Why the Messenger of Allah did not punish “Khalid ibn Walid”?

Why did the Messenger of Allah [PBUH] not punish “Khalid ibn Walid” despite the fact that he killed some of the Muslims of the “Bani Juzaymah” tribe? Sunnis compare the crimes of “Kahlid ibn Walid” in killing “Malik ibn Nuwayrah” during the “Abu-Bakr” caliphate and the lack of being punished for this incident.

In response, there is no doubt that “Khalid ibn Walid” committed big crimes while at war with “Malik ibn Nuwayrah”; even the second caliph seriously protested against him and called him an “Enemy of God” and pledged to stone him; but since the first caliph “Abu-Bakr” needed him for his reign, he defended him and didn’t punish him. But as for Khalid ibn Walid’s war with the “Bani Juzaymah” tribe and killing them, saying several points are necessary:

Firstly: Forgiving a murderer or punishing him is in the hand of the victim’s guardian, not anyone else; even the Messenger of Allah [PBUH], “Abu-Bakr” or any other ruler have no right to spare the murderer’s life and if victim’s guardian wants to punish murderer, Islamic ruler has to implement Islamic sentence; but if victim’s guardian doesn’t want to kill the murderer and spares his life in exchange of taking blood money, Islamic ruler should do so.

In matter of “Bani Juzaymah”, after the Messenger of Allah [PBUH] was notified of this incident, he sent the Commander of the faithful Ali [a.s] and he paid their loss completely. “Tabari” writes:

فلما انتهي الخبر إلي رسول الله رفع يديه إلي السماء ثم قال اللهم إني أبرأ إليك مما صنع خالد بن الوليد ثم دعا علي بن أبي طالب عليه السلام فقال يا علي اخرج إلي هؤلاء القوم فانظر في أمرهم واجعل أمر الجاهلية تحت قدميك. فخرج حتي جاءهم ومعه مال قد بعثه رسول الله به فودي لهم الدماء وما أصيب من الأموال حتي إنه ليدي ميلغة الكلب حتي إذا لم يبق شيء من دم ولا مال إلا وداه بقيت معه بقية من المال فقال لهم علي عليه السلام حين فرغ منهم هل بقي لكم دم أو مال لم يود إليكم قالوا لا قال فإني أعطيكم هذه البقية من هذا المال احتياطا لرسول الله مما لا يعلم ولا تعلمون ففعل ثم رجع إلي رسول الله فأخبره الخبر فقال أصبت وأحسنت. ثم قام رسول الله فاستقبل القبلة قائما شاهرا يديه حتي إنه ؛ليري بياض ما تحت منكبيه وهو يقول اللهم إني أبرأ إليك مما صنع خالد بن الوليد ثلاث مرات

When the Messenger of Allah [PBUH] was notified of this incident, he raised his hands toward the sky and said: O Allah! I hate what “Khalid ibn Walid” has done. Then he called upon “Ali ibn Abi Talib” and told him: O “Ali”! Go to that tribe and see how they feel.  “Ali ibn Abi Talib” [a.s] went to that tribe while he was carrying much money with him. He paid their blood money and damages and even paid the price of their dogs’ bowls; after doing so, Hadrat Ali [a.s] asked them: is there any blood money or damage left that I’ve not paid it? They all said: No, there isn’t. Ali ibn Abi Talib” [a.s] said: I pay rest of this money to you; because there might be something that messenger of Allah and you were not notified of them. Then he returned and told the Messenger of Allah what he’s done. Messenger of Allah [PBUH] said: Good job. Then Prophet Muhammad [PBUH] stood toward “Qiblah” and raised his hands and said three times: O Allah! I’m quit of what “Khalid” has done (1).

Secondly: In addition to paying damages and satisfying the people of the tribe, the Messenger of Allah [PBUH] announced his hatred of the tyrannical acts of “Khalid ibn Walid” and comply with divine order:

“فَإِنْ عَصَوْكَ فَقُلْ إِنيّ ِ بَرِي ءٌ مِّمَّا تَعْمَلُون”

If they disobey you, say: ‘I am quit of what you do (2)

He raised his hands toward the sky and said:

“اللهم إني أَبْرَأُ إِلَيْكَ مِمَّا صَنَعَ خَالِدٌ”

O Allah! I’m quit of what “Kahlid” has done (3).

Thirdly: In the matter of killing “Malik ibn Nuwayrah”, not only “Khalid ibn Walid” killed him and his tribe, but he committed adultery and “Abu-Bakr” had to implement divine “Hadd” {Hudud, singular “had”, is an Islamic concept: punishments which under Islamic law (Shariah) are mandated and fixed by God. These punishments were specified by the Quran, and in some instances by the Sunnah}; because it’s the ruler’s duty to enforce divine punishment set for the adulterer, but rather than doing so, “Abu-Bakr” encouraged and defended him.

After second caliph “Umar” was notified that “Khalid ibn Walid” has killed “Nuwayrah” and slept with his wife, he pledged to stone “Khalid”. “Tabari” and “Abu al-Faraj Isfahani” write in this regard:

فلما بلغ قتلهم عمر بن الخطاب تكلم فيه عند أبي بكر فأكثر وقال عدو الله عدي علي امرئ مسلم فقتله ثم نزا علي امرأته وأقبل خالد بن الوليد قافلا حتي دخل المسجد وعليه قباء له عليه صدأ الحديد معتجرا بعمامة له قد غرز في عمامته أسهما فلما أن دخل المسجد قام إليه عمر فانتزع الأسهم من رأسه فحطمها ثم قال أرثاء قتلت امرأ مسلما ثم نزوت علي امرأته والله لأرجمنك بأحجارك

When “Umar ibn Khattab” was told that “Nuwayrah” has been killed by “Khalid”, he told “Abu-Bakr” about this incident and said: enemy of god has killed a Muslim and slept with his wife!!! “Khalid ibn Walid” came to mosque, “Umar ibn Khattab” told him: you killed a Muslim man and slept with his wife. Swear to god! I’ll stone you by the stone you made (4)

Al-Dhahabi says:

فلما قدم خالد قال عمر: يا عدو الله قتلت امرأً مسلماً ثم نزوت علي امرأته

When “Khalid” arrived at “Medina”, “Umar,” told him: O enemy of God! You killed a Muslim male and slept with his wife! (5)

But as for this question that why “Abu-Bakr” didn’t enforce divine punishment and defended Khalid ibn Walid’s crimes, Sunni scholars say responding this question: because “Abu-Bakr” knew “Khalid” a “Mujtahid”, that’s why he didn’t punish him. “Ibn Khallikan” and other Sunni scholars have written:

ولما بلغ الخبر أبا بكر وعمر رضي الله عنهما قال عمر لأبي بكر رضي الله عنه إن خالدا قد زني فارجمه قال ما كنت لأرجمه فإنه تأول فأخطأ

When Abu-Bakr and Umar were notified, Umar told Abu-Bakr: Khalid has committed adultery, you should stone him! Abu-Bakr said: I won’t do so; because he’s done Ijtihad and made mistake in his Ijtihad!!! (6)

Jalal al-Din Suyuti and Mutaqi Hindi have quoted from Ibn Sa’d:

ادَّعي أَنَّ مَالكَ بْنَ نُوَيرَةَ ارْتَدَّ بِكَلاَمٍ بَلَغَهُ عَنْهُ ، فَأَنْكَرَ مَالِكٌ ذالِكَ ، وَقَالَ : أَنَا عَلي الإِسْلاَمِ مَا غَيَّرْتُ وَلاَ بَدَّلْتُ وَشَهِدَ لَهُ بِذالِكَ أَبُو قَتَادَةَ وَعَبدُ اللَّهِ بنِ عمرَ فَقَدَّمَهُ خَالِدٌ وَأَمَرَ ضِرَارَ بنَ الأَزْوَرِ الأَسدي فَضَرَبَ عُنُقَهُ ، وَقَبَضَ خَالِدٌ امْرَأَتَهُ ، فَبَلَغَ ذالِكَ عُمَرَ ابن الْخَطَّابِ قَتْلَهُ ، فَقَالَ لأِبِي بَكْرٍ : ( إِنَّهُ قَدْ زَنَي فَارْجُمْهُ ، فَقَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ : مَا كُنْتُ لأِرْجُمَهُ تَأَوَّلَ فَأَخْطَأَ ، قَالَ : فَإِنَّهُ قَدْ قَتَلَ مُسْلِمَاً فَاقْتُلْهُ ، قَالَ : مَا كُنْتُ لأِقْتُلَهُ تَأَوَّلَ فَأَخْطَأَ ، قَالَ : فَاعْزِلْهُ ، قَالَ : مَا كُنْتُ لأِشِيمَ سْيْفَاً سَلَّهُ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ أَبَدَاً) ابن سعد

Khalid ibn Walid claimed that he’s heard a word from Malik ibn Nuwayrah that made him apostate; but Malik denied it and said: I’m Muslim, I’ve changed anything; Abu Fatadah and Abdullah ibn Umar have testified about this matter; but Khalid accused him and said to Zirar ibn Azwar: cut his head out; then Khalid slept with Malik ibn Numayrah’s wife.

Umar said to Abu-Bakr: Khalid has committed adultery; stone him; Abu-Bakr said: I won’t stone him, he’s done “Ijtihad” but made mistake in his “Ijtihad”; Umar said: punish him; because he’s killed a Muslim, Abu-Bakr said: I don’t kill him because he’s done “Ijtihad” and made mistake!!! (7)

“Abu-Bakr” must be asked if Khalid ibn Walid is “Mujtahid” and can kill a tribe only because of lack of paying “Zakat” to Abu-Bakr {Not denying the origin of “Zakat”} and in that night sleeps with a Muslim female that he’s killed her husband, why can “Malik ibn Nuwayrah” not do “Ijtihad”? If sahaba are “Mujtahid”, so “Malik ibn Nuwayrah” must be “Mujtahid”; why someone is killed because of his “Ijtihad” and his wife is raped in that night, but another one not only isn’t reprimanded because of capital murder and adultery but he’s rewarded?

And if we assume that Khalid had done “Ijtihad” in the time of the Messenger of Allah [PBUHH] and made mistake in his “Ijtihad” and Abu-Bakr knew about it, why did he not punish him when he committed that mistake again? Can one mistake be justified by “Ijtihad” two times? This matter is clear that Khalid ibn Walid killed Malik ibn Nuwayrah just because his wife was beautiful, not because he didn’t pay Zakat. Al-Dhahabi, Yafi’i, Ibn Khallikan and Abu al-Fada write:

فكلمه أبو قتادة الأنصاري وابن عمر ، فكره كلامهما ، وقال لضرار بن الأزور : إضرب عنقه ، فالتفت مالك إلي زوجته وقال : هذه التي قتلتني ، وكانت في غاية الجمال ، قال خالد : بل الله قتلك برجوعك عن الإسلام ، فقال : أنا علي الإسلام ، فقال : إضرب عنقه ، فضرب عنقه وجعل رأسه أحد أثافي قدر طبخ فيها طعام ، ثم تزوج خالد بالمرأة

Abdullah ibn Umar and Abu Fatadah talked to Khalid about Malik ibn Nuwayrah, but Malik” didn’t like his saying; Khalid ordered Zerar ibn al-Azwar to cut his head out. Malik ibn Nuwayrah pointed to his very beautiful wife and said: she killed me {I was killed because of her}, Khalid said: but God killed you due to becoming apostate. Malik said: I’m a Muslim. Khalid ordered his head to be cut out. Then Khalid married his wife (8).

Source: (https://valiasr-aj.com)

NOTES:

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  1. Al-Tabari” – Tarikh Tabari” – vol. 2, p 164 /// “Ibn Hisham” – Sirah al-Nabawiyah – vol. 5, p 96
  2. Surah Al-Shu’ara’ – verse 216
  3. “Ismail Bukhari” – Sahih Bukhari – vol. 3, p 1157
  4. “Al-Tabari” – Tarikh Tabari – vol. 2, p 274 /// “Abu Al-Farj Al-Isfahani” – vol. 15, p 294 /// “Al-Saybani” – The complete History – vol. 2, p 217 /// “Al-Nuwayru” – Nihayat al-Arb fi Funoun al-Adab – vol. 19, p 52
  5. “Al-Dhahabi” – The history of Islam – vol. 3, p 36
  6. “Ibn Khallikan” – Wafiyat al-A’yan wa Anba’ al-Al-zman – vol. 6, p 15 /// “Abu al-Fada’” – al-Mukhtasar fi Akhbar al-Bashar – vol. 1, p 108
  7. “Al-Suyuti” – Jami’ al-Ahadith – vol. 13, p 94 /// “Al-Hindi” – Kanz al-Ummal – vol. 5, p 247
  8. 8.“Al-Duhahabi” – Tarikh al-Islam – vol. 3, p 34 /// “Al-Yafi’i” – Mir’at al-Jenan – vol. 2, p 119 /// “Ibn Khallikan” – Wafiyat al-A’yan – vol. 6, p 14 /// “Abu al-Fada’” – al-Mukhtasar fi Akhbar al-Bashar – vol. 1, p 108
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