Khalid bin Waleed in the battle of Hunayn

Khalid bin Waleed was the commander of the Muslim vanguard, and he was responsible for leading the initial charge against the enemy. The Battle of Hunayn, which took place in 630 CE, was a significant victory for the Muslims against the pagan tribes of Hawazin and Thaqif. It occurred in a valley near Taif, a town southeast of Mecca, where the enemy had set up an ambush for the Muslim army.

Background of Battle of Hunayn

The Battle of Hunayn was instigated by the hostility of the Hawazin and Thaqif tribes, who were allies and neighbors of Taif. They resented the growing influence and power of Islam in Arabia and decided to challenge it. Amassing a force of about 20,000 warriors, along with their families and livestock, they chose a narrow valley near Hunayn as their battlefield. They intended to use their archers and cavalry to surprise and overwhelm the Muslim army.

The Muslim army, comprising approximately 12,000 men, including 10,000 new converts from Mecca who had joined after the conquest, was divided into four columns by the Prophet, each led by a prominent companion.

Role of Khalid bin Waleed in the Battle

Khalid bin Waleed commanded the first column and was entrusted with the standard of war by the Prophet. He was instructed to enter the valley first and scout for any signs of the enemy.

As Khalid bin Waleed led his column into the valley, they were met with a hail of arrows from both sides. The enemy had concealed themselves behind rocks and trees, patiently waiting for the right moment to attack. Khalid bin Walid attempted to advance further but encountered fierce resistance from the enemy cavalry. Realizing that he had fallen into a trap, he ordered his men to retreat.

Unaware of what had transpired, the rest of the Muslim army followed Khalid bin Waleed into the valley. They, too, faced a barrage of arrows and spears from all directions. The sudden attack caused panic and confusion among the Muslims, particularly the new converts who were inexperienced in warfare. Many of them fled from the battlefield, abandoning their weapons and armor.

In this critical situation, the Prophet remained calm and composed. He urged his companions to stand firm and fight in the name of Allah. He sought divine help and support through prayer and symbolically threw a handful of dust toward the enemy, uttering, “May their faces be disgraced.” According to some accounts, this resulted in a dust storm that disoriented and blinded the enemy.

Meanwhile, Khalid bin Walid managed to regroup his men and launched a counterattack against the enemy flank. Breaking through their lines, he reached their rear and attacked their camp, slaying many warriors and capturing women, children, and livestock. This caused demoralization and chaos among the enemy ranks.

Inspired by Khalid bin Walid’s actions, the other Muslim commanders rallied their troops and joined the counterattack. They assaulted the enemy from various angles, inflicting heavy casualties. Soon, the enemy lost their courage and unity, fleeing from the battlefield.

The Muslims pursued them until they reached Taif, where some sought refuge in a fortified town. The remaining enemy forces were either killed or captured by the Muslims.

Importance of battle of Hunayn

The Battle of Hunayn marked a decisive victory for Islam over its pagan adversaries. The Muslims seized significant spoils of war, including 24,000 camels, 40,000 goats, 160,000 silver dirhams, and 6,000 prisoners. The Prophet (s) distributed these spoils among the Muslims, prioritizing the new converts from Mecca to solidify their loyalty and strengthen their faith.

Khalid bin Waleed played a vital and commendable role in this battle. He demonstrated his bravery, skill, and leadership by confronting the enemy ambush and turning the tide of the battle. Moreover, he exhibited his unwavering loyalty and devotion to Islam by following the commands of the Prophet and fighting for the cause of Islam. He earned the respect and admiration of his fellow Muslims and instilled fear and awe in his enemies.

Khalid bin Waleed continued to serve Islam as a military commander in subsequent campaigns in Iraq and Syria. He conquered numerous lands and defeated many enemies in the name of Islam. He passed away in 642 CE, and his tomb is located either in Medina or Homs. He is remembered as one of history’s greatest generals and one of the most illustrious companions of the Prophet .