Khalid ibn Al-Waleed was one of the most accomplished generals history has to offer. West Pointe dedicates some of its curriculum to studying this tactical genius’s campaigns.
That said, historical accounts suggest that Khalid was not perceived as being religious enough to earn the full blessings of the early caliphs. Some accounts even claim alcohol was one of his vices.
But who could deny the expansionist benefits of an endless stream of victories brought by this seemingly god-inspired commander? With Khalid in charge, the early Muslims did not lose battles.
While Muslim historians revel in talk of torture and the pains of this world, they are rarely able to cut into the personas of their very best. Every hero including Khalid achieves legendary status while all of his faults and sins are purposely ignored. That is to say that Islam insists on the mortality of great men like Khalid, but also cannot remember them with anything but the trembling and tearful remembrance reserved for god-kings.
I shall thus describe one such fault here. Khalid was was accused of murdering a man for the purpose of appropriating his wife. He was called out on this by the second caliph: Omar (who, despite their family bond, felt that Khalid was too brash and even irreligious). However, one does not simply recall their best general. Khalid, who seemed to promise an endless string of endless victory, was “let off” by his cousin–on a technicality. Omar, ever staunch and religious, made Khalid very aware of this.
Omar even sent a new general to replace Khalid so that the early Muslims would not give in to their usual idol worship, but Khalid was still the de-facto general. There was some wisdom in Omar’s wariness of Khalid and it was probably best summed up by the words of the first Islamic Caliph, Abu Bakr:
“Women will no longer be able to give birth to the likes of Khalid bin Al-Waleed.”
Thus I say to you dear reader, do not let yourself become too infatuated with any human being, current or historical. This is the basis of worship: idol or otherwise.