Is the Quran or Bible the Word of God? Christianity or Islam?

Muhammad’s Proposed Cursing – Mubahala

Mubahala – Muhammad’s Meeting with the Christians of Narjan

Toward the end of Muhammad’s life, Christians and Muslims did not see eye to eye with one another about Jesus. In one of the earliest chapter in the history of Muslim-Christian relations a delegation of Christians from Narjan visited Muhammad to discuss differences with Muhammad about Jesus. After three days of dialogue, differences between Christians and Muslims remained.

To settle these differences Muhammad proposed a curse, called a mubahala. A mubahala is a mutual curse in which God is called upon to act as Judge (e.g. “may God curse the one who is wrong”). The proposed curse is recorded in the Quran:

Quran 3:59-61
Indeed, the example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, “Be,” and he was.
The truth is from your Lord, so do not be among the doubters.
Then whoever argues with you about it after [this] knowledge has come to you – say, “Come, let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves, then supplicate earnestly [together] and invoke the curse of Allah upon the liars [among us].”1 (Sahih International)

According to the Islamic account, the Christian delegation withdrew from Muhammad’s proposed curse, and chose instead to pay an annual tribute to Muhammad.2  Muslims view the mubahala as Islam’s victory over Christianity.

Here is a movie clip of the Christian-Muslim dispute over Jesus from the Muslim perspective:3

Did Muhammad’s Proposed Curse Come upon his Household?

As a Christian, I don’t believe the mubahala is a victory for Islam’s view of Jesus. In fact, within a short period of time after Muhammad’s proposed mubahala (c.10AH/AD 631):

Deciding Between Jesus and Muhammad

As a Christian I interpret Muhammad’s proposed mubahala and the circumstances surrounding his death as evidence that God judged Muhammad according to his proposed curse.

One of the reasons I’m a Christian and why you should be a Christian too is because Muhammad is dead. Jesus is alive.

Here is another clip (non-Muslim perspective) from a movie “The Life of Muhammad” connecting  Muhammad’s proposed mubahala with the death of Ibraham and then Muhammad.

  *Please note that this video contains pictures of Muhammad.

Footnotes

  1. “Muslim exegetes have depicted as the “occasion for the revelation” of this verse an episode in which the Prophet proposed to a delegation of Christians from Narjan an ordeal of mutual adjuration (mubahala)”  (Jane Dammen McAuliffe, “Fatima” Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān. General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe [Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2005], CD-ROM version).

    For a list of references to Jesus in the Quran see “Jesus in the Quran []

  2. “The earliest Muslim sources offer a diversity of details of the discussion which occurs among the Najrān Christians in response to Muḥammad’s mubāhala challenge. In IBN ISḤĀQ, the leader of the Christians is convinced of Muḥammad’s prophethood and thus advises the delegation that cursing Muḥammad would be disastrous. Sīrat al-Nabī, II, p. 422. In MUQĀTIL, the leader simply says that in any scenario, cursing Muḥammad would be disastrous. Tafsīr, VI, pp. 282. AL-ṬABARĪ also transmitted a tradition which indicates ambivalence: according to ‘Āmir al-Sha’bī, the Christians of Najrān initially accept the mubāhala challenge. But when they seek the advice of a wise man from their deputation, he rebukes them: “What have you done? If Muḥammad is a prophet, and he invokes Allah against you, Allah would never anger him by not answering his prayers. If, on the other hand, he is a king, and he were to prevail over you, he would never spare you.” Jāmi‘ al-Bayān, VI, p. 478. IBN SA‘D did not give details of the deliberations, but had the leader respond to Muḥammad, “We think it proper not to curse you. You may order us as you like and we shall obey you and shall make peace with you.” Al-Ṭabaqāt al-Kubrā (Beirut: Dār Ṣādir, 1957), I, p. 358” (Gordon Nickel, “‘A Common Word’ in Context”, 9). See Gordon Nickel, “‘We Will Make Peace With You’: The Christians of Najrān in Muqātil’s Tafsīr,Collectanea Christiana Orientalia 3 (2006), pp. 171-188). []
  3. Note that the reference to Christianity’s belief in “three Gods” is completely inaccurate [3:29-3:34]. To learn more about what Christians really believe about the Trinity and monotheism see “Trinity, Tawhid, and Monotheism“ []

5 Responses to “Muhammad’s Proposed Cursing – Mubahala”

  1. Ghaz Al-Malezie says:

    I am a Muslim and this is what I have done to myself: Wallahi, Watallahi, Wabillahi, I swear that Islam is the truth, if ever Islam is not the truth, Allah will guide me into Christianity. Can any Christian take up this challenge vice versa?

    • agoerner says:

      Ghaz Al-Malezie,
      The purpose of this website is to demonstrate that Islam is not the truth. This is clear from Islam’s denial of the historic event of Jesus’ death on the cross.

  2. Ghaz Al-Malezie says:

    Those who disbelieve in Islam disbelieve in Jesus Christ. Those who disbelieve in Jesus Christ disbelieve in TRUTH. Those who disbelieve in truth has no place in Paradise. If you believe in Jesus Christ (not Paul and the likes), follow his Periklytos – AHMAD (Isaiah 42:1). Why are people so “blind-hearted”!

  3. Mahdi says:

    Your reasoning is very weak and your way of language and choice of words is in fact an absolute embarrassment for what you are seeking to defend. It’s an evidently true fact that someone who is confident with what he seeks to approve won’t need to do so by insulting and ridiculing others.

    Here are my answers for which I hope to see your replies on this very page (even though I don’t think you haven’t received these basic answers before):

    1. Quran 29:57:
    Every soul will taste death
    In fact everybody dies and nobody is secured or exempted from dying, not even a prophet, like Jesus Christ or Prophet Mohammad. Even Jesus Christ (peace be upon him) -about which we both share the same belief that he is alive- will die someday and attributing his death on that day, -that is bound to come- to his defeat, is absurd.

    2. This was GOING TO BE a mutual curse between prophet Mohammad and that Christian delegation which as you said never happened because they asked him that they asked to quit. You didn’t tell the whole story. In fact they were expecting to see prophet Mohammad coming with his army or anything like that. But when they saw that he is coming with his most beloved ones, his 2 grandsons, his daughter and his son-in-law, they understood his confidence in his way and belief and preferred not to take part in this fatal contest- for which I would like to know your own answer to my invitation this time!

    3. On the other hand, this was GOING TO BE a mutual curse between prophet Mohammad and that Christian delegation, not between prophet Mohammad and Jesus Christ who are both messenger of one God!! But anyway, do you have enough evidences that none of those guys died before prophet Mohammad or any of his family members which you mentioned?

    4. You have profound contradictions even on 1 page! In the passage you say Jesus Christ is now alive but in your reply to Ghaz Al-Malezie you refer to “historic event of Jesus’ death on the cross”.

    In the end I would like to pray to God and ask him that if your love in Jesus Christ is a sincere one and far from personal unfaithful purposes, may he lead you to the truth. But if you are here to prevent and distract people from finding the truth, may he keep people safe from harms of you and the guys like you.

    • agoerner says:

      Thank you for your response.

      #1 We are agreed that it is a historical fact that Jesus is alive. What we disagree about is the historical fact of Jesus’ death on the cross. Jesus will not die again.

      #2 You are correct that it was “GOING TO BE” a mutual curse. It did not end up being a mutual curse. To my knowledge we do not have enough reliable historical information from the Christians of Narjan to attribute motives as to why they did not take Muhammad up on his proposal.

      #3 To my knowledge neither God nor man saw fit to preserve the historical account how the Christians from Narjan and their families died. However, we do have the historical record for how Muhammad and members of his family died. The circumstances of Muhammad’s death is one of the reasons he should not be believed (See my post “Muhammad’s Death“).

      #4 There’s no contradiction. Jesus died and rose again from the dead.

      I have prayed to God about the truth. Part of God’s answer to my prayers has come through history and what God has done in history. Part of God’s answer about whether Muhammad is a true prophet of God has come through Quran 3 and the circumstances of Muhammad’s death as explained in this post.

      Finally, historical facts are not a distraction to those seeking the truth. History is a distraction to those who are evading the truth.

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