The following is an incident that occurred during the era of the Prophet and which exemplifies the great sacrifices that his companions made for the sake of this religion.
The execution of Khubayb has been detailed in many books. One such report is where Abu Hurayrah reported: “ Messenger of Allah once sent a batch of ten men as spies under the leadership of 'Asim bin Thabit Al-Ansari, who was the grandfather of 'Asim bin ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab. They proceeded until they reached Hada, which is an area between 'Asfan and Makkah, and news of their arrival there reached a branch of the tribe of Huthayl named Bani Lihyan. From this tribe, about two-hundred men, who were all archers, hurriedly pursued their tracks until they found the location where they had eaten the dates that they had brought with them from Madeenah. When they got there, they said: 'These are the dates of Yathrib (Madeenah),' and continued following the tracks. When 'Asim and his companions saw their pursuers, they climbed up to a high location, and the infidels encircled them. The infidels said to them: 'Come down and surrender; we promise and guarantee to you that we will not kill any of you.' 'Asim bin Thabit, who was the leader of the group, said: 'I swear by Allah that we will not come down to be under the protection of infidels. O Allah! Convey our news to Your Prophet.' Then, the infidels began throwing arrows at them until they martyred 'Asim along with six other men. The remaining three men were again reassured by the infidels and given a guarantee that they would not be killed, which they accepted, and then they came down. These three men were Khubayb bin ‘Adiyy Al-Ansari, Zayd bin Dathinnah and another man. When they came down however, the infidels captured them, undid the strings of their bows, and tied them up with these strings. The third (of the captives) exclaimed: 'This is the first betrayal. I swear by Allah that I will not come with you. There is no doubt that they (his martyred colleagues) have set a good example for us.' So, they dragged him and tried to compel him to accompany them, but as he refused, they killed him. They then took Khubayb and Ibn Dathinnah with them and sold them (as slaves) in Makkah (and all this took place) after the battle of Badr. Khubayb was bought by the sons of Al-Harith bin 'Amir bin Nawfal bin 'Abd Manaf. It was Khubayb who had killed Al-Harith bin 'Amir at the battle of Badr. So, Khubayb remained a prisoner with those people.” [Al-Bukhari]
The sons of Al-Harith the infidel bought Khubayb in order to execute him and thereby avenge their father's death. They kept him captive until they decided when the execution would take place. While he was held captive, he borrowed a razor from one of the daughters of Al-Harith, as in the following narration: Abu Hurayrah narrated: “The daughter of Al-Harith said: 'When the people gathered (to execute Khubayb) he borrowed a razor from me so that he could shave his pubic hair. He also took a son of mine who had come to him while I was unaware. I saw him placing my son on his thigh while the razor was in his hand. I was so terrified that Khubayb noticed this from my face. He said: 'Are you afraid that I will kill him? No! I would never do so.' I swear by Allah that I have never seen a finer prisoner than Khubayb. I swear by Allah that I once saw him eating of a bunch of grapes that was in his hand whilst he was in iron chains, and there was no fruit at that time in Makkah – it was nothing except provision provided by Allah to him. When they took him outside the Sanctuary (of Makkah) to kill him, Khubayb requested them to allow him to offer two Rak’ahs (units of prayer). They gave him permission, and he did so. Then, he said to them: 'Had I not feared that you would think that I was afraid (of being executed), I would have prolonged the prayer. O Allah! Kill them all, without exception.' Then ‘Uqbah the son of Al-Harith got up and executed him. Therefore, it was Khubayb who set the tradition for any Muslim sentenced to death in captivity to offer a two-Rak'ah prayer (before being executed). Later on, when some infidels of the Quraysh were informed that 'Asim had been killed, they sent some people to fetch a part of his body (his head) by which he would be recognisable. (This was because) 'Asim had killed one of their chiefs on the day (of the battle) of Badr. However, 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.'” [Al-Bukhari]
Overall, this story is about the battle of Ar-Rajee’, which took place at the end of the third Hijri (Islamic lunar calendar) year. The reason why this group, with 'Asim as its chief, was dispatched was that the Prophet wished to send them on an exploration mission to check upon the tribe of Quraysh. Their movements were discovered by the disbelievers from the tribe of Lihyan who pursued them. These ten Companions headed by ‘Asim reached the area of Ar-Rajee’ just before dawn and ate dates which they had brought with them from Al-Madeenah. They dropped the seeds of the dates unintentionally, as they were endeavouring to cover any trace of theirs; as a matter of fact, this is why they were travelling at night and settling during the day, lest anyone would see them and, therefore, blow the cover on their mission.
However, the decree of Allah must be fulfilled always, and it was decreed that some of these Companions would be killed as martyrs. Thus, these seeds fell from them and they were discovered.
A woman from the Huthayl tribe who was grazing her flock of sheep reached the location where they had eaten and discovered the date seeds. These seeds were smaller than what people were used to in that area, and so she immediately realised that these seeds must have been from the dates of Al-Madeenah. She therefore rushed to her tribesmen to inform them.
The men went to where she found the seeds and began tracing the hoof prints of the horses until they reached them. These Companions were taken by surprise when the men arrived and encircled them, so they resorted to a high area, which seemed to be better for defending themselves, but this tribe was known for their excellence in archery.
The disbelievers began negotiating with them and tried to deceive them by promising them security and pledging not to harm them. The leader of the group refused to accept this and justified his position by stating that these disbelievers had no fear of Allah and would therefore have no problem in breaching their promise and pledge; so he fought until he was martyred along with six of his companions.
'Asim bin Thabit said before his death: "O Allah! Convey our news to Your Prophet.” Allah fulfilled the invocation of ‘Asim bin Thabit . On that very day on which he was martyred, the Prophet, informed his companions with the news of what had happened to them.
After these men betrayed the three remaining Companions, one of them refused to go with them and was therefore killed by them. The remaining two were then taken to Makkah as these men knew that the Makkans were enraged by the Muslims and would therefore easily buy any of them who had been captured.
The sons of Al-Harith, who was killed by Khubayb waited until the sacred months had completed, then they took him outside the sacred sanctuary in order to execute him. During the time he was imprisoned, he was initially mistreated, until he said to his captors: “Honourable and dignified people do not treat their prisoners this way.” This made them stop and treat him decently; they also appointed a woman (one of their sisters) to guard him.
Khubayb requested a razor to shave his pubic hair with. While the guard woman was unaware, her son walked up to him and sat on his lap, which terrified the woman. In normal cases, a person would have used this as a means of getting back at those who were imprisoning him, or use the situation in order to free himself, but as a Muslim, this is not permitted, as this boy had not committed any crime.
After Khubayb prayed the two Rak’ahs he supplicated against his captors, as in one of the narrations: “O Allah! Destroy them all, kill them, scatter them, and do not leave a single one of them.” In another narration, there is the addition: “O Allah! I do not have anyone to convey my Salam to Your Messenger, so convey my Salam to him.” Therefore the angel Jibreel conveyed the news of Khubayb to the Prophet, .
There are many benefits and lessons that can be derived from this story, such as:
· The great sacrifice that these Companions made, despite the dangerous predicament they were in. They went on this mission for the sake of Allah whilst knowing that it was a very dangerous one.
· The scholars differed regarding the permissibility of surrendering to one's enemies. Those who hold that it is permissible state that one is nevertheless not to surrender unless he foresees a benefit from surrendering; otherwise, he has to resist until he is killed.
· A Muslim is not allowed to kill the children of the disbelievers.
· The Karamat (supernatural events or abilities) of the devout and pious are means that Allah facilitates to support them, such as the grapes that Khubayb was eating off season, as well as the bees that protected the body of ‘Asim . Another one of these Karamat is the news of these Companions reaching the Prophet, that same day. Also, in some battles in Islamic history, the Muslim army’s horses were enabled by Allah to walk on the surface of the sea. One might ask if there is a difference between these Karamat and the actions of magicians, or are they considered Karamat also? The answer is that Karamat are only granted to people who are devoutly obedient to Allah, who adhere to His commands, have sound faith, and who refrain from His prohibitions.
Conversely, magicians associate with Allah in worship and have corrupt faith; they deal with the devils and never pray, and some of them also consume intoxicants and commit adultery and fornication. One should not be deceived by these people and their acts, even if they do perform certain supernatural feats, because the Dajjal (antichrist) will also have supernatural abilities despite being a disbeliever. A pious person to whom certain supernatural powers are granted would not openly inform others about them; he would conceal these matters in the fear that his intention would become corrupted and that he would therefore fall into ostentation. Quite the opposite of this is what the magicians do; they love to show such feats to others and always exaggerate their abilities. Additionally, in most cases, the supernatural abilities that these people claim are the result of assistance from jinns, such as when they are able to stab themselves with knives, strike their heads with axes, and so on, without inflicting any harm upon themselves.
· Allah tests His slaves however, whenever and with whatever He pleases. Having ten Companions killed is not an easy matter to endure, but Allah is the All Wise, although people do not comprehend the wisdom behind His actions; Allah Says (what means): “..And [that He may] take to Himself from among you martyrs…”[Quran 3: 140] Allah wished to honour these people by granting them martyrdom and admitting them into Paradise, and this is certainly superior to remaining alive. Remaining alive entails continuously struggling in this life, whilst after martyrdom a person would enjoy an eternal joyful life; his grave would be illuminated and he would have a gate from Paradise opened towards himself whilst still in his grave. Therefore, the love of Allah for His devout slaves is the reason for them leaving this life as martyrs, as well as a way of Him honouring them.
· Shaving the pubic hair is one of the natural dispositions of the human, and this is what Khubayb wanted to do prior to being killed when he requested the razor.
· Spying on the enemy before fighting a battle is something that the Prophet, would do as it is a worldly means that should be utilised.
· A Muslim should be careful not to leave any trace behind him that could lead his enemies to him.
· A Muslim should act with dignity and pride and should not surrender himself to his enemies, just as ‘Asim did when he refused to go down and surrender to the disbelievers.
· Strength lies in one mastering archery, or sniping in our time. `Uqbah bin `Amir Al-Juhani reported: “I heard the Messenger of Allah saying from the pulpit, “Prepare to meet them (the enemy) with as much strength as you can afford. Indeed strength is in archery, strength is in archery, strength is in archery.”"[Muslim]
· One should reflect the merits of Islam by behaving nobly with others. Khubayb did so by not harming the woman's boy.
· Allah provides for whom He wills, however He wills.
· The infidels of Quraysh honoured the sanctity of Makkah and refused to kill Khubayb until they took him outside its boundaries, and after the sacred months had finished. Quite the opposite of this is what some contemporary Muslims do by following women inside the sacred mosque ( Al-Haram) and committing other prohibitions whilst in it, thereby neglecting its sanctity.
· It is recommended to offer a two Rak’ahs prayer before being executed.
· It is recommended to supplicate against the disbelievers using the wording that Khubayb used. This is quite unlike those who suffer from defeatism and spinelessness and who therefore propagate the notion of 'Interfaith', which states that all religions are from Allah and that we Muslims should therefore neither curse nor supplicate against non-Muslims. They claim that we Muslims should not fight the disbelievers, whilst Allah Says (what means): “Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture - [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.”[Quran 9: 29] This call of Interfaith is a masonic one and is one of the worst forms of disbelief. How can one dare to believe that those who claim Allah has a son, or that He is one of three (the trinity) are the same as the Muslims? Muslims can never meet half way with these disbelievers.
· A dead person is not harmed by what his enemies do to him after killing him.