Before we go into details here is ayah 64 of Surah Nisa of the holy Qur’an in which God commands his Prophet to tell the other party:
“Say, ‘O People of the Book! Come to a word common between us and you: that we will worship no one but Allah, and that we will not ascribe any partner to Him, and that we will not take each other as lords besides Allah.’ But if they turn away, say, ‘Be witnesses that we are Muslims.’
The ayah that we recited to you removes any doubt about Islam’s rationality and exposes the Takfiris masquerading as Muslims and Jihadists to stir up violence, bloodshed, vandalism, and massacre of followers of other creeds and religions, as nothing but Godless terrorists. Islam is the religion of rationality and reason. The Prophet of Islam and his Infallible Ahl al-Bayt proved this time and again. They emphasized the importance of dialogue to stress truth. Today when there is loud talk of dialogue among civilizations and discussions among different creeds, although without any tangible result because of the apparent lack of courage of the contending parties to acknowledge the positive points, let us turn our attention to a memorable parley held over a millennium and four centuries ago that stands as a beacon of light for all sincere debaters.
As we said earlier, today the 24th of Zil-Hijja happens to be the anniversary of that dynamic dialogue that confirmed beyond an iota of doubt what truth and righteousness means. It was indeed a decisive debate. Yet despite three days of discussions, a dead end appeared to be the result because of the reluctance of the opposing party knowledgeable theologians that had traveled all the way from Najran in the southwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula to Medina in the north, in their quest for determining the truth.
Engaged in the peaceful parleys in the Masjid an-Nabi or the Prophet’s Mosque, was the Christian delegation of pontiffs led by Archbishop Abdul-Masih, who despite the claim to monotheism insisted that Prophet Jesus (PuH) was the son of God. The visitors to Medina appeared to be stalled when it came to rational debate although they weren’t able to give any convincing proofs as to how the One and Only, Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent Creator, Who has neither form nor needs, could have an offspring or an associate to run the universe.
The Prophet of Islam pointed out to the pontiffs the case of Adam and Eve and how they were created without parents by God, Who merely says ‘be’ and the beings, including Jesus the Virgin-born, take shape and form. He explained to the Christians that Prophet Jesus never made such a blasphemous claim that would have certainly jeopardized his reformatory mission. Moreover, Towheed or monotheism means the indivisible unity of God Almighty, Who is far glorious to possess the characteristics of His creatures. Anyhow, it was important for this lively dialogue not to remain inconclusive. God Almighty had His own plans so that till doomsday the rationality of the universal message of Islam remains above doubts and disputes.
Prompt came the revelation from the celestial heavens to the Prophet of Islam to challenge the Christians to invoke divine malediction, which is “mobahela” in Arabic, if they are confident of what they claim. Ayahs 59 to 61 of Surah Nisa say in this regard:
“Indeed the case of Jesus with God is like the case of Adam: He created him from dust then said to him, “Be”, and he was.
“This is the truth from your Lord so do not be among the doubters.
“Should anyone argue with you concerning him 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 invoke and call down Allah’s curse upon the liars.”
The rest is history. How the pontiffs of Najran assembled with their flock at the appointed place; and how awestruck they became when the Prophet calmly arrived for the challenge to invoke Divine Wrath on the liars, but without any of his companions and with only his nearest and dearest family members – that is, daughter Hazrat Fatema Zahra, son-in-law Imam Ali, and two little grandsons Imam Hasan and Husain (peace upon them). These were the Immaculate Ahl al-Bayt or the nearest and dearest of his blessed family, the Ahl al-Bayt, whose pristine purity has been vouchsafed by God Almighty in ayah 33 of Surah Ahzaab. The Christians realized that without the least doubt this fabulous five were the pride of Jesus and his Virgin mother Mary (peace upon them). The challenge was instantly withdrawn. Islam had a resounding triumph. In the words of Abdul-Masih: Faces so radiant and pristinely pure that God would make mountains move from their places if they were to invoke divine curse on their opponents.
But how could the Ahl al-Bayt curse mankind? They never cursed anyone, despite being oppressed, persecuted and mercilessly martyred after the passing away of the Prophet, not by Christians but by persons who claimed to be Muslims. The reverence for the Ahl al-Bayt is considered by God as a token of gratitude for Muslims for the selfless endeavours of the Prophet in delivering them from the darkness of disbelief, as ayah 23 of Surah Shurah says. Mobahela is thus an undeniable manifestation for mankind that the rationality of Islam will remain incomplete and unable to win over minds and souls in debates and dialogues, however sincere the intention, without the Ahl al-Bayt.
The last living member of the Ahl al-Bayt is Imam Mahdi (PuH), whose reappearance the world is eagerly expecting to rid Planet Earth of all exploitation, enlighten nations (as the Christians of Najran discovered), and to establish the global government of peace, justice and equity, with Prophet Jesus serving as his lieutenant. Mobahela also proves that those calling themselves Takfiris, Salafis, Wahhabis etc, have no relation to Islam and message of peace and rationality, because the Islam of the Prophet and the Ahl al-Bayt doesn’t call for wanton killing, destruction of civilization, violence, or bloodshed. Here we present you a poem on the occasion of Mobahela by Iran’s English language poet, Dr. Hassan Najafi.
A dispute between the Prophet and Christians
Deepens till the Word of God descends,
“Bring your sons,
And we our sons;
Bring your women,
And we our women;
Bring the self of you,
And we our self pursue.
Then God's curse we invoke,
To determine the liars who provoke.”
Such agreed; time and place fixed,
Divine wrath the liars risked.
Sons: The Prophet took Hasan and Husain,
Women: The Prophet took Zahra in this domain.
Self: The Prophet took Ali to represent his own self
As per the Qur'an, Ali is Replica, the Prophet’s self.
The Prophet ahead and the group behind
Went to the rendezvous, truth to find,
Earlier, Abdul Masih the Archbishop of Najran,
Had procrastinated the dispute, as three days ran,
Jesus is not the son of God; the Prophet told,
And to accept the fact the Bishop wasn’t so bold
Had tried to shun the Truth, but now faced Radiant Faces,
Saw the dazzling visages, each with glowing traces
Pointing to the pompous grandeur of Heavenly Truth
And the dismal abyss of infernal lie – nothing to sooth,
These glimmering faces cheer the sight
Guidance in their faces to those seeking faith's light,
Truth; on this side the Prophet displayed its sail
While the lie remained rolling on Christian rail.
The curse unuttered rose to the skies
And the ‘Amen’ lurking at the lips waited to rise.
Whatever blooms in torrid summer appear
If it be a curse on the lips and he about to utter,
Rough winter of lie blasts, to spring of Truth gives way,
Autumn yields to the Qur’an’s sovereign ray.
The Christians had assembled with throbbing heart
To claim that in Truth they have a part
In wild amazement, silent and motionless
When they saw the Prophet and his family peerless,
With haggard eyes and trembling steps paced
To tell the Prophet the truth in his team they traced
The Prophet and his progeny garlands of Truth grace
Reflects each face (from Ali to Husain) heavenly trace.
The Truth which from the Prophet broke
In all Divine emotion spoke.
“Shall you curse first?
Or we curse first?”
The boys: Hasan and Hussain by nature taught
To breathe the Prophet’s thought.
Zahra the Veiled, to her father so dear
If were she to utter ‘Amen’ who could hold her,
Ali; his angelic form ‘Amen’ seemed on his lips to glide.
Malignant fate sat by, awaiting his lightening tide,
The Prophet whose influence peaked from high
Augmented the native darkness of the sky,
If at all he curses, uprooted would be the arrogant race
And to perdition would descend, with annihilation’s embrace.
Broke out and flashed a momentary day
In anxiety to see upon whom darts the cursing ray
The Prophet raises his hands
And his progeny raises their hands.
The curse is awaited
And the immediate ‘Amen’ anticipated
The world lurks in suspense
The Prophet and the curse; what? If at all commence!
The Christians saw with dread the Truth’s Reign
Implored the Prophet to cast the peaceful shade again,
See the magnanimity of this Noble Spirit
The Prophet agreed as soon as they retreat.
The Christians withdrew the challenge, hung heads in shame,
Accepting the Truth of Islam and burning in defeat’s flame.
The Prophet kind alike to all
Grants mercy to opponents if in earnest the call,
And the unuttered ‘Amen’ to the Prophet resigned,
And the Fabulous Five became the Beacon to mankind.
Let us see each figure in this group with closer eyes
And trace in each, as each a trace, where the Truth lies.
We bask in the glare of ‘Five Person’ Band
And thank God for their blessings, His grant grand.
As rivers wherever they band and twine
The sea is their final course they incline.
The Prophet, two boys, a lady, a man – all equally infinite
In each flourishes the Truth in its depth and height.
In all divine lineaments of the Prophet we trace
Through figure, mien, candour, and face,
These bright figures in number five
In their love we live and thrive.