Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
Allah then mentioned the dispute of the delegation of Najran with the Prophet (pbuh) after he explained to them that the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam, for they said to the Prophet: it is not as you say that Jesus was not Allah, his son or His partner. As response Allah said: (And whoso disputeth with thee concerning him) concerning Jesus, (after the knowledge which has come unto thee) after the exposition that has come to you that Jesus was not Allah, His son or His partner, (say (unto him): Come! We will summon our sons and your sons) and you summon your sons, (and our women and your women) and you summon your women, (and ourselves and yourselves, then we will pray humbly (to our Lord)) and exert our effort in praying ((and (solemnly) invoke) all together (the curse of Allah upon those who lie) about Allah concerning Jesus.
And whoever, from among the Christians, disputes with you concerning him, after the knowledge, of his affair, that has come to you, say, to them: ‘Come! Let us call our sons and your sons, our wives and your wives, our selves and your selves, and gather them together, then let us humbly pray and invoke God’s curse upon those who lie’, by saying: ‘Lord, curse the one that tells lies concerning the affair of Jesus’. The Prophet (s) had called upon the Najrān delegation to do this when they disputed with him about Jesus. They said, ‘Let us think about it and we will come back to you’. The judicious one among them said, ‘You know that he is a prophet, and that every people that has ever challenged a prophet to a mutual imprecation has been destroyed’. They left him and departed. When they went to see the Prophet (s), who had set out with al-Hasan, al-Husayn, Fātima and ‘Alī, he said to them [the Najrān delegation], ‘When I supplicate, you say ‘Amen’; but they refrained from this mutual imprecation and made peace with the Prophet on the condition that they pay the jizya, as reported by Abū Nu‘aym. According to Ibn ‘Abbās [the Prophet] said, ‘Had they set out and performed the mutual cursing, they would have gone home and found neither possessions nor family’. It is also reported that had they set out with this intention, they would have been consumed by fire.
And whoever disputes with you concerning him, that is, concerning Jesus. [As for the intepretation of the rest of] the verse: mutual imprecation (mubāhala) against prophets has a tremendous consequence the cause of which is the connection of their souls to the holy spirit and God's reinforcing theirs with this [latter] which is the cause of effects in the world of elements and so the world of elements is acted upon by it in the way that our body is acted upon by our spirit by means of the configurations that occur to it such as wrath, grief, reflection upon the states of the beloved one and so on in the way of the movement of limbs when will and resolve arise and human souls act upon them just as our senses and all our other faculties are acted upon by the configurations of our spirits. Thus if a holy soul is joined to it or to certain spirits of the celestial bodies and souls of the angelic realm, its effect on the world upon the joined orientation is the effect of that to which it is joined and so the elemental bodies and deficient human souls are acted upon by it in the way that it wants. Have you not seen how the souls of the Christians were acted upon by his [Muḥammad's] soul, peace be upon him, with fear and thus refrained from the mutual imprecation [against the Prophet] and sued for peace by accepting to pay the poll-tax (jizya).
(He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: "Be!'' and he was.)
Therefore, He Who created Adam without a father or a mother is able to create `Isa, as well, without a father. If the claim is made that `Isa is Allah's son because he was created without a father, then the same claim befits Adam even more. However, since such a claim regarding Adam is obviously false, then making the same claim about `Isa is even more false.
Furthermore, by mentioning these facts, Allah emphasizes His ability, by creating Adam without a male or female, Hawa' from a male without a female, and `Isa from a mother without a father, compared to His creating the rest of creation from male and female. This is why Allah said in Surah Maryam,
((This is) the truth from your Lord, so be not of those who doubt.) meaning, this is the only true story about `Isa, and what is beyond truth save falsehood Allah next commands His Messenger to call those who defy the truth, regarding `Isa, to the Mubahalah (the curse).
(Then whoever disputes with you concerning him after the knowledge that has come to you, say: "Come, let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves'') for the Mubahalah,
(then we pray), supplicate,
فَنَجْعَل لَّعْنَتُ اللَّهِ عَلَى الْكَـذِبِينَ
(and we invoke Allah's curse upon the liars) among the two of us.
The reason for the call to Mubahalah and the revelation of the Ayat from the beginning of this Surah until here, is that a delegation from the Christians of Najran (in Yemen) came to Al-Madinah to argue about `Isa, claiming that he was divine and the son of Allah. Allah sent down the beginning of this Surah until here, to refute their claims, as Imam Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar and other scholars stated.
Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar said in his famous Sirah, "The delegation of Christians from Najran came to the Messenger of Allah. The delegation consisted of sixty horsemen, including fourteen of their chiefs who make decisions. These men were Al-`Aqib, also known as `Abdul-Masih, As-Sayyid, also known as Al-Ayham, Abu Harithah bin `Alqamah, of the family of Bakr bin Wa`il and Uways bin Al-Harith. They also included, Zayd, Qays, Yazid, Nabih, Khuwaylid, `Amr, Khalid, `Abdullah and Yuhannas. Three of these men were chiefs of this delegation, Al-`Aqib, their leader and to whom they referred for advice and decision; As-Sayyid, their scholar and leader in journeys and social gatherings; and Abu Harithah bin `Alqamah, their patriarch, priest and religious leader. Abu Harithah was an Arab man from the family of Bakr bin Wa`il, but when he embraced Christianity, the Romans and their kings honored him and built churches for him (or in his honor). They also supported him financially and gave him servants, because they knew how firm his faith in their religion was.'' Abu Harithah knew the description of the Messenger of Allah from what he read in earlier divine Books. However, his otherwise ignorance led him to insist on remaining a Christian, because he was honored and had a high position with the Christians. Ibn Ishaq said, "Muhammad bin Ja`far bin Az-Zubayr said that, `The (Najran) delegation came to the Messenger of Allah in Al-Madinah, entered his Masjid wearing robes and garments, after the Prophet had prayed the `Asr prayer. They accompanied a caravan of camels led by Bani Al-Harith bin Ka`b. The Companions of the Messenger of Allah who saw them said that they never saw a delegation like them after that... Then Abu Harithah bin `Alqamah and Al-`Aqib `Abdul-Masih or As-Sayyid Al-Ayham spoke to the Messenger of Allah, and they were Christians like the king (Roman King). However, they disagreed about `Isa; some of them said, `He is Allah,' while some said, `He is the son of Allah,' and some others said, `He is one of a trinity.' Allah is far from what they attribute to Him.''
Indeed, these are the creeds of the Christians. They claim that `Isa is God, since he brought the dead back to life, healed blindness, leprosy and various illnesses, told about matters of the future, created the shape of birds and blew life into them, bringing them to life. However, all these miracles occurred by Allah's leave, so that `Isa would be a sign from Allah for people.
They also claim that `Isa is the son of Allah, since he did not have a father and he spoke when he was in the cradle, a miracle which had not occurred by any among the Children of Adam before him, so they claim. They also claim that `Isa is one of a trinity, because Allah would say, `We did, command, create and demand.' They said, `If Allah were one, he would have said, `I did, command, create and decide.' This is why they claim that `Isa and Allah are one (Trinity). Allah is far from what they attribute to Him, and we should mention that the Qur'an refuted all these false Christian claims.
Ibn Ishaq continued, "When these Ayat came to the Messenger from Allah, thus judging between him and the People of the Book, Allah also commanded the Prophet to call them to the Mubahalah if they still refused the truth. The Prophet called them to the Mubahalah. They said, `O Abu Al-Qasim! Let us think about this matter and get back to you with our decision to what we want to do.' They left the Prophet and conferred with Al-`Aqib, to whom they referred to for advice. They said to him, `O `Abdul-Masih! What is your advice' He said, `By Allah, O Christian fellows! You know that Muhammad is a Messenger and that he brought you the final word regarding your fellow (`Isa). You also know that no Prophet conducted Mubahalah with any people, and the old persons among them remained safe and the young people grew up. Indeed, it will be the end of you if you do it. If you have already decided that you will remain in your religion and your creed regarding your fellow (`Isa), then conduct a treaty with the man (Muhammad) and go back to your land.' They came to the Prophet and said, `O Abu Al-Qasim! We decided that we cannot do Mubahalah with you and that you remain on your religion, while we remain on our religion. However, send with us a man from your Companions whom you are pleased with to judge between us regarding our monetary disputes, for you are acceptable to us in this regard.'''
Al-Bukhari recorded that Hudhayfah said, "Al-`Aqib and As-Sayyid, two leaders from Najran, came to the Messenger of Allah seeking to invoke Allah for curses (against whoever is unjust among them), and one of them said to the other, `Let us not do that. By Allah, if he were truly a Prophet and we invoke Allah for curses, we and our offspring shall never succeed afterwards.' So they said, `We will give you what you asked and send a trusted man with us, just a trusted man.' The Messenger of Allah said;
فاستشرف لها أصحاب رسول اللهصلى الله عليه وسلّم، فقال:
«قُمْ يَا أَبَا عُبَيْدَةَ بْنَ الْجَرَّاح»
فلما قام، قال رسول اللهصلى الله عليه وسلّم:
«هَذَا أَمِينُ هذِهِ الْأُمَّة»
("Verily, I will send a trusted man with you, a truly trustworthy man.'' The Companions of the Messenger of Allah all felt eager to be that man. The Messenger said, "O Abu `Ubaydah bin Al-Jarrah! Stand up.'' When Abu `Ubaydah stood up, the Messenger of Allah said, "This is the trustee of this Ummah.''')
Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas said that the Messenger of Allah said on another occasion,
(Every Ummah has a trustee, and the trustee of this Ummah is Abu `Ubaydah bin Al-Jarrah.)
Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "Abu Jahl, may Allah curse him, said, `If I see Muhammad praying next to the Ka`bah, I will step on his neck.' The Prophet later said,
«لَوْ فَعَلَ لَأَخَذَتْهُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ عِيَانًا، ولو أن اليهود تمنوا الموت لماتوا، ورأوا مقاعدهم من النار، ولو خرج الذين يباهلون رسول اللهصلى الله عليه وسلّم لرجعوا لا يجدون مالًا ولا أهلًا»
(Had he tried to do it, the angels would have taken him publicly. Had the Jews wished for death, they would have perished and would have seen their seats in the Fire. Had those who sought Mubahalah with the Messenger of Allah, went ahead with it, they would not have found estates or families when they returned home).'' Al-Bukhari, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i also recorded this Hadith, which At-Tirmidhi graded Hasan Sahih.
Allah then said,
إِنَّ هَـذَا لَهُوَ الْقَصَصُ الْحَقُّ
(Verily, this is the true narrative) meaning, what we narrated to you, O Muhammad, about `Isa is the plain truth that cannot be avoided,
(and none has the right to be worshipped but Allah. And indeed, Allah is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. And if they turn away,) by abandoning this truth,
فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ بِالْمُفْسِدِينَ
(then surely, Allah is All-Aware of those who do mischief.) for those who abandon the truth for falsehood commit mischief, and Allah has full knowledge of them and will subject them to the worst punishment. Verily, Allah is able to control everything, all praise and thanks are due to Him, and we seek refuge with Him from His revenge.
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This method of settling the dispute was proposed to show conclusively that the members of the deputation of Najran were behaving obdurately. As a matter of fact, they had no answer to the things pointed out in the above discourse and could not bring any authority even from their own Scriptures to justify and support their beliefs under discussion. They could not, therefore, assert with full conviction that their beliefs conformed to the fact and were not false. Besides this, when they observed closely the character and the teachings and the works of the Holy Prophet, the majority of the members of the deputation were so impressed that they became convinced in their hearts of his Prophethood; or at least, they could not reject it boldly. That is why they did not accept the challenge: "If you really believe in the truth of your creed, you should pray with us to Allah and invoke His curse on those who say false things about Christ." The fact that they declined to accept the challenge showed plainly to the whole of Arabia that the religious leaders and priests of the Christians of Najran who were known far and wide for their piety, professed beliefs about which they themselves were not sure.
And whoever disputes with you concerning him after the knowledge that has come to you say: “Come! Let us call our sons and your sons our wives and your wives our selves and your selves then let us humbly pray and invoke God's curse upon those who lie.” And whoever disputes with you concerning him means that “After you have sincerely proclaimed what you were told and have come to know the truth of the knowledge We imparted to you in your heart do not be reticent in challenging them to mutual cursing. Trust that you have the force qahr and help nuṣra and that We are protecting you and have sheltered you in the wing of Our nearness.” If they had sought this mutual cursing the valley would have rained fire down upon them but God سبحانه gave them respite because He knew of the believers [yet to come] of their progeny. This verse alludes to those whose states are no longer those of the sincere ṣiddīqūn. When the lights [of the sincere] appear what remains in [the others] fades away completely.
…then let us humbly pray (nabtahil)That is, ‘Let us invoke [God’s] curse, one upon the other.’ The one who beseeches (mubtahil) is the supplicant (dāʿī), and the [act of] beseeching (ibtihāl) is supplication (duʿāʾ). The one who glorifies (musabbiḥ) is the one who remembers (dhākir), and this is not written down by the recording angels, for it is a witnessing of the One remembered in a remembrance that is through the One remembered. This is the meaning of His saying, ‘I keep company with the one who remembers Me, and when and wherever My servant seeks me out he will find Me.’ His words:
(… say (unto him): Come! We will summon our sons and your sons…) [3:61]. Abu Sa‘d informed us> ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Muhammad al-Zimjari> Ahmad ibn Ja‘far ibn Malik> ‘Abd Allah ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal> his father> Husayn> Hammad ibn Salamah> Yunus> al-Hasan who said: “The two monks of Najran came to see the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and he invited them to surrender to Allah. One of them said: ‘We have surrendered to Allah before you’. He said: ‘You lie! Three things prevent you from surrendering to Allah: your prostration before the cross, your claim that Allah has a son and your consumption of wine’. They said: ‘What do you say about Jesus?’ The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, did not answer. But then this verse was revealed (This (which) We recite unto thee is a revelation and a wise reminder… Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam) up to Allah’s saying (… say (unto him): Come! We will summon our sons and your sons…). Then the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, challenged them to summon Allah’s curse upon the one who is lying amongst them (Mula‘anah). The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, went and brought al-Hasan, al-Husayn, Fatimah and all his family and children, peace be upon them. When the two Christians left, one of them said to the other: ‘Consent to pay the Jizyah and do not agree to summon Allah’s curse on the liar’. They went back and said: ‘We agree to pay the Jizyah and abstain from summoning Allah’s curse on the liar’ ”. ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Hasan al-Hafiz informed us among that which he gave us permission to narrate from him> Abu Hafs ‘Umar ibn Ahmad al-Wa‘iz> ‘Abd Allah ibn Sulayman ibn al-Ash‘ath> Yahya ibn Hatim al-‘Askari> Bishr ibn Mihran> Muhammad ibn Dinar> Dawud ibn Abi Hind> al-Sha‘bi> Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah who said: “The delegation of the people of Najran came to see the prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace. The deputy chief and the master spoke with the Prophet and he invited them to surrender to Allah. They said: ‘We have surrendered to Him before you’. He said: ‘You lie! And if you wish I will inform you about that which prevents you from surrendering to Allah’. They said: ‘Do inform us!’ He said: ‘It is the love of the cross, the consumption of wine and pork’. Then he challenged them to summon Allah’s curse upon the liar amongst them. They promised to come and see him in the evening. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, went and brought Fatimah, al-Hasan and al-Husayn whose hands he held, then he sent for the two men. But they refused to come and see him and agreed to pay a levied tax. The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said then: ‘By Him Who has sent me with the truth, had they agreed to summon Allah’s curse on the liar, fire would have rained on the valley [where the delegation of Najran had camped]’. Then the following verse was revealed about them ((unto him): Come! We will summon our sons and your sons…)”. Al-Sha‘bi said: “our sons refer to al-Hasan and al-Husayn and our women refers to Fatimah, while ourselves refers to ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be well pleased with one and all”.