The used to say “No one saw the face of Khalid bin Waleed (ra) except they were already defeated.”
Abu Bakr (ra) sent Khalid to Iraq to fight against the Persians. They had a great empire which they ruled for over 1200 years as a world superpower. Their lands spanned from Greece in the West to Punjab in the East.
Due to the wars already fought by the army, Abu Bakr also told Khalid to grant permission to those soldiers who wished to return home. Hence his army shrunk from 13,000 to only 2,000. He wrote a letter back to Abu Bakr informing him of this and Abu Bakr responded by sending 1 man – Qaqa’ bin Amr. The people asked Abu Bakr how he could replace 11,000 men with 1 man, and he replied “An army with the ranks of those like Qaqa’ will never be forsaken by Allah.”
The Muslims, and especially Khalid bin Waleed, were gaining reputation and the Persians sent one of their greatest warriors named Hormuz as the leader of their army. Hormuz was an amazing warrior, referred to as the ‘Defender of Persia’. He had the highest rank of a 100,000 dirham cap studded with pearls and diamonds.
What made Khalid bin Waleed a great general was his war tactics and psychological warfare which crippled the opposing forces. He knew the Persian warriors carried heavy weapons and heavy armour. So he moved his forces to a place called Hudhair in Iraq. Hormuz, wanting to intercept the Muslim army, rushed his forces to overtake them and managed to reach Hudhair first. When he reached Hudhair, he realised that Khalid had returned back to Kazima. Again Hormuz rushed his army to overtake the Muslims and he reached Kazima first, but by this time his army were exhausted. When Khalid bin Waleed arrived he ordered them to attack straight away, thereby not giving any time for rest.
Hormuz emerged from the ranks and called out for Khalid, challenging him to a duel. Hormuz had carefully manoeuvred the duel to take place closer to his side, positioning people to ambush Khalid and kill him. Initially they fought on horses but then when Hormuz got off his horse, Khalid got off his horse and they continued battling. Then Hormuz threw his sword and Khalid in turn also threw his sword, ready to wrestle to the death. As they were wrestling, Hormuz managed to get Khalid in a hold and called out to his men who came charging, ready to kill Khalid. Abu Bakr knew the worth of Qaqa’, who was all prepared for this possibility and he rode out to intercept the men successfully.
By the end of the day, the Muslims had defeated the Persian army and taken control over the region.