Students recitation ...
Long ago in Arabia, there was to be a debate between Mohammad (PBUH) and Christians of Najran. The debate was traditionally known as Mubahala, which occurred on the 10th year of AH. The prophet (PBUH) decided to participate in Mubahala and took up an invitation to meet with the Christians. During the event each side was to condemn the liar, asking God for punishment. However, when the Christian delegation saw the immaculate faces of the Prophet (PBUH) and his family (Ahlul Bait) including Imam Ali, Lady Fatima Zahra, Imam Hassan, and Imam Hussain (PBUT), they were astonished; thus, they refrained from seeking condemnation towards the prophet and his household (PBUT). They knew that the prophet’s dua and his family’s Duas (PBUT) would be accepted, so the Bishop of Najran asked the prophet (PBUH) for forgiveness and compromise.
The Historical Occasion of the Victory of Islam
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 :
this event un-questionably establishes the truth about the spiritual purity of the Ahl al Bayt (A.S.)
it proves beyond any doubt as to who are the members of the house of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.)
the seriousness and the solemnity of the occasion demands absolute purity, spiritual as well as physical in the individuals to serve in the fateful occasion for the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) to present them to God as the best one of His creation to be heard in the prayers of Truth !