Incidents From the Life of the Holy Prophet (sa) – The Expedition of Raji

After reciting Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) said that he had been mentioning the expedition of Raji’. 

His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad

Treachery of the Disbelievers 

His Holiness (aba) said that according to Sahih al-Bukhari, the Holy Prophet (sa) commissioned an envoy of ten companions, under the leadership of Hazrat Asim bin Thabit (ra) in order to gather information. They reached a branch of the Huzail called the Banu Lahyan, where they were met by 200 men of the opposing tribe, all of whom were archers. The Muslims gathered on a hill and were surrounded by the Banu Lahyan. The Banu Lahyan told them to come down, assuring them that they would not harm them, however, the Muslims were not convinced. The Banu Lahyan began shooting arrows at them, as a result of which Hazrat Asim bin Thabit (ra) along with seven other companions were martyred. Three companions came down from the hill on the basis of an agreement. The opposing tribe took them into their custody and tied them up. One of the companions realised that they were not going to keep to their word and refused to go along with them, as a result of which he was also martyred. The other two were taken to Makkah where they were sold. 

His Holiness (aba) said mostly, historians say that this party of companions had prepared to depart for their mission, however they had not yet actually left and the Holy Prophet (sa) had sent them with the Adal and Qarah tribes who had requested teachers of Islam to accompany them. It may be that having set out with the Adal and Qarah, they had informed the Banu Lahyan who had arrived to attack them. 

His Holiness (aba) said that these companions exhibited great bravery. Hazrat Asim (ra) shot arrows until he had no more. Then he fought with his spear until it broke. He then took his sword and fought until he knew his martyrdom was certain. He knew that the enemy mutilated bodies, and prayed for God to protect his body from this after his martyrdom. 

His Holiness (aba) quoted Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) who writes:

‘In the month of Safar 4 A.H., the Holy Prophet (sa) assembled a party of ten companions, appointed ‘Asim bin Thabit (ra) as their Amir and ordered them to secretly go towards Makkah and obtain intelligence with regards to the Quraish, and then inform him about their plans and motives. However, this party had not yet departed, when a few people from the tribes of ‘Adal and Qarah presented themselves before the Holy Prophet (sa), and said that many people from among their tribes were inclined towards Islam and that the Holy Prophet (sa) should send a few men with them, who could convert them to Islam and educate them. The Holy Prophet (sa) was happy to hear their request and the same party which had been assembled for the reconnaissance mission was sent off with them instead. However, in actuality, as was later discovered, these people were liars and had come to Madinah upon the incitement of the Banu Lahyan, who sought revenge for the execution of their chief, Sufyan bin Khalid, and had thus contrived the plan that when the Muslims come out of Madinah on this pretense, they would attack them. In lieu of this service, the Banu Lahyan promised the people of ‘Adal and Qarah a hefty reward of many camels. When the treacherous people of ‘Adal and Qarah reached between ‘Asfan and Makkah, they secretly sent word to the Banu Lahyan that the Muslims were accompanying them and that they should come as well. Upon this, 200 young men from the Banu Lahyan, 100 of whom were archers, set forth in pursuit of the Muslims, and subdued them at a place known as Raji‘. But how could 10 men compete against 200 warriors? The Muslims, however, had not been taught to throw in their arms. The Companions immediately ascended to a nearby hillock and prepared for battle. The disbelievers, who did not consider deception as being reprehensible, called out to them and said, “Come down from the mountain, we give you a firm promise that we shall not kill you.” ‘Asim (ra) responded, “We have no confidence whatsoever in your treaties and agreements. We cannot descend on your guarantee.” Then, he raised his head towards the heaven and said, “O God! You are witnessing our state. Do convey knowledge of our condition to Your Messenger.” Hence, ‘Asim (ra) and his companions stood and fought and were finally martyred in battle.’

(The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol. 2, pp. 363-364)

Allah Almighty’s Protection of Hazrat Asim’s (ra) Body

His Holiness (aba) said that as for what happened with the body of Hazrat Asim (ra), Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) writes,

‘In the context of this very incident of Raji‘, a narration has been related that when the Quraish received news that ‘Asim bin Thabit (ra) was also among those who had been martyred at Raji‘ at the hands of the Banu Lahyan, since ‘Asim (ra) had slain a principal chieftain of the Quraish, they especially sent some men towards Raji‘, and emphatically instructed them to return with the head of ‘Asim (ra) or another part of his body, so that they could be put to rest and their thirst for revenge could be quenched. It is related in another narration that the mother of the person whom ‘Asim (ra) had slain had vowed that she would drink alcohol in the skull of her son’s killer. However, the power of God was such that when these people arrived there, lo and behold, they found swarms of hornets and male honey bees resting upon the body of ‘Asim (ra) and they just would not budge. These people tried their level best to send off these hornets and bees, but no attempt proved successful. Finally, with no other choice, they returned frustrated and unsuccessful. Soon after, a storm of rain came and took the body of ‘Asim (ra) elsewhere. It is written that upon accepting Islam, ‘Asim (ra) vowed that he would completely abstain from anything that was polytheistic, to the extent that he would not even touch an idolator. When Hazrat ‘Umar (ra) was informed of his martyrdom and of this occurrence in particular, he said, “Look how beautifully Allah guards the emotions of His beloved servants. He fulfilled the vow of ‘Asim (ra) even after his demise and safeguarded him from the touch of idolators.”’

(The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol. 2, pp. 366-367)

His Holiness (aba) said that Hazrat Asim (ra) also became known as ‘The One Saved by Hornets or Bees’. Hence this was the manner in which Allah the Almighty protected the body of Hazrat Asim (ra).

Dire Treatment of the Remaining Companions at Raji’

His Holiness (aba) said that Hazrat Mu’attib bin Ubaid (ra) was also martyred. He was severely injured in the battle along with five other companions as well who fought bravely and were ultimately martyred. In this way, a total of ten companions were martyred. There were three companions remaining with whom the enemy made a vow that they would not be harmed in any way. However, when the companions came to them, they broke the vow and were tied up. When Hazrat Abdullah bin Tariq (ra) refused to proceed with them, the enemy martyred him as well. 

His Holiness (aba) quoted Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) who writes,

‘When seven Companions had been put to death, and only Khubaib bin ‘Adiyy (ra), Zaid bin Dathinah (ra), and one other companion were left, the disbelievers whose actual desire was to capture these people alive, called out again and said, “There is still time. Come down and we promise not to cause you any harm.” This time, these innocent Muslims fell into their trap and descended. However, as soon as they stepped down, the disbelievers tied them with the strings of their arrow bows. Upon this, the companion of Khubaib (ra) and Zaid (ra), whose name has been recorded in history as being ‘Abdullah bin Tariq (ra), could not restrain himself and called out, “This is your first breach of agreement and who knows what you shall do hereafter,” and ‘Abdullah (ra) refused to continue along with them. For some distance, the disbelievers dragged ‘Abdullah (ra) along, beating and assaulting him, and then killed him and left him for dead. Moreover, now that there revenge had been sought, in order to please the Quraish, and also in the greed of money, they took Khubaib (ra) and Zaid (ra) and made way to Makkah; upon reaching there, they sold both of them to the Quraish. As such, Khubaib (ra) was purchased by the sons of Harith bin ‘Amir bin Naufal, because Khubaib (ra) had slain Harith in the battle of Badr and Zaid (ra) was purchased by Safwan bin Umayyah.

(The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol. 2, p. 364)

Immense Love of the Companions for the Holy Prophet (sa) 

His Holiness (aba) said that eventually these two Companions were also martyred by the Quraish. Regarding this, His Holiness (aba) quoted Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) who writes, 

‘Safwan bin Umayyah took his prisoner Zaid bin Dathinah (ra) outside the Haram. A crowd consisting of the chieftains of Makkah accompanied him. Upon reaching outside the Haram, Safwan ordered his slave Nastas to execute Zaid (ra). Nastas stepped forward and raised his sword. At this instance, Abu Sufyan bin Harb, the chieftain of Makkah who was also among the spectators stepped forward and addressed Zaid (ra) saying, “Tell the truth, does your heart not desire that on this instance, in your stead Muhammad [sa] was in our hands, and we would execute him while you would be spared to spend days of joy with your family?” The eyes of Zaid (ra) began to gorge with blood in rage and he furiously retorted, “Abu Sufyan! What nonsense do you utter? By God! I would not even prefer that in lieu of me being spared a thorn were to prick the foot of the Messenger of Allah!” Abu Sufyan uncontrollably proclaimed, “By God, I have never seen any individual love another person as much as the companions of Muhammad [sa] love Muhammad [sa].” 

(The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol. 2, p. 366)

Hazrat Khubaib’s (ra) Exemplary Behaviour As a Captive

His Holiness (aba) said that regarding Hazrat Khubaib (ra), Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) writes, 

‘These two companions were still in a state of captivity when one day Khubaib (ra) asked the daughter of Harith if he could be given a razor for his own personal use, and she gave him one. When Khubaib (ra) was holding this razor, a small child of the daughter of Harith happened to come over to Khubaib (ra) playing here and there; and he placed him on his thigh. When the mother saw that Khubaib (ra) was holding a razor in his hand and her child was sitting on his thigh, she began to tremble and her face turned pale in fear. When Khubaib (ra) saw her, he understood that she was fearful and said, “Do you think that I will kill this child? Do not think this. God-Willing, I shall never commit such an act.” Upon hearing these words, the faded countenance of the mother lit up. This lady was so deeply influenced by the high moral character of Khubaib (ra) that afterwards, she would always say, “I have never seen a prisoner as good as Khubaib.” She would also say, “On one occasion, I saw a bunch of grapes in the hand of Khubaib (ra) and he was picking grapes one by one and eating them, although there was no sign of grapes in Makkah during those days and Khubaib (ra) was shackled in strong iron chains.” She says,“I believe that these were heavenly provisions which would come to Khubaib.”

(The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets (sa), Vol. 2, pp. 364-365)

His Holiness (aba) said that ultimately, the Quraish took Hazrat Khubaib (ra) to an open field in order to martyr him. Hazrat Khubaib (ra) requested the opportunity to offer prayers. He said that he had wished to prolong his prayers, but also did not want the people to think that he was doing so out of fear of death. Thereafter, he was martyred.

His Holiness (aba) said that he would continue narrating these incidents in the future. 

Summary prepared by The Review of Religions