in safar of the fourth year a.h., a delegation from the tribes of ‘udal and qarah came to madinah and asked the prophet [pbuh] to send a group of companions to instruct them in religion, claiming the existence of some muslims among them. he sent six of his companions, in another version, ten headed by murthid bin abi murthid al-ghanawi, or, according to al-bukhari, ‘asim bin thabit, the grandfather of ‘asim bin ‘umar bin al-khattab. when they reached a spot called ar-raji‘ between rabigh and jeddah, a hundred archers of banu lihyan clan surrounded the place and attacked them. the delegation of muslims took shelter on some high ground, fudfud, and the bedouins offered them a pledge that they would not be killed. ‘asim refused to come down, instead he fought them until he and six of his companions were killed. three men were left, khubaib, zaid bin ad-dathna and another one. once again, the bedouins offered them a guarantee of safety and they accepted. when they descended, the bedouins treacherously bound them. the third man rebuked them for their insincerity and resisted them so they killed him. the other two men who had killed some notables of quraish at badr were taken and sold in makkah. the first was khubaib who was detained for some time and then it was unanimously decided to crucify him. he was taken from the holy sanctuary to at-tan‘im for crucifixion. he requested a respite to offer a two-rak‘a prayer. after the final greeting, he turned to his executioners, and said: "had i not been afraid that you would think that i was afraid of death, i would have prayed for a long time." it was then that khubaib first set the tradition of praying two rak‘a before being executed. he then said:
"o lord! count them one by one, exterminate them to the last one."
he then recited some verses of poetry which speak eloquently of the atrocities borne by him, and testify to his faith in allâh at this hour of suffering:
the confederates have gathered their tribes around me,
and summoned all of them who could come.
they have gathered their women and children,
i am bound fastly to a lofty trunk.
to allâh alone i complain of my helplessness and sufferings,
and of the death, the confederates have prepared for me.
lord of the throne! give me endurance against their design,
they have cut my flesh bit by bit, and i have been deprived of sustenance.
they let me choose infidelity but death is preferable,
tears roll out of my eyes, though not of fear.
by allâh! i fear not if i die a muslim,
on what side i fall for the sake of allâh.
i will not show subservience to the enemy,
if lord so desires, he will bless my torn limbs and broken joints.
abu sufyan then addressed him saying: "i adjure you by allâh, don’t you wish that muhammad [pbuh] were here in your place so that we might cut off his head, and that you were with your family?" khubaib answered, "by allâh, i do not wish that muhammad [pbuh] now were in the place i occupy or that a thorn could hurt him, and that i were sitting with my family." quraish ordered ‘uqbah bin al-harith, whose father had been killed by khubaib himself, to crucify him. they also appointed someone to guard his corpse. ‘amr bin omaiyah ad-damari played a cunning trick and carried the corpse stealthily at night to bury it somewhere. it was later reported that shortly before his crucifixion, he was seen eating a bunch of grapes although there was not even one date available in makkah at that time. [in fact, it was nothing but sustenance bestowed upon him by allâh.]
safwan bin omaiyah purchased the second man, zaid bin ad-dathna, and killed him as an act of vengeance for his father’s murder.
quraish, whom ‘asim had killed one of their notables, sent someone to fetch a portion of his body, but to their disappointment, his corpse was inaccessible because a large swarm of hornets had been shielding him against any malicious tampering. ‘asim had already given his lord a pledge to remain immune against any polytheist tampering with respect to his body, and also stay detached from any contact with the enemies of allâh. ‘umar bin al-khattab, when hearing this piece of news exclaimed, "allâh verily protects his believing slave after death just as he does during his lifespan." [ibn hisham 2/169-179; za'd al-ma'ad 2/109; sahih al-bukhari 2/568,569,585]