(And I will make those who follow you superior to those who disbelieve till the Day of Resurrection. Then you will return to Me and I will judge between you in the matters in which you used to dispute. As to those who disbelieve, I will punish them with a severe torment in this world and in the Hereafter, and they will have no helpers.)
This is what Allah did to the Jews who disbelieved in `Isa and the Christians who went to the extreme over him. Allah tormented them in this life; they were killed, captured, and lost their wealth and kingdoms. Their torment in the Hereafter is even worse and more severe,
(And they have no Waq (defender or protector) against Allah) (13:34).
(And as for those who believe and do righteous good deeds, Allah will pay them their reward in full) in this life, with victory and domination, and in the Hereafter, with Paradise and high grades,
(And Allah does not like the wrongdoers.)
Allah then said,
(This is what We recite to you of the verses and the Wise Reminder.) meaning, "What We narrated to you, O Muhammad, regarding `Isa, his birth and his life, is what Allah conveyed and revealed to you, sent down from the Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz (The Preserved Tablet). So there is no doubt in it. Similarly, Allah said in Surah Maryam;
(Such is `Isa, son of Maryam. (It is) a statement of truth, about which they doubt (or dispute). It befits not Allah that He should beget a son. Glorified be He. When He decrees a thing, He only says to it: "Be!'' and it is.)
(59. Verily, the likeness of `Isa before Allah is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then said to him: "Be!'' and he was.) (60. (This is) the truth from your Lord, so be not of those who doubt.) (61. Then whoever disputes 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, ourselves and yourselves, then we pray and we invoke Allah's curse upon the liars.'') (62. Verily, this is the true narrative, and there is no god except Allah. And indeed, Allah is the Almighty, the All-Wise.) (63. And if they turn away, then surely, Allah is All-Aware of those who do mischief.)
(Verily, the likeness of `Isa before Allah) regarding Allah's ability, since He created him without a father,
(is the likeness of Adam), for Allah created Adam without a father or a mother. Rather,
(He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: "Be!'' and he was.)
Therefore, He Who created Adam without a father or a mother is able to create `Isa, as well, without a father. If the claim is made that `Isa is Allah's son because he was created without a father, then the same claim befits Adam even more. However, since such a claim regarding Adam is obviously false, then making the same claim about `Isa is even more false.
Furthermore, by mentioning these facts, Allah emphasizes His ability, by creating Adam without a male or female, Hawa' from a male without a female, and `Isa from a mother without a father, compared to His creating the rest of creation from male and female. This is why Allah said in Surah Maryam,
(And We made him a sign for mankind) (19: 21).
Allah said in this Ayah,
((This is) the truth from your Lord, so be not of those who doubt.) meaning, this is the only true story about `Isa, and what is beyond truth save falsehood Allah next commands His Messenger to call those who defy the truth, regarding `Isa, to the Mubahalah (the curse).
(Then whoever disputes 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, ourselves and yourselves'') for the Mubahalah,
(then we pray), supplicate,
(and we invoke Allah's curse upon the liars) among the two of us.
The reason for the call to Mubahalah and the revelation of the Ayat from the beginning of this Surah until here, is that a delegation from the Christians of Najran (in Yemen) came to Al-Madinah to argue about `Isa, claiming that he was divine and the son of Allah. Allah sent down the beginning of this Surah until here, to refute their claims, as Imam Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar and other scholars stated.
Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar said in his famous Sirah, "The delegation of Christians from Najran came to the Messenger of Allah. The delegation consisted of sixty horsemen, including fourteen of their chiefs who make decisions. These men were Al-`Aqib, also known as `Abdul-Masih, As-Sayyid, also known as Al-Ayham, Abu Harithah bin `Alqamah, of the family of Bakr bin Wa`il and Uways bin Al-Harith. They also included, Zayd, Qays, Yazid, Nabih, Khuwaylid, `Amr, Khalid, `Abdullah and Yuhannas. Three of these men were chiefs of this delegation, Al-`Aqib, their leader and to whom they referred for advice and decision; As-Sayyid, their scholar and leader in journeys and social gatherings; and Abu Harithah bin `Alqamah, their patriarch, priest and religious leader. Abu Harithah was an Arab man from the family of Bakr bin Wa`il, but when he embraced Christianity, the Romans and their kings honored him and built churches for him (or in his honor). They also supported him financially and gave him servants, because they knew how firm his faith in their religion was.'' Abu Harithah knew the description of the Messenger of Allah from what he read in earlier divine Books. However, his otherwise ignorance led him to insist on remaining a Christian, because he was honored and had a high position with the Christians. Ibn Ishaq said, "Muhammad bin Ja`far bin Az-Zubayr said that, `The (Najran) delegation came to the Messenger of Allah in Al-Madinah, entered his Masjid wearing robes and garments, after the Prophet had prayed the `Asr prayer. They accompanied a caravan of camels led by Bani Al-Harith bin Ka`b. The Companions of the Messenger of Allah who saw them said that they never saw a delegation like them after that... Then Abu Harithah bin `Alqamah and Al-`Aqib `Abdul-Masih or As-Sayyid Al-Ayham spoke to the Messenger of Allah, and they were Christians like the king (Roman King). However, they disagreed about `Isa; some of them said, `He is Allah,' while some said, `He is the son of Allah,' and some others said, `He is one of a trinity.' Allah is far from what they attribute to Him.''
Indeed, these are the creeds of the Christians. They claim that `Isa is God, since he brought the dead back to life, healed blindness, leprosy and various illnesses, told about matters of the future, created the shape of birds and blew life into them, bringing them to life. However, all these miracles occurred by Allah's leave, so that `Isa would be a sign from Allah for people.
They also claim that `Isa is the son of Allah, since he did not have a father and he spoke when he was in the cradle, a miracle which had not occurred by any among the Children of Adam before him, so they claim. They also claim that `Isa is one of a trinity, because Allah would say, `We did, command, create and demand.' They said, `If Allah were one, he would have said, `I did, command, create and decide.' This is why they claim that `Isa and Allah are one (Trinity). Allah is far from what they attribute to Him, and we should mention that the Qur'an refuted all these false Christian claims.
Ibn Ishaq continued, "When these Ayat came to the Messenger from Allah, thus judging between him and the People of the Book, Allah also commanded the Prophet to call them to the Mubahalah if they still refused the truth. The Prophet called them to the Mubahalah. They said, `O Abu Al-Qasim! Let us think about this matter and get back to you with our decision to what we want to do.' They left the Prophet and conferred with Al-`Aqib, to whom they referred to for advice. They said to him, `O `Abdul-Masih! What is your advice' He said, `By Allah, O Christian fellows! You know that Muhammad is a Messenger and that he brought you the final word regarding your fellow (`Isa). You also know that no Prophet conducted Mubahalah with any people, and the old persons among them remained safe and the young people grew up. Indeed, it will be the end of you if you do it. If you have already decided that you will remain in your religion and your creed regarding your fellow (`Isa), then conduct a treaty with the man (Muhammad) and go back to your land.' They came to the Prophet and said, `O Abu Al-Qasim! We decided that we cannot do Mubahalah with you and that you remain on your religion, while we remain on our religion. However, send with us a man from your Companions whom you are pleased with to judge between us regarding our monetary disputes, for you are acceptable to us in this regard.'''
Al-Bukhari recorded that Hudhayfah said, "Al-`Aqib and As-Sayyid, two leaders from Najran, came to the Messenger of Allah seeking to invoke Allah for curses (against whoever is unjust among them), and one of them said to the other, `Let us not do that. By Allah, if he were truly a Prophet and we invoke Allah for curses, we and our offspring shall never succeed afterwards.' So they said, `We will give you what you asked and send a trusted man with us, just a trusted man.' The Messenger of Allah said;
("Verily, I will send a trusted man with you, a truly trustworthy man.'' The Companions of the Messenger of Allah all felt eager to be that man. The Messenger said, "O Abu `Ubaydah bin Al-Jarrah! Stand up.'' When Abu `Ubaydah stood up, the Messenger of Allah said, "This is the trustee of this Ummah.''')
Al-Bukhari recorded that Anas said that the Messenger of Allah said on another occasion,
(Every Ummah has a trustee, and the trustee of this Ummah is Abu `Ubaydah bin Al-Jarrah.)
Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "Abu Jahl, may Allah curse him, said, `If I see Muhammad praying next to the Ka`bah, I will step on his neck.' The Prophet later said,
(Had he tried to do it, the angels would have taken him publicly. Had the Jews wished for death, they would have perished and would have seen their seats in the Fire. Had those who sought Mubahalah with the Messenger of Allah, went ahead with it, they would not have found estates or families when they returned home).'' Al-Bukhari, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i also recorded this Hadith, which At-Tirmidhi graded Hasan Sahih.
Allah then said,
(Verily, this is the true narrative) meaning, what we narrated to you, O Muhammad, about `Isa is the plain truth that cannot be avoided,
(and none has the right to be worshipped but Allah. And indeed, Allah is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. And if they turn away,) by abandoning this truth,
(then surely, Allah is All-Aware of those who do mischief.) for those who abandon the truth for falsehood commit mischief, and Allah has full knowledge of them and will subject them to the worst punishment. Verily, Allah is able to control everything, all praise and thanks are due to Him, and we seek refuge with Him from His revenge.
(64. Say: "O people of the Scripture: Come to a word that is just between us and you, that we worship none but Allah the same, and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allah.'' Then, if they turn away, say: "Bear witness that we are Muslims.'')
This Ayah includes the People of the Book, the Jews and Christians, and those who follow their ways.
(Say: "O people of the Scripture! Come to a word'')
`Word' - in Arabic - also means a complete sentence, as evident from this Ayah. Allah described this word as being one,
(that is the same between us and you), an honest and righteous word that is fair to both parties. Allah then explained this word,
(that we worship none but Allah (Alone), and that we associate no partners with Him,) we worship neither a statue, cross, idol, Taghut (false gods), fire or anything else. Rather, we worship Allah Alone without partners, and this is the message of all of Allah's Messengers. Allah said,
(And We did not send any Messenger before you but We revealed to him (saying): "None has the right to be worshipped but I (Allah) ﴾, so worship Me (Alone and none else).'') ﴿21:25﴾ and,
(And verily, We have sent among every Ummah a Messenger (proclaiming): "Worship Allah (Alone), and avoid (or keep away from) Taghut (all false deities).'') (16:36). Allah said next,
("and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allah.'') Ibn Jurayj commented, "We do not obey each other in disobedience to Allah.''
(Then, if they turn away, say: "Bear witness that we are Muslims.'') if they abandon this fair call, then let them know that you will remain in Islam as Allah has legislated for you.
We should mention that the letter that the Prophet sent to Heraclius reads, "In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. From Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, to Heraclius, Leader of the Romans: peace be upon those who follow the true guidance. Embrace Islam and you will acquire safety, embrace Islam and Allah will grant you a double reward. However, if you turn away from it, then you will carry the burden of the peasants, and,
("O people of the Scripture: Come to a word that is the same between us and you, that we worship none but Allah (Alone), and that we associate no partners with Him, and that none of us shall take others as lords besides Allah.'' Then, if they turn away, say: "Bear witness that we are Muslims.'')''
Muhammad bin Ishaq and other scholars said that the beginning of Surah Al `Imran, and more than eighty verses thereafter; were revealed about the delegation of Najran. Az-Zuhri stated that the people of Najran were the first people to pay the Jizyah (tax money paid to the Muslim State). However, there is no disagreement that the Ayah that ordained the Jizyah (9:29) was revealed after the Fath (conquering Makkah, and therefore, after the delegation of Najran came to Al-Madinah). So, how can this Ayah (3:64) be contained in the Prophet's letter to Heraclius before the victory of Makkah, and how can we harmonize between the statements of Muhammad bin Ishaq and Az-Zuhri The answer is that the delegation of Najran came before Al-Hudaybiyyah (before the victory of Makkah), and what they paid was in lieu of the Mubahalah; not as Jizyah. The Ayah about the Jizyah was later revealed, and its ruling supported what occurred with the Najran people. In support of this opinion, we should mention that in another instance, the ruling on dividing the booty into one - fifth (for the Prophet) and four-fifths (for the fighters) agreed with the practice of `Abdullah bin Jahsh during the raid that he led before Badr. An Ayah later on upheld the way `Abdullah divided the booty. Therefore, it is possible that the Prophet wrote this statement (Say, "O People of the Scripture...'') in his letter to Heraclius before the Ayah was revealed. Later on, the Qur'an agreed with the Prophet's statement, word by word. It is also a fact that the Qur'an was revealed in agreement with what `Umar said regarding the captured disbelievers at Badr, the Hijab (Muslim woman code of dress), refraining from performing prayer for the hypocrites, and regarding his statements:
(And take you the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim as a place of prayer.) (2:125), and,
(It may be if he divorced you (all) that his Lord will give him instead of you, wives better than you.) (66:5).
(65. O people of the Scripture! Why do you dispute about Ibrahim, while the Tawrah and the Injil were not revealed till after him Have you then no sense) (66. Verily, you are those who have disputed about that of which you have knowledge. Why do you then dispute concerning that of which you have no knowledge It is Allah Who knows, and you know not.) (67. Ibrahim was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a true Muslim Hanifa and he was not of the Mushrikin) (68. Verily, among mankind who have the best claim to Ibrahim are those who followed him, and this Prophet and those who have believed. And Allah is the Wali (Protector and Helper) of the believers.)
Allah censures the Jews and Christians for their dispute with Muslims over Ibrahim Al-Khalil and the claim each group made that he was one of them. Muhammad bin Ishaq bin Yasar reported that Ibn `Abbas said, "The Christians of Najran and Jewish rabbis gathered before the Messenger of Allah and disputed in front of him. The rabbis said, `Ibrahim was certainly Jewish.' The Christians said, `Certainly, Ibrahim was Christian.' So Allah sent down,
(O people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians)! Why do you dispute about Ibrahim,) meaning, `How is it that you, Jews, claim that Ibrahim was Jew, although he lived before Allah sent down the Tawrah to Musa How is it that you, Christians, claim that Ibrahim was Christian, although Christianity came after his time'' This is why Allah said,
(Have you then no sense)
Allah then said,
(Verily, you are those who have disputed about that of which you have knowledge. Why do you then dispute concerning that of which you have no knowledge)
This Ayah criticizes those who argue and dispute without knowledge, just as the Jews and Christians did concerning Ibrahim. Had they disputed about their religions, which they had knowledge of, and about the Law that was legislated for them until Muhammad was sent, it would have been better for them. Rather, they disputed about what they had no knowledge of, so Allah criticized them for this behavior. Allah commanded them to refer what they have no knowledge of to He Who knows the seen and unseen matters and Who knows the true reality of all things. This is why Allah said,
(It is Allah Who knows, and you know not.)
(Ibrahim was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a true Muslim Hanifa), shunning Shirk and living in Iman,
(and he was not of the Mushrikin.)
This Ayah is similar to the Ayah in Surat Al-Baqarah,
(And they say, "Be Jews or Christians, then you will be guided...'') (2:135).
Allah said next,
(Verily, among mankind who have the best claim to Ibrahim are those who followed him, and this Prophet and those who have believed. And Allah is the Wali (Protector and Helper) of the believers.)
This Ayah means, "The people who have the most right to be followers of Ibrahim are those who followed his religion and this Prophet, Muhammad , and his Companions from the Muhajirin, Ansar and those who followed their lead.'' Sa`id bin Mansur recorded that Ibn Mas`ud said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Every Prophet had a Wali (supporter, best friend) from among the Prophets. My Wali among them is my father Ibrahim, the Khalil (intimate friend) of my Lord, the Exalted and Most Honored)
The Prophet then recited,
(Verily, among mankind who have the best claim to Ibrahim are those who followed him...)
(And Allah is the Wali (Protector and Helper) of the believers.) means, Allah is the Protector of all those who believe in His Messengers.
(69. A party of the People of the Scripture wish to lead you astray. But they shall not lead astray anyone except themselves, and they perceive not.) (70. "O People of the Scripture! Why do you disbelieve in the Ayat of Allah, while you bear witness.'') (71. "O People of the Scripture! Why do you mix truth with falsehood and conceal the truth while you know'') (72. And a party of the People of the Scripture say: "Believe in the morning in that which is revealed to the believers, and reject it at the end of the day, so that they may turn back.) (73. And believe no one except the one who follows your religion.'' Say (O Prophet): "Verily, right guidance is the guidance of Allah.'' (And they say:) "Do not believe that anyone can receive like that which you have received, otherwise they would engage you in argument before your Lord.'' Say: "All the bounty is in the Hand of Allah; He grants to whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Knower.'') (74. He selects for His Mercy whom He wills and Allah is the Owner of great bounty.)