Muslims go all out to prove how so and so companion was superior or how that wife was the best. These ‘virtues’ were fabricated only to counter the undisputed excellences of the Ahle Bait (a.s.) in general, and Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) in particular. For the sake of argument, even if we were to allow for such virtues, yet they would be no match for the Ahle Bait (a.s.), since they are peerless in all their virtues.

One such virtue is manifested in the event of Mubaahelah (malediction) on 24th Zilhajj, 10 A.H. All Muslims are unanimous that this incident was the result of the Noble Quran’s instruction to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to challenge the Christians of Najraan to a bout of malediction or invoking the divine curse on the liars.

The matter came to such a pass when the Christians refused to accept the arguments establishing the status of Hazrat Eesa (a.s.) as a mortal and not the son of God as they claimed.

Allah the Almighty finally revealed the Verse of Mubaahelah:

‘So, whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our near people and your near people, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars.’ (Surah Aale Imran (3): Verse 61)

How Mubaahelah proves superiority of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.)

There is an interesting discussion between Imam Ali b. Moosa al-Reza (a.s.) and the tyrant of the time Mamoon al-Abbasi.
Mamoon questioned Imam Reza (a.s.) about the greatest superiority of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) as proved by the Majestic Quran.

Imam Reza (a.s.) says – His superiority (over others) in the incident of Mubaahelah. Allah said:
‘But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: Come let us call our sons and your sons and our women and your women and our near people and your near people, then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars.’ (Surah Aale Imran (3): Verse 61)

The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) invited Imams Hasan (a.s.) and Husain (a.s.), the two referred to as his sons. He (s.a.w.a.) invited Fatima (s.a.). She implied ‘his women’. Finally, he (s.a.w.a.) invited Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) referring to his self, according to Allah’s order.”

Then Mamoon said – Is it not that Allah has referred to sons in the plural (الْأَبْنَاءَ) and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) invited his two sons specifically. And He referred to the women in the plural (النِّسَاءَ) and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) invited his daughter – only one woman.

Then it is not permitted that invitation to one’s self (نَفْسُهُ) i.e. Prophet (s.a.w.a.) should be construed as an invitation to other than one’s self (Ameerul Momineen (a.s.)). Therefore, there is no excellence for Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) as you claim. (Mamoon meant that self refers to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and therefore superiority was for him (s.a.w.a.) and not Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) since he was not the addressee in the verse.)

Imam Reza (a.s.) retorted, “What you have said, O Ameeral Momineen, is not correct –surely the inviter invites other than himself just like the commander commands other than himself. It is not correct that the inviter invites himself, just like it is not so that the commander commands himself. Since the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) did not invite any man for the Mubaahelah except Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), it is established that he is the self of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) – نَفْسُهُ – as indicated by Allah in His Book and He has commanded as much in the revelation of the verse.”

Mamoon replied – When the reply is given, question is silenced.

• Al-Fusool al-Mukhtaarah, Part 1, p. 38 (Arabic) by Shaikh Mufeed (r.a.)

Conclusion

1. By virtue of his selection as the ‘self’ of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) has achieved superiority over all creation except the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Since the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) is superior to all creation, his self also achieves a similar status. By creation we mean the entire world of creation including but not limited to the Divine Prophets and Messengers, angels, etc. with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) being the sole exception.

2. With this and many other achievements in which he has no rival, Ameerul Momineen Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) is the obvious choice as the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) successor. He (a.s.) was already the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) successor on account of the Ghadeer declaration. But even if the Muslims were to ignore that and choose a successor by consensus, Ali b. AbiTalib (a.s.) would be the obvious choice. Therefore, they stand guilty for first ignoring the choice of Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and then for ignoring Ameerul Momineen’s (a.s.) undisputable virtues.

3. Mubaahelah underscores the unquestionable truthfulness of all participants from the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) Ahle Bait (a.s.) – a fact accepted even by the Christians of Najraan. It is therefore shocking how the usurper of caliphate and his companions dared to challenge them in the matter of Fadak by summarily refusing to entertain their case or even their witnesses. This exposes their own falsehood and questionable status because the Ahle Bait (a.s.) are on truth (haqq) and ‘and what is there after the truth but error!’