فَمَنْ حَاجَّكَ فِيهِ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْا نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءَنَا وَأَبْنَاءَكُمْ وَنِسَاءَنَا وَنِسَاءَكُمْ وَأَنْفُسَنَا وَأَنْفُسَكُمْ ثُمَّ نَبْتَهِلْ فَنَجْعَلْ لَعْنَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَى الْكَاذِبِينَ
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. (3:61) - Shakir
Excerpt from Tafseer of Agha Mahdi Pooya1:
This verse refers to the well-known event of mubahilah mentioned in every book of history, traditions and Tafseer written by Muslim scholars.
In this verse, the divine command allows the Holy prophet to take with him "sons,” "women" and "selves;" therefore, had there been "women" and "selves" worthy to be selected for this symbolic contest, among his companions, he would certainly have selected them, but as it was seen by one and all, only Fatimah and Ali (and their two sons) were chosen.
The word anfus is the plural of nafs which means soul or self. When used in relation to an individual, it implies another being of the same identity with complete unity in equality; therefore, one is the true reflection of the other in thought, action and status, to the extent that at any occasion or for any purpose, any one of them can represent the other. Even if the word nafs is interpreted as "the people," it is clear that Ali alone is "the people" of the Holy Prophet.
- 1. Pooya/Ali Commentary (3:61); for the full commentary, see Appendix C.