( 17 ) : Section 3
CHAPTER IV: Khaled Was the Reason behind the Assassination of Abou Bakr



1- The most important faction of the Qorayish tribe was Bani Abd-Manaf, which included the Hashemites, Bani Abd-Shams and the Umayyads. The other poorer and less powerful factions included Bani Makhzoom (faction of Khaled), Bani Tamim (faction of Abou Bakr), Bani Sahm (faction of Amr), and Bani Ouday (faction of Omar). Thus, the battles that broke out during the lifetime of Muhammad seemed apparently as an on-going conflict and struggle between the Hashemites and the Umayyads. Bani Makhzoom were obedient to the Umayyads who were led by Abou Sufyan, who was later on the leader of all Qorayish tribe, and who used all possible arms, tools, and weapons against Muhammad, including agents and spies in both Mecca and Yathreb. Such agents, in our opinion, includes Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, Amr Ibn Al-'As, and Khaled Ibn Al-Waleed. 


2- Agents and spies of Abou Sufyan anticipated him in feigning conversion to Islam, as he converted only shortly before the conquest of Mecca; and all his agents were loyal to him especially Amr and Omar, because their poorer factions would never compete with the Umayyads anyway. Khaled posed a threat to the ambitions of Abou Sufyan, because his faction, Bani Makhzoom had their own similar ambitions and because of his military genius acknowledged by everyone at the time.   


3- Naturally, Abou Sufyan and Omar sensed that Khaled posed a threat as Abou Bakr admired him; he might have made use of Khaled to get rid of the control and hegemony of Omar and Abou Sufyan. Let us remember that Omar helped Abou Bakr to become caliph by marginalizing the Yathreb dwellers and the Hashemites (faction of Muhammad himself). Omar felt threatened by Khaled because Abou Bakr might have made Khaled his successor instead of Omar, whereas Abou Sufyan felt that the military prowess of his two sons, Yazeed and Mu'aweiya, were dwarfed by the military genius of Khaled. Let us remember as well that Abou Sufyan once threatened Abou Bakr by waging war against him to call for the right of the Hashemites to choose a caliph from among themselves; Abou Bakr had to appease the ire of Abou Sufyan by appointing his son, Yazeed, as a military leader within troops in the renegades wars and the conquest of the Levant. Thus, Khaled's military genius alarmed Abou Sufyan a great deal and drove Omar to enumerate Khaled's errors such as murdering Malik Ibn Nuweira, and urged Abou Bakr incessantly to dismiss Khaled. Abou Bakr never agreed to such illogical request; he appointed Khaled as the military leader of troops against the renegades and false self-proclaimed prophets, and Khaled was victorious as usual and defeated and vanquished all renegades. Later on, Abou Bakr agreed to military expansionist plans; namely, the conquest of the Levant and Iraq, for the primary reason to divert Arabs of Arabia from the idea of rebellion and gathering rebels and renegades ever again. This resulted in a soaring reputation, fame, and glory for Khaled as a genius military leader that threatened to be a subversive agent against the pans of Omar and Abou Sufyan.     


4- In fact, Khaled with his military genius and his tribal fanaticism to his faction, Bani Makhzoom, became more than just an equal and a peer of Abou Sufyan; he surpassed Abou Sufyan and his two sons in terms of popularity and military prowess and shrewdness. If Khaled was destined to go on like that, he would have demanded to be appointed as governor of Iraq and the Levant, thus dashing all hopes of the Umayyads to establish a hereditary monarchy exclusive for their own lineage. Simultaneously, Abou Bakr used to avoid invoking the ire of the Umayyads; yet, he might have thought to get rid of their influence and hegemony over affairs of the caliphate by Khaled and his faction. Omar felt he was gradually losing grip and control he had over Abou Bakr as long as Khaled was there. Thus, Khaled was the primary cause of the assassination of Abou Bakr by poisoning and the later dismissal and insult of Khaled by Omar. This struggle was for loot and authority, of course.


5- Khaled represented here the culture of pre-Islamic era that consisted of enslavement, rape, loot, robbing, stealing, and killing captives (i.e., POWs). We mentioned before that Muhammad in the repeated narratives disowned Khaled for his crimes of murder. Islam was marginalized once Abou Bakr became caliph; the struggle and conflict for authority and wealth was behind making Khaled the point of contention.


6- We give below details from narratives and accounts written by the historian Al-Tabary, however contradictory they are sometimes.


Firstly: Abou Bakr Refused to Dismiss Khaled because he killed Malik Ibn Nuweira:


1- The orders of Abou Bakr given to Khaled during the renegades' wars contradict Quranic sharia laws concerning freedom of faith and creed and fighting in cases of self-defense only: (…Attack, kill, and burn all people, and their houses and possessions, who would not surrender and pay zakat and return to Islam …). Other lengthy accounts tell the story of the enslavement of Malik and a group of his people, discussions about their status and if they were praying Muslims or otherwise, and ending in killing Malik and all his men under orders of Khaled, who got married, illegally, to the widow of Malik in the same night! Omar insisted on the dismissal of Khaled under the pretext of the murder of Malik and defiling his widow, and urged Abou Bakr to force Khaled into paying diyya money for Malik's family or to have him killed, but Abou Bakr insisted in his turn to overlook and condone crimes of Khaled and ordered Omar sternly to stop nagging about Khaled! Later on, Abou Bakr paid diyya money to the family of Malik and urged a general pardon of Khaled on the part of all the wronged parties!


2- Other narratives assert that Omar attacked Khaled in the mosque in Yathreb by removing Khaled's headwear, decorated with arrows signifying military victory, and Omar abused him verbally as a killer who defiled a dead man's wife, but Khaled never uttered a syllable until the anger of Omar was spent, and Khaled complained to the caliph, Abou Bakr, who apologized to Khaled himself and told him that his errors would be overlooked and condoned. Later on that day, seeing that Abou Bakr and Khaled remained dear friends and allies and were supping together tonight, Omar felt furious and left them and confined himself to his own house.


3- In addition, Abou Bakr rewarded Khaled by appointing him as the supreme leader of the military troops when war was waged against the false prophet, Museilama the Liar, mobilizing hundreds of men to fight as soldiers under Khaled, after pardoning him his errors with Malik!


Secondly: Victories and Spoils of Khaled in Iraq:


1- Khaled's victories in Iraq were unprecedented in the history of Arabs at the time in terms of the number of captives/enslaved and huge amounts of spoils; one-fifth of enslaved men and women and spoils went to Yathreb, the capital of Yathreb at the time. He sent news of victory, one-fifth of spoils, and an elephant used to be owned by Emperor of Persia, who ruled Iraq before the Arab conquest of it, along with rich attires and precious-stones-studded headwear items of this emperor. Abou Bakr later on granted such rich attires and headwear to Khaled as gifts. Men and women of Yathreb felt awe at such magnificence and when they saw the Persian elephant I n their routes. Such huge amounts of spoils made Khaled's renown to soar to the highest levels in all Arabia. We can easily imagine now the feelings of anger and deep-seated jealousy of Omar at the time.  


2- With every victory, Khaled would send unimagined spoils that dazzled eyes of all Yathreb dwellers; each cavalier in battles in Iraq received 1000 dirhams, as Khaled was generous with his soldiers, who grew fiercer and more brutal with each battle they won in Iraqi cities; at one night, for instance, 30 thousand men were killed in a conquered city. Thousands of inhabitants were killed daily within conquered cities, to the extent that many city dwellers later on would flee semi-naked from their unconquered-yet cities, leaving all their possessions to the Arab invading armies at their gates. 


3- Khaled extended his conquering endeavors to gain more lands in Iraq, finding almost no resistance of any kind later on. Accordingly, spoils were increasing with every city taken, to the extent that at one point, a soldier's share of spoils reached 1500 dirhams. Once such rich spoils reached the caliph in Yathreb, Abou Bakr sang the praises of Khaled to everyone who repeated such praises everywhere all over Arabia. Abou Bakr is rumored to have said that: (…Had women failed to bear yet another great man similar to Khaled?). We can easily imagine now the feelings of anger and deep-seated jealousy of Omar at the time. 



Thirdly: The Wealth of Khaled and the Insult directed to Abou Sufyan Were the Direct Causes of the assassination of Abou Bakr:


1- It is certain that Khaled managed spoils with no one overseeing him; he was the one to count money and to distribute them among the soldiers and cavaliers, while sending the one-fifth to the caliph. Thus, any suspicious ones like Omar and Abou Sufyan would easily presume that Khaled might use such huge sums to gather men around him to proclaim himself as the coming caliph, as people went to Khaled upon his return to Yathreb to congratulate him and receive gifts of money from him. It is understood that Khaled used to give gifts of money to tribal leaders to gain their loyalty and support if any conflict of any type might arise anytime, Omar felt furious for such squandering of spoils money, that was why Omar readily assassinated Abou Bakr and dismissed Khaled, after questioning him about money given to tribal leaders. Al-Tabary mentions that Khaled was humiliated in public by verbal abuse and throwing his headwear, and then was tied by men of the new caliph, Omar, who would question him about squandering such sums, and then dismiss him from leading Arab armies. Those who tied Khaled were Bilal and Abou Obeidah, who later on asked Khaled's pardon, and he forgave them, as both were his friends, as they could not avoid obeying the new caliph.


2- Abou Bakr felt he would strengthen his stance by leaning on Khaled to get rid of the domineering Omar and the annoying interference of Abou Sufyan. Abou Bakr saw this as a chance to get rid of the influence of Abou Sufyan and to humiliate him especially that Yazeed Ibn Abou Sufyan and his troops were defeated by the Byzantines in the Levant in several battles, whereas Khaled scored land-sliding victories in Iraq. Abou Bakr, under the pretext of such defeats of Yazeed, sent for his father, Abou Sufyan, to come to Yathreb, and he humiliated him in public, in the presence of the Yathreb elite, to the extent that Abou Sufyan had to flatter and suck up to Abou Bakr with sweet talk, calling himself as the minion and slave of the caliph. We have mentioned before in this book that Abou Bakr's blind father was astonished and scolded him for humiliating the supreme leader of Qorayish, and Abou Bakr asserted to his blind father that Islam had made some men to be elevate high above other tribesmen who were supreme leaders before the advent of Islam. We have mentioned earlier as well that the king of Yemen sent ten of the best and expensive breed of camels to Mecca, on the condition that they were to be slaughtered by the supreme leader of Qorayish, and tribesmen had to wait for Abou Sufyan to return from his the honeymoon and get out of his tent to slaughter these camels. Thus, a reversal happened when Abou Bakr, who came from a poor faction in Mecca, humiliated the once supreme leader of all Qorayish who once threatened Abou Bakr of waging war against him to choose a caliph from the Hashemites, the clan and family of Muhammad, only to be appeased by Abou Bakr's appointment of Yazeed as a military leader. Things changed now as Khaled's victories made him the favorite of the caliph and primary ally. Hence, Abou Sufyan readily and speedily caught up with his son, Yazeed, in the Levant, to come to his aid during the Battle Yarmouk, the decisive battle securing the Levant in the hands of Arabs after defeating the Byzantines. Before his departure to the Levant, Abou Sufyan took revenge of Abou Bakr for humiliating him in public by ordering Omar to assassinate him by poisoning.     



Fourthly: The Movement of Khaled from Iraq to the Levant and his Dismissal:


1-We can hardly imagine Abou Bakr paying heed to Omar's advice of dismissing Khaled who vanquished the Persian Empire in Iraq in every single battle; when Arab troops and armies were defeated by the Byzantines in the Levant, and their military leader, Khaled Ibn Saeed Ibn Al-'As, killed in the battlefield, troops scattered all over the Levant, and Abou Bakr feared that the Byzantines would prepare themselves to recapture the Levant within a decisive battle, and he had to issue orders to Khaled Ibn Al-Waleed to leave Iraq and go to the Levant with his troops and armies to come to the aid of Arab troops there. Khaled realized that Omar was the one to advise the caliph to send him to the Levant, as Omar envied him for conquering Iraq with military genius, but Khaled had to obey Abou Bakr. He reached the Levant shortly before the decisive Battle of Yarmouk. The Byzantines prepared 240 thousands of men under the leadership of Pahan, a fierce byzantine military leader, with Christian clergymen to incite them to fight. Arab troops included 27 thousands of men, and Khaled added 9 thousands when he reached them coming from Iraq, making the total number 36 thousands. The Byzantines were defeated eventually after on-going days of intense fighting, and the Levant was entirely gained by the Arabs. Yet, in the middle of such critical times, and ten days before achieving a decisive victory, Abou Bakr died suddenly and was buried by Omar by night. Omar succeeded him as caliph, and his first decree or order was to dismiss Khaled during the intense on-going Battle of Yarmouk, but Khaled achieved decisive victory before such decree had reached him      


2- Narratives and accounts vary about details of the decree of dismissal reaching Khaled. Some claim that news of death of Abou Bakr were not mentioned and circulated in the Levant until victory of Arabs was achieved, and then news of the caliph, Omar, who dismissed Khaled and appointed Abou Obeidah instead. Abou Obeidah felt shy to read the decree of dismissal to Khaled until Damascus fell into the hands of Arabs in 14 A.H., and there is an account that mentions the humiliation of Khaled by throwing his headwear on the ground in public and confiscation of all his possessions and money by Omar's men upon his dismissal by Omar, who claimed that Khaled talked to him in an insulting manner, and Omar swore never to employ him in anything.


Fifthly: The Mysterious Death of Khaled:


1- Khaled died after his being dismissed, feeling humiliated and indignant, and he died in bed in the Levant city of Homs in 21 A.H., and we tend to think that he was assassinated by poisoning just like Abou Bakr.


2- In order to the mysterious, hasty, and sudden death of Khaled, Mu'aweiya appointed Khaled's son Abdel-Rahman as the governor of Homs. Mu'aweiya was the ruler of all the Levant; yet, the fame and popularity of Khaled still annoyed and disturbed the peace of mind of Mu'aweiya. Memories and stories of Khaled's victories in Iraq were still vivid in people's mind all over Arabia, and most of new settlers in Basra and Al-Kufa, Iraqi newly established cities, were mostly former soldiers and cavaliers serving under Khaled. Thus, later on, Iraq was mostly the center of several revolts and oppositional movements against the Umayyad Dynasty later on. Such former soldiers used to mock and taunt Mu'aweiya as his son was defeated in the Levant while they helped achieve victory in Iraq. Thus, Abdel-Rahman Ibn Khaled Ibn Al-Waleed lived surrounded by and enjoying the privileges of the legendary story of his father, the military leader of unparalleled genius in Arabia, to the extent that he sheltered those who fled the wrath of Othman, during his caliphate, as he succeeded Omar, while threatening Othman himself with arrogance and haughtiness never to harm those men who sought his protection. The same arrogance and haughtiness of Khaled's son were used with Mu'aweiya, as the former used to mock and taunt the latter.


3- Typical of him in such situations, Mu'aweiya would have patience and never respond verbally, to postpone his revenge later on in action. When Mu'aweiya became caliph, his intentions to make his son, Yazeed Ibn Mu'aweiya, his successor to establish the Umayyad Dynasty led him to execute parallel plots: 1) to get rid of any potential competitor, by murdering them, who might oppose his son and proclaim himself a caliph and 2) to quell and terrorize the Shiites in Iraq and murdering their leaders. Hence, Abdel-Rahman Ibn Khaled Ibn Al-Waleed was murdered in 46 A.H., as Mu'aweiya dispatched a murderer to poison his cup in Homs, promising this murderer to be appointed as governor of Homs instead of the poisoned Abdel-Rahman, who by the way was in his turn among the military leaders and heroes of the on-going wars between the Umayyads and the Byzantines. His fame and renown grew just like his father, Khaled, which made him a possible threat and a competitor to Yazeed once proclaimed as heir to the throne after Mu'aweiya. That was way he was assassinated by poisoning. Mu'aweiya was also responsible for the murder, by poisoning, of the leader sent by Ali, the caliph preceding Mu'aweiya, to govern Egypt, to prevent Ali's controlling Egypt. Later on, Mu'aweiya assassinated Al-Hassan Ibn Ali, who was supposed to be the caliph succeeding Mu'aweiya as per treaties signed after the defeat and murder of Ali the caliph. In all such cases of poisoning, Mu'aweiya had employed a third party unsuspected by anyone!


4- Poisoning was the method used to kill both Khaled Ibn Al-Waleed and Abou Bakr before him. History tells us that the Umayyad Dynasty caliphs specialized in getting rid of their foes by poisoning; this was a recurrent pattern throughout their caliphate, even within internal conflicts and intrigues within the Umayyad household! We have published before on our website an article titled "Investigation of a Mysterious Murder Committed in 99 A.H.", about the assassination of the Umayyad caliph Suleiman Ibn Abdel-Malik by poisoning.

The Unspoken-of History of the Pre-Umayyad 'Righteous' Caliphs
The Unspoken-of History of the Pre-Umayyad 'Righteous' Caliphs

Written in Arabic by Ahmed Subhy Mansour

Translate d by Ahmed Fathy


Any Muslim readers who read this book will never forget it; they might either curse the author of this book, or praise him, but they will never feel the same after the perusal of this book that exposes the so-called 'righteous' caliphs using what is written about them in authoritative historical accounts that are honored and revered by the Sunnites themselves.


Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour
February, 2014

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