The Sword of Allah - Khalid Bin Waleed (Ral)

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Chapter 37: Farewell to Arms

 Part III: The Invasion of Iraq

 

Page: 2

Khalid went to the house of his sister, Fatimah, who was then in Emessa, explained the position to her and sought her advice. Fatimah confirmed his suspicions. "By Allah," she said, "Umar will never be pleased with you. He wants nothing more than that you should confess to some error, so that he can dismiss you." 1

"You are right", said Khalid. He kissed his sister on the head, and returning to Abu Ubaidah, informed him that he would not confess. Thereafter the two generals walked in silence to a place where a large number of Muslims were gathered, most of whom rushed to shake Khalid's hand. At one end stood a raised platform, and on this Abu Ubaidah and Khalid sat down, facing the congregation. On one side of Abu Ubaidah sat Bilal the Negro.

For a few minutes there was complete silence. The Muslims had no idea of the purpose of the congregation; nor had Khalid. He did not connect Umar's charge against him with this gathering, for it never occurred to him that he would face a public trial. Bilal looked questioningly at Abu Ubaidah, but Abu Ubaidah turned his face away. He had obeyed the Caliph's instructions as far as he considered necessary. If a man like Khalid, who had rendered military services to the new Muslim State as no other general had done, was to be subjected to public humiliation, he, Abu Ubaidah, would have nothing to do with it. Bilal could do as he wished.

Bilal understood Abu Ubaidah's reluctance. He stood up, faced Khalid, and in a voice which could be heard by the entire congregation, called out: "O Khalid! Did you give Ash'as 10,000 dirhams from your own pocket or from the spoils?"

Khalid stared at Bilal in shocked silence. He could hardly believe his ears!

Bilal repeated his question; but Khalid, for once in his life, was left dumbfounded. When another minute had passed with no reply from Khalid, Bilal walked up to him, and with the words, "The Commander of the Faithful has ordered this", took off Khalid's turban and cap and with the turban tied Khalid's hands behind his back. Again the Caliph's messenger spoke: "What do you say? From your pocket or from the spoils?"

Only now did Khalid find his speech. "No!" he protested. "From my own pocket."

When he heard these words, Bilal untied Khalid's hands, replaced Khalid's cap, and with his own hands tied Khalid's turban on his head. He said, "We hear and obey our rulers. We honour and serve them." 2 Then he returned to his place and sat down.

For a few minutes pin drop silence reigned in the assembly. Abu Ubaidah and Bilal sat staring at the floor. Then Khalid stood up, still shaken by what had happened. He did not know the result of the trial, whether he was dismissed or still in command of his corps. Not wishing to embarrass the gentle Abu Ubaidah with questions, he walked away from the assembly, mounted his horse and rode to Qinassareen. 3

Bilal returned to Madinah and gave Umar an account of the proceedings. The Caliph now awaited a letter from Abu Ubaidah confirming that he had dismissed Khalid from command at Qinassareen; but when another week had passed and no such letter arrived, Umar guessed that Abu Ubaidah was reluctant to inform Khalid of his dismissal. The Caliph decided to deal with the matter of Khalid's dismissal himself, and wrote to Khalid to report to him at Madinah.

On receiving Umar's letter, Khalid came to Emessa and questioned Abu Ubaidah about his position. The Commander-in-Chief told him that he was dismissed from office by order of the Caliph. "May Allah have mercy upon you" said Khalid. "Why did you do this to me? You concealed a matter from me which I would have liked to know before today."

 

1. Ibid: Vol. 2, p. 624. Yaqubi: Tareekh, Vol. 2, p. 140.
2. Tabari: Vol. 3, p. 167.
3. According to one version, which appears to be mistaken, Umar ordered Abu Ubaidah to confiscate half of whatever Khalid possesses; and Abu Ubaidah carried out the Caliph's instructions with such meticulous accuracy that a pair of shoes that Khalid wore, one shoe was taken away and the other left with him! (Tabari: Vol. 2, p. 625; Yaqubi: Tareekh, Vol. 2, p. 140).