Superiority of Ahle Bait (a.s.) over Companions from viewpoint of Mubahelah
Supporters of the companions and wives have to constantly deal with the fact that their leaders never made it to the elite list in any significant event in the history of Islam.
This includes the incident of Mubahelah which saw the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) choose his infallible progeny (a.s.) to counter the Christians of Najran. The companions and wives were nowhere to be seen, which proved to be a good thing for Islam.
First however, it’s good to know what the incident of Mubahelah does for the Ahle Bait (a.s.) in terms of position and status in Islam.
Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) debates with Haroon Abbasi
An interesting debate sees Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) showing Haroon Abbasi, the caliph of his time, how the infallible Imams (a.s.) were the sons of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) by virtue of the Mubahelah verse of Surah Ale Imran (3): 61.
Haroon asked Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) – How are the Imams (a.s.) the sons of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) while relationship is through the father and not the mother?
Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) replied with the Verse of Mubahelah: ‘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.’ (Surah Aale Imran (3): Verse 61)
He (a.s.) added: None has claimed that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) took anyone apart from Ali (a.s.), Fatima (a.s.), Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.) for Mubahelah. Therefore this verse is interpreted thus – ‘Our sons’ are Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.), ‘Our women’ is the Truthful (Siddiqah), the Pure (Taherah) Fatima (s.a.) and ‘Our selves’ means Ameerul Momineen Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.).
Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) is the ‘self’ of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) – All scholars are unanimous on the fact that Jibraeel said at the time of Ohad: ‘O Muhammad, these sacrifices are all from Ali.’ The Messenger (s.a.w.a.) replied – This is so because, I am from Ali and Ali is from me. To this Jibraeel replied – And I am from both of you O Messenger of Allah – there is no youth except Ali and there is no sword other than Zulfiqar.
The likeness of Ali is the same as Ibrahim (a.s.) as mentioned in the Quran:
They said: We heard a youth called Ibrahim speak of them. (Surah Ambiya (21): Verse 60)
We take pride in Jibraeel’s praise for surely he is from us
Al-Ehtejaaj vol. 2 p. 292
Zakhaaer al-Uqba p. 68
Majma’ al-Zawaaed vol. 6 p.114
Umdah al-Qaari vol. 16, p. 214
Al Mo’jam al-Kabir vol. 1 p. 318
Kanz al-Ummaal vol.13 p. 144
Even the companions were aware of Mubahelah’s importance
Companions and Muslims in general were aware of the remarkable virtue associated with Mubahelah and respected the Ahe Bait (a.s.) even if grudgingly or in the least they refrained from criticizing or belittling them.
Aamir bin Sad relates – Muawiyah told my father – What stops you from cursing Abu Turab (Ameerul Momineen (a.s.)?
He replied – Three things narrated by the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) about him (a.s.)… when the Verse of Mubahelah was revealed – ‘Come let us call our sons and your sons…’ The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) took hold of Ali, Fatima, Hasan, Husain and announced – This is my progeny.
Tafseer al Ayyaashi under Surah Ale Imran (3): 61
Tafseer al Burhan v 1 p 290
Why the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) did not take the companions
While Muslims may be appear indifferent about Mubahelah and maintain that the companions were also qualified, the fact of the matter is that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) did not take the companions for a reason. No prophet in the past had ever appeared for a Mubahelah with the companions, he had always appeared with his immediate family. The Bani Israel who had seen many prophets were aware of this Sunnah as this incident highlights.
Huzaifah bin Yaman narrates – I was in Medina when two bishops of Najran named Sayyid and Aaqib approached the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and challenged him for Mubahelah.
When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) got ready for Mubahelah, Aaqib informed Sayyid – O Sayyid if Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) comes for Mubahelah with his companions, he is not a Prophet. If he comes with his progeny he is a true Prophet and Messenger of Allah.
Shawaahed al-Tanzeel under the Surah Ale Imran (3): 61
Christians of Najran better than Muslims of Medina
The Christians of Najran on seeing the luminous personalities (a.s.) withdrew from the Mubahelah as they feared that not a single Christian would survive the cursing and malediction of Ale Muhammad (a.s.). This was validation of the truthfulness of Ale Muhammad (a.s.) else the Christians would not have withdrawn. Although disbelievers in Islam and Tauheed, the Christians of Najran proved good judges of character.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the Muslims of Medina. About one year after the incident of Mubahelah, these very Muslims, challenged Hazrat Fatima Zahra (a.s.) in a property dispute and summarily dismissed her testimony and the testimonies of Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.) and Imam Hasan (a.s.) and Imam Husain (a.s.) and effectively deemed them liars (Allah forbid). Instead they accepted the testimony of the companions and wives in the matter.