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- See also: Mubahala
Al-Mubāhala verse (Arabic: آية المباهلة) is verse 61 of Sura Al 'Imran which is about the Prophet's (s) encounter with Christians of Najran. Shi'ite and some Sunni exegetes have considered this verse as a merit for ashab al-kisa' especially Imam 'Ali (a). Imam Ali (a) has been introduced as the soul of the Prophet (s). Imam al-Rida (a) has considered this verse as the greatest merit for Imam Ali (a) in the Holy Qur'an.
فَمَنْ حَاجَّكَ فِيهِ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْا نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءَنَا وَأَبْنَاءَكُمْ وَنِسَاءَنَا وَنِسَاءَكُمْ وَأَنْفُسَنَا وَأَنْفُسَكُمْ ثُمَّ نَبْتَهِلْ فَنَجْعَلْ لَعْنَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَى الْكَاذِبِينَ
Should anyone argue with you concerning him (Jesus), after the knowledge that has come to you, say, 'Come! Let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, our souls and your souls, then let us pray earnestly and call down Allah's curse upon the liars.'
|— Quran, 3:61|
Occasion of Revelation
Shi'a and Sunni commentators believe that this verse is about the debate between the Prophet (s) and the Christians of Najran in which they insisted on their idea that Jesus is one of the three personifications of God and that they did not accept the revelation of the Qur'an which referred to Jesus as merely a pious servant and a messenger of God. Once they rejected the arguments proposed by the Holy Prophet (s), he invited them to attend Mubahala (a mutual curse).
Sunni commentators such as al-Zamakhshari, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, al-Baydawi, etc. have said that "Abna'ana" ["our sons"] in the verse refers to al-Hasan (a) and al-Husayn (a), "Nisa'ana" ["our women"] refers to Fatima al-Zahra (a) and "Anfusana" ["our souls"] refers to Imam 'Ali (a), i.e. the four people who accompanied the Prophet (s) form the five Ashab al-Kisa'.
Having seen the sincerity and valor of the Prophet (s) and those who accompanied him, the Christians of Najran became fearful of divine punishment and did not accept Mubahala. They made peace with the Prophet (s) and asked him to let them remain Christian and pay Jizya and the Prophet (s) accepted.
Although Mubahala was primarily between the Prophet (s) and Christian men, but then children and women were also brought to Mubahala to prove the claim of the caller, thus, the Prophet (s) brought his most beloved ones to Mubahala.
In addition, 'Allama Tabata'i has mentioned another aspect for the involvement of the Prophet's (s) family that: It is as if the Prophet (s) intends the parties to curse each other and to wish for the divine punishment for the other party so that the curse would include women, children and souls too, so that the enemies would be eradicated.
Based on this view, it was not necessary for the parties to be more than two people so that the plural pronouns could be used in the verse, because according to the above opinion, the plural pronoun means that through mutual cursing the wrong party would be uprooted completely. Exegetes, narrators and historical reports unanimously maintain that the Prophet (s) took no one else to Mubahala except for 'Ali (a), Fatima (a), al-Hasan (a) and al-Husayn (a), so the souls were two [the Prophet (s) and 'Ali (a)], the "women" was one [Fatima (a)], and the sons were two [al-Hasan (a) and al-Husayn (a)] through which the divine order was fulfilled. Also, other verses are found in the Qur'an which refer to one person while the verbal reference is plural, such as the Zihar verse in Sura al-Mujadala.
In the comments for this verse in his al-Kashshaf, al-Zamakhshari says that: "Bringing children and women to Mubahala showed more confidence than going alone; because the Prophet (s) brought his most beloved ones to the war which was supposed to inflict the curse upon each of the parties and God mentions them [sons and women] prior to the selves to show their importance over one's own self." Then al-Zamakhshari says, "This is a proof for the eminence of Ashab al-Kisa' and there is no stronger reason than that."
Its Relation to al-Bara'a Verse
- Main article: al-Bara'a Verse
When the Bara'a verses addressing the polytheists of Mecca were revealed, Holy Prophet (s) initially appointed Abu Bakr to proclaim these verses to the polytheists of Mecca. However, Gabriel brought a message from God to the Prophet (s) that: these verses should be proclaimed either by you or someone who belongs to you. Therefore, the Prophet (s) appointed Imam 'Ali (a) who was introduced as the soul of the Prophet (s) in al-Mubahala Verse to proclaim these verses.
The Greatest Merit for Imam 'Ali (a) in the Qur'an
Al-Ma'mun asked Imam al-Rida (a) about the greatest merit of Imam 'Ali (a) in the Qur'an. Imam (a) said: His merit in the event of Mubahala; the Prophet (s) called al-Hasan (a) and al-Husayn (a) who were his sons, he (s) called Fatima (a) who was the instance for women in this verse and called 'Ali (a) who is, according to divine decree, the soul of the Prophet (s). There is no creature superior to the Prophet (s); therefore, based on divine decree, there must be no creature superior to the soul of the Prophet (s).
- Al-Zamakhsari, al-Kashshaf, Vol.1, PP. 369-70, under the verse 61 of sura Al 'Imran
- The material for this article is mainly taken from آیه مباهله in Farsi Wikishia.