بِاسْمِكَ اللَّهُمَّ وَفِي سَبِيلِكَ وَعَلَى مِلَّةِ رَسُولِكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ
From the Prophet Muhammad’s صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم sīrah we read about his fascinating encounter with the Trinitarian Christians of Najrān, and his debate with them on the subject of the deification of Christ. In that context Allāh Ilāh al-ālihah عزّ وجلّ revealed the following āyah:
فَمَنۡ حَآجَّکَ فِیۡہِ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِ مَا جَآءَکَ مِنَ الۡعِلۡمِ فَقُلۡ تَعَالَوۡا نَدۡعُ اَبۡنَآءَنَا وَ اَبۡنَآءَکُمۡ وَ نِسَآءَنَا وَ نِسَآءَکُمۡ وَ اَنۡفُسَنَا وَ اَنۡفُسَکُمۡ ۟ ثُمَّ نَبۡتَہِلۡ فَنَجۡعَلۡ لَّعۡنَتَ اللّٰہِ عَلَی الۡکٰذِبِیۡنَ
Now whoso disputes with thee concerning him, after what has come to thee of knowledge, say, ‘Come, let us call our sons and your sons, and our women and your women, and our people and your people; then let us pray fervently and invoke the curse of Allah on those who lie’
This verse is better known as āyat al-Mubāhalah, meaning the prayer contest in which two parties invoke the curse of God upon the one that is associated with falsehood in a religious dispute.
Some Muslims, especially those affected by the malady of modernism and materialism, ridicule the concept of mubāhalah, or otherwise say it is not a valid practice after the Prophet Muhammad صلوات الله والسلام عليه and that it is forbidden for any non-prophet to engage in a mubāhalah of his own initiate on behalf of Islam. They also falsely claim that a mubāhalah cannot be done between Muslims.
But in this article I shall prove all these ridiculous assertions wrong by citing examples from some of the Prophet’s own companions رضى الله عنهم and some of the classical imāms and the ulamā of Islām.
Sayyidinā Ibn Abbās رضى الله عنهما issued a challenge for mubāhalah over a disagreement on a jurisprudential problem. He said that both he and the party that accepts his challenge should gather at the sacred Ka’bah, both place their hands on the Rukn (the Yemenite corner), then invoke the curse of Allāh upon the liars (Musannaf Abd ur-Razzāq; v.7, p.288, #17186):
لَوَدِدْتُ أَنِّي وَهَؤُلَاءِ الَّذِينَ يُخَالِفُونِي فِي الْفَرِيضَةِ , نَجْتَمِعُ فَنَضَعُ أَيْدِيَنَا عَلَى الرُّكْنِ , ثُمَّ نَبْتَهِلُ , فَنَجْعَلُ لَعْنَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَى الْكَاذِبِينَ
Likewise, sayyidinā Ibn Mas’ūd رضى الله عنه issued a challenge for a prayer contest addressed to fellow Muslims who disagreed with him regarding the chronological sequence of the revelation of certain āyāt in the Qurān:
مَنْ شَاءَ لاَعَنْتُهُ لأُنْزِلَتْ سُورَةُ النِّسَاءِ الْقُصْرَى بَعْدَ الأَرْبَعَةِ الأَشْهُرِ وَعَشْرًا
“I can invoke His curse on anyone who wishes...” (Sunan Abī Dāwud #2307) al-Albānī graded this narration sahīh.
And it is narrated the Ibn Abbās or his client Ikrimah رضى الله عنهم issued an open challenge for mubāhalah over the dispute on zihār (Sunan al-Dār Qutnī; v.4, p.493, #3861):
al-Albānī has quoted a similar narration about a challenge of mubāhalah from sayyidinā Ibn Abbās رضى الله عنهما and graded it hasan (Irwā al-Ghalīl; v.6, p.145, #1706):
Imām Ibn Hajr al-Asqalānī رحمه الله writes that mubāhalah may be done on a disagreement after the proof has been manifested (but the opposing party stubbornly refuses to accept it). He mentions the challenge issued by sayyidinā Ibn Abbās, and also al-Awzā’ī as well as a group from among the Ulamā. He mentions that it is something observed that whoever accepts a challenge of mubāhalah while being upon falsehood is destroyed within the duration of a year from the day of the mubāhalah, and that this was his personal experience when he undertook a mubāhalah with someone who was a bigoted mulhid and that person was destroyed after merely two months:
وَفِيهَا مَشْرُوعِيَّةُ مُبَاهَلَةِ الْمُخَالِفِ إِذَا أصر بعد ظُهُور الْحجَّة وَقد دَعَا بن عَبَّاسٍ إِلَى ذَلِكَ ثُمَّ الْأَوْزَاعِيُّ وَوَقَعَ ذَلِكَ لِجَمَاعَةٍ مِنَ الْعُلَمَاءِ وَمِمَّا عُرِفَ بِالتَّجْرِبَةِ أَنَّ مَنْ بَاهَلَ وَكَانَ مُبْطِلًا لَا تَمْضِي عَلَيْهِ سَنَةٌ مِنْ يَوْمِ الْمُبَاهَلَةِ وَوَقَعَ لِي ذَلِكَ مَعَ شَخْصٍ كَانَ يَتَعَصَّبُ لِبَعْضِ الْمَلَاحِدَةِ فَلَمْ يَقُمْ بَعْدَهَا غَيْرَ شَهْرَيْنِ
(Fath al-Bārī; v.8 p.95):
To be continued ان شاء الله