12- najran’s delegation: najran is rather a big area of land. it was at a distance of seven trip stages southwards of makkah towards yemen. it included seventy three villages. it took a fast-rider one day ride to get there. [fath al-bari 8/94] its military forces consisted of a hundred thousand fighters.
their arrival was in the year 9 a.h. the delegation comprised sixty men. twenty-four of them were of noble families. three out of twenty-four were at one time leaders of najran. al-‘aqib, i.e. who was in charge of princehood and government affairs. his name was ‘abdul maseeh. the second was as-saiyid (the master) under whose supervision were the educational and political affairs; his name was al-aiham or sharhabeel. abu haritha bin ‘alqamah was the third. he was a bishop to whom all religious presidency and spiritual leadership belonged and were his charge.
when that group of delegates arrived in madinah, they met the prophet [pbuh], exchanged inquiries with him; but when he called them to islam and recited the qur’ân to them, they refused. they asked him what he thought about ‘isa (i.e. jesus), [aws], he [pbuh] tarried a whole day till the following qur’ânic reply was revealed to him:
"verily, the likeness of jesus before allâh is the likeness of adam. he created him from dust, then (he) said to him: ‘be!’ — and he was. (this is) the truth from your lord, so be not of those who doubt. then whoever disputes with you concerning him (jesus) after (all this) knowledge that has come to you, (i.e. jesus being a slave of allâh, and having no share in divinity) say: (o muhammad [pbuh]) ‘come, let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves — then we pray and invoke (sincerely) the curse of allâh upon those who lie." [al-qur'an 3:59-61]
when it was morning, the messenger of allâh [pbuh] told them what ‘iesa (jesus) was in the light of the recently revealed verses. he left them a whole day to consult and think it over. so when it was next morning and they still showed disapproval to admit allâh’s words about ‘isa or to embrace islam, the prophet suggested al-mubahala that is each party should supplicate and implore allâh to send his curse upon him or them if they were telling lies. after that suggestion of his, the prophet [pbuh] came forward wrapping al-hasan and al-husain under his garment whereas fatimah was walking at his back. seeing that the prophet [pbuh] was serious and prepared to face them firmly, they went aside and started consulting. al-‘aqib and as-saiyid (i.e. the master) said to each other: "we shall not supplicate. for, i swear by allâh, if he is really a prophet and exchanges curses with us, we will never prosper nor will the descendants of ours. consequently neither us nor our animals will survive it." finally they made their mind to resort to the messenger of allâh’s judgement about their cause. they came to him and said: "we grant you what you have demanded." the messenger of allâh [pbuh] then admitted that agreement and ordered them to pay al-jizya (i.e. tribute) and he made peace with them for the provision of two thousand garments, one thousand of them to be delivered in rajab, the other thousand ones in safar. with every garment they had to pay an ounce (of gold). in return they will have the covenant of allâh and his messenger. he gave them a covenant that provides for practicing their religious affairs freely. they asked the prophet [pbuh] to appoint a trustworthy man to receive the money agreed on for peace, so he sent them the trustworthy man of this nation abu ‘ubaidah bin al-jarrah to receive the amounts of money agreed on in the peace treaty.
by the time islam started to spread in najran, naturally, they did not have to pay al-jizya that usually non-muslims paid. whatever the case was, it was said that al-aqib and as-saiyid embraced islam as soon as they reached najran on their journey back home. it is also said that the prophet [pbuh] sent to them ‘ali too, for the collection of charities and tribute. [fath al-bari 8/94, 95; za'd al-ma'ad 3/38-40]