By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
"Indeed the case of Jesus with Allah 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 skeptics. Should anyone argue with you (O Muhammad) concerning him (Jesus), 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 pray earnestly and call down Allah’s curse upon the liars.” (Holy Qur’an 3:59-61)
The Words of God are crystal clear. There is no doubting on their meaning or purport. The Almighty Who created Adam from clay and without parents, decreed the birth of Jesus, without the involvement of a father in this process of procreation, through the spotlessly chaste lady, the Virgin Mary.
Yet no sooner did the mission of Jesus end on earth and his loyal followers dissimulated among the Israelites for fear of persecution by the seditious Jews and the pagan Romans, a charlatan called Paul emerged to distort the monotheistic message of the Virgin-born Messiah.
Born in a Jewish family, but Hellenized in culture, he was an opponent of the Messiah who had been sent by God to reform the ever-rebellious Israelites. He now posed himself as a follower of Jesus, claimed that he saw Jesus on the road to Damascus, and the quickly emptied the creed of Jesus of its original contents by coining such weird ideas as ‘godson’, and ‘God the Father’, in order to win adherents from the gentiles of the Levant and beyond.
In short, similar to what had happened centuries earlier to the monotheistic message of Prophet Moses and the contents of the heavenly-revealed Torah, Paul invented a new creed called Christianity which over three centuries after Jesus, was declared the official religion of the Roman Empire by the hitherto pagan emperor, Constantine I. The Trinitarians relentlessly rooted out the Unitarians and the few true followers of Jesus had no other choice but to live as hermits in remote desert and mountain areas, awaiting the advent of the Promised Hmda (Ahmad of the holy Qur’an), who would be a descendent of Prophet Abraham’s firstborn son, Prophet Ishmael.
Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) did finally appear in Arabia, as was foretold in the Torah, the Evangel and other heavenly scriptures. He was entrusted by God with the universal mission of Islam as the Last and Greatest of Prophets. After establishing the first-ever Islamic state with Medina as capital, he sent invitations to kings, emperors, patriarchs and potentates to accept the Word of God.
There were mixed reactions to his message from the invitees, including the two superpowers of the time – the Romans and the Iranians – as well as among the Arabs themselves, in whose hearts faith in Islam had not entered although they paid lip service to Islam, claimed to be Muslims and considered themselves to be the Prophet’s companions – in order to seize political power after him.
In 9 AH, a year after the bloodless surrender of Mecca to the Messenger of Mercy, and a year before God ordered him at the place called Ghadeer-Khom to formally proclaim as Vicegerent his cousin Imam Ali (AS) – the person who ever since the first formal proclamation of Islam in Mecca at the Dhu’l-Ashira Invitation was his only true assistant – a delegation of the Christians of Najran came to Mecca, confident of defeating the Prophet in debate.
To their surprise, however, the Christians found themselves stupefied at the rationality of Islam and the dynamic argumentations of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), as is evident by the ayahs I have mentioned at the beginning of this brief column. Now it was the crucial moment for a novel challenge to determine the truth by invoking the wrath of God on the liars in a gathering at which the dearest and the nearest ones would be present.
It is an undeniable fact of history and hadith, mentioned by all denominations of Muslims, that the only persons who accompanied the Prophet to the field of Mubahela for the imprecation were his only daughter, Fatema Zahra (SA), her husband, Imam Ali (AS), and the couple’s two little sons, Imam Hasan (AS) and Imam Husain (AS) – and no one else besides from the thousands of companions and the nine wives the Prophet had married in the last ten years of his life out of social necessity on the passing away of his faithful wife of 25-long years, the Mother of all True Believers, Hazrat Khadija (SA).
It would be repetitive to say Islam triumphed and the Christians backed away from the challenge saying they were seeing such dazzling visages that mountains would move and the wrath of God would fall on the Trinitarians, if this group of Five Fabulous Figures were to lift their hands towards heaven.
It is also a reality that on the night preceding the Mubahela, the Prophet had assembled these very persons under his cloak, politely dissuaded his wife Omm Salama from joining him, and was promptly honoured by God with the revelation of ayah 33 of the 33rd Surah, vouchsafing the pristine purity of the Ahl al-Bayt.
Thus, the lessons that we draw from this and similar events, as well as several other ayahs of the holy Qur’an, including the Verse of Wilaya (5:55-56) which was revealed on this day in a different year in praise of Imam Ali (AS), when he gave away his ring as alms by pointing his finger in the state of ruku’ (genuflection) while engaged in the ritual prayer in the Prophet’s Mosque on hearing of a beggar’s plea, is the importance of the crucial issue of divinely-decreed leadership of the Ummah after the Prophet.
God knew the havoc that would be played after the passing away of the Prophet by a group of his companions who would try to distort his message as had been done by the Jews with the message of Moses and by Paul with the message of Jesus.
Thus, in order to ensure that the Thaqalayn (the Holy Qur’an and the Infallible Ahl al-Bayt) would always remain as beacons of light for the seekers of truth, God Almighty immortalized Mubahela, Ghadeer, and similar events.
We pray for the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (AS) and his global government of peace, prosperity and justice, by noting that as per the Prophet’s tidings, the Saviour of mankind, is not the offspring of any of his companions that would be called Salaf by the misled in future, but the worthy descendent of the group he had taken on God’s command to the field of Mubahela and assembled the night before under his cloak.
Felicitations on the Auspicious Anniversary of Mubahela