Sheikh `Abd al-`Azîz al-Fawzân, professor at al-Imâm University
Mubâhalah is the collective invocation of Allah’s curse upon the lying party among those who engage in it. The practice is known in the Sunnah when the Prophet (peace be upon him) wanted to engage in it with the Christians of Najrân.
Allah describes mubâhalah in the Qur’ân in the following way:
“If any one disputes in this matter with thee, now after (full) knowledge hath come to thee, Say: Come! Let us gather together, our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves: then let us earnestly pray. And invoke the curse of Allah on those who lie.” [Sûrah Al-`Imrân: 61
This challenge occurred with reference to the most essential tenets of religious belief. It never actually took place, since the Christians of Najran ultimately declined. It was not mentioned in the context of someone simply disputing with another on a point of disagreement.
Now, we would like to ask: is mubâhalah permissible on the pretext of any dispute?
This is, unfortunately, something we see occurring among student of religious knowledge. When someone disputes with his brother about one of the issues of juristic discretion where evidence points in more than one direction and disagreements tend to become heated, someone gets overly convinced of his opinion and magnifies the gravity of the dispute with his brother. He seeks to win his argument by resorting to mubâhalah.
This is a serious mistake.
Mubâhalah is a very serious issue and it could bring disastrous consequences. Experience shows that the sinner in mubâhalah will hardly pass one year before he, his family, and whoever else participates with him in it dies.
Mubâhalah as Allah describes it in the Qur’ân, does not take place between two persons. It is a big problem because is involves the whole family. It is very serious.
Therefore, it should not be resorted to in just any dispute. It should only be aplied upon major and significant issues when there is no other way to convince the opponent or guide him to the right path.
I know of no evidence that the Prophet (peace be upon him) ever took recourse to mubâhalah with anyone other than the particular Christians of Najrân
Mubâhalah in this context is lawful. It is one of the major issues in our religion. It concerns monotheism and glorifying Allah above having a wife, son, or partner.
In our history, `Abd Allah b. `Abbâs wanted to resort to mubâhalah when there was big argument about al-`awl, which is an issue of inheritance law.
`Abd Allah b. `Abbâs wanted to call the Companions to engage in mubâhalah. The Companions were opposing him in his views about al-`awl, and they were right in doing so. Indeed their opinion on the matter had been the consensus of the Companions since the time of `Umar, and has been so ever since. In spite of their being undoubtedly in the right about this issue, not one of them wanted to be engaged in mubâhalah with `Abd Allah b. `Abbas.
In brief, I would say this issue should not be taken lightly and resorting to mubâhalah is not appropriate for our arguments. In fact, some of the disputes in which people take recourse to mubâhalah are so ridiculous and futile that should not even be argued, let alone having mubâhalah invoked on their account.
No one should accept mubâhalah when he knows that his brother is mistaken. This will save his brother and his brother’s family from harm. When someone knows that his brother has fallen into error, he should try to convince him amicably. If he succeeds in convincing him, good and well.
Mubâhalah should only be used in the gravest of circumstances as a means of making people aware of essential matters of faith when they are at stake.
Source: Islam Today