by Prophet Muhammad (s) to Yemen to invite people to Islam. He stayed there and invited people to Islam for six months, but nobody accepted his invitations. Later Prophet Muhammad (s) sent 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) to Yemen and ordered Khalid to return.

In the Time of Abu Bakr

According to al-Waqidi, Khalid was present in Hajjat al-Wida'. He supported Abu Bakr after the demise of Prophet Muhammad (s) which secured him a high position; he was constantly supported by Abu Bakr later.

In Ridda battles, Abu Bakr ordered Khalid to visit the Tay (Tey') tribe in Aknaf, then visit Tulayha b. Khuwaylid al-Asadi in Buzakha and finally visit Malik b. Nuwayra in Butah to invite them to Islam, if they refused the invitations he was ordered to fight against them. Later, Abu Bakr regretted sending Khalid to Buzakha. He decisively defeated Tulayha who claimed prophethood and suppressed his followers. After that regardless of the fact that Malik b. Nuwayra, his tribe and Banu Tamim converted to Islam, they were captured as slaves by Khalid. Then Khalid ordered to Kill Malik b. Nuwayra and some members of his tribe and he committed adultary with Malik's wife that night.

This wicked action of Khalid which is ignored or justified by some historians had infuriated a number of Muslims including his cousin 'Umar b. Khattab. They asked Abu Bakr to punish him, but he declined and said "it was a mistake". Later when Khalid returned to Medina, Abu Bakr accepted his apology.

The Battle against Musaylama al-Kadhdhab

In the late 11/633 Khalid b. Walid went to Yamama and fought against Musaylama al-Kadhdhab who claimed prophethood, and his followers in Banu Hudayfa in 'Aqraba' region. Musaylama was killed and his supporters were decisively suppressed. After that Khalid b. Walid was deceived by Mujja'a b. Murara al-Hanafi and made peace with him. Then he married Mujja'a's daughter for which Khalid was condemned and punished by Abu Bakr.

Battles against Iran

In the late 11/February 633 or in Muharram 12/March-April 633 Khalid b. Walid was ordered by Abu Bakr to travel from Yamama to Iraq in order to conquer regions under dominance of Iran (Mesopotamia). Historians have stated different reports on the date, the path, the sequence and other details of Khalid's battles in Iraq.

According to Abu Bakr's order Khalid started his battles in al-Abila, east of Basra near the Tigris River, and conquered regions in Mesopotamia including Madhar, Walaja, Ullays (Nahr al-Dam) and Amghishiya. In 12/633-4 after conquering al-Hira, the capital of the Lakhmids, he managed to capture other important cities in Sawad through battles or peace.

In 25 of Dhu l-Qa'da 12/31 of January 634 when Khalid returned al-Hira, he secretly separated from the army and went to Mecca in order to perform Hajj. Then he rapidly rejoined his army. This action was condemned by Abu Bakr.

Conquest of Syria (Levant)

After conquering regions in Iraq, Abu Bakr ordered Khalid b. Walid to place al-Muthanna b. Harith in charge of Muslims army in Iraq and immediately along with a number of soldiers travel to Syria(Levant) to support Muslim army. When he arrived, he took control of the army. Historians have stated the number of Khalid's soldiers, the path of his army and the direction they moved in differently.

According to a number of historians, Khalid and his soldiers set off from al-Hira or 'Ayn al-Tamr in Rabi' I or Rabi' II 13/May-June 634. Regarding the harsh situation in preparing water-supplies for soldiers, they passed through harsh situations in the Syrian Desert from Qaraqir in east to Suyi in west in five or eight days with special guidance of Rafi' b. 'Umayr al-Ta'i and reached near Sham.

Khalid conquered cities including Dumat al-Jandal, Tadmur and Marj Rahit on the way and joined Muslims army in Bosra. Then the city was besieged by Muslims until they surrendered peacefully.

The Battles of Yarmuk and Ajnadayn

Historians have disagreements on the dates of the two crucial battles of Ajnadayn and Yarmuk. Based on historical reports Khalid and other Muslims armies near Damascus moved to southern regions to support the army of 'Amr b. al-'As in Palestine in order to suppress the Romans gathered together in Ajnadayn (a city in Palestine). They attacked the Romans on 18th or 28th of Jumada I (or on the 2nd or 28th of Jumada II) in 13/ 20th or 30th of July (or on the 3th or 29th of August) 634 and they managed to defeat them heavily.

In the Time of 'Umar b. Khattab

In the early days of caliphate of 'Umar b. Khattab (middle of Jumada II 13/August 634) Khalid b. Walid was relieved from his position as the chief of Muslims army and he was replaced by Abu 'Ubayda al-Jarrah.

In the beginning of Muharram 14/February 635 in the battle of Marj al-Saffar, Khalid accompanied Abu 'Ubayda as his consultant. He set camps in eastern side of Damascus on 16th of Muharram and after laying siege to the city, they managed to enter the city peacefully in Rajab.

Khalid defeated the Romans army in the battle of Fahl (in Jordan) in Dhu l-Hijja 14/January 636 or Dhu l-Qi'da 13/December 634. Later he was ordered by Abu 'Ubayda, to conquer Ba'albek and Buqa'a in 14/635-6 or 15/636-7 and then he joined Abu 'Ubayda and besieged Hems until people asked for peace.

Abu 'Ubayda sent Khalid from Hems to Qinnasrin and he succeeded in defeating the Roman army. He besieged Qinnasrin and then destroyed the gates before conquering the city. According to a number of narrations, Khalid also attended the battles of conquering Nusaybin and Amid.

Ruling over Qinnasrin

When 'Umar b. Khattab visited Syria in 17/638-9 he apologized to Khalid b. Walid. According to one narration he was also appointed by 'Umar as the governor of a number of cities including Ruha, Harran, Raqqa, Talmazan and Amid, where he stayed for a year. According to another narration, Khalid was appointed by Abu 'Ubayda as the ruler of Qinnasrin. During that time he attacked border regions of Romans numerously in Anatolia and gained massive plunders. When 'Umar b. Khattab was informed of Khalid's generosities of plunders he gained, especially the large amount of money he gave to Ash'ath b. Qays, he was irritated and ordered Abu 'Ubayda to discharge Khalid and investigate him about the money he collected. Later, half of Khalid's properties were seized by 'Umar.

Dismissal from Governance

After investigating Khalid, Abu 'Ubayda hesitated about informing him of 'Umar's decision on his dismissal from governance. When Khalid returned his palace in Qinnasrin, 'Umar himself removed him from power and ordered him to return to Medina.

At first Khalid complained about 'Umar's decision to companions. Then he visited 'Umar and explained to him how he achieved the money. He also gave half of his belongings to the Caliph. Then 'Umar explained the reasons of his decision to administrators and people.


Some historical reports stated that when Khalid b. Walid resigned or was dismissed, he returned to Medina. After some time he became ill and died there. 'Umar b. Khattab also attended his funeral ceremony. According to a more famous narration, when Khalid was removed, he came to Hijaz and performed Hajj. Then he moved to Hems where he lived in solitary. He chose 'Umar as his wasi (successor). In addition, according to another even more famous report Khalid passed away at the age of sixty in 21/641-2 or 22/642-3 and he was buried in Hems.

It is said only one horse, a sword and a slave was left at the time of Khalid's death. It is stated that at the time of his death, Khalid was saying that he has attended hundred battles and he had injuries all over his body. When he died women of Banu Makhzum wept for him, they also cut their hair short and put them on his grave.

The mosque of Khalid b. Walid was famous for having nine domes and two minarets. It was partly damaged by ISIS attacks in Syria.


Some historians have described Khalid as a brave, cunning, kind, skillful, graceful and propitious warrior. However they said, due to Jihad he did not memorize Quran. It is also said he was present in the incident of taking oath of allegiance from 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a) for caliphate of Abu Bakr.

Enmity toward 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a)

According to numerous Shi'ite narrations, Khalid b. Walid secretly attended actions against Imam 'Ali (a) including the terror plot against him. He was severely condemned for his actions.

Narrating Hadiths

Khalid has narrated a number of hadiths from Prophet Muhammad (s). 'Abd Allah b. Abbas, Miqdam b. Ma'di Karib and Malik b. Harith al-Ashtar has narrated hadiths from him.

Khalid's Lineage

Khalid b. Walid had a lot of children in Sham including Muhajir, 'Abd Allah, Sulayman and 'Abd al-Rahman who all died because of plague in Sham. According to a narration, plague killed forty children of Khalid and his lineage did not continue. However this is not accepted by all contemporary historians as they believe a lot of Khalid's children survived.