In this article, we will discuss the leadership traits and obedience of a well-known Companion — someone whose name itself used to make tyrants shiver in fear; someone on whom was bestowed the title of Saifullah, by the Prophet (PBUH) himself.
Yes, we are talking about none other than Hz Khalid ibn al-Waleed (RA).
Hz Khalid bin Waleed (may Allah be pleased with him) was the gallant of Islam, the Sword of Allah unsheathed against the tyrants of the world, and a leader of great conquests who was present in many decisive battles in Islamic history. He was a man of bravery, strength, and courage, and a born leader with numerous outstanding leadership qualities.
Hz Khalid bin Waleed (RA) – Acceptance of Islam
Let us first begin from the glorious moment when his heart was affected by Allah and his spirit was blessed by the Most Merciful. Thus, it overflowed with devotion to His religion, His Prophet (PBUH), and to a memorable martyrdom in the way of truth.
One day, Hz Khalid bin Waleed (RA) sat alone in deep thought concerning that particular new religion which was gaining momentum day by day. He wished that Allah, the All-Knower of what is hidden and unseen, would guide him to the right path. His blessed heart was revived by the glad tidings of certainty. At that moment, he said to himself, “By Allah, it is crystal clear now. This man is indeed a Prophet, so how long shall I procrastinate! By Allah, I will go and submit myself to Islam.”
But Hz Khalid (RA)’s visit to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his journey from Mecca to Medina was unlike any other.
He hoped to find a companion and ran into Hz Uthman ibn Talha (RA). When Hz Khalid bin Waleed (RA) told him about his intentions, Hz Uthman (RA) agreed to accompany him. They traveled shortly before daybreak and as they reached the plains, they ran into Hz Amr ibn al-Aas (RA). After they had exchanged greetings, he asked them about their destination, and when they told him, it turned out that he was going to the same place to submit himself to Islam.
The three of them arrived at Medina on the first day of Safar in the eighth year of Hijri. As soon as he laid his eyes on the Prophet (PBUH), He said, ‘Peace be upon the Prophet,’ and greeted him with a bright face. Immediately, he declared his acceptance of Islam and bore witness to the truth.
Finally, the Prophet (PBUH) said, “I knew that you have an open mind and I prayed that it would lead you to safety.” Hz Khalid bin Waleed (RA) took his oath of allegiance then asked, “Please ask Allah’s Forgiveness for me for all the wrongdoings I have committed to hinder men from the Path of Allah.” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) informed him that Allah is the Most Merciful, and prayed for His Mercy.
Thereafter, Hz Amr ibn al-As (RA) and Hz Uthman ibn Talha (RA) stepped forward and declared their acceptance of Islam.
AS we can see, Hz Khalid bin Waleed (RA) was a man of unwavering devotion towards truth and firm faith in Allah. It becomes evident that if we have firm faith in Allah, we will be eventually directed towards good deeds and righteousness.
Leadership and Military Skills
Hz Khalid bin Waleed (RA) was chosen to be the leader in many battles. He had outstanding leadership qualities and was often appointed by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), and later on by the Rashidun Caliphs, as the commander.
He was the commander of the Muslim army that defeated both the Persians and the Romans. Thus writes az-Zahabi in his book “Siyar Alam An Nubala”:
There is no span of space on the body of Khalid bin Waleed which does not bear his scars from battles.
It is worth noting that Hz Khalid bin Waleed (RA) was never motivated by the illusions of rank, glory, fame and power. Instead, he viewed his military abilities and success therefrom as a covenant and Amanah from Allah SWT. The best lesson that we can learn from his illustrious career is that those who are provided with a position of honor must fulfill it to the best of their abilities. This is because they will be questioned about their abilities and power on the Day of Judgement, no matter what kind of designation they are provided with — be it a corporate leader, a leader within an organization, and even a leader to their family, and so on.
Despite his position as a commander, Hz Khalid bin Waleed (RA) was so modest that if you had seen him you would not have distinguished him from among his soldiers. Yet at the same time, you would have known at once that he must be the commander, simply from the way he shouldered responsibilities and set himself as a good example.
On his deathbed, he is reported to have said:
All the battles I fought in have left my body scarred with wounds and stabs everywhere, yet here I am dying in bed as if I had never witnessed war before. I hope that tyrants will not have a day’s rest even after I am dead.
Simplicity, courage and an unending desire to do better are some of the lessons we can learn from the great life of Hz Khalid bin Waleed (RA).
Read more about other Companions of the Prophet here.