Eid Mubahala (Imprecation)
The verse of Mubahala is verse 61 of
Sura Al 'Imran which is about the Prophet's (s) encounter with Christians of Najran and is an evidence for the virtues of Ashab al-Kisa' , especially Imam 'Ali (a) .
"Should anyone argue 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, our souls and your souls, then let us pray earnestly and call down Allah's curse upon the liars.' (3:61)
Shi'a and Sunni commentators believe that this verse is about the debate and challenge between the Prophet (s) and the Christians of
Najran in which they insist on their idea that
Jesus is of the three personifications of God and did not accept the revelation of the Qur'an which referred to Jesus as merely a pious servant and a messenger of God so that the Prophet (s) asked them to attend Mubahala which was a mutual curse.
Sunni commentators (Zamakhshari , Fakhr Razi , Baydawi.) have said that "abna'una" ["our sons"] in the verse refers to
Hasan (a) and Husayn (a) , "nisa'una" ["our women"] refers to Fatima al-Zahra (a) and "anfusana" ["our selves"] refers to Imam 'Ali (a)
, i.e. the four people who accompanied the Prophet (s) form the five Al 'Aba or Ahl al-Kisa' and beside this verse which shows their great position; according to Zamakhshari and Fakhr Razi, the Tathir verse (33:33) regards them as ones from whom all impurities are repelled as well.
Seeing true sincerity and valor of the Prophet (s) and his companions, the Christians of Najran became fearful of divine punishment and did not accept mubahala and made peace with the Prophet (s) and asked him to remain Christian and pay Jizya and the Prophet (s) accepted.
Although Mubahala was basically between the Prophet (s) and Christian men, but then children and women were also brought to prove the claim of the caller to Mubahala, thus, the Prophet (s) brought his most beloved people to the war of Mubahala.
Therefore, it can be understood that it was not necessary for the parties to be more than two people and thus the plural pronouns in the verse means that each of the parties would perish. Due to historical reports for that event, the Prophet (s) took no one else to Mubahala except for 'Ali (a) , Fatima (a) , Hasan (a) and Husayn (a) and all the pronouns referred to two people except for Fatima (a). There are other verses in the Qur'an which refer to one person while the verbal reference is plural such as the Zihar verses in the Sura al-Mujadala.
In the comments for this verse in his
Kashshaf commentary, Zamakhshari narrates from Aisha that, "on the day of Mubahala , the Prophet (s) went out wearing a black cloak. He (s) met Imam Hasan (a), took him under the cloak and then met Imam Husayn (a) and took him under the cloak too and then he (s) took Fatima (a) and 'Ali (a) under the cloak and said, "Indeed Allah desires to repel all impurity from you, O People of the Household, and purify you with a thorough purification. (33:33)" Zamakhshari continues that, "Bringing children and women to Mubahala showed more confidence than going alone; because the Prophet (s) brought his most beloved ones to the war which was supposed to inflict the curse upon each of the parties and God mentions them prior to the selves to show their importance over one's own self." Then Zamakhshari says, "This proof for the eminence of Ashab al-Kisa' is stronger than any other reason."