The 24th of Dhu al-Hijjah marks the day that the Prophet Muhammad was about to engage in mubahilah [mutual imprecation] with a group of Christians from the city of Najran. This group, which included some of their scholars, came to Madinah in the year 9 AH to visit the Prophet and inquire about Islam. After discussions, they refused to submit to the logical arguments and proofs that the Prophet showed them. In response, God invited them to engage in mubahilah with the Prophet; that is, each side should pray to God to send His punishment down on whoever is the liar from them:
فَمَنْ حَاجَّكَ فِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْا نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءَنَا وَأَبْنَاءَكُمْ وَنِسَاءَنَا وَنِسَاءَكُمْ وَأَنفُسَنَا وَأَنفُسَكُمْ ثُمَّ نَبْتَهِلْ فَنَجْعَل لَّعْنَتَ اللَّـهِ عَلَى الْكَاذِبِينَ
Should anyone argue with you concerning it [the truth], 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 God’s curse upon the liars.’ (3:61)
Both parties agreed that the next day, they would meet outside of the city of Madinah for the mubahilah. On that day, the Messenger of God gathered Imam Ali, Lady Fatimah, Imam al-Hasan and Imam al-Husayn peace be upon them all, under his aba (cloak) and said:
اللهمّ انّه قد كان لكلّ نبيّ من الانبياء أهل بيت هم أخصّ الخلق اليه، اللهمّ وهؤلاءِ أهل بيتي فأذهب عنهم الرِّجس وَطهّرهم تطهيراً
Oh God! Surely every prophet from the prophets had an Ahl al-Bayt (people of their house) that were the closest of all creation to him. Oh God these are my Ahl al-Bayt, so repel all impurity from them and purify them with a thorough purification.
At this time, the archangel Gabriel descended with the verse of tathir, revealed in honor of the Ahl al-Bayt. After this, the Prophet came out with his family, ready for the mubahilah. When the other side saw the pure faces of the Prophet and his noble family, they realized that the truth was with them and decided not to engage in mubahilah. Instead, they asked the Prophet to sign a treaty with them.
Lesson: Showing the Truth
In an unprecedented move, the Prophet brought the dearest of all people to him onto the field that day: Lady Fatimah, Imam Ali, Imam al-Hasan and Imam al-Husayn. An important lesson for us to take out of this story is that in the same way the Prophet gave so much importance to showing other people the truth, we today must also try our best to show people the true message of Islam.
Imam Ali gives charity while in ruku; revelation of the Verse of Wilayah
This is also the day, in the year 10 AH, when Imam Ali gave his ring in charity to a beggar in the mosque of the Prophet while in ruku. On this occasion, the Verse of Wilayah was revealed, saying,
إِنَّما وَلِيُّكُمُ اللَّهُ وَ رَسُولُهُ وَ الَّذينَ آمَنُوا الَّذينَ يُقيمُونَ الصَّلاةَ وَ يُؤْتُونَ الزَّكاةَ وَ هُمْ راكِعُونَ
Your guardian is only God, His Apostle, and the faithful who maintain the prayer and give the zakat while bowing down. (al-Ma’idah 5:55)
Revelation of Surah Hal Ata (Surah al-Insan)
It was also on this day (or the 25th of the month, according to some reports), in the year 7 AH, in which Surah al-Insan (76) was revealed in honor of the selfless sacrifice of the household of Imam Ali, who gave away their iftar three days in a row to a needy person, an orphan, and a freed prisoner.
Among the recommended acts for this day are:
1) Recitation of the du’a of Mubahilah. It is reported that Imam al-Sadiq has said that this du’a (supplication) contains the greatest name of God, and had people known the power of this du’a to fulfill one’s needs, they would have tried with all their might to learn this du’a. He also said that whenever he would have a request of God, he would recite this du’a and it would be fulfilled.
2) Giving charity.