Dated: October 7, 2015
On the joyous auspicious occasion of Yaum al-Mubahala, World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League (WABIL) congratulates the imam of our time Imam Mahdi (atfs), the Five Holy Ones and the Ahlul Bayt (as), all righteous scholars and all believers.
This celebration is the result of an historic event marked both in the Quran and the annals of Sunni and Shia history. In the 10th year of hijrah, after the Prophet (sawa) sent the message of Islam to the Yemen, a 14-man group of Christians from the city of Najran came to hold an interfaith dialogue with him. They arrived in the mosque only to find the Prophet turned his face from them. They could not understand how this was possible considering that they had been invited. They asked Umar ibn al-Khattab, who could not answer their question and directed them to Imam Ali (as). Imam informed them that as they came wearing silk, gold and studded gems, they were assuming an air of pomp and superiority. He therefore advised them to shed their ornate robes and enter the mosque simply dressed. When they did, the Prophet of Allah (sawa) sat to discuss monotheism with them.
Despite the discussions and the Prophet’s explanation of the oneness of God, the Christians refused to accept his word. At that point, the Quranic verse of Mubahala was revealed:
“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 your selves; then let us be earnest in prayer and invoke the curse of Allah upon the liars.” (Qur’an 3:61).
The Prophet invited the Christians to this ‘mubahala’, testifying to the truth and cursing the liars, and the event was scheduled for 2 days later just outside Madinah. Salman al-Farsi (as) prepared and cleared the ground. On the morning, everybody anticipated that the Prophet would come with a host of warriors and debaters, but instead he was seen walking with his daughter Fatima (sa), his grandson Hasan (as) holding his finger, his grandson Hussain (as) in his arms, and his cousin and son-in-law Ali (as) behind them.
The Christians were surprised and were advised by Abu Harisa, one of the bishops, to be very careful in accepting the challenge to curse these Five Holy Ones: he warned, "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 Mubahala 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 (sawa) is the same last apostle and prophet that has been mentioned in our sacred books.”
The Christians were so in awe that they refused to curse and instead accepted terms of friendship and agreed to pay Jizya (tax).
There are several important points here. Firstly, who are the Ahlul Bayt (as)? Al-Suyuti who was a great Sunni scholar, wrote:
In the above verse (3:61), according to what Jabir Ibn Abdullah al-Ansari (the great companion of the Prophet) said, the word "sons” refes to al-Hasan and al-Husayn, the word "women” refers to Fatimah, and the word "our selves” refer to the Prophet and ‘Ali. Thus ‘Ali is referred as "the self” of the Prophet (Nafs of the Prophet).
Reference: al-Durr al-Manthoor by al-Hafidh Jalaluddin al-Suyuti, v2, p38
Muslim and al-Tirmidhi both confirm the above incident, and recorded the following tradition in their authentic collections of traditions:
Narrated Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas:
“...And when the verse 3:61 was revealed, the Prophet called ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan, and al-Husain. Then the Prophet said: "O Lord! These are my family members (Ahli)."
• Sahih Muslim, Chapter of virtues of companions, section of virtues of ‘Ali, 1980 Edition Pub. in Saudi Arabia, Arabic version, v4, p1871, the end of tradition #32.
• Sahih al-Tirmidhi, v5, p654
• al-Mustadrak, by al-Hakim, v3, p150, who said this tradition is authentic based on the criteria set by two Shaikhs, al-Bukhari and Muslim.
• Dhakha’ir al-Uqba, by Muhibbuddin al-Tabari, p25
Hence it is clear that the wives of the Prophet, and cousins and uncles, were not included in the definition of the ‘Ahlul Bayt’. This incident also tells us that an event as fundamental as this would not be left to people to choose and decide who the delegates ought to be, and nor would the Prophet (sawa) ever make a personal choice without Allah deciding the matter for him.
On this day, the Truth of the message of Islam was proclaimed, the Prophet along with the four Infallibles represented Islam, and on the basis of their goodness, truth, honesty and purity, the message of Allah took precedence over all former revelations.
WABIL congratulates Imam Mahdi (atfs) the inheritor of the Five Holy Ones at the Mubahala, and all believers, and wishes you great joy in your celebrations, praises and thanks to the Creator today.
Sayed Mohammad Al-Musawi
World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League (WABIL)