592 - 642 (50 years)
Has 3 ancestors and 5 descendants in this family tree.
||Khalid ibn al-Walid |
|Relationship||with Francis Fox|
||19 Nov 2009 |
- also known as Sayfu l-L l-Masl (or Sayfullah, the "Drawn Sword of God", "God's Drawn Sword" or simply "Sword of God"), was one of the most successful commanders in military history. He is noted for his military prowess, commanding the forces of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and those of his immediate successors of the Rashidun Caliphate ; Abu Bakr and Umar (Umar ibn al-Khattab). He has the distinction of being undefeated in over a hundred battles, against the numerically superior forces of the Byzantine Empire, Sassanid Persian Empire , and their allies. His strategic achievements include the conquest of Persian Mesopotamia and Roman Syria within three years from 633 to 636. He is also remembered for his decisive victories at Yamamah , Walaja , Ullais , Firaz and Yarmouk .
Khalid ibn al-Walid was from the Meccan tribe of Quraysh , who initially opposed Muhammad. He played a vital role in Qurayshi victory at the Battle of Uhud . He converted to Islam , however, and joined Muhammad after the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah and participated in various expeditions for him, such as the Battle of Mu'tah . After Muhammad's death, he played a key role in commanding Medinan forces for Abu Bakr in the Ridda wars , the capture of the Sassanid Arab client Kingdom of Al-Hirah , and the defeat of the Sassanid Persian forces during his conquest of Mesopotamia ( Iraq ). He then crossed the desert to capture the Byzantine Arab client state of the Ghassanids during his conquest of Roman Syria . Even though Umar later relieved him of high command, he remained the effective leader of the forces arrayed against the Byzantines during the early stages of the Byzantine-Arab Wars . Under his command, Damascus was captured in 634 and the key Arab victory against the Roman Byzantine forces was achieved at the Battle of Yarmouk (636), which led to the conquest of the Bilad al-Sham ( Levant ).
He was also known in Mecca by the title of Al-Waheed- the Unique. The three leading clans of Quraysh at that time were, Banu Hashim , Banu Abd-al-dar , and Banu Makhzum. The Banu Makhzum was responsible for matters of war. Soon after his birth, and in accordance with the traditions of the Quraysh, Khalid was sent to a Bedouin tribe in the desert, where a foster mother would nurse him and bring him up in the clear, dry and unpolluted air of the desert. During his childhood, Khalid had a mild attack of smallpox that left a few pock marks on his face. At the age of five or six, he returned to his parents in Mecca.
As a member of the tribe of Makhzum, who had specialized in warfare, and who were amongst the best horsemen in Arabia , Khalid learned to ride and use weapons like the spear , the lance , the bow , and the sword as a child. Khalid personally preferred the use of the sword, and as an adult he was over 6 ft (1.8 m) tall and was admired as a renowned warrior and wrestler among the Quraysh.
Following the migration ( Hijra ) of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, many battles were fought between the new Muslim community at Medina and the confederacy of the Quraysh. Khalid didn't participate in the first battle fought between Muslims and Quraysh of Mecca, Battle of Badr , but Khalid's leadership was instrumental in turning the tables and ensuring a Meccan victory during the Battle of Uhud (625). In 627 AD he was a part of Quraysh's campaign against the Muslims which resulted in the Battle of the Trench , and this was Khalid's last battle against Muslims.
After the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah in 628, there was a peace agreement for ten years between the Muslims and Quraysh of Mecca. Khalid's brother, Walid bin Walid, who was taken captive at Battle of Badr, had already accepted Islam. Muhammad once said to him:
A man like Khalid, can't keep himself away from Islam for long.
Khalid's brother wrote him a letter and told him about what Muhammad had said about him. Meanwhile Khalid, who was not unduly drawn towards the idols of the Kaaba , now had begun to ponder deeply on religious matters, he decided to accept Islam and shared it with his friend Ikrimah ibn Abi-Jahl who opposed him, Khalid was threatened by Abu Sufyan ibn Harb with dire consequences, but was restrained by Ikrimah who is reported to have said:
Steady, O Abu Sufyan! Your anger may well lead me also to join Prophet Muhammad. Khalid is free to follow whatever religion he chooses.
That night Khalid took his armour, weapons and horse, and set out for Medina. On the way he met 'Amr ibn al-'As and Uthman ibn Talha who were also going to Medina to accept Islam. They arrived at Medina on May 31, 629 and went to the house of Muhammad. Khalid was received by his elder brother Walid bin Walid and was first among the three men to enter Islam.
Three months after Khalid's arrival to Medina, Muhammad sent an envoy to the Ghassanids with a letter asking the chieftain to accept Islam. While passing through Mu'tah, this envoy was intercepted and killed by a local Ghassanid chieftain by the name of Shurahbil ibn Amr . Traditionally, diplomatic envoys held immunity from attack, and the news of this act enraged Medina.[ citation needed ]
An expedition was immediately prepared to take punitive action against the Ghassanids. Muhammad appointed Zayd ibn Harithah as the commander of the force. In the event of Zayd's death, the command was to be taken over by Ja`far ibn Abi Talib , and if Jafar were to be killed, the command would be in the hands of `Abd Allah ibn Rawahah . In the event that all three were killed, the men of the expedition were to select a commander from amongst themselves.
During the battle, the three named commanders were slain, and Khalid was selected as the commander. He was able to maintain his army of 3,000 soldiers against a massive army of the Byzantine Empire and Ghassanid Arabs in what would be known as the Battle of Mu'tah . The size of the combined forces of Ghassanid and Byzantines is recorded in early sources at an estimated 200,000. Khalid assumed command of the Muslim army at the crucial moment, and turned what would have been a defeat into a strategic retreat. During nightfall, Khalid ordered the men of the right flank to change places with those of the left, and the men of the front lines with those of the rear guard. He also sent a group of men behind the main army and they were commanded to make a large commotion. At first light, when the enemy armies assembled to face the Muslim front lines they saw new and unfamiliar faces, coupled with a cloud of smoke behind the Muslim lines. The obvious conclusion to this was that the Muslims had received reinforcements. As the Muslim army retreated. Khalid was the last one to leave the battle and he broke 9 swords covering the Muslim's backs. Believing a trap was waiting for them, the Byzantine troops did not pursue. After the Battle of Mu'tah, Khalid was given the title Sword of Allah for bringing back his army to fight another day.
In 630 AD, the Muslims advanced from Medina to conquer Mecca. In the Conquest of Mecca Khalid commanded one of the four Muslims armies that entered Mecca from four different routes, and he had a skirmish with the Qurayshi cavalry. Later that year, he participated in the Battle of Hunayn and the Siege of Ta'if . He was also sent to the Banu Jadhimah tribe. He was part of the Tabuk campaign under the command of Muhammad, and from there he was sent to Daumat-ul-Jandal where he fought and captured the Arab Prince of Daumat-ul-Jandal , thus forcing Daumat-ul-Jandal to submit.
In 631 A.D he participated in the farewell hajj of Muhammad. During the Battle of Yarmouk , Khalid ibn al-Walid lost a helmet (qalansuwah) he always wore to battle. He asked the people to help him find it and they searched repeatedly until it was found. They saw it was a very old qalansuwah and thought it strange that Khalid ibn al--Walid was so insistent on finding it. Khalid ibn al--Walid told them: "The Prophet performed Umrah and then shaved his head. I rushed with the people to get some of his hair. I got some of the hair from the front part of his head which I put in this qalansuwah. Every time I went into battle with this qalanwuwah, Allah gave me victory."
Further information: Ridda wars
After the death of Muhammad, many powerful Arab tribes broke away in open revolt against the rule of Medina. Caliph Abu Bakr sent his armies to counter the rebels and apostates . Khalid ibn al-Walid was Abu Bakr's main adviser and architect of the strategic planning of Riddah wars. He was given the command of a powerful army and was sent towards central Arabia, strategically the most sensitive area where the most powerful of rebel tribes reside. The region was closest to the Muslim stronghold of Medina and was the most serious threat to the city. Khalid set out from Zhu Qissah for the rebel tribe of Tayy , but Adi ibn Hatim - a prominent Sahaba (companion of Muhammad) - arbitrated, and thus the attack was stopped and the Tayy tribe submitted to Medina. Khalid's next target was the Jalida tribe. Once again Adi ibn Hatim arbitrated and the tribe submitted with out a fight. In mid-September 632 AD, he turned towards Buzakha where he defeated Tulaiha, a main rebel leader who claimed prophethood as a means to draw support for himself, in the Battle of Buzakha . The remaining followers of Tulaiha were defeated in the Battle of Ghamra 35 km from Buzakha in the third week of September 632 A.D. Several tribes submitted to the Caliph after Khalid's decisive victories against the powerful tribes. Moving south from Buzakha, Khalid reached Naqra with 6,000 men, and defeated the rebel tribe of Banu Saleem in the Battle of Naqra . Later in October 632 A.D, he defeated a tribal mistress, Salma, in the Battle of Zafar . Afterwards he moved against the rebel tribe of Banu Tamim and their Sheikh Malik ibn Nuwayrah.
Khalid entered Nejd , stronghold of the Banu Tamim, with 4,000 men. Many clans of Banu Tamim hastened to visit Khalid and submitted, but the Banu Yarbu' - a branch of the Bani Tamim - under its chief, Malik ibn Nuwayrah , hung back. Malik was a chief of some distinction; a warrior, noted for his generosity; and a famous poet. Bravery, generosity and poetry were the three qualities most admired among the Arabs. Malik ordered his followers to scatter and he himself apparently moved away across the desert with his family. Abu Bakr had given orders that the test to be applied to suspected rebels was that they be asked to repeat the Muslim formula and that they answer the call to prayer.
Malik was guilty for his acts against the state of Medina. After the death of Muhammad, he broke in open revolt against Medina. At the time of Muhammad , he had been appointed as a tax collector for the Tribe of Banu Tamim, but as soon he heard of the death of Muhammad, he gave back all the tax to his tribespeople, saying that "Now you are the owner of your wealth".
Moreover he was to be charged because of his signing of pact with the Sajjah in which it was stated that first they will deal with their enemy tribes together and then finally against the state of Medina.
When Malik learned of Khalid bin Walid's victories against the powerful Arab tribes , he said to his people that they had done the wrong thing by disobeying their rulers and ordered his tribesmen not to engage in battle with Khalid (who was on his way to his tribe) and make peace with them and stay at home. Also, so as to prove himself loyal to the state of Medina (the future Islamic empire) he collected the tax and sent it to Medina. His riders were stopped by Khalid's army at the town of Battah. Khalid asked them about the signing of pact with Sajjah, to which they replied by saying it was just done in order to take revenge from their enemies.
When Khalid reached Nejd and found no army for battle, he sent his cavalry to nearby villages and ordered them to call the Adhan (call for prayers) to each party they met. One such group, commanded by Zirrar bin Azwar, went to the family of Malik and arrested them, claiming that they had not repeated the prayers. Malik, was charged for his rebellion against the state of Medina and was executed.
The same night when Khalid ordered the killing of Malik, he married his widow Layla bint al-Minhal , one of the most beautiful of ladies in Arabia.
According to Shia sources, Khalid preferred more aggressive methods and sent out parties of horsemen to round up the fugitives and plunder their property. One such party seized Malik ibn Nuwayrah and his family and brought them in to Khalid, although they claimed to be Muslims. The men of Medina who were with the army protested vigorously against Khalid's ruthlessness, but without avail. The prisoners were placed under guard but, during the night, Malik ibn Nuwayrah and his supporters were killed.
After the incident of Malik ibn Nuwayrah, Abu Bakr sent Khalid to crush the most powerful threat to the nascent Islamic state of Medina: another who claimed prophethood, Musaylimah . Khalid won a decisive victory against Musailima in the Battle of Yamama , which was fought in the 3rd week of December, 632 A.D. With the defeat of Musailima, nearly all resistance of the rebel tribes collapsed.
With the collapse of rebellion and Arabia united under the central authority of the caliph at Medina, Abu Bakr now decided to expand the empire; it is unclear what his intensions were, whether it was a full scale expansion plans or preemptive attacks to secure more territory to create a buffer zone between Islamic state and powerful Sassanid and Byzantine empires. Khalid was sent to the Persian Empire with an army consisting of 18,000 volunteers to conquer the richest province of the Persian empire, Iraq .
After entering Iraq with his army of 18,000, Khalid won decisive victories in four consecutive battles: Battle of Chains , fought in April 633 A.D; Battle of River , fought in the 3rd week of April 633 A.D; Battle of Walaja , fought in May 633 A.D (where he successfully used a double envelopment manoeuvre ), and Battle of Ullais , fought in the mid of May, 633 A.D. In the last week of May 633 A.D, Hira , the capital city of Iraq, fell to the Muslims in the Siege of Hira .
After resting his armies, in June 633 A.D Khalid laid siege to Anbar , Al Anbar , which despite fierce resistance fell in July 633 A.D. (see Siege of Al-Anbar ).
Khalid then moved towards the south, and conquered the city of Ein ul Tamr after the Battle of Ein ut Tamr in the last week of July, 633 A.D. By now, almost the whole of Iraq ( Euphrates region) was under Islamic control. Khalid got a call of help from northern Arabia at Daumat-ul-Jandal, where another Muslim Arab general, Ayaz bin Ghanam, was trapped among the rebel tribes. Khalid went to Daumat-ul-jandal and defeated the rebels in the Battle of Daumat-ul-jandal in the last week of August, 633 A.D. Returning from Arabia, he got news of the assembling of a large Persian army. He decided to defeat them all separately to avoid the risk of defeat to a large unified Persian army. Four divisions of Persian and Christian Arab auxiliaries were present at Hanafiz, Zumiel, Sanni and Muzieh. Khalid devised a brilliant plan to destroy the Persian forces. He divided his army in three units, and attacked the Persian forces in brilliantly coordinated attacks from three different sides at night, starting from the Battle of Muzayyah , then the Battle of Saniyy , and finally the Battle of Zumail during November 633 A.D. These devastating defeats ended Persian control over Iraq, and left the Persian capital Ctesiphon unguarded and vulnerable to Muslim attack. Before assaulting the Persian capital, Khalid decided to eliminate all Persian forces from the south and west, and thus marched against the border city of Firaz, where he defeated the combined forces of the Sassanid Persians, Byzantine Romans and Christian Arabs in the Battle of Firaz in December 633 A.D. This was the last battle in his conquest of Iraq. While Khalid was on his way to attack Qadissiyah, a key fort in the way to Persian capital Ctesiphon, he received the letter of Abu Bakr and was sent to Roman front in Syria to assume the command of Muslim armies to conquer Roman Syria.
With a successful invasion of Sassanid Persian province of Iraq, Abu Bakr's confidence grew and he concentrated a large army at Zhu Qissah and sent them to Roman Syria. The army was divided into four corps each under its own commander and with its own specified targets. While these armies were on their march towards their target they received intelligence of a concentration of a large Byzantine army at Ajnadayn. The army stopped their advance and wrote to Abu Bakr for help. The position in Iraq was stable by now and Abu Bakr accordingly wrote to Khalid to take half of his forces in Iraq to Syria and assume the command of the combined Muslim armies. The Byzantine province of Syria in those days consisted of modern day Syria, Jordan , Israel , Palestine , Lebanon and southern Turkey . There were two routes towards Syria from Iraq, one was via Daumat-ul-Jandal and the other was through Mesopotamia passing though Ar-Raqqah . Since the Muslim forces in Syria were in need of urgent reinforcement, Khalid avoided the conventional route to Syria via Daumat-ul-Jandal because it was a long route and would take weeks to reach Syria. He also avoided the Mesopotamian route because of presence of Roman garrisons in northern Syria and Mesopotamia. Engaging with them at the time when Muslim armies were being outflanked in Syria, was not a wise idea since it would mean fighting on two fronts. Khalid selected a rather shorter route to Syria which unconventionally passed though the Syrian Desert . He marched his army though the desert, where it is recorded that his soldiers marched for two days with out a single drop of water, before reaching a pre-decided water source at an oasis . Khalid thus entered northern Syria and caught the Byzantine army at their right flank . According to modern historians, it was this ingenious strategic maneuver of Khalid, bringing his force directly through the desert, and appearing at the north-eastern front of the Byzantines while they were occupied in tackling Muslim armies in southern Syria, that unhinged the Byzantine defenses. This is a tactic that has been used repeatedly since, notably in the WW2 North African campaign.
Khalid entered Syria in June 634 and quickly captured the border forts of Sawa, Arak , Palmyra , Al-Sukhnah . (Qaryatayn and Hawarin were captured after the Battle of Qarteen and the Battle of Hawareen ). After dealing with all these cities, Khalid moved towards Damascus, passing though a mountain pass which is now known as Sanita-al-Uqab (Uqab pass) after the name of Khalid's army standard. From here he moved away from Damascus, towards Bosra , the capital of the Ghassanid Arab kingdom, a vassal of the eastern Roman Empire. He had ordered other Muslim commanders to concentrate their forces at Bosra, which was near the Syrian-Arabia border. At Maraj-al-Rahab, Khalid defeated a Ghassanid army of Christian Arabs in a quick Battle of Marj-al-Rahit . Meanwhile Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah , the supreme commander of Muslim armies in Syria had ordered Shurhabil ibn Hasana to attack Bosra. The later laid siege to Bosra with his small army of 4,000 men. The Roman and Ghassanid Arab garrison, noticing that this might be the advance guard of the larger Muslim army to come, decided to attack and destroy Shurhabil's army. They came out of the fortified city and attacked Shurhabil, surrounding him from all sides; Khalid reached the arena with his advance guard cavalry and saved the day for Shurhabil. The combine forces of Khalid, Shurhabil and Abu Ubaidah then laid the siege of Bosra , which surrendered some time in mid July 634. thus effectively ending the Ghassanid Dynasty. Here, Khalid took command of the combined Muslim forces in Syria from Abu Ubaidah, as per the instructions of Abu Bakr. The massive Byzantine armies were concentrating at Ajnadayn so as to push the invading armies back into the desert. Early Muslim sources, have mentioned its size to be 90,000, while most modern historians doubt the figures, but consider this battle to be the key to broke the Byzantine power in Syria. According to the instructions of Khalid all Muslim corps concentrated at Ajnadayn, where they fought a decisive battle against the Byzantines on 30 July 634.
Defeat at the Battle of Ajnadayn , left Syria vulnerable to the Muslim invaders. Khalid decided to capture Damascus, the Byzantine stronghold. At Damascus, Thomas, son-in-law of Byzantine Emperor Heraclius , was in charge. Receiving the intelligence of Khalid's march towards Damascus he prepared the defences of Damascus. He wrote to Emperor Heraclius for reinforcement, who was at Emesa that time. Moreover, Thomas, in order to get more time to prepare for a siege, sent the armies to delay, or if possible, halt Khalid's march to Damascus. One such army was defeated at the Battle of Yaqusa in mid-August 634 near Lake Tiberias 150 km from Damascus, an other army that halted the Muslim advance to Damascus was defeated in Battle of Maraj as Saffer on 19 August 634. These engagements delayed Khalid's advance and gave Thomas enough time to prepare for siege. Meanwhile, Heraclius's reinforcements, which he had dispatched after the bad news of Ajnadyn, had reached the city. Before another regiment of Heraclius's could reach the city, Khalid had arrived. Khalid reached Damascus 20 August and besieged the city. To isolate the city from the rest of the region, Khalid placed the detachments south on the road to Palestine and in north at Damascus-Emesa route, and several other smaller detachments on routes towards Damascus. Heraclius's reinforcements were intercepted and routed at the Battle of Sanita-al-Uqab 30 km from Damascus.
Khalid's forces withstood three Roman sallies that tried to break the siege, Khalid finally attacked and conquered Damascus on 18 September 634 after a 30 day siege. According to some sources, the siege is purported to have lasted some four or six months. Heraclius having received the news of the fall of Damascus, left for Antioch from Emesa. The citizens were given peace on the terms of annual tribute; the Byzantine army was given a three day peace to go as far as they could. After the three days deadline was over, the Muslim cavalry under Khalid's command, attacked the Roman army, catching up to them using an unknown shortcut, at the Battle of Maraj-al-Debaj , 150 km north of Damascus. Abu Bakr died during the siege of Damascus and Umar became the new Caliph. He dismissed his cousin Khalid ibn al-Walid from his command and appointed Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah the new commander in chief of Islamic forces in Syria. Abu Ubaidah got the letter of his appointment and Khalid's dismissal during the siege, but he delayed the announcement until the city was conquered.
On 22 August 634, Abu Bakr died, having made Umar his successor. Umar's first move was to relieve Khalid from supreme command Muslim Forces and appointed Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah as the new commander in chief of the Islamic army . The relationship between Khalid and Umar had been tense since the incident of Malik ibn Nuwayrah. There was an air of distrust between Khalid and Umar, which resulted in the dismissal of Khalid from supreme command and, later in 638, from military services. Khalid, gave a pledge of loyalty to the new caliph and continued service as an ordinary commander under Abu Ubaidah. He is reported to have said:
If Abu Bakr is dead and Umar is Caliph, then we hear and obey.
There was inevitably a slowdown in the pace of military operations, as Abu Ubaidah would move slowly and steadily and was a more cautious commander. The conquest of Syria continued under his Generalship and, Abu Ubaidah being an admirer of Khalid, gave him command of the cavalry and used him as a military advisor.
Soon after the appointment of Abu-Ubaidah as commander in chief, he sent a small detachment to the annual fair held at Abu-al-Quds, modern day Abla, near Zahle 50 east of Beirut . There was a Byzantine and Christian Arab garrison guarding that fair, however the size of the garrison was miscalculated by the Muslim informants. The garrison quickly encircled the small Muslim force. Before it would have been completely destroyed, Abu Ubaidah, having received new intelligence, sent Khalid to rescue the Muslim army. Khalid engaged and defeated them in the Battle of Abu-al-Quds on 15 October 634 and returned with tons of looted booty from the fair and hundreds of Roman prisoners.
With central Syria captured, the Muslims had dealt a decisive blow to the Byzantines. The communication between northern Syria and Palestine was now cut off. Abu Ubaidah decided to march to Fahl ( Pella ), which is about 500 ft (150 m) below sea level , and where a strong Byzantine garrison and survivors of Battle of Ajnadayn were present. The region was crucial because from here the Byzantine army could strike eastwards and cut the supply lines to Arabia. Moreover with this large garrison at the rear, Palestine could not be invaded.
Thus the Muslim army moved to Fahl. Khalid was commanding the advance guard and reached Fahl first and found the plain being flooded by Byzantines engineers blocking the Jordan River . The Byzantine army was eventually defeated at the Battle of Fahl on the 23 January 635 A.D.
After the battle, which would prove to be a key to Palestine and Jordan, the Muslim armies split up. Shurhabil and Amr's corps moved south to capture Palestine. Meanwhile, Abu Ubaidah and Khalid with a relatively larger corps moved north to conquer northern Syria. While the Muslims were occupied at Fahl, Heraclius, sensing the opportunity, quickly sent an army under General Theodras to recapture Damascus, where a small Muslim garrison had been left. Shortly after Heraclius dispatched this new army, the Muslims having finished the business at Fahl, were on their way to Emesa. The Byzantine army met the Muslims half way to Emesa, at Maraj-al-Rome. During the night Theodras sent half of his army towards Damascus to launch a surprise attack on the Muslim garrison
Khalid's spy informed him about the move, Khalid having received permission from Abu Ubaidah, galloped towards Damascus with his mobile guard . While Abu Ubaidah fought and defeated the Roman army in the Battle of Maraj-al-Rome , Khalid moved to Damascus with his cavalry and attacked and defeated Theodras in the 2nd battle of Damascus .
A week later, Abu Ubaida himself moved towards Baalbek (Heliopolis), where the great Temple of Jupiter stood. Baalbek surrendered to Muslim rule after little resistance and agreed to pay tribute. Abu Ubaidah sent Khalid straight towards Emesa.
Emesa and Chalcis sued for peace for a year. Abu Ubaidah, accepted the offer and rather than invading the districts of Emesa and Chalcis, he consolidated his rule in conquered land and captured Hama , Ma'arrat an Nu'man . The peace treaties were, however, on Heraclius's instructions, to lure the Muslims and to secure time for preparation of defenses of northern Syria. Having mustered sizeable armies at Antioch Heraclius sent them to reinforce strategically important areas of northern Syria, like Emesa and Chalcis. With the arrival of Byzantine army in the city, the peace treaty was violated, Abu Ubadiah and Khalid thus marched to Emesa, and a Byzantine army that halted Khalid's advance guard was defeated. The Muslims besieged Emesa which was finally conquered in March 636 after two months of siege.
After capturing Emesa, the Muslims moved north to capture whole of the northern Syria. Khalid's command, acting as an advance force took his mobile guard to raid northern Syria. At Shaizer, Khalid intercepted a convoy taking provisions for Chalcis. The prisoners were interrogated and informed him about Emperor Heraclius' ambitious plan to take back Syria. They told him that an army, possibly 200,000 strong, would soon emerge to recapture their territory. Khalid stopped there. After his past experiences Heraclius had been avoiding pitch battles with the Muslims. He planned to send massive reinforcements to all the major cities and isolate the Muslim corps from each other, and thus separately encircle and destroy the Muslim armies. Five massive armies were launched in June 636 to roll back Syria.
Khalid, sensing Heraclius's plan, feared that the Muslim armies would indeed be isolated and destroyed. In a council of war he suggested that Abu Ubaidah draw all the Muslim armies to one place so as to fight a decisive battle with the Byzantines. As per Khalid's suggestion, Abu Ubaidah ordered all the Muslim armies in Syria to evacuate the conquered land and concentrate at Jabiya . This maneuver gave a decisive blow to the Heraclius's plan. As he did not wish engage his troops in an open battle with the Muslims, where the light cavalry could be effectively used. From Jabiya, on Khalid's suggestion, Abu Ubaidah ordered the Muslim army to withdraw on the plain of the Yarmouk River , where cavalry could be used. While the Muslim armies were gathering at Yarmouk, Khalid intercepted and routed the Byzantine advance guard. This was to ensure the safe retreat of the Muslims from conquered land.
The Muslim armies reached there in July 636. A week or two later, around mid July, the Byzantine army arrived. The Byzantine commander in chief, Vahan, sent Christian Arab troops of the Ghassanid king, Jabala, to check the strength of the Muslims. Khalid's mobile guard defeated and routed the Christian Arabs; this was the last action before the battle started. For the next month negotiations continued between the two armies, and Khalid went to meet Vahan in person at Byzantine camp. Meanwhile the Muslims received reinforcements sent by Caliph Umar.
Abu Ubaidah in a concil of war transferred the supreme command of the Muslim forces to Khalid, who acted as a field commander in the battle and was the mastermind of the annihilation of the Byzantine army.
Finally on 15 August, the Battle of Yarmouk was fought, it lasted for 6 days and ended in a devastating defeat for the Byzantines. The Battle of Yarmouk is considered to be one of the most decisive battles of history. It was the historic defeat that sealed the fate of Byzantium, the magnitude of the defeat was so intense that Byzantine forces could never recover from it. It left the whole of the Byzantine Empire vulnerable for the Muslim invaders. The battle was the greatest battle ever fought on Syrian soil till then and was a tactical marvel of Khalid.
With the Byzantine army shattered and routed, the Muslims quickly recaptured the territory that they conquered prior to Yarmouk. Abu Ubaida held a meeting with his high command, including Khalid, to decide of future conquests. They decided to conquer Jerusalem . The Siege of Jerusalem lasted four months after which the city agreed to surrender, but only to caliph Umar in person. Amr-bin al-Aas suggested that Khalid should be sent as caliph, because of his very strong resemblance with Umar. Khalid was recognized and eventually, Umar came and Jerusalem surrendered in April 637. After Jerusalem, the Muslim armies broke up once again. Yazid's corps came to Damascus and captured Beirut. Amr and Shurhabil's corps went on to conquer the rest of Palestine, while Abu Ubaidah and Khalid, at the head of a 17,000 strong army moved north to conquer whole of the northern Syria.
Abu Ubaida sent the commanders 'Amr ibn al-'As, Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan , and Shurhabeel bin Hassana back to their areas to reconquer them. Most of the areas submitted without a fight. Abu Ubaida himself, along with Khalid, moved to northern Syria once again to conquer them with a 17,000 strong army. Khalid along with his cavalry was sent to Hazir and Abu Ubaidah moved to Chalcis.
With Emesa already in hand, Abu Ubaidah and Khalid moved towards Chalcis, which was strategically the most significant fort of Byzantines. Though Chalcis, the Byzantines would guard Anatolia , Heraclius's home land Armenia and there the Asian zone's capital Antioch. Abu Ubaidah sent Khalid, with his elite cavalry, the mobile guard, towards Chalcis. The fort was guarded by the Greek troops under their commander, Menas, who is reported to be of high prestige, second only to the Emperor himself. Menas, diverting from conventional Byzantine tactics, decided to face Khalid and destroy the leading elements of the Muslim army before the main body could join them at Hazir, 5 km east of Chalcis. This is known as the Battle of Hazir , which even forced Umar to praise Khalid's military genius. Umar is reported to have said:
Khalid is truly the commander, May Allah have mercy upon Abu Bakr. He was a better judge of men than I have been.
Abu Ubaidah soon joined Khalid at the virtually impregnable fort of Chalcis, which surrendered in June 637. With this strategic victory, the territory north of Chalcis lay open to the Muslims. Khalid and Abu Ubaidah continued their march northward and laid siege to Aleppo , which was captured after fierce resistance from desperate Byzantine troops in October 637. The next objective was the splendid city of Antioch, the capital of the Asian zone of the eastern Roman Empire.
Before marching towards Antioch, Khalid and Abu Ubaidah decided to isolate the city from Anatolia. Accordingly, they sent detachments north to eliminate all possible Byzantine forces and captured a garrison town, A'zaz 50 km from Allepo; from there the Muslims attacked Antioch on the eastern side. In order to save the empire from annihilation, a desperate battle was fought between the Muslim army and that of the defenders of Antioch, popularly known as Battle of Iron bridge . The Byzantine army was composed of the survivors of Yarmouk and other Syrian campaigns. After being defeated, the Byzantines retreated to Antioch and the Muslims besieged the city. Having little hope of help from Emperor, Antioch surrendered on 30 October 637, with the terms that all Byzantine troops would be given safe passage to Constantinople .
Abu Ubaidah sent Khalid northwards, while he marched south and captured Lazkia, Jabla, Tartus and the coastal areas west of Anti-Lebanon mountains . Khalid moved north and raided territory up to the Kizil River (K in Anatolia. Emperor Heraclius had already left Antioch for Edessa before the arrival of the Muslims. He arranged for the necessary defenses in Al-Jazira and Armenia and left for his capital Constantinople. On his way to Constantinople he had a narrow escape when Khalid, after the capturing Marash , was heading south towards Munbij . Heraclius hastly took the mountainous path and, passing though the Cilician Gates , is reported to have said:
Farewell, a long farewell to Syria, my fair province. Thou art an infidel's (enemy's) now. Peace be with you, O' Syria - what a beautiful land you will be for the enemy hands.
With the devastating defeat at Yarmouk his empire was extremely vulnerable to Muslim invasion. With few military resources left he was no longer in a position to attempt a military come back in Syria. To gain time for the preparations of the defense of the rest of his empire, Heraclius needed the Muslims occupied in Syria. He sought help of the Christian Arabs of Al-Jazira who mustered up a large army and marched against Emesa, Abu Ubaidah's headquarters. Abu Ubaidah withdrew all his forces from northern Syria to Emesa, and Christian Arabs laid siege to Emesa. Khalid was in favor of an open battle out side fort, but Abu Ubaidah rather sent the matter to Umar, who brilliantly handled it. Umar sent detachment of Muslim armies from Iraq to invade Al-Jazira, homeland of the invading Christian Arabs, from three different routes. Moreover, another detachment was sent to Emesa from Iraq under Qa'qa ibn Amr, a veteran of Yarmouk who was sent to Iraq for the Battle of al-Qadisiyyah . Umar himself marched from Medina ahead of 1,000 men. The Christian Arabs, when they received the news of the Muslim invasion of their homeland, abandoned the siege and hastily withdrew to Al-Jazira. At this point Khalid and his mobile guard came out of the fort and devastated the army, attacking them from rear.
After the battle Umar ordered the conquest of Al-Jazira which was completed by late summer 638 A.D. After the conquest of Al-Jazira Abu Ubaidah sent Khalid and Ayaz ibn Ghanam (conqueror of Al-Jazira) to invade Byzantine territory north of Al-Jazira. They marched independently and captured Edessa, Amida (Diyarbak Malatya and whole of Armenia up to Ararat and raided northern and central Anatolia. Heraclius has already abandoned all the forts between Antioch and Tartus to create a buffer zone or no man's land between Muslim controlled areas and main land Anatolia.
Umar for the time being stoped his armies from further invasion deeper into Anatolia and rather ordered Abu Ubaidah, now governor of Syria to consolidate his rule in Syria. At this point Umar is reported to have said:
I wish there was a wall of fire between us and Romans, so that they could not enter out territory nor we could enter theirs.
Due to the dismissal of Khalid from the army and a Famine and plague the next year, the Muslim armies were kept from invading Anatolia. The expedition to Anatolia and Armenia marked the end of the military career of Khalid.
During his stay in Edessa, Khalid had a special bath. He had with him a certain substance prepared with an alcoholic mixture, which was supposed to have a soothing effect on the body when applied externally. Khalid rubbed his body with this substance and thoroughly enjoyed his bath, from which he emerged glowing and refreshed. Umar's spies reported this incident to him. A few weeks later he received a letter from the Caliph in which he was asked about this, as this substance contained alcohol, which is forbidden in Islam. Khalid felt that this was carrying the Muslim ban on alcohol a bit too far. He was thoroughly conversant with the Qur'an and knew that the Quranic verses on alcohol dealt only with the drinking of it, and that the injunction against strong drink was intended to eliminate the evils of drunkenness and alcoholism. Khalid wrote back to Umar and explained the method of preparation of the offending substance with the alcoholic mixture and the cleaning of it by boiling. Shortly after Khalid's capture of Marash (Kahramanmara in the autumn of 638 (17 Hijri ), Umar came to know of Ash'as reciting a poem in praise of Khalid and receiving a gift of 10,000 dirhams .
This was more than the Caliph could take. He immediately wrote a letter to Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah asking him to bring Khalid in front of the congregation, tie his hands with his turban, and take off his cap. Umar wanted Abu Ubaida to ask Khalid from what funds he gave to Ash'as: from his own pocket or from the spoils acquired in the expedition? If he confessed to having used the spoils, he was guilty of misappropriation. If he claimed that he gave from his own pocket, he was guilty of extravagance. In either case he would be dismissed, and Abu Ubaida would take charge of his duties. Abu Ubaida was himself an admirer of Khalid bin Walid and loved him as his younger brother, and so said that he was not capable of doing it. Instead, Bilal ibn Ribah was appointed for this task and called back Khalid from Qasreen to Emessa, where he was charged publicly. Khalid stated that he gave money from his own pocket and thus was declared innocent in that charge. However, when he went to Abu Ubaida, he told him that he had been dismissed on the order of Umar.
Khalid went to Qinnasrin and said good bye to his mobile guard. He then went to Medina to meet Umar. He protested about what he considered to be injustice. Umar praised him in these words:
You have done; And no man has done as you have done. But it is not people who do; It is Allah who does...
Later Umar explained his dismissal of Khalid:
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.
It was in this way that Khalid's successful military career came to an end..
Although it is believed that relations between Umar and Khalid, cousins, were always something short of cordial, Khalid apparently harbored no ill-will. Upon his death, he bequeathed his property to Umar and made him the executor of his will and estate. 
Khalid died and was buried in 642 in Emesa (Hims), Syria. He had wanted to die a martyr in the field of battle, and was apparently disappointed when he knew that he would die in bed. Khalid put all the torment of his soul into one last, anguished sentence:
I fought in so many battles seeking martyrdom that there is no place in my body but have a stabbing scar by a spear, a sword or a dagger, and yet here I am, dying on my bed like an old camel dies. May the eyes of the cowards never sleep.
His tomb is now part of a mosque called Jamia Khalid ibn al-Walid ( Khalid ibn al-Walid Mosque ). Khalid's tombstone depicts a list of over 50 victorious battles that he commanded without defeat (not including small battles).