A woman from Quraish wanted Asim’s skull to serve as her wine pot, but Allah willed against it. His corpse was washed away by swirling waters of an unprecedented flood, never to be traced again.
Asim bin Sabith was a matchless warrior. During the battle of Uhud, he fought valiantly and felled a number of equally doughty warriors from among the attacking army of Quraish of Makkah.
Uhud forms a crucial military engagement between the neo-Islamic army and the pagans of Makkah. The Quraish were keen to avenge the defeat of Badr. They had gathered a vast army and had arrived at the borders of Madinah to launch yet another assault to finish the challenge of Islam. Several troupes of dancing and singing women were in tow. Their songs were inflaming tribal passions and inciting the Quraish’s self-esteem to inflict such reprisals on the rival army that Islam could find no shelter. Uhud turned out to be a defeat for Muslims. Almost 70 leading companions of the holy Prophet, peace be upon him, were martyred. When the vanquished Muslim army retreated from the battlefield, women from the troupe began to mutilate the Muslim corpses. Some among them gouged out the eyes and sliced the ears and noses off the bodies to string them together and wear like necklaces.
Even as the women were indulging in sadistic pleasure, Sulafah bint Saad, a singer woman from the Quraish, went around the battlefield, looking for her husband and three sons Musafah, Kulab and Julas. She found her husband and two sons slain while Julas was battling for life. She took his head into her lap, tried to revive him but to no avail. She persistently asked Julas to name the killer. With intense pain and agony, dying Julas identified Asim bin Sabith as the killer of all three of them.
At this, Sulafah vowed never to rest till Asim is killed. She also asked the Quraish to bring Asim’s skull for her to serve as a wine pot. She also declared that she would offer asked-for sum if anyone fulfilled her wish.
The Muslims returned to Madinah, but the accounts of gallantry of Asim bin Sabith kept circulating. It so happened that the Prophet (Pbuh) dispatched Asim as the head of a small contingent on a mission. But they were besieged by the men of Huzail tribe when they were camping near Makkah. Huzail told Asim that they would not bear their (Huzail’s) assault and advised them to quietly surrender. Some in the contingent tried to plead with Asim. But Asim refused to surrender. Aware of the threat issued by Sulafah, he prayed to Allah: O God! I am defending your religion, you protect my bones and flesh from your enemies and let them not lay their unholy hands on my corpse.
Prayers over, Asim and two of his companions plunged into the fight. They were overpowered and slain. The other three who surrendered before the infidels from Huzail were also slain.
Since men from Huzail had heard about the reward Asim bin Sabith, dead or alive, carried, they were extremely happy at the prospect of handing his corpse to Quraish. Quraish too sent a lot of gold and gifts to be given in lieu of the Asim’s body. But when the men from Huzail tried to get to the body of Asim, they found it all covered by honey bees and insects. Anybody who got close to the body was stung profusely. Ultimately they had to give up the effort in the hope that as night draws over, the bees would disappear.
But their disappointment knew no bounds when dark clouds covered the sky. Soon the skies opened up and it began to pour. Then there was no stopping of the rain all through the night. It rained so heavily that old men testified that they had never experienced such heavy showers earlier. It was water everywhere and low-lying areas got water-logged.
Next morning, the men from the tribe of Huzail gathered at the spot to find that the swirling flood waters had washed away the body of Asim bin Sabith to some unknown destination. They sent out teams to scour the jungles and ravines around. But there was no trace of Asim’s corpse. Perhaps Allah had accepted Asim’s prayers and protected his sacred body from being the wine cask for the lady from the Quraish.