“Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our selves and your selves, then let us pray earnestly and bring about the curse of Allah on the liars” (61). Most surely this is the true story, and there is no god but Allah,’ and most surely Allah is the Mighty, the Wise (62). But if they turn back then surely Allah knows the mischief makers (63).
[Surah Ale Imran verses 61-63]
Qur’an: But whoever disputes with you in this after what has come to you of knowledge: “Fa” (translated here as “But”) shows that the offer of al-mubahalah (means earnest imprecation) branches out from the Divine teaching explained above so clearly and convincingly about ‘Isa son of Maryam (a), and ended so emphatically with the words, The truth is from your Lord, so be not of the doubters (60). “in this”: The pronoun “this” refers either to ‘Isa or to the “truth” mentioned in the preceding verse. The preceding verses were Divine Revelation in which there could be no doubt at all.
Apart from that, they contained a clear logical proof, that is, the verse: Surely the likeness of ‘Isa is with Allah as the likeness of Adam. ..(59). Thus, the knowledge emanating from these verses is two-fold: one, because it is a Divine Speech: two, because of its rational proof. That is why this knowledge was not reserved for the Prophet only; others too could understand it. Even if someone did not believe it to be a Divine Revelation, he could not entertain any doubt about the truth of the subject discussed, because it contained rational argument which unbiased mind was bound to accept. Perhaps that is why Allah said: “after what has come to you of knowledge” and did not say, after what We have explained to them.
Another point: By reminding the Prophet of the Divine Knowledge, Allah wanted to assure him that he would overwhelm his adversaries by Allah’s permission and that Allah would surely be on his side supporting him in that dispute.
Qur’an: then say: “Come, let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our selves and your selves: The first person plural pronoun in “let us call” has a different import from the plural pronouns in “our sons” “our women” and “our selves”. The former refers to the both parties of the argument, that is, the advocates of Islam and those of Christianity; while the latter refer to the side of Islam only. Accordingly, the meaning would be as follows: Let us both call the sons, the women and the ‘selves’ ; -we should call our sons, our women and our ‘selves’, and you should call your sons, your women and your ‘selves’. The verse thus has shortened a long sentence in a meaningful and pleasant way.
Al-Mubahalah and al-mula’anah both have the same meaning: to curse each other. The actual parties of the argument were the Messenger of Allah on one side, and the Christians men on the other. But in the challenge for the imprecation, the call was extended to the sons and women, as it would show more convincingly that the claimant is perfectly sure of the truth of his claim, that he is absolutely right.
Allah has put in man the love of his children and family, to such an extent that he puts himself in jeopardy to save them, plunges into perilous situations to keep them safe. And precisely for this reason, sons have been mentioned before women, because man loves his sons more than his women.
An exegete has said: “The verse means, let us call your sons, your women and your selves; and let you call our sons, our women and our selves.” But the explanation given by us above shows how absurd this meaning is. This meaning does not leave any justification for including the sons and the women in the earnest imprecation.
The detailed description of the invitees is a further proof that the caller (i.e., the Prophet) has absolute confidence in the truth of his claim. The import of the call is as follows: Let my whole group and your whole group enter into earnest imprecation, so that both groups pray earnestly to Allah and bring about the curse of Allah on the liars. In this way, the Divine curse and chastisement shall cover the sons, women and selves of the liars, and the enemies of truth shall be annihilated completely, they shall be rooted out without leaving any trace.
Consequently, the truth of this speech does not depend on numerousness of the sons, the women or the ‘selves’. The main brunt of the challenge is that one party -that which is on wrong -should perish together with all its near and dear ones -male and female, old and young. The exegetes unanimously say -and traditions and history support them -that when the Messenger of Allah (s) came out for the imprecation, the only persons whom he brought with him were: ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn (peace be on them all). Therefore, the only participants, on the side of Islam, were two ‘selves’, two sons and one woman -and yet the Prophet did fully comply with the Divine Command.
Moreover, the meaning of a word in a verse is one thing, and it is quite another matter as for whom, or on how many people, could that word be applied in practice. We find numerous examples in the Qur’an where an order, a promise or a threat has been mentioned using plural words, but the circumstances of its revelation show that it was revealed for one person only.
For example: (As for) those of you who put away their wives by likening their backs to the backs of their mothers, they are not their mothers (58: 2) ; And (as for) those who put away their wives by likening their backs to the backs of their mothers then would recall what they said. ..(58: 3) ; Allah has certainly heard the saying of those who said: “Surely Allah is poor and we are rich” (3:181); And they ask you as to what they should spend.
Say: “Whatever can be spared” (2:219). There are a lot of verses which were revealed with plural words, although the events for which they were revealed concerned one person only.
QUR’AN: “then let us pray earnestly and bring about the curse of Allah on the liars”: “al-Ibtihal” is derived from al-bahlah also pronounced al-buhlah (curse). This is its basic meaning; then it was commonly used for earnest prayer.
The words, “and bring about the curse of Allah”, are a sort of explanation for the preceding verb, “then let us pray earnestly.” The verse said, “and bring about the curse of Allah”; it did not say, and ask from Allah to curse. It was an indication that that prayer would surely be granted because at that juncture it was the only way to distinguish the truth from the falsehood.
The word, “the liars”, does not refer to all the liars found anywhere in the world, nor does it mean the genes of the liars. It refers to a particular group -that party of the argument (between the Prophet and the Christians) which was wrong in its claim. The Prophet was saying that Allah is One, there is no god besides Him, and that ‘Isa was His servant and messenger; while the Christians said that ‘Isa was God, and son of God, and that God had three persons.
This observation leads us to another reality. All those who came out for the proposed imprecation were equal partners in their respective claim. Had the claim and the resulting imprecation been between the Prophet only and the Christians, one party (i.e., the Prophet) would demand singular words, and the other, plural.
In such cases, it is necessary to use an expression which would cover singular and plural both. For example, the sentence under discussion could have been written like this: and bring about the curse of Allah on whosoever is lying.
But it says: “… on the liars.” It proves that indeed there were liars (in plural) in one party of the argument, either on the side of the Prophet or on the Christians’ side. Consequently, all those who came out for the imprecation would be partners in the claim -because lie presupposes a claim. Therefore, those who were present on the side of .the Prophet for the imprecation -i.e., ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn -were partners in the claim of the Messenger of Allah (s) and his Mission. 1t is one of the most excellent virtues which were given exclusively to these family-members of the Prophet (peace be on them all). Another exclusive excellence: Allah gave them the names of ‘selves’, women and sons of the Prophet to the exclusion of all the men, women and children of the ummah.
Question: You have mentioned above that the Qur’an uses, more often than not, plural words for singular; and even this verse says “our women” while it was only one lady, i.e. , Fatimah (a), who participated in the imprecation. Then why should the plural, “the liars”, be not explained in the same way?
Reply: There is a vast difference between the two. There is a situation which may happen again and again, and there is another which is not expected to repeat itself. In the former situation, it is perfectly all right to use a plural in place of a singular, so that the rule or comment would cover even those who would be doing the same thing in future. But in the latter situation it is not allowed to use plural in place of singular, because the event is not to repeat itself and no one else is expected to be included in that order or comment, etc. Look for example at the following verses:-
And when you said to him to whom Allah had shown favour and to whom you had shown favour: Keep your wife to yourself and fear Allah.
The tongue of him whom they are inclined to blame (for it) is barbarous and this is clear Arabic tongue
O Prophet! surely We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, …and a believing woman if she gave hereself to the Prophet. if the Prophet desired to marry her -specially for you, not for the (rest of) believers; …
And the order for calling to the: imprecation could not be extended beyond that particular situation, that is, the imprecation between the Prophet and the Christians. Therefore, when Allah uses a plural, there should be more than two in both parties which were called; otherwise, the use of the plural “the liars” would be out of place.
Question: All the Christians w ho had come in the delegation of the Najran were a party to a claim -the claim that ‘Isa was God, and the son of God, and one of the three persons of God. There was no discord among them in this matter, nor was there any difference in this claim between their men and women. Like- wise, the claim on the side of the Prophet -that Allah is One, there is no god but He; and ‘Isa, the son of Maryam (a) was His servant and His messenger -was upheld by all the believers; it was not confined to anyone of them -not even the Prophet. Therefore, it is out of place to say that those who were brought by the Prophet for the imprecation had any superiority or excellence over the rest of the believers.
In fact, the Prophet had brought them just as examples of the sons, women and selves mentioned in the verse.
Moreover, claim and mission are two different things. Those who participated in the imprecation were party to the claim. How is it that you have made them partners in the Mission too?
Reply: Had the Prophet brought them just as samples, it was necessary for him to bring at least two other men, three women and three sons -to comply with the demand of the plurals. Yet, he did not do so. It proves that only those who came with him were worthy of being called his sons, his women and his selves -to the exclusion of all the others.
Only on accepting this fact, we can say that he obeyed the Divine Order given in this verse. In other words, he could not find anyone worthy of being included in these categories, except the one man, one woman and two sons whom he brought with him. There was no one else whom he could include in compliance with the plural words of the verse. In these circumstances, he fully complied with the order, although he could not bring three persons in any category.
Moreover, if you ponder on the events, you will see that the only aim of the Christians of Najran in coming to Medina was to confront the Messenger of Allah (s) and to argue with him” about ‘Isa, the son of Maryam (a). It was the Messenger of Allah who was claiming that ‘Isa was a servant of Allah and His messenger. It was he who called others to believe in this claim, saying that it was based on Divine Revelation -the revelation which, he said, was sent to him. As for the rest of the believers, the Christians had nothing to do with them; nor did they argue with them.
That is why Allah has used singular verbs and pronouns in the beginning of this verse, when referring to the Prophet: “But whoever disputes with you (literally: thee) in this after what has come to you (lit.: thee) of knowledge, then say (lit.: say thou)…” The same is the case of the verse: But if they dispute with you (lit.: thee), say (lit.: say thou): “I have submitted myself (entirely) to Allah and (so has) every one who follows me” (3: 20).
The above explanation shows that the Messenger of Allah (blessings of Allah be on him and his progeny) had not brought those personalities as samples or examples of other believers – because the believers, per se, had no part in that disputation or imprecation; and there was no reason why they should be offered as targets for the curse and punishment which were to come to one of the two parties (the Christians and their adversary, i.e., the Prophet). The Prophet himself was a party of that argument and it was his obligation to offer himself as the target of the calamity which could come to him in case his claim was (God forbid!) wrong.
Now, there was no reason why he should bring ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn (a) with him, if his claim were not dependent on them also, as it was on his own self.
He had come with them for imprecation because they were the only sons, woman and self on whom his claim depended. Surely he had not brought them as samples or examples. It is now crystal clear that these personalities were his partners in his claim; the claim depended on them as it did on him.
Furthermore, the Christians had come to argue with the Prophet not just because he believed that ‘Isa son of Maryam (a) was the servant and messenger of Allah. They had taken upon themselves to come upto Medina because, in addition to claiming those things about ‘Isa, he had called and invited them to believe likewise. This call, this mission, was the main reason why they had come in delegation for argument. Consequently, when the Prophet came to the appointed place of imprecation, bringing with him the four personalities, it was because of that claim and that call together. Thus these personalities were his partners in his mission, as they had been his partners in his claim.
Question: We accept that the Prophet came with them because they were a part of him; and this attribute was not found in others, it was their exclusive excellence. But it appears -and normal practice confirms it -that when a man brings his near and dear ones, his women and children, in dangerous and frightening places, it shows that he is fully confident of his and their safety and comfort. His bringing them for imprecation proves only that he was absolutely sure of his truth -it does not show anything else. It is quite irrelevant to say that his action proves that they were his partners in the mission.
Reply: It is true that the beginning of the verse does not show more than that which has been mentioned above. But the end of the verse, that is, “on the liars”, shows that there were surely liars (in plural) in one of the two sides of the argument and imprecation. Such expression could only be used if there were several people in each group, all making some claim -be it true or false. Therefore, those who were brought there by the Prophet were indeed his partners, both in the claim and in the mission, as was explained above. It is thus proved that those who were present there with the Prophet -all of them were parties to the claim and the mission, together with the Prophet, and were his partners in it.
Question: It follows, from what you have said that they were his partners in the prophethood.
Reply: Not at all. We have explained earlier where we have discussed “Prophethood”[l] that the Call and Propagation are not one and the same with the prophethood, although they are among its conditions and concomitants, and are parts of the divinely-bestowed responsibilities which a prophet takes upon himself. Likewise, we have made it clear in the discourse about the Imamah  that they are not identical with Imamah either, although they are in a way among its concomitants.
Qur’an: Most surely this is the true story, and there is no god but Allah: The demonstrative pronoun “this” refers to the earlier mentioned stories of ‘Isa (a). There is a fine literary transposition in the sentence. What it says is as follows: Most surely the stories We have told you concerning ‘Isa are the truth -not that which is told by the Christians.
“There is multiple emphasis in this sentence: Inna (surely) and la (surely) followed by an additional pronoun huwa (this) are all combined together to put utmost emphasis on this statement. It was done to cheer the Prophet and to encourage him and strengthen his heart for the coming imprecation, by augmenting his certainty and insight, and fortifying his confidence in the revelation which Allah had sent to him. It is further strengthened by additional emphasis contained in the next sentence which describes an accompanying reality: “and there is no god but Allah”. This fact once again shows that the preceding stories are truth.
Qur’an: and most surely Allah is the Mighty, the Wise: The conjunctive “and” joins it to the first sentence of the verse.
The same modes of emphasis have again been used here. It aims at further comforting the Prophet and strengthening his heart. It says that Allah is Mighty: He has power to help the side of the truth. And He is Wise: He cannot neglect or forget this aid, because ignorance or oblivion cannot reach Him. He is not like those false deities whom the enemies of the truth have taken for themselves besides Him.
This explanation shows why these two Divine Names were chosen for concluding this verse. The sentence contains an exclusiveness: Only Allah is the Mighty and the Wise.
Qur’an: But if they turn back then surely Allah knows the mischief makers: What should be the actual aim of any argument or imprecation? The manifestation of the truth. If so, then it is unthinkable for a seeker of truth to turn back from it.
If the Christians really wanted the truth to be manifested -and they knew that Allah was the Guardian of truth and that He would never allow it to be destroyed or invalidated -they would not turn back from the proposed imprecation. And if they did, it would show that their aim by all this argumentation and disputation was not the manifestation of truth; they only wanted apparent victory, preservation of the status they had and beliefs they followed, and continuation of the customs and traditions with which they were familiar.
Their only goal was that which their desire, lust and greed had made to seem fair to them – and it was not the good life which conforms with truth and happiness; it was but a semblance of life. In other words, they did not want reform and improvement; they wanted to make mischief in the world by corrupting the good life. Their turning back would mean that they were mischief-makers.
The sentence uses a metaphorical device of putting the cause in place of the effect; it mentions their mischief-making instead of saying that they do not want the truth to be manifested.
The second part of the sentence refers to the Divine Attribute of knowledge, and it has been emphasized with addition of inna (surely), as it says: “then surely Allah knows”. It was to show that mischief-making and thwarting the manifestation of truth was ingrained in their psyche, and Allah knows that as a result of that deep rooted trait they will surely turn back from the imprecation. And so they did and by doing so proved the truth of the Divine Words.
as-Sadiq (a) said: “When the Christians of Najran came to the Messenger of Allah (s) as a delegation -and their leaders were al-Ahtam, al-‘Aqib, and as-Sayyid -and (the time of) their prayer came, they began to ring hand-bells and prayed. The Companions of the Messenger of Allah said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! This in your Mosque? ‘ He said: ‘ Let them be!’ When they finished (their prayer) they came near the Messenger of Allah and said: ‘To what do you call (us)? ‘
He said: ‘To bearing the witness that there is no god except Allah, and that I am the Messenger of Allah, and that ‘Isa was a servant created (by Allah) , he used to eat, drink and relieve himself.’ They said: ‘Then who was his father? , Thereupon came the revelation to the Messenger of Allah saying: ‘Say to them, “What do you say about Adam? Was he a servant created (by Allah) who used to eat, drink, relieve himself and cohabit?” , The Prophet put this question to them and they replied: ‘Yes.’
He said: ‘Then who was his father? ‘ and they became speechless. Then Allah sent down (the verse) : Surely the likeness of ‘Isa is with Allah as the likeness of Adam; He created him from dust. ..; and the verse: But whoever disputes with you in this after what has come to you of knowledge. ..and bring about the curse of Allah on the liars.
“Then the Messenger of Allah said: ‘(If you do not agree with what I say) then enter into earnest imprecation with me; thus if I am truthful the curse will be sent down on you and if I am a liar it will be sent down on me.’ The said: ‘You have done justice.’
“So they made an appointment for the imprecation. When they returned to the place they were staying, their leaders as-Sayyid, al-‘Aqib and al-Ahtam, said: ‘If he comes for the imprecation against us with his nation (i.e., people unrelated to him), we shall enter into imprecation against him, because then he is not a prophet. But if he enters into imprecation against us with only the people of his House, we shall not enter into imprecation against him, because he will not put the People of his House forward unless he is truthful.’
“When the morning came, they came to the Messenger of Allah (s) -and there were with him the Leader of the Faithful (‘Ali), Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn (a). The Christians said: ‘Who are these? ‘ They were told: ‘This is his cousin, al-waisy (executor of will) and son-in-law, and this is his daughter Fatimah, and these are his sons al-Hasan and al-Husayn.’ So they were frightened and said to the Messenger of Allah: ‘We shall pay you whatever you are pleased with, but excuse us from the imprecation.’ Thereupon the Messenger of Allah (s) made agreement with them on (the condition of) al-jizyah (tax); and they went away.”
(at- Tafsir, al-Qummi)
Ar-Rayyan ibn as-Salt narrates a talk of ar-Rida (a) with al-Ma ‘mun and the scholars about the difference between the Prophet’s progeny and the rest of the ummah and the former’s superiority over the latter, in which he, inter alia, says: “The scholars said: ‘Has Allah explained (this) selection in His Book?, ar-Rida (a) said: ‘He has explained the selection manifestly in twelve places -apart from the hidden (references).’
Then he described those places of the Qur’an, during which he said: ‘As for the third (verse, it was) when Allah distinguished His purified creatures and ordered His Prophet to earnestly pray with them for His curse on the liars, in the verse of imprecation.
So Allah, the Mighty, the Great, said: But whoever disputes with you in this 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 selves and your selves”, The scholars said: ‘our selves means the Prophet himself.’ Abu’1-Hasan (ar-Rida) said: ‘You are mistaken. He only meant ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib. And one of the proofs to show it is the saying of the Prophet (himself): “Banu Wali’ah should give up (their mischief) ; otherwise, I will surely send to them a man like my own self” -referring to ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.
And He meant al-Hasan and al-Husayn with “sons”, and meant Fatimah with “women”. So this is an exclusive virtue in which no one can precede them, and an excellence in which no man can reach them, and an honour in which no creature can overtake them, because He made ‘Ali’s person like his (Prophet’s) own self (person) …’ ” (‘Uyunu ‘ l-akhbar)
As-Saduq narrates through his chain from al-Imam Musa ibn Ja’far (peace be on both of them), that he had a talk with (Harun) ar-Rashid, during which ar-Rashid said to him: “How is it that you say, ‘We are the offspring of the Prophet’, while the Prophet did not leave any offspring? And progeny is through male, not through female; and you are the children of the daughter and her child is not (her father’s) progeny.” The Imam said: “I said to him: ‘I ask you by the right of kinship and that of the grave (i.e., of the Prophet) and of him who is therein, that you should excuse me from (replying to) this question.’
He said: ‘You shall tell me of your proof for it, O son of ‘Ali, and you, O Musa! are their leader and their present Imam -thus I have been informed -and I am not going to excuse you from any question I put to you until you bring me a proof from the Book of Allah; because you claim, O children of ‘Ali! that nothing of it (the Book) comes out from you -not even an alif or a waw -but you know its interpretation; and you advance the word of Allah, the Mighty, the Great, as your proof; We have not neglected anything in the Book [6: 38], and you are not in need of the opinion of scholars and their analogy ”
“Then I said: ‘Do you permit me to reply? ‘ He said: ‘Let me have.’ I said (reciting the Qur’anic verse) : ‘I seek refuge of Allah from the cursed Satan. In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. ., .and of his (Ibrahim’s) offspring, Dawud and Sulayman and Ayyub and Yusuf and Musd and Harun; and thus do We reward those who do good; and Zakariyya and Yahya and ‘Isa and Ilyas; everyone was of the good ones (6: 84- 5).
Who was the father of ‘Isa? O Leader of the Faithful!’ He said: ‘He had no father.’ Then I said: ‘Yet He (Allah) has joined him with the progenies of the Prophets through Maryam; and in the same way Allah, the High, has joined us with the progenies of the Prophet through our mother, Fatimah.’ (Then I said): ‘Should I tell you more? O Leader of the Faithful!’ he said: ‘Let me have.’ I said: ‘(It is) the word of Allah, the Mighty, the Great: But whoever disputes with you in this 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 selves and your selves, then let us pray earnestly and bring about the curse of Allah on the liars. ”
And nobody has ever claimed that the Prophet -on the occasion of the imprecation with the Christians -made anyone enter under the drape except ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn. So (this) was the interpretation of His Word: “our sons” meant al-Hasan and al-Husayn; and “our women”, Fatimah; and “ourselves”, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.’ ” (ibid. )
al-Ma’mun had asked ar-Rida (a) several questions, one of which was as follows:
al-Ma’mun said: “What is the proof for the caliphate of your grandfather, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib ? ”
(The Imam) said: “The verse of our selves.”
He (al-Ma’mun) said: “If there were not our women.”
He (the Imam) said: “If there were not our sons.”
The author says: The Imam argued on the strength of the word, Ourselves. He meant that Allah had made ‘Ali (a) like the person of the Prophet. (And who could have more right to succeed the Prophet than his own person?). al-Ma’mun said: “If there were not our women.” He wanted to say that the reference to “women” indicates that the word “our selves” means “our men”, and as such it would not show any excellence. The Imam replied: “If there were not our sons.” That is, if “our selves” -referred to the men, then why should the sons be mentioned separately? They would have been included in “our men”.
Hariz narrates from Abu ‘Abdillah (a) that he said: “The Leader of the Faithful, ‘Ali, (a) was asked about his excellent virtues. He mentioned some of them. Then they said to him: ‘Tell us (some) more.’ So he said: ‘Verily two Bishops of the Christians of Najran came to the Messenger of Allah, and talked (with him) on the subject of ‘Isa (a). Thereupon Allah revealed the verse: Surely the likeness of ‘Isa is with Allah as the likeness of Adam. .. Then the Messenger of Allah entered (the house), and held the hands of ‘Ali, al-Hasan, al-Husayn and Fatimah; then he came out, and raised his palms to the heaven and separated his fingers one from another; and called them (the Christians) to the imprecation.’ ” (Abu ‘Abdillah, (a) then said: ” And Abu Ja’far (a) has said: ‘And that is the way of imprecation; one intertwines his hand in one’s (adversary’s) hand raising them to the heaven.'” Thereupon when the two Bishops saw him, one of them said to his companion: “By God!
If he is a prophet, we shall surely perish; and if he is not a prophet his (own) people would save us (from the trouble of confronting him) .” So they gave up (the imprecation) and went back.’ ”
The author says: This or nearly the same meaning has been narrated in other traditions through the Shi’i chains. All of them unanimously say that those who were brought by the Prophet for the imprecation were ‘Ali, Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn only.
Ash-Shaykh at-Tusi has narrated it in his al-Amali, through his chains from ‘Amir ibn Sa’d from his father; and also through his chains from ‘Abdu ‘r-Rahman ibn Kathir from a-adiq (a); and also through his chains from Salim ibn Abi ‘l-Ja’d, raising it to Abu Dharr; and also through his chains from Rabi’ah ibn Najid from ‘Ali (a).
Al-Mufid has narrated it in his al-Ikhtia, through his chains from Muhammad ibn az-Zibriqan from Musa ibn Ja’far (a); and also from Muhammad ibn al-Munkadir from his father from his grandfather.
Al-‘Ayyashi has narrated it in his at- Tafsir from Muhammad ibn Sa’id al-Urdunni from Musa ibn Muhammad ibn ar-Rida (a) from his brother; and also from Abu Ja’far al-Ahwal from as-Sadiq (a); and also from al-Mundhir from ‘Ali (a); and also through his chains from ‘Amir ibn Sa’d.
Al-Furat has narrated it in his at-Tafsir several traditions to this effect, which separately reach to Abu Ja’far (a), Abu Rafi’, ash-Sha’bi, ‘Ali (a), and Shahr ibn Hawshab and several other traditions to the same effect have been narrated in Rawdatu ‘l-wa’z,in, I’llimu ‘I’lamu ‘l-wara, al-Khara’ij and other books.
It has been narrated in at-Tafsir of ath-Tha’labi  from Mujahid and al-Kalbi: “When the Prophet called the Christians for the imprecation, they said: ‘Let us return and think over it.’ When they were alone, they asked al-‘Aqib -and he was a man of good judgment among them: ‘O ‘Abdu ‘l-Masih! What is your opinion? , He said: ‘ By Allah! You are well-aware, O ye Christians! that Muhammad is a prophet, sent by Allah, and that he has brought to you the decisive word about your Companion (‘Isa). By Allah! Whenever a nation has entered into imprecation with a prophet, their elders have perished and their youngsters have died. And if you do it, we shall surely perish; but, if you turn down, for the love of your religion and (want) to remain on what you have at present, then make peace with the man and go back to your towns.
“So they came to the Messenger of Allah; and he had come out in the morning carrying al-Husayn in his lap, holding the hand of al-Hasan, with Fatimah walking behind him and ‘Ali was behind her; and he was saying: ‘When I pray, you say “Amen” ‘. Then the Bishop of Najran said: ‘O ye Christians! Surely I see the faces that if they ask Allah to remove a mountain from its place, He would surely remove it. Therefore, do not do imprecation, otherwise you will perish, and there will not remain any Christian on the face of the earth, upto the Day of Resurrection.
“Then they said: ‘O Abu’l-Qasim! We have decided that we should not enter into imprecation against you; and that we leave you on your religion and we remain on our religion.’ He said: ‘Well, if you refuse imprecation, then accept Islam -you will have (the rights) which (other) Muslims have, and on you shall be (the duties) which are on them.’ But they refused. So (the Prophet) said: ‘Then I shall fight you.’ They said: ‘We do not have strength to fight against the Arabs.
But we shall make peace with you that you will not fight against us or frighten us; nor will you turn us away from our religion, on the condition that we shall pay to you every year two thousand robes -one thousand in Safar and one thousand in Rajab and thirty coats of mail, (of) common (quality), made of iron.’ So the Prophet made agreement with them on these conditions. And he said, ‘By Him in Whose hand is my soul! Surely destruction had almost descended on the people of Najran.’
And if they had entered into imprecation they would have been transformed into monkeys and pigs, and there would have erupted in the valley a conflagration of fire engulfing them all; and surely Allah would have annihilated Najran and its inhabitants -even the birds on tree tops; and the year would not have ended for all the Christians but they would have perished.”
The author says: The event, nearly in similar words, has also been narrated in Kitabu ‘I-Maghdzi from Ibn Ishaq. Also al-Maliki has narrated it in his al- Fusulu ‘l-muhimmah from many exegetes; and al-Hammuyi has narrated nearly similar tradition from Ibn Jurayh.