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Event of Mubahala refers to a debate in which Islamic prophet Muhammad was on one side and the Christians of Najran were on other side, and the call was extended to the sons and women. Mubahala is a Qur'anic evocation of the occasion of an encounter between Muslims and Christians during Muhammad's lifetime. In this occasion Muhammad is instructed by Quran to issue a challenge to the visiting Christians of Najran.
The Christians of Najran came to Medina claiming that Isa (Jesus) is divine and the son of Allah. In fact, they meant to determine whether Muhammad's claims were in accordance with the prophecies of their holy books. The event is recorded in several Hadith collections and is referred to in the Qur'anic surah Al Imran.
In such debates, each side would bring the most informed men, and hence the Christians of Najran were surprised when they saw "Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husayn" accompanying Muhammad. It is seen as one of the merits of Ahl al-Bayt and is widely used by the Shia to prove that Muhammad, Ali ibn Abu Talib, Fatima, Hasan, and Husayn are Ahl al-Kisa and most prominent among his Ahl al-Bayt.
Al-Mubahalah' (Arabic: المباهلة) is derived from the Arabic word 'Bahlah' (curse), so the term 'Mubahala' means cursing each other. In Islamic tradition it refers to the ancient ceremony of mutually and formally calling God's curse down upon whichever of the two parties was not speaking truthfully on the occasion in Medina when the question as to the true identity of Messiah was put. It is an instance of Quran's critique of a central Christian doctrine, the doctrine of the Incarnation. This event of Mubahala might serve as a Quranic icon for the character of the Christian / Muslim dialogue which took place within the world of Islam after the Islamic conquest and after Christians in the occupied territories adopted the Arabic language. In this milieu Muslims challenged and critiqued major point of Christian faith, and Christians responded in defense of their defining doctrine and practice.
In the ninth year of Hijra Muhammad is said to have written 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.
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. Muhammad preached to them and requested them to accept Islam. The Christians, however, were not 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.
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. Muhammad recited the verses to them, and after lengthy discussions which have been presented in detail in Ibn Hisham's sirah, 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.
The Christians returned to the place they were staying. Their leader al-Sayyid, al-'Aqib advised them saying: "If he challenges us with his people, we accept the challenge for he is not a prophet; but if he challenges us with his family in particular we don't challenge him, for he is not going to put forward his family unless he is truthful." It was on the morning of 24th Dhul Hijjah that Muhammad emerged at the appointed time. He brought only select members of his family, carrying Husayn in his arm with Hasan holding his hand, followed by Fatima and Ali and said this is my family and covered himself and his family with a cloak.
He offered to do the Arabic tradition Mubahala, where each conflicting party should cover themselves, and together all parties ask God sincerely to destroy and inflict with curses on the lying party and their families. The Christians consulted each other and Abdul Haris lbne Alqama, the greatest scholar among them, talked them out of carrying out the Mubahala. The Christians refused, so Muhammad gave them two alternatives: either to convert to Islam or to pay Jizya, a tax on free non-Muslims under Muslim rule. The Christians continued, asking Muhammad to send with them a trustworthy man to aid them in judging monetary disputes amongst themselves. Muhammad is said to have agreed and appointed 'Abu 'Ubaydah bin Al-Jarah out of a large group of willing and hopeful contenders.
Mubahala provided an opportunity for Muhammad to introduce the Ahl al-Bayt (People of the House), who were also given the title Ahl al-Kisa (People of the Mantle) afterward. Shias believe this authentic hadith proves whom the Quran is referring to when it mentions the "Ahl al-Bayt", namely only Ali, Fatimah, and their descendants. This event causes some scholars to conclude the power and superiority of Ali - especially when it comes to his right of Imamah and immediate successorship following Muhammad.
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