Sunday, April 18, 2010

Khalid ibn al-Walid: For Love of the Prophet (Religious Public Service Messages in the Muslim World, Part I)

I find the religious "public service messages" in many parts of the Muslim world to be an interesting phenomenon, from signs in Saudi Arabia extolling key tenets of the Muslim faith, to TV commercials. The commercial embedded below depicts Khalid ibn al-Walid, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad and one of the greatest and most innovative military commanders in Muslim and world history. Nicknamed "the Drawn Sword of God," he led the early Muslim armies to crushing defeats of two of the largest Near Eastern empires of his time, the Sassanians in Iran and the Byzantines in Turkey, Syria, and Palestine. One of his greatest victories was at the Battle of Yarmouk (really a series of engagements in August 636 C.E.) in modern day Jordan when he defeated a much larger Byzantine army. For more information, refer to Prof. Fred Donner's classic book, The Early Islamic Conquests, or Prof. Hugh Kennedy's more accessible The Great Arab Conquests.

Like most of the Prophet's companions, Khalid is rejected and reviled by Shi'i Muslims.

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