In the early days of Islam, Najran was a big center of learning whose inhabitants were idol-worshipers. Subsequently, they accepted Christianity as their religion. Najran is in Saudi Arabia, south of Jiddah. The Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) had sent letters to the heads of different countries inviting them to Islam. One such letter was sent to the Christians of Najran.
It read as follows:
In the name of the God of Ibrahim, Ishaaq and Yaqoob. This letter is from Muhammad, the Prophet and Messenger of Allah to the Bishop of Najran.
Praise be to the God of Ibrahim, Ishaaq, and Yaqoob. I invite you to worship Allah instead of His servants. I invite you to come out of the rule of servants of Allah and into the rule of Allah Himself.
It is also stated that the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) included the following Ayah of the Glorious Qur’an:
“Say, (O’Muhammad) O People of the Book (Bible), come to an agreement between us and you; that we shall worship none but Allah and that we shall claim no partner to Him, and that none of us shall take others for lords besides Allah” And if they turn away, then say, “Bear witness that we are Muslims (those who have surrendered to Allah).
This was the event of 10 A.H. Sixty learned priests headed by their chief monk priest, Abdul Masih came to Madinah and went straight to meet the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) dressed in silken clothes. The Prophet did not like their attire and turned his face away from them. The Commander of the faithful, Maula Mushkil-Kusha came to their rescue and advised them to dress in simple clothes. When they returned wearing simple clothes, the Prophet warmly welcomed them.
Following conversation took place:
The Holy Prophet: I invite you to the belief of Tauheed and the worship of one God and submission to His will. (Then he recited Ayah 64 of Surah Aale Imran.)
Abdul Masih: If Islam means faith in one God of the universe, we already believe in Him and follow His commands.
The Holy Prophet: Islam has a few other signs and some of your actions show that you have not accepted true Islam. How do you claim worship of one God when you worship the cross and do not abstain from eating pork and believe that God has a son?
Abdul Masih: Certainly he [Isa (a.s.)] was the son of God because his mother Mary [Mariyam (s.a.)] had given birth to him without marrying anyone in the world. Therefore, obviously his father is the God of this universe. And also because he used to bring dead back to life, cure the sick and create birds from clay and make them fly. It shows that he is God.
The Holy Prophet: No, he was the servant and creature of God, and placed in the womb of his mother Mariyam (s.a.). All his power and strength was granted to him by God.
At this time, Archangel Jibra’eel brought the following Ayah 59 of Surah Ale Imran:
“Surely the example of Isa to Allah is like that of Adam; He created him from dust and the said to him, “Be” and he was”
It means that if Isa (a.s.) could be called the son of God because he was born without father, then Adam (a.s.) deserves this title more because he was born without a father and mother. The priests could not reply to this argument and continued to argue out of obstinacy.
Then the following Ayah 61 of Surah Ale Imran was revealed:
“And whoever argue 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, ourselves and yourselves, then let us humbly pray (to our Lord) and invoke the curse of Allah upon the liars”
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) produced this verse before the priests and challenged for “Mubahela”. The priests consulted each other and accepted the challenge. It was agreed that the two parties' contest would take place the next day in the open desert outside Madinah. On 24th Zilhajj, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) came out for Mubahela. He was holding Imam Hussayn (a.s.) in his arms, and held Imam Hasan (a.s.) by his hand, Lady of Paradise Hazrat Fatima Zahra (s.a.) was behind him, while the Lion of Allah, Imam Ali (a.s.) was behind her. The Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) said to them, “When I pray for curse of Allah, you should say Ameen”.
In compliance of the Ayah of Mubahela, the Noble Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) brought Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn (a.s.) as his “SONS”, Hazrat Fatima Zahra (s.a.) in place of “WOMEN” while he could have brought three women, and Imam Ali (a.s.) as his “SELF “while the Ayah had the accommodation for three.
The priests, by seeing these shining faces emitting light, were spellbound. Their hearts trembled and they began to shake on seeing the light radiating from The Holy Panjetan (a.s.).
Their leader asked: “who are these persons who have come with Muhammad”
A man told their names and their relationship with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.). He could no longer hold his patience and cried out:
“By God, I am seeing such faces that if they were to pray to God to move the mountain, God Almighty would move the mountain for them. O You People of Najran, if you contest with Muhammad in this prayer of invoking curses on the liars, then I warn you that all of you will be destroyed and not a single soul will remain on this earth. I feel that it would be better to surrender to them and obey them”
After the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) heard these words, he later remarked:
“By God, had the Christians of Najran contested with us, they would have been transformed into monkeys and swine. Fire would have rained over them”
It is a historic event of a unique triumph of Islam. This event unquestionably established the truth about Islam and the spiritual purity of the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.). It proved beyond doubt as to who were the members of The House of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) and their “unquestionable Truthfulness!”
There is a point to be remembered here that in Arabic language the plural tense is used for more than three. Allah had provided the place for three or more than three persons in the categories of “SONS”, “WOMEN”, and “SELVES”. But the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.) had to decide as to who were the persons who were “TRUTHFUL” and never lied in their life time, because Mubahela would bring up Allah’s curse on the “LIARS”. It was a crucial test for Islam. Hence, he picked-up Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Hussayn (a.s.); only two persons for the place in “SONS”. While in the place of “WOMEN”, he picked-up his daughter, The Lady of Paradise, Hazrat Fatima Zahra (s.a.). Similarly, in the place of “SELVES”, he picked up The Conqueror of Khyber, Imam Ali (a.s.).
After the sad demise of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.), when Hazrat Fatima Zahra (s.a.) claimed her gifted property of Fidak, which was given to her by her father, Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.s.). The Caliph did not accept her testimony, that of Imam Ali (a.s.) nor Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husayn (a.s.). These were the same Panjetan, whose Truthfulness was accepted by Allah on the eve of Mubahela!