The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 15: The End of Malik bin Nuwaira

 Part II: The Campaign of the Apostasy

 

Page: 3

Abu Bakr, however, was not pleased to see Abu Qatadah, especially as he had left the army without his commander's permission. "Return at once to your post!" ordered the Caliph; and Abu Qatadah rode back to Butah.1

But even before he had gone his words were all over Madinah. They were heard by Umar who leapt to his feet and rushed to Abu Bakr. "You have appointed a man to command", he said, "who kills Muslims and burns men alive." 2 Abu Bakr was not impressed. He had clear evidence of Malik's distributing the tax money on getting news of the Prophet's death and of his pact with Sajjah. There was no doubt about Malik's apostasy. As for burning men alive, the Caliph had himself ordered that those apostates who had burnt Muslims alive would be treated in like manner. 3 Khalid had burnt no others.

Umar continued: "There is tyranny in the sword of Khalid. He should be brought home in fetters. Dismiss the man!"

Abu Bakr knew that there was little love lost between these two great men. "O Umar", he replied firmly, "keep your tongue off Khalid. I shall not sheathe the sword that Allah has drawn against the infidels." By now Khalid was being commonly referred to as the Sword of Allah.

Umar persisted: "But this enemy of Allah has killed a Muslim and taken his wife!" 4 Abu Bakr agreed to go into the matter. He sent for Khalid.

By now Khalid had come to know of the resentment that his actions had aroused. He shrugged it off with the words: "When Allah decides a matter, it is done." 5 Anyway, a little criticism did not worry Khalid. Then came the summons of the Caliph to present himself at Madinah. Khalid guessed that this was connected with the allegations against him, and was now more than a little worried.

On arrival at Madinah, Khalid went straight to the mosque. In those early days the mosque was not merely a place of worship. It was also a meeting place, an assembly hall, a school, a place of rest, and the centre of civic activity. Khalid was wearing an arrow in his turban as an adornment, and this made him look a bit of a dandy, for most Muslims preferred simplicity in their dress and avoided all forms of ostentation.

Umar was in the mosque and saw Khalid. Livid with anger, he walked up to Khalid, tore the arrow from Khalid's turban and broke it in two. "You killed a Muslim and snatched his wife", Umar shouted. "You ought to be stoned to death." 6 Khalid knew that Umar had much influence with Abu Bakr, and fearing that the Caliph might have similar opinions, he turned away in silence.

He next went to see Abu Bakr, who demanded an explanation. Khalid told him the whole story. After due consideration, the Caliph decided that Khalid was not guilty. He did, however, upbraid his general for marrying Laila and thus leaving himself open to criticism, and since there was some possibility of a mistake, as certain people believed that Malik was a Muslim, Abu Bakr ordered the payment of blood-money to the heirs of Malik.

1. Tabari: Vol. 2, pp. 501-2.
2. Balazuri: p. 107.
3. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 482.
4. Ibid: Vol. 2, pp. 503-4; Balazuri: p. 107.
5. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 502.
6. Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 504.