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Mubahala in Linguistics

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The Almighty says: “Whoever debates you, after what you received from the knowledge, then say,“ Come, let us invite our children and your children, and our women and your women, and ourselves and yourselves, then we invoke the curse of Allah on the liars.” This verse is called the “Ayah of Mubahala.”

Mubahala in Language

According to Raghib in his book al-Mufradat, Mubahala comes from al-bahl, which means to release something, leaving it unattended. Another meaning found in Arabic dictionaries and terminology books for the word Mubahala is curse. However, the meaning stated by al-Raghib can be considered most accurate. For example, this word is used when leaving an animal without monitoring it or tying it to a place and leaving it on its own.

Subsequently, this meaning can be found in narrations with the phrase: “Allah entrusted him to himself.” Or “So whoever does such and such, God will entrust or leave him to himself.”


The Concept of Mubahala in Supplications

Furthermore, when it is stated in supplications that: “Our Lord, never leave us to ourselves for a blink of an eye,” a very deep and dynamic meaning can be derived from it. The reason is that if Allah Almighty left a person for a moment, their connection with Allah Almighty would be severed, and the blessings of the Creator would be cut off from them, then they would not be able to survive for a split second.

This is the meaning of entrusting (leaving) a person to himself. We say, “Our Lord, never leave us to ourselves for a blink of an eye.”

ربّنا لا تكلنا إلى أنفسنا طرفة عين أبدا

There is a narration from the Commander of the Faithful, peace be upon him, in Nahj al-Balaghah, which states:

إنّ أبغض الخلائق إلى الله رجلان، رجل وكله الله إلى نفسه فهو جائر عن قصد السبيل، مشغوف بكلام بدعة ودعاء ضلالة، فهو فتنة لمن افتتن به، ضالٌّ عن هدي من كان قبله، مضلٌّ لمن اقتدى به في حياته وبعد وفاته، حمّالٌ لخطايا غيره، رهنٌ بخطيئته”

“The most hated of creatures to Allah are two, one whom Allah entrusts them to themself. They are deviant from the path; they are preoccupied with words of heresy and talks of misguidance; they are a trial for the one who is tempted by them, straying from the guidance of those before them, misleading for those who follow them in life and death, and the bearer of the sins of others, indebted to their sin….”


The interpretation of al-Raghib thus is more accurate, by which we can state that the meaning of al-bahl and al-Mubahala: one asks Allah Almighty to forsake a person and to entrust them to themselves. Furthermore, in light of the words of the Commander of the Faithful, the meaning of Mubahala can be inferred when his eminence asks Allah Almighty to make the person the most hated of creatures to Him. As a result, this, in truth, can be considered the worst curse, that is, leaving someone to themself.

With this said, the meaning of the word cursing can be cited as expulsion, expulsion with indignation, and deprivation of mercy. Therefore, when one curses an individual, they ask Allah to withhold His mercy from them, which is the meaning of Mubahala.

Why the Christians of Najran Abandoned Mubahala

Thus, we know why the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, may Allah’s prayers and peace be upon him and his family, was ordered to do Mubahala. Then we know why the Christians abandoned Mubahala, why they retreated, although they decided and agreed to do Mubahala and came for it!

However, when they saw the Messenger of Allah and the faces of his sons and his family with him, their bishop said, “I see faces, if they asked God Almighty to remove a mountain from its place, he would remove it.” 

Ayat Al-Mubahala / Sayeed Ali Al-Husseini Al-Milani.

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