Historical perspective of Eid-e-Mubahila 24th Zilhajj - Articles

   From Islamic occassions | From Imam Reza Site | Event of Mubahila from Tafsir al-Mizan Part-I     Part-II | Urdu Lectures |al-islam.org

The 24th of Zil-Hajj marks the anniversary of the auspicious occasion of Eid-e-Mubahila. This is the day of victory of Muslims over Christians. The event of Mubahila occurred in the 10th of Hijrah.

Najran was a fertile land located in the Northern mountainous region of Yemen about 20 Kms from Sanaa. About 40,000 Christians inhabited the land divided into 73 small towns. They were idol worshipers historically just like the Arabs but a priest named Femeon, a constructor by profession, preached Christianity in the area of Najran and soon all the population converted to Christianity and Najran became a powerful center of activities of Christians. They also constructed a church and named it \'Kaba-e-Najran\'. They prayed and offered various offerings there which resulted in an annual income of about two hundred thousand Dinars which was used for the priest who lived and studied there.

After the conquest of Makkah when Islam started spreading rapidly and the warring groups came under the flag of Islam, the Holy Prophet(pbuh&hf) starting sending emissaries to the tribes who had not yet accepted Islam. In 10 A.H. a similar message was sent to the Christians of Najran and they were offered either to accept the teachings of Islam or live in the protection of Muslims and give \'Jazia\' - a kind of fee for protection services. When the Bishop of Najran received this message, he invited all the scholars and influential people of Najran and asked them to think and find a solution to this situation. This news spread rapidly among the masses and some people got infuriated as well but the Bishop of Najran pacified them and advised them to be mindful of the military might of the Islamic regime and try to find a peaceful solution.

Christian mission heads to Madina

After deliberations, it was finally decided to send a mission to Madina and have a dialog with the Muslims. A 14 member deligation headed by Aqib Saidawar and Abu Harisa started off for Makkah. Abu Harisa was considered as the greatest Bishop and scholar of the Christian world at that time and Aqib Sadawar was the biggest strategist and negotiator of the time. When the delegation reached Madina, the people got impressed by their lavish dressing and pomp and show since it was the first time that a mission had arrived in such a manner.

When they entered the Masjid-e-Nabawi, the Prophet Mohammad(pbuh&hf) looked at the precious stones, gold and silk clothes that they were wearing and turned away his face and did not pay any attention to them. After a while when no one noticed their pomp and show, they got out of the Masjid-e-Nabawi and met Hazrat Usman and Ubaid-ur-Rehman outside and asked them as to why they were invited by the Muslims and then treated in this manner. Hz Usman mentioned that he did not have a clue about that but if they consult Imam Ali(a.s.), he would be able to tell them what was going on. They took the delegation with them and arrived at the house of Imam Ali(a.s.) and mentioned about the whole incidence to him. Imam Ali(a.s.) said to the delegation that they were wearing dresses of silk and ornaments of gold which depicted their superior mentality and that they should take them off and dress simply. Only then the Prophet(pbuh&hf) would allow them to visit him and entertain them. When they followed the instructions of Imam Ali(a.s.), they were allowed to visit the Prophet Mohammad(pbuh&hf) after the Prayers of Asar and have discussions with him.

Proposal of Mubahila

After exchange of views on several issues, the delegation did not seem to be willing to accept the observations about the incorrect beliefs of Christianity and the logical explanations proving the incorrectness of their beliefs. At that time Allah(swt) send down the famous Ayat-e-Mubahila of the Quran:

Glorious Quran Chapter 3 Verse 61:

And unto him who disputeth with thee therein after the knowledge hath come unto thee, Say ! (O\' Our Apostle Muhammad !) (Unto them) come ye, let us summon our sons, and (ye summon) your sons, and (we summon) our women and (ye) your women, and (we summon) ourselves and then let us invoke the curse of God on the liars !

Prophet Mohammad(pbuh&hf) recited this Ayat and invited them for Mubahila - praying to God(swt) to destroy and banish the liars.

Mubahila became necessary since the Christian delegation was adamant to accept the truth. After some hesitations the delegations asked to be given one day to reconsider their options and then accepted to have the Mubahila after two days. In their consultations among themselves, the grand Bishop Abu Harisa told his companions that if tomorrow, Prophet Mohammad(pbuh&hf) brings his companions and his tribesmen and military might with him for Mubahila then they should accept the challange without fear but if he brings only the members of his family, then never accept the challenge.

Whom did the Prophet (pbuh & hf) take with him

The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh & hf) selected a place close to Madina for the Mubahila which was then cleaned and prepared by Hazrat Salman Farsi (r.a.) and the next day the Christian delegation reached the designated place. A number of muhajirren and ansaar also gathered at the site. The Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh & hf) took with him Imam Hasan (a.s.), Imam Hussain (a.s.), Bibi Fatima (s.a.) and Imam Ali (a.s.) and headed towards the site in a manner that Prophet Mohammad(pbuh&hf) was leading the group holding Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Hussain (a.s.) and Bibi Fatima (s.a.) was behind him and Imam Ali (a.s.) was behind Bibi Fatima (s.a.).

Saad bin Abi Waqas relates that when the Ayat-e-Mubahila was sent down, Prophet Mohammad(pbuh&hf) called Imam Ali(a.s.), Bibi Fatima(s.a.), Imam Hasan(a.s.) and Imam Hussain(a.s.) and said \"O my Allah(swt), these are my Ahl-e-Bait\" . (Sahih Muslim, Vol.2, Page 287).

Prophet Mohammad(pbuh&hf) sat down under a tree with these weighty personalities and said that when I pray to God, you all should say \'Ameen\'. When the Christian delegation saw a woman, two children and only one man with the Prophet(pbuh&hf), they got scared and worried and Abu Harisa said \"O my christian friends, I am seeing such bright faces that if they pray that God move this mountain from its place then the mountain will be moved. I warn you do not have Mubahila with them or you all will be destroyed and banished.\"

The Christian delegation was still amazed and frightened when the brother of Abu Harisa, Karz ibn-e-Alqama stated that \"O my fellows, it appears that Mohammad(pbuh&hf) is the same last apostle and prophet that has been mentioned in our sacred books. We should not have Mubahila with them because anyone who had Mubahila with the prophets in the past as well were destroyed. Look around you and observe that the signs of your destruction are appearing.\" When they looked around, they observed that the entire atmosphere had changed and it appeared that a furious storm is in offing.

Result of the Mubahila

Witnessing this, they backed off from the contest and requested that their friendship be accepted. Prophet Mohammad(pbuh&hf) accepted their request and asked Imam Ali(a.s.) to write the agreement according to which they Najran tribes accepted to pay \'Jazia\' and live under the protection of the Muslims.

This victory is a unique one in the history of this world.



QURAN AND MUBAAHALA:    المبــــاهـله     go to top of page

 Surah 3 (Aali‑Imraan), Ayah 61:  Muhammad (pbuh) chooses Ahlul Bayt.

فَمَنْ حَآجَّكَ فِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ فَقُلْ

تَعَالَوْاْ نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءنَا وَأَبْنَاءكُمْ وَنِسَاءنَا وَنِسَاءكُمْ وَأَنفُسَنَا وأَنفُسَكُمْ

ثُمَّ نَبْتَهِلْ فَنَجْعَل لَّعْنَةُ اللّهِ عَلَى الْكَاذِبِينَ

“....then reply [O' Muhammad]: Let us call upon our children and your children, our ladies and your ladies, ourselves and yourselves,

then we pray so that Allah's wrath be upon those who are false.”


The Occasion:

      In response to the Prophet's message calling on Christians to Islam, (in the 9th year of Hijrah), a deputation consisting of a Patriarch with 20 Christian dignitaries, from a place 1200 miles south, set out as a fact‑finding mission about Islam.  Once in Medina they met with Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and as expected, most of their questions were about the Messiah Jesus (a.s.), his birth, his mother, and whether he was crucified or resurrected.  The answers of the Prophet were directly from the Holy Quran.

      The Christians were baffled and amazed, even bewildered.  They were impressed with the sincerity of the Prophet and his answers; and his fine qualities gained their trust.

      Since an Ayah for Mubaahala, i.e., a challenge with a Du'aa, had been revealed to the Prophet (pbuh), he suggested doing so in case they did not believe him.  A Mubaahala is a spiritual contest, it means that each of the two groups would pray to the Almighty asking for His damnation on those who are false (telling lies).  If Mubaahala were done, and Prophet Muhammad was saying the truth, then Allah would doom the Christian group and whatever Allah chooses to do to them would come to be!  The Patriarch agreed to the Mubaahala, and it was to be done at a certain place and time.

      A large crowd gathered for the occasion on the specified day.  Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with the 6 year old Al‑Hasan and the 5 year old Al‑Husain, each holding one of his hands, and Ali and his wife Fatima following, proceeded to the place for Mubaahala.  These four were the dearest and closest to the heart of the Prophet (pbuh).  No, the Prophet (pbuh) did not choose a wife of his, an aunt, an uncle, a Sahaabi or anyone else, instead he chose Ahlul Bayt.  Muhammad (pbuh) took them because they represented to him the very essence, the very ones, the highest in honor.


▪    The Ayah said:    Our children —and Muhammad took Al‑Hasan and Al‑Husain;

▪    The Ayah said:    Our ladies —and Muhammad took his daughter Fatima;

▪    The Ayah said:    Our selves —and Muhammad took Ali as if Ali was the self of the Prophet.

      Upon seeing this group the Patriarch became startled, even frightened! Taken aback he hurriedly consulted with his group.  It became unquestionably obvious that Muhammad was saying only the truth, otherwise he would have brought other than the closest people to him.  Thus, they reasoned that for Muhammad to call upon Allah for a curse would certainly bring the damnation and ruin on these Christians.  They knew Allah would respond to a Prophet, and by conducting the Mubaahala their lot would be ruin!

      Having thus debated the matter, the Patriarch came forth with a look of relief.  He acknowledged to Muhammad and opted for immediate withdrawal from the Mubaahala!  The Patriarch also said: “If it weren't for my obligations with the Emperor I would have right away changed to Islam!”


The Term Ourselves in Mubaahala

      For the Mubaahala the Holy Quran asked Muhammad (pbuh) to bring forth persons (in the plural) who would be the replica of himself.  The Prophet (pbuh) chose Ali (a.s.), since no one else would do, Ali was the replica, the mirror image, the very one!  This implies that Ali had the identity in reflection of thought, spirituality, action, and motivations to such an extent that at any time one would represent the other.

      Ali then is the replica of the self of the Prophet (pbuh), the true representation of him.  Ali was in the Prophet’s eyes: the figurative brother, supporter, deputy and defender.  Ali's idealism, thinking, and spiritual make‑up were a mirror image to those of the Prophet (pbuh).

      Many Muslim scholars, commentators and Traditionists whom the Ummah acclaims with one voice, have given the details of this event with following conclusions:

▪    The seriousness of the occasion demanded absolute purity, physical as well as spiritual, to take part in the fateful event.

▪    Only the best of Allah's creations [Ahlul Bayt] were selected by the Holy Prophet under Allah's guidance.

▪    It, beyond all doubts, established the purity, the truthfulness, and the sublime position of the Ahlul Bayt.

▪    It also unquestionably confirmed as to who were the members of the family of the Holy Prophet.[6]



Eid al-Mubahila from www.imamreza.net

The Historical Occasion of the Victory of Islam

In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful.

O Allah! Send your blessings to the head of your Messengers and the Last of your Prophets Muhammad (S.A.W.), and his pure and cleansed progeny.

Glorious Quran Chapter 3 Verse 61:

And unto him who disputeth with thee therein after the knowledge hath come unto thee, Say ! (O' Our Apostle Muhammad!) (Unto them) come ye, let us summon our sons, and (ye summon) your sons, and (we summon) our women and (ye) your women, and (we summon) ourselves and then let us invoke the curse of God on the liars !

Sixty chiefs and `Ulama of Najran, headed by Sayyid, Aqib, and Usquf (religious personalities) of the region in the 10th year A.H. came to Medina to clarify their religious and political stance vis-a-vis Islam which had spread over the Arab peninsula and to engage in discussions with the Holy Prophet of Islam(S.A.W.) to realize the essence and truth of Islam.

After lengthy discussions which have been presented in details in Ibn Husham's "Sirah" 573/1, no agreement was reached on the position and standing of Jesus. The Christians of Najran believed in the divinity of Jesus and considered him as the son of God. This is while, based on the explicit wording of the Holy Qur'an (3:59), the Holy Prophet of Islam(S.A.W.) considered him as a prophet and the servant of God. At the end of the discussions, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) suggested that the two sides engage in "mubahalah", in other words, to invoke divine malediction for the lying side. The following verse was descended in this regard:

"But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our near people and your near people, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars."


This verse refers to the famous event of ' Mubahila ' which took place in the year 10 A.H against the Christians of Najran. A deputation of 60 Christians of Najran headed by Abdul Masih their chief monkpriest came and discussed with the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) the personality of Hazrat Eesa (A.S.). The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) told them not to deify Jesus for he was only a mortal created by God, and not God Himself. Then they asked who the father of Jesus was. By this, they thought that since he was born without a father the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) would helplessly accept Jesus' father being God himself. In reply to this question was revealed the Verse

Verily, similitude of Jesus with God is as the similitude of Adam; He created him out of dust then said He unto him BE, and he became.

When the Christians did not agree to this line of reasoning, then this verse was revealed enjoining upon the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) to call the Christians to Mubahila. To this the Christians agreed and they wanted to return to their place and would have the Mubahila the next day.

Early next morning the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) sent Salman al Farsi (May Allah be well pleased with him) to the open place, fixed outside the city for the historic event, to erect a small shelter for himself and those he intended to take along with him for the contest. On the opposite side appeared the Christian priests, while at the appointed hour the Christians witnessed the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) entering the field with Imam Hussain (A.S.) in his lap, Imam Hasan (A.S.) holding his finger, and walking beside him, Lady Fatima (A.S.) and followed by Imam Ali al Murtaza (A.S.). The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) on reaching the appointed spot stationed himself with his daughter, her two sons and her husband, raising his hands towards the heaven said :

Lord these are the People of my House

The Chief Monk on knowing that the baby in the lap of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) was his young grandson, Imam Hussain (A.S.), the child walking holding the Prophet's (S.A.W.) hand was his first grandson, Imam Hasan (A.S.), the Lady behind him was daughter, his only surviving issue was Fatima (A.S.) the mother of the two children and the one who followed the Lady was his son in law, the husband of Fatima (A.S.), addressed the huge crowd of the people who had gathered on the spot, and addressed them saying

By God, I see the faces which, if they pray to God for mountains to move from their places, the mountains will immediately move !

O believers in the Jesus of Nazareth, I will tell you the truth that should ye fail to enter into some agreement with Muhammad (S.A.W.) and if these souls whom Muhammad (S.A.W.) has brought with him, curse you, ye will be wiped out of existence to the last day of the life of the earth!

The people readily agreed to the advice counseled by their Leader. They beseeched the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) to give up the idea of the agreed Mubahila and requested for themselves to be allowed to continue their faith, offering to pay 'Jizya'.

Al Tabari, Commentary of the Quran, v 2 p 192 - 193

The Christians were to annually offer twelve thousand exquisite clothes, a thousand mithqal of gold, and some other items to remain Christians under the umbrella of Islam.

On the basis of the "mubahalah verse", Sunni interpreters such as Zamakhshari, Baydawi, Imam Fakhr Razi and others regard `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan and Husayn (A.S.) superior to all other people and argue that Hassan and Husayn are the sons of the Messenger (S.A.W.) of Allah.

The term "anfusina" in the "mubahalah verse" proves the unity of the heart and soul of Prophet Muhammad and `Ali. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) stated: "`Ali is of me and I am of `Ali." ("Fadail al-Khamsah" 343/1). The "mubahalah tradition" has been recounted in different books of "sirah" and history with various wordings. These include those of Tirmidhi ("Sahih" 166/2) which quotes S`ad ibn Abi Waqqas as follows: "When the mubahalah verse was recited, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) summoned `Ali, Fatimah, Hasan, and Husayn and said: `O Allah, these are the Members of my Household." This tradition has been narrated by Hakim Nishaburi in "Al-Mustadrak" 150/3 and Bayhaqi in "Sunan" 63/7. Hakim regards this tradition as authentic.

The Verse of Malediction (mubahilah): "But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then, say, 'Come, let us call our sons and your sons, and our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves, and let us beseech Allah and invoke His curse upon the liars'." This milestone event in Islamic history has been narrated by all the historians, narrators, and commentators of the Qur'an and is an event which reveals the exalted status of the Family of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.).

The narrations say that a delegation of Christians from Najran came to the city of Madinah in order to meet with the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) to discuss his prophethood and the new religion he was bringing. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) proved to them that Jesus (A.S.) was the son of Mary - a human being, a prophet, and a servant of Allah, as the Qur'an states - and that regarding him as the son of God is blasphemy since Allah, the Exalted, is high above such human characteristics.
After discussing these points fully and convincingly, when the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) found them still deliberately persisting in their false beliefs and traditions - namely, the deification of Prophet Jesus (A.S.) - Allah revealed this verse which was a major challenge to the Christians to pray and invoke Allah that a curse may overtake the party that insists on falsehood. Early the next morning, on the 24th of the lunar month of Dhul Hijjah, in accordance with Allah's command, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) arrived at the meeting holding Husayn in his arms and leading Hasan by his hand, followed by his beloved daughter Lady Fatima, behind whom came his son-in-law and cousin 'Ali ibn Abi Talib carrying the banner of Islam. Seeing that the Prophet (S.A.W.) was accompanied only by his immediate family, the Christians were convinced that he was truthful; otherwise, he would never have dared to bring his dearest kin along. The Christian delegation backed away from the maledictory confrontation and agreed to retreat back to Najran.

Although other women were present in the family the Prophet (S.A.W.) at that time, all the commentators, narrators, and historians agree that, in this Qur'anic verse, "our women" refers only to Lady Fatima al-Zahra' (A.S.), "our children" refers only to Hasan and Husayn (A.S.), and "ourselves" refers only to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) and Imam 'Ali (A.S.).

Zamakhshari, in his Tafsir al-Kashshaf, narrates the event in this way:

When this verse was revealed, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) asked the Christians to the malediction to invoke the curse of Allah upon the liars. The Christians held a discourse among themselves that night in which their leader, 'Abd al-Masih, states his views as follows. He said: "O Christians, know that Muhammad(S.A.W.) is a God-sent prophet who has brought you the final message from your Lord. By God, no nation ever dared to challenge a prophet with malediction but that woe befell them. Not only would they perish, but their children would also be afflicted with the curse." Saying this - that it is better to reach a compromise with the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) rather than challenge his truth and perish - 'Abd al-Masih advised his party to stop hostilities and retain their religion by submitting to the Prophet's terms. "So if you persist (for a confrontation) we will all perish. But if you, to keep your faith, refuse (to have a showdown) and remain as you are, then make peace with the man (the Holy Prophet) and return to your land."

The next day, the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.), carrying Husayn in his arms, leading Hasan by the hand, followed by his daughter Lady Fatima, behind whom came 'Ali, entered the appointed place and was heard saying to his family: "When I invoke Allah, second this invocation." The Pontiff of Najran, upon seeing the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) and his family, addressed the Christians: "O Christians! I am beholding such faces that if God wishes, for their sake, He would move mountains for them. Do not accept their challenge for malediction, for if you do, you would all perish, and there would remain no Christians on the face of the earth till the Day of Resurrection." Heeding his advice, the Christians said to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.):

"O Abul-Qasim, we have decided not to hold malediction with you. You keep your religion, and we will keep ours." The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) told them: "If you refuse to hold malediction, then submit to Allah, and you will receive what the Muslims receive and contribute what the Muslims contribute." The Christians delegates, saying that they had no desire to fight the Muslims, proposed a treaty asking for peace. The Prophet of Islam (S.A.W.) accepted.

This historic event of a unique triumph of Islam is a religious thanksgiving festival of the triumph against falsehood. Some of the significance of this event are as follows :




But whoever disputes with you in this after what has come to you of knowledge, then sat:

"Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our selves and your selves, then let us pray earnestly and bring about the curse of Allah on the liars" (61). Most surely this is the true story, and there is no god but Allah,' and most surely Allah is the Mighty, the Wise (62). But if they turn back then surely Allah knows the mischief makers (63).[Surah Ale Imran verses 61-63]


* * * * *


Qur'an: But whoever disputes with you in this after what has come to you of knowledge: "Fa" (translated here as "But") shows that the offer of al-mubahalah (means earnest imprecation) branches out from the Divine teaching explained above so clearly and convincingly about 'Isa son of Maryam (a), and ended so emphatically with the words, The truth is from your Lord, so be not of the doubters (60). "in this": The pronoun "this" refers either to 'Isa or to the "truth" mentioned in the preceding verse. The preceding verses were Divine Revelation in which there could be no doubt at all. Apart from that, they contained a clear logical proof, that is, the verse: Surely the likeness of 'Isa is with Allah as the likeness of Adam. ..(59). Thus, the knowledge emanating from these verses is two-fold: one, because it is a Divine Speech: two, because of its rational proof. That is why this knowledge was not reserved for the Prophet only; others too could understand it. Even if someone did not believe it to be a Divine Revelation, he could not entertain any doubt about the truth of the subject discussed, because it contained rational argument which unbiased mind was bound to accept. Perhaps that is why Allah said: "after what has come to you of knowledge" and did not say, after what We have explained to them.

Another point: By reminding the Prophet of the Divine Knowledge, Allah wanted to assure him that he would overwhelm his adversaries by Allah's permission and that Allah would surely be on his side supporting him in that dispute.

Qur'an: then say: "Come, let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our selves and your selves: The first person plural pronoun in "let us call" has a different import from the plural pronouns in "our sons" "our women" and "our selves”. The former refers to the both parties of the argument, that is, the advocates of Islam and those of Christianity; while the latter refer to the side of Islam only. Accordingly, the meaning would be as follows: Let us both call the sons, the women and the 'selves' ; -we should call our sons, our women and our 'selves', and you should call your sons, your women and your 'selves'. The verse thus has shortened a long sentence in a meaningful and pleasant way.

Al-Mubahalah and al-mula'anah both have the same meaning: to curse each other. The actual parties of the argument were the Messenger of Allah on one side, and the Christians men on the other. But in the challenge for the imprecation, the call was extended to the sons and women, as it would show more convincingly that the claimant is perfectly sure of the truth of his claim, that he is absolutely right. Allah has put in man the love of his children and family, to such an extent that he puts himself in jeopardy to save them, plunges into perilous situations to keep them safe. And precisely for this reason, sons have been mentioned before women, because man loves his sons more than his women.

An exegete has said: "The verse means, let us call your sons, your women and your selves; and let you call our sons, our women and our selves." But the explanation given by us above shows how absurd this meaning is. This meaning does not leave any justification for including the sons and the women in the earnest imprecation.

The detailed description of the invitees is a further proof that the caller (i.e., the Prophet) has absolute confidence in the truth of his claim. The import of the call is as follows: Let my whole group and your whole group enter into earnest imprecation, so that both groups pray earnestly to Allah and bring about the curse of Allah on the liars. In this way, the Divine curse and chastisement shall cover the sons, women and selves of the liars, and the enemies of truth shall be annihilated completely, they shall be rooted out without leaving any trace.

Consequently, the truth of this speech does not depend on numerousness of the sons, the women or the 'selves'. The main brunt of the challenge is that one party -that which is on wrong -should perish together with all its near and dear ones -male and female, old and young. The exegetes unanimously say -and traditions and history support them -that when the Messenger of Allah (s) came out for the imprecation, the only persons whom he brought with him were: 'Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn (peace be on them all). Therefore, the only participants, on the side of Islam, were two 'selves', two sons and one woman -and yet the Prophet did fully comply with the Divine Command.

Moreover, the meaning of a word in a verse is one thing, and it is quite another matter as for whom, or on how many people, could that word be applied in practice. We find numerous examples in the Qur'an where an order, a promise or a threat has been mentioned using plural words, but the circumstances of its revelation show that it was revealed for one person only. For example: (As for) those of you who put away their wives by likening their backs to the backs of their mothers, they are not their mothers (58: 2) ; And (as for) those who put away their wives by likening their backs to the backs of their mothers then would recall what they said. ..(58: 3) ; Allah has certainly heard the saying of those who said: "Surely Allah is poor and we are rich" (3:181); And they ask you as to what they should spend. Say: "Whatever can be spared" (2:219). There are a lot of verses which were revealed with plural words, although the events for which they were revealed concerned one person only.

QUR'AN: "then let us pray earnestly and bring about the curse of Allah on the liars": "al-Ibtihal" is derived from al-bahlah also pronounced al-buhlah (curse). This is its basic meaning; then it was commonly used for earnest prayer.

The words, "and bring about the curse of Allah", are a sort of explanation for the preceding verb, "then let us pray earnestly." The verse said, "and bring about the curse of Allah"; it did not say, and ask from Allah to curse. It was an indication that that prayer would surely be granted because at that juncture it was the only way to distinguish the truth from the falsehood.

The word, "the liars", does not refer to all the liars found anywhere in the world, nor does it mean the genes of the liars. It refers to a particular group -that party of the argument (between the Prophet and the Christians) which was wrong in its claim. The Prophet was saying that Allah is One, there is no god besides Him, and that 'Isa was His servant and messenger; while the Christians said that 'Isa was God, and son of God, and that God had three persons.

This observation leads us to another reality. All those who came out for the proposed imprecation were equal partners in their respective claim. Had the claim and the resulting imprecation been between the Prophet only and the Christians, one party (i.e., the Prophet) would demand singular words, and the other, plural. In such cases, it is necessary to use an expression which would cover singular and plural both. For example, the sentence under discussion could have been written like this: and bring about the curse of Allah on whosoever is lying. But it says: "... on the liars." It proves that indeed there were liars (in plural) in one party of the argument, either on the side of the Prophet or on the Christians' side. Consequently, all those who came out for the imprecation would be partners in the claim -because lie presupposes a claim. Therefore, those who were present on the side of .the Prophet for the imprecation -i.e., 'Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn -were partners in the claim of the Messenger of Allah (s) and his Mission. 1t is one of the most excellent virtues which were given exclusively to these family-members of the Prophet (peace be on them all). Another exclusive excellence: Allah gave them the names of 'selves', women and sons of the Prophet to the exclusion of all the men, women and children of the ummah.

Question: You have mentioned above that the Qur'an uses, more often than not, plural words for singular; and even this verse says "our women" while it was only one lady, i.e. , Fatimah (a), who participated in the imprecation. Then why should the plural, "the liars", be not explained in the same way?

Reply: There is a vast difference between the two. There is a situation which may happen again and again, and there is another which is not expected to repeat itself. In the former situation, it is perfectly all right to use a plural in place of a singular, so that the rule or comment would cover even those who would be doing the same thing in future. But in the latter situation it is not allowed to use plural in place of singular, because the event is not to repeat itself and no one else is expected to be included in that order or comment, etc. Look for example at the following verses:-

And when you said to him to whom Allah had shown favour and to whom you had shown favour: Keep your wife to yourself and fear Allah.(33 :37).

The tongue of him whom they are inclined to blame (for it) is barbarous and this is clear Arabic tongue(16: 103)

O Prophet! surely We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, ...and a believing woman if she gave hereself to the Prophet. if the Prophet desired to marry her -specially for you, not for the (rest of) believers; ...(33: 50)

And the order for calling to the: imprecation could not be extended beyond that particular situation, that is, the imprecation between the Prophet and the Christians. Therefore, when Allah uses a plural, there should be more than two in both parties which were called; otherwise, the use of the plural "the liars" would be out of place.

Question: All the Christians w ho had come in the delegation of the Najran were a party to a claim -the claim that 'Isa was God, and the son of God, and one of the three persons of God. There was no discord among them in this matter, nor was there any difference in this claim between their men and women. Like- wise, the claim on the side of the Prophet -that Allah is One, there is no god but He; and 'Isa, the son of Maryam (a) was His servant and His messenger -was upheld by all the believers; it was not confined to anyone of them -not even the Prophet. Therefore, it is out of place to say that those who were brought by the Prophet for the imprecation had any superiority or excellence over the rest of the believers.

In fact, the Prophet had brought them just as examples of the sons, women and selves mentioned in the verse.

Moreover, claim and mission are two different things. Those who participated in the imprecation were party to the claim. How is it that you have made them partners in the Mission too?

Reply: Had the Prophet brought them just as samples, it was necessary for him to bring at least two other men, three women and three sons -to comply with the demand of the plurals. Yet, he did not do so. It proves that only those who came with him were worthy of being called his sons, his women and his selves -to the exclusion of all the others. Only on accepting this fact, we can say that he obeyed the Divine Order given in this verse. In other words, he could not find anyone worthy of being included in these categories, except the one man, one woman and two sons whom he brought with him. There was no one else whom he could include in compliance with the plural words of the verse. In these circumstances, he fully complied with the order, although he could not bring three persons in any category.

Moreover, if you ponder on the events, you will see that the only aim of the Christians of Najran in coming to Medina was to confront the Messenger of Allah (s) and to argue with him" about 'Isa, the son of Maryam (a). It was the Messenger of Allah who was claiming that 'Isa was a servant of Allah and His messenger. It was he who called others to believe in this claim, saying that it was based on Divine Revelation -the revelation which, he said, was sent to him. As for the rest of the believers, the Christians had nothing to do with them; nor did they argue with them. That is why Allah has used singular verbs and pronouns in the beginning of this verse, when referring to the Prophet: "But whoever disputes with you (literally: thee) in this after what has come to you (lit.: thee) of knowledge, then say (lit.: say thou)..." The same is the case of the verse: But if they dispute with you (lit.: thee), say (lit.: say thou): "I have submitted myself (entirely) to Allah and (so has) every one who follows me" (3: 20).

The above explanation shows that the Messenger of Allah (blessings of Allah be on him and his progeny) had not brought those personalities as samples or examples of other believers - because the believers, per se, had no part in that disputation or imprecation; and there was no reason why they should be offered as targets for the curse and punishment which were to come to one of the two parties (the Christians and their adversary, i.e., the Prophet). The Prophet himself was a party of that argument and it was his obligation to offer himself as the target of the calamity which could come to him in case his claim was (God forbid!) wrong. Now, there was no reason why he should bring 'Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn (a) with him, if his claim were not dependent on them also, as it was on his own self.

He had come with them for imprecation because they were the only sons, woman and self on whom his claim depended. Surely he had not brought them as samples or examples. It is now crystal clear that these personalities were his partners in his claim; the claim depended on them as it did on him.
Furthermore, the Christians had come to argue with the Prophet not just because he believed that 'Isa son of Maryam (a) was the servant and messenger of Allah. They had taken upon themselves to come upto Medina because, in addition to claiming those things about 'Isa, he had called and invited them to believe likewise. This call, this mission, was the main reason why they had come in delegation for argument. Consequently, when the Prophet came to the appointed place of imprecation, bringing with him the four personalities, it was because of that claim and that call together. Thus these personalities were his partners in his mission, as they had been his partners in his claim.

Question: We accept that the Prophet came with them because they were a part of him; and this attribute was not found in others, it was their exclusive excellence. But it appears -and normal practice confirms it -that when a man brings his near and dear ones, his women and children, in dangerous and frightening places, it shows that he is fully confident of his and their safety and comfort. His bringing them for imprecation proves only that he was absolutely sure of his truth -it does not show anything else. It is quite irrelevant to say that his action proves that they were his partners in the mission.

Reply: It is true that the beginning of the verse does not show more than that which has been mentioned above. But the end of the verse, that is, "on the liars", shows that there were surely liars (in plural) in one of the two sides of the argument and imprecation. Such expression could only be used if there were several people in each group, all making some claim -be it true or false. Therefore, those who were brought there by the Prophet were indeed his partners, both in the claim and in the mission, as was explained above. It is thus proved that those who were present there with the Prophet -all of them were parties to the claim and the mission, together with the Prophet, and were his partners in it.

Question: It follows, from what you have said that they were his partners in the prophethood.

Reply: Not at all. We have explained earlier where we have discussed "Prophethood"[l] that the Call and Propagation are not one and the same with the prophethood, although they are among its conditions and concomitants, and are parts of the divinely-bestowed responsibilities which a prophet takes upon himself. Likewise, we have made it clear in the discourse about the Imamah [2] that they are not identical with Imamah either, although they are in a way among its concomitants.
Qur'an: Most surely this is the true story, and there is no god but Allah: The demonstrative pronoun "this" refers to the earlier mentioned stories of 'Isa (a). There is a fine literary transposition in the sentence. What it says is as follows: Most surely the stories We have told you concerning 'Isa are the truth -not that which is told by the Christians.

"There is multiple emphasis in this sentence: Inna (surely) and la (surely) followed by an additional pronoun huwa (this) are all combined together to put utmost emphasis on this statement. It was done to cheer the Prophet and to encourage him and strengthen his heart for the coming imprecation, by augmenting his certainty and insight, and fortifying his confidence in the revelation which Allah had sent to him. It is further strengthened by additional emphasis contained in the next sentence which describes an accompanying reality: "and there is no god but Allah". This fact once again shows that the preceding stories are truth.

Qur'an: and most surely Allah is the Mighty, the Wise: The conjunctive "and" joins it to the first sentence of the verse.
The same modes of emphasis have again been used here. It aims at further comforting the Prophet and strengthening his heart. It says that Allah is Mighty: He has power to help the side of the truth. And He is Wise: He cannot neglect or forget this aid, because ignorance or oblivion cannot reach Him. He is not like those false deities whom the enemies of the truth have taken for themselves besides Him.

This explanation shows why these two Divine Names were chosen for concluding this verse. The sentence contains an exclusiveness: Only Allah is the Mighty and the Wise.

Qur'an: But if they turn back then surely Allah knows the mischief makers: What should be the actual aim of any argument or imprecation? The manifestation of the truth. If so, then it is unthinkable for a seeker of truth to turn back from it. If the Christians really wanted the truth to be manifested -and they knew that Allah was the Guardian of truth and that He would never allow it to be destroyed or invalidated -they would not turn back from the proposed imprecation. And if they did, it would show that their aim by all this argumentation and disputation was not the manifestation of truth; they only wanted apparent victory, preservation of the status they had and beliefs they followed, and continuation of the customs and traditions with which they were familiar. Their only goal was that which their desire, lust and greed had made to seem fair to them - and it was not the good life which conforms with truth and happiness; it was but a semblance of life. In other words, they did not want reform and improvement; they wanted to make mischief in the world by corrupting the good life. Their turning back would mean that they were mischief-makers.

The sentence uses a metaphorical device of putting the cause in place of the effect; it mentions their mischief-making instead of saying that they do not want the truth to be manifested.

The second part of the sentence refers to the Divine Attribute of knowledge, and it has been emphasized with addition of inna (surely), as it says: "then surely Allah knows". It was to show that mischief-making and thwarting the manifestation of truth was ingrained in their psyche, and Allah knows that as a result of that deep rooted trait they will surely turn back from the imprecation. And so they did and by doing so proved the truth of the Divine Words.


as-Sadiq (a) said: "When the Christians of Najran came to the Messenger of Allah (s) as a delegation -and their leaders were al-Ahtam, al-'Aqib, and as-Sayyid -and (the time of) their prayer came, they began to ring hand-bells and prayed. The Companions of the Messenger of Allah said: 'O Messenger of Allah! This in your Mosque? ' He said: ' Let them be!' When they finished (their prayer) they came near the Messenger of Allah and said: 'To what do you call (us)? ' He said: 'To bearing the witness that there is no god except Allah, and that I am the Messenger of Allah, and that 'Isa was a servant created (by Allah) , he used to eat, drink and relieve himself.' They said: 'Then who was his father? , Thereupon came the revelation to the Messenger of Allah saying: 'Say to them, "What do you say about Adam? Was he a servant created (by Allah) who used to eat, drink, relieve himself and cohabit?" , The Prophet put this question to them and they replied: 'Yes.' He said: 'Then who was his father? ' and they became speechless. Then Allah sent down (the verse) : Surely the likeness of 'Isa is with Allah as the likeness of Adam; He created him from dust. ..; and the verse: But whoever disputes with you in this after what has come to you of knowledge. ..and bring about the curse of Allah on the liars.

"Then the Messenger of Allah said: '(If you do not agree with what I say) then enter into earnest imprecation with me; thus if I am truthful the curse will be sent down on you and if I am a liar it will be sent down on me.' The said: 'You have done justice.'

"So they made an appointment for the imprecation. When they returned to the place they were staying, their leaders as-Sayyid, al-'Aqib and al-Ahtam, said: 'If he comes for the imprecation against us with his nation (i.e., people unrelated to him), we shall enter into imprecation against him, because then he is not a prophet. But if he enters into imprecation against us with only the people of his House, we shall not enter into imprecation against him, because he will not put the People of his House forward unless he is truthful.'

"When the morning came, they came to the Messenger of Allah (s) -and there were with him the Leader of the Faithful ('Ali), Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn (a). The Christians said: 'Who are these? ' They were told: 'This is his cousin, al-waisy (executor of will) and son-in-law, and this is his daughter Fatimah, and these are his sons al-Hasan and al-Husayn.' So they were frightened and said to the Messenger of Allah: 'We shall pay you whatever you are pleased with, but excuse us from the imprecation.' Thereupon the Messenger of Allah (s) made agreement with them on (the condition of) al-jizyah (tax); and they went away."

(at- Tafsir, al-Qummi)

Ar-Rayyan ibn as-Salt narrates a talk of ar-Rida (a) with al-Ma 'mun and the scholars about the difference between the Prophet's progeny and the rest of the ummah and the former's superiority over the latter, in which he, inter alia, says: "The scholars said: 'Has Allah explained (this) selection in His Book?, ar-Rida (a) said: 'He has explained the selection manifestly in twelve places -apart from the hidden (references).' Then he described those places of the Qur'an, during which he said: 'As for the third (verse, it was) when Allah distinguished His purified creatures and ordered His Prophet to earnestly pray with them for His curse on the liars, in the verse of imprecation. So Allah, the Mighty, the Great, said: But whoever disputes with you in this after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: "Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our selves and your selves", The scholars said: 'our selves means the Prophet himself.' Abu'1-Hasan (ar-Rida) said: 'You are mistaken. He only meant 'Ali ibn Abi Talib. And one of the proofs to show it is the saying of the Prophet (himself): "Banu Wali'ah should give up (their mischief) ; otherwise, I will surely send to them a man like my own self" -referring to 'Ali ibn Abi Talib.

And He meant al-Hasan and al-Husayn with "sons", and meant Fatimah with "women". So this is an exclusive virtue in which no one can precede them, and an excellence in which no man can reach them, and an honour in which no creature can overtake them, because He made 'Ali's person like his (Prophet's) own self (person) ...' " ('Uyunu ' l-akhbar)

As-Saduq narrates through his chain from al-Imam Musa ibn Ja'far (peace be on both of them), that he had a talk with (Harun) ar-Rashid, during which ar-Rashid said to him: "How is it that you say, 'We are the offspring of the Prophet', while the Prophet did not leave any offspring? And progeny is through male, not through female; and you are the children of the daughter and her child is not (her father's) progeny." The Imam said: "I said to him: 'I ask you by the right of kinship and that of the grave (i.e., of the Prophet) and of him who is therein, that you should excuse me from (replying to) this question.' He said: 'You shall tell me of your proof for it, O son of 'Ali, and you, O Musa! are their leader and their present Imam -thus I have been informed -and I am not going to excuse you from any question I put to you until you bring me a proof from the Book of Allah; because you claim, O children of 'Ali! that nothing of it (the Book) comes out from you -not even an alif or a waw -but you know its interpretation; and you advance the word of Allah, the Mighty, the Great, as your proof; We have not neglected anything in the Book [6: 38], and you are not in need of the opinion of scholars and their analogy "

"Then I said: 'Do you permit me to reply? ' He said: 'Let me have.' I said (reciting the Qur'anic verse) : 'I seek refuge of Allah from the cursed Satan. In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. ., .and of his (Ibrahim's) offspring, Dawud and Sulayman and Ayyub and Yusuf and Musd and Harun; and thus do We reward those who do good; and Zakariyya and Yahya and 'Isa and Ilyas; everyone was of the good ones (6: 84- 5). Who was the father of 'Isa? O Leader of the Faithful!' He said: 'He had no father.' Then I said: 'Yet He (Allah) has joined him with the progenies of the Prophets through Maryam; and in the same way Allah, the High, has joined us with the progenies of the Prophet through our mother, Fatimah.' (Then I said): 'Should I tell you more? O Leader of the Faithful!' he said: 'Let me have.' I said: '(It is) the word of Allah, the Mighty, the Great: But whoever disputes with you in this after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: "Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our selves and your selves, then let us pray earnestly and bring about the curse of Allah on the liars. " And nobody has ever claimed that the Prophet -on the occasion of the imprecation with the Christians -made anyone enter under the drape except 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn. So (this) was the interpretation of His Word: "our sons" meant al-Hasan and al-Husayn; and "our women", Fatimah; and "ourselves", 'Ali ibn Abi Talib.' " (ibid. )

al-Ma'mun had asked ar-Rida (a) several questions, one of which was as follows:

al-Ma'mun said: "What is the proof for the caliphate of your grandfather, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib ? "

(The Imam) said: "The verse of our selves."

He (al-Ma'mun) said: "If there were not our women."

He (the Imam) said: "If there were not our sons."

The author says: The Imam argued on the strength of the word, Ourselves. He meant that Allah had made 'Ali (a) like the person of the Prophet. (And who could have more right to succeed the Prophet than his own person?). al-Ma'mun said: "If there were not our women." He wanted to say that the reference to "women" indicates that the word "our selves" means "our men", and as such it would not show any excellence. The Imam replied: "If there were not our sons." That is, if "our selves" -referred to the men, then why should the sons be mentioned separately? They would have been included in "our men".

Hariz narrates from Abu 'Abdillah (a) that he said: "The Leader of the Faithful, 'Ali, (a) was asked about his excellent virtues. He mentioned some of them. Then they said to him: 'Tell us (some) more.' So he said: 'Verily two Bishops of the Christians of Najran came to the Messenger of Allah, and talked (with him) on the subject of 'Isa (a). Thereupon Allah revealed the verse: Surely the likeness of 'Isa is with Allah as the likeness of Adam. .. Then the Messenger of Allah entered (the house), and held the hands of 'Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husayn and Fatimah; then he came out, and raised his palms to the heaven and separated his fingers one from another; and called them (the Christians) to the imprecation.' " (Abu 'Abdillah, (a) then said: " And Abu Ja'far (a) has said: 'And that is the way of imprecation; one intertwines his hand in one's (adversary's) hand raising them to the heaven.'" Thereupon when the two Bishops saw him, one of them said to his companion: "By God! If he is a prophet, we shall surely perish; and if he is not a prophet his (own) people would save us (from the trouble of confronting him) ." So they gave up (the imprecation) and went back.' "


The author says: This or nearly the same meaning has been narrated in other traditions through the Shi'i chains. All of them unanimously say that those who were brought by the Prophet for the imprecation were 'Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn only.

Ash-Shaykh at-Tusi has narrated it in his al-Amali, through his chains from 'Amir ibn Sa'd from his father; and also through his chains from 'Abdu 'r-Rahman ibn Kathir from a-adiq (a); and also through his chains from Salim ibn Abi 'l-Ja'd, raising it to Abu Dharr; and also through his chains from Rabi'ah ibn Najid from 'Ali (a).

Al-Mufid has narrated it in his al-Ikhtia, through his chains from Muhammad ibn az-Zibriqan from Musa ibn Ja'far (a); and also from Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir from his father from his grandfather.

Al-'Ayyashi has narrated it in his at- Tafsir from Muhammad ibn Sa'id al-Urdunni from Musa ibn Muhammad ibn ar-Rida (a) from his brother; and also from Abu Ja'far al-Ahwal from as-Sadiq (a); and also from al-Mundhir from 'Ali (a); and also through his chains from 'Amir ibn Sa'd.

Al-Furat has narrated it in his at-Tafsir several traditions to this effect, which separately reach to Abu Ja'far (a), Abu Rafi', ash-Sha'bi, 'Ali (a), and Shahr ibn Hawshab and several other traditions to the same effect have been narrated in Rawdatu 'l-wa'z,in, I'llimu 'I'lamu 'l-wara, al-Khara'ij and other books.

It has been narrated in at-Tafsir of ath-Tha'labi [3] from Mujahid and al-Kalbi: "When the Prophet called the Christians for the imprecation, they said: 'Let us return and think over it.' When they were alone, they asked al-'Aqib -and he was a man of good judgment among them: 'O 'Abdu 'l-Masih! What is your opinion? , He said: ' By Allah! You are well-aware, O ye Christians! that Muhammad is a prophet, sent by Allah, and that he has brought to you the decisive word about your Companion ('Isa). By Allah! Whenever a nation has entered into imprecation with a prophet, their elders have perished and their youngsters have died. And if you do it, we shall surely perish; but, if you turn down, for the love of your religion and (want) to remain on what you have at present, then make peace with the man and go back to your towns.

"So they came to the Messenger of Allah; and he had come out in the morning carrying al-Husayn in his lap, holding the hand of al-Hasan, with Fatimah walking behind him and 'Ali was behind her; and he was saying: 'When I pray, you say "Amen" '. Then the Bishop of Najran said: 'O ye Christians! Surely I see the faces that if they ask Allah to remove a mountain from its place, He would surely remove it. Therefore, do not do imprecation, otherwise you will perish, and there will not remain any Christian on the face of the earth, upto the Day of Resurrection.

"Then they said: 'O Abu'l-Qasim! We have decided that we should not enter into imprecation against you; and that we leave you on your religion and we remain on our religion.' He said: 'Well, if you refuse imprecation, then accept Islam -you will have (the rights) which (other) Muslims have, and on you shall be (the duties) which are on them.' But they refused. So (the Prophet) said: 'Then I shall fight you.' They said: 'We do not have strength to fight against the Arabs. But we shall make peace with you that you will not fight against us or frighten us; nor will you turn us away from our religion, on the condition that we shall pay to you every year two thousand robes -one thousand in Safar and one thousand in Rajab and thirty coats of mail, (of) common (quality), made of iron.' So the Prophet made agreement with them on these conditions. And he said, 'By Him in Whose hand is my soul! Surely destruction had almost descended on the people of Najran.' And if they had entered into imprecation they would have been transformed into monkeys and pigs, and there would have erupted in the valley a conflagration of fire engulfing them all; and surely Allah would have annihilated Najran and its inhabitants -even the birds on tree tops; and the year would not have ended for all the Christians but they would have perished."

The author says: The event, nearly in similar words, has also been narrated in Kitabu 'I-Maghdzi from Ibn Ishaq. Also al-Maliki has narrated it in his al- Fusulu 'l-muhimmah from many exegetes; and al-Hammuyi has narrated nearly similar tradition from Ibn Jurayh. (To be continued)




The agreement contains the phrase, "one thousand in Safar;" it means al-Muharram of Islamic calender, which was the first month of the year in Arabia. In pre-Islamic days it was called "Safar" -the first two months were called Safar al- Awwal and Safar ath- Thdni. Arabs in the days of ignorance used to postpone Safar al-Awwal. Then Islam confirmed the sacredness of the Safar al-Awwal; so it was called, "the sacred (al-Muharam), month of Allah;" then it became known as al-Muharram.

'Amir son of Sa'd ibn Abi Waqq:as narrates from his father that he said: "Mu':iwiyah ibn Abi Sufyan ordered Sa'd telling him, 'What prevents you from abusing Abu Tur:ab ('Ali, a.s.)?' He said, 'As for this matter, as long as I remember three things which the Messenger of Allah (s) has said (about 'Ali) I will never abuse him; if even one of them were for me, it would have been dearer to me than red livestocks.' I heard the Messenger of Allah (s) saying, when he left him ('Ali) as his Deputy (when going) for one of his battles. 'Ali said to him, 'O Messenger of Allah! Are you leaving me behind with women and children?' Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah (s) said to him: 'Are you not pleased that you should have the same position with me that Harun had with Musa -except that there is no prophet after me ? ' And I heard him saying on the day of Khaybar:' Most surely tomorrow I will give the standard (of army) to a man who loves Allah and His Messenger, and whom Allah and His Messenger do love.' (Sa'd) said: 'So we held our heads high (hoping to catch the eye of the Prophet). But he said: 'Call 'Ali to me.' So he was brought (before .him), sore-eyed; and (the Prophet) put (his) saliva in his eyes (and he was cured); and gave the standard to him. And Allah conquered (Khaybar) on his hand. And when this verse was revealed: ...then say: "Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our selves and your selves, then let us pray earnestly. ..", the Messenger of Allah called 'Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, and said: O Allah! These are the People of my House.' "(as-Sahih, Muslim)

The author says: This tradition has been narrated by at-Tirmidhi in his a-Sa!zi!z, Abu 'I-Mu'ayyad al-Muwaffaq ibn Al:lmad in his Kitiib Fa{iii'il li, Abu Nu'aym in his /filyatu 'l-awliyt:l , (from the same narrator as above), and al-l:Iammuyi in his Fart:l'idu 's-sim!ayn.

Abu Nu'aym narrates through his chains from 'Amir ibn Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas from his father that he said: "When this verse was revealed, the Messenger of Allah (s) called 'Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn and said: 'O Allah! These are the People of my House." (Hilyatu 'l-awliya)

Also he narrates in the same book through his chains from ash-Sha'bi from Jabir that he said: "al-'Aqib and at-Tayyib came to the Messenger of Allah (s) and he invited them to Islam. They said: 'We are (already) Muslims, O Muhammad! He said: 'You tell a lie. If you wish, I would tell you what prevents you from (accepting) Islam.' They said: 'Then let us have.' He said: 'The love of the cross, drinking liquor, and eating the flesh of pig.' Jabir further said: "Then the Prophet invited them to imprecation, and they promised him to come to him in the morning.

When the morning came, the Messenger of Allah held the hands of 'Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husayn and Fatimah. Then he sent (someone) to them. But they refused to accept his call (for imprecation); instead they acknowledged to him (his sovereignty). Then the Messenger of Allah (s) said: 'By Him Who has sent me with truth! Had they done (the imprecation) the valley would have rained fire on them.' "Jabir said: "About them was revealed the verse: ...let us call our sons and your sons. Jabir further said "ourselves refers to the Messenger of Allah and 'Ali; and our sons to al-Hasan and al-Husayn; and our women to Fatimah."

The author says: This tradition has been narrated by Ibn al-Maghazili in his al-Manaqib through his chains from the same ash-Sha'bi from Jabir; by al-Hammuyi in his Fara 'idu 's-simtayn, through his chains from the same narrator; by al-Maliki in his al- Fusulu'l-muhimmah from the same; by Abu Dawud at-Tayalisi from the same; and by as-Suyuti in his ad-Durru 'l-manthur from al-Hakim (who has said that this tradition is correct), and from Ibn Marduwayh as well as Abu Nu'aym (in his Dala 'ilu 'l-khayrat)

Abu Nu'aym has narrated in his Dala 'ilu 'l-khayrat through the chain of al-Kalbi from Abu Salih from Ibn 'Abbas that he said: "Verily a delegation of the Christians of Najran came to the Messenger of Allah (s), and there were fourteen persons of their nobles. Among them were as-Sayyid (and he was the leader) and al-'Aqib, the second in rank and a man of good judgment among them." {Then he has described the event as given above.) (ad-Durru 'l-manthur)

al-Bayhaqi has narrated in his Dala 'ilu 'n-Nubuwwah through the chain of Salmah ibn 'Abd Yashu' from his father from his grandfather that he said: "The Messenger of Allah (s) wrote to the people of Najran, before the (chapter of) Ta Sin Sulayman [4] was revealed: 'In the name of Allah, the God of Ibrahim and Ishaq and Ya'qub. From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah to the Bishop of Najran and the people of Najran. If you accept Islam, then I extol before you Allah, the God of Ibrahim and Ishaq and Ya'qub. Now after (the praise of Allah), I call you to the worship of Allah leaving aside the worship of the servants (of Allah), and I invite you to (come under) the guardianship of Allah instead of the guardianship of the servants. But if you refuse (it), then (you should pay) the head-tax; and if you refuse (even this), then I declare war against you. And peace (be on you).'

When the Bishop read the letter, he was shocked and extremely terrified. So he sent (someone) to call a man of Najran Shurahbil ibn Wada'ah by name; and gave him the letter of the Prophet and he read it. Then the Bishop said to him: 'What is your opinion?' Shurahbil said: 'You surely know the promise which Allah made to Ibrahim about the prophethood in the progeny of Isma'il. Therefore, how can one be sure that it is not this very man? I would not give any opinion regarding the prophethood. If it were an opinion about a worldly matter, I would have advised you about it and made efforts on your behalf.' Then the Bishop called the people of Najran one after another, but all said as Shurahbil had said. Thereupon, they decided to send Shurahbil ibn Wada'ah, 'Abdullah ibn Shurahbil and Jabbar ibn Fayd, so that they might bring them the (correct) news of the Messenger of Allah (s)

"So the delegation proceeded until they came to the Messenger of Allah (s). And he asked them (questions) and they asked him, and this questioning between him and them continued, until they said to him: 'What do you say about 'Isa son of Maryam?' The Messenger of Allah (s) said: 'Today, I do not have anything about him; therefore you stay (here), in order that I may tell you tomorrow morning what is to be said about 'Isa.' Then Allah sent down this verse: Surely the likeness of 'Isa is with Allah as the likeness of Adam; He created him from dust. ..and bring about the curse of Allah on the liars.

"But they refused to agree to that (truth). Thus, when the next morning came after the Messenger of Allah (s) had given them that information, he proceeded for the imprecation to a place thick with trees that belonged to him, carrying al-Hasan and al-Husayn, and Fatimah was walking behind him; and he had many wives those days (but did not take any of them with him). And Shurahbil said to his two companions: 'Surely, I see a (serious) matter coming (to us). If this man is a prophet sent (by Allah) and we ventured to imprecate against him, there would not remain on the face of the earth any hair or claw of us (i.e., any cattle or bird belonging to us), but it will perish.' They said to him: 'What is your view?' He said: 'My opinion is that we should leave the judgment to him, because I see (in him) a man who will never exceed the proper limits in his decision. They said: 'You may do as you like in this matter. 'Thereupon, Shurahbil met the Messenger of Allah (s) and said: 'I have thought (of one thing) better than the imprecation against you.' He said: 'And what is it?' He said: '(We give you the authority) to decide (between us) this day upto the night and from the night to the (next) morning. Whatever you will decide will be binding on us.

"So the Messenger of Allah (s) returned without doing imprecation, and made agreement with them on the head-tax."

(ad-Durru 'l-manthur)

Ibn Jarir has narrated from' Ilba 'ibn Ahmar al-Yashkuri that he said: "When the verse was revealed:. ...then say: ' Let us call our sons and your sons. .." the Messenger of Allah (s) sent (someone) to (call) 'Ali, Fatimah and their sons, a1-Hasan and al-Husayn; and invited the Jews to enter into imprecation against them. Then a young Jew said: 'Woe unto you! Are you not familiar with (the story) of your brothers who were yesterday transformed into monkeys and pigs? Do not enter into (this) imprecation.' So they desisted (from it)."


The author says: This tradition supports the view that the pronoun "this" in the opening sentence, disputes with you in this, refers to "truth" in the preceding verse, The truth is from your Lord. In this way, the order of imprecation- would cover other matters too, besides the controversy about 'Isa son of Maryam. In that case, it would be another story [5] after the events which took place with the delegation of Najran as narrated in numerous traditions which supports each other, and a large portion of which has been quoted above.

Ibn Tawus has written in Sa'du 's-su 'ud: "I saw in the book Manazala mina 'l-Qur'ani fi 'n-Nabiyyi wa Ahli baytih (by Muhammad ibn al-'Abbas ibn Marwan) that he has narrated the tradition of the imprecation through fifty-one chains from the Companions and others; and some of them are: al-Hasan ibn 'Ali (peace be on them both), 'Uthman ibn 'Affan, Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas, Bakr ibn Sammal, Talhah, az-Zubayr, 'Abdu'r-Rahman ibn 'Awf, 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas, Abu Rafi' (slave of the Prophet), Jabir ibn 'Abdillah, al-Bara' ibn 'Azib and Anas ibn Malik."

Likewise (Ibn Shahrashub) has narrated this tradition in al-Manaqib, from a number of narrators and exegetes. as-Suyuti has done the same in ad-Durru 'l-manthur.

A very strange thing has been written by an exegete who said:

"The traditions unanimously say that the Prophet selected 'Ali, Fatimah and their two sons for the imprecation; and they apply the word our women to Fatimah, and ourselves to 'Ali only. The source of these traditions are the Shi'ahs, and their motive in this respect is well- known. They have tried as much as they could to propagate such traditions until it has spread among a vast number of the Sunnis too.

"But those who forged these traditions did not succeed in properly fitting their interpretation on the verse. When an Arab says, our women' he never means his daughter -especially when he has wives too. Such thing is not known in their language. Even more far-fetched is the claim that 'our selves' means 'Ali. Moreover, the delegation of Najran -concerning whom the verse is said to be revealed -had not come to Medina with their women and children.

"The only thing which the verse shows is that tile Prophet was ordered to call the People of the Book (who were disputing with him about 'Isa) to gather all -men, women and children - together; and he was to gather the believers -men, women and children -together, in order that they might earnestly pray to Allah to curse the party which was in the wrong regarding its claim about 'Isa (a).

"Such thing would prove that the Prophet had strong conviction of the truth of his claim and had utmost confidence in it. And likewise, the desistence of those who were challenged to imprecation -the Christians or other People of the Book - would show that they had no confidence in their own claim and were disputing not for the purpose of ascertaining the truth; their belief was shaky and they had no clear proofs. How can a believer in Allah agree to gather such a group -consisting of the truthful ones and the liars -in one place to fix their attention to Allah asking for His curse, to pray to remove the liars from His mercy? Can anyone be more daring than such a person? Can anything be more mocking to the Divine Power and Majesty than this?

"The Prophet and the believers had full confidence in the truth of what they believed about 'Isa (a). It may be understood from the words of Allah, after what has come to you of knowledge; because knowledge in matters of belief means certainty only.

"The words of Allah, let us call our sons and your sons..., may be interpreted in either of the two ways:

"First: Each group should call the other; you should call our sons and we should call your sons and likewise about the other two categories of women and selves.

"Second: Each group should call his family. We, the Muslims, should call our sons, women and ourselves, and you should do likewise with your family.

"There is no difficulty in either case in calling the' selves'. The difficulty arises when this phrase is restricted to one person, as the Shi'ahs and their followers do."

COMMENT: This is such a non-sense that no knowledgeable person would ever like to write it in academic books; and perhaps someone might venture to say that we have wrongly attributed it to such a renowned man! Yet, we have quoted it in full to show how Iowa man can sink in misapprehension and jaundiced views because of his bias and prejudice. He goes on demolishing what he had earlier built, and reconfirms what he had rejected before, without caring or even knowing what he was doing. Also, we wanted evil to be known to all, so that they could protect themselves from it.

We may comment on this talk in two ways:-

1. To show that the verse proves utmost excellence and superiority of 'Ali (a). But it is a subject more appropriate for the books of theology, and is not so much related to our subject, that is, explanation of the meanings of the Qur'anic verses.

2. To review what the above exegete has written about the meaning of the verse of imprecation and concerning the traditions showing what had happened between the Prophet and the Christians of Najran. This comes within the purview of exegesis, and we shall deal with it here.

You have already seen what the verse means. Arid the numerous traditions (which support each other), quoted by us, perfectly fit the meaning of the verse. If you ponder on what we have written earlier, you will see where and how his innovated "proof" has gone wrong, and at what points his blinkered vision has made him stumble. Here are some details:

He says: "The source of these traditions are the Shi'ahs, and their motive in this respect is well-known. They have tried as much as they could to propagate such traditions until it has spread among a vast number of the Sunnis too." This he says after admitting that the traditions are unanimous! Would that I knew which traditions he speaks about. Does he mean the above-mentioned traditions which support and strengthen each other, which the scholars of traditions have unanimously accepted and narrated? They are not one, two or three; they are countless in number. The traditionalists have quoted them with one voice; the compilers of traditions have written them in their books, including Muslim and at- Tirmidhi in their collections of' correct' traditions; and the historians have confirmed them by describing the events in a similar way. The exegetes of the Qur'an have unanimously quoted and copied them, without expressing any doubt or levelling any objection against them -and there are among them stalwarts of traditions and history, like at-Taban, Abu'l-Fida', Ibn Kathir and as-Suyuti etc.

And who were those Shi'ahs .who were the source of this story? Does he mean those companions who narrated it in the first place? Like Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas, Jabir ibn 'Abdillah, 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas and others? Or the disciples of the companions who took this tradition from them and conveyed it to others? Like Abu -Salih, al-Kalbi, as-Suddi, ash-Sha'bi and others? Does he want to say that those companions and their disciples became Shi'ahs -just because they narrated a tradition which he does not like? It is these companions and disciples, together with other like them -who are the final links in the chains of the narrators of the Prophet's traditions. Discard them, and you will be left neither with any tradition nor any biography of the Prophet. How can a Muslim -nay, even a non- Muslim researcher -aspire to know the details of the Prophet's message, if he rejects the traditions? How can he know the teachings and laws brought by the Messenger of Allah? The Qur'an clearly upholds the authority of the sayings and actions of the Prophet; and declares that the religion is based on his life. Reject the authority of the traditions and you have lost the Qur'an as well; there will remain no trace of the Divine Book, nor will there be any fruit of this revelation.

Or perhaps he thinks that the Shi'ahs have interpolated and surreptitiously inserted these traditions in the books of traditions and history? But then the problem, instead of going away, would rather increase and be more overwhelming: the tradition will lose its authority and the shari'ah will be nullified.

He says: "They apply the word our women to Fatimah and our selves to Ali." Probably he wants to say that according to the Shi'ahs, the words our women and our selves literally mean only Fatimah and 'Ali respectively. Perhaps he got the idea from an earlier quoted tradition in which Jabir said: "Ourselves refers to the Messenger of Allah and 'Ali; ...and our women to Fatimah." But obviously he has not understood its meaning.

The traditions do not say so. They only mean that because the Prophet when acting on the verse, did not bring (any other person for imprecation) except 'Ali and Fatimah, it made it clear that she was the only one worthy of being included in the category our women, as he was the only one qualified for the category ourselves; and likewise al-Hasan and al-Husayn were the only two for the category our sons. The words: sons, women and selves taken together meant the family. Therefore, these four were the family of the Messenger of Allah and his closest relatives, as we have seen in some traditions that he (s) said after coming with them at the appointed place: "O Allah! These are the people of my house." The sentence implies: I did not find anyone whom I could call, except these four.

That this is the correct explanation may be seen in the wording of some traditions which say: "ourselves refers to the Messenger of Allah and 'Ali." It clearly shows that the tradition aims at describing who had come under which category -not at explaining the literal meaning of the words.

He says: "But those who forged these traditions did not succeed in properly fitting their interpretation on the verse. When an Arab says our women he never means his daughter - especially when he has got wives too. Such thing is not known in their language. Even more far-fetched is the claim that our selves means 'Ali."

First he has given an imaginary meaning to the traditions, then he uses it as an excuse to discard all those narrations -in spite of their numerousness, in spite of their great number. Then he discredits its narrators and all those who have accepted them by accusing them of the crime of Shi'ism! Had he been a true seeker of knowledge, he should have studied the books of exegesis, and remembered the vast multitude of the masters of eloquence and authorities of rhetorics, since they have quoted and written these traditions in their books of exegesis and other subjects without any hesitation, without any objection.

Look at the author of Tafsiru 'l-Kashshaf. He is a recognized authority on Arabic--language, grammar and literature. He has often pronounced judgment on various recitations of the Qur'an, showing why a certain recitation was not in keeping with the norms of language or usage. And see what he has to say about this verse: "And this verse contains a proof -unsurpassed in strength -of the excellence of the people of the mantle, peace be on them. And there is in it a clear proof of the truth of the prophethood of the Prophet, because nobody -either a supporter or an antagonist has ever narrated that they (the Christians) answered that call (for imprecation)."

How come that those giants of rhetorics and champions of literature could not realize that these traditions -in spite of their vast multitude and their repeated narrations in the books of traditions -accuse the Qur'an of using incorrect expression by employing a plural (women) for one woman only?

Not, by my life! This exegete is in fact confused; he does not know the difference between the literal meaning of a word and its application. Obviously, his thinking goes like this: " Allah said to His Prophet, But whoever disputes with you in this after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: 'Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our selves and your selves. ..' Now if we admit that the disputers at that time were the delegates of Najran numbering according to some traditions, fourteen men; and that there were no women or children with them; and if after that we admit that when the Messenger of Allah (s) went for the imprecation, he had with him only: 'Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, then the phrase, whoever disputes with you, would literally mean the delegation of Najran; our women would mean one woman; our selves would mean one 'self' ; and your sons and your women would become words without meaning because there were neither women nor sons in that delegation! "

I wonder why he forgot to add that it would also mean use of our sons (a plural, meaning at least three sons) for only two sons, because it is more repugnant than the use of plural for singular. Since post-classical period, people have been using plural in place of singular -although such use is not found in the classical Arabic, except when done as a mark of respect. But the use of plural for dual is an unheard of thing -it has no justification at all. However, it was this trend of thought which led him to discard all these traditions, saying that they were forged. But he has completely misunderstood the talk.

The fact is that an eloquent talk conforms with the situation which it is related to, and throws light on what in a given context is important to explain. Sometimes the talk is between two strangers, neither knowing the other's life condition. Then they use normal expressions which are applied in general talk. Suppose two groups are facing each other; one of them wants the other to know that their conflict is deep-rooted, and that the whole tribe, men and women, elders and youngsters -shall continue the fight till the last. In such a situation, he will say: We shall fight you with our men, women and children. Now this sentence is based on the assumption that normally and naturally a tribe does have women and children. The statement aims at making it clear to the enemy that the speaker's tribe is one in its determination to fight against their adversary .On the other hand, if he were to say, 'We shall fight against you with our men, a woman and two sons', it would be a superfluous detail, uncalled for in this context -unless there be some good reason for it in a particular situation.

But when the talk is between friends who know each other's family, then it may be couched in general terms. For example, one may say while inviting the other to his home: We are at your service -we ourselves as well as our women and children. Or, he may wish to be more specific and say: All of us will be at your service -the men, the daughter and the two children.

In short, normal way of expression is one thing and its application on real facts is another matter. Sometimes they may coincide, at other times they may be different. If a man speaks in normal and general terms and then it appears that the real situation is different, he is not accused of telling a lie.

This verse is based on the same principal. Accordingly the words, ...then say: "Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our selves and your selves ...", means as follows: Tell them that you are coming with your closest relatives who are your partners in your claim and knowledge and invite them to come with their closest relatives. Thus, the verse proceeds in the normal way assuming that the Messenger of Allah had in his family men, women and sons, and the Christian delegates had likewise men, women and sons in their families; it was a challenge couched in general and usual terms. But when the time came to act on that challenge, it was found that the Prophet did not have any men, women and sons except one man, one woman and two sons, while his adversaries had no woman or son with them -there were only men in their group. But this difference in implementation did not falsify the challenge. That is why when the Prophet came out with one man, one woman and two sons, the Christians did not accuse him of lying or of not fulfilling the conditions; nor did they cover their refusal by saying that the Prophet had told them to bring their women and sons which they did not have with them at that time and therefore they were unable to enter into imprecation. Also, it was because of this that those who heard this story never imagined that it was a forgery.

The above explanation also shows the absurdity of his assertion where he says: "Moreover, the delegation of Najran -concerning whom the verse is said to be revealed -had not come to Medina with their women and children."

He says: "The only thing which the verse shows is that the Prophet was ordered to call the People of the Book (who were disputing with him about 'Isa) to gather all -men, women and children -together; and he was to gather the believers -men, women and children -together; in order that they might earnestly pray to Allah to curse the party which was in the wrong in its claim about 'Isa ...How can a believer in Allah agree to gather such a group -consisting of the truthful ones and the liars -in one place to fix their attention to Allah asking for His curse, to pray to remove the liars from His mercy? Can anyone be more daring than such a person? Can anything be more mocking to the Divine Power and Majesty than this? "

In short, the verse invites both parties to gather together with their "selves", their women and their sons in one place and then to earnestly pray for Allah's curse on the liars. Now let us find out what is the meaning of this gathering which he talks about.

Was it a call to gather together all the believers and all the Christians? But the believers at that time [6] included all, or almost all, Arabs of the tribes of Rabi'ah and Mudar residing from Yemen and Hijaz to Iraq and beyond. And the Christians included those in Najran (then forming a part of Yemen), Syria and the regions around the Mediterranean Sea; the Romans and the Franks, as well as the people of the Britain, Austria and other places.

Such a vast multitude of people, scattered from the East to the West, must have exceeded millions upon millions, counting men, women and children all together. There can be no doubt whatsoever in the mind of a sane person that it was almost impossible for all of them to gather in one place. Normal ways and means reject such a proposition altogether. If the Qur'an had offered this proposal then it had asked for an impossible. It would mean that the Prophet was offering a conditional proof for the authenticity of his claim -and the condition, on which it depended, was an impossible one! It would have given an excuse -a valid excuse -to the Christians not to accept his call of imprecation; in fact it would have been more damaging to his claim, rather than weakening their case.

Or, does he mean that it was a call to gather from both groups only those who were present thereby -the believers of Medina and nearby places, and the Christians of Najran and the places in its vicinity? This alternative -although less absurd than the preceding one -was no less impossible. Who was capable that day of gathering all the residents of Medina and Najran and their neighboring places, not leaving a single woman and child out, in one place for the intended imprecation? Such proposal would have been an admission that the truth was impossible to prove, because the proof depended on an impossible condition.

Or, was it a call covering only those who were actively engaged in the disputation and arguments? That is, the Prophet and the believers around him, and the delegation of the Christians of Najran. But then his own objection would boomerang: "Moreover, the delegation of Najran -concerning whom the verse is said to be revealed -had not come to Medina with their women and children." So the problem would not go away.

Further he says: "The Prophet and the believers had full confidence in the truth of what they believed about 'Isa (a). It may be understood from the words of Allah, after what has come to you of knowledge," because knowledge in matters of belief means certainty only."

It is true that the knowledge, as used in this verse, means certainty. But would that I knew where does it say that the believers were sure of the truth of their belief concerning 'Isa? The verse does not speak about anyone except the Prophet in singular pronouns: But whoever disputes with you (lit. thee) in this after what has come to you (lit. thee) of knowledge, then say (lit. say thou). And there was no reason why the verse should have addressed anyone except the Prophet alone; the Christians' delegation had only one aim before their eyes -to dispute and argue with the Prophet. It was not their intention to meet the believers; they had not argued at all with the believers, nor had the believers spoken to them.

If the verse shows at all that anyone other than the Prophet had attained knowledge and certainty, it does so about those whom the Prophet had brought with himself for imprecation, as we have inferred from the words, and bring about the curse of Allah on the liars"

On the other hand, the Qur'an shows that not all the believers had attained knowledge and certainty. For example :

And most of them do not believe in Allah without associating others (with Him) (12:106). Here Allah announces their polytheism. How can polytheism co-exist with certainty?

And when the hypocrites and those in whose heart was a disease began to say: "Allah and His Messenger did not promise us (victory) but only to deceive II ( 33 : 12).

And those who believe say: "Why has not a chapter been revealed?" But when a decisive chapter is revealed, and fighting is mentioned therein you see those in whose hearts is a disease look to you with the look of one fainting because of death. Woe to them then! ...Those it is whom Allah has cursed so He has made them deaf and blinded their eyes

(47:20- 23).


7 Urdu Lectures on Mubahila & background

Most of us have heard and know about Mubahila in Madina between Holy Prophet (saw) and Christian leaders of Najran. Lot of us don’t know what happened in Najran before they decided to come to Madina. There was a very interesting meeting held for four days in Najran in which Religious, Political leaders and scholars were invited to discuss on the letter they had received from Holy Prophet (saw). This was a very interesting meeting in which a great debate took place where one will learn:

If you want to know what happened in these four days than listen to the speech # 172 through 179 of Seerat-e-Rasul series of Moulana Sadiq Hasan available at the following link (speeches are in Urdu).




Extract from http://www.al-islam.org/fatimahrolemodel/4.htm

The verse of Mubahalah (challenge)

This is: 'And unto him who disputeth with thee therein, after the knowledge hath come unto thee, Say! 'come ye, let us summon our sons and your sons, and our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves and then let us invoke and lay the curse of God on the liars!' (Qur'an 3:61)

Here, all commentators agree that our women refers to Fatimah al-Zahra (as), and that this is as the Messenger of Allah (sawa) wanted it and showed it practically.

In the story of this dialogue which the Prophet (sawa) commanded with some Christians, the Prophet (sawa) took a new route to deal with the situation when the dialogue reached a dead end, and it is this method of challenging which the verse tells us about.

The narration of the great Ali bin Ibrahim al-Qommi, from Imam al-Sadiq (as) says that: 'The Christians of Najran came (as a delegation) to the Messenger of Allah.... They prayed using the bell; the Prophet's companion objected: O Messenger of Allah! This in your mosque? He said: Leave them (to pray as they like). When they finished they came to the Prophet (sawa) and said: To what do you call? He said: To bear witness that there is no God but Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah and that 'Isa (Jesus) (as) is created a slave (of Allah), and eats, drinks and excretes. They said: Then who is his father? The revelation was then revealed to the Messenger of Allah (sawa) saying: Say to them - what do you say about Adam, has he been created a slave (of Allah), eating, drinking, excreting and marrying? So the Prophet (sawa) asked them and they replied: yes. He asked them: Then who is his father? They could not answer, so Allah revealed: Verily, the similitude of Jesus with God is as the similitude of Adam; He created him out of dust, then said He unto him BE, and he became' (Qur'an 3:59) and 'And unto him who disputeth with thee... let us invoke and lay the curse of God on the liars!' The Messenger of Allah (sawa) said: So, challenge me: if I am telling the truth the curse falls unto you, and if I am a liar the curse falls unto me. They said: You are speaking in justice.

They agreed on a date for mubahalah (challenge). When they returned to the places they were staying in, their leaders al-Sayyid, al-'Aqib and al-Ahtam said: If he challenged us with his people, we accept the challenge for he is not a prophet; but if he challenges us with his family in particular we don't challenge him, for he is not going to push forward his family unless he is truthful. In the morning, they came to the Messenger of Allah (sawa) and with him the Commander of the Faithful, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husain (as), so the Christians said: Who are those? The people replied: This is his cousin and successor and son-in-law, and this is his daughter Fatimah, and these are his sons al-Hasan and al-Husain. So they became frightened and said to the Messenger of Allah (sawa): We give you the satisfaction, so give us leave from the challenge.'

Al-Qummi commentary, vol.1, p. 104; Sahih Muslim, vol. 4, p. 1871; Sunan al-Turmuthi, vol. 5, p. 638; Shawahid al-Tanzeel, vol. 1, p. 155; al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah, p. 148; al-Kamil fil Tareekh, vol. 2, p. 393.

......'and our women': those amongst women who represent the nearest position to my humanistic and spiritual affiliation in my life, and here I put forward my daughter Fatimah, the Doyenne of the Women of the World, who is 'part of me' and 'Allah becomes angry for her anger and satisfied for her satisfaction' in this great challenge so as to prove that I am absolutely sure about the truth of my call, for man does not put forward his most beloved people to the places of danger unless he is certain of safety.


“To those that argue with you concerning Jesus after the knowledge you have received say: ‘Come, let us gather our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves. We will pray together and call down the curse of Allah on every liar’.” [Glorious Quran Chapter 3 verse 61]

In the year 9AH Prophet Mohamed (SAW) wrote to the heads of different tribes and countries of the world inviting them to Islam. One of the letters was written to the Christian community of Najran. A  large delegation was appointed to go to meet the Prophet (SAW).

Warmly welcomed by the Prophet (SAW). they were put up in one part of the mosque where they were allowed to perform their prayers comfortably. They asked the Prophet (SAW). What he thought of Jesus and he said: “He was a human being created by God and was a prophet.”

“Have you ever seen any child born in this world without a father?” they asked. The Prophet (SAW) replied: “Jesus is like Adam in the sight of Allah. He created him from dust and then said to him 'be' and he was.”  [Glorious Quran Chapter 3 verse 59]

They could not answer his argument, but continued to debate the issue. Then the ayah (verse) inviting them to a “Mubahila” was revealed. When real arguments fail to produce the desired effect, then to wish for the intervention of Allah’s judgement in order to sift the right from wrong, is called Mubahila.

The Christians of Najran accepted the challenge and at the appointed hour arrived at the place where the Mubahila was going to take place. There they saw the Ahlul Kisa, the family of the Prophet: The Prophet (SAW), Imam Ali (AS) Imam Hassan (AS) and Imam Husain (AS) and Sayyida Fatima (AS) and immediately their leader Abu Harith said:

“I see such faces that if they raise their hands in supplication and pray to God that the biggest mountain may be moved from its place, the same will happen immediately. We should in no circumstance engage in a Mubahila with these sacred people because it is possible that not even one of us may remain alive on the face of the earth.”  They withdrew from the Mubahila.

Mubahila confirmed

1. The Superiority of Islam over other Revealed Religions

2. The Prestige of the five holy personalities in the eyes of Allah swt

3. Who are the 'Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet (pbuh)'

4. The relationship of Al-Qur'an and the Ahlul Bayt a.s., and

5. Islam, Qur'an, Ahlul Bayt and Pleasure of Allah swt - are different names for one and the same thing