Born into a noble family of Quraish, Khalid Ibn Waleed (rta) was a lively, courageous and bright child. As the son of the Banu Makhzoom chief Waleed Ibn Mughairah, Khalid (rta) was brought up to be a warrior ready to defend his people. In his youth, Khalid (rta) stood out from among his peers with his unique gift of foresight and planning. Having mastered horseback riding, sword fighting and other military arts, he became known in Arabia as one of the best military leaders of his time.
Before accepting Islam, Khalid (rta) actively took part in battles against Muslims. He saw the Prophet’s (sa) call to Islam and worship of one Allah (swt) as a threat to the heritage and religion of his forefathers.
After migrating to Madinah, Muslims had to fight numerous battles to defend their faith. Khalid (rta) was in the rows of the Quraish chiefs during the battle of Badr and Uhud. In the battle of Uhud, Khalid (rta) dealt a crucial blow to the Muslim army from the rear, thus winning the battle for the Quraish. After this battle, Khalid (rta) was selected to be the commander general of the Quraish army.
When the Quraish arrived at the borders of Madinah for the third time, they were faced with an unexpected problem – a deep and wide trench surrounded the city preventing them from entering it. Khalid (rta) felt helpless against such a wise self-defense. His army spent one month on the borders of the city. Finally, Khalid (rta) was forced to withdraw his army and head back for Makkah with humiliation.
Soon after this victory, the Prophet (sa) and his companions set out for Makkah for Umrah barely armed, hoping that this would indicate their peaceful intentions to the Quraish. When Khalid (rta) heard about their approach, he led some of his men to a place called Hudaibiyah, intending to provoke Muslims to fight. No matter how hard he tried, Muslims remained peaceful. Finally, the Prophet (sa) ended up signing a ten-year peace treaty with Quraish – the treaty of Hudaibiyah.
Meanwhile, Allah (swt) was softening Khalid’s (rta) heart towards Islam. Seeing how well Muslims treated each other, and how dedicated they were to promote Islam, Khalid (rta) felt attracted towards the religion they were spreading. At Hudaibiyah, he had planned to attack Muslims during Zuhr prayer. However, Khalid (rta) felt that some strange force held him back. During Asr prayer, he made his second attempt, but again unsuccessfully. Khalid (rta) then realized that some unseen power was protecting the Prophet (sa) and his companions.
However, it was quite some time, before Khalid (rta) fully opened his heart to Islam. The following year when the Prophet (sa) and his companions came to Makkah for Umrah, Khalid (rta) left the city and came back only when Muslims had left. Upon his return, he found a letter from his brother Al-Waleed (rta). Al-Waleed (rta) had embraced Islam and encouraged Khalid (rta) to do the same. Khalid (rta) decided to go and meet the Prophet (sa). Upon his arrival in Madinah, he took the pledge of allegiance to Islam by swearing on the palm of the Prophet (sa).
The first battle Khalid (rta) participated in as a Muslim took place in Mutah, Jordan, where the Mujahideen fought against the Roman army. Khalid (rta) went to Mutah as an ordinary soldier. However, due to very severe battlefield conditions in which three Muslim generals lost their lives one after another, Khalid (rta) was selected to be the fourth commander. He accepted this honorable position and fought so fiercely that he broke nine swords on the very first day. Thanks to his excellent military skills and experience, Khalid (rta) managed to avoid total defeat and found a way to bring the army back to Madinah with minimum losses. It was after this battle that the Prophet (sa) gave to Khalid (rta) the name of Saifullah (the sword of Allah).
After the conquest of Makkah, Khalid (rta) kept very close to the Prophet (sa) and fought many battles against the enemies of Islam. Khalid (rta) was also among those one hundred thousand Muslims, who went on the farewell pilgrimage with the Prophet (sa).
After the Prophet’s (sa) death, many Arab tribes rebelled against the Islamic State. Seeing this, Khalid (rta) led eleven brigades to subdue the rebels. His most fierce fight was against Musaylimah Al-Kadhab (the liar) – a false prophet. Khalid’s (rta) battle against Musaylimah was especially important, because this false prophet had already defeated Muslims in two battles. However, under the wise command of Khalid (rta), the Mujahideen won the decisive battle.
When the rebels of Arabia were controlled, Khalid (rta) received orders from Abu Bakr (rta) to spread Islam to the neighboring areas. Khalid’s (rta) first direction was towards the Persian Empire. Upon arriving at the Persian Gulf, Khalid (rta) sent a message to a Persian ruler Hurmuz, asking him to accept the religion of Allah (swt) or to pay taxes to the Islamic State. After receiving Hurmuz’s refusal, Khalid (rta) once again showed his excellent skills of mastering the battlefield – he killed Hurmuz in a duel fight, which disheartened his soldiers and inspired the Mujahideen, leading them to a glorious victory.
Khalid’s (rta) next mission was to take his army from the Persian Gulf to Yarmuk on the northern border of the Islamic State, where Abu Bakr (rta) requested him to help the other Mujahideen in the war against Romans. In Yarmuk, Khalid (rta) studied the situation and asked the other commanders to permit him to lead the whole Muslim army on the first day of the battle. Before the battle, the Roman commander came to Khalid (rta) with an offer of money, clothes and food for the whole army, if they left the battlefield. Khalid’s (rta) response to this humiliating offer was that it was not poverty that had brought them to the battlefield but their wish to drink the delicious blood of Romans. Fired by the spirit of Jihad, Khalid (rta) led the Mujahideen into the battle, making Romans suffer losses of one hundred and twenty thousand men on the first day of fighting.
During the heat of the battle against the Romans, Abu Ubaidah Ibn Al-Jarrah (rta) received news from Madinah about Abu Bakr’s (rta) death. Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (rta), the second Caliph, had given the command of the Muslim army to Abu Ubaidah Ibn Al-Jarrah (rta). Upon hearing this, without any hesitation, Khalid (rta) handed over the command into the hands of Abu Ubaidah (rta) and continued to fight under him, bringing the message of Islam to all parts of Syria, Palestine and Jordan.
It had always been the most earnest wish of Khalid (rta) to face his death in the battlefield as a true soldier of Islam. However, it was the will of Allah (swt) that he spent his last days in his own bed. Before death, Khalid (rta) requested that all his property go to the Islamic State which turned out to be only his horse and weapons. Khalid Ibn Waleed (rta) died in the 21st year AH in Homs, where he was also buried.