Al-Mubahala Verse

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Al-Mubahala Verse
Verse's Information
NameAl-Mubahala Verse
SuraQur'an 3
Content Information
Cause of
Prophet's debate with Christians of Najran
Place of
OthersVirtue of Ashab al-Kisa'
Related Versesal-Tathir verse

Al-Mubāhala verse (Arabic: آية المباهلة) is verse 61 of Chapter 3 of the Holy Qur'an (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 Qur'an.

Imam 'Ali (a)
First Imam of Shi'a

Event of GhadirLaylat al-MabitYawm al-DarCaliphateTimeline

Nahj al-BalaghaGhurar al-hikamAl-Shiqshiqiyya Sermon

Excellences of Ahl al-Bayt (a)Al-Wilaya VerseAhl al-Dhikr VerseUlu l-Amr VerseAl-Tathir VerseAl-Mubahala VerseAl-Mawadda VerseAl-Sadiqin VerseHadith Madinat al-'IlmHadith al-ThaqalaynHadith al-RayaHadith al-SafinaHadith al-Kisa'Al-Ghadir SermonHadith al-ManzilaHadith Yawm al-DarHadith Sadd al-AbwabHadith al-WisayaLa Fata Illa AliThe First Muslim

'Ammar b. YasirMalik al-AshtarAbu Dhar al-Ghifari'Ubayd Allah b. Abi Rafi'Hujr b. 'Adiothers

Related Topics
Holy Shrine

Text and Translation

Occasion of Revelation

Shi'a and Sunni exegetes believe that this verse is about the debate between the Prophet (s) and the Christians of Najran in which they insisted on their belief that Jesus (a) is one of the three personifications of God and that they did not accept the revelation of the Qur'an which referred to Jesus (a) as merely a pious servant and a messenger of God (s). Once they rejected the arguments proposed by the Holy Prophet (s), he invited them to attend a Mubahala (a mutual curse).[1]

Sunni exegetes such as al-Zamakhshari[2], Fakhr al-Din al-Razi[3], al-Baydawi[4], 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.[5]


Although the 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 Tabataba'i has mentioned another aspect for the involvement of the Prophet's (s) family is 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.[6]

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 meant 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.[7] 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 Qur'an 58.[8]


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 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."[9]

Mobahala Mosque, The place where Prophet (s) debated with Christians of Najran

Relation to al-Bara'a Verse

When the Bara'a verses addressing the polytheists of Mecca were revealed, Prophet (s) initially appointed Abu Bakr to proclaim these verses to the polytheists of Mecca. However, Jabra'il (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.[10] 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.[11]

Greatest Merit of 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). [12]

See Also


  1. Qurʾān, Translated by Khurramshāhī, under al-Mubāhala 'verse, p. 57.
  2. Zamakhsharī, Tafsīr al-kashshāf, under 3:61 'verse.
  3. Fakhr al-Rāzī, al-Tafsīr al-kabīr, under 3:61 'verse.
  4. Bayḍāwī, Tafsīr anwār al-tanzīl wa asrār al-taʾwīl, under 3:61 'verse.
  5. Qurʾān, Translated by Khurramshāhī, under al-Mubāhala 'verse, p. 57.
  6. Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān, vol. 3, p. 223.
  7. Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān, vol. 3, p. 223.
  8. Refer to: Ṭabāṭabāʾī, al-Mīzān, vol. 3, p. 223.
  9. Zamakhsharī, Tafsīr al-kashshāf, vol. 1, p. 369-370.
  10. Ibn Ḥanbal, al-Mawsūʿa al-ḥadītha Musnad Ḥanbal, vol. 2, p. 427.
  11. Wāqidī, al-Maghāzī, vol.3, p. 1077; Mufīd, al-Irshād, p. 33.
  12. Mufīd, al-Fuṣūl al-mukhtāra, p. 38.


  • Qurʾān. Translated by Bahāʾ al-Dīn Khurramshāhī. 3rd edition. Tehran: Jāmī, 1376 Sh.
  • Bayḍāwī, ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿUmar al-. Tafsīr anwār al-tanzīl wa asrār al-taʾwīl. Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1429 AH.
  • Fakhr al-Rāzī, Muḥammad b. ʿUmar. Al-Tafsīr al-kabīr. Beirut: Dār al-Fikr, 1405 AH.
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  • Mufīd, Muḥammad . Muḥammad al-. Al-Irshād. Edited by Muʾassisa Āl al-Bayt. Beirut: Dār al-Mufīd, 1372 AH.
  • Mufīd, Muḥammad b. Muḥammad al-. Al-Fuṣūl al-mukhtāra. Edited by al-Sayyid Mīr ʿAlī Sharīfī. Second edition. Beirut: Dār al-Mufīd, 1414 AH.
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