Muhammad challenged the Christians for curse prayers – mubahalah – after having theological disputes with them. As per Islamic scholars, those who support lie in mubahalah must die approximately within a year. Muhammad died approximately within a year once again raising serious questions on his claim to be a true prophet of true God, writes Jerry Thomas.
For most of the Muslims, if not all, the challenge of mubahalah is one of the clearest of evidences that Islam is true. The challenge of mubahalah was given by Muhammad in A.D 631 (10 A.H.), when a Christian delegation from Najran visited Muhammad to discuss and debate with him about certain theological disputes. Muhammad’s responses to the questions were unsatisfactory to Christian delegation. As a result, Muhammad challenged Christians to participate in a curse prayer wherein the party which supports falsehood would die and their families would perish. It is interesting to note that time period for this curse to be effective is not mentioned in the Quran but scholars say it usually happens within a year. However, Christians refused to participate in such curse prayers. This incident for most Muslims is one of the clearest evidences that Islam is true.
However, if one objectively looks at the challenge of Mubahalah, discussions preceding the challenge, the Biblical view of the challenge and disastrous incidents that happened to Muhammad and his family, one may have to conclude that the challenge of Mubahalah had disproved the veracity of Islam and its founder.
The challenge of Mubahalah was issued in the year 10.A.H by Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, along with Fatima, Ali, Hasan and Husayn. In the year 11 A.H. both Muhammad and his daughter died. Later, Ali, Hasan and Husayn were murdered by other Muslims. It was Muhammad who challenged the Christians for the curse prayers. Those who support lie must die approximately within a year, according to Muslim scholars. Muhammad died approximately within a year raising serious questions on his claim to be a true prophet of true God. His family, Fatima, Ali, Hasan and Husayn had terrible and tragic deaths.
However, before we discuss about these incidents, let us begin by looking at the discussions and examining effectiveness of Muhammad’s responses.
One of the topics that were discussed between the Christian delegation and Muhammad was the divinity of Lord Jesus Christ. If ever there was a complete transcript of the discussion, it is not available to us today. However, the Quranic portion (Surah 3: 1-80) which discusses this event gives us a clue that Muhammad was greatly troubled by questions of the Christian delegation for the following reasons:
1) Muhammad himself had to retreat from his claim that Quran is clear (as claimed for example in Surah 16: 89) and had to admit that many verses of the Quran are unclear.
Surah 3: 7 “He it is Who hath revealed unto thee (Muhammad) the Scripture wherein are clear revelations – they are the substance of the Book – and others (which are) allegorical. But those in whose hearts is doubt pursue, forsooth, that which is allegorical seeking (to cause) dissension by seeking to explain it. None knoweth its explanation save Allah. And those who are of sound instruction say: We believe therein; the whole is from our Lord; but only men of understanding really heed.”
In other words, the Christian delegation made Muhammad and thereby the Quran contradict itself. Bro. Sam Shamoun of Answering Islam in his article ‘Muhammad's attempt of damage control: How Sura 3:7 suddenly makes sense’ has extensively discussed this.
2) Explanations which Muhammad gave were already rejected by the Holy Bible 600 years before.Muhammad’s responses were quite unsatisfactory and unimpressive to any Biblically educated person. For example, Muhammad tried to explain away the importance of the virgin birth of Lord Jesus Christ by saying:
Surah 3:59 “Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is.”
However, the Holy Bible had explained the difference between Adam and Lord Jesus Christ. So, the Christians could not have accepted that argument though it may have impressed some Muslims who were not knowledgeable in the Holy Bible. The following verses from the Holy Bible clearly cite the difference between Adam and Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:45-47 “And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.”
So, the creation of Adam and incarnation of Lord Jesus Christ are very different.
3) The challenge of Mubahalah when the Holy Bible does not permit it
After admitting that all of the Quran is not clear as he previously claimed, and giving an erroneous explanation for the virgin birth of Lord Jesus Christ, Muhammad challenged the Christian delegation for Mubahalah (curse prayers) in the following Quranic verse:
Surah 3: 61 “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 our near people and your near people, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars.”
This is popularly known as the challenge to the Mubahalah. Islamic sources inform us that Christians refused to participate in Mubahalah. Islamic scholars assume the Christians were afraid to accept the challenge due to the realization that Muhammad was a true prophet. One of the Islamic versions can be found in Sahih Bukhari Volume 5, Book 59, Number 663.
However, anyone who has read the Holy Bible can understand that no true Christian can ever participate in a curse prayer like this. The Holy Bible does not allow such curse prayers and hence that could be the reason for their refusal.
BUT what Muslim scholars do not say is that Muhammad died approximately within a year after this challenge; Hasan, Husayn, Fātima and ‘Alī – four whom Muhammad identified as his family- had tragic deaths. In other words, the curse that Muhammad pronounced though the Christians never said amen to it, returned on him casting yet another doubt on his claim to be a true prophet of the one true God.
Now, let me demonstrate all these from Islamic sources.
1. The Challenge of Mubahalah and Muhammad’s Death:
It is to be noted that Quran does not give any specific timeframe for the curse to be effective. However, commenting on the Bukhari Hadiths, Ibn Hajar al
-Asqalani in his voluminous Fath ul-Bari fi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari writes: “Some of the benefits of this hadith is that one can do Mubahala with an opponent if he insists after losing the argument…. What is known by experience is that one who takes part in Mubahala to support falsehood will not survive its first anniversary.”
Mubahalah happened in 10 AH:
The Islamic website Al Islam writes: “This verse refers to the famous event of ' al-Mubahalah ' which took place in the year 10 A.H against the Christians of Najran. A deputation of 60 Christians of Najran headed by Abdul Masih their chief monk priest came and discussed with the Holy Prophet ( pbuh&f ) the personality of Hazrat Eesa ( as ).”
Muhammad died in 11 AH with incurable pain:
Muhammad died on 11 AH (or AD 9 June 632) with incurable pain. You can check this site to confirm the date http://www.itsislam.net/articles/life_of_Prophet_Muhammad.asp
Not only that Muhammad died approximately in a year, he died a painful death. Read the following hadith.
Sahih Bukhari Volume 5, Book 59, Number 713: “Narrated Ibn Abbas:
'Umar bin Al-Khattab used to let Ibn Abbas sit beside him, so 'AbdurRahman bin 'Auf said to 'Umar, "We have sons similar to him." 'Umar replied, "(I respect him) because of his status that you know." 'Umar then asked Ibn 'Abbas about the meaning of this Holy Verse:– "When comes the help of Allah and the conquest of Mecca . . ." (110.1)
Ibn 'Abbas replied, "That indicated the death of Allah's Apostle which Allah informed him of." 'Umar said, "I do not understand of it except what you understand."
Narrated 'Aisha: The Prophet in his ailment in which he died, used to say, "O 'Aisha! I still feel the pain caused by the food I ate at Khaibar, and at this time, I feel as if my aorta is being cut from that poison."
Point to be noted: According to Ibn Hajar “what is known by experience is that one who takes part in Mubahalah to support falsehood will not survive its first anniversary” and Muhammad who cursed the Christian delegation died approximately in a year. Does it not raise serious questions on Muhammad's claim be a true prophet even by Islamic criteria?
Not only that Muhammad died in a year, the people he identified as his family also had tragic deaths.
2. The challenge of Mubahalah and tragic deaths of Muhammad’s Family
It is to be noted that Muhammad did not include his surviving wives such as Aishah among his family when he issued the challenge of Mubahalah. Read the following Tafsir to know members who were identified as family of Muhammad.
Al–Jalalayn in his Tafsir for Surah 3:61 writes:
“And whoever, from among the Christians, disputes with you concerning him, after the knowledge, of his affair, that has come to you, say, to them: ‘Come! Let us call our sons and your sons, our wives and your wives, our selves and your selves, and gather them together, then let us humbly pray and invoke God’s curse upon those who lie’, by saying: ‘Lord, curse the one that tells lies concerning the affair of Jesus’. The Prophet (s) had called upon the Najrān delegation to do this when they disputed with him about Jesus. They said, ‘Let us think about it and we will come back to you’. The judicious one among them said, ‘You know that he is a prophet, and that every people that has ever challenged a prophet to a mutual imprecation has been destroyed’. They left him and departed. When they went to see the Prophet (s), who had set out with al-Hasan, al-Husayn, Fātima and ‘Alī, he said to them [the Najrān delegation], ‘When I supplicate, you say ‘Amen’; but they refrained from this mutual imprecation and made peace with the Prophet on the condition that they pay the jizya, as reported by Abū Nu‘aym. According to Ibn ‘Abbās [the Prophet] said, ‘Had they set out and performed the mutual cursing, they would have gone home and found neither possessions nor family’. It is also reported that had they set out with this intention, they would have been consumed by fire.”
So, the family members whom Muhammad identified were:
(a) Fātima, daughter of Muhammad
(b) Ali, husband of Fatima
(c) Hasan, son of Fatima and Ali
(d) Husayn, son of Fatima and Ali
(a) Fātima, daughter of Muhammad, too died in 11 AH
Within six months after the death of Muhammad, Fatima too died. The reason for Fatima’s death are debated between Sunnis who have difficulty in accepting that the ‘second righteous caliph’ Umar caused the death and Shias who argue that it was Umar who violently entered the house of Fatima by breaking the door which fell upon her. This not only aborted her unborn child (she was carrying at that time) but also caused enough injuries which later led to her death.
History of al-Tabari, Volume 9 page 187, gives us circumstantial evidence that the Shia version is correct.
Although the timing is not clear, it seems that Ali and his group came to know about Saqifa after what had happened there. At this point, his supporters gathered in Fatimah's house. Abu Bakr and Umar, fully aware of Ali's claims and fearing a serious threat from his supporters, summoned him to the mosque to swear the oath of allegiance. Ali refused, and so the house was surrounded by an armed band led by Abu Bakr and Umar, who threatened to set it on fire if Ali and his supporters refused to come out and swear allegiance to Abu Bakr. The scene grew violent and Fatimah was furious. For details see Ansab Ashraf, by al-Baladhuri in his, v1, pp 582-586; Tareekh Ya'qubi, v2, p116; al-Imamah wal-Siyasah, by Ibn Qutaybah, v1, pp 19-20.
Such unruly behavior from two of the ‘righteously guided caliphs’ makes us think that there is more credibility to Shia version.
Irrespective of the reason for Fatima’s death, the fact is that Fatima too died in 11 A.H- a year after the challenge of Mubahalah. Tragic that a young woman should have such a terrible death but we should not forget about the Mubahalah: “Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our near people and your near people” Surah 3:61. Unfortunately Fatima was one of those whom Muhammad included in Mubahalah.
(b) Ali was murdered with a poisonous sword
Since the way in which Ali was killed is accepted by both Shias and Sunnis, I quote the following account from Le
tters to the Imam Blog:
Abdur Rahman bin Muljam carefully worked out his plans to kill Ali. A few other trusted Kharjis also volunteered their services to him, and together they rehearsed the assassination. Abdur Rahman bin Muljam took one extra precaution – he put his sword in deadly poison, and let it soak in it for three days.
On the morning of the 19th of Ramadan of the year 40 A.H., Ali came into the Great Mosque of Kufa, and called Adhan (the call to prayer). He took his place in the alcove, and moments later, the worshippers began to arrive. They stood behind him in serried ranks, and the prayer began. Standing in the front row, with other worshippers, were Abdur Rahman bin Muljam and his confederates. They were watching Ali's movements. In the folds of their cloaks, they were carrying swords burnished to a high sheen, and soaked in poison.
Just when Ali touched the ground with his forehead for sajda, Abdur Rahman bin Muljam stepped out of his row, and crept into the alcove. And just when Ali lifted his head from the ground, ibn Muljam struck the fatal blow at his forehead with such deadly force that it split open.
Blood squirted from Ali's forehead in several jets, and he exclaimed:
"By the Lord of the Kaaba, I am successful!"
The members of the congregation realized what had happened, and as soon as they concluded the prayer, they surrounded him. His sons, Hasan and Husain, carried him to his house. A physician came, and tried to dress the ghastly wound but could not stop the bleeding. The blow of the sword was fatal anyway, but the poison from its blade was also spreading rapidly in his body.
As terrible as it was, we must remember the challenge of Mubahalah – “come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our near people and your near people” Surah 3:61. Unfortunately Ali was one of those four who stood with Muhammad in the challenge of Mubahalah.
(c) Hasan was poisoned by his own wife
Read the following story from the Islamic website www.hadith.net:
“Mu'awiyah's malice against Imam Hasan led him to conspire with the Imam's wife Ja'dah, the daughter of Ash'ath. She was made to give the Imam some poison which affected his liver. Imam Hasan thus succumbed to Mu'awiyah's fatal mischief and attained his martyrdom on 28th Safar 50 AH. His funeral was attended by Imam Husayn and the members of the Hashimite family. His bier while being taken for burial to the Holy Prophet's tomb was shot at with arrows by his enemies, (under direct supervision and consent of 'A'ishah), and it had to be diverted for burial to the Jannatu 'I-Baq;' at Medina. His tomb was demolished along with others on 8th Shawwal 1344 (21st April 1926) by the Saudi rulers when they came to power in.”
Note the Mubahalah – “come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our near people and your near people” Surah 3:61. Unfortunately Hasan was one of those four who stood with Muhammad.
(d) Husayn was beheaded
Read the following from Encyclopedia Britannica on how Husayn was beheaded:
When Yazīd I succeeded his father, Muāwiyah I, to the caliphate in the spring of 680, the many partisans of Muhammad’s late cousin and son-in-law Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib—who collectively felt that leadership of the Muslim community rightly belonged to the descendants of Alī—rose in the city of Al-Kūfah, in what is now Iraq, and invited al-Ḥusayn to take refuge with them, promising to have him proclaimed caliph there. Meanwhile, Yazīd, having learned of the rebellious attitude of the Shītes in Al-Kūfah, sent Ubayd Allāh, governor of Al-Baṣrah, to restore order. The latter did so, summoning the chiefs of the tribes, making them responsible for the conduct of their people, and threatening reprisal. Al-Ḥusayn nevertheless set out from Mecca with all his family and retainers, expecting to be received with enthusiasm by the citizens of Al-Kūfah. However, on his arrival at Karbalā, west of the Euphrates River, on October 10, he was confronted by a large army of perhaps 4,000 men sent by Ubayd Allāh and under the command of Umar ibn Sad, son of the founder of Al-Kūfah. Al-Ḥusayn, whose retinue mustered only 72 fighting men, gave battle, vainly relying on the promised aid from Al-Kūfah, and fell with almost all his family and followers. The bodies of the dead, including that of al-Ḥusayn, were then mutilated, only adding to the consternation of later generations of Shītes.
Remember the challenge of Mubahalah – “come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our near people and your near people” Surah 3:61. Husayn was one of those four who stood with Muh
ammad in the challenge of Mubahalah.
Summary and Conclusion:
The challenge of Mubahalah was issued in the year 10.A.H by Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, along with Fatima, Ali, Hasan and Husayn. In the year 11 A.H. both Muhammad and his daughter died. Later, Ali, Hasan and Husayn were murdered by other Muslims. It was Muhammad who challenged the Christians for the curse prayers. As per Islamic scholars, those who support lie must die approximately within a year, according to Muslim scholars. Muhammad died approximately within a year proving that he was not a true prophet of true God. His family, Fatima, Ali, Hasan and Husayn had terrible and tragic deaths. It is time for Muslims to seriously rethink on these issues.