Event of Mubahala

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Al-Mubahalah (Arabic: المباهلة‎) means to curse each other and the Event of Mubahela refers to a debate in which Islamic prophet Muhammad in one side and the Christians of Najran were in other side, and the call was extended to the sons and women.[1] Najranis came to Medina claiming that Isa is divine and son of Allah.[2]

The event is recorded in several hadith collections and is referred to in the Qur'anic Sura Al Imran.

In such debates, each side would bring the most informed men, hence Najranis surprised when they saw "ALi, Fatima, Hassan and Hossein" accompanying Muhammad.[3]

It is seen as one of the merits of Ahl al-Bayt and is widely used in Shia-Sunni arguments, and also used by the Shia to prove that Muhammad, Ali ibn Abu Talib, Fatimah, Hasan, Husain are Panjetan-e-Pak and most prominent among his Ahl al-Bayt.


In the ninth year of Hijra the Prophet of Islam wrote a letter to Abdul Haris Ibn Alqama, the Grand Bishop of Najran who was the official representative of the Roman Church in the Hijaz, and invited the people of that area to embrace Islam. In response to that letter the Christians sent a representative deputation to Muhammad[4]

On that occasion the discussion between them had turned to the subject of Jesus, the Messiah, and the question of what is the truth concerning him. The prophet preached to them and requested them to accept Islam. The Christians, however, remained obstinate and refused to be convinced. Their argument was that Jesus was born without a father, so he was the son of God. Thereafter, according to the traditional account on this occasion the following verses came down to Muhammad.[4]

Surely the likeness of Jesus is with Allah as the likeness of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him 'Be', and he was. (This is) the truth from your Lord, so be not of the disputers.[a]

The prophet recited the verses to them, and after lengthy discussions which have been presented in details in Ibn Hisham's Sirah[b] no agreement was reached on the position and standing of Jesus. At the end of the discussions, the prophet was instructed to suggest that the two sides engage in Mubahala[8][9] The Christians of Najran meant to determine whether Muhammad's claim are in accordance with the prophecies of their holy books. One of the prophecies was Adam's vision of a bright light surrounded by four lesser lights.[3]


The members of the Muhammad family who were expected to participate this event is not modified in some of the sunni sources while some others mention Fatima, Hasan and Hossein as the participants. Meanwhile, some of the sunni sources are in agreement with shia belief saying that Ahl al-Kisa, including Ali, participated the occasion.[10][11]

Tabatabaei has mentioned in his Tafsir al-Mizan that al-Ma'mun had asked Ali al-Ridha several questions, one of which was as follows:[1]

- "What is the proof for the Caliphate of your grandfather, Ali ibn Abi Talib?

- "The verse of our selves"; The Imam replied.

- "If there were not our women"; al-Ma'mun said

- "If there were not our sons"; the Imam said.

Tabatabaei says: The Imam argued on the strength of the word, ourselves. He meant that God had made Ali 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 "ourselves" means "our men", and as such it would not show any excellence. The Imam replied: "If there were not our sons." That is, if "ourselves" referred to the men, then why should the sons be mentioned separately? They would have been included in "our men".[1]

Verse of Mubahalah[edit]

The following verse, recorded in Sura Al Imran, is regarded as verse of Mubahalah:

Then whoever argues with you about it after [this] knowledge has come to you - say, "Come, let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves, then supplicate earnestly [together] and invoke the curse of Allah upon the liars [among us]. [c]

The commentators agree that the verse of mubahala was occasioned by the visit of the Christians of Najran who did not accept the Islamic doctrine about "Jesus".[10]

According to Al-Mizan by Allamah Tabatabaei, the shia scholar, The first "us" in this verse has a different import from the plural pronouns used in "our sons", "our women" and "our near people." The former refers to the both Islam and Christianity sides, while the other three "Our"s refer to the side of Islam only. This way, a meaningful short sentence, implies a longer sentence equal in meaning.[1] Based on Madelung interpreting the term "our sons" as the two grandsons of the prophet is reasonable and consequently the parents, Ali and Fatimah, may be included in this verse[10]

As an argument[edit]

Mubahala provided an opportunity for Mohammad to introduce the Ahl al-Bayt (People of the House) who were also given the title Ahl al-Kisa (People of the Mantle) afterward.[12] Shi'a believe this authentic hadith proves whom the Quran is referring to when it mentions the Ahl al-Bayt which includes only Ali, Fatimah, and their descendants.[13]


It was decided that they would bring their families and Muhammad would bring his family and each will curse on the liar.The next morning, Muhammad emerged from his house with his hand held the hand of Hasan walking beside him, held Husain in his arms, followed by his daughter Fatimah and finally by his son-in-law Ali ibn Abu Talib. He came and stood with this family in front of the Christian bishops who also came forward to perform the Mubahala.

The chief of the Christians was bishop Abul Harris. When he saw this small family of the Muhammad, he turned towards his fellow Christians and told them,

do not indulge in Mubahela with this family, for I am observing such pious faces that if they would order the mountain to come to them the mountain shall move towards them. It is therefore prudent to make treaty with them rather than confrontation of this spiritual imminence.

They asked Muhammad for peace and it was accepted. Muhammad extended the hand of friendship towards them, a treaty was signed and both parties left on friendly terms.



  1. ^ Quran, 3:59,60
  2. ^ As-Sirah an-Nabawiyyah, an edited (though not copied) version of Ibn Ishaq's original work.[5][6] It is now considered one of the classic works on the biography of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.[7]
  3. ^ Saheeh international translation of: فَمَنْ حَاجَّكَ فِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْا نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءَنَا وَأَبْنَاءَكُمْ وَنِسَاءَنَا وَنِسَاءَكُمْ وَأَنفُسَنَا وَأَنفُسَكُمْ ثُمَّ نَبْتَهِلْ فَنَجْعَل لَّعْنَتَ اللَّـهِ عَلَى الْكَاذِبِينَ

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Tabatabaei, Muhammad Husayn. "Tafsir al-Mizan, SURAH AALE IMRAN, VERSES 61-63". Tawheed Institute Australia Ltd. Retrieved 2014. 
  2. ^ Muhammad Saed Abdul-Rahman (29 October 2009). Tafsir Ibn Kathir Juz' 3 (Part 3): Al-Baqarah 253 to Al-I-'Imran 92 2nd Edition. MSA Publication Limited. pp. 126–. ISBN 978-1-86179-679-0. 
  3. ^ a b Linda S. Walbridge Adjunct Professor of Anthropology Indiana University (6 August 2001). The Most Learned of the Shi`a : The Institution of the Marja` Taqlid: The Institution of the Marja` Taqlid. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-534393-9. 
  4. ^ a b Zayn, Samih Atif (1379). Mohammad (s) dar Medina (in Farsi). Translated by Masoud Ansari. tehran: Jami. pp. 1091–1103. 
  5. ^ Ul-Hasan, Mahmood (2005). Ibn Al-Athir: An Arab Historian : a Critical Analysis of His Tarikh-al-kamil and Tarikh-al-atabeca. New Delhi: Northern Book Center. p. 71. ISBN 9788172111540. 
  6. ^ Wessels, Antonie (1972). A Modern Arabic Biography of Muḥammad: A Critical Study of Muḥammad Ḥusayn. Leiden: Brill Publishers. p. 1. 
  7. ^ Lapidus, Ira M. (2002). A History of Islamic Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 18. ISBN 9780521779333. 
  8. ^ Walbridge, Linda S. (August 6, 2001). The Most Learned of the Shi`a. Oxford University Press. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-19-534393-9. 
  9. ^ Tajddin, Mumtaz Ali. "AYAT AL-MUBAHILA". Ismaili.NET - Heritage F.I.E.L.D. 
  10. ^ a b c Madelung, Wilferd (15 October 1998). The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-64696-3. 
  11. ^ Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari. Tafsir al-Tabari vol. XXII. pp. 5–7. 
  12. ^ Datoo, Bashir A. (1 November 2007). Perspectives on Islamic Faith and History: A Collection of Analytical Essays. TTQ, INC. ISBN 978-1-879402-17-1. 
  13. ^ Tabataba'i, Sayyid Muhammad Husayn (1973). al Mizan fi tafsir al-Quran. Beirut. p. 311. 
  14. ^ Sahih Muslim, 031:5915

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