The Noble Qur’an states:
فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْا نَدْعُ اَبْنَآءَنَا وَاَبْنَآءَكُمْ وَ نِسَآءَنَا وَ نِسَآءَكُمْ وَاَنْفُسَنَا وَاَنْفُسَكُمْ ثُمَّ نَبْتَهِلْ فَنَجْعَلْ لَّعْنَتَ اللّٰهِ عَلَی الْکٰذِبِیْنَ
Say, “Come, let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves. Then supplicate earnestly [together] and invoke the curse of Allah upon the liars [among us].”
This verse is known as the verse of mubahalah. This incident took place between the Muslims and the Christians of Najran in 9 A.H who began debating with the Muslims regarding few matters especially regarding Nabi ‘Isa ‘alayh al Salam . They were not satisfied with what the Noble Qur’an and Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had to say. Thus, this verse was revealed. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam asked them if they would participate in this mubahalah as directed in the Qur’an wherein it is the command for both the Muslims and Christians to bring their sons, daughters and themselves and all will supplicate fervently to Allah Ta’ala to curse those who are the liars. The Christians after deliberating the matter were not ready for mubahalah; hence it did not take place. The Christians accepted to pay the jizyah and returned. The details of this event may be found in the books of tafsir under this verse. Narrations suggest that when Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam got ready for mubahalah, he called Sayyidah Fatimah, Sayyidina ‘Ali, Sayyidina Hassan and Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum.
The Shia establish from the incident of mubahalah that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had only one daughter by claiming that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam only brought Sayyidah Fatimah, Sayyidina ‘Ali, Sayyidina Hassan and Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum for the mubahalah. If other daughters did truly exist then he would have brought them as well. And if they all had passed away, he would at least called their husbands. By only calling Sayyidah Fatimah and Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhuma it is proven that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had only one biological daughter and son-in-law.
To understand this matter, some points will be noted briefly which after considering will reveal the reality to the fallaciousness of the proof of the Shia and the essence of this matter will be learnt.
Firstly, they attempt to use this verse as a proof for their ridiculous claim. The word daughters do not even feature in this verse. The words “women” and “sons” are used but there is no mention of the word daughters. So the Qur’an does not make mention of calling your daughters at all. So how can their substantiation of one daughter from this verse be correct?
Secondly, mention is only made in the narration of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha being called forth; this is using the narration as proof and not the verse.
Thirdly, there are many narrations in this regard. To keep all of them in mind is the demand of truthfulness. To rely on some narrations while deeming other narrations as unreliable is contrary to justice. One narration mentions that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam only called Sayyidah Fatimah, Sayyidina ‘Ali, Sayyidina Hassan and Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum for the occasion of mubahalah. This narration is correct and authentic, and from it the Shia deduce that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had only one biological daughter and his true son-in-law was only Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu; had there been any other biological daughter or sons-in-law, they would have been called as well.
An important aspect to note is that according to the Shia, this incident took place in 9 A.H and according to another view in 10 A.H. This appears in Talkhis al Shafi — pg. 383 (old print) and vol. 3 pg. 7 (new print) — in the chapter that amir al mu’minin ‘alayh al Salam is the most superior of the Sahabah. Before this incident, all the other three daughters of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had left this temporary world. This is accepted by both sects. Sayyidah Ruqayyah radiya Llahu ‘anha passed away in 2 A.H (at the time of the Battle of Badr), Sayyidah Zainab radiya Llahu ‘anha passed away in 8 A.H and Sayyidah Umm Kulthum radiya Llahu ‘anha passed away in 9 A.H before the incident of mubahalah. Hence, the non-participation of these daughters is evident. For this reason, only Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha was taken with. Moreover, it should be noted that only mention of Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha from the women and Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu from the men and Sayyidina Hassan and Sayyidina Hussain does not exclude everyone else from participation in this event. The non-mention of something does not necessitate its non-existence.
Other narrations of this incident state:
عن جعفر بن محمد عن ابيه فى هذه الاية فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْا نَدْعُ الاية قال فجاء بابى بكر و ولده و بعمر و ولده و بعثمان و ولده و بعلى و ولده
Jafar (al Sadiq) ibn Muhammad rahimahu Llah narrates from his father (al Baqir) rahimahu Llah regarding the verse, “Come, let us call our sons…” that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came with Abu Bakr and his son, ‘Umar and his son, ‘Uthman and his son and ‘Ali and his son (for the mubahalah).
The ‘ulama’ have recorded yet another narration from Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
عن عمر رضى الله عنه انه قال النبى صلى الله عليه و سلم لولا عنتهم يا رسول الله بيد من كنت تاخذ؟ قال صلى الله عليه و سلم اخذ بيد على و فاطمة و الحسن و الحسين و عائشة و حفصة
‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu narrates that he told Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam : “O Rasulullah! Had you done mubahalah with them, who would you take with?” “I would take the hand of ‘Ali, Fatimah, Hassan, Hussain, Aisha and Hafsah,” replied Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
We learn from the above that besides ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu; Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman accompanied by their children radiya Llahu ‘anhum were called on this occasion and had the mubahalah actually taken place then these three personalities with their children would have participated.
Similarly, Sayyidah Aisha and Sayyidah Hafsah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma were included with Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anha, and had the mubahalah taken place then they too would have participated.
We learn from this that the specialties deduced by the Shia by only looking at a few narrations is useless and their deduction of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam only having one biological daughter and son-in-law is not correct from any angle. This is only the production of exaggerated faith and nothing else.
The early Shia scholars have deduced the immediate khilafah of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu from this incident whereas this is also futile and flawed, and has no weight whatsoever since the verse of mubahalah does not mention a word of khilafah and nor does the narration speak about it. Furthermore, Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu never ever used this verse and narration to prove his khilafah nor did he claim it.
No doubt, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam honoured Sayyidina ‘Ali, his children and Sayyidah Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anhum by inviting them for this event. This is an honour we also recognise and in the light of other narrations, the three khulafaʼ, Sayyidah Aisha and Sayyidah Hafsah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were also honoured with this noble invitation. Therefore, all of these personalities should be honoured and appreciated.
If from the word “ourselves” of the verse of mubahalah, it is claimed that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu is implied — as the Shia claim — and then it is established to actually refer to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and equality is accepted between Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu in some of the qualities of nubuwwah, then it will have to be accepted that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu possesses all the qualities of nubuwwah such as being the seal of nubuwwah, being sent to the entire creation, etc.; which is absolutely false and conflicts with reality. In other words, to accept Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu as being equal to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in a few qualities is not beneficial and does not establish the original object.
Similarly, if for arguments sake we accept that this verse is a proof for the khilafah and Imamah of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, then it is imperative that he be the khalifah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam during Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam lifetime. This is also incorrect and in conflict with reality.
Thus, the word “ourselves” in this verse refers to your own people, your own brotherhood and your own religious nation just as in other verses of the glorious Qur’an:
وَلَا تُخْرِجُوْنَ اَنْفُسَكُمْ مِّنْ دِیَارِكُمْ
Do not evict one another from your homes.
ثُمَّ اَنْتُمْ هٰٓـؤُلَآءِ تَقْتُلُوْنَ اَنْفُسَكُمْ
Then, you are those [same ones who are] killing one another.
وَلَا تَلْمِزُوْٓا اَنْفُسَكُمْ
And do not insult one another.
In short, this verse has nothing to do with khilafah, leave alone it being proof for it. Therefore, it is incorrect to cite it as a proof for the immediate khilafah of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. In academic terms, this proof does not establish the claim.
 Tafsir al Durr al Manthur vol. 2 pg. 40 – Under the verse, Say, “Come …”
Tafsir Ruh al Ma’ani vol. 3 pg. 190 – Under the verse, Say, “Come …”
Tafsir al Showkani vol. 3 pg. 48 – Under the verse of mubahalah
 Sirah Halabiyyah vol. 3 pg. 240 – The chapter concerning what has been narrated regarding the delegations that came to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam .