The Fourteenth Narration
Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrated:
بعث النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم سرية عينا وأمر عليهم عاصم بن ثابت وهو جد عاصم بن عمر بن الخطاب فانطلقوا حتى إذا كان بين عسفان ومكة ذكروا لحي من هذيل يقال لهم بنو لحيان فتبعوهم بقريب من مائة رام فاقتصوا آثارهم حتى أتوا منزلا نزلوه فوجدوا فيه نوى تمر تزودوه من المدينة فقالوا هذا تمر يثرب فتبعوا آثارهم حتى لحقوهم فلما انتهى عاصم وأصحابه لجئوا إلى فدفد وجاء القوم فأحاطوا بهم فقالوا لكم العهد والميثاق إن نزلتم إلينا أن لا نقتل منكم رجلا فقال عاصم أما أنا فلا أنزل في ذمة كافر اللهم أخبر عنا نبيك فقاتلوهم حتى قتلوا عاصما في سبعة نفر بالنبل وبقي خبيب وزيد ورجل آخر فأعطوهم العهد والميثاق فلما أعطوهم العهد والميثاق نزلوا إليهم فلما استمكنوا منهم حلوا أوتار قسيهم فربطوهم بها فقال الرجل الثالث الذي معهما هذا أول الغدر فأبى أن يصحبهم فجرروه وعالجوه على أن يصحبهم فلم يفعل فقتلوه وانطلقوا بخبيب وزيد حتى باعوهما بمكة فاشترى خبيبا بنو الحارث بن عامر بن نوفل وكان خبيب هو قتل الحارث يوم بدر فمكث عندهم أسيرا حتى إذا أجمعوا قتله استعار موسى من بعض بنات الحارث ليستحد بها فأعارته قالت فغفلت عن صبي لي فدرج إليه حتى أتاه فوضعه على فخذه فلما رأيته فزعت فزعة عرف ذاك مني وفي يده الموسى فقال أتخشين أن أقتله ما كنت لأفعل ذاك إن شاء الله وكانت تقول ما رأيت أسيرا قط خيرا من خبيب لقد رأيته يأكل من قطف عنب وما بمكة يومئذ ثمرة وإنه لموثق في الحديد وما كان إلا رزق رزقه الله فخرجوا به من الحرم ليقتلوه فقال دعوني أصلي ركعتين ثم انصرف إليهم فقال لولا أن تروا أن ما بي جزع من الموت لزدت فكان أول من سن الركعتين عند القتل هو ثم قال اللهم أحصهم عددا ثم قال
ما أبالي حين أقتل مسلما على أي شق كان لله مصرعي
وذلك في ذات الإله وإن يشأ يبارك على أوصال شلو ممزع
ثم قام إليه عقبة بن الحارث فقتله وبعثت قريش إلى عاصم ليؤتوا بشيء من جسده يعرفونه وكان عاصم قتل عظيما من عظمائهم يوم بدر فبعث الله عليه مثل الظلة من الدبر فحمته من رسلهم فلم يقدروا منه على شيء
Allah’s Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sent an expedition of ten men as spies under the leadership of ‘Asim ibn Thabit al Ansari, the grandfather of ‘Asim ibn ‘Umar ibn al Khattab. They proceeded till they reached a place between ‘Usfan, and Makkah, and their news reached a branch of the tribe of Hudhayl called Banu Lahyan. About a hundred archers, hurried to follow their tracks till they found the place where they had eaten dates they had brought with them from Madinah.
They said, “These are the dates of Yathrib (i.e. Madinah)” and continued following their tracks. When ‘Asim and his companions saw their pursuers, they went up a high place and the infidels circled them.
The infidels said to them, “Come down and surrender, and we promise and guarantee you that we will not kill any one of you”
‘Asim ibn Thabit; the leader of the expedition said, “By Allah! I will not come down to be under the protection of infidels. O Allah! Convey our news to Your Prophet. Then the infidels shot arrows at them till they martyred ‘Asim along with six other men, and three men came down accepting their promise and convention, and they were Khubayb, Zaid ibn Dathinah and another man. When the infidels captured them, they undid the strings of their bows and tied them. Then the third (of the captives) said, “This is the first betrayal. By Allah! I will not go with you. No doubt these, namely the martyred, have set a good example to us.” So, they dragged him and tried to compel him to accompany them, but as he refused, they killed him. They took Khubayb and Ibn Dathinah with them and sold them (as slaves) in Makkah. Khubayb was bought by the sons of Harith bin ‘Amir bin Nawfal. It was Khubayb who had killed Harith bin ‘Amir on the Day (of the battle of) Badr. So, Khubayb remained a prisoner with those people.
(The daughter of Harith says) “When those people gathered (to kill Khubayb) he borrowed a razor from me to shave his nether regions and I gave it to him. Then my son went to him while I was unaware, and I saw him placing my son on his thigh and the razor was in his hand. I got such a fright that Khubayb noticed the agitation on my face and said, ‘Are you afraid that I will kill him? No, I will never do so.’ By Allah, I never saw a prisoner better than Khubayb. By Allah, one day I saw him eating of a bunch of grapes in his hand while he was chained in irons, and there was no fruit at that time in Makkah.”
The daughter of Harith used to say, “It was a boon Allah bestowed upon Khubayb.”
When they took him out of the Sanctuary (of Makkah) to kill him outside its boundaries, Khubayb requested them to let him offer two raka’at (units of prayer). They allowed him, and he offered two raka’at and then said, “Hadn’t I feared that you would think that I was afraid (of being killed), I would have prolonged the prayer. O Allah kill them all with no exception.” He then recited the following couplets:
على أي شق كان لله مصرعي
|و لست أبالي حين أقتل مسلما|
|يبارك على أوصال شلو ممزع||
و ذلك في ذات الإله وإن يشأ
I, being martyred as a Muslim,
Do not mind how I am killed in Allah’s Cause,
For my killing is for Allah’s Sake, and if Allah wishes,
He will bless the amputated parts of a torn body.
Then the son of Harith; ‘Uqbah killed him. It was Khubayb who set the tradition for any Muslim sentenced to death in captivity, to offer a two raka’at prayer before being killed. Later, when some infidels from Quraysh were informed that ‘Asim had been killed, they sent some people to fetch a part of his body (i.e. his head) by which he would be recognized. (That was because) ‘Asim had killed one of their chiefs on the day (of the battle) of Badr. So, a swarm of wasps, resembling a shady cloud, were sent to hover over ‘Asim and protect him from their messenger and thus they could not cut off anything from his flesh.
Commentary and Lessons Learnt from this Narration:
1. This narration has many great virtues of Khubayb ibn ‘Adi al Ansari. Amongst them are:
a. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala completed his sacrifices for Islam with martyrdom.
b. His taking part in the Battle of Badr. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is reported to have said:
لعل الله اطلع على أهل بدر فقال اعملوا ما شئتم فقد غفرت لكم
Perhaps Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has looked at the participants of Badr and said, “Do as you please, I have forgiven you.”
c. Supernatural wonders of fresh fruit appearing in a dry landscape with no fruit in sight for him was the direct help of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala for Khubayb radiya Llahu ‘anhu when he was imprisoned.
d. His act of reading two raka’at before being martyred was honoured by Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. Every Muslim to be killed till the Day of Qiyamah will do the same.
e. The kind heartedness of Khubayb radiya Llahu ‘anhu shines through in the incident of him not harming the child. Buraydah ibn Sufyan states that they tortured him after imprisoning him as recorded in Fath al Bari. Even though they tortured him, he did not take advantage of their child sitting on his lap with a razor in his hand. His heart was, just as the other Companions hearts were, clean with no intent of betrayal or treachery.
Dear reader, what of those who swear and revile these pure Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum? Is there anything else in their hearts but hatred, treachery, betrayal, and jealousy? Think for a moment, if this is how they treat the dead, how would they treat the living?
2. Similarly, there is great virtue for the leader of this expedition, ‘Asim ibn Thabit al Ansari. Amongst them are:
a. His life as a warrior of Islam met its completion with the honour of martyrdom.
b. His participation in the Battle of Badr. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala had forgiven those who participated in Badr as mentioned.
c. His self-honour and ability to stand firm, not giving himself over to the disbelievers, being killed in the process.
d. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala marked his life and death with a privilege of wonder. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala protected his body from the hands of the polytheists and their intent to mutilate him. The principle is: Actions are recompensed by the like thereof, and since he didn’t give over his pure body to the polytheists whilst alive, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala preserved his body, pure and untouched by the polytheists after his death. This honour after death too is the way of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala favours his close friends. May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala make us amongst his close servants. Amin.
e. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala accepted his prayer at the time of death as recorded by another narration of Sahih al Bukhari, “Allah fulfilled the invocation of ‘Asim ibn Thabit on that very day on which he was martyred. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam informed his companions of their news and what had happened to them.”
3. There is great virtue dedicated to Zaid ibn Dathinah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and the others that were martyred with him.
4. The resoluteness of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and steadfastness on their faith, together with fighting for it and giving their lives for Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.
5. The books of history have recorded a to-and-fro between the polytheists and the two Companions; Zaid ibn Dathinah and Khubayb ibn ‘Adi:
The polytheists asked:
يسرك ان محمد تضرب عنقه وأنك في اهلك؟
Would it please you if Muhammad was being killed and you were with your family?
والله ما يسرني اني في اهلي و ان محمد في مكانه الذي هو فيه تصيبه شوكة تؤذيه
By Allah! I would be pained if I were with my family and Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was pricked by a thorn.
Hearing this Abu Sufyan commented:
ما رأيت أحدا من الناس يحب أحدا كحب أصحاب محمد محمدا
I have never seen any people love anyone as the Companions of Muhammad love Muhammad.
By Allah! These were men of sacrifice, love, truth, and piety!
6. This incident is mentioned with further details in other books of history. Ibn Ishaq narrates the following in his al Sirah:
فلما أوثقوه، قال: اللهم إنا قد بلغنا رسالة رسولك، فبلغه الغداة ما يصنع بنا، ثم قال: اللهم أحصهم عددا، واقتلهم بددا، ولا تغادر منهم أحدا. ثم قتلوه، رحمه الله فكان معاوية بن أبي سفيان يقول: حضرته يومئذ فيمن حضره مع أبي سفيان فلقد رأيته يلقيني إلى الأرض فرقا من دعوة خبيب، وكانوا يقولون: إن الرجل إذا دعى عليه، فاضطجع لجنبه زالت عنه
وحدثني بعض أصحابنا، قال: كان عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه استعمل سعيد بن عامر بن حذيم الجمحي على بعض الشام، فكانت تصيبه غشية وهو بين ظهري القوم، فذكر ذلك لعمر بن الخطاب، وقيل: إن الرجل مصاب، فسأله عمر في قدمة قدمها عليه، فقال: يا سعيد، ما هذا الذي يصيبك؟ فقال: والله يا أمير المؤمنين ما بي من بأس، ولكني كنت فيمن حضر خبيب بن عدي حين قتل، وسمعت دعوته، فوالله ما خطرت على قلبي وأنا في مجلس قط إلا غشى على، فزادته عند عمر خيرا
When they tied him he said, “O Allah, we have conveyed the message of your Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, so convey to him what is being done to us.” He then made du’a to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala with the following words, “O Allah, count their number; slay them one by one and spare not one of them.” They then killed him. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala have mercy on his soul.
Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan says, “I was present on that day with my father. He threw me to the ground, terrified, when he heard the prayer of Khubayb.”
They used to believe that if a person lays on his side when a prayer is made against him, the effects of that prayer will not affect him.
Ibn Ishaq says, “Some of our companions narrated to us, ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu had delegated Sa’id ibn ‘Amir al Jumahi radiya Llahu ‘anhu to some parts of Sham as its governor. He would fall unconscious periodically when amongst the people, which they then complained of to ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu saying, ‘Our governor is afflicted by an illness’. ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu asked him of this to which Sa’id radiya Llahu ‘anhu replied, “O Amir al Mu’minin, I am not afflicted with any illness, however I was present on the day Khubayb ibn ‘Adi was murdered and heard his du’a. Whenever I think of that day, no matter where I am, I fall unconscious.”
7. This narration establishes supernatural feats for the pious. This is the belief of the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah.
8. Spying in the cause of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala is also considered as a jihad.
9. A Muslim has the option of surrendering to the disbelievers when offered protection. On the contrary if one decides not to give himself over, this too remains permissible. The former is a concession acted upon and the latter a determination to die before giving one’s life over to the disbelievers.
10. Though the polytheists betrayed Khubayb radiya Llahu ‘anhu and gave him over to those who were to kill him, he did not harm the child of the same people whilst in the position to do so. Rather he took the child’s hand and said to the mother, “Are you afraid that I will kill him? No, I will never do so.” This a great lesson that lays the law for Muslim prisoners.
On the other hand, the Qur’an speaks of the nobility of the Muslims to their prisoners:
وَيُطْعِمُوْنَ الطَّعَامَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ مِسْكِيْنًا وَيَتِيْمًا وَأَسِيْرًا
And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive,
إِنَّمَا نُطْعِمُكُمْ لِوَجْهِ اللَّهِ لَا نُرِيْدُ مِنْكُمْ جَزَاءً وَلَا شُكُوْرًا
[Saying], “We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude.”
11. The Quraysh of Makkah did not kill him right away nor did they kill him in Makkah. This was due to them waiting for the sacred months to pass and being out of the bounds of the sacred haram. The polytheists of Makkah had an immense amount of respect for the sacred months and places. Today, Muslims who claim to champion the cause of this faith carry out indecent acts in the sacred months whilst the pilgrims are carrying out the rites of their pilgrimage.
12. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala tests his beloved servants with many trials and tribulations, at times by way of being killed even, as is decreed by Him. This is all to raise their status above the pious too.
13. Showing one’s strength in Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala whilst going through hardships is a way of calling to Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, especially in front of the polytheists.
 Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 3858.
 Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 2845.
 Tabaqat ibn Sa’d, Hadith: 1623; Ma’rifat al Sahabah, Hadith: 2634.
 Sirah ibn Hisham, vol. 3 pg. 672.